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12/23/2011
POLITIFACT DEFENDS ‘LIE OF THE YEAR’ SELECTION
CATEGORY: Ethics, Politics

An “echo chamber nation” is what Politifact, the fact checking organization of journalists, said about the state of politics in the US.

They’re right, of course. On both left and right, there is a tendency by many - not all - to stay in one’s comfort zone and be exposed to only one, narrow point of view. Criticism from the other side is dismissed - not based on the validity of the critique but rather its source.

Needless to say, liberals went absolutely gaga when they thought that one of their own media outlets - Politifact - “turned” on them and named the Democratic charge that the GOP wanted to get rid of Medicare as the “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact had its latest brush with the Echo Chamber Nation this week. We gave our Lie of the Year to the Democrats’ claim that the Republicans “voted to end Medicare.” That set off a firestorm in the liberal blogosphere, with many saying that claim was not actually wrong. We’ve received about 1,500 e-mails about our choice and only a few agreed with us.

Some of the response has been substantive and thoughtful. The critics said we ignored the long-term effects of Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan and that we were wrong to consider his privatized approach to be Medicare. In their view, that is an end to Medicare.

We’ve read the critiques and see nothing that changes our findings. We stand by our story and our conclusion that the claim was the most significant falsehood of 2011. We made no judgments on the merits of the Ryan plan; we just said that the characterization by the Democrats was false.

Our competitors FactCheck.org and the Washington Post’s FactChecker had also said the Medicare claim was false - and this week both picked it for their biggest-falsehoods-of-the-year lists.

Some of our critics wrongly attributed our choice to our readers’ poll and said we were swayed by a lobbying campaign by Ryan. But our editors made the choice and the poll was not a factor.

Others portrayed it as a case of false balance where we put our thumb on the scale for a Democratic falsehood. This, too, is a sad byproduct of our polarized discourse, from people who are sure their side is always right.

“Fact checking” as an exercise in journalistic integrity and public accountability is in its infancy. Most fact checkers who work for major publications and networks are a lot more flexible in taking the word of politicians at face value than the independent outfits like Politifact.

We are witnessing this with the debate over the payroll tax holiday. Nancy Pelosi gave a figure of 160 million American workers who would have their taxes raised without the House vote. Nearly 3,000 media outlets went with that number despite the fact there are only 140 million Americans working at the moment.

Despite numerous blog posts (and we assume letters to editors) pointing out the fallacy, CNN and others continue to use the figure of 160 million workers. That there is a need for an independent organization that fact checks statements by politicians and others is not in dispute. But we can’t say for sure whether the Politifact model is the best solution.

As long as we live in an echo chamber America, one side or the other is going to cry “foul” when a fact checking organization cites them for lying or misstating the facts. It’s time to grow up and start holding all politicians regardless of party to a standard of truth telling that would elevate our politics, rather than besmirch them.

By: Rick Moran at 8:33 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/20/2011
THE RINO HOUR OF POWER: MATT LEWIS OF THE DAILY CALLER IN THE RINO PIT

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The RINO Hour of Power is back on the air — with a vengeance. One of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio is ready to put the pedal to the metal and give you one hour of high octane conversation and scintillating repartee from those rough and ready RINO’s Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran.

This week, Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller descends into the RINO Pit. We’ll talk about the Iowa Caucuses and the payroll tax vote in the House among other hot topics.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 pm eastern time. You can access the live stream here, or click the icon below. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/13/2011
The Rino Hour of Power: Actor/Activist Adam Baldwin Descends into the RINO Pit

rino1

The RINO Hour of Power is back on the air — with a vengeance. One of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio is ready to put the pedal to the metal and give you one hour of high octane conversation and scintillating repartee from those rough and ready RINO’s Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran.

This week, we welcome actor/political activist Adam Baldwin for a discussion of his latest project as well as a debate over the question of whether Obama is incompetent. We’ll also discuss other events and issues that have been in the news lately.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 pm eastern time. You can access the live stream here, or click the icon below. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 11:56 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/11/2011
One College Athletic Coach Who Gets it Right
CATEGORY: Ethics, Sports

Since there have been numerous questions raised recently about coaches and how they dealt with difficult situations, I thought that pointing out the response of Cincinnati head basketball coach Mick Cronin to his players brawling at the end of their blowout loss to fierce rival Xavier would be instructive regarding the right way to respond to serious controversy.

The video is appalling. There was smack talking between the rivals for the entire game. When the ruckus finally broke out, punches were thrown on both sides. One Xavier player was seriously hurt when a blind side straight right by a Cincinnati player felled him. Another Cincy player viciously kicked the injured player as he was trying to get away.

The Xavier players did not cover themselves in glory in the post game press conference. Star player Tu Holloway talked like a thug:

“That’s what you’re going to see from Xavier and Cincinnati,” Holloway said. “We got disrespected a little bit before the game, guys calling us out. We’re a tougher team. We’re grown men over here. We’ve got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room — not thugs, but tough guys on the court. And we went out there and zipped them up at the end of the game.”

And then there’s Cronin’s response. Keep in mind the excuse making of Joe Paterno at Penn State and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse when reading these excerpts from the press conference:

Too much glorification of all of sports in our society. The fact is, guys are here to get an education. They represent institutions of higher learning. Xavier has been a great school for years. We are trying to cure cancer at Cincinnati. I got to school at a place where they discovered the vaccine for polio and created Benadryl. I think that’s more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have appreciation for the fact they are there on a full scholarship. And they’re there to represent institutions with class and integrity. That’s that.

[...]

Absolutely. My players don’t act the right way they will never play another game at Cincinnati. Right now, I just told my guys, I will meet with my AD and my president and I’m going to decide who is on the team going forward. That is what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period.

I’ve never been this embarrassed. I’m hoping President Williams doesn’t ask me to resign after that. We represent an institution of higher learning, it’s way more important than basketball games. Whoever puts that jersey back on - I made everybody take their jersey off and they will not put it on again until they have a full understanding of where they go to school and what the university stands for and how lucky they are to even be there, let alone have a scholarship, because there’s a whole lot of kids that can’t pay for college. And don’t get to go to school. My mom didn’t get to go to UC, she grew up on campus. They couldn’t afford it.

(You made your players take their jerseys off?)

Absolutely, they are all sitting in there with no jersey on. Some of them I physically took them off.

[...]

We talk all the time, toughness is doing the right thing in life. That is what we talk about. If that is the case, you are being provoked, this or that, true toughness, you walk away from it. You take your ass whipping and you go home. You get better.

Certain people want to act a certain way, that’s on them. If that’s who they want to be that’s on them. That is not what we are going to be. Period. That’s not what we are going to be. Am I agitated? Yes. Do I think my guys are somewhat responsible in some way, I don’t know who started it but I can tell you that is not what we are going to be about.

It would be a huge story if Cronin follows through and kicks the guilty parties off the team. From the tape, it appears that at least two and possibly three members of the team are guilty of throwing punches. Will that be enough to bounce them? Will the Cincinnati University president allow the dismissal of half the starting lineup of a very good team that has a chance of making the university a pile of money in the NCAA tournament?

Certainly the sentiments that Cronin expressed can be applauded. Now we’ll see whether those fine words are followed by tough action against players who disgraced their university and the uniforms they wear to represent it.

This blog post originally appeared at The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 12:55 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/8/2011
A NEW PHASE IN AFGHANISTAN?

With sectarian violence rearing its ugly head in Afghanistan with the suicide attack on Tuesday that killed 6o Shias in Kabul, the security situation that must be managed by President Karzai has just gone from “hard” to “impossible.”

It would not be surprising to see the Shias respond to this sacrilege - the bombing at one of their holiest shrines on the holiest day of the year. And then what? We’ve seen it before in Iraq with the bombing of the Golden Dome mosque. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and pretty soon the whole country is blind and gumming their food. And in Afghanistan, you have the added weight of ethnic tensions to go with the religious angle. Shias are mostly Hazaras and make up about 20% of the population. They are routinely threatened by the dominant Pashtuns and Uzbeks and it cannot be discounted that there was an ethnic element in the attack.

But utlimately, someone was behind the blast. I examine that question in my FPM article today:

Regardless of whether the claims by the LeJ are true, there is the question of who is ultimately behind the attacks. Some experts say that neither the LeJ or the Afghan Taliban is sophisticated enough to have carried out such brazen, carefully coordinated attacks, and that the group’s former ties to Pakistani intelligence, as well as the Pakistani Taliban, make it likely that one of those two organizations bears ultimate responsibility. LeJ is also loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda which raises questions about the terror network’s plans for a post-NATO Afghanistan. Stirring the sectarian pot to foment chaos in Afghanistan is a possibility given AQ’s actions in Iraq and Pakistan in recent years.

While the LeJ may lack sophistication, they make up for it in murderous intent toward Shias. They have killed thousands of Shias in Pakistan over the last 15 years and have been banned by the Pakistani government. Their goal is to establish a Sunni state in Pakistan. And despite past ties to the ISI, the Pakistani government insists that they are as much an enemy of Pakistan as they are of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s own problems with sectarian strife explode regularly, and the LeJ is usually a primary cause of the violence. This doesn’t mean that the ISI wouldn’t attempt to re-establish a connection with the LeJ — especially if they thought the terrorists could serve their ultimate goal of controlling the post-NATO environment in Afghanistan.

Another possible culprit is the Haqqani Network which also has ties with the Pakistani ISI and is known to have carried out quite complex operations, such as the attack on the US embassy a few months ago. With the Afghan Taliban denying responsibility, suspicion falls on the Haqqani –  perhaps the most effective terror network in Afghanistan.

What is the ISI’s game? And why now? Clearly, if one were to desire a sectarian conflict, the opportunity of striking on the Shia’s holiest day when thousands of pilgrims are on the move answers the second question. As for why the ISI would unleash Haqqani — or any other terrorist group — to foment religious strife, the answer has to do with Pakistan’s problem of how to influence a post-NATO Afghanistan so that the composition of a future government proves malleable enough for them to dominate.

The Hazaras support the government of Hamid Karzai. A sectarian conflict would weaken those ties and create chaos, turning a bad security situation into an impossible one for the Afghan government. As BBC Afghanistan editor Waheed Massoud suggests:

Analysts believe the regional players of old still have a stake in Afghanistan’s instability. Unity between Shias and Sunnis, and unity between ethnic groups and between political factions leaves no room for Iran or Pakistan to wield influence.

Many analysts here believe that Pakistan in particular has come under increasing international pressure for sheltering militants on its soil, and particularly the leadership of the Afghan Taliban.

If  it is Pakistan, they have covered their tracks well. If it was the LeJ, why they felt they had to cross the border into Afghanistan to kill Shias is a mystery. They’ve got plenty of targets on the Pakistan side.

That’s why I believe those analysts who say it was Haqqani that carried out the attack. They may have done so at the behest of either Pakistan or the Taliban, but the coordination and complexity of the attack would seem to point the finger at the most effective terrorist group operating in Afghanistan.

If the attack does set off a sectarian conflict, will Obama keep American soldiers in country? If he’s smart, he won’t. Abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban and Pakistan will keep them both occupied for years. They deserve all the misery that will befall them if they are stuck having to tamp down sectarian violence that they initiated in the first place.

By: Rick Moran at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/6/2011
THE RINO HOUR OF POWER:: THE MELTDOWN OF THE GOP MIND

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The RINO Hour of Power is back on the air — with a vengance. One of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio is ready to put the pedal to the metal and give you one hour of high octane conversation and scintillating repartee from those rough and ready RINO’s Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran.

This week, we welcome Kerry Pickett, writer/editor at the Washington Times and the blog The Water Cooler. We’ll discuss the decision to have Donald Trump moderate the upcoming GOP debate and other hot issues making news today.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 pm eastern time. You can access the live stream here, or click the icon below. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

12/3/2011
UN ENVOY SAYS THE US ISN’T PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF OWS PROTESTORS

The poor, confused, addle-brained numbskull:

Frank La Rue, who serves as the U.N. “special rapporteur” for the protection of free expression, told HuffPost in an interview that the crackdowns against Occupy protesters appear to be violating their human and constitutional rights.

“I believe in city ordinances and I believe in maintaining urban order,” he said Thursday. “But on the other hand I also believe that the state — in this case the federal state — has an obligation to protect and promote human rights.”

“If I were going to pit a city ordinance against human rights, I would always take human rights,” he continued.

La Rue, a longtime Guatemalan human rights activist who has held his U.N. post for three years, said it’s clear to him that the protesters have a right to occupy public spaces “as long as that doesn’t severely affect the rights of others.”

In moments of crisis, governments often default to a forceful response instead of a dialogue, he said — but that’s a mistake.

“Citizens have the right to dissent with the authorities, and there’s no need to use public force to silence that dissension,” he said.

How does this jamoke define “severely affect the rights of others?” Rapes, assaults, unsanitary conditions that could lead to an outbreak of contagious disease, cities being forced to use precious police resources to patrol lawless encampments while allowing other neighborhoods to suffer with increased crime –

I’d say that’s a great, big “yes.”

“I believe in city ordinances and I believe in maintaining urban order…” Perhaps he should also believe in the US Constitution which prohibits federal authorities from intruding in what by any stretch of the imagination is a wholly local matter. Talk about jackboots in the streets - just think what this brainless twit would be saying if the National Guard were “protecting” the rights of the protesters? He’s probably be trying to get the Securty Council to enforce our “Responsibility to Protect.”

And how about this for a false analogy from another mindless observer, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-chair of a National Lawyers Guild committee, who echoes the beliefs of many OWS supporters:

Using the same lens placed on the Occupy movement to look at, say, the protest in Egypt, Verheyden-Hilliard said, observers would have focused on such issues as “Did the people in Tahrir Square have a permit?”

To compare the undemocratic, dictatorial, oppressive Mubarak regime with American democracy is beyond belief. The Tahrir Square protestors- tens of thousands of them compared to the paltry few hundred who turned out for the OWS occuping - had no democratic alternative to permits. The OWS protestors have gone to court - a separate but equal branch of government - to plead their case. The fact that the courts sided with the reasonable requests of city officials that their central cities not be turned into crime and rat infested fetid swamps of human waste, garbage, filthy and lice ridden protestors should be a sign to any objective observer that “human rights” of the demonstrators were infringing on the rights of other residents in the city - to the severe detriment of public health and public order.

Besides, what exactly are these cities - the overwhelming majority of them run by politicians who openly sympathize with the protestors and their stated goals - doing to accomodate the demonstrators? They are saying they can come back during the day and protest to their heart’s content, fully exercising their constitutional right of free speech. The only restriction is that they can’t camp out and create chaotic and unsanitary conditions under which the city must expend enormous and scarce resources to accomodate them.

Did the protestors in Tahrir Square get that kind of welcoming alternative? Did the Tahrir Square protestors have dozens of police patrolling the periphery of their encampment to guard against attacks on women, on property, and prevent other crimes? Did Cairo city officials praise the protestors and give city employees time off to attend their rallies? Did the Tahrir Square protestors get free porto-johns, free hook ups to the electrical grid, free gourmet food, free wifi, and other amenities that other groups who might wish to protest - the Tea Party for instance - would have to pay for? It is certainly a novel idea that cities should be required to spend millions of dollars on protestors to ensure their comfort and facilitiate their agenda.

The notion that there is any commonality between the OWS protestors and demonstrators in Tahrir Square is not only counterintuitive, but an insult to rational thought.

But really, La Rue doesn’t even try to hide his political agenda:

La Rue said the protesters are raising and addressing a fundamental issue. “There is legitimate reason to be indignant and angry about a crisis that was originated by greed and the personal interests of certain sectors,” he said. That’s especially the case when the bankers “still earn very hefty salaries and common folks are losing their homes.”

“In this case, the demonstrations are going to the center of the issue,” he said. “These demonstrations are exactly challenging the basis of the debate.”

So because he agrees with them, the OWS crew should be allowed to thumb their nose at the law? This is another novel construct with regard to “human rights.” Objective truth does not recognize ideological arguments, but rather the reasonable weighing of public and private interests to arrive at a logical conclusion. Logic escapes most OWS supporters. It certainly has nothing to do with La Rue’s efforts to condemn the national government for not interceding in local efforts to maintain order and protect the lives and property of all citizens - not just those granted privileged status for their noble ideas.

UPDATE”

This just in - another telling comparison between OWS and Tahrir Square…NOT:

A Suffolk Superior Court judge says Occupy Boston protesters can stay in an encampment on Dewey Square until Dec. 15.

After a four-hour hearing, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre took both sides’ arguments under advisement and said she would issue a ruling in two weeks time. Until then, she said, an injunction that bars the city from booting the protesters remains in place.

The protesters called the decision a “victory.”

What Egyptian court did the Tahrir Square protestors file their injunction? Oh, wait…

By: Rick Moran at 10:04 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)