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Beck, Bachmann & the U.S. Census: Fears vs. Facts

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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. — from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address

It may or may not be a coincidence that census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead with a rope around his neck on 9-12 — the word “FED” scrawled across his chest — on the same day that Glenn Beck’s  “9-12 Project” descended on Washington, where the teabaggers, deathers and birthers gathered to protest what Beck & Bachmann have warned are “the systematic efforts” by everyone from Obama Administration and certain Democratic members of Congress, to health care reformers, environmentalists and the folk at with the U.S. Census,”to destroy our wonderful country and threaten to wipe away our God gifted liberties.”

And it may or may not be a coincidence that Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Michele Bachmann and other Capitol Hill GOPs have used the media and organizations such as Glenn Beck’s the “9-12 Project” as a forum for exercising their own “God gifted liberties” to stoke fear, hatred and conspiratorial disinformation about the Federal government, in general, and the U.S. Census, in particular — as if this 220-year-old, constitutionally mandaded U.S. Census (Article I, Section 2) were somehow a recent invention by the Obama Administration, designed to intrude into our lives and impose Nazi, socialist of communist (take your pick) control over the citizenry:

Certainly the collection of this information is going to be part of an ongoing political campaign by this administration. — RNC Chairman Michael Steele on the U.S. Census

I’ve made it very public what my position is, and I think there is a point when  you say ‘enough is enough’ to government intrusion.Michele Bachmann, explaining her plan to boycott the U.S. census

Can they, um, because I’ve considered not filling it out when I get it, but I want to make sure that they don’t use this  as a loophole to say that I can no longer have a permit for my gun. — Glenn Beck, during his interview with Michele Bachmann, hinting that the Feds might take away his 2nd Amendment rights, should he refuse to fill out his census forms — even as both have have just factually acknowledged that the Census Bureau’s stated fine for such is between $100-$5,000.

It is of no coincidence, however, that a certain percentage of citizens in this country have fallen under the spell of this “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror” that has been spun by these GOP peddlers of terror, who have suggested that the census will be used by the Obama Administration to intrude into their lives, take away their guns and throw them into internment camps (the latter fear is courtesy of Michele Bachmann). A sampling of comments from Beck’s “9-12 Project” website reveals the extent of the terror, anger and hatred felt by their audience:

AMMO UP!!! I suggest ammo you don’t use yourself also. Never know when someone else could use it or trade for goods! Buy cheap/inexpensive ammo. I have my .308, .40 and 5.56.

I always thought they could only ask 2 questions? I am prepared for jail time! These are incredible times.

Why is the “census” so important right now? Two guess, [sic] it is the control this administration wants !

With the economy down and so many people out of work and worrying, the Dems are doing their best to side track this country . This is a cruel administration and it is doing everything it can to undermine our American way of life.

I think the best way to fight this, is to not participate in it. If it is going to be political and not fair anyway, why contribute to the fraud. When you get your census, just mark it, I refuse to answer these questions due to probable fraud.

Time to be sqirrels [sic] or whatever else cracks acorns. “When your [sic] a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

We have allowed, yes allowed the left to push us around for far too long. We have bowed and bent to every politically correct, tree-hugging, capitalist hating scheme they’ve come up with for fear of being called a racist, homophobe, hatemonger. I tell you what, they don’t know what a hatemonger is. It’s time to push back.

No, it’s no coincidence that our country is ripe for a lynching. After all, the Becks, Bachmanns, Steeles, Wilsons and Limbaughs of America have spent the past year working on the GOP tag team, taking turns goading their audiences into stocking up on assault rifles, ammo and grudges.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s still time to make a U-turn before something truly horrible happens.

And since Bachmann, Beck, Dobbs, Steele, Wilson et al show no signs of changing the incendiary tone of their rhetoric, it is up to each of us, as individuals, to unequivocally reject the agenda they are promoting:

  • first, by calling these people out — as have former president Jimmy Carter, Rep. John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi and others — whenever the rhetoric embraces hatred, threats and/or violence, and
  • second, by taking every opportunity to allay fears with facts.

Here is my contribution:

FEAR: Bachman says that she does not feel “comfortable” giving her personal information to an ACORN worker.

FACT:  Since 1970, the U.S. Census has been sent out and returned by mail. It’s simple. Citizens fill these out in the privacy of their own homes, then mail them back to the U.S. Census Bureau. Not to ACORN. Those citizens who do not return their form, or who return an incomplete form, are contacted either by phone or by an in-person interviewer, who was likely hired through one of several government contractors, including ACORN, so that the form may be completed. Mailing the fully completed census form to the Census Bureau entirely avoids the need for an in-person interview. (Read here for info on the federal laws that safeguard the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Data Protection and Privacy Policy,” and read here for more info on the use of GPS by the U.S. Census Bureau).

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FEAR: Michele Bachmann doesn’t understand why the government needs information, such as her phone number.

FACT: Had she actually bothered to seek an answer to this question, rather than rather than resort to passing on her fearful ignorance and suspicions, Rep. Bachmann would know the reason for each and every question, as these are painstakingly explained throughout the U.S. Census Bureau documentation, as well as  on their website, including info on how long each question has existed on the census. Regarding phone numbers, these are requested in case the U.S. Census needs to contact those folks who didn’t properly fill out their forms. Calling these individuals on the phone saves the time and expense of sending a personal interviewer to the house. Oddly, Bachmann & Co. were silent over the Bush Administration’s wiretapping program, which made it legal for our government to listen into our private conversations, sans the formality of a warrant. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel more threatened by having the government listen into my phone calls, than by the rote gathering of phone numbers, which are available to anyone with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Worst-case scenario regarding phone numbers (should the above facts not allay Rep. Bachmann’s fears), according to the U.S. Census website, her phone number is not required by federal law, which she would know, had she bothered to look before leaping to conclusions.

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FEAR: Michele Bachmann states that the U.S. Census short-form is 28 pages .

FACT: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history, consisting of 10 questions. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.” The 2010 short-form is 6 pages long, with the aforementioned “10 questions” being covered on one single page. The other 5 pages allow optional space for documenting up to 12 other household members, if applicable, and requests only basic information, such as race, age, gender, etc.

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FEAR: Michele Bachmann states that the U.S. Census short form is 28 pages .

FACT: Perhaps Rep. Bachmann, in her confusion, was referring to the 14-page American Community Survey (ACS) component of the U.S. Census, which went into effect during the Bush Administration, under a Republican majority Congress in 2005. The ACS replaced the now-obsolete U.S. Census “long census form,” which had been in use since 1940 and used on only a sampling of the population (5% of households in 1940, compared to 16% in the last several census counts). Today’s ACS asks essentially the same questions that were asked in the 100-question “long form” during the last two census counts, the only difference being that — rather than being used every 10 years, the ACS is (and has been since 2005) used on an ongoing basis every year. The theory is that, with our rapidly-changing demographic, economic, and housing data, there needs to be a more accurate system for tracking this data between censuses. (As an example of how rapidly our demographics change, the population increase from 1930 to 1940 was just under 9 million, whereas the population increase from 1990 to 2000 was nearly 33 million).  Too, the ACS uses a smaller sampling of households. Unlike the previously used “long-form” which was sent to 1 in 6 households, the ACS has been sent to an average of 1 in 9 households over a 5-year period. For those who have questions on how to fill out the form, a 16-page instruction guide available, but even this (the 14 page questionaire +the 16 page info guide) doesn’t add up to 28 pages.

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FEAR: Bachmann states that the census asks for the number of live births.

census birthFACT: The census has never asked for the number of “live births,” although it does seem logical that — since the primary goal over its 220-year history has been to keep an accurate count of the U.S. population — there would be at least some question directed toward tracking birthrates. Perhaps Rep. Bachmann was referring to question #23 (left) which has been part of the U.S. Census for 80 of the past 110  years. This information is reportedly used both to project population growth, as well as to serve as a planning tool for the Dept. of Health and Human Services to implement programs, per statutes. (see this U.S. Census Bureau pdf document for more specifics on this)

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FEAR: Bachmann states that the census asks how many bathrooms you have.

census  bathroom

FACT: No census has ever asked how many bathrooms a person has.  The census has asked, since 1940, whether a household has plumbing. This information is asked on the ACS form, not the short-form, which most households will receive. This information is used for various reasons, such as gauging poverty, determing risks for groundwater contamination, and for policy development by the U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development. (see this U.S. Census pdf document for specifics on this).

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FEAR: Bachman states that the census asks what time you leave for work and come home.

FACT: This question has been part of the census since 1960, and is one of several regarding transporation and the use of public highways. According to the U.S. Census:

“Transportation planners, using journey-to-work information, to plan for peak volumes of traffic in order to reduce traffic congestion, plan for parking, and develop strategies, such as carpooling programs and flexible work schedules. Decisions are made to build new roads or add capacity to existing roads, and to develop transit systems, such as light rail or subways, by projecting future needs.” Check the U.S. Census site (see pg. 35 of this 65-page pdf to both view the actual questions and to get more info on why this information is collected).

As Rep. Bachmann could attest, it would be much easier — and certainly less intrusive — for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to simply pull this data out of thin air, as she does with so many of her “facts.” However, this approach is not particularly helpful to transporation planners when designing the highway and mass transit infrastructures that our government provides equally to all citizens, in much the same way that all American citizens are given equal access — regardless of income, disability, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, age or race — to public schools, fire departments, law enforcement and, hopefully one day, health care.

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FEAR: Michele Bachmann states that the U.S. Census does not ask if people are U.S. citizens.

FACT: The U.S. Census has been asking this very question for most of the past 180 years, beginning in 1820, when it was #13 of thirty-three questions, asking specifially for the “number of foreigners not naturalized” in the household. As Bachmann has also expressed some fear over the government’s interest in asking about age (part of the census since 1800), race (part of the census since 1790) and gender (part of the census since 1790) , it may be of interest to note that all but five of the 1820 census questions were devoted to asking the gender and ages of whites, slaves and “free colored persons.” For the record, question #8 on the 2010 census plainly asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” Also, in April of this year, the U.S. Census acting director, Thomas Mesenbourg, announced to the media, “We’ll Work with ‘Community Organizations’ to Count All Illegal Aliens in 2010.”

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FEAR:  Michelle Bachmann fears that information from the census will be used to round up Americans into internment camps, (as was done to Japanese and other immigrants in 1942, in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor), and states that she wishes that the FBI, instead of the White House, were in charge of the census.

FACT: First of all, the the U.S. Census Bureau operates through the Department of Commerce, not the executive branch of the government, nor ACORN. Regarding the FBI’s role with the census, beginning in 1939, it was the FBI who used the information from the U.S. Census to profile Japanese and other immigrants and to eventually “round up” Japanese, Italians, Germans and Jews into internment camps, per an executive order signed by Roosevelt in 1942. The U.S. government officially apologized for this and awarded $1.6 billion in reparations in 1988, with President Ronald Reagan stating, as he signed the legislation, that the government’s actions had been based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

The reason there was no mention of the U.S. Census in Reagan’s apology is because it was anti-immigration fervor — not the census — that ultimately led to these internment camps. The pity is that folk like Bachmann — having neglected to learn their history before speaking authoritatively on it — doom the rest of us to re-witness our most despicable histories. A good starting point for absorbing some historical perspective on the internment camps is the draft for an article, written by Eleanor Roosevelt, aptly titled, To Undo A Mistake Is Always Harder Than Not to Create One Originally.

What Michele Bachmann, in her defiant ignorance, failed to tell her audience is what actually led to the internment camps. It was certainly not the census. It was, in great part, the culmination of 150 years of xenophobic fear and hatred toward Asians — stoked by the Bachmanns & Becks of the day — that was nearly as old as our country, itself, beginning with the Naturalization Act of 1790, which barred U.S. citizenship not only to slaves and blacks, but to Asians. This law was followed throughout the 19th and early 20th century with various Alien Land Laws, which barred the ownership, leasing or renting of land by those residents who were ineligible to citizenship (read that: slaves, blacks and Asians). The Naturalization Act of 1790 was amended in 1875 to allow citizenship to Africans, still barring citizenship to Asians.   

This nativist hatred of “the yellow peril” only intensified during the 60 years leading up to WWII and the internment camps — with anti-Chinese, anti-Japanese sentiments being epidemic from the 1880s through the 1940s, along side the existing prejudices against blacks, Jews and Catholics. This period saw the passage of a series of laws directed specifically against Chinese, Japanese and/or Filipino immigration — from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (which barred Chinese labor and immigration), to the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907 (in which Japan agreed to not allow its citizens to emigrate to the U.S.), to Immigration Act of 1917 (which barred immigrants from most of Asia), to the Quota Law of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924 (both of which sharply reduced the immigration of Catholics, Jews and the Japanese, who were deemed “aliens inelibible to citizenship,with the 1924 act finally barring Japanese immigration entirely). Anti-immigration became, in the wake of WWI, the cause célèbre of the KKK and other nativist groups and fraternal orders of the day, which targeted immigrants for intimidation, threats and lynching, the most infamous being, perhaps, the 1915  KKK lynching of the Jewish pencil manufacturer, Leo Frank..  

As the Depression descended during the early 1930s, job scarcity only escalated the anger and fear toward immigrants — not unlike the climate being cultivated today in the rhetoric of Beck, Bachmann, Dobbs and others — with the rise of WWII facism only seeming to justify old fears, while also justifying new fears of subversive facist and communist elements within the U.S. In 1939-1940, the FBI began the “Custodial Detention Index Program,” which targeted not only the Japanese and Chinese, but also Italians, Germans and Jews,  categorizing these immigrants into  several classes of “subversives.” 

With the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor — and the U.S. officially at war with Japan — long-simmering hatred toward Japanese escalated to a flash-point, sparking both threats and actual acts of violence against Japanese-Americans. From this specific climate and turn of events, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the order to authorize the internment of Japanese Americans. 

It was not until the 1950s-60s that the anti-immigration laws barring citizenship and land ownership to the Japanese began to be lifted. Speaking before Congress in 1960, Senator Warren G. Magnuson — who, himself, had earlier been a proponent of the Japanese internment camps — urged a repeal of the alien land laws, describing the climate of fear that had led to these laws and, ultimately, to the internment camps: 

I am convinced that these anti-alien land laws helped substantially to create the prejudices which were fanned by hysteria in 1942, into and incident that has been described as ‘our worst wartime mistake.’ I have referenced to the mass military evacuation of 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, regardless of citizenship, age, or sex from their homes into interior interment camps.

It was not until the Immigration Act of 1965 that barriers against Japanese immigration were effectively lifted, allowing the Japanese an equal path with other nationalities to citizenship and, thereby, putting to rest 175-years of laws that served to legitimize prejudice within our immigration policies. 

It is of no coincidence that the Immigration Act of 1965 coincided with the Civil Rights and Votings Rights Acts of 1964-65, which afforded, after some 250 years, equal rights of citizenship to blacks. But as any white supremacist could tell you, it’s one thing to make a law; it’s another to enforce it. There continue to be in this country certain elements that work, like rust, to undermine the rights of non-whites. Harry Dent picked up the cause for white supremacist politicians in 1964, passing the torch to Lee Atwater in the 1980s, then to Karl Rove. Today, this same torch is being carried by Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and, by virtue of their silence on the matter, by the entire Republican Party, who are exploiting old fears to further political agendas — stoking fear, hatred and, potentially, violence in the process. 

To borrow from the words that came back to haunt Roosevelt, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” It is this fear that ultimately led to the internment camps, and it is this fear — not the existence of the U.S. census — that could ultimately doom us, as a country, to repeat old history.   

*     *     *     *     *

America’s history with race and immigration is infinitely complex. I can no more do justice to this history in five or six paragraphs than Bachman, Beck, Limbaugh or Dobbs can lend in the various one-liners they broadcast over the airwaves each day, their dire predictions designed to raise ratings and political capital, entirely at the expense of the people they terrify and the victims who pay the price of this terror.

 

Henchmen to Road Rage? To a Lynching?

To date, we don’t know. But the fact that we are even asking these questions speaks volumes about the fears that have been cavalierly tossed about and taken root over the past year or so. 

This is how history repeats itself — by the perpetuation of old fears and old ignorance. It has taken me several hours to track down the facts and write them here for public consumption to set the record straight on just a tiny fraction of the irresponsible disinformation that it took Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann just a few minutes to broadcast to a national audience.

That’s the thing about terror.  It clutches at peoples’ hearts, entirely by-passing their minds, propelling them into survival mode. They’ll do whatever it takes to protect themselves from the enemy, the bogeyman.  These terrified  folk don’t ask questions. They believe what their politicians tell them. They believe what they hear on the TV box. They believe, with all their hearts, that the government is, in the words of Glenn Beck, out to “destroy our wonderful country and threaten to wipe away our God gifted liberties.” Too, there are a certain percentage who may know better, but are, indeed, acting on old hatreds.

From there, all it takes is a small spark. Perhaps an angry man in a pick-up truck who, seeing my Obama bumper sticker, rushes up behind my car on a rural road in South Carolina, threatening to rear-end my car, then nearly side-swipes me as he tries to run me off the road. Or, perhaps, a simple knock on the door by a census worker. That’s all it would take to incite the sort of rage that would compel men to murder complete strangers or to, perhaps, lynch a Boy Scout leader, a cancer survivor, a teacher, a single father to a son.

Whether or not the truth of the latter is fact or fear is a question that has yet to be answered. But it is a question that more and more American face each day — from the President, to members of Congress, to ordinary citizens like myself. It is a terrifying question, to be sure — one that no one should ever, ever again have to ask in this country. Yet, there are some in this country who would doom us to repeat it.

Again, it’s not too late. We can still make that U-turn before something truly horrible happens if, indeed, it hasn’t already.

VIDEO ABOVE: Michele Bachmann’s approach to stopping health care reform: “We have to today make a covenant, slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

 

VIDEO ABOVE: The Young Turks show broadcast on some of Michele Bachmann’s more bizarre statements, including her “slit our wrists” covenant, from the previous video.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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What Do You Want: Insurance or Health Care? (they’re not the same, you know)

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Quick question:

Do you want insurance or health care for yourself and your family? Before you answer that question, make sure you understand the difference because, make no mistake: the differences are huge.  

[pssst.... Are you already in favor of true universal health care? If so, forego reading tmy long-winded post below and, instead, spend the next few minutes doing something practical, like making your voice heard. This is an urgent matter. We have now until the end of February to:

  1. Urge your representatives to please co-sponsor H.R. 676 and actively work with Congressman John Conyers, as he reintroduces the bill in the 111th Congress.  (Here's ane easy link to contact your Representative). The bill currently has 93 co-sponsors in the House, out of the 150 needed by the end of February. 
  2. There is still no companion bill to H.R. 676 in the Senate. Urge Sen. Edward Kennedy to sponsor a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. (Contact Sen. Kennedy via snail mail ).  The Senate is currently proposing a healthcare reform plan that will mandate health insurance coverage for every person in the United States. Forcing people to purchase insurance would be a real boon to the for-profit insurance industry, enriching CEOs and corporations, but it does nothing to address the needs of the millions of Americans in need of health care.   
  3. Let President Obama know how many of us are in favor of true universal health care (H.R. 676) as opposed to the watered-down versions currently being offered.  (Here's an easy link to contact Obama).
  4. Lastly, if you're not in favor of true universal health care, do yourself and the rest of us a favor by making sure you know the facts --- beyond the insurance industry's talking points -- before permanently making up your mind.  A good place to start is at the source: Congressman John Conyers, the sponsorer of this bill. Here are some FAQs, from Conyers' website.)]

QUICK ANSWER:

Health care.

 

LONGER ANSWER:

It’s a common myth in this country that insurance = health care. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. And this truth has only grown more perverse during the 8-year orgy we’ve just suffered, as our politicians have fallen, one by one, into bed with the giants of commerce (e.g. the banking, pharmaceutical, energy, media and insurance industries, etc.). This fellowship has compelled our lawmakers to turn a blind eye to the well-being of the average American citizen, as they paid deference, instead, to those lobbyists promising the biggest contributions to their campaign coffers. We need look no further than Wall Street to see both the evidence and the repercussions of our lawmaker’s selective blindness.  

This dynamic explains, in part, why the following news gem got lost in this week’s media shuffle (falling somewhere between the lack of coverage on Israel’s war crimes and Bush’s farewell speech):

According to a study released this past Wednesday by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association, the universal health care plan (H.R. 676) that’s been collecting dust in a House of Representatives subcommittee for the past 2 years holds the potential to create over 2.6 million new and permanent “shovel ready” jobs (that’s just slightly over the total number of jobs lost in 2008).

What’s more, according to this same study, H.R. 676 would provide a major stimulus for the U.S. economy — not only by creating the said-2.6 million jobs equivalent to $100 billion in wages  — but by infusing $317 billion in new business and public revenues into the economy and infusing public budgets with  $44 billion in new tax revenues. 

Sound too good to be true? The insurance industry hopes you’ll think so

See, the reasons this news about this study slipped under this week’s rader are the same reasons it has slipped under the radar since the bill was introduced in January 2007. Specifically, H.R. 676 (the only true, universal health care plan that has been proposed on Capitol Hill) designs to cut out the middle man — the for-profit insurance industry, one of the most powerful lobbies on Capitol Hill.

Make no mistake. By virtue of being a for-profit business, the insurance industry seeks to maximize profits, while minimizing expenses. And  their biggest expense, by far, is shelling out health care benefits to its members. To this end, the insurance industry fights tooth and nail against providing the very services they’re empowered to pay out: health care for its members. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the math, nor to understand that, under such a system, the for-profit insurance industry is inherently antagonistic to providing actual health care. Is it any wonder, then, that the insurance industry has also fought tooth and nail to convince us all that universal health care is the demon? And is it any wonder that so many Americans have become convinced of the horrors that would befall us all, should we be subjected to (sweet Lord, no!) guaranteed health care? 

The supporters of H.R. 676 have worked equally hard to educate the public on the benefits of a universal, single-payer health care plan. But, lacking the lobbying clout of the insurance industry, these folks can’t command the sort of power the insurance industry enjoys both on Capitol Hill and in our media. For the record, here are a few of the talking points we might have heard from the other side, regarding the benefits of universal, single-payer health care under H.R. 676: 

  • Every resident of the US will be covered from birth to death.
  • No more pre-existing conditions to be excluded from coverage.
  • No more expensive deductibles or co-pays.
  • All prescription medications will be covered.
  • All dental and eye care will be included.
  • Mental health and substance abuse care will be fully covered.(1)
  • Long term and nursing home services will be included.
  • You will always choose your own doctors and hospitals.
  • Costs of coverage will be assessed on a sliding scale basis.
  • Tremendously simplified system of medical administration
  • Total portability – your coverage not tied to any job or location.
  • Existing Medicare benefits for those over 65 will remain the same or be vastly improved in many cases.
  • No corporate bureaucrat will ever come between you and your Doctor to deny your care

 

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A CALL TO ACTION (see contacts info in steps 1 through 3 at the top of this post)

Congressman John Conyers will reintroduce HR 676, his single-payer healthcare bill in the 111th Congress. Please ask your representative to cosponsor the bill and actively work with Rep. Conyers to gain additional cosponsors. In order to ensure HR 676 is part of the healthcare discussion in Congress, we need 150 cosponsors by the end of February.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle, President-Elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, called for “a government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare” in testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as part of the solution to our healthcare crisis. His plan also includes health insurance corporations. Only HR 676 would implement a sustainable, fair, and efficient solution to the healthcare crisis as well as providing economic stimulus.

While single-payer healthcare proponents have made good headway in the House, there is still no companion bill in the Senate. Urge Sen. Edward Kennedy to sponsor a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. And, while you’re at it, be sure Obama also knows where you stand. Lastly, bookmark this page at the Healthcare NOW! site to keep updated on activist work on H.R. 676 and consider joining forces with The Citizens Alliance for National Health Insurance HR 676 to get the word out to the media on this important bill.

 

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WHO ENDORSES H.R. 676? YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED

Along with millions of U.S. citizens from all age brackets and economic persuasions, there are (currently) 94 Representatives in the U.S. House who endorse H.R. 676, along with 480 union organizations in 49 states, including 117 Central Labor Councils, 20 international unions, plus AFL-CIO Federations in 35 states, the US Conference of Mayors, the Houses of Representatives in Kentucky, New Hampshire and New York, and hundreds more cities, counties, faith groups and medical and health care organizations that express the great hope and dire need of our people. 

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Dennis Kucinich: patriot or nut?

It depends on what (or who) you read. If you read only the talking points (propaganda) of the industry giants, you’d have little choice but to conclude he’s not only a nut, but an awfully, terribly short man, which is somewhat of a fatal flaw in our society. But if you look past his much-slandered physical stature and look into Kuchich’s body of work, reviewing the actual issues that Dennis Kucinich has consistently fought for on behalf of the American people (with many of these in defiance of the industry giants, his campaign coffers be damned), you’d be hard-pressed to not see that he’s one of Capitol Hill’s staunchest allies to the American people. A giant in his own right and, yes, an American patriot. Had there been more lawmakers like Dennis Kucinich on Capitol Hill over the past 8 years, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re now in. In the above video, the ever-foresighted Kucinich explains universal health care.  

The Categorical Lies of Sarah Palin, Categorically Arranged

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A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.

 

Retracing the story of Sarah Palin’s career is like traveling through a carnival funhouse of smoke and mirrors. No sooner do you think you’ve finally rounded the corner on Palin’s gallery of clever distortions, dirty tricks and lies, than you’re confronted with another, then another and another, until you realize you’ve traveled an entire catacomb of lies, smoke and mirrors.

 

Here, we are working to assemble the entire funhouse of lies — a motley mix, ranging from little white lies, to boldface whoppers, to the more subtle forms of needle-nosed lies that are currently being molded by team McCain into a propaganda campaign that, so far, shows promise of duping American voters into believing that the McCain-Palin ticket has something to offer besides an empty platform and a plateful of lies.

Because Palin’s lies permeate nearly everything she says and does — and also tend to reflect back and forth through her history — it was tricky to categorize them. (How to organize such a diversity of lies? By topic? By their size? By type? By era?) We finally settled on 3 categories: Sarah’s lies as mayor, governor and vice-presidential candidate. You’ll still find much overlap, with lies about Palin’s gubenatorial record being floated through her VP candidacy, and with team McCain’s lies being puppeted by Palin, and so on. Our facts were drawn from myriad credible sources, all of which are yours for the plucking at the bottom of this post. The quotes are courtesy of Pinocchio, unless otherwise noted.

 

Give a bad boy enough rope, and he’ll soon make a jackass of himself.

 

Mayor Sarah Palin (1996-2002)

 

LIE: Sarah Palin’s mayoral candidacy was built on a platform of bucking a corrupt, good-old boy system of politics.

TRUTH: The centerpiece of Sarah Palin’s mayoral campaign was an evangelical, anti-abortion, pro-NRA platform, which left many townsfolk to puzzle over her perplexing lack of interest in the town’s actual needs, such as roads. Sarah’s candidacy transformed Wasilla’s former electoral spirit from one of a bi-partisan, “friendly intra-mural contest” between neighbors, into a highly polarized, angry, partisan debate centered on evangelic-based, hot-button issues. This tactic not only put her into office, but spurred a rise in evangelism that continues to this day. Sarah was re-elected by a landslide 3 years later. 

LIE: As mayor, Sarah cleaned up the good-old boy system of Wasilla politics and ran a transparent government.

TRUTH: Once in office, Sarah fired nearly all the city department heads (six in all) — most of whom had been loyal to her and helped put her in office. She then used her political power to advance personal agenda and grievances, replacing the fired department heads with her own political hacks, cronies and others who stood to advance her political agenda. As the local newspapers became critical of both her campaign methods and her fractious governing methods, Sarah put a gag order on the city’s department heads, instructing them to get her permission before speaking to reporters.

LIE: Sarah fired Wasilla’s Chief of Police because he didn’t give her his “full support.”

TRUTH: Sarah fired police chief, Irl Stambaugh, because (1) he stepped on the toes of Palin’s campaign contributors by trying to move up the closing hours of the local bars from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. after a spurt of drunk driving accidents and arrests, and (2) because his stand on restricting concealed weapons upset Palin’s National Rifle Association contributors/cronies.

LIE: Sarah didn’t fire police chief. In her own words at the time, “There’s been no meeting, no actual termination.” 

TRUTH: Sarah had already delivered the letter of termination to Police Chief Stambaugh by the time she made this statement. The statement read, in part, “Although I appreciate your service as police chief, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore, I intend to terminate your employment.” As Stambaugh so aptly observed, “If that’s not a letter of termination, I don’t know what is.” Stambaugh had headed the Wasilla Police Dept. since its creation in 1993. Before that, he served 22 years with the Anchorage Police Dept., rising to the rank of captain before his retirement. Sarah replaced Stambaugh with one of her cronies, who said of the early bar closing, “I have a philosophy that every time there’s a new law or new ordinance, we lose a little more of our freedom.”

LIE: In Palin’s words: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending… and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.”

TRUTH: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks totaling $27 million for a town of 5,000-9,000 people over a 3-year period.

LIE: A keen executive, Sarah was a smart businesswoman and a responsible steward of the Wasilla budget.

TRUTH: When Sarah arrived, the budget was balanced. When she left office in 2002, she also left Wasilla with a $22 million deficit. Most of this is due to the ice rink/recreation center, complete with heated seats for the spectators. Sarah failed to get clear lands right before building it the center, which has left the city mired in expensive legal proceedings that continue to this day. Had Sarah stuck around long enough, she could have at least claimed experience in dealing with a huge deficit, which the next president will need in dealing with the federal government’s newly announced $417 billion deficit.

LIE: Sarah did not ask the Wasilla librarian to ban books. She was simply asking a rhetorical question, wanting to know if the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons (now Barker) would remove a book from the shelves, if people were to, say, circle the library in protest of a certain book.

TRUTH: Sarah twice posed such rhetorical questions to the librarian and reportedly cited three specific books, which purportedly include the titles, “Pastor I am Gay” and “Go Ask Alice.”  After the librarian refused, Sarah gave her a letter of termination, but was forced to re-instate her after a large public protest.

LIE: Sarah Palin is family-friendly.

TRUTH: The above is likely true, so long as you’re not her mother-in-law, and so long as you don’t cross Sarah’s political path. Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law, Faye Palin — a pro-abortion democrat, with a respectable history of civic and community work in Wasilla — ran for mayor after Sarah vacated the position in 2002. Faye’s campaign was not endorsed by Sarah, but was, in fact, targeted by Sarah’s political allies, as the race disintegrated into a pro vs. anti-abortion battle, with the word BABYKILLER smattered across Faye’s campaign signs several days before election day. Faye Palin was defeated by one of Sarah’s political cohorts. (It’s not that Sarah opposed her mother-in-law, it’s how she opposed her).

 

Perhaps you haven’t been telling the truth, Pinocchio.

 

Governor Sarah Palin (2006-present)

 LIE: In Palin’s words, “I told Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

TRUTH: For one thing, Sarah Palin’s say-so was irrelevant to Congress by the time she entered office, so that — even if she did say ‘thanks but no thanks,’ no one was listening. The funding for the bridge (which she kept) was a done deal. The point being that I would question whether or not she even said ‘thanks but no thanks’ to  anyone other than a mirror. For another thing, Sarah embraced the Bridge to Nowhere — even using it in her political platform while campaigning for governor — but only so long as it was politically advantageous to do so. She joined in a cause, of sorts, rallying to the defense of those poor people from “nowhere” being ridiculed by the liberal media. Once the project became a national ridicule, she jumped onboard with that idea and withdrew her support for the $398 million porkbarrel albatross, a project which McCain was to later blame for the Minnesota bridge collapse that killed 13 and injured nearly 100 people.  In a Sept. 2007 press release, Sarah actually seemed to blame the bridge’s demise on a lack of funding from Congress. Sarah continues, to this day, to brag on her ‘thanks but no thanks’ mavericketynesshood.  

LIE: Sarah Palin sold the governor’s jet on eBay for a profit.

TRUTH: Sarah Palin tried, but failed, three times to sell the jet on eBay. She finally sold it to a Republican campaign donor, a Valdex oil executive named Larry Reynolds, at a $600,000 loss to the state of Alaska.

LIE: Sarah Palin is suing the Federal government to reverse their decision to protect threatened polar bears under the Endangered Species Act because, according to Sarah, their decision wasn’t based on the best scientifc evidence.  

TRUTH: Sarah Palin is suing the Federal government — despite that she’s been given the best scientific evidence by many credible authorities and scientists, whose conclusions were based on studies of declining sea ice habitats (studies which her office chose to withhold from public debate)  — because Sarah  fears this protection will cripple offshore oil and gas drilling in Alaska.

LIE: Sarah didn’t try to pressure Alaska State Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, into firing her ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten. Nor did she fire Monegan for his refusal to fire Wooten.

TRUTH: Sarah, along with her husband and various people from her office, repeatedly called and emailed Monegan for this very purpose. Sarah, et al, vehemently denied this until, in August 2008, an audiotape surfaced, proving they were lying. By then, however, she was already part of a state investigation (with a tab of up to $100,000 for the taxpayers) for abuse of her executive power in the firing of Walt Monegan — an impeachable offense. 

LIE: Sarah didn’t fire Walt Monegan for his failure to fire her ex-brother-in-law, but fired him for not properly addressing bootlegging and alcohol abuse issues.

TRUTH: Several weeks before she fired Monegan, Sarah praised him for his efforts against bootlegging and alcohol abuse issues and, in fact, named him Director of the Alcohol Beverage Board, all of this appearing a bit schizophrenic, when you consider her earlier firing of Police Chief Stambaugh (see mayoral lies, above) in the wake of his efforts to address alcohol abuse issues.

LIE: As commander of the Alaska National Guard, Sarah has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities.

TRUTH: Sarah’s role with the Alaska National Guard is as little more than a figurehead. Upon out-of-state deployment, the National Guard reports solely to the Dept. of Defense, with the governor’s authority ending absolutely when those units are called into actual military service, the exception being for certain in-state deployments, such as floods. In these cases, the Maj. Gen. Campbell of the Alaska National Guard has authority to make decisions. Sarah Palin has never given orders to the Alaska National Guard.  (An aside, of interest here, is that the City of Wasilla’s website has undergone changes in recent weeks, with the addition of National Guard pics at the tops of varoius pages, including the home page. One can only assume this is to bolster Sarah’s military credentials, as there is no National Guard base in Wasilla. Correct me if I’m wrong).

LIE: In Palin’s words: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending… and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.”

TRUTH: In less than two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.

LIE: As governor, Sarah Palin cleaned out the corrupt good-old-boy system in Alaska politics and replaced it with a clean, transparent, fiscally responsible government.

TRUTH: Sarah bilked, er… billed the Alaska taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office (uh, she’s only been in office for about 19 months), charging a per diem allowance intended to cover the cost of meals and incidental expenses during the governor’s travels. She also billed the state for travel expenses for her children and husband during her travels, PLUS billing the state for expenses and a daily allowance for husband, Todd, during her travels — all to the tune of $43,490. Flight expenses were the most costly, with daughter Piper’s alone totaling nearly $11,000. Lodging was also costly, with one Bristol & Mom jaunt to NYC costing taxpayers $707 per night. A question that remains to be officially asked or answered is whether or not Palin paid taxes on the income from her at-home per diem charges for those 312 nights, as this would be considered taxable income, since being paid to sleep in your own bedroom is not considered a tax-deductible expense by the IRS. This could easily be grounds for a criminal tax fraud investigation, if Palin did not pay taxes on this taxable income. Palin brags that her own personal travel expenses ($93,000) are an improvement over her predecessor, Murkowsky ($463,000), who could offer no comment on these figures to the press, as he was moosehunting.

 

What does an actor want with a conscience, anyway?

 

Vice-Presidentail Candidate Sarah Palin (8/28/08 – present)

 

LIE: Sarah Palin got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.

TRUTH: Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayoral election and 909 in the 1999 re-election race. Despite that Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential race after the Iowa caucuses, he received a total of 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia during the 2008 primaries.

LIE: Alaska is a wealthy state because of its oil revenues and Sarah’s wonderful executive and budgetary skills, making so much money that the state can afford to cut its own citizens checks from these revenues.

TRUTH: This is a yes, but only because Alaska sucks an exorbitant amount of money from the federal government. Among the 50 states, Alaska rates #1 in taxes per resident, and #1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden is 2.5 times the national average, its spending more than double. The trick is that Alaska spends money on its citizens, then bills the rest of us to pay for it. Alaska ranks number #1 in the country for the absolute amount it receives from Washington, over and above the amount it sends to Washington. Alaska receives more federal aid per capita than any other state.

LIE: The McCain-Paln team will change liberal Washington into a conservative Washington.

TRUTH: Uh, conservative Republicans, Bush-Cheney, have been in office for nearly 8 years, and the Republicans controlled Congress for 6 of those years, until the Democrats took control in 2007.

LIE: Palin’s words on Obama: “This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the State Senate.

TRUTH: Obama worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. In Illinois, he was the leader on two major, contentious measures: studying racial profiling by police, and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

LIE: Palin’s words on Obama: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

TRUTH: You’d not have to listen to many Obama speeches to know this is patently false. Payroll taxes will decrease for 95%  of Americans (an inverse arrangement to the Bush-McCain plan) netting an after-tax increase of income by 5% (averaging approx. $2,000 annally) by 2012 for Americans earning under $250,000 annually. This is according to the Tax Policy Center, a think-tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute.  Income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes will be raised for the wealthiest, including individuals and business making over $250,000 annually. Obama will provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum wage workers, with higher credits for larger families. Again, Obama’s plan benefits 95% of Americans, unlike the Bush-McCain plan, which gives disproportianate favor to the wealthiest Americans, which comprise approx. 5% of the population. 

LIE: (and a particularly vile lie, at that, which Margaret Talex of the McClatchy Report called ‘a deliberately misleading accusation’ and ‘a deliberate low blow’ —>). A recent McCain-Palin ad claims that Obama supported legislation to provide sex education to kindergartners.

TRUTH: The legislation for sex education for grades K-12 already existed in Illinois regarding STD and pregnancy prevention. Obama voted to allow local school boards to teach ‘age-appropriate’ sex education, geared toward educating children ages K-12 on how to recognize inappropriate behaviors, as a measure to protect them from sexual predators. One need not dig too deeply into the headlines to see that pedophilia is a sad reality in our society. It is ridiculous and patently sick to insinuate that Obama approved laws to teach young children about the birds and the bees. As one blogger noted, the McCain ad’s claim that Obama approves sex-ed for tots will nonetheless be effective, as the media continue to repeat the McCain-Palin smear, without bothering to dispute it with the outrage it should be disputed. It’s a lose-lose proposition for politicians like Obama, as it takes a lot more words to defend against such outrageous lies than it takes to wage them. The defense is never as powerful as the accusation, and can never quite be disproved in the court of the media. That’s the beauty of a smear campaign. Of course, McCain, Palin, Rove and Co. already know this. 

 

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventualy they will believe it.Adolph Hitler

 

___________________

by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers

___________________ 

ABC News: Another Controversy for Sarah Palin

Associated Press: Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention

thecanarypapers: Monkeys with Molotovs: The gutter politics of McCain, Palin, Rove & Co.

Librarians Against Palin: ABC Investigates

Anchorage Daily News: Troopergate Inquiry Hangs Over Campaign

Anchorage Daily News: Palin touts stance on Bridge to Nowhere, doesn’t note flip-flop

Anchorage Daily News: State will sue over polar bear listing, Palin says

Anchorage Daily News: Alaska sues over listing of polar bear as threatened

Anchorage Daily News: Oil firms get ok to bother polar bears

Daily Kos: Alaskanomics: How Palin’s State Sucks the Rest of the Country Dry

What Fresh Hell is This? (JD Rhoades’ Blog): The Librarian Who Said No to Sarah Palin, by Tess Gerritsen

AZ Central: Shook up “old boy’s network’

McClatchy: Palin has never ordered Alaska National Guard to Do Anything

Daily KOS: We need grown-ups in the White House (excellent background info, especially with respect to oil and Alaska politics, plus sorting out Sarah Palin’s financial facts vs. fallacies, written by an author whose first choice was not Obama-Biden). Excerpt: It’s 2008 in America, people: the budget is broken, the military is broken, the financial system is broken, our standing in the world is at an all-time low. We need grown-ups in the White House….

Gov. Sarah Palin’s September 2007 Press Release on the demise of the Bridge to Nowhere

Talking Points Memo: Palin Again Recites Lie About Bridge to Nowhere

TIME: Sarah Palin’s Alaskanomics

The New York Observer: The Fairy Tale of Palin the Reformer

The Reality-Based Community: Evidence of Consciousness of Guilt (regarding per diem pay for living in your own home being taxable income)

WinkNews.com: here, you can see McCain’s Sept. 21, 2007 comments on the Bridge to Nowhere.

Wall Street Journal: Record Contradicts Palin’s ‘Bridge’ Claims

Washington Post: Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home — Taxpayers also funded family’s travel

Washington Post: Does the truth matter anymore?

‘Troopergate’ news footage from August 14, 2008 (Palin coverage begins at 0:33). It’s interesting, here, to see a liar perform her craft, as Sarah first denies the charges, then backpeddles a bit when she hears, to her horror, the audiotape recordings that prove she’s been lying.

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