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“You’re On Your Own”: Mitt Romney Called Federal Disaster Relief “Immoral”

Hurricane Sandy now threatens the eastern seaboard of the United States. You can follow the storm here. As the storm disrupts the final days of the presidential election, it’s important to think about the candidates’ positions on disaster relief.

During the GOP primary, as the candidates pitted themselves against each other in a contest to see who could call for more austerity, Mitt Romney called the money the federal government spends on disaster relief “immoral”:

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all”.

Of course the amount of money we spend on disaster relief – approximately $6.1 billion is allocated for 2013 — is a fraction of the estimated $294 billion Mitt’s latest proposed tax cuts would cost.

During the Republican National Convention, as Hurricane Isaac forced the GOP to cancel the first day of its festivities, Mother JonesTim Murphy looked at how Romney’s proposals and his running mate Paul Ryan’s budget would affect disaster relief and found that “…under a Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan administration, FEMA’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters could be severely inhibited.”

But at least disaster victims would have the relief of knowing that the rich have more tax breaks to keep them warm.

 

By: Jason Sattler, The National Memo, October 28, 2012

October 29, 2012 Posted by | Disasters, Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Living Dangerously”: The Year Of GOP Hostage-Taking

When the House GOP’s enormous freshman class arrived on Capitol Hill in January, it wasn’t uncommon to hear them sound off on the mistakes their predecessors made in 1995. Despite having shut down the government — twice! — House Republicans under Newt Gingrich had caved too easily, didn’t push hard enough, didn’t embody the true spirit of conservatism.

But the new House leadership wasn’t so sanguine. Many had lived through the Gingrich revolution and its aftermath. Others had been around long enough to hear tales of it. And so they mapped out a strategy specifically designed to avoid what they believe were the party’s ’90s-era mistakes.

In other words, the two factions — the newly energized backbenchers and the veteran leadership — were pulling each other in opposite directions. The tug of war left the House GOP’s strategic center of gravity stuck in an unstable position. The party was committed to fighting as hard as possible, but stopping short of its most conservative members’ slash and burn instincts.

The 2011 version of the House GOP, in not always easy coordination with Senate Republicans, would approve must-pass bills, but only after dragging negotiations down to the wire and extracting as many concessions as possible from Senate Dems and the White House each time. We saw that strategy play out over and over again this year, with mixed results for both parties and largely poor results for the country at large.

Here’s a quick lookback at a year of living dangerously — and the series of recurring crises that it produced.

APRIL: Government Shutdown

This fight set the tone for the remainder of the year. At the tail end of the last Congress, Republicans blocked a bipartisan effort to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September 2011. They’d made big gains and wanted an early bite at the apple in the new Congress. With government funding set to expire, House Republicans sought to make good on their pledge to cut $100 billion from domestic federal programs right away. In addition, they sought to attack the Obama administration’s power to govern from the executive branch with scores of legislative riders meant to limit access to women’s health centers, weaken environmental regulations and so on. The administration and Senate Dems sought to limit the damage — but it wasn’t easy. In negotiations that lasted until minutes before the government shutdown, Republicans locked in billions of dollars in budget cuts, and even a few riders, including one that reinstated a ban preventing the District of Columbia from spending local tax dollars on abortion services.

AUGUST: Debt Limit

This is where House Republicans overplayed their hand  — but also made, from a conservative point of view, the most substantive gains. Republicans held the country’s borrowing authority hostage. They implicitly threatened to let the country default on its debt obligations unless Democrats agreed to massive cuts to federal programs over the course of a decade. For a time, the White House genuinely saw this as an opening to strike a fiscal “grand bargain” with House Speaker John Boehner. But in an early indication of the limited room Boehner’s conference would give him to deal, those negotiations fell apart over the GOP’s reluctance to increase taxes on the wealthy. So Democrats reverted again to a “contain the damage” strategy. The damage was pretty severe: $1 trillion in cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending over the next year, enforced through statutory budget caps; a downgrade to the country’s AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s; and, because the Super Committee the debt deal created would ultimately fail, the prospect of another $1.2 trillion in across the board cuts to national security programs, Medicare providers, and other parts of the budget, which are set to kick in on January 1, 2013, unless Congress finds savings elsewhere.

The good news for now is that the budget cuts are somewhat backloaded and won’t become too severe until later in 2012 and 2013. In the meantime, the country’s fiscal fate — whether we’re on a bumpy path toward unwinding the New Deal or toward shoring it up — now hinges on the outcome of the 2012 elections. If a Republican beats President Obama, the GOP will continue to put the squeeze on government revenue and pursue a course of swapping out the automatic defense and Medicare provider cuts with cuts to other key support programs.

SEPTEMBER: Disaster Relief

The debt limit fight was a political disaster, and an embarrassment for Dems who found themselves outmaneuvered throughout. But it also marked the point at which they adopted a new, more confrontational strategy with the GOP. That manifested itself in a small skirmish over funding the government in the new fiscal year that began in October. Republicans attempted to use the expiration of government funds at the end of the fiscal year as leverage to force Democrats to offset the cost of federal disaster relief with cuts to a successful hybrid vehicle incentive program. Indeed, House Republicans they tried to jam Senate Dems and skip town. In the end, Democrats refused to budge, FEMA managed to squeak by with the disaster relief funds it had, and a shutdown was again averted.

NOVEMBER: Super Committee

The debt limit fight led to the creation of the Super Committee, and a whole new fight over reducing federal deficits. But this fight was completely different. With the threat of a debt default off the table, Democrats drew a line: no cuts to entitlement benefits until Republicans agreed to break the stranglehold anti-tax conservatives have on their party. That break never really happened, and so the 12-member panel failed. As a result, major across the board cuts to defense, Medicare providers and other programs are set to kick in on January 1, 2013, unless Congress comes up with something better. That’s why the coming year and the presidential election are so high-stakes. They’re all about the nation’s priorities.

DECEMBER: Payroll Tax Cut

The GOP strategy of pushing negotiations to the brink of crisis finally caught up with them in the fight over extending the payroll tax cut, giving Democrats their most decisive victory of the year. Not only did Dems manage to turn the Republicans’ reluctance to renew the 2011 payroll tax cut into a huge political liability, they reset the consensus entirely. And in the process they left the House GOP conference — and the relationship between House and Senate Republicans — in shambles. In the end, Congress renewed the payroll tax cut for two months, and both parties have committed to extending it through the end of 2012. But Republicans will have to do so on Democrats’ terms. If they learned nothing from the last month, and try to pick another fight over payfors and unrelated riders, they risk a much more severe political embarrassment in the middle of primary season and, many observers have speculated, losing control of the House in 2013.

 

By: Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo, December 28, 2011

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Debt Ceiling, Government Shut Down | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What If the Tea Party Wins? They Have A Plan For The Constitution, And It Isn’t Pretty

In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.

At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.

It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs
  • All federal education programs
  • All federal antipoverty programs
  • Federal disaster relief
  • Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
  • Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
  • Federal civil rights laws

Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.

What’s at stake

The Tea Party imagines a constitution focused entirely upon the Tenth Amendment, which provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—which is why their narrow vision of the nation’s power is often referred to as “tentherism.” In layman’s terms, the Tenth Amendment is simply a reminder that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers—such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations—and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress’s authority.

The Tea Party, however, believes these powers must be read too narrowly to permit much of the progress of the last century. This issue brief examines just some of the essential programs that leading Tea Partiers would declare unconstitutional.

Social Security and Medicare

The Constitution gives Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” thus empowering the federal government to levy taxes and leverage these revenues for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. A disturbingly large number of elected officials, however, insist that these words don’t actually mean what they say.

In a speech to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, Texas Gov. Rick Perry listed a broad swath of programs that “contradict the principles of limited, constitutional government that our founders established to protect us.” Gov. Perry’s list includes Medicare and “a bankrupt social security system, that Americans understand is essentially a Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.” And Perry is hardly the only high-ranking elected official to share this view.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) mocked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for calling upon the federal government to provide “a decent retirement plan” and “health care” because “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress any of those powers.” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who engineered the House of Representatives’s dramatic reading of the Constitution earlier this year, claimed that Medicare and Social Security are “not in the Constitution” and are only allowed to exist because “the courts have stretched the Constitution to say it’s in the general welfare clause.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said we should eliminate Medicare because “that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.”

Because this erroneous view of our founding document is rooted in an exaggerated view of the Tenth Amendment’s states rights’ provision, many so-called tenthers claim that eliminating Social Security and Medicare wouldn’t necessarily mean kicking millions of seniors out into the cold because state governments could enact their own retirement programs to pick up the slack. This proposal, however, ignores basic economics.

Under our current system, someone who begins their career in Ohio, moves to Virginia to accept a better job offer, and then retires in Florida pays the same federal taxes regardless of their residence. These taxes then fund programs such as Medicare and Social Security. If each state were responsible for setting up its own retirement system, however, the person described above would pay Ohio taxes while they worked in Ohio, Virginia taxes while they lived in Virginia, and would draw benefits from the state of Florida during their retirement. The state which benefited from their taxes would not be the same state that was required to fund their retirement, and the result would be an economic death spiral for states such as Florida that attract an unusually large number of retirees.

For this reason, tenther proposals to simply let the states take over Social Security and Medicare are nothing more than a backdoor way to eliminate these programs altogether. If the Tea Party gets its way, and our nation’s social safety net for seniors is declared unconstitutional, millions of seniors will lose their only income and their only means to pay for health care.

Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other health care programs

The Tea Party’s constitution has plenty of bad news for Americans below the retirement age as well. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), for example, recently claimed that any federal involvement in health care whatsoever is unconstitutional because “the words ‘health care’ are nowhere in the Constitution.”

Sen. Coburn lumped Medicaid in with Medicare when he claimed that providing for the frailest Americans is a “family responsibility,” and Gov. Perry includes Medicaid on his list of programs that “contradict[] the principles of limited, constitutional government.” Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) claim that “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress” any authority over health care is a blanket statement encompassing all federal health programs.

If this vision were to be implemented, all federal health care programs would simply cease to exist and millions of Americans would lose their only access to health insurance.

Education

Education is also on the Tea Party’s chopping block. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) routinely grills education secretaries at congressional hearings, insisting that the Constitution does not authorize any federal involvement in education. Similarly, Rep. Foxx insists that “we should not be funding education” because she insists doing so violates the Tenth Amendment. And Sen. Coburn does not “even think [education] is a role for the federal government.”

In its strongest form, this position wouldn’t just eliminate federal assistance for state-run public schools. It would also eliminate programs enabling Americans to pay for their college education. Millions of students would lose their Pell Grants and federal student loans if the Tea Party’s full vision of the Constitution were implemented.

Some tenthers, however, offer a slightly less drastic position. It is commonplace for the federal government to grant money to the states if those states agree to comply with certain conditions. Federal law, for example, provides generous public education grants provided that states gather data on student achievement and comply with other such conditions. Many Tea Partiers argue that these conditions violate the Constitution. Thus, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), claims that the Constitution only permits the federal government to provide states with “block grants.”

The truth, however, is that the federal government has never told states how to educate their children—and it could not do so if it tried. Under a Supreme Court decision called Printz v. United States, federal laws ordering a state to take a specific action actually do violate the Tenth Amendment. So, the state of Texas is perfectly free to turn down federal grants if they do not like the conditions attached to them.

Moreover, it is not clear how federal grants of any kind can exist if Congress is not allowed to attach conditions to them. If Congress cannot constitutionally require states to spend grant money on standardized testing, for example, how can they require that it be spent on education and not on building a new wing for the governor’s mansion? Thus, even the slightly more moderate position advocated by people like Rep. Farenthold would likely eliminate the federal government’s ability to provide educational assistance to low-income students or otherwise help fund public schools.

Antipoverty programs, federal disaster relief, and other help for the less fortunate

Sen. Lee would go even further in cutting off assistance for low-income Americans. In an interview with a Utah radio host, Lee claimed that the framers intended all antipoverty programs to be dealt with exclusively at the state level. This would not only eliminate programs like income assistance and food stamps, it could threaten unemployment insurance, federal job training, and other programs intended to provide a bridge out of poverty.

In the same interview, Sen. Lee claimed that federal relief for hurricane, earthquake, tornado, and other disaster victims is “one of many areas where we ought to focus on getting that power back to the states,” a position that would kill the Federal Emergency Management Agency and prevent the nation as a whole from rallying to the support of a state whose financial resources are overwhelmed by a major natural disaster.

Food safety

Sen. Lee also claims that “the framers intended state lawmakers deal with” food safety in this same radio interview. This position would not simply endanger the residents of states with inadequate regulation of their food supply, it would also create costly and duplicative state inspection programs and impose logistical nightmares on food-importing states.

If a cow is raised in Texas, slaughtered in Oklahoma, and then sold as steaks in New York, which state is responsible for inspecting the meat? The likely answer is that all three states would have their own system of laws, tripling the regulatory compliance costs for the meat producer.

Moreover, if New York decides that Oklahoma’s inspections’ regime is inadequate, its only recourse would be to require meat producers to submit their products to a customs check at the border before it could be sold in that state. The result would be higher taxes for New Yorkers forced to pay for these customs stations, and higher costs for businesses forced to submit to inspections every time they brought food across a state border.

Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections

Nearly 100 years ago, the Supreme Court declared federal child labor laws unconstitutional in a case called Hammer v. Dagenhart. Twenty-two years later, the Court recognized that Hammer’s holding was “novel when made and unsupported by any provision of the Constitution,” and unanimously overruled this erroneous decision.

Sen. Lee, however, believes that, while Hammer might “sound harsh,” the Constitution “was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh,” and thus we should return to the world where federal child labor laws are unconstitutional. Moreover, Lee has a very powerful ally prepared to sweep away nearly all national protections for American workers.

Under existing Supreme Court doctrine, Congress’s authority to “regulate commerce … among the several states” includes the power to regulate the roads and railways used to transport goods in interstate commerce, as well as the goods themselves and the vehicles that transport them. Additionally, Congress may regulate activities that “substantially affect interstate commerce.” This “substantial effects” power is the basis of Congress’s authority to make labor laws universal throughout all places of employment.

Yet Justice Clarence Thomas claimed in three separate cases—U.S. v. Lopez, U.S. v. Morrison, and Gonzales v. Raich—that this “substantial effects” test is “at odds with the constitutional design.” It is possible that Thomas’s vision would still allow some limited federal labor regulation—such as a law prohibiting children from becoming railway workers—but anything resembling the essential web of federal laws that protect American workers today would be impossible.

Civil rights laws

Shortly after he won his party’s nod to be a U.S. Senate candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) revealed that he opposes the federal bans on whites-only lunch counters and race discrimination in employment. In a rambling interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Paul explained that, while he believes that Congress may ban discrimination from “public institutions,” he does not support antidiscrimination laws that regulate private business.

As Sen. Paul suggested in that interview, these basic civil rights laws—like national laws banning child labor and establishing a minimum wage—can be snuffed out of existence if Congress’s power to enact commercial regulations is read too narrowly.

In 1964, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters—once again relying on the “substantial effects” test to do so. For this reason, it is likely the Justice Thomas would strike down this and other federal laws protecting civil rights.

The union

Gov. Perry suffered well-deserved ridicule when he suggested in 2009 that Texas may secede from the union if “Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” But Gov. Perry’s ill-considered remark is merely a distraction compared to a much larger movement to effectively secede from the union one law at a time.

Gov. Perry joins lawmakers from New Hampshire, Montana, Virginia, Idaho, Florida, and many other states in backing unconstitutional state laws purporting to “nullify” a federal law. Many state legislatures have passed, and a few governors have signed, laws claiming to nullify part of the Affordable Care Act, and Perry signed a law that partially nullifies federal light bulb standards.

Nullification is an unconstitutional doctrine claiming that states can prevent a federal law from operating within their borders. Although nullification conflicts directly with the text of the Constitution, which provides that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” it has experienced a significant revival among state lawmakers eager to second-guess national leaders’ decisions.

This doctrine is not simply unconstitutional, it is a direct attack on the idea that we are the United States of America. As James Madison wrote in 1830, allowing states to simply ignore the laws they don’t want to follow would “speedily put an end to the Union itself.”

Conclusion

America has long endured the occasional politician eager to repeal the entire 20th Century, but, as President Dwight Eisenhower observed nearly 60 years ago, “Their numbers [were] negligible and they are stupid.” Sadly, this is no longer the case. Tenthers increasingly dominate conservative politics and their numbers are growing.

If this movement succeeds in replacing our founding document with their entirely fabricated constitution, virtually every American will suffer the consequences. Seniors will lose their Social Security and Medicare. Millions of students could lose their ability to pay for college. And workers throughout the country will lose their right to organize, to earn a minimum wage, and to be free from discrimination.

Worse, because the Tea Party believes their policy preferences are mandated by the Constitution, they would do far more than simply repeal nearly a century of essential laws. Once something is declared unconstitutional, it is beyond the reach of elected officials— and beyond the voters’ ability to revive simply by tossing unwise lawmakers out of office.

For this reason, the Tea Party’s agenda is not simply one of the most radical in generations, it is also the most authoritarian. They do not simply want to eliminate decades of progress; they want to steal away “We The People’s” ability to bring it back.

 

By: Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress, September 16, 2011

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Commerce Clause, Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, Democracy, Democrats, Economy, Education, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Income Gap, Jobs, Labor, Lawmakers, Medicaid, Medicare, Middle Class, Minimum Wage, Politics, Public, Regulations, Republicans, Right Wing, SCOTUS, Social Security, State Legislatures, States, Tea Party, Unions, Voters | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Cantor Is A Hypocrite On Disaster Relief Spending

Buried in this Saturday’s Washington Post Metro section was  a short piece about the request from conservative Virginia Republican Gov.  Robert McDonnell for $39 million in federal disaster relief for his state.

This was an initial request for 22 localities in Virginia  hard hit  by Hurricane Irene. According  to the article, other local governments  can request more aid and, in addition,  McDonnell also asked for Hazard  Mitigation Assistance for all Virginia  localities.

This comes from a governor who, along with his Republican  congressional counterpart Eric Cantor, rails against Washington and “government  spending.”

What makes this quite interesting is the position taken by  Cantor  last week on Federal Emergency Management funding for disasters. We have  had a record 66 natural disasters  this year and Hurricane Irene was  one of the 10 most costly ever.

Cantor, whose district was hit hard by the earthquake and  the  hurricane, has said that any spending for FEMA should be tied to cuts   elsewhere, dollar for dollar, “Just like any  family would operate when it’s struck with disaster,” says Cantor. Funny, that is not how he felt back in 2004   when he appealed for money for his district after another hurricane and  voted  against the amendment by Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas  to do require offsets.

Did Eric Cantor ask for dollar for dollar cuts to pay for  the wars  in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did he  ask for dollar for dollar cuts to pay  for the Bush tax cuts for the  millionaires and billionaires? Did he   ask for dollar for dollar cuts to pay for increases to homeland  security? How about border agents?

Another very conservative congressman from Virginia, Leonard  Lance,  totally disagrees with Cantor.  Help is needed now. Gov. Chris  Christie  of New Jersey, no friend of government spending, talks as though Eric  Cantor  has lost his marbles: “Our  people are suffering now, and they  need support now. And they [Congress] can  all go down there and get  back to work and figure out budget cuts later.”

It is time for a host of protesters to go to Cantor’s district   office and call him on his absurdity. Does  he believe we should help  the victims of these disasters? Is that what government has done for  over 200  years? Does he just want to play politics and delay help? Does  he represent the  people of Virginia? Does he care about  the others  who have been the victims of tornadoes and floods across this  country?

It reminds me of a Senate debate where a certain Republican  from  Idaho was complaining about a bill that included funding for rat control   in New York City.

“In Idaho, we take care of our own rats,” to which the New  York senator replied, “In New York, we take care of our own forest fires.”

That about sums it up.

 

By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, September 6, 2011

September 6, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Disasters, Federal Budget, GOP, Government, Governors, Homeland Security, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Middle East, Politics, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, States, Teaparty, War | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Federal Family” Affair: Coordinated Efforts, Except At Fox News

FEMA chief Craig Fugate and National Weather Service director Jack Hayes recently wrote an op-ed about preparations for hurricane season. They noted the coordinated efforts of “the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, the faith-based and non-profit communities, and the private sector.”

This wouldn’t be especially interesting, except as reader J.M. noted via email, Republican media outlets are apparently worked up about the phrase “federal family.”

Here, for example, is a Fox News report that ran on Monday:

[B]efore Irene fizzled, the Obama White House wanted to make sure that Irene was no Katrina and that, in fact, the president and his aides would be seen in compassionate command of the situation.

Hence the introduction of what may be the most condescending euphemism for the national government in its long history of condescending euphemizing: “federal family.”

This new phrase was supposed to, [Fox News’ Power Play] supposes, make anxious East Coasters feel the love of a caring federal government — tender squeeze from the Department of Homeland Security, a gentle embrace from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The phrase was a centrally distributed talking point, appearing in op-eds, press releases and statements from across the administration.

No major hurricane had hit the U.S. mainland in the Obama era, and the “federal family” had obviously been saving up a lot of new approaches to differentiate itself from the clan under President George W. Bush.

National Review’s Andrew McCarthy was also troubled by the “federal family” phrase, as was Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s site, though both appeared to be working from the assumptions of the Fox News report.

There’s just one problem: Fox News’ report is completely wrong and based on lazy assumptions, which could have been avoided if it had taken 30 seconds to check.

Fox News said the “federal family” phrase was “introduced” by the Obama administration, adding that it’s a “new phrase” intended to draw a distinction between Obama’s team and Bush’s. What Fox News didn’t bother to find out is that the Bush administration also used the “federal family” phrase, many times, as did the Clinton administration, many times. It simply refers to a group of federal agencies that work together on emergency response.

It’s not “new”; it wasn’t “introduced” by the Obama administration; it’s not part of a “condescending” liberal scheme to make Americans love the government; it has nothing to do with embarrassing the Bush administration, since the Bush team used the same rhetoric. Fox News just didn’t bother to get its facts straight before misleading its audience.

There’s a good reason those who rely on Fox News seem so confused, so often — they’re routinely lied to.

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, August 31, 2011

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Dictators, GOP, Government, Homeland Security, Ideologues, Ideology, Journalists, Media, Politics, President Obama, Press, Public, Public Opinion, Pundits, Republicans, Right Wing, States, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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