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Archive for the ‘Campaign 2008’ Category

Seed Newsvine

FactCheck.org summarized the latest Republican hopefuls debate writing

Pollsters will inform
us whether the third time was the charm for any of these candidates in
the eyes of potential voters. All we can do is remind you not to
believe everything you hear.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney committed the biggest factual fouls of the night, misleadingly asserting:


  • That we went to war in Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors to come in
  • That
    there’s an ocean of difference between his Massachusetts health plan
    and those “government takeover” plans of “every Democrat” running for
    president and
  • That Russia’s income from oil exports is vastly larger than it actually is.

Other candidates committed factual trespass, too. Sen.
John McCain of Arizona ignored the waste disposal issue when he praised
nuclear power for being green, for instance, and Kansas Sen. Sam
Brownback exaggerated the number of illegal immigrants living in the
United States.

So things are getting better. Mitt Romney needs to do more research before he opens his mouth as he works to spin his future as President of the United States–I mean, we deserve better from presidential candidates than misleading statements and exaggeration of facts that are easily checked. While the others misspoke a bit there was nothing there that cannot be attributed to bombast and zeal.

I keep making the point that the American people deserve more from those that would seek positions of extreme leadership. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates seem to think that telling any old kind of story is appropriate because the folks that will be voting for them will not care enough to dig beyond the spin. We are all at fault because we have let politicians get away with campaigning on spin rather than on ideas and truth. The press fails to call political candidates on their gross errors. The politicians feel the need to out-perform one another as if running for president was nothing more than a long running series like American Idol.

One way to eliminate the problem might be to shorten the campaign season. Two years of running for president is far too long and far too costly to produce anything more than mediocrity in the long term.

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clipped from www.factcheck.org
Amid barbs on Iraq, there were exaggerations on energy, insurance and other issues in the second debate of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Among those we found:
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware wrongly cast Iran as a nation running out of oil.
Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina talked about gas price manipulation by Big Oil where investigators have found none.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd used old figures that are almost 2 million too high when stating the number of uninsured.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton lumped all the Republican Presidential candidates together when it came to their support for the war. That’s not quite right.

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FactCheck.org found no whoppers but the Democrats were not without their own version of spin. The entire article can be read by clicking on the clipped from www,factcheck.org above.While I support one of the Democrats, it is important that they be called on their own spin.

Sometimes spin arises from confusion.

FairCheck, pointing to confusion by Senator Obama, said:Did Sen. Barack Obama confuse people and cars when discussing auto insurance in California?

Obama: And, in fact, if you look at auto insurance, in California, there’s mandatory auto insurance – 25 percent of the folks don’t have it. The reason is because they can’t afford it.

The Insurance Research Council, a research firm funded by insurance companies, does indeed place the number of uninsured drivers at 25 percent. However, according to a study commissioned by the California Department of Insurance, between 25.5 and 30.9 percent of vehicles in that state don’t have insurance. The department estimates that approximately 10 percent of vehicle owners own at least one uninsured vehicle, and of those, only about 42 percent have no insured vehicles. That translates into approximately 4 percent of drivers who do not have auto insurance. Obama is correct to say that of the pure uninsured, most cite cost as their reason for not carrying auto insurance.

The simple truth is that spin and slogans ru(i)n American politics. The political process is reduced to sloganism, to a Madison Avenue mentality. It is the sincere hope of the politician that his or her message of hope through blame will convince enough voters to assure their ascension to the seat of power.

Are we that stupid? Can we not be trusted with the truth absent of all spin? Can we not make decisions based on the merit of one;s argument rather than the cleverness of one’s rhetoric? Do our leaders and potential leaders, in their lust for political power and their sanctimonious desire to define what is right for everyone, not owe us more respect? I think they do. Stop the hype and tell the truth for a change. You may like the way it fits.

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Seed Newsvine

FactCheck.org does it again. In their analysis of the Fair Tax proposal they pay close attention to the numbers and the spin placed on those numbers by Huckabee, Tancredo and Hunter. Some of what they have to say is reprinted below:

Americans for Fair Taxation offers the following plain-language interpretation of H.R. 25:

Americans for Fair Taxation: A 23-percent (of the tax-inclusive sales price) sales tax is imposed on all retail sales for personal consumption of new goods and services.

It is the parenthetical that is important, for it hides the real truth of the tax rate.

First consider the way in which sales tax is normally figured. A consumer good that carries a $100 price tag might be subject to a 5 percent sales tax. That means that the final bill for the item is $105. The 5 percent figure is the amount of tax that is charged on the original purchase price. But now suppose that instead of pricing the item at $100, the shop owner simply priced the item at $105, then sent $5 directly to the state. The $105 price would be a tax-inclusive sales price. But $5 is just 4.8 percent of $105. That 4.8 percent number, however, is relatively meaningless. You are still paying exactly the same 5 percent tax on the item.

The 23 percent number in H.R. 25 is the equivalent of the 4.8 percent in the previous example. To calculate the real rate of the sales tax, we have to determine the original purchase price of an item. We can begin with the same $100 item, keeping in mind that a price tag that reads $100 has sales tax already built in. If our tax rate is 23 percent of the tax-inclusive sales price, then of the $100 final price, $23 of those dollars will be for taxes, meaning that the original pre-tax price of the item is $77. To get $23 in taxes on a $77 item, one must impose a 30 percent tax. In other words, a 23 percent sales tax on the tax-inclusive sales price is equivalent to a 30 percent tax on the actual price of the item.

FairTax proponents object to the 30 percent number, claiming that critics use the larger number to frighten people. Americans for Fair Taxation claims that it uses the tax-inclusive number to make it easier to compare the FairTax to the income tax that it will replace (since most of us think of income tax rates on an inclusive basis). But we are not accustomed to thinking of sales taxes inclusively. The result is that many FairTax supporters (about 15 percent of those who wrote to us, for example) do not understand that the 23 percent figure is tax inclusive.

Our analysis of the FairTax used a figure of 34 percent as the basic exclusive tax rate. One e-mailer complained that our number was at least 10 percentage points “higher than [the FairTax] is” because we calculated it as an addition to retail prices. But our 34 percent number is not 10 percentage points higher than the legislation. A 34 percent exclusive number is equivalent to a 25 percent tax inclusive rate – only 2 percentage points higher than the FairTax bill. We think that, intentional or not, the use of the tax-inclusive 23 percent rate has misled a lot of FairTax proponents.

clipped from www.factcheck.org
In our recent article on the second GOP debate, we called out Gov. Mike Huckabee as well as Reps. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter for their support of the FairTax. We wrote that the bipartisan Advisory Panel on Tax Reform had “calculated that a sales tax would have to be set at 34 percent of retail sales prices to bring in the same revenue as the taxes it would replace, meaning that an automobile with a retail price of $10,000 would cost $13,400 including the new sales tax.” A number of readers pointed out that H.R. 25, the specific bill mentioned by Gov. Huckabee, calls for a 23 percent retail sales tax and not the 34 percent used by the Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. That 23 percent number, however, is misleading and based on some extremely optimistic assumptions. We found that while there are several good economic arguments for the FairTax, unless you earn more than $200,000 per year, fairness is not one of them.

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Seed Newsvine

Not that the Democrats are any better, but FactCheck.org happened to address claims made by the Republican hopefuls during their last debate. I think Lincoln got it right when he remarked that “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Perhaps we should start holding those that seek political office to a higher standard. Tell the truth. Don’t lie. Don’t cherry pick your facts. Don’t spin. All you do when you do these things is create cynicism, distrust and eventually anger.

clipped from www.factcheck.org
Claims, facts and figures flew at the second GOP presidential debate of 2008. Not all were true. For example:
Mitt Romney claimed he didn’t raise taxes when he was governor of Massachusetts, failing to note that he increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars and shifted some of the state tax burden to the local level.
Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado claimed scientific reports on whether humans are responsible for global warming are split 50-50, which isn’t close to being true.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee praised a “fair tax” but failed to note that it would ease the burden on the richest Americans while imposing a stiff retail sales tax of perhaps 34 percent.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani used more statistical dexterity to manipulate statistics, claiming adoptions increased 133 percent when he was mayor. Actually, they peaked and started a continuing decline.

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Originally posted by Eric Kleefeld | bio at TPC’s Election Central I thought it deserved re-presentation on my blog. Hope I don’t offend you Eric.

Wow, what a guy! Mitt Romney is going up on the air tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire with a new attack ad. The target? The state of Massachusetts, whose citizens extended him the honor of choosing him to to be their Governor for one term. “In the most liberal state in the country,” a sinister-sounding narrator intones over the obligatory backdrop over the obligatory backdrop of photos of John Kerry and Mike Dukakis, “one Republican stood up, and cut spending instead of raising taxes. He enforced immigration laws, stood up for traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life.

Just as an additional thought: Aside from being far brighter than George II, Romney (or any other Republican for that matter) will merely be a continuation of the failed politics of the radical right and we don’t need that anymore.

read more | digg story

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Seed Newsvine

Okay, so I support Barak Obama. That being said, my bias out in the open, I believe he is the only viable candidate that makes sense on ending the Iraq War. With a White House out of control, refusing compromise with the loyal opposition on matters of the war, and with the death toll of American soldiers ever rising, a voice of reason is needed. Obama’s tack is to garner enough votes to override any presidential veto since compromise on a bill is not likely.The power shift in Congress came as a result of the American voter’s disenchantment with the war. The time has come to put an end to this mismanaged fiasco. But this White House looks and acts more and more like the Nixon White House in its efforts to “end” the war by waging even more war. Enough is enough. Support Obama’s “16 vote” campaign and help us get out of Iraq.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
MANCHESTER, N.H. — The volunteers were wearing Barack Obama buttons and handing out literature about the Democratic candidate for president, but the explicit message the canvassers were peddling Saturday as they went door-to-door here was about ending the war in Iraq.
First, they asked that voters sign a petition to end the war, specifically calling on their U.S. senators to part ways with the president and move for the withdrawal of troops.
Only after that did they hand out fliers promoting Obama, whom some volunteers went on to describe as the strongest anti-war candidate in the Democratic field—a mantle the other candidates aren’t ready to concede.
Obama has taken his war opposition to a new level in recent days, launching what some are calling his “16 votes” campaign urging that number of senators to vote to override President Bush’s recent veto of a bill to re-deploy troops.
Obama’s anti-war message fused so much with his presidential campaign that it was hard to differentiate

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Seed Newsvine

I find it disgraceful that 3 of 10 Republican presidential hopefuls quickly raise their hands to proclaim their disbelief in evolution. I am equally amazed at how long it took John McCain to respond to this question. I can only hope the American people are not so stupid as to accept this form of blatant anti-intellectualism as qualifying for the leadership of the free world. I don’t have high hopes as I remember that this same American electorate split down the middle on the qualifications of George W, Bush and look where that got us.

Here is another YouTube clip that speaks to the dangers of this orchestrated anti-intellectualism.

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