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Answers for Bush attacks on Kerry + truth about FOX NEWS the misleading bunch
HANNITY'S LIES ABOUT KERRY, DEBUNKED
About a week ago on Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity spewed a litany of lies about John Kerry being a flip-flopper and tax raiser, lies that came directly from the Bush campaign. Oddly, Alan Colmes did not respond. So we will. Hannity said:
Here’s a guy that supported gay marriage, now against it. Here’s a guy that by my count has had six separate different unique positions on the war on Iraq. Here’s a guy that voted for the $87 billion to fund the war before he voted against it. Here’s a guy that was for the Patriot Act. Now against it. No Child Left Behind, for it, now against it. Here’s a guy that supported -- was against the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans. Now he’s for it. The only thing he seems consistent on is that, throughout the 19 years he was in the Senate, he voted to raise taxes consistently 350 times. What does that tell us about a man that has no core values or principles?
Let’s take these one at a time.
Here’s a guy that supported gay marriage, now against it.
This is a lie. Kerry’s position has always been consistent on this. I disagree with him, but Kerry has always been against gay marriage. He is for civil unions. What Hannity is doing here is taking Kerry’s vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and deliberately misrepresenting it as a declaration in favor of gay marriage. But let me read you what Kerry said on the floor of the Senate about that vote.
“I will vote against this bill, though I am not for same-sex marriage, because I believe that this debate is fundamentally ugly, and it is fundamentally political, and it is fundamentally flawed….the results of this bill will not be to preserve anything, but will serve to attack a group of people out of various motives and rationales, and certainly out of a lack of understanding and a lack of tolerance, and will only serve the purposes of the political season.”
And on that, I totally agree with him. So, for the record: Kerry has been totally consistent on this. He has never flip-flopped. Sean Hannity is lying, and he knows it.
Here’s a guy that by my count has had six separate different unique positions on the war on Iraq.
Okay. This is just stupid. Kerry’s position on Iraq has been totally consistent. Yes, he voted to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. But voted for that in order for Bush to go to the UN and get the inspectors back into Iraq, which was a genuine triumph. But, the president acted in bad faith. Here is what Kerry said about it on Face the Nation on September 14, 2003:
“The president promised he would go to war as a matter of last resort. He didn’t. The president promised he would build a coalition and work through the United Nations. He didn’t. We’re paying the price for the reckless way in which this president approached this. It’s a failure of diplomacy, and today it’s a failure of leadership.”
Kerry was entirely consistent, and not only that, he was right.
Here’s a guy that voted for the $87 billion to fund the war before he voted against it.
This is correct, but it’s not a flip-flop. Kerry voted for an amendment to the Iraqi appropriations bill that would have paid for the $87 billion by taking it out of the tax cut for the extremely rich. That amendment lost, 57-42, because Bush insisted that the $87 billion be added to the deficit. As we discussed with Paul Krugman last week, never in the history of this country have we had tax cuts while we were at war. Not only that, but Paul Krugman told me that he has yet to find any civilization in the history of this planet that ever had a tax cut during a war.
After the amendment went down, Kerry did vote against the final $87 billion supplemental appropriation, as a protest against the way Bush got us into the war and is conducting it. But he knew that the troops would have the support, because the bill passed 87 to 12.
You can support our troops, and still protest the president. If you can’t hold those two ideas in your head, you won’t enjoy my show, and I suggest you switch over to Rush right now.
Here’s a guy that was for the Patriot Act. Now against it.
Well, here’s what Kerry said:
“I voted for the Patriot Act right after September 11th – convinced that – with a sunset clause – it was the right decision to make. It clearly wasn’t a perfect bill – and it had a number of flaws – but this wasn’t the time to haggle. It was the time to act.
"But George Bush and John Ashcroft abused the spirit of national action after the terrorist attacks. They have used the Patriot Act in ways that were never intended and for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism. That’s why, as President, I will propose new anti-terrorism laws that advance the War on Terror while ending the assault on our basic rights.”
In other words, he voted for the Patriot Act after 9/11, although he objected to parts of it. Bush has abused it in ways that were never intended by Congress when it was passed. If you can’t hold that in your head, you will love Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
No Child Left Behind, for it, now against it.
This is an easy one. On this one, like all the others, Kerry’s position is consistent, and principled, and Hannity’s is dishonest. Kerry voted for the bill, which the president promised to fund. The president didn’t fund it, which created unfunded mandates on states and school districts across this country. As a result, classroom sizes are getting bigger, after-school programs are being dropped, teachers are being fired, and education is getting worse. Everyone in education across this country will tell you that. No Child Left Behind is the most ironically named piece of legislation since the 1942 Japanese Family Leave Act.
Here’s a guy that supported -- was against the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans. Now he’s for it.
Actually, Sean’s right on this one. Kerry was against the death penalty before 9/11. And after 9/11, he now supports the death penalty for terrorists. Now, Bush—before 9/11, wanted to invade Iraq. And after it, wanted to invade Iraq. So maybe he was more consistent. Kerry was affected viscerally by 9/11. I’m not sure I’d call that a flip-flop.
The only thing he seems consistent on is that, throughout the 19 years he was in the Senate, he voted to raise taxes consistently 350 times.
This is a disgraceful lie. It is a distortion of a phony statistic put out by the Bush campaign. The Bush campaign lists 350 of Kerry’s votes for, quote, “higher taxes.” Almost all of these are votes Kerry cast to leave taxes unchanged, such as a 1987 vote against a repeal of the “windfall profit” tax on oil. Taxes would have remained the same if his side had prevailed. In other words, this was a vote against an irresponsible tax cut for the rich.
Let me make a side note. We need to pay for the government. Someone’s got to pay for it. And if you cut taxes for the rich, the burden gets shifted to everyone else, or their children.
Bush’s list even includes votes that Kerry cast in favor of alternative Democratic tax cuts. On Bush’s list, there’s only one actual tax increase that Kerry voted for, which incidentally is counted twice. It’s his vote for Clinton’s 1993 Deficit Reduction Act, which raised taxes on the top 1% and cut taxes on people at the bottom, and was followed by eight years of unprecedented growth.
What does that tell us about a man that has no core values or principles?
The man who has no core values or principles here is a man named Sean Hannity. And you know who came up with all these lies? The campaign of a man named George W. Bush.
Look. The reason I took the time to go over all of this is you’re going to hear this garbage repeated over, and over, and over again from now until November. And we are not going to let them do it. We are not going to let them do to John Kerry what they did to Al Gore.
Kerry is not a flip-flopper. But Bush is a liar. And his shills in the media, like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh—they’re liars too.
July 30, 2004
Triumph of the Trivial
By PAUL KRUGMAN
nder the headline "Voters Want Specifics From Kerry," The Washington Post recently quoted a voter demanding that John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "what they plan on doing about health care for middle-income or lower-income people. I have to face the fact that I will never be able to have health insurance, the way things are now. And these millionaires don't seem to address that."
Mr. Kerry proposes spending $650 billion extending health insurance to lower- and middle-income families. Whether you approve or not, you can't say he hasn't addressed the issue. Why hasn't this voter heard about it?
Well, I've been reading 60 days' worth of transcripts from the places four out of five Americans cite as where they usually get their news: the major cable and broadcast TV networks. Never mind the details - I couldn't even find a clear statement that Mr. Kerry wants to roll back recent high-income tax cuts and use the money to cover most of the uninsured. When reports mentioned the Kerry plan at all, it was usually horse race analysis - how it's playing, not what's in it.
On the other hand, everyone knows that Teresa Heinz Kerry told someone to "shove it," though even there, the context was missing. Except for a brief reference on MSNBC, none of the transcripts I've read mention that the target of her ire works for Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who financed smear campaigns against the Clintons - including accusations of murder. (CNN did mention Mr. Scaife on its Web site, but described him only as a donor to "conservative causes.") And viewers learned nothing about Mr. Scaife's long vendetta against Mrs. Heinz Kerry herself.
There are two issues here, trivialization and bias, but they're related.
Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.
Even on its own terms, such reporting often gets it wrong, because journalists aren't especially good at judging character. ("He is, above all, a moralist," wrote George Will about Jack Ryan, the Illinois Senate candidate who dropped out after embarrassing sex-club questions.) And the character issues that dominate today's reporting have historically had no bearing on leadership qualities. While planning D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower had a close, though possibly platonic, relationship with his female driver. Should that have barred him from the White House?
And since campaign coverage as celebrity profiling has no rules, it offers ample scope for biased reporting.
Notice the voter's reference to "these millionaires." A Columbia Journalism Review Web site called campaigndesk.org, says its analysis "reveals a press prone to needlessly introduce Senators Kerry and Edwards and Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, as millionaires or billionaires, without similar labels for President Bush or Vice President Cheney."
As the site points out, the Bush campaign has been "hammering away with talking points casting Kerry as out of the mainstream because of his wealth, hoping to influence press coverage." The campaign isn't claiming that Mr. Kerry's policies favor the rich - they manifestly don't, while Mr. Bush's manifestly do. Instead, we're supposed to dislike Mr. Kerry simply because he's wealthy (and not notice that his opponent is, too). Republicans, of all people, are practicing the politics of envy, and the media obediently go along.
In short, the triumph of the trivial is not a trivial matter. The failure of TV news to inform the public about the policy proposals of this year's presidential candidates is, in its own way, as serious a journalistic betrayal as the failure to raise questions about the rush to invade Iraq.
P.S.: Another story you may not see on TV: Jeb Bush insists that electronic voting machines are perfectly reliable, but The St. Petersburg Times says the Republican Party of Florida has sent out a flier urging supporters to use absentee ballots because the machines lack a paper trail and cannot "verify your vote."
P.P.S.: Three weeks ago, The New Republic reported that the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan to announce a major terrorist capture during the Democratic convention. Hours before Mr. Kerry's acceptance speech, Pakistan announced, several days after the fact, that it had apprehended an important Al Qaeda operative.
After re-reading it, I agree that the examples are perhaps one sided but I also feel that the same tv coverage focuses on trivia about Bush, to his detriment. I don't think there is much effort to clarify issues and differences...I used to watch CNN but long ago they shifted to entertainment...Bush riding his bike, doing silly things rather than focusing on specific issues. The issues might not be as entertaining of course, and I do marvel at Daren Kagen's ability to talk and show all of her teeth while she talks.