The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Ron Suskind’s Interview on NPR

Tonight OPB aired an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind whose new book, The Way of the World, came out this past Tuesday, August 8th. In it, he puts forward harsh allegations against the Bush Administration based on credible sources–the most important of which are on the record–with respect to misleading the American people on the path to war.

The interview follows. Click here then click on the “Listen now” button on the top of NPR’s page.


August 7, 2008 Posted by | Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Impeachment, Iraq War, Journalism, Terrorism, The Media, White House | , , , , , | Leave a comment

White House Release: “Just the Facts”…But No Context…

By Nathan Schmitt

Once again, using the headline “Just The Facts,” the White House has released what appears to be a bit of a misrepresentation of the (new) SCHIP renewal bill. I responded to the White House’s previous misrepresentation of facts (as opposed to outright lying) under the same headline, and this one is no better. Here are some of the problems as I see them:

“The Democrats’ new legislation also permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012. ” (1)

Here is what it seems they are referring to: (Title I, Subtitle A, Sec. 101, Subsection 2111)


  • (A) IN GENERAL- No funds shall be available under this title for child health assistance or other health benefits coverage that is provided to a nonpregnant childless adult under an applicable existing waiver after December 31, 2008.

And the exception:


  • (A) IN GENERAL- Each State for which coverage under an applicable existing waiver is terminated under paragraph (2)(A) may submit, not later than September 30, 2008, an application to the Secretary for a waiver under section 1115 of the State plan under title XIX to provide medical assistance to a nonpregnant childless adult whose coverage is so terminated (in this subsection referred to as a `Medicaid nonpregnant childless adults waiver’).” (2)

Regardless of the end date of the phase-out, it would seem from reading this that the states must request an exceptional circumstance from the federal government. This seems to contradict the argument that it “permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012.” I would also like to point out that this argument by the White House stands in stark contrast to what the WaPo reported earlier today:

[The new bill] will ease adults off the program in one year, rather than the two in the vetoed version.” (3)

Read through the bill and decide for yourself who got the facts completely wrong, one of them certainly did and it’s not entirely clear who.
The White House also argues:

The Democrats’ new legislation continues to allow SCHIP to cover ineligible individuals. The legislation imposes no sanction if a person fraudulently attests to being a U.S. citizen. During the period of time that the State is conducting an investigation (if Social Security finds an inconsistency with the stated Social Security number), it must continue medical assistance to the applicant.” (1)

Is an allegation of fraud reason enough to cut off health care? It seems as if they have forgotten a little thing that we in the U.S. happen to base our entire judicial process on: presumption of innocence; the accused, or person subject to investigation, is innocent until proven guilty. Of course, there are exceptions like interlocutory injunctions in courts of equity, but courts of equity don’t act strictly based on legality.

I’d like to point out that I don’t intend to make any judgments about the administration, the point here is to highlight possible inconsistent or out-of-context arguments.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Congress, General Discourse, Health Care, Nathan Schmitt, SCHIP, White House | , , | Leave a comment

A Half Truth

By Theo O’Brien

White house officials deleted sections of Center for Disease Control Director Julie L. Gerberding’s testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday, halving it to only a six page length. Though the Center for Disease Control denies that they were censored, Democrats—and Senator Boxer specifically—are pressing the for further explanation after White House Spokeswoman Dana Peretz acknowledged the redaction.

White House officials eliminated several successive pages of Gerberding’s testimony, beginning with a section in which she planned to say that many organizations are working to address climate change but that, “despite this extensive activity, the public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed,” and that the “CDC considers climate change a serious public concern.” (1)

Peretz said the reason for the deletion of several sections of written testimony was that it did not align with the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.It is worth mentioning that earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services were accused of silencing two Alaska scientists who intended to speak of the harmful effects of climate change has on polar bears.

Although the argument could be made that Julie L. Gerberding is not qualified to refute the findings of the IPCC, I fear that those censoring her are deterring the very principle of science: to question what is perceived as fact. In this case, some scientific authorities “crying wolf” about impending threats may prove far more beneficial to the advancement of solutions to global warming. I neither dismiss nor accept the White House’s reasoning for the censorship, as I am hardly qualified, but I would prefer to have all the information available, even if it takes twice as long to read.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Censorship, Global Warming, Theo O'Brien, White House | , , , , | Leave a comment

White House Press Release: Facts out of Context.

I’ve heard many times from countless people that the Bush Administration purposely skews facts or participates in similar practices. I’ve even seen some examples of this, but for some reason this one really got to me. Perhaps part of it was the title, “Just the Facts”seems like a headline a news network would have for a spin story.

The main issue I have with this is not that there are factual or statistical errors, which there may or may not be–for the purpose of this article, it’s safe to give them the benefit of the doubt. In this news story there are quite a few misrepresentations that look to use the ignorance of the general public with respect to poverty.

They make the argument that

Congress’ SCHIP bill would strongly encourage States to provide government health coverage for children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level.“(1)

This is likely because the Poverty Level Guidelines are completely unrealistic in terms of sustainability of household and family. On the lower end (1 person per family) the poverty level is $10,210 per year. On the upper end (8 people per family) the poverty level is $34,570 per year. How exactly is a family of eight people supposed to survive on a little more than $34,570 per year?

The White House press release does not put into context it’s claim about children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level because it does not specify what family size they are referring to and family size is a HUGE factor in this determination. Pretty much all of the arguments made in this press release are invalid because of this ridiculously low Federal poverty level. However, take into consideration that they are talking about 300% of the poverty level. Does this mean that they should be able to afford health care on top of “vital” expenses?

I’m not saying the poverty guidelines should be raised or lowered, I’m just adding context to the White House’s “Just the Facts” press release…And of course adding a bit of my own opinion but I don’t care if you read my opinion or not. Read the release and poverty level worksheet and consider it for yourself.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | General Discourse, George W. Bush, Health Care, SCHIP, White House | , , , , , | Leave a comment