Category Archives: Howey Truth Squad

Politikal Culture

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The Boys Who Cried Wolf

I’m no fan of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the illegally elected President of Iran, suppressor of free speech, and hater of Jews. But…

I’m also not a fan of the neocon right wing kooks like ekg’s friend LilMike over at The VSJ and others who distribute mass disinformation with the intent of stirring the pot. Over the past few months, actually years, this has been the Republican modus operandi – lie when all else fails.

This tactic has, in fact, worked well for the neocon Republican crowd that they’ve been using it in the current debate over health care. But that’s another story…

What I’d like to dismiss today is the recent internet furor regarding claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Jewish. Using another well-worn tactic of the neocon far right as taught to them by the neocon Zionist far right of Israel the answer is simple: Claim your opponent is a self-hating Jew.

In the case of Ahmadinejad this might be effective if, in fact, he is Jewish.

But he’s not. Really, he’s not Jewish!

And the investigation into this silly claim is hilarious although not uncommon given LilMike’s propensity for using scurrilous sources when making his unfounded claims.

In the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the source of this wild claim is a blog. Yes, a blog. Written by Mehdi Khazali in January. Who is Mehdi Khazali? He’s the son of a prominent Iranian political ally of Ahmadinejad who’s been so vocal in his hate of Ahmadinejad that his father’s disowned him. He’s claimed hero status lately as a result of his arrest during the recent political elections in Iran for (rightfully) backing Mir Hossein Mousavi and has become a frequent source to the right wing neocon Jewish Zionist internet paper, Arutz Sheva.

See where I’m going with this?

The Path to Disinformation – Neocon Style:

1. Find a blog supporting your position.

2. Publish the unsubstantiated accusations made in the blog on Radio Free Europe and Arutz Sheva; throwing it against the wall hoping it’ll stick.

3. If that doesn’t get picked up by the MSM, wait a few months and try again, this time with an article in The Telegraph, and a repeat of the original item by Arutz Sheva, albeit with a new date.

4. Stir the pot again, throw it against the wall again, and see what sticks.

Thus the problem I, and the rest of the reasonable people in this world, see:

If you cry “WOLF!” too often, how do you suspect us to believe you when the wolf actually shows upabr1163l

Exposing the Sources – A Special Howey Truth Squad Report

I learned a long time ago that when dealing with Republicans like Kelly’s friend and occasional sparring partner, LilMike, that you have to look at the big picture when a source is cited. He often takes topics into directions unheard of while ignoring the issues at hand. Skewing facts to make a point is obviously an inherent trait of Republicans and LilMike uses it well. Which is why I like to check sources for the sources.

More  times than not, that source is about as crooked as Tricky Dick and is often a well-disguised sounding board for all things right-wing.

In today’s edition of the Howey Truth Squad, I’ll be tackling an innocuous little editorial from Investor’s Business Daily, one that taken at first glance would lead us to believe health care reform isn’t all that.

Let’s start with this part of the editorial:

The nonpartisan Lewin Group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their group coverage at work and end up in such a program. That would leave private carriers with 50 million or fewer customers. This could cause the market to, as Lewin Vice President John Sheils put it, “fizzle out altogether.”

Hello? Lewin Group?

This Lewin Group????

Lewin Group Linked to Private Insurors

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman, president of AHCJ’s board of directors, scolded journalists for not mentioning that Lewin Group, the consultants who released a recent study claiming that a public insurance option would cost doctors and hospitals money, is ultimately part of a major insurance company.

(Lewin Group is) part of Ingenix, which is owned by Unitedunitedhealthcare Healthcare Group, the insurance behemoth that has been buying up insurance companies left and right, expanding its reach into just about every segment of the health-insurance market. Its flagship, UnitedHealthcare, helps make it the largest health insurer in the country.

It’s a safe bet that United is not too keen on a public plan that might shrink its business. The relationship is disclosed in the study and Lieberman turned up evidence indicating that there may be no formal protections in place for Lewin Group’s editorial independence.

She wondered why journalists, particularly those behind a widely used AP story, did not provide readers with any information or context on Lewin’s insurance industry ties and called on reporters to remedy their error next time Lewin Group comes up.

Wait. Did that say United Healthcare Group?

This United Healthcare Group????

Health Insurance Company Abuses

Most people don’t trust health insurance companies and with good reason. They are a powerful industry that is not easily prodded, pushed or intimidated into doing the right thing by their members. Insurance companies routinely abuse the trust of patients and providers alike.

A new report by Health Care for America Now outlines the habitual abuses perpetrated by health insurance companies, including leaving patients with high out-of-pocket costs, denying coverage for medically necessary care, preventing doctors from delivering care they feel is best for their patients, and unduly delaying reimbursement to patients and providers.

The report demonstrates how health insurance companies repeat the same abuses over and over again, despite being reprimanded and fined by state insurance agencies. For example, the report notes how the Texas Department of Insurance has fined United Healthcare millions of dollars for violating the state’s prompt payment law. The 2007 fine, $4.4 million dollars, was “the second time in two years and the fourth time since 2001 that Texas fined United Healthcare for the same type of violation.”

But Texas is not the only state where United Healthcare has perpetrated that particular abuse. The report also gives examples of similar fines being levied in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Insurance companies are clearly not intimidated by state regulators. These companies seem to consider the fines they incur just the cost of doing business.

How much money must they be saving by breaking prompt payment laws if they are willing to keep violating the law over and over again?

It’s really simple. President Obama is not out to socialize our country. He’s not out to turn us all into card-carrying Zombies.  He doesn’t want to destroy our country. Regardless of what the Republican Doomsayers want you to think. Do we really want to listen to the same folks who sent us to Iraq…the same folks who destroyed our economy…the same folks who took the reputation of our Presidency and country and flushed it down the drain?

Let the President and Congress do their job. Isn’t that refreshing after what we were put through the past eight years?

The Bottom of the Barrel

For nearly three years, I participated in a little forum populated by a lot of good people, but a few die-hard Republicans who had little need for a gay, ex-Air Force guy around them. Particularly the guy who ran the forum, affectionately known as The Despot, who was a straight ex-Navy guy who thought I, as a gay ex-Air Force guy, was a criminal because I lied to the recruiter when I joined the military and was nothing but a fraud because of it. Really!

Of course, it didn’t help that I frequently and loudly pointed out the blatant (or thinly disguised) homophobia and racism sometimes voiced on said forum either…which finally led to my being banned. The good news is that little bit of censorship resulted in this blog and now I have thousands of people reading my rants instead of twenty. And thankfully, you, my readers, seem to appreciate my words and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

Being the only gay guy on the forum amongst a lot of chest-pumping, heterosexual, (mostly) God-fearing, sometimes racist bunch of guys and gals wasn’t always fun but I actually made one or two lasting friends over there, especially Kelly, who caught a whole hell of a lot of grief for coming to my defense time and time again as I posted my words and thoughts time and time again. Probably even to this day and especially after this post.

I don’t miss those who hated me and continue to have a great friendship with those that miss me…so I guess it’s obvious now who came out on top.

All that leads up the this, the latest edition of The Howey Truth Squad.

Back in May, I started a thread on the forum celebrating those whom I feel are true American Heroes: folks like Daniel Choi and Victor Fehrenbach and thousands upon thousands of other gays in the military who are forced to live a lie in order to serve their country and fight for your freedom.

Somehow, in the course of the conversation, I found an interesting article from the SF Gate, reporting on the suspect recruiting tactics of the Armed Forces and the  lax, very lax, standards the military is using to recruit soldiers to the point that, today, gang members and members of racist hate groups, are working alongside the young men and women of our military while honorable, nee honored, gay soldiers are being discharged from the military under DADT for no reason other than they are gay! From the article:

Last month, the Sun-Times reported that a gang member facing federal charges of murder and robbery enlisted in the Marine Corps “while he was free on bond — and was preparing to ship out to boot camp when Marine officials recently discovered he was under indictment.” While this recruit was eventually booted from the Corps, a Milwaukee police detective and Army veteran, who serves on the federal drug and gang task force that arrested the would-be Marine, noted that other “gang-bangers are going over to Iraq and sending weapons back … gang members are getting access to military training and weapons.”

This weekend, the Stars and Stripes, not a liberal rag, underscores my point:

But there’s one other thing that dozens of members of, a white supremacist social networking website, have in common:63650_79133349b They proudly identify themselves as active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Montgomery, Ala.-based watchdog group that tracks extremist hate groups, has compiled a book containing the online user profiles of at least 40 users who say they are serving in the military, in apparent violation of Pentagon regulations prohibiting racist extremism in the ranks.

On Friday, the SPLC will present its findings to key members of Congress who chair the House and Senate committees overseeing the armed forces and urge them to pressure the Pentagon to crack down.

“In the wake of several high-profile murders by extremists of the radical right, we urge your committees to investigate the threat posed by racial extremists who may be serving in the military to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists,” Morris Dees, SPLC co-founder and chief trial counsel, wrote to the legislators.

“Evidence continues to mount that current Pentagon policies are inadequate to prevent racial extremists from joining and serving in the armed forces.”

Can I make a suggestion to the President, Congress and the American people? Can we at least get an Executive Order suspending DADT? Especially when the majority of Americans, Democrat and Republican, support it?

Perhaps then the President, Congress, and the American people can be assured that at least our tax dollars are being used to ensure our military’s not training future terrorists on our dime.

And keep the real liars, frauds, and criminals out of our military.

Sorry, Obama Haters!

I’m going to start a new section of this blog….I’ll call it the Howey Truth Squad…with the intent of calling out the ridiculous, childish, and hate-filledr3356552547 bullshit that is the Republican attitude towards our President, Barack Obama. (I didn’t know where to find the picture but a quick trip to Matt Drudge’s site made it real easy.) Of course, Matt’s not been known to check out a woman’s derriere, IYKWIM. 😉

Today’s edition of the Howey Truth Squad centers around a picture that supposedly shows our President checking out a young woman while in France.

Ooo La La!

Unfortunately, as is the case with just about anything the right-wing media jumps on, it’s just not so and the facts have been misrepresented. Will these right wingers ever learn skewing the truth just doesn’t work?