(And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)


Al Franken

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Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)



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(And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)

Copyright © Al Franken, Inc., 2003

You Know Who I Don’t Like?
Ann Coulter

What Coulter writes is political pornography. She aims directly at her readers’ basest instincts. Pornography may serve as a welcome release for Republican businessmen on the road, and as a profit center for Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton, Radisson, and other big GOP donors, but it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. That’s why the titles don’t appear on your bill.



Liberals Who Hate America

Other people give credit for ending the Cold War to the Polish pope, John Paul II; to Lech Walesa and his independent trade union, Solidarity; to Jimmy Carter, who put pressure on Moscow to respect the human rights of its people; and to the Soviet Union itself, which was collapsing under the crushing weight of its own failed system. Reagan, of course, did put the medium-range Pershing II missiles in Europe and began developing the Rube Goldberg Star Wars missile defense system which protects us to this day.

So credit where credit is due. Viktor told me that Reagan’s aggressive posture unquestionably hastened the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union by a week to ten days.


Ronald Reagan

Soviet Union

Loving America the Al Franken Way

Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.

That’s why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well. We also want it to do good.

When liberals look back on history, we see things we’re very proud of. And we also see some things, which might have seemed like good ideas at the time, but turned out to be mistakes. And some things we did, well, they were just bad. That doesn’t keep us from loving our country—it’s part of loving our country. It’s called honesty.



The 2000 Presidential Election:
How It Disproved the Hypothetical Liberal Media Paradigm Matrix

In the 1980s, Gore was one of the handful of leaders who foresaw the tremendous potential of Arpanet, an emergency military computer network. As both a congressman and a senator, Gore fought tirelessly for the funding that would turn Arpanet into what is now the Internet.

The Internet, as you may know, became a big hit in the nineties and briefly enjoyed a great deal of media coverage. With this in mind, Gore told Wolf Blitzer in a 1999 interview, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

What do you suppose he meant? That, late at night in his office in the Russell Building, after the other senators had gone home, he had written the PASCAL code that allowed packet switching? Probably not. No. What he seemed to be doing is what members of Congress do: He was taking credit for a program he championed and funded. In this case one that revolutionized the information infrastructure of the entire world.

But sometimes, Bush, too, was the victim of a cynical, hyper-critical press. Like when he was ridiculed for saying, “Rarely is the question asked, ‘Is our children learning?’ ” But he was right. Until Bush had the guts to ask it, I had never heard that question asked.



Remember how Gore took credit for the Internet, which he funded? Bush took credit for a Texas Patients’ Bill of Rights, which he vetoed.



Hannity and Colmes

Even if Kottman’s numbers weren’t phony, and even if Hannity were correctly interpreting the table, and even if the “cumulative” technique were something other than a laughable charade, then still, even then, Congress would only have passed $274 billion in extra spending in a period when the debt shot up $1,402 billion. So even in this loony right-wing fantasyland of a budget scenario, the deficits still weren’t caused by Democratic congressional spending.

Still, I was curious. What really happened in the so-called “eighties”?

Note (Hal’s):
The difference between budgets proposed by the Reagan administration and actual spending, for the fiscal years 1982-1989, turns out to be 0.6%.

— end note

The Blame-America’s-Ex-President-First Crowd

In times of crisis, people often respond by instinctively doing the things they find most comforting. For many Republicans, then, it is hardly surprising that their way of coping with the horror of 9/11 was to attack Bill Clinton.

Now, the Gipper wasn’t the kind of president who saw terrorism just in terms of black and white. No, Reagan distinguished between good terrorists and bad terrorists. He loved his terrorist death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador, and most of all, Nicaragua. Enough to violate the Constitution to support the Contras as they raped and tortured nuns. Bad terrorists, on the other hand, were those who used terror irresponsibly. See, Reagan saw the shades of gray, where a less nuanced politician may have only seen unmitigated evil.

On to Bush Sr. No huge terrorist attacks, thank goodness. And there was no way he could have known that Ramzi Yousef and a vast network of violent Muslim extremists were planning the World Trade Center bombing that would take place February 26, 1993. You may remember that no one blamed Bush Sr. for this bombing of the World Trade Center by radical Islamic terrorists. After all, it did happen on Clinton’s watch. He had been president for thirty-eight days.

The only tiny little thing I fault Bush Sr. for is the way he handled Afghanistan. After he continued arming his violent Muslim extremist friends there, the Soviets eventually withdrew in early 1989. Bush promptly implemented the top-secret Project Neglect, which consisted of abandoning (or “neglecting”) Afghanistan and allowing it to become a breeding ground for anti-U.S. terrorist training camps.

Humor in Uniform

I’ve always thought that in those first days, Karl Rove, the head of White House political operations, should have just gotten a Pakistani cab driver off the street in D.C. and run this stuff by him:

“Operation Infinite Justice?! Oh no! Please do not call it that! Only Allah can dispense infinite justice. Please, please do not call it that! . . . What else? . . . CRUSADE?!!! OH, NO!!!”

Who Created the Tone?
The mauling of Clinton was payback for Nixon, Bork, Iran-Contra, and Clarence Thomas (every time we caught them doing something wrong, they got even madder), but more than that, it was payback for the sixties: Freedom Riding, bra burning, pot smoking, free loving, tree hugging, draft dodging, Woodstock attending, Woodstock overdosing, God not-fearing, and carrot cake. They’ve never forgiven us for carrot cake.



Why Did Anyone Think It Would Change?

Phone banks, flyers, e-mails, church pulpits, and, in one undocumented case, telepathy—all these were used as “Weapons of McCain Destruction,” as Bill Schneider might have called them on CNN’s Inside Politics. One such e-mail came from Bob Jones University Professor Richard Hand [...], who wrote to fellow South Carolinians that McCain “chose to sire children without marriage.” When Hand was told on CNN that there was no evidence Senator McCain had fathered illegitimate children, Hand, displaying the intellectual rigor for which Bob Jones University is justifiably esteemed worldwide, said, “That’s a universal negative. Can you prove that?”



I Grow Discouraged About the Tone

Cleland’s opponent, Saxby Chambliss, was not a war hero. He got out of Vietnam because of a bad knee. Cleland has never had a bad knee. Before the war, he had two good ones. Afterward, he would never have to worry about his knees for the rest of his life.

Chambliss ran one of the great attack ads of the 2002 cycle, one that warmed even Karl Rove’s icy heart. It featured images of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and . . . Max Cleland.

The ad savaged Cleland’s votes against the “President’s vital homeland security efforts.” [...]

To recap quickly. Cleland loses three limbs in Vietnam. Cleland authors Department of Homeland Security legislation. Bush blocks it. Bush proposes politicized version of same legislation to trap Democrats. Cleland stands on principle and votes against it. Bush says senators “not interested” in security of American people. Chambliss compares Cleland to Osama and Saddam and attacks Cleland’s courage.

Chambliss wins. Republicans take Senate. Bush credits victory to change in tone.

I grow discouraged.

I’m Prudenized

A short sidebar about me and John McCain. I met John in 1996 when he gave a beautiful eulogy at the funeral of a mutual friend, David Ifshin, who died of cancer. Ifshin had been a Vietnam anti-war protester and, in 1970, went to North Vietnam (sans Jane Fonda), where he denounce our involvement in the war on Radio Hanoi. David’s denunciation was piped into the Hanoi Hilton, where McCain got to hear it in his tiny solitary cell.

Cut to: 1988. Ifshin has become a mainstream Democrat and is serving as counsel on the Mondale campaign. McCain, now a congressman from Arizona, angrily denounces Mondale for having Ifshin on his staff. Ifshin goes up to the Hill, marches into McCain’s office, finds him, and says, “I owe you an apology.”

But McCain says, “No. I owe you an apology. You had every right to do what you did.” So they shake hands, become fast friends, and together (with others) work successfully toward normalization of relations between Vietnam and the United States.

In his eulogy, John said that Ifshin had taught him to see the best in everyone.

“By Far the Vast Majority of My Tax Cuts Got to Those at the Bottom”

So, when we were expecting huge surpluses, Bush argued that it was our money, and if the government was taking more than it needed, we deserved to get some of it back. Specifically, we needed a $1.6 trillion tax cut, heavily tilted toward the wealthy.

But once evidence began to emerge that the economy was sputtering and the surplus was shrinking, this rationale no longer applied. There were new economic problems that needed new solutions. How could the economy be jump-started? Bush met with his top economic advisors and came back with an innovative answer: a $1.6 trillion tax cut, heavily tilted toward the wealthy.


Logic (examples)

I am a nut for statistics. Because numbers don’t lie. Here’s one that I think is particularly telling. During the six-plus years that the two Bushes have been president, there has not been one new net job created. Not one. Extrapolating from that, if the Bushes had run this country from its very inception to the present day, not a single American would ever have worked.

Bush has said that it is immoral to tax people when they die. Since we are currently experiencing a $450 billion deficit, the amount of the revenue being lost by the phase-out and eventual repeal of the estate tax will have to be made up by taxes on you and me. It is arguably more moral to tax an incredibly rich person who is dead than a middle- or working-class person who is still alive. The living person might use the money for medical care, food, travel, or other things that dead rich people don’t have to think about.



However, the repeal of the estate tax will create a way to avoid not just double taxation, but also single taxation. Here’s how to do it. Buy an enormous amount of stock or property. Let it accumulate value. Die. Now the money goes to your kids, who escape both estate and capital gains taxes.

The Wall Street Journal refers to them as “lucky duckies” because they earn so little that they don’t pay any income taxes.



The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus

Supply Side Jesus:
It is easier for a rich man to enter heaven seated comfortably on the back of a camel, than it is for a poor man to pass through the eye of a needle !

If you are prosperous on earth, that means that God is rewarding your rugged individualism. If you are poor, it is a sign that God frowns on your reliance on handouts.

Note (Hal’s):
Lest some flack involved in the current political fray decide this is anti-Christian, note that Supply Side Jesus is directly contrasted to the real Jesus of Nazareth. Supply Side Jesus takes the role of Barabbas: Pilate offers to free whichever Jesus is chosen by the crowd. (Supply Side Jesus buys their votes, of course.)

— end note



text checked (see note) Oct 2008

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