July 3, 2012 – The politics of the absurd… No matter what the issue, from health care to immigration, conspiracy theories, email chain letters, and lies direct from the mouths of politicians abound. We’ve been saving up little snippets from these alternative realties for a while now, and today seems as good as any to air them out. After all, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of this great nation tomorrow and what better way to do it than to take a walk on the wild side of free speech. Remember, just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s true.
Kindergarten crime wave…Let’s start up in the great state of New Hampshire, where Representative Bob Kingsbury reported that, after careful study, he had concluded that kindergarten attendance contributes to higher crime rates, among other things. Kingsley told his colleagues in the state legislature last week that he’s been working on a theory since 1996, when he analyzed local crime rates and compared them to a list of communities that offered public kindergarten. “We’re taking children away from their mothers too soon,” Kingsbury concluded. Kingsbury also associated the rise of crime to the decline of gun ownership and the fact that boxing is no longer taught in school or offered as a sport. Perhaps that’s why kids who attend kindergarten earn an extra $39,100 over a lifetime–they steal it.
All hail the queen…. No visit to the world of wingnuttia would be complete without a stop by the world of Birther queen Orly Taitz. Having who lost a U.S. Senate campaign here in California last month, the real estate agent/lawyer/dentist told a radio interviewer last week that the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Arizona’s immigration law could lead to President Obama’s deportation. “He can’t step in Arizona,” Taitz told host Stephanie Miller, “He will be arrested and deported.” Asked why she persisted in her campaign to prove Obama was not born in the United States, the Birther queen compared herself to Nelson Mandela and Thurgood Marshall.
Merging the Radical Homosexual Agenda AND the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Theory… Leave it to actor turned wingnut mascot Chuck Norris to espouse the theory that President Obama may be secretly conspiring with the Boy Scouts of America to turn your child into a gay boy scout. But wait! The conspiracy goes even deeper, reaching into the depths of the President’s links with the vast international banking conspiracy. Coincidence? Norris thinks not: “Is it a coincidence that [James] Turley [Boy Scouts of America national board member] just announced his resignation as CEO of Ernst and Young (effective June 2013) and that he’s now offering the White House a parting-pro-gay BSA gift in gratitude for all its presidential favors to him and Ernst & Young over the past few years?”
Nobody has done more to advance the cause of wingnuttia onto the national arena than Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-Minnesota). Reporters everywhere know that if they are having a slow news day, they can turn to Bachman for outrageous quotes on just about any subject. And even though she’s usually factually challenged, the Congresswoman has never been one to let truth get in the way of a good right wing sound bite. Consider these recent examples:
Bachman on the Affordable Health Care Act… “In fact, what a lot of Americans aren’t realizing quite yet is that there’s over twenty new taxes in ObamaCare and just one of the taxes will be a tax when people sell their homes. It’s 3.8%, and for many Americans they’ll have to pay in addition to all the other costs at the closing when they sell their home, the seller will have to pay 3.8% of the closing cost to the government for ObamaCare.” [Interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight] It seems as though the Congresswoman’s ‘facts’ are based on a chain email that was thoroughly debunked by Fortune Magazine back in April.
Bachman tells Fox News that the Attorney General is arming terrorists… “…Eric Holder’s problem is that he got found out, pure and simple. He got found out. He was running a political program and putting thousands of dangerous guns in the hands of terrorists in Mexico for the purpose of trying to take away our 2nd Amendment rights from us.” [ Interview, Fox News ] Once again we turn to Fortune Magazine:“Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that [ATF agent] Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case.”
The ‘ObamaCare’ plot to implant micro-chips in Americans… Have you heard about or seen the chain e-mail warning that an “implantable radio frequency transponder system for patient identification and health information” will be “implanted in the majority of people who opt to become covered by the public health care option”? The chip would supposedly “collect data in medical patients,” including “claims data” and “electronic health records.” Well, you can rest easy. It ain’t true. In fact, this particular story has achieved the vaunted status of being a ‘pants on fire’ falsehood by the Tampa Bay Times Politifact column.
While we’re at it, let’s debunk a non-wingnutty mainstream GOP talking point… I wish I had time for more today, but alas, there are so many facts to measure up against so many falsehood….
Republicans nationwide have touted Texas as a model for tort reform, since voters in that state approved a referendum that capped medical malpractice payouts and made it more difficult for patients to sue hospitals. This reform is often citied as an example of how the GOP would address the issue of health care affordability in the United States. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out the way they thought they would in the Lone Star State. A group of researchers studying Texas Medicare spending have found no decrease in doctors’ fees for senior citizens between 2002 and 2009. In fact, Medicare payments to doctors rose 1 to 2 percent faster than the rest of the country. They also found no decrease in general medical costs and a slight increase in medical tests performed, contrary to what proponents of the reform promised. And despite Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s claim that the measure brought an additional 21,000 doctors to Texas; (a claim was ranked “False” by PolitiFact) researchers are saying that the actual number of physicians declined in the state.
The Starting Line will be taking the day off on July 4th. See you Thursday.
Fireworks for the Fourth! KPBS has published this handy schedule of July 4th fireworks displays throughout San Diego County. See ‘em while you can…
On This Day: In 1937 the Del Mar race track opened. In 1971 Jim Morrison of the Doors died in Paris at age 27. In 1981 the Associated Press ran its first story about two rare illnesses afflicting gay men. One of the diseases was later named AIDS.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District OPENING TODAY! (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm.
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.