Friday, April 10, 2009

The Latest Obsfucation

Lawyers love to lie, they have taken the ability to twist the truth and transformed it into an art form. As a result, those who are the most successful at their occupation move on to a second career in public service. Yes, if you haven't already guessed it, the majority of politicians have been employed as an attorney previous to their years on Capitol Hill.
To some extent this connection between lawyers and legislation makes a lot of sense. Who better to write our laws than those who have spent their lives studying our government's various statutes and regulations? On the other hand, they do seem to have a bit of an honesty problem and when they lie, an unfortunate amount of people believe them. Evenly more sadly, many of these believers include the members of our media who (sometimes knowingly and sometimes not) further disseminate this information to the public whose bullshit detectors are often shut off after a long day of dealing with the same at work.
The latest example with which I present you tonight is the Secretary of Defense's budget, currently under discussion. Keep in mind before you read these outrageous quotes from real representatives that the current proposal raises the amount spent on the military by 4%. Not lowers, raises. This is an important detail as you prepare to confront the various lies you are about to be told by our former lawyer friends. Personally I disagree with the administration, but not for the same reasons as the loonies to follow. IMHO spending more on the military during such hard economic times is absolutely ridiculous.
I could go on but this post is about the truth challenged ones and I will now cede the stage to them. If you care to further question my personal opinions on the matter or if you just want to tell me to shut the hell up, the comments page is now open....and now without further ado, the lineup of liars.
1. Roger Wicker, Senator Mississippi
"National defense is not the national culprit when it comes to national debt and the national deficit each year. The deficit is mainly a function of the domestic spending program; particularly, the rapid growth of our entitlement programs."

Wrong. Massive government deficits started when Reagan doubled our military spending in an effort to defeat the Russians in the mid 1980s. Spending has at no point decreased since then despite the end of the Cold War. Regardless of how you feel about Reagan's decision, Wicker is either obviously lying or pretty ignorant of what is very recent history. (Check out this great article on how the deficit ballooned out of control)

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma warned against “sending our sons and daughters into combat in vehicles that are second-rate.” And of course, the lie du jour everyone is spouting now: "in all the time we're doing this, increasing all these welfares...the only thing in the budget that's being cut is military."

Wrong. The budget cuts, such as they are, do not relate to ground operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - they relate to weapons systems in production that are running over cost or failing to produce accurate and reliable weaponry. One wonders where Inhofe was when our boys were getting blown up my IEDs in Iraq because their vehicles lacked proper armor, a problem that took Congress years of fatalities before they addressed.

3. US Rep Mary Fallin Oklahoma (I wonder how many of these factories producing military hardware are in Oklahoma...hmmm)

President Obama’s military budget cuts reflect misplaced priorities and a sense of naïveté we can ill-afford,” Fallin said. “With the United States fighting two wars and threats growing from rogue nations like Iran and North Korea, now is not the time to pull the rug out from under our armed services.

Wrong. Liar three also repeats the fact that the budget is being cut. When you spend more money, that is not a budget cut. Thanks for playing. Oh and that Iran and North Korea are going to nuke us lie. That is an old one that never fails to get a laugh. One bomb from those fools and their country would exist for all of fifteen more minutes. Apologies to their neighbors for the resulting fallout.

4. Tom Price US Rep, Georgia
"It seems the only place the President is willing to cut spending is on the armed forces," Price said. "The President's priorities are deeply flawed. We will fight to preserve this important program."
This decision will not only cost thousands of jobs at a critical time, it is detrimental to the country's national defense capabilities," Price added.

Wrong. Are you tired of hearing essentially the same spiel from these various liars? Me too :)! In the political world this is called a talking point. When a group of these liars repeat the same lie over and over again until the media begins to treat what they are saying as the truth and filter as such to you through the medium of half-assed news programs.
Our combined military spending (which is going to go up 4% by the way) is equal to the military budgets of the next 20 largest militaries on the planet. If that number sounds insane, that's because it pretty much is insane. If we aren't safe than no one else is and that is a fact. Except for maybe Andorra, since no one knows it is there. By the way, the budget also gives a well-earned 2.9% raise to our military personnel.

5. Todd Akin US Rep

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) joined in the fun, saying that "[w]hile President Obama is pushing for mind-boggling increases in domestic spending, the one place he wants to cut spending is defense" "This makes no sense," Akin went on, "not only because the world is not becoming safer, but because these cuts will eliminate thousands of well-paying jobs across America."

Wrong. Have I mentioned that increasing the budget is not a budget cut? Akin does get to the crux of the issue though - jobs. If these jobs are the equivalent of paying someone to dig a hole and then fill it up again what of use is being created by them? By all means, let's employ these folks, and I am fine if the government pays their wages, but let's have them produce something that America needs rather than these fancy weapons systems that will end up next to the Ark of the Covenant in that warehouse, wherever if may be (I will find it damn it).

6. Joe Lieberman, Senator Connecticutt

Connecticut's Joe Lieberman (Independent) warned that it's too dangerous not to invest more heavily in missile defense.

Wrong. Missile defense is a boondoggle that has never worked and has cost our country billions of wasted dollars. It could be worse, though. What if it actually did work? Our relations with other nuclear powers, specifically the USSR during the Cold War were based on the concept of MAD or mutually assured destruction. No one would dare fire upon the other because both sides had so many weapons that they would be able to strike back and no one would come out the winner. Thus nuclear war isn't very appealing an idea. However, with an effective missile defense shield one side could win, making the idea of nuclear devastation more palatable. Also, spies dating back to the Rosenbergs have always been able to obtain these secrets so all our money will likely be spent in vain anyway, as our enemy would soon have the same technology. The Chinese have had recent success in the area of nuclear espionage as well.

I want to thank all of our liars/Congressmen and women who were so kind to appear in my piece today. I look forward to picking apart their sad attempts to fool the public in the future. If you have some time, sit back for a laugh and let Jon Stewart sum up the whole mess.


Ms. Red said...

I see your point but how about cutting money for welfare? If we imposed mandatory drug tests for people on welfare we could put some major money back into the budget. A large portion of those who "need" welfare would no longer qualify. I have no problem helping people who truly need it. Everyone needs help sometimes. But there are too many individuals who have made a living out of not working. If we made more stringent rules about how much you have to work in order to receive welfare, we could put down a lot of our deficit. If we quit rewarding ignorant lazy people for having more children in order to stay on welfare so they don't have to work, we could save a lot of money. And don't get me started on illegal immigrants who get more finacial assistance with Medicaid, medicare, welfare and everything else, than do citizens like you and me. I think that we just need a major overhaul of the whole system. I am not saying that we should throw it all out... but we are crippling ourselves by not seriously putting things in check.

Anonymous said...

Great piece Alastair! My sentiments exactly. Some thought from my perspective as a member of the media...

I don't know, it baffles me that the only people who seem to be exposing these blatant lies are the fake news pundits of the "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report."
It's a sad state of affairs when the best political watchdogs you have for holding both politicians and mainstream media accountable are on Comedy Central. (But what's new, eh?).
You would think the so-called "fiscal conservatives" which make up the Death Star over at Fox News would rally around a budget that proposes cutting some of the wasteful spending on expensive military weapons and technology we have no need or use for or that just plain doesn't work. Furthermore they are criticizing it for the wrong reasons. They should be lambasting it for increasing, not because they made "major" cuts.
But instead they criticize a Bush holdover Gates, and blast him for "budget cuts," when as you eloquently pointed out, spending went up four percent.
It makes me wonder what connections or gentlemen's agreements some of the media conglomerates have to the Lockheed Martin's of the world who build these weapons.
I can't figure out why else they would spread misinformation about the defense budget.
I mean I can understand FOX doing it, their agenda is to undermine anything President Obama does, but why the other news networks?
It really pisses me off to see the bandwagon mentality of mainstream media these days. It's like if one outlet breaks a story, whether it's true or false, the others follow like lemmings off a cliff.
I don't pretend to have the answers, but a couple things concern me: 1. the consolidation of media into fewer and fewer hands and 2. The proliferation of instantaneous news feeds and news aggregate filters which place news on the web in about 2,000 different outlets the minute a story breaks: speed and the push to be first can lead to some sloppy journalism and inadequate fact checking, which we are seeing the results off with current events. 3. The 24-hour news cycle has to be one of the biggest threats to serious investigative journalism in my mind. That need to fill massive news holes when nothing is going on that's newsworthy leads these networks to "invent" or sensationalize stories to make them seem more interesting. And if that means tellling a bold-faced lie then so be it, the bottom line is ratings and money. Money makes the world go round, but it can also destroy some fine institutions. I lament the decline of hard-hitting journalism.

-Colin (McCandless)

Alastair McCandless said...

Okay let's address the questions regarding immigration and welfare. First, if you want to stop illegal immigration the only way to do so is eliminate the availability of jobs for them. This involves discouraging employers from hiring them by imposing large fines and even threatening the businesses with closure unless they comply. As long as there is a supply of jobs here combined with horrible conditions in Mexico and other Latin American countries, people who are desperate to feed their families will sneak across the border to work. Anyone in our government who bitches about this problem without addressing the need to go after the employers is blowing smoke. Encouraging people to be angry at immigrants is just one way the elites trick poor people fight each other instead of them (if we united with our numerical advantage they would be megafucked) There is no greater example of this tactic than the obsession over people cheating on welfare. First off, if we ended welfare today it would only make a small dent in our budget deficit. Why? We would love to think that these people would go right out and get a job, but these are lazy folks without too much pride and most of them would end up resorting to crime and end up in jail, where it costs over 20,000 dollars a year to keep them. I like the drug testing idea though, as long as we also test those receiving bail out money from the government or the oil executives who get subsidies for their company that is already earning profits in the billions. Especially the bank executives, they must have been on a mountain of blow to fuck up our economy this badly.

Alastair McCandless said...

Here is an interesting article pertaining to your welfare drug test suggestion, covers both sides view of the issue. Unlikely the law would past constitutional muster though, according to the article a similar law in Michigan was struck down in the courts.

rjmera said...

Loved the Indy quote. Indeed, our budget is being defined by "top men."

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