Dean Baker at Common Dreams reminds us that most Americans think huge amounts of taxpayer money go toward things like food stamps when, actually, they don't. People think we spend "20 to 30 percent" of our federal budget on food stamps and welfare when the actual figure is more like two percent. Mr. Baker essentially blames scare numbers: "(d)iscussing budget numbers in millions, billions and trillions is incredibly irresponsible reporting," particularly when reporters don't discuss these numbers in the context of, say, an annual federal budget of $4 trillion. Also, too, reporters regurgitate scare numbers about budgets without mentioning that they're budget figures over 10 years, and I'd be lying if I said that was solely a right-wing problem. And while some folks seem to think Americans are math-challenged, I don't -- I think Americans hate confronting the fact that they don't make enough money to pay their bills. We'd all be a lot better at math if we could make the math in our lives work.
When I first confronted the headline "Equality Act = Female Erasure," I said that of course it had to be written by Rod Dreher, the man who seems to think compassion and hysteria are interchangeable concepts. How would extending protections of the Civil Rights Act to gay and transgender folk "erase" "females"? By putting men in women's locker rooms, apparently. While it's true that women would fear a man in their locker room more than a man would fear a woman in theirs, women don't live very much of their lives in locker rooms, and locker rooms are not a law of physics unto themselves -- they're spaces that could be converted to single-person water closets with minimal difficulty. Anyway, leading with an anecdote about a transgender woman who acted badly in public (when will our laws ever protect property from destruction?) sure doesn't make it any more convincing. And the idea that men will call themselves women simply to win sporting events? Yikes, doesn't Mr. Dreher remember peer pressure?
When I first confronted the headline "The Liberal Case Against Bernie," I said that of course it had to be written by Eric Alterman, the man who hates Ralph Nader so much that he once dismissed his entire consumer protection legacy. And just as Mr. Alterman blames George W. Bush's Presidency on Mr. Nader and not, for example, on George W. Bush, he naturally blames Mr. Sanders for Mrs. Clinton's loss, and not Mrs. Clinton for her inability to defeat the worst Presidential candidate anyone can remember running. And he says the "take-no-prisoners" campaign Mr. Sanders supposedly plans to run would alienate the electorate? "Playing not to lose," by supporting candidates who don't mean what they say unless they say it to big corporate donors, actually alienates the electorate! This President's an ogre, but the professional hostage-takers on the left won't beat him. (I did click through to Mr. Eichenwald's summary of Republican oppo research on Sen. Sanders, but we all had worse on our President, and he still won.)