Thursday, July 19, 2012

When conservatives get the facts wrong

So I'm debating with a conservative right-winger and the thing that bothers me is not the policy differences. It is that conservatives often get the facts wrong. Maybe it's because conservatives, as one study puts it, engage in low effort thinking. The problem is that when conservatives get the facts wrong, bad things happen. You see, conservatives let policy dictate over the facts. The Iraq War is a good example. The Bush administration said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He did not. Billions of dollars spent by the United States. Hundreds of thousands dead.

But recently, conservatives have engaged in ideas that are just wrong. They range from the silly to the dangerous. Here are three of them.

1. Rush Limbaugh says new Batman movie is a liberal conspiracy. He said this on his radio show on Tuesday.

"Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane? .... So this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there's discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters. It's going to have a lot of people, ....The audience is going to be huge. A lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people -- entertainment, the pop culture crowd -- and they're going to hear Bane in the movie and they're going to associate Bain."

Now in case you didn't know, the reference to Bane is to GOP's presidential candidate Mitt Romney's former company, Bain Capital. It's the center of some controversy since in the early part of this century, it engaged in takeovers, and outsourcing of jobs. The truth of the matter is that Bane is a criminal character invented by the Batman comics in 1993. The genesis of the new movie, The Dark Knight Rises, didn't start until February of 2010. All of those dates are before Romney announced in April of 2011, he would seek the presidency for 2012.

2. Texas Republicans oppose critical thinking. It's hard to make this up. A plank in the Texas state Republican platform opposes the teaching of "critical thinking" to school children. That may not sound like getting the facts wrong but not thinking critically will lead one to get the facts wrong.

Yes, they now say it's an oversight. But how is this an oversight? I will misspell a word. That's an oversight. Somebody had to write it down and type it in the platform. And if it's an "oversight" then that shows the Republican Party doesn't engage in critical thinking. I'll let Stephen Colbert brilliantly satirize it.

3. Michele Bachmann alleges that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's aide, Huma Abedin of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Former Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party darling, Cong. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) is calling for an investigation of the government to determine whether there has been infiltration of the United States government by Islamic fundamentalists. She points out Secretary of State's longtime aide, Huma Abedin as an example of possible infiltration. Anderson Cooper of CNN debunked this. Basically the best evidence is that Ms. Abedin's deceased father may have had the support of another who may have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. That's it folks.

If Bachmann sounds like Sen. Joe McCarthy ( R-Wis.) that's because this is the same type of witch hunt that he did in the fifties. So off base was Bachmann, that fellow Republicans blasted her. Just remember at one point of this year's presidential campaign she showed her popularity by winning the Ames, Iowa straw poll. And like I said she's a darling of the Tea Party.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said some eloquent words in support of Ms. Abedin. Yesterday, on Rachel Maddow's show, Rachel played some of them back in a greater piece about the ongoing Republican racial smear against President Obama, i.e. he's foreign. 7:00 minute mark)

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Today, Chris Matthews on Hardball also did a piece on Bachmann.

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