To those of you confronted with opponents who blame both parties, or people who quote a supposed Obama or Clinton “lie”, let this piece become your irrefutable weapon,—you need not waste your breath again in pointless circular debates with people who have trouble thinking critically. The following will finally put the last nail into the false false equivalent argument -the last refuge of the Stupidparty disciple.
“[The Stupidparty] has become an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of civic virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government’s role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans, and less disposed to or adept at take-no-prisoners conflict between the parties. This asymmetry between the parties, which journalists and scholars often brush aside or whitewash in a quest for “balance,” constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.” —Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Washington Post op-ed. Mann is the author of It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism
The Stupidparty may retort by saying that liberals say stupid things and Democrats are also corrupted by money—and of course they have half a point. I will deal with the money aspect later. But when progressives do say stupid things the comments tend to be flaky, yet well meaning; they are fighting against bigotry, torture, rape, wars, environmental catastrophe, etc. Progressives, by their very nature, are trying to make things better; they are not part of the odious promotion of dangerous nonsense. Rarely do the mistakes made by Democrats lead to the obvious conclusion of being genuinely stupid, ignorant or bigoted.
But don’t take my word for it. We do not need mere opinions when I am always happy for the facts to do the talking.
Der Spiegel Article—Opinion Piece:
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. According to The Economist, Der Spiegel is one of continental Europe’s most influential magazines. After the 2012 conventions—a time when the stars of each party have an opportunity to put their best foot forward on the national stage—it carried the following story by Gregor Peter Schmitz:
“Truth is in short supply. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have become more unabashed in their lies than ever before. With a mainstream media weakened by the appearance of partisan bias and editorial staffs that have been ravaged during the crisis, many of the whoppers won’t be second-guessed.”
The article then observed that, in the assessment of PolitiFact, Democratic misstatements pale when compared to the Stupidparty’s “unscrupulous” tactics. The Pulitzer Prize–winning PolitiFact.com is, according to Wikipedia, a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, in which reporters and editors from the Times and affiliated media outlets “fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups.” (Wiki)
As Der Speigel’s report (unsurprisingly) discovered, 10% of Romney’s and other leading Republicans’ statements were absolutely false, whilst Obama was totally incorrect 2% (one out of 50) of the time. They do not see any sign that this situation will improve, despite the fact that Ryan’s untruths have become legend. Der Spiegel thus rather incredulously ends with a quote from a Romney pollster:
“Despite all the debate over Ryan’s most recent fibs, ‘We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,’ a defiant Romney pollster, Neil Newhouse, said at a panel hosted by ABC News at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week.”
Therefore, not only are the Stupidparty lies worse, as demonstrated earlier in this chapter, but they lie 500% more often. But lies work, and this forces even the more honest politicians to stretch the truth more than they would otherwise feel comfortable. If you are playing a competitive game of golf with a blatant and repetitive cheat—and your very career depended on the outcome—I suspect the quality of your sportsmanship might suffer. I will take a mulligan too.
A New York Times op-ed reached the same conclusion:
Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton, is the co-editor, most recently, of Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement.
This article takes a swing at the bulk of the news media, pointing out that fact-checking is fundamental to journalism but that it had become clear during the 2012 presidential campaign that most journalists were just going through the motions, presenting opposing arguments as if they had equal credibility. The article concludes:
“Fact-checking, once a foundation for all reporting, was now deemed the province of a specialized few. But as this campaign has made clear, not even the dedicated fact-checkers have made much difference. PolitiFact has chronicled 19 ‘pants on fire’ lies by Mr. Romney and 7 by Mr. Obama since 2007, but Mr. Romney’s whoppers have been qualitatively far worse: the ‘apology tour,’ the ‘government takeover of health care,’ the ‘$4,000 tax hike on middle class families,’ the gutting of welfare-to-work rules, the shipment by Chrysler of jobs from Ohio to China.”
A look at the graph below will help quantify what has happened as a result of the Stupidparty infrastructure being treated as if it should be worth listening to. Is it possible that the more you listen, the less informed you get? Well, I think we just demonstrated that in the previous chapter.
Before moving on let me try and compare famous progressive gaffes with Stupidparty gaffes. These gaffes show up prominently on Stupidparty blogsites:
- Joe Biden on culturalism: “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
Awkward, yes. Not mean-spirited or necessarily ignorant.
- John Conyers on the Affordable Care Act, which he voted for: “I love these members; they get up and say, ‘Read the bill’ . . . What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
Impolitic. Not untruthful.
- Former DNC Chairman Donald Fowler on the possible delay of Republican National Convention due to Hurricane Gustav: “Plus, they think the hurricane’s going to hit [starts laughing] New Orleans about the time they start. The timing, at least it appears now, that it’ll be there Monday. That just demonstrates God’s on our side.”
A very ironic and totally appropriate and deserved joke.
- Barack Obama: “I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”
Obama is not Palin. Campaign fatigue. One suspects that if a Stupidparty Disciple knows how many states there are, in order to record this quote, we can presume Obama does.
- John Kerryon the troops: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
Kerry speech had prepared notes, and what he wrote on those notes was . . . “if you don’t, you get us stuck in Iraq, just ask President Bush”—the underlined words, he accidentally dropped. (Wiki)
- Howard Dean: “We know that no one person can succeed unless everybody else succeeds.”
Clumsy but harmless.
- Al Gore: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” March 9, 1999.
Al Gore did not invent the Internet. What’s more, he never said he did! However, his contributions to the development of the Internet as we know it were quite significant.
Now we should look at the leading candidates running to be President.
I noted that Ted Cruz has told the truth once. I was wondering how was that possible. No –not that he lies so often –he is just a ghastly human being –no, I was more interested in what could have possibly motivated this charlatan to let truth slip into his vernacular. Interestingly enough it was while attacking the government that he accidentally somehow told the truth. He complained that the government was regulating the need to have wheelchair accessible public bathrooms. So in his moment of truth he was unwittingly revealing what a little shit he is. Now let us compare these guys with the Democrat opposition. Apparently Ted Cruz has a better record with the truth than Donald Trump or Ben Carson – who themselves literally have an infinitely worse record that the Democrats:
What is also notable is how these numbers dovetail with the research of Der Spiegel, which they did after the 2012 convention speeches. Der Spiegel correctly feared that the situation would get worse. If one simply focuses on the “false” column we can now verify what Der Spiegel concluded —that the Stupidparty tells lies 400% more often. But as has been pointed out –it is not simply the frequency of such lies that we have to consider, but the severity.
So I was interested in Hillary’s two pants on fire lies.
First: “I remember landing under sniper fire.” Yes this does appear to be untrue, but evidently she had been advised that they might be landing under sniper fire –but, her hyperbole was just a fraction of the multiple sins of Brian Williams, and journalists must be held to higher standard than politicians. Anyone who can stand up to eleven hours of congressional persecution –without taking a single hit, well that is sort of proof of a fundamentally honest person. Lying makes life so much more complex, and a pattern of lies would become impossible to sustain. Therefore, in respect to the wide ranging Benghazi affair, where the prosecution team had virtually unlimited funds, an enormous amount of public and private records; it was very telling to witness a faultless performance by Clinton. The prosecutors became ever more desperate, uncouth and pathetic in their attempts to create a scandal. At the end of the day, it was transparently clear who the bad guys were.
Her second “pants on fire” statement: Obama “basically threatened to bomb Pakistan.” The reason why Hillary lost the primary against Obama was because at the time she was being cowardly and, on occasion, she liked to link her message to John McCain’s in order to try and cement the image of Obama being too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Here she was just channeling John McCain. But really – was it so bad? The point that they were both making was that Obama was willing to be a lot more aggressive in pursuing Bin Laden than McCain or Hillary. Now we can see with the benefit of hindsight that Hillary and McCain were quite correct—Obama was far more willing to push the envelope. So was she being disloyal to the party and cowardly? Yes. But she paid the price and made amends by the way she and Bill Clinton helped Obama.
Thus both her “pants on fire” statements are really quite minor points, and can be quietly easily explained. Accusing Obama of “basically” threatening to bomb Pakistan, while slightly misleading, was just summing up an attitude – a “can-do” attitude that had been missing up to that point. It’s a bit like me saying I might want kick someone in the balls, such as people who drone on about both parties being equally bad. It is more of a statement of attitude than a real intent to maim – i.e. I might be prepared to break social conventions of not discussing the world’s three most interesting questions –sex, religion and politics- so that I do not actually have to kick someone in the balls.
Now let’s compare Hillary’s minor gaffes to Trump:
- The federal government is sending refugees to states with governors who are “Republicans, not to the Democrats.”
Now try to explain that! A lie that incites bigotry, and adds to the false narrative about how the government functions –thus making people stupider. Much the same can be said for many of the rest of this selection of the “pants on fire” lies:
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership “was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”
- “I never said that” Marco Rubio was Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator.
- Bernie Sanders’s plan is “to raise your taxes to 90 percent.”
- The unemployment rate may be as high as “42 percent.”
- “The Mexican government … they send the bad ones over.”
- “The last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product … was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.”
Now I am still concerned that some people may be having difficulty in visualizing what I am actually proving. Can you blame me? When is this ever discussed? So I wanted to try and create a visual that would simply ram the facts down in a way that cannot be immediately spat out. What few people seem to discuss – is that lying is a three-dimensional issue – one needs to register both the frequency and the severity of the lies.
If you look at the volume of lies –Ben Carson lies are about 1000% more voluminous than Bernie Sanders lies.
Egregious lies are deadly. People get killed. We have seen that from the South Carolina shooting, the Colorado planned parenthood shooting and many other versions of domestic terrorism. Egregious liars, winding up Stupidparty disciples this is is a predictably deadly recipe. Take it away Ben Carson, help us visualize false equivalence, help us understand why stupidparty is the equivalent to mayhem and death.
Now that we have proven the extent to which the Stupidparty is so very different from the Democratic Party – let us study a live example of the differences. Please watch this short video clip very closely, because it is easy to miss the really interesting part.
I do not really want to research all the nonsense spouted by Trump below, but clearly the questioner tried and failed to correct Trump’s misinformed rant. Again, that is not the really interesting part. Now below see the screen shot just before Rand Paul knee caps Donald Trump—towards the end of the above video. It would appear that everyone else on the stage is oblivious to Trump’s ignorance. I have replayed these four seconds of action time and time again.
Now I looked at a different video to try and see who understood what Rand Paul was talking about –and this is the screen shot was taken about three seconds later…
So who gets it? Trump just belligerently puffs out his chest, Carly Fiorina not the slightest glimmer –all we get is that “face” (as Trump would put it). Jeb Bush gets it. Does anyone else?
The video below will be clearer: What you are looking at occurs from 4 to 8 seconds into the clip
So now just imagine if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders had made such a statement. It would not only be on the news cycle 24/7, it would also presage the end of their campaign. No objective informed viewer tolerates ignorance from the Democratic leaders. But such ignorance makes barely a ripple in Stupidparty land because Stupidparty is what they are – hiding in plain sight within its perfect camouflage. We watch the debates, the interviews with such low expectations –i.e. everything around them is so Stupidparty – therefore, stupid becomes invisible, hiding in itself.
So false equivalence that!
The people who promote false equivalence, the very people who have created this alternate universe paradigm, have one remaining argument. “Both parties accept money from the Oligarchs” and they are correct. But the Democrats have to accept such money to stay in the game –and they are clearly less corrupted by this money. Climate change denial anyone? So yes, Democrats are corrupted by such money – but it is a relative equation. They are probably corrupted by money to the same proportion that they have surrendered their integrity – as measured in the charts above.
Still do not believe me? Well here is the ultimate test, the easiest test. First, figure out what needs to be done to salvage American democracy (at this point we all know that democracy has become a farce). Well I have done the hard part –this is what needs to be done.
Now ask yourself which party is more willing to implement these solutions, solutions that would have vast popular appeal.
So to all you “a pox on both your houses” lightweights, I say—“a pox on your house,” because by making such an argument you are revealing such a lack of insight that is easy to see that your house is more like a shack built in tornado alley. Please quit your infernal whining, grow a backbone, stop being the problem and start to become part of the solution. Welcome home to the land of reality.