Nel's New Day

October 5, 2012

Lies, Hypocrisy from the Right

Busy news day! So much news, so few words.

Yesterday I gave a source for Mitt Romney’s 27 lies at Wednesday’s debate. He’s been busy this week; Steve Benen has recorded 50 for the week. It fits with that old joke, “How do you know when (fill-in-the-blank) is lying? …”

After Romney’s statement 17 days ago that 47 percent of the people in this country are freeloaders, he said his choice of words were “inelegantly” stated. Two weeks later another Romney persona is saying that he was “completely wrong.” Would the real Romney please …?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that payrolls expanded by 114,000 last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. That’s such good news that former GE CEO Jack Welch tweeted that the books were cooked. Although there is no evidence of this, other conservatives are also insinuating that the figures are rigged.  For conservatives, bad job numbers are cheered; good job numbers are accused of being false.

In fact, 873,000 Americans reported having found jobs in September (in the so-called household survey), the most since 1983, and 1.3 million job s were added this year. The labor force grew by 418,000 people, so the drop in the unemployment rate was not due to people giving up on looking for work the say that Romney claims. After shedding over 800,000 jobs in the past few years, the public sector added 10,000 jobs this last month. The unemployment rate would be under 7 percent without public sector jobs cuts, and the American Jobs Act that Republicans filibustered in Congress would have added millions of jobs, according to economists. And earnings rose 7 cents to $23.58. Average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent over the last year.

There was a time when Supreme Court justices didn’t announce their rulings before they heard the cases. Justice Antonin Scalia has changed that policy as shown by a speech in Washington last March. Claiming to be a constitutional “textualist,” he knows how the framers of the Constitution thought. “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state,” Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute. It’s pretty obvious how he’ll vote on any marriage-equality cases. He doesn’t even need to show up and listen to the lawyers.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who is running for re-election, considers Scalia a “model Supreme Court justice,” and Romney’s website states, “As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.”

In spite of Romney’s determination to voucherize Medicare, the public—including conservatives—are opposed to this plan. With a 59 percent–37 percent margin favored continuing Medicare as it is today, the public rejects giving seniors a fixed amount of money to purchase either a private health plan or traditional Medicare. That’s the Kaiser Health Tracking poll; the CBS News/New York Times poll supports the current Medicare system more strongly with 78 percent of respondents favoring the current system and 14 percent recommending a change to giving seniors a fixed amount on money to purchase health insurance.

A while back Murray Energy coal miners in Beallsville (OH) were required to provide an unpaid backdrop for a Romney campaign appearance. Since then it has been revealed that these employees are also coerced into donating to Romney’s campaign and attending political fundraisers. Those who don’t, get scolded, and their names are put on a list sent to employees. This coercion has resulted in more than $1.4 million for Republican companies since 2007 and $120,000 for Romney from the 11 Murray subsidiaries.

Supervisors tell employees when they are hired that they are expected to contribute to the company PAC by automatic payroll deduction—typically 1 percent of their salary, a level confirmed by a 2008 letter to employees from the PAC’s treasurer. Although the letter tells employees that they won’t be “disadvantaged” if they don’t give, there is a reference to their bonus in a veiled threat about losing it without donations. That letter also assures employees that they would not be “disadvantaged” by not giving, but Bob Murray wrote in a March 2012 letter. “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.”  And it’s all “legal.”

People who want to prevent abortions might heed a new study showing that free birth control drastically reduces the number of abortions and births to teenage girls.  The study’s participants were 9,200 low-income women in the St. Louis area during a four-year Contraceptive CHOICE study. Birth rates among the teens who received free birth control in the CHOICE project were less than a fifth of the national teen birth rate,  just 6.3 births per 1,000 teens as compared to 34.3 per 1,000 teens nationwide in 2010, and abortion rates were less than half of both the regional and national rates.

Women of reproductive age currently spend about 68 percent more than men do on out-of-pocket health care costs, partly because of high contraception costs. A year’s supply of oral birth control pills typically costs over $1,200. Nearly one in three U.S. women report they have stopped using their preferred contraceptive method, or used it less consistently and effectively, at some point because they could not afford it. Yet conservatives are determined to stop the Affordable Health Care Act’s mandate on free birth control for women.

What issues should polled under the term “values”? The National Election Pool exit polls determined that religious conservatives were most concerned about abortion and marriage equality. The reason is probably that such topics as poverty, environment, health care, and the Iraq War weren’t listed as “values.” After the Center for American Progress conducted a similar poll but asked questions differently and broadened the definition of values to include a wider range of issues, 64 percent of the respondents said that “poverty and economic justice” and “greed and materialism” were the most urgent moral problems facing America. Only 27 percent cited abortion and marriage equality.

This year the National Election Pool will not conduct exit polls this year in 19 states not considered to be competitive; that’s 38 percent of the country. Evidently issues only matter if the selection of president is in question. Information about voters in those states–age, race, sex and other pertinent data–will not be available from these states, most of which end to trend conservative.

When I read an article about Rick Santorum suggesting that Big Bird should not only be killed but also eaten, I wondered if it was a parody. It wasn’t. According to the video, Santorum said, “You can kill things and still like them, maybe to eat them.”

For anyone who lives under the delusion that we live in a post-racial nation, the following excerpts from a new book by a Republican in the Arkansas House of Representatives, Jon Hubbard, may disabuse this notion. In  Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, Hubbard writes: 

“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)

“[African Americans must] understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.”“Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?” (Pages 93 and 189)

“… one of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students. But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.” (Page 27)

“American Christians are assuming a similar stance as did the citizens of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power.” (Page 158)

Thus it appears that conservatives want to reward lies, erase government, raise the number of abortions (illegal, of course), force employees to contribute to campaigns whether they want to or not, bring back slavery, and eat Big Bird. What a group!

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