Thursday, August 11, 2011

Michele Bachmann Has A Hard Time Telling Fact From Fiction.

"Case in point: This week's Newsweek cover - which seems to have captured
Minnesota Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, at the exact moment
she sees the 'Amazing Robalto' turn his hat into a dove.  'That's amazing. When
do we start the photo shoot?'" -Jon Stewart

In light of the Republican debate in Iowa tonight, I thought I'd take a moment to examine Representative Bachmann, seen above, and some of her recent statements as rated by Politifact.  If you haven't been to Politifact, I highly recommend checking it out.  Not only does it fact check statements made by politicians, it also has a counter that shows how President Obama is doing on his campaign promises (142 promises kept, 41 compromised, 208 in the works, 72 stalled, and 43 broken - check it out for the specifics), and another showing pledges made by the G.O.P. during their ramp up to the 2010 elections (7 kept, 1 compromise, 1 broken, 5 stalled, 11 in the works, and 32 not rated).

Fun stuff aside, you can also look at individual politicians for things they said, or things said about them. Okay, well, that's fun too, especially when looking at Michele Bachmann, who has an interesting track record for not knowing what she's talking about.  This will be, by the way, a rather long post that focuses on the pure insanity of a presidential candidate.  

Of her 29 statements on Politifact, only 3 of them are either mostly true, or true.  The other 26 range from  half true to Politifact's damning "pants on fire" rating.  Let's look at some examples.
In an interview with WKXL-AM radio in Concord N.H. on 7/1, Michele Bachmann said, "If you threw a barbecue yesterday for the Memorial Day weekend, it was 29% more expensive than last year because Barack Obama's policies have led to groceries going up 29%."  Poltifact rated this statement as "FALSE", as the statistics she used were based off of New York-area prices, with the national numbers being much lower (9.9%).  Is Obama to blame for that?  Again, Politifact says no.  The price of food is based off of many things, such as supply and demand, current environmental conditions, the price of transportation and production, and high energy costs.  Obama's policies have no impact on food prices, according to experts like Bill Cook (an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and Ephraim Leibtag (the deputy director of research for the federal Economic Research Service's food economics division).  Wow.  That last one was quite the job title.

In another interview, this one with CBS's Face the Nation on 6/26, Michele Bachmann claimed that, "The president released all of the oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve."  Politifact found this statement to be a big, fat FALSE as well.  The Strategic Oil Reserve was, at the time of the comment, at a historically high level with 727 million barrels.  How much oil was the Obama Administration going to release?  30 million barrels.  That is 4.13% of the oil.  4.13%.  I think we'll bounce back, Congresswoman.  

During her response to President Obama's State of the Union address on 1/25/2011, Representative Bachmann said that, "Instead of a leaner smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which light bulbs to buy..."  On Politifact's Truth-O-Meter, that statement is rated MOSTLY FALSE.  Bachmann is talking about a bill that was signed by President Bush in 2007, which set efficiency standards for light bulbs.  In other words, it was environmentally "friendly."  President Obama ramped up those standards in 2009, stating that fluorescent lights alone represent 39% of total lighting energy use.  This doesn't really affect household bulbs, although the standards will change in the manufacturing process.  Don't worry - Obama's newly constructed "Light Bulb Police Unit" won't be paying you a visit for using 60 watts instead of 40.  The only hint of truth in Bachmann's statement was that the changes will affect consumers, in that they will purchase and use different bulbs.  Nothing more, nothing less.

In another vicious political attack, this one towards then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a speech Bachmann gave to the Values Voter Summit on 9/17/2010, she accused Pelosi of, "sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets she's flying."  Looks like someone didn't read the report very carefully, as Politifact gave that statement their coveted "PANTS ON FIRE" rating.  Citing, it's written that, "...Judicial Watch is counting as 'in-flight expenses' any non-reimbursable Air Force expenditure besides transportation costs... That category actually includes all non-plane costs of the trip, including baggage fees, meeting room rentals and refreshments, and, frequently, good-will lapel pins - as well as meals, ground transportation and lodging in U.S. Territory."  Judicial Watch confirmed that, "the tab amount includes, but is not limited to, alcohol and food."  Whoops!  As no alcohol, according to Pelosi, is served on domestic flights, that leaves only 12 international trips for her to have purchased alcohol, keeping in mind her staff, whoever she met with, and the price of such drinks in other countries.  $100,000?  More like $7,000.  Still a lot of money for booze, but not enough to cry over.  

In one of my favorite quotes from Michele Bachmann, this one taken from a Washington Times interview on 6/17/2009, the Constitution-worshipping congresswoman said of the Census that the "... data has become very intricate, very personal (with) a lot of the questions that are asked.  And I know for my family the only question that we will be answering is how many people are in our home.  We won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."  This interview, by the way, gave Politifact two statements that were rated PANTS ON FIRE (the other being something to do with ACORN and the Census).  For someone that reads the Constitution hand-in-hand with the Bible, you would think they'd be more knowledgeable on what the former actually says...

"Representation and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers... the actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct."

Are you following me?  Congress writes the laws about the content of the Census, and requires households to answer all of them.  The first census in 1790 was far more "invasive", with questions like whether or not household inhabitants were enslaved or free.  A law was passed by Congress that does require people to answer all of the questions on the census under the "Necessary and Proper" clause of the Constitution.  Those who fail to answer the questions in their entirety could face fines of $100-$500 (though it's rarely enforced, it's still considered breaking the law).  It's kind of like those strange laws you hear about, like how in one state, it's illegal to drive with a giraffe in the passenger seat, or how it's illegal to walk down the side of the road with one shoe untied.  They exist, but they aren't enforced.

Eight days later in a Fox interview, Congresswoman Bachmann surprisingly stood by her statements, this time noting that the 1940's Census Bureau handed over information to round up the Japenese-Americans and put them in internment camps.  "I'm not saying that that's what the administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau... put the Japanese in internment camps."  No, no, Michele, that's exactly what you are saying.  It's a subtle form of fearmongering that, according to Politifact, "encourages people to break the law" (speaking of subtle, have you, dear reader, noticed that the "good" quotes are in green, and all of Bachmann's quotes are in red?  Subtlety is fun!).  Also, for a politician of the United States, it should be noted that Congresswoman Bachmann has very little knowledge of the law.  Congress has passed laws since the 40's that protects the information is collects.  Employees found to have violated personal identity laws face five years of jail and fines of up to $250,000.  

To close, Michele Bachmann has proven again and again that she has little knowledge of the Constitution, and even less knowledge of U.S. laws.  She takes statistics and reports at face value, "skimming" pages scraps of juicy information that, had she read on, she would know were false.  Take note that I only listed five of her statements.  You'll find the other 21 just as enlightening.  She is not president material OR politician material.  I'd rate her more on the scale of Glenn Beck.  Give the woman a microphone and put her on Sirius Radio.  


I know people are eager to have a woman lead this country - I'm all for it myself - but let's choose wisely.  Instead of Palin or Bachmann, let's pick a woman with charisma, intelligence, and moral fortitude.  Train Oprah in politics, economics, and the law, and put her up for presidency.  She might be rich now, but she knows first hand about what it's like to grow up poor.  I think she'd help out the lower and middles classes.  Or, at least, give us all futuristic lamborghinis.        

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