Fact Checking Mitt Romney

There’s a lot of Mitt Romney Fact Checking today. Election Central shows how Romney claimed Hillary Clinton is a Marxist by twisting her statements. Strangely, Romney quoted a Clinton speech and left out the part where she said, “Now, there is no greater force for economic growth than free markets, but markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed.”I previously noted how, after the last Republican debate, Factcheck.org debunked Romney’s rewriting of history with regards to the run up to the Iraq war. Today Factcheck.org has issued yet another report correcting several errors in Romney’s speeches. They provide detail after this summary:

Out on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney has been boasting of some impressive accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts, while also outlining bold foreign policy proposals. But we found that Romney sometimes alters the past, exaggerates his record and traffics in ambiguous language. We reported earlier on his boasts of issuing hundreds of vetoes, the majority of which were overridden. Here we examine a few more of Romney’s dubious statements:

  • He claims that President Clinton “began to dismantle the military” when it was President George H.W. Bush who started making deep cuts in defense budgets years before Clinton took office.
  • He claims to have balanced the Massachusetts budget through the elimination of duplicate state agencies when he actually relied mainly upon increases in fees and cuts to education and local aid to do so.
  • Romney takes credit for submitting state income tax cuts, although income tax rates did not change during his term as governor.

They provide a couple of graphs to debunk the claims Bill Clinton was responsible for deep cuts in defense spending, including this look at Defense Spending as a percentage of the GDP:

As is shown in the graph, the decrease under Clinton was a continuation of the decrease which began before he took office thanks to the end of the Cold War.

Hot Political Videos and Book For 2008

After the last post which discussed Hustler, nude pictures of Britney Spears, and a Lindsay Lohan nipple slip, this would seem to be the appropriate time to look at the sexy music videos which are creating such a commotion this year. Even The Economist has noted this trend, writing

An actress recently starred in a saucy video called “I got a crush on Obama”. (Sample lyrics: “You can Barack me tonight” and “Universal health-care reform, it makes me warm”.) It is hard to envisage any other candidate inspiring anything similar. McCain me harder?


Of course there’s an Obama Girl web site, and it should come as no surprise that there has been a take off regarding Hillary Clinton, Hot4Hill


For those who would prefer to read a juicy novel instead of watching videos, The Economist reports that Kristin Gore’s new novel is “about life in the White House with a noble vice-president, a dissolute president and a ghastly first lady whose ‘paranoia was legendary’.

World Net Daily Attacks The Democratic Daily Over Violence and Porn–What Irony

The irony of this blog debate was just too much to ignore after a reader emailed the links. Last year, when Mel Gibson was in the news, I quoted Gibson saying about Frank Rich, “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick… I want to kill his dog.” The Democratic Daily, where my criticism of Gibson was unwelcome from the start, used this as an excuse to shut down discussion of anti-Semitism and criticism of Holocaust denial. Their line was that I was promoting violence–ignoring the fact that this was a quote from Mel Gibson, the subject of my criticism. Less than a year later, The Democratic Daily is in the news, at least at World Net Daily, for advocating violence:

A Democratic Party blogger says he wants to shoot Rush Limbaugh and is calling for volunteers to assassinate rock star Ted Nugent, who champions the Second Amendment.

Hart Williams, a former writer for porn magazine Hustler and who now toils for the Democratic Daily, was waxing incoherent about a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Nugent, complaining that it was likely ghost-written.

“How we can remain ‘civil’ in the face of this is beyond my ken,” wrote Williams. “I will only reiterate what I’ve said WHEN they manage to inevitably push their litany of hatespeak into actual bloodletting, and full-blown civil war (for there is no other place that this hatred of American against American can go), well … I’ve got dibs on Rush, as soon as it’s legal and lawful to shoot him. Whoever wants Ted Nugent is welcome to him, but I would prefer that you would call it now, so as to conserve on ammunition. We will need to manage it prudently. But when the day comes that they have finally set brother against brother, and sister against sister in the name of their pocketbooks, I won’t approach exterminating them with anything approaching remorse. They’ve already told me what they think of me, of my friends and of my peers. Now, I’m returning the favor. Put that in your pipe and have the WSJ editorial staff show you how to smoke it, Nugent. Courage.”

The article by Ted Nugent which provoked such a violent reaction is here. Some may disagree with it, but writing this hardly makes one deserve the death penalty. The irony, that The Democratic Daily is fine with advocacy of violence as long as it doesn’t involve criticism of Mel Gibson, is just the start. They’ve launched attacks against me for posts including this cover of Harper’s Bazaar featuring pregnant and nude Britney Spears (with hands strategically placed to allow open sales of the magazine). More recently some of the writers there launched an attack for “misogeny” using a post mocking Lindsay Lohan in which a nipple is vaguely visible as their evidence. Of course, by their standards, most of the popular press would be also be guilty.

So, by the some-time standards of The Democratic Daily I’m a pornographer. In light of those attacks, it was amusing to learn that Hart Williams is a former writer for Hustler. Apparently these rather tame pictures of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are pornography and evidence of hating women, but Hustler is perfectly acceptable.

As I suspect readers have realized by now, Hart Williams is the same blogger who thinks he was being clever in claiming I wrote the exact opposite of what I wrote, and then refuting this straw man by drawing out astrological charts. Attacking straw men, along with ad hominem attacks, is quite common when they aren’t advocating out right shootings.

The Democratic Daily has milked this publicity with a number of follow up posts, including one bragging that they have also called for the killing of George Bush and pointing out this selection from a previous post:

Pragmatism can be a form of obfuscation, too. While one should not be principled to a fault, neither should one default on all one’s principles. Values DO matter, the GOP misuse of the term notwithstanding.

I’m very pragmatic about wanting to see Bush hung by the neck until dead — as we hung the defendants at Nuremberg, for many of the same crimes — at high noon on the Washington Mall.

While most liberal bloggers have a pretty low opinion of George Bush (regardless of whether they advocate hanging him by the neck until dead–personally I’d settle for life in prison) I imagine they must hate him even more than most of us. After all, before this controversy, they were also criticized from the right when conservative blogs mocked their belief that George Bush, and not al Qaeda, was responsible for the 9/11 attacks (and note who even added his words of “wisdom” to the comments when I reported on that).

Update: More conservative blogs have picked this story up, unfortunately presenting the advocacy of violence at The Democratic Daily as being representative of liberal thought. Even Sean Hannity quoted from the post on his show–probably being the closest I’ve ever come to agreeing with him.

There appear to be two defenses offered, neither of which holds up. Bloggers at The Democratic Daily argue that Ann Coulter and other conservative writers have advocated similar violence. Even if true, this does not justify others in advocating violence.

They also protest that they are only advocating shooting people when it is made legal, which shows a warped view of morality. Ethical people do not shoot others because to do so is felt to be wrong, and not simply because it is illegal.

Of course Pamela posts her usual attack on Liberal Values, again pretending to be the innocent victim despite all the smears originating from her blog. As usual, she attributes statements to me which I have not expressed, and comes up with yet another distorted account of events.

As always, I criticize the lunacy of both the extreme left and right, including the advocacy of violence and hatred which is seen at The Democratic Daily. This is a sad progression from the atmosphere there where only limited viewpoints may be expressed, and anyone who disagrees is evil and must be purged. The support of anti-Semitism which caused me to leave The Democratic Daily had nothing to do with accepting Mel Gibson’s apology, as she now claims, but was over Pamela’s defense of Gibson, her objection to my criticism of him, and her views on Holocaust denial. For Pamela to fall back on her long standing claims that my protest of the anti-Semitism, promotion of astrolgoy, and conspiracy theories at The Democratic Daily is based upon sexism is just plain pathetic. I criticize such views regardless of who they come from.

Update II: There’s much more on the attacks from The Democratic Daily discussed in the comments including further attacks coming after this post.

Steven Weber on Al Gore

Steven Weber, most recently of Studio 60, writes about Al Gore at The Huffington Post. He asks:

Why, given the opportunity that’s been presented to him on a silver Prius, is this man not going to run for (and win) the presidency of the United States? If ever there was a clarion call to be answered it is this one: heed the will of the majority of the people, take back the yoke Bush and his cracked team of highjackers have used to steer the country into the ground and pull the ship skyward again.

Weber provides his own answer to why Gore might not be running (which may or may not have anything to do with what Gore actually thinks) and then answers why he should run and why “America needs you need to lead us now more than ever.”

Astrology is Bunk, Part 2

Recently I had a post quoting blogs from both the left and right dismissing astrology as bunk. Fortunately this is something many of us can agree on regardless of political views. However, just as science and reason are under attack from elements of the religious right, the left does have some elements which are also not part of the reality based community.

I noted that Bush and the Dalai Lama both having the same birthday “does not disprove astrology, but there are plenty of other arguments beyond this.” One of the writers for The Democratic Daily (who has attacked here in the past) responded with a post calling me an imbecile after falsely claiming that I used the common birth dates as an argument against astrology, and then preceded to present astrological charts as if they mean anything. I don’t know which is worse, calling me an imbecile while claiming I said the exact opposite of what I really said, or in thinking that drawing up astrological charts has meaning.

As I did state, while the common birth dates does not disprove astrology, there is plenty of other evidence. Rather than resort to the usual ad hominem attacks which characterize their posts, I’ll simply present a list of sources should anyone be interested in further information debunking astrology:

Bad Astronomy

James Randi

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi?