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Proving there’s no minimum truth requirement in the liberal media

October 7, 2012

I know it’s hard to choose the most egregious examples of liberal idiocy in the media, but here’s my nominee for “Lowest Truth Content in Trying to Explain Obama Debate Choke”:

Headline: Upon Further Review: Mitt Romney May Have Cheated To Win The Debate

The entire interminable story turns out to be based on nothing (what the author thought was a cheat sheet was in fact a handkerchief). But CBS continues to flog the now-libelous headline throughout their site 2 days after it was disproven. Worse, since the snarky update comes not at the top but at the bottom of an interminably longwinded piece, it’s likely that most of the people who click the link will never read the part about it being composed entirely and knowingly of lies. Ironic since the hack writer claims that “Mitt Romney needed a cheat sheet to keep the lies straight.”

The term shameless seems so inadequate when describing the modern left.

Upon Further Review: Mitt Romney May Have Cheated To Win The Debate

October 5, 2012 8:04 AM
Mitt Romney collects his papers after the debate (Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

Mitt Romney collects his papers after the debate (Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

Over the past day the game tape of the debate has been reviewed. While Mitt Romney still enjoys the afterglow of the debate, the lies and half truths he told are being dissected.

From tax policy to hiring teachers. From cracking down on Wall Street (and Sesame Street) to coverage for the uninsured. From Medicare to shipping jobs overseas the fact checkers have been very busy correcting the record and pointing out falsehoods.

Even Team Romney had to correct the candidate on health care immediately after the debate.

As I predicted earlier this week, Romney had an October Surprise planned for the President – new policy ideas. But I had no idea that Romney would just lie about everything he had said over the past year and a half.

As the President said, Mitt Romney’s bright new idea is: Never Mind!

But there was a moment in the debate that will be discussed in the days ahead that everyone missed until yesterday.

A review of the debate tape reveals that, apparently, Mitt Romney needed a cheat sheet to keep the lies straight.

The rules of the presidential debates are clear about not bringing outside notes and presidents and aspirants have followed the rule for decades.

Video of the first eleven seconds of the debate available on YouTube shows Mitt Romney reaching into his pocket at the moment he is out of view of those in front of him, he used the lectern as a shield, and removing what appears to be folded papers from his pocket.

We see this because the camera that was broadcasting was behind Romney. Those in the audience and the moderator may have been shielded from his sleight of hand, but not the viewers.

Romney then proceeds to unfold the item in front of him.

For those curious if it could have been some else, later video sheds some light on what Romney retrieves from his lectern.

After the Romney and Obama families chat post-debate the President walks off stage, leaving his notes behind for an aide, no doubt.

But not so for Romney. The Presidential challenger goes back to his lectern to retrieve his items. It is clear that the only thing that Romney takes is paper. Not a handkerchief. Not a white flag. Nothing but paper.

So the next question is: what is Mitt Romney’s explanation for the apparent cheating?


The evidence seems to indicate it was a handkerchief. So there you have it folks. The mystery seems to have been solved.

But ye olde Mitt Romney saying, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, doesn’t seem to hold true for news aggregator that just this week promoted a five year old story that was covered five years ago — and was not a story.

I have no desire to be part of the peddlers of conspiracy and falsehoods like the birthers or the truthers.

I did write an essay pointing out that there were questions that should be asked and that there was suspicious behavior on the part of Mitt Romney.

Those questions have been put to rest. Honestly, I do not know a person that carries a cloth rag in their pocket when they have a runny nose — it is a little gross.

It doesn’t change the fact that it is incredibly stupid to walk into a Presidential debate and sneak something from your pocket. There is advance staff to take care of tissues.

It also doesn’t change the fact that Romney distorted his campaign proposals and presented a very different version of Mitt Romney than the one that has been running for President for more than half a decade.

So it seems that Mitt Romney did indeed memorize his lies rather than bring a laundry list of them with him. And he carries a hanky.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP . He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

October 7, 2010

I’m always suspicious when people make claims about Presidential elections based on patterns and history.  This is an event so rare and infrequent that only 43 people in our country’s history have ever won. (Grover Cleveland was President #22 and 24).

So when I read Peter Beinart’s article titled “Obama’s a Lock in 2012” this morning, I was — to say the least — skeptical.  The strongest predictor Beinart claims is this:

For starters, American presidents usually get reelected. In the last 75 years, incumbents have lost a grand total of three times: in 1976, 1980, and 1992. And what did Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush all have in common? They had serious primary challenges within their own party (from Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, respectively). The last president who lost reelection without a major primary challenge was Herbert Hoover in 1932.

This is silly on a number of levels.  First, a strong primary challenge is not a CAUSE of vulnerability, it’s a RESULT.  Does anyone think Reagan won re-election in 1984 because he didn’t have a strong primary challenger?  Of course not.  He didn’t have a strong primary challenger because he (unlike Obama) actually was a lock for re-election.  The only person foolish enough to run against him was Walter Mondale who, in spite all of his campaigning, only got 13 more electoral votes than I did.  Serious primary challengers emerge when a President is already vulnerable, not the other way around.  Granted, the expense and infighting of a primary challenge is not good for the incumbent, but a primary challenger is unlikely to see the light of day if the incumbent is strong to begin with.

But the real knee slapper in Beinart’s writing is his selective horizon of incumbent re-election prospects.  Note he says, “In the last 75 years, incumbents have lost a grand total of three times: in 1976, 1980, and 1992.”  Hmmmm . . . if all three happened in the last 24 years, why go back 75 years for the statistic?  Here’s another equally accurate way of stating the same information:

In the last 24 years, half the incumbents to seek the Presidency lost.

Ford ’76 – defeated
Carter ’80 – defeated
Reagan ’84 – won
Bush ’92 – defeated
Clinton ’96 – won
Bush ’04 – won

To the limited extent past Presidential elections have predictive value for future elections, one would think that more recent elections are better predictors than those of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  But Beinart lumps in elections my grandparents were too young to vote in so as to make Obama’s re-election  seem inevitable.

2012 is a long way off in political times.  But to state that Obama’s re-election is “a lock” and “that we’re still probably in the early stages of an era of Democratic dominance” isn’t just whistling past the graveyard. It’s willfully ignoring the will of the people.  Which, come to think of it, seems to be Obama’s legislative strategy in the first place.

I say we pay legislators NOT to legislate

June 20, 2010

For years, our government has paid farmers for NOT producing crops on some or even all of their land. It’s a policy that’s logical only if you’ve spent your career in the halls of Congress.  There are hungry people in the world and we have some of the best farmland and best farmers on the planet, but we pay them not to make something the world needs.

Ironically Congress used to be a part-time job performed by (among others) farmers who reluctantly came to the swamps of DC for brief legislative sessions before returning to productive work on their farms. But over the years we’ve been paying legislators to make more and more of something that the country needs a whole lot less of — legislation.

This presents a huge opportunity for the next phase of government paying people not to work: paying legislators NOT to legislate. Along the lines of the famous saying, “That government governs best which governs least” I propose a per diem, personally payable to each Congressman or Senator, for every day Congress is not in session.

And let’s not skimp, either. Keep in mind, on a single day in 2010 Congress passed a healthcare bill which — in addition to destroying the most innovative medical system in human history — is likely to cost the country a trillion dollars (or more) before it’s done with us.  Throw in TARP and the Stimulus and lets estimate that in 150 legislative days this year Congress will pass laws that will eventually cost 4 Trillion dollars. That works out to $26.7 Billion for each legislative day, which is roughly $50,000,000 for each of the 535 members for each day they are in session.

Now, if we can keep them HOME for only $1,000,000 per member per day, as you can see we’ll be earning roughly a 50-fold return on our investment. We could cancel an entire year’s worth of legislation for the paltry sum of $80 Billion. Moreover, the massive increase in economic activity by entrepreneurs and companies no longer living in fear of the latest vilification by the President will pay us back the $80 Billion in increased tax revenues by Jan 31.

As the President is fond of saying, “the time to act is NOW”. “The Status Quo is simply unsustainable.” “We can’t afford NOT to take action”.  Please call your Congressman today and urge them to vote to “Making Our Rules Open Necessary and Sensible by Gutting Obviously Harmful Outright Manipulations of the Economy Act”, otherwise known as the M.O.R.O.N.S. G.O.  H.O.M.E. Act.  Thank you for your support.

OCR’ing directly onto the White House website

June 19, 2010

UPDATE: Welcome PowerLine and HotAir readers. Be sure to check out today’s proposal on paying Congress to stay home — it’s the bargain of the century!  Please enjoy the site and come back often!

If you saw the WhiteHouse  “ji’Qlllework memo” this morning at PowerLine, or later at HotAir, you’ll be interested to know that they’ve finally gotten around to fixing it at the White House website.

They corrected it by posting a PDF here which makes obvious how such nonsensical text made it onto the White House’s official website.  Someone OCR’ed the PDF (Optical Character Recognition) then simply pasted that text up WITHOUT EVEN READING IT, rather than using the original text or at least proofreading the OCR. Amazing.

I just now OCR’ed the PDF in Adobe, and came up with ji’Qlllework. OCR is pretty weak to begin with, but whoever OCR’ed the letter obviously failed to even check the results. The letter is filled with italicized words, which does to OCR what talking with a mouth full of marbles would do to voice transcription.

You’d kind of think that someone would have just found out where the PDF came from and gotten the text, no?  Stay tuned for this explanation from The One, “It’s come to my attention that one of the memos we inherited from the previous administration was filled with the kinds of typographical errors that got us into this mess in the first place. We are, as usual, working to clean up the mess.”

I probably made similar mistakes at my first “real” job.  That was working at a Frozen Yogurt stand at the beach. I suppose this is what happens when you make running the country someone’s very first real job.

UPDATE 2: Link to a full-length screenshot of the original HTML version of the letter is here.  Read it and weep.

What does Dede Scozzafava think?

April 4, 2010

I wonder sometimes, what is the absolute smallest most insignificant brush with fame that causes someone to believe they should write a book about it?

I think it might be this: Dede Scozzafava to write her memoirs

Of course the prime example of the genre is the current White House occupant who (ghost)wrote TWO memoirs before he ever had a job with management responsibilities, but still . . . Dede Scozzafava? Is this really a story that needs telling?  I think I’d sooner pick up a Kid Rock autobiography.  Or maybe Kid Rock will follow Obama’s example and write TWO of them . . .

A big jump? More like a mental leap.

March 25, 2010

Andrew Sullivan’s loose grasp on reality is well known even by his own colleagues, but it’s even nicer when his errors are mathematically provable.  Case in point: HCR passed the House on March 21st and today (March 25th) Andrew Sullivan wrote this:

Since HCR passed, a big jump in Obama’s approval ratings. Maybe a fluke. But he remains more popular than Ronald Reagan was at this point in his term of office – and has been ahead of Reagan now for three months. The approval graph closest to Obama’s has been Reagan’s in recent history.

Surprised that I’d not heard about this “big jump”  I did what Sullivan must not have done and looked at the data, which is in 3-day rolling averages:

Date Range Approve Disapprove
Mar 12-14 49 44
Mar 13-15 48 44
Mar 14-16 46 47
Mar 15-17 46 48
Mar 16-18 47 47
Mar 17-20 50 43
Mar 18-21 50 43
Mar 20-22 51 43
Mar 21-23 50 44
Mar 22-24 51 42

Since HCR passed late at night on March 21st and Pelosi did not have the votes until that afternoon (that is, the public would not have assumed passage) it seems like the window for “since HCR passed” would be March 17-20 (50% Approval) versus March 22-24 (51% Approval).

For the record, I think it will take at least a week or two to see the true impact of HCR on The One’s approval rating.  But while I can’t recall ever hearing Sullivan refer to Obama’s descent from 69% (Jan 22-24 ’09) to 46% (Mar 8-10 ’10) as a “big slide”, his criteria for a “big jump” is now pegged at 1%.  I wonder what he’d call it if Obama went up 2%?

Date Range Approval Disapproval
Mar 12-14 2010 49 44
Mar 13-15 2010 48 44
Mar 14-16 2010 46 47
Mar 15-17 2010 46 48
Mar 16-18 2010 47 47
Mar 17-20 2010 50 43
Mar 18-21 2010 50 43
Mar 20-22 2010 51 43
Mar 21-23 2010 50 44
Mar 22-24 2010 51 42

Game Theory and the HCR vote

March 21, 2010

We’ll know in a few hours whether Pelosi has the votes to thwart the will of the people.  Clearly they’ve been doing everything they can publicly to give the impression they do, and they’ve been doing everything they can privately to buy and bribe the votes they need. But there’s one element of game theory that leaves me doubting whether it will happen.

Imagine you’re a Democrat from one of the swing districts whose voters overwhelmingly hate this legislation.  You know that voting for it will cost you your job. You really like being a Congressman, you make $174,000 a year, and you really don’t want to give that up in this economy.

You’re hoping that the legislation never comes to a vote, and you’re confident that if the 216 votes are not there, Pelosi would not bring it for a vote (pride and all). So you could express your intent to vote against the bill and keep her from becoming confident in the 216. As a result, you’d get the approximate treatment Bart Stupak is currently receiving from all those open-minded liberals. He’s had to disconnect his phone, his wife has received obscene threatening calls and leftist nutjobs from across the country are promising to fund primary challenges against him. So maybe you don’t want to go that route.

Then you think, I could tell them I’m a yes so that they’ll leave you alone with the added benefit that if it never comes to a vote (oh please oh please) then you get credit for being a team player without ever having to cast a vote. Sure, you’re contributing to Pelosi’s count and making it slightly more likely that it comes to a vote, but that’s a small matter compared with the threat of being Stupak’ed.

From a game theory perspective, you’re best off calling yourself a yes vote for now.

But if it comes to a vote, you’re facing a different game. Switching on the floor to a “no” means you’ll invoke the wrath of Pelosi and your colleagues. Staying “yes” means you’ll be ending your Congressional career. Do you really need Pelosi as your friend if you’re not going to be a Congressman next year?

Before the vote it was clearly in your interest to say you were a yes and hope it never comes to the floor. But is it still in your interest to follow that up with your vote? It sure doesn’t seem like it to me . . . We’ll see.

Update: Well, it turns out they didn’t have the votes until Stupak caved, but in the end Pelosi and Obama engineered what will hopefully turn out to be one of the largest mass suicides in political history, forcing 219 of their members, not all in district like the Speaker’s, to vote in favor of a bill that most Americans did not want to pass.  And so it begins . . .

Revealing words

March 10, 2010

With politicians so willing to adjust their “principles” according to what’s polling well back home, the most honest views we often get to their core motivations come from listening to what they project onto their adversaries.  It was therefore a rare moment of honest reflection which Tom Harkin shared yesterday when he spoke to a Roll Call / CQ Weekly event:

“If Republicans really believed that the Democratic party was courting electoral disaster if a certain bill passed, they would probably keep their mouths shut, stand aside and let things unfold.”

Through projection Harkin is admitting that if he (and his fellow Democrats) believed something would simultaneously destroy the country and the Republican party, he would “stand aside” and accept the societal loss for the sake of electoral gain.

I would argue that Democrats are doing exactly that — hobbling America’s medical system, not for the short-term political outcomes which have been and will be disastrous, but for a long-term progressive objective of creating a majority that is dependent on the government for their very lives.

It’s revealing that Harkin, in spite of the overwhelming voice of the American people, still can’t imagine that Republicans are acting in the interest of the people.  He can only imagine some elaborate reverse psychology whereby Republicans, knowing how wildly popular government medicine be, are trying to trick Democrats into believing the opposite so they won’t score this huge win.  You might call this a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™.

The moral bankruptcy of an Obama Maoist

October 17, 2009

Since quoting conservative blogs or conservative commentators generally causes liberals to dismiss everything that follows, I’ll invite them here, if they’d like, to simply ignore the writing in this attached story and focus instead on the video. Apologies that the video also came from a conservative source, but if you hold your hands up around the screen then you can cover up Beck and only see top Obama adviser and White House Communications Adviser Anita Dunn. She is, by the way, the point person on Obama’s campaign against Fox News (he seems not to have heard Mark Twain’s admonition about never picking a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel).

I have no special knowledge about Chinese history beyond what any historically literate person would know. But that includes the knowledge that Mao is generally considered by historians to be the most prolific mass murderer in human history, with potentially 100,000,000 deaths attributable to him. Reading about his crimes should make any decent human being ill.

And yet, Anita Dunn refers to him as (along with Mother Theresa) one of her two favorite political philosophers, and “the people she turns to most”. She’s speaking in the video to a group of HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS and speaking admiringly, glowingly, reverently, about the wisdom and guidance she gains from a man who killed as many as 100,000,000 Chinese. Would it have still been acceptable if she’d been talking about Hitler? He only killed 12,000,000 if you don’t count the soldiers who died in WWII.

Here’s the video itself from the linked story in my first paragraph:

Ignore Beck. Ignore the Pajamasmedia story. Watch the video (thank G-d for video and for the fact that Obama’s ego-driven inner circle can’t keep their yaps shut when a camera’s around). Are you anywhere near as disgusted as I am? Is there any reason why someone who admires Mao more than she admires Jefferson, Washington, Adams or Hamilton should be anywhere near the President of the United States? And while we’re at it, do you think Obama, who hired all these people, admires Jefferson more than Mao? I don’t think he does, which is why I don’t think any of these people bother him until they’re exposed and become a liability.

It might be funny if not for that small matter of the 100,000,000 dead Chinese, wouldn’t it? I only wish these intellectually vapid Maoists could be given passage through time to actually experience the Golden Age of Mao’s China. I’m sure Chairman Mao could arrange a special struggle session for them.

Speechifying is not the same as governing

September 17, 2009

It’s downright pathological the extent to which Obama and all of his advisers seem to believe that “delivering a speech” and “governing” are synonyms. From this morning’s New York Times:

“He could probably give a very powerful speech on race, just as he did in the course of the campaign,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama.

In other words, the President would love to devote some time to magically solving race relations with his moving oratory, but we’re fully committed right now to solving healthcare with his moving oratory. And after all, those unicorns can only turn out so many pieces of moving oratory each day before they’re exhausted.

I suppose it makes sense . . . if you have no experience managing, governing or running anything then you’d need to talk a lot just to fill the time. Lucky us.