The Sarah Palin of the Left gets her facts wrong again

Before you call me an “alt-righter” because I criticize Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, let me point out that both the Washington Post and PolitiFacthardly right-wing sites—have called out the new Congressperson for her repeated misstatements and/or lies. I prefer to think that she’s just ignorant rather than mendacious, but her combination of persistent uninformed claims and overweening love of the limelight reminds me of a combination of Sarah Palin and Bill Nye.  Ocasio-Cortez is also beloved by Linda Sarsour and HuffPo, which should make us at least a bit wary.

Truly, I don’t understand why Ocasio-Cortez has become a hero of progressives, unless it be that she’s a “woman of color” (she’s Hispanic) and does have a progressive agenda, though she advances it with claims that are palpably false. If we’re to have a Democratic Leader of the Future, let it be one who learns rather than spouts nonsense. I predict, given her love of attention, that Ocasio-Cortez is not going to mature into the leader that liberals want.

Here’s a gaffe she made yesterday: a claim, based on an article in the Nation, that the Pentagon somehow had 21 trillion dollars that it hid or misplaced, and that money could fund medical care for all. Here’s AoC’s tweet.

But if you go to the Nation article (click on screenshot below), you’ll find that the $21 trillion wasn’t money ever had by the Pentagon. It reflects the sum of many money transfers that could not be documented.

A quote from the article:

In all, at least a mind-boggling $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions between 1998 and 2015 could not be traced, documented, or explained, concluded Skidmore. To convey the vastness of that sum, $21 trillion is roughly five times more than the entire federal government spends in a year. It is greater than the US Gross National Product, the world’s largest at an estimated $18.8 trillion. And that $21 trillion includes only plugs that were disclosed in reports by the Office of Inspector General, which does not review all of the Pentagon’s spending.

To be clear, Skidmore, in a report coauthored with Catherine Austin Fitts, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development who complained about similar plugs in HUD financial statements, does not contend that all of this $21 trillion was secret or misused funding. And indeed, the plugs are found on both the positive and the negative sides of the ledger, thus potentially netting each other out. But the Pentagon’s bookkeeping is so obtuse, Skidmore and Fitts added, that it is impossible to trace the actual sources and destinations of the $21 trillion. The disappearance of thousands of records adds further uncertainty. The upshot is that no one can know for sure how much of that $21 trillion was, or was not, being spent legitimately.

Either Ocasio-Cortez didn’t read the article or misunderstood it, but she should have checked before she tweeted. For that she was called out, even by liberals:

The left-wing Vox also corrected Ocasio-Cortez, noting that “Indeed, there simply hasn’t been $21 trillion in (nominal) Defense Department spending across the entirety of American history.”

Yes, I too want government-regulated medical care for all, but adding free college tuition on top of that makes the whole platform unfeasible.

91 Comments

  1. JezGrove
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Ocasio-Cortez aside, the accounting procedures in the Pentagon must have been woefully inadequate for many years for $21 trillion of expenditure to be untraceable. How on earth could such a discrepancy not have come to light before?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      As I’ve said before, the Pentagon gets away with a lot because of the elevated status it has in US society, and the US government’s desire to be so militarily powerful.

      As for AOC, she’s an idiot and I’ve never understood what people see in her. I hope it’s not just because she’s young, female, and a poc who embraces the Bernie Sanders version of the progressive agenda. When will people learn to think for themselves. All the people who voted for her went to school – education is supposed to be about teaching you to think critically, not just imparting facts. Knowledge is no good without the ability to assess it.

      • BJ
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Well said.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:36 am | Permalink

        “I hope it’s not just because she’s young, female, and a poc who embraces the Bernie Sanders version of the progressive agenda.” You hope in vain.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        Excellent quote mining opportunity.

        As for AOC, she’s an idiot … I hope it’s not just because she’s young, female, and a poc who embraces the Bernie Sanders version of the progressive agenda.

        Being female or a PoC or even a Bernie Sanders supporter is not correlated with being an idiot.

        If it’s because she’s young, there is hope she’ll grow out of it.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          I do not think any of those things are correlated with being an idiot. I’m sorry if it came across that way.

          • Posted December 6, 2018 at 3:22 am | Permalink

            No it didn’t come across that way. I was being cheeky.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted December 7, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

              Sorry. My bad.

              • Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

                Please stop apologising for things that are not your fault. I was blatantly quote mining your post – I even said so – to distort its meaning for comic effect. If the comic effect didn’t come through, it’s my fault entirely.

  2. anon
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Did you see her recent tweet where she blamed pharmaceutical lobbyists for why her HS science fair project was not pursued further?

    • keith
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      Minor point, and possibly just a typo, but you’d think she’d make certain the name of her study organism is spelled correctly, especially since it’s spelled correctly in the tweet she quotes in her own tweet.

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I think that, if Hell existed, the adults who disrupted the normal development of young Alexandria by giving her the prize and naming an asteroid after her would have a reserved place in the fire.

  3. Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Her error reveals that she doesn’t have an order-of-magnitude feel for costings, which is surely a pretty crucial thing for a senior politician.

    $21 trillion is 35-years worth of US defence expenditure at the 2018 level. Is it likely (or even possible) that the Pentagon has wasted 35-years worth of money?

    For that matter, $32 Trillion for Medicare for All?? I know that US healthcare costs are insane, but really?

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the comparison is valid. Ocasio-Cortez is a 29-year-old political neophyte and congresswoman-elect. Sarah Palin was a forty-something governor of Alaska (and former mayor of Wasilla) who was running for the office that would’ve put her a heartbeat away from the US presidency.

    If AOC remains willfully ignorant after occupying office for her first term (as Sarah Palin remains willfully ignorant to this day), then I’ll gladly can revisit the comparison.

    • JezGrove
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      That sounds fair.

    • Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      The comparison is that both shot their mouths off about things they didn’t know about. It’s perfectly fair to call out Ocasio-Cortez for her misinformed statements and tweets since she should have known better. So should Palin.

      And they both love publicity.

      • Keith
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree that calling out Ocasio-Cortez is fair and I suspect she will settle into her new role and learn from her mistakes. I don’t think the comparison to Palin is fair. Palin was (and is) aggressively anti-intellectual and such an obvious grifter, given how she has comported herself since 2008. I do not see anything close to those traits in Ocasio-Cortez.

        • Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          She’s even sciency! According to Wikipedia:

          “Ocasio-Cortez attended Yorktown High School, graduating in 2007,[20] where she won second prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a microbiology research project on the effect of antioxidants on C. elegans’ lifespan.”

          • andrew
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            I thought the early promise of antioxidants to improve health were quashed by more in-depth research. In fact, aren’t high doses of antioxidants now thought to have a mildly negative effect if they have any effect at all? I wonder if that’s why AOC’s high school project was never pursued by Big Pharma.

            • Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

              Maybe her results were negative. At this point, just a demonstrated interest in science is a plus.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              On purely theoretical grounds, I’d think that antioxidants and all kinds of vitamin and other supplements are not healthy if you have incipient cancer. Your body needs them, but these cancer cells need them even more.

            • Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              I find it worrying that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez still thinks that her school project should have been developed by Big Pharma. To me, this means that she has lost touch with reality. I suppose that the project was never pursued by Big Pharma, Little Pharma, public universities, independent reserchers or anyone else for the simple reason that it had no value other than to educate the high school kid working on it.

              Besides, if she really wanted this project to live, she should have gone into science and tried to pursue it herself.

        • Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          She is anti-intellectual. And because she is being touted as the incarnated spirit of women and of “people of color”, she gives free ammunition to everyone who claims these groups of people are dumb.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        All 435 congresspeople who will be sworn into the House of Representatives next month love publicity — that’s one of the reasons they’re politicians. Ocasio-Cortez gets it simply because she’s fresh and young and bubbly. But there’s no reason she should be getting any more attention than any other incoming freshman congressperson-elect (such as my own, Debrie Mucasel-Powell, about whom I still have to think twice to get the order of her last name correct, and about whom I’ll bet the rest of the country knows virtually nothing).

        AOC should do what any smart freshman congressperson does — keep her head down, her eyes and ears open and cerrada la boca, except to ask questions or to speak out on the key issues she ran on if no one else is doing so. In the meantime, we oughta give her a chance to grow into the job.

        • BJ
          Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          On your last paragraph: that was one of the qualities I loved about Al Franken. Once Franken was elected, he never sought publicity or even went on news panels. He said he refused to do them because he wanted to spend his time learning how to work in the Senate and become the most effective representative he could be for his state and the country’s interests.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Is there a way back for Franken?

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      However, Palin has never been promoted by mainstream media as forcefully as Ocasio-Cortez is.

  5. Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    “If we’re to have a Democratic Leader of the Future, let it be one who learns rather than spouts nonsense”

    That would be an improvement indeed, however it would be even better to learn valuable lessons rather than nonsense.

    (the big bang made me do it ;))

  6. Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    What her appeal is, I think;

    1. She is a hard worker (or appears to be)
    2. She unseated an establishment candidate thought to be unbeatable.
    3. When attacked, she fires back and doesn’t hold back.

    As far as her ignorance of basic facts: from what I’ve read and seen, *MANY* in Congress are ill informed or just downright dumb. I’ve seen sitting members of Congress:

    a) say climate change is unimportant because god will step in (is in control)
    b) hold up a snowball as part of proof that climate change is a hoax
    c)argue that using wind turbines will lead to a hotter earth surface (uses up the wind)
    d) worry out loud that an island (Guam) might tip over if loads on the island aren’t carefully distributed

    In her book (Living History), Hillary Clinton states that were members of Congress who didn’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.

    This, of course, doesn’t excuse her ignorance. But sadly, she appears to fit in.

    She stands out simply by having more attention focused on her.

    • Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      She hasn’t apologized for this gross mistake, at least not as far as I can tell. That is worse than the mistake itself. I still don’t think she should be lumped in with Palin just yet. At least AOC’s sentences make sense.

      • Christopher
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Hey, not apologizing for being totally, completely, absolutely, and bat-shit-crazily wrong has worked well for conservatives, it was only a matter of time until the left tried it too! Now, if she’s truly learned her lessons from the right, she’ll double down on her mistakes and get them printed on signs, bumper stickers, or maybe an ugly hat…

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I think the words for Ocasio-Cortez would be – Ready, Fire, Aim. When those about you have doubts about your abilities, why open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    • alexandra Moffat
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      going off half cocked??
      opening mouth before engaging brain?

      A stupid, heedless mistake – smacking slightly of arrogance, self-indulgence.
      Give her some time to learn? Her true colors will out.

      (hope that word “colors” is still permissible when used in the flag sense. You never know these days).

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I thought for a second there you were talking about the president.

  8. Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    The US Federal Gov spent ~ $500 Billion on average per year over the last few decades on Defense of the Nation, which is the entire military budget.

    It would take 42 years of the ENTIRE military budget (at 5B average) to equal $21 Trillion.

    • Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      According to Wikipedia:

      “For the FY 2019 President Donald Trump proposed an increase to the military to $681.1 billion.”

      Since he also wants less involvement in foreign wars and allies to pay a bigger share of their defense, one wonders what the extra budget is for. Parades?

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Space Force with laser wielding space troops, the newest and bestest arm of the military…my arm…MAGA!

      • Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Just like Federal spending for Social Services (now at $3,000 Billion per year), spending on Defense simply “balloons” as part of the System. It swells. It inflates.

        It is not any given president or administration that makes this happen. This is the System we asked for, and got.

  9. Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    If you really want to be depressed..this is from someone I respect.

    • Historian
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Krugman has it absolutely right. AOC serves the right wing admirably as a deflection from its countless inanities spouted by its members in Congress. However, their efforts have been largely unsuccessful, as evidenced by the results of the last election. Palin is stupid, it is simple at that. Whether AOC is stupid or just ignorant, motivated by ideological zeal, remains to be seen.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

        What she says is on a par with what, say, Michele Bachmann says. Krugman is grading on a curve.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Palin is stupid, it is simple at that. Whether AOC is stupid or just ignorant, motivated by ideological zeal, remains to be seen.

        It is always nice to see historical nuance at work.

        I was trying to figure out what is Krugman’s excuse (a Nobel laureate, let’s not forget), but after reading this analysis so full of historical nuance I don’t need to anymore.

  10. andrewilliamson
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The reason anyone pays attention to her is because she’s striking/good looking.

    If she were ugly, she most likely wouldn’t be in congress, and if she were in Congress and average looking, no one would be listening to her.

    Without her looks, all the attention (including the post above and this comments section) wouldn’t exist.

    Same for it was for Palin.

    • andrewilliamson
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      ugh typos.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Congress isn’t known for its lookers; that’s how Washington, DC, earned the sobriquet “Hollywood for ugly people.”

    • pck
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Asserting that the only reason for a woman’s popularity is her looks is sexist. You should strive to be better than that.

      • andrewilliamson
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        She gets compulsive national attention and global notoriety because her facts are so factual? She’s a junior congressional representative in a body of 435 people.

        It’s not a sexist claim if it happens to be true. Besides, I’m making a claim about looks, not sex.

        I’m open to agreeing with you, and recanting, if you can name one junior congressperson who has made such colossally incorrect claims, and who is in the national headlines on a weekly basis.

        The only person I can think of, who doesn’t exactly fit that bill, but close, is Beto O’Rourke. I don’t know much about his politics, but I’m pretty sure a big part of his national appeal and attention are his looks. Which kinda makes my point.

        Seriously, who else?

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of comparisons of one politician to another – I think of Bush one and two. Remember how many criticized H Bush for ending the war too soon in Iraq. And look what happened when W Bush went in.

    • Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Right. HW was the smarter Bush for ending it at the border.

      • JezGrove
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Supposedly, HW did so to maintain the regional coalition that had backed Gulf War I. Going on would have lost the key Arab partners and he was hoping to secure a bigger prize in the Middle East. I’ve no idea if that is true, or wishful thinking based on hindsight. But either way, it left the path open to Dubya’s rematch…

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          There is that other thing and I suspect H Bush believed it – You buy it you own it. Something his son never learned.

          • JezGrove
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            Too busy reading The Pet Goat, I expect. Boy, the days when the president could read sure are nostalgic, though…

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            The version I heard was, “You bought it, you wear it.”

            Same effect, though.

            And I agree about Bush senior vs Dubya.

            cr

        • Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          2 reasons: 1)the coaltion (including many Middle East/Islamic nations) was built on the premise that we weren’t there to overthrow an Islamic nation, but to help liberate an independent nation.

          2) The NSC/JCS planning the war had the liberation as its #1 goal. When that was achieved, that military phase of the operation was mostly over. This was a direct result of most of that leadership coming to maturity during Viet Nam, where the open-ended nature of our mission taught some hard-learned lessons.

          Im contrast with Junior and subsequent miliitary actions, we seem to be open to -and even welcome- the return to military intervention as a first line of diplomacy with no thought about ‘what happens next?’.

          Frustrating.

  12. Posted December 3, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Comrade Alexandria also asserted that America didn’t have a capitalist economy at its founding, and that we didn’t have free public education until the 1950’s.

    I’d say her head is filled with nonsense, but I doubt it comes close to being filled with anything at all.

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Come on, be patient, she has to learn. And the far right (aka conservatives) is orders of magnitude worse anyway.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        1) She’ll never learn. And this willfully ignorant ingenue is what we’ve got now instead of the seasoned Joe Crowley;

        2) tu quoque;

        3) I don’t see a fundamental difference between idealogical lunacy on the left and idealogical lunacy on the right.

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted December 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you, and indeed I was sarcastic (echoing several comments above.) My bad for not putting a smile somewhere.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        And sorry, the chambers of the US Congress is not the place for on-the-job training. The time for learning would be in some local gov’t position — or better, back when she was attending, but obviously not paying attention at, NYU Commonwealth Ave campus.

  13. Posted December 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the public conversation is in for trillions of years of Diane Abbott-like fun at the expense of young Alexandria Occasionally-Competent.

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Ah yes, Diane “Mao was doing a great job” Abbott. The UK is being pulled between Maoists who want the economy to collapse so that the revolution will come, and disaster capitalists who want it to collpase so that they can make offshore profits short-selling the pound.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Or are we being unfair to perhaps the only human on the planet named after a city, a crap 70’s musical instrument and a conquistador?

        • Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

          I dont know what would count as being unfair to Diane Abbott. She is someone who seems to get a free pass to be as hypocritical, incompetent and smug as its possible for a human being to be, without their actually becomming Piers Morgan.

          • Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

            I had been ruminating for years about Diane Abbott’s delivery until David Aaronovitch encapsulated it. She speaks like you are the toddler and she the Nursery Nurse.

  14. Martin X
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Dunning-Kruger at the moment. We’ll see if she improves once she has a proper staff.

    After the kerfuffle of her last big boo-boo, many of her defenders alleged the criticism was sexist.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      That will be the fall back defense from here on out. She’s a female POC, all criticism will be dismissed as misogyny or racism..

      As much as her election was hopeful in the sense that even those with no political experience but with a lot of nerve and good timing can get into office, she is clearly not qualified to do any job that requires knowledge or understanding of complex issues. All she needs to do is stick to her guns, never admit she is wrong, speak only that what can be said in a tweet or bumpersticker and never, ever, compromise on whatever will get her re-elected (irrespective of whether it is right or even makes sense), she’ll do fine. Perfect for congress.

      • Martin X
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        I’m hoping for better. Some people in my twitter feed said that they liked her style and that was more important to them than any policy positions. I pointed out that Trump voters had the same attitude…

        • Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          That’s not a reasonable comparison. I agree with what she is trying to do: Medicare for all, fully funded public schools and universities, housing as a human right, justice system reform, immigration reform, and so on. I might not agree with everything in her platform or their details but her heart is in the right place. If she was President I would worry but as a junior representative, she won’t be solely responsible for much of anything. On the other hand, I can’t think of a single thing candidate Trump said that I supported.

          • Martin X
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            You’re conflating a style of reasoning with the content.

          • BJ
            Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            That platform basically amounts to “we should have heaven.” Public school are already funded (that’s why they’re “public” schools), though we should certainly do better, and I think nearly everyone agrees with that. How we are going to fund Medicare for all, university for all, and housing for all, all while maintaining the biggest national debt the world has ever seen and which continues to balloon by the trillion, remains a mystery. But it sounds nice (although I don’t agree with the “college for all” idea).

            • Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:51 am | Permalink

              They are goals that are worth working toward. These are things other countries have, right? Are you really suggesting that they are out of reach of the richest country on earth?

              • BJ
                Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

                Which countries have no homeless people? Additionally, the “other countries have X” argument never accounts for what kind of country it is, its demographics, population size, etc. Again, the question is how we will pay for all of this considering our country’s situation. For example, the largest of the Nordic countries, Sweden, has fewer than ten million people, enormous reserves of natural resources, a homogeneous and high-trust society, etc. I know the Nordic countries are usually given as a model for how we could do things, but they are so far removed from the kind of situation the US is in that it’s like comparing apples to cats. Meanwhile, countries like the UK are starting to roll back free university and completely free healthcare.

                Also, every other first world nation has significantly restrictive immigration laws.

  15. kelskye
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Of course you’re alt-right, at least by the standards of the far left. I see Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins characterised like that, so of course it would apply to you too.

    The new left right distinction is:
    Woke – people too stupid to know the difference – the alt right (secret Nazis)

  16. Historian
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    AOC is a freshman representative. She has made a lot of uninformed statements. But, so have a multitude of congress people, many of whom have been in office for decades. Right now she has zero influence in what takes place in congress. Perhaps that will change over time. She may be the current hero of some on the far left, but that is all. It is also possible that she will mature as time goes by. It is also highly unlikely that she will be nominated for vice-president any decade soon. Palin was almost a heartbeat away from the presidency. AOC is a heartbeat away from her next heartbeat.

    • Deodand
      Posted December 3, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      I just really wish the left would stop appropriating 9/11 Truther talking points, the whole ‘$21 Trillon missing’ claim originated with that movement. According to them the whole reason a plane was crashed into the Pentagon was to destroy the paperwork showing where the money had gone.

      • Harrison
        Posted December 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        I similarly tend to pull my hair when I hear people on the left repeating the right-wing lie that Social Security has been “raided” by Congress.

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      Well put.

  17. Steve Gerrard
    Posted December 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    She has an asteroid named for her, 23238 Ocasio-Cortez. (So do several thousand other science fair winners).

    She gets attention because she is lively and interesting, and not afraid to tweet what she thinks. Some of the tweets are quite good.

    She has the makings of a political gadfly, and will be fun to watch.

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Trump was also fun to watch… until he got his current job.

  18. Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Washington Post awards AOC four Pinocchios for this one. They gave Palin the same amount for her 2011 tour, so WaPo, at least, are in accord with Prof. CC.
    For reasons best known to itself, North America likes to pay more than every other civilised country on the planet for demonstrably worse health care (is this some sort of Puritan thing you guys have going?)
    But arguments that hand the “who is going to pay for it?” mongers an open goal are not going to advance the cause of humane sanity.

    • BJ
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      “…for demonstrably worse health care…”

      This depends on the metrics you use. By some metrics, the US has the best healthcare system the world has ever seen; by others, it’s significantly worse than most other First World nations.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Yes, if you use the wrong metrics then you will get a tale of how North America has the best health care. However, I am relying on people like Hans Rosling (his book “Factfulness” was a major influence on Pinkers Better Angels).
        Here is what he has to say “The USA spends more than twice as much per capita on health care as other capitalist countries on level 4–around $9400 compared to around $3600–and for that money its citizens can expect lives that are three years shorter. The US spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, but 39 countries have longer life expectancies”
        The US is also almost unique in having a rising rate of maternal death during or shortly after childbirth (report in Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2016 available here https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Citation/2016/09000/Drilling_Down_on_Maternal_Mortality.2.aspx)
        But I’d be more than happy to have a look at whatever metrics (and I do mean metrics, not feels) would compel me to abandon my initial position (“North America likes to pay more than every other civilised country on the planet for demonstrably worse health care”) which is practically a quote lifted from Rosling.
        Until then, I’ll stand by it. Thanks for asking.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        The US has the best healthcare if your are a rich person who can pay for the very best doctors and facilities, otherwise it is expensive and has mediocre outcomes. In other words, we in the US had Trumpcare way before he became President.

        • Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          I agree with both positions. We do arguably have the best health care in terms of machines, tests, drugs, and ability of practitioners but if you don’t have enough money, you are well and truly screwed because you won’t get to use it. It’s these monetary based outcomes that kills our countrywide stats.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

            I think that is part of the problem in US healthcare: all these expensive tests and investigations that are only rarely warranted from a medical pov. The reason behind that is the vertiginous sums awarded for damages in the US courts.
            As doctor, you better make sure you did that MRI that was not really indicated. But there is a 0.2% chance you should have done it when you didn’t, and you will be sued in that case, and it will cost millions.
            I don’t say it is the only reason US healthcare is so expensive while giving below average results, but it certainly plays a role.

            • Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

              Not to mention that few doctors (and evern fewer civilians) have any idea about how false positives work. But thats a whole other debate

        • Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:52 am | Permalink

          Everywhere on the planet has the “best healthcare if you are a rich person”. A rich person can trvael anywhere they want, or fly the best people to them.
          This doesn’t really count.
          If someone is claiming that some great doctors live in the USA, well, duh. But if I am rich enough I can fly them out to Abu Dhabi. I have a friend out there who does exactly this. Does this mean that Abu Dhabi has the best health care? This claim amounts to “rich people can pay for th ebest health care”. Well, whoever for an iota of a second thought that they couldn’t? If we add to this the claim that “lots of rich people live in America”, well, yes, once again–ya got me. But metrics have to applied logically and sensibly. If millions of people are dying of preventable disease but someone points to one operation being performed in Johns Hopkins on a millionaire child and goes “See, look at this great health care” then I would argue that they have missed the point of using metrics at all.
          So–my point still stand. And I stand by it.

  19. Jim Swetnam
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    You seem to loathe so many liberals. Respectfully, are there any you like?

  20. Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    After saying much against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and ready to continue at another occasion, let me say something in her defense. I strongly approve that she has spoken out against the unpaid internship at Congress.


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