Free Markets, Free People
If you’ve ever wondered what pure “spin” looks like, you have as your most current example an article under Nancy Pelosi’s name in USA Today. It is a marvel of context free and, frankly, fact free verbiage designed to do nothing more than paint an alternate picture of reality. It is an attempt to effect how history will be written. And it is laughable on its face.
Essentially what Pelosi does is provide a list of discredited Democrat talking points in essay form, never once acknowledging that most if not all have been debunked, shown to be untrue or simply a figment of very fertile imaginations.
My favorite part is where the soon to be minority leader, if that, finally lays out the welcome mat for Republicans – after 6 years of all but shutting them out of the Congressional process.
And, in the running for the most appalling lie among many is this line included after Pelosi lists the “accomplishments” of the 111th Congress:
And we did all of this while restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress by making the pay-as-you-go rules the law of the land.
Good lord. An estimated 6 trillion in further debt heaped upon the country during her watch and she has the audacity to play the PAYGO card? This and the previous Congress under Democratic rule have been the most profligate in our history. And Ms. Pelosi attempts to say everything has been paid for?
Democrats – if you keep this person in your leadership after her 4 years as the Speaker what little is left of your tattered credibility is as good as gone. She is divisive, extreme, partisan to a fault and the perfect leader to ensure you don’t see a majority in the House again for a decade or so. She is the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP.
USA Today’s cover story today is entitled “Is the Global Warming movement cooling”. It features Penn State University professor Michael Mann who is puzzled, puzzled I tell you, over all the controversy. My favorite Mann quote:
“I look at it like this: Let’s say that you’re in your car, you open up the owner’s manual, and you discover a typo on page 225. Does that mean you stop driving the car? Of course not. Those are the kind of errors we’re talking about here,” Mann says. “Nothing has fundamentally changed.”
USA Today lists his research as:
Mann’s research, which used tree rings, coral and other historical indicators to estimate how temperatures have risen in recent centuries, has been used by the IPCC in its reports.
Not a word about the infamous “hockey stick”. Not. A. Word. Of course the “hockey stick” and cherry picked tree-ring and temperature data have been the foundation of the IPCC’s conclusions. All have been found to be highly suspect by other scientists.
But to return to Mann’s self-serving analogy, this isn’t about a typo in the car’s owner’s manual. This is about a fatal flaw in the engine. The Himalayan glacier nonsense may be considered a “typo”, but the hockey stick, tree ring and temperature data is the foundation of the “consensus” opinion.
The article goes on to note that despite the controversy the Obama administration agree’s with the Mann analogy.
Carol Browner, the White House’s director on climate and energy policy, says there are “thousands and thousands” of scientists whose work provides evidence of global warming. She told USA TODAY that, based on her frequent visits to Capitol Hill, recent questions over science have not changed a single vote in Congress on climate change legislation.
“It’s easy to misuse these isolated reports of problems to suggest that the science behind global warming is somehow wrong,” Browner says.
It is also easy to ignore it when not doing so works directly against the outcome and result you’d prefer to see – government restrictions against and regulation of so-called “greenhouse gases.” And I doubt Ms. Browner has her finger on the pulse of Congress. Even today, Democrats included, they’re considering legislation that would block the EPA from unilaterally imposing restrictions on CO2 output.
The article is quite long, and I suggest you read it, but one further item of note – a new excuse, I suppose, for the “typo” in the “owner’s manual”:
Tim Wirth, a former U.S. senator who is now president of the United Nations Foundation, defends the IPCC, stating it has an annual budget of “only” about $3 million and relies almost entirely on volunteers to produce and fact-check its content.
Wirth says the organization would be aided by adding more scientists to its full-time staff. Yet he also criticizes what he called “K Street (Washington) PR firms … who are hired to examine every (detail) of the IPCC report and find problems and then get them out into the public domain.”
“It’s not a fair fight,” Wirth says. “The IPCC is just a tiny secretariat next to this giant denier machine.”
“Giant denier machine?” It’s mostly been individuals and bloggers. Volunteers. The controversy broke in the UK, not in DC. Most of the global warming research was funded by governments, for heaven sake, which are able to outspend any outside group without breaking a sweat. And then we have Al Gore, a movie and entire movement spreading the gospel of AGW as well.
But to the larger point – these volunteer fact-checkers were apparently good enough for Wirth and the governments around the world to propose draconian taxes and restrictive policies, but now that the results are being called into serious question, suddenly the IPCC – the Nobel Peace Prize winning IPCC – is just a “tiny secretariat” staffed mostly by volunteers.
Seems to me that while the US media, in this case in the guise of USA Today, has finally determined it can’t ignore the Climate-gate controversy anymore, if this article is any indication of its thrust, you can expect to see the problem minimized and ignored, despite the word count.
As I mention below, Americans know the difference between a real townhall and a staged event. Yesterday’s “townhall” with Obama was an obviously staged event, and evidence to that effect, plus the “Yes We Can” chorus, make that point rather obvious.
That said, there was a lot of nonsense thrown out here by Obama which he claimed was “the truth”. Of course the purpose of his political rally wasn’t discussion or debate – it was to lecture those there and deride the oppostion who wasn’t. Was it effective? My gut says no.
Interestingly enough, USA Today did a bit of a fact check on what Obama offered yesterday:
• “Under the reform we’re proposing, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
Not necessarily. In an analysis of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee bill, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 10 million workers could lose employer-provided benefits and would have to find other insurance.
This continues to be a promise and it continues to be wrong regardless of how many times he says it. A) the bill, as Kathy Kiely of USA Today points out, doesn’t support it. B) he can promise whatever he wants but unless the legislation agrees the promise is moot. And right now, as noted, the legislation does not support Obama’s promise.
• “Insurance companies basically get $177 billion of taxpayer money to provide services that Medicare already provides.”
About 10.2 million Medicare recipients are in Medicare Advantage. Under that program, the government pays insurers a set amount per Medicare beneficiary. Obama ridiculed it as costly and redundant, but the plan provides additional benefits, such as vision, dental and hearing, to seniors and helps coordinate health care for those with chronic conditions, says Robert Zirkelbach at the trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans.
People under medicare almost all have a “medigap” supplemental policy that covers what Medicare doesn’t cover. Who is spreading disinformation in this particular case? In his desire to demonize the insurance industry, he ridicules coverage that is actually helpful to seniors as “costly and redundant”. That won’t sell among the senior population that knows better and will thus make the rest of his message suspect to them.
• “The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for ‘death panels’ that will basically pull the plug on Grandma. … (T)he intention. .. was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready, on their own terms. … (O)ne of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican … (Sen.) Johnny Isakson from Georgia.”
Isakson issued a press release saying Obama misused his name. A provision he attached to a Senate health care bill would allow seniors to obtain help in formulating a living will something Isakson said is different from House language. The House bill would require Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling sessions, but it would not mandate that anyone use the benefit.
There’s an even simpler point here – there is no Senate bill at this point, and Senator Isakson doesn’t write or offer amendments to House bills. The section in question is strictly a House bill section written by Democrats and offered by Democrats.
• “AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare, OK?”
The AARP issued a press release to make it clear that it has not endorsed any particular health care proposal. “Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate,” AARP said.
The president and his staff would love to wave this off as a slip of the tongue, but in reality it was said purposefully to bolster the credibility of the legislation to seniors, who Democrats have identified as the voting bloc most unsure of it. This was calculated to do just that. Any good media doctor knows that more will hear the claim than will hear the denial. And that’s precisely what the administration is hoping for. Pure disinformation given for a specific political reason. Most people would call that propaganda.
So this is what the administration offers in answer to the real, visceral and organic protests that have sprung up all over the country – as staged show with softball questions by likely plants which allows the administration to attempt to reshape the message even while it uses half-truths, distortions and outright disinformation to do so.