MAY LOOK LIKE LIBERAL BIAS: The candidate "wasn't completely honest!"

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2015

Part 2—Ironically, so says Charles Blow:
Within two days of last Wednesday's debate, we liberals had received the talking points we would proceed to recite.

According to our talking points, Candidate Carson had lied about his connection to a company named Mannatech.

How did we know that Carson had lied? Because PolitiFact said!

We had other points to recite. We knew the GOP was bellyaching about the moderators of the debate. Because we knew the GOP was wrong, we also found ourselves saying that CNBC's moderators had actually done a good job!

Plainly, that wasn't the case.

As of yesterday, we had one more point to recite. President Obama had offered a quip about standing up to Putin as opposed to Quintanilla, Harwood and Quick.

Obama's delivery is very good—much better than that of most liberals. But we were now empowered to recite that talking point too.

In our view, the moderators did a terrible job at last Wednesday's debate. Before them stood a collection of goons who were offering the craziest set of budget proposals in the republic's long history.

It got worse! The party's front-runner, that same Candidate Carson, had offered a shifting plan for Medicare he couldn't begin to explain. It had also become fairly clear that he had no earthly idea what the instrument known as the "debt limit" or "debt ceiling" is.

Unfortunately, the debt limit is a very important part of our current political warfare. Candidate Carson seems to have no idea what it is.

It wasn't just Candidate Carson! As the debate proceeded, other contenders were eager to offer budget proposals which seemed to have been assembled by teams of baboons. Meanwhile, the moderators were representing a major news org which focuses on business, economics and finance!

In even a slightly rational world, the moderators would have staged a bracing two-hour event, in which the candidates' incoherence came under sharp review. In our world, the moderators did no such thing, despite our team's pathetic attempts to pretend that they actually did.

Good God, our standards are low! As we've watched our tribe settle for our pitiful talking points, we've thought of Earl Butz's pathetic/sad joke from 1976 about the unambitious fellow who only wanted "loose shoes and a warm place to poop," among other alleged desirables.

Because the joke was obscene and racist, it got Butz fired from President Ford's cabinet. Thirty-nine years later, its spirit seems to capture the way our tribe is willing to settle for a pitiful few talking points, in which we agree to pretend that a bunch of corporate hacks from a corporate "news org" staged a sharp debate.

Manifestly, they didn't. But we're prepared to pretend they did, as long as we also get to say that Candidate Carson lied! All we seem to want is a pair of loose shoes and a chance to recite that claim.

Starting tomorrow, we'll look at the lazy, incompetent way CNBC's assembly of hacks failed to challenge the assortment of goons concerning their crazy budget proposals. When we see people like Drum and Klein defending the work of those corporate hacks, we know our republic's not long for this world.

For today, let's spend one more day on the claim that Candidate Carson lied. In the process, we may learn what "liberal bias" looks like, not without reason, to those in The Other Tribe.

Last Friday, Paul Krugman claimed that Carson lied; it was perhaps the only awful column Krugman has ever written. He also claimed that Carson's a "grifter," a designation he also dropped, without explanation, on Candidates Trump and Cruz.

Did Carson lie about Mannatech? The questioning of Carson on that topic was so brief and so imprecise—was so unskilled; was so unintelligent—that we definitely wouldn't say that.

But so what? This was one of our tribal points! On Monday morning, Charles Blow was still plowing this ground in that same New York Times.

Let's be fair! In Monday's column, Blow didn't say that Candidate Carson lied. He said Carson "wasn't completely honest" in his "answer" about Mannatech, which PolitiFact "ruled" to be false.

Carson wasn't completely honest? "Look who's talking," our analysts cried, after reviewing Blow's column.

Readers, can we talk? Assuming minimal competency, Blow's column didn't seem especially honest to us, especially since he had had five days to consider what he was claiming.

Blow's column was rather slippery. Does the New York Times still have editors? If so, it's hard to know why this column was permitted to run in the form that appeared.

Blow was working from tribal points. This meant the GOP candidates were disingenuous in their complaints about the moderators' alleged "gotcha questions" last Wednesday.

In the middle of his column, Blow wasted a lot of time reviewing the history of that rather vague term. But early on, Blow criticized Candidate Carson's statement[s] about Mannatech.

This is his full account:
BLOW (11/2/15): After being asked at last week’s debate about his ties to the shady nutritional supplement company Mannatech and saying “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and dismissing claims of a connection as “total propaganda,” Ben Carson called Thursday for an overhaul of Republican debate formats.

[...]

I think the question was a fair one, and I’m not alone. Carson’s business manager, Armstrong Williams, said Thursday on CNN that the question wasn’t a gotcha one but an “absolutely” fair one.

And on the credibility of Carson’s denial, PolitiFact ruled:

“As far as we can tell, Carson was not a paid employee or official endorser of the product. However, his claim suggests he has no ties to Mannatech whatsoever. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos, and he consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements. As a world-renowned surgeon, Carson’s opinion on health issues carries weight, and Mannatech has used Carson’s endorsement to its advantage.

“We rate Carson’s claim False.”
In that passage, Blow quotes the way PolitiFact "ruled." He seemed to treat the ruling as gospel.

In reality, he was quoting the work of a young journalist who's just one year out of college. The passage he quotes is greatly misleading, a fact he had several days to discover.

In what way is that passage misleading? Consider this:

“Carson's claim suggests he has no ties to Mannatech whatsoever. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos, and he consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements."

At the debate, Carson directly stated, in his first brief answer, that he had delivered paid speeches for Mannatech. Reading Blow, you'd think this was some hidden fact PolitiFact caught Carson withholding, or even denying.

That is a highly misleading construction. Where was Charles Blow's editor when this was waved into print?

"In reality, he appeared in promotional videos?...Mannatech has used Carson's endorsement to its advantage?"

At the debate, Carson said he didn't know that Mannatech had been using his image in certain ways. In the sixty seconds he seemed to have budgeted for this potentially harmful discussion, moderator Carl Quintanilla didn't challenge the accuracy of that statement, and he didn't ask Carson about promotional videos.

"He consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements?"

Carson did the same thing right at the debate! "Do I take the product?" he said. "Yes. I think it's a good product."

(Mannatech wasn't told to stop selling its products. It was told not to make certain types of medical claims.)

Let's talk:

At PolitiFact, a kid reporter seemed to get herself tangled in a semantic judgment. In her view, you have an "involvement" with a company when they pay you to make speeches.

Carson seemed to be saying something different. He seemed to be saying that he had no "involvement" or "relationship" with the company beyond the (thoroughly normal) practice of receiving pay for speeches. Below, you see the few tiny things Carson said on this topic before Quintanilla raced ahead, scattershot, toward this evening's next bungled topic:
CARSON (10/28/15): Well, that's easy to answer. I didn't have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda.

I did a couple of speeches for them. I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them.

Do I take the product? Yes. I think it's a good product.

QUINTANILLA: To be fair, you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder—

CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage, they did it without my permission.
Crackers, that was it! At this point, Quintanilla authored the world's most pitiful third question. The audience booed at this point, as well they might have:
QUINTANILLA (continuing directly): Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way?

CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact that I don't know those—

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

See? They know.

(APPLAUSE)

QUINTANILLA: Apparently. We will take a break. We'll be back in Boulder in just a minute.
For the full transcript, click here.

Crackers, please! Carson said a company had used his image without his permission. Turning to silliest gotcha mode, Quintanilla thought this might speak poorly of Carson's judgment!

What is the truth about Carson's history with Mannatech? We have no real idea. But then, we have a perfect excuse—we watched Quintanilla hurry through this potentially damaging topic on his way to commercial break.

Did Carson "lie" about his history with Mannatech? It's possible, but we have no idea why someone would say so based on this fleeting discussion. The discussion was much too brief, and was poorly handed. It did have a slight gotcha feel, perhaps through mere incompetence.

Actually, we think we do know why people rushed to say Carson lied! Looking for a warm place to poop, we liberals were grateful for the chance to recite that point.

Krugman took things one step further, saying that Carson's a "grifter." In fairness, Krugman knew these things because a college kid said!

Conservatives will look at the columns by Krugman and Blow and think they see liberal bias. In the case of Blow's column, they'll remember that Carson specifically cited his paid speeches when they see a plain suggestion that Carson hid this fact.

Conservative voters will see this as liberal bias. We see it as terrible journalism, performed by a columnist who routinely has his thumbs on the scale.

Looking at Quintanilla, we see something else. We see a corporate flyweight hurrying through a topic which needed substantially more time if he wanted to sift it fairly—a topic he didn't seem to have researched especially well.

This hurried treatment led to serious claims about Candidate Carson, and to the booing of Quintanilla. Last Friday, Krugman misstated the chronology of the booing to make his attacks work best.

Conservatives will attribute that "error" to liberal bias. It's hard to say they're wrong.

We think the booing was justified when Quintanilla asked that silly third question. But good lord! The liberal world should have been booing, extremely loudly, during the bulk of this hopelessly bungled debate.

Those moderators were simply awful, despite what Ezra and others have said. This is why we say that:

Those Republican candidates' budget plans are the craziest in American history. What explains Ezra's support for the trio of flyweights who utterly failed to examine that state of affairs?

Tomorrow: This is what haplessness looks like

48 comments:

  1. Those who said Carson lied may not have been relying solely on Politifact or the candidate's own denial. Some were plainly using the National Review article as well, which provides a lot more information than Somerby is limiting himself to in this post.

    Carson has only two choices -- either he participated with Mannatech for financial gain, or he was used by Mannatech without knowing how his endorsements would affect consumers. If the latter, he is a major fool, especially given his long career in medicine, where this kind of testimonial is frequently sought and used as a main form of advertising. If the former, he was majorly dishonest in his statements during the debate.

    If Carson is genuinely convinced that Mannatech supplements can cure both cancer and Alzheimer's (given that his mother also provided a testimonial used by the firm), he is a poor physician. If both he and his mother helped the company bilk consumers, his involvement was more than glancing, since his MOTHER was also a participant in their fraud. That doesn't happen as part of typical professional activity -- he had to have recruited her or suggested her involvement.

    I don't like Somerby's attempt to whitewash Carson's statements over an assumption that people only read Politifact and didn't go beyond that in their reporting. I can also understand why a CNBC reporter wouldn't want to wade into a semantic discussion on TV. It makes them look like true "gotcha" journalists when they nitpick a candidate's wording, even though the candidate is being evasive. They can only move one.

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    1. move on, not move one.

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    2. I don't think there's an assumption that people only read Politifact, or an attempt to whitewash Carson's statements.

      There's an attempt, and I think a valid one, to show that the moderators failed, and that Politifact produced a very weak analysis.

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    3. I don't think the moderators were any better or worse than they ever are. Carson doesn't know the difference between debt limit and budget, but neither does the viewing public. Getting too technical will lose the audience. Rubio probably knew he would lose everyone (while sounding plausible) with his nonresponse about the tax rates. If you don't have 10 minutes and suitable graphics, you can't pin these guys down on this stuff. So they quote other analysts and the candidates flatly lie. I think Somerby's complaint is unfair to the moderators, who I think did as well as anyone could under the circumstances. This isn't the right format to expose incompetence in anything except public speaking and self-presentation.

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    4. They did "as well as anyone could????"

      That's really sad, if you actually believe it.

      Delete
  2. Carson's first remark was that he had no relationship. Then he said he gave a couple of speeches when he was pressed. His first statement was a lie. It is splitting hairs to say that he didn't attempt to lie -- he just didn't get away with it.

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    1. "Carson's first remark was that he had no relationship. Then he said he gave a couple of speeches when he was pressed"

      "When he was pressed?"

      That isn't a correct statement of what happened at all.

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    2. Quintanilla's subsequent statements quoted above show the way he pressed Carson on the facts of his involvement.

      Somerby doesn't give Quintanilla's first statement, the one in which he asked Carson about his involvement. Carson responded to that by saying he had no involvement. The statement quoted above is Quintanilla's follow-up after Carson's denial of involvement.

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    3. Bob wouldn't say Carson lied. He would say he could have.

      He is only willing to attest to those things that are obviously true. Like Cruz's analysis of the moderators. And that the budget plans are the craziest in history.

      Bob does not drop the "L" bomb. Except when the "L" bomb is about "L's" the others claim Clinton/Gore drop in their defense in the war against them.

      Delete
    4. ***LINK***

      QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson, we know you as a physician, but we wanted to ask you about your involvement on some corporate boards, including Costco’s. Last year, a marketing study called the warehouse retailer the number one gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits.

      Why would you serve on a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?

      CARSON: Well, obviously, you don’t understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.

      They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe. And this is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. You know, that’s what the PC culture is all about, and it’s destroying this nation.

      The fact of the matter is we the American people are not each other’s enemies, it’s those people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies. And we need to make that very clear to everybody.
      (APPLAUSE)

      QUINTANILLA: One more question. This is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship. They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer, they paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet you’re involvement continued. Why?

      CARSON: Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches.

      It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.

      QUINTANILLA: To be fair, you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder —

      CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage, they did it without my permission.

      QUINTANILLA: Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way.

      CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact that I don’t know those —
      (AUDIENCE BOOS)

      See? They know.
      (APPLAUSE)

      QUINTANILLA: Apparently. We will take a break. We’ll be back in Boulder in just a minute.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Thank you. He is clearly lying when he says he had no involvement with them. Then he switches to the word relationship and denies that too. He says he only did a couple of speeches, but that is not all he did according to National Review. He is lying.

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    7. ***LINK***

      Carson's association aside:

      [QUOTE]>>>Mannatech has a long, checkered past, stretching back to its founding more than a decade before Carson began touting the company’s supplements. It was started by businessman Samuel L. Caster in late 1993, mere “months,” the Wall Street Journal later noted, before Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which greatly loosened restrictions on how supplement makers could market their products....

      In 2007, three years after Carson’s first dealings with Mannatech, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott sued the company and Caster, charging them with orchestrating an unlawful marketing scheme that exaggerated their products’ health benefits. The original petition in that case paints an ugly picture of Mannatech’s marketing practices.

      It charges that the company offered testimonials from individuals claiming that they’d used Mannatech products to overcome serious diseases and ailments, including autism, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and life-threatening heart conditions.

      Separately, the suit alleges that the company sold a CD entitled “Back from the Brink” that “provided example after example of how ‘glyconutrients’ (i.e., Mannatech’s products) cured, treated, or mitigated diseases including but not limited to toxic shock syndrome, heart failure, asthma, arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, and lung inflammation.”

      The complaint from Abbott’s office further suggested that the company had used careful wording in a scheme to avoid liability, instructing their sales force “not to refer to Mannatech’s products by name when making certain claims, but instead [to] refer to them generically as ‘glyconutrients,’” before “direct[ing] the customer to the ‘only company that makes these patented glyconutrients’ — Mannatech.”

      A 20/20 investigative report from the same year revealed a similar pattern, finding that Mannatech sales associates were hawking the company’s signature drug, Ambrotose, which “costs at least $200 a month,” as “a miracle cure that could fix a broad range of diseases, from cancer to multiple sclerosis and AIDS.”<<<[END QUOTE]

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    8. Reading ComprehensionNovember 5, 2015 at 7:00 AM

      The poster said "Carson's first remark was that he had no relationship. Then he said he gave a couple of speeches when he was pressed"

      As you can see that isn't what happened.

      He "said he gave a couple of speeches" BEFORE "he was pressed" in the same response in which he said he had no "involvement with" them.

      You don't like it, but Carson clearly doesn't think giving the speeches amounts to an involvement.

      That's fine.

      What's bullshit is pretending, as you do, "Carson's first remark was that he had no relationship. Then he said he gave a couple of speeches when he was pressed."

      Delete
    9. His first remark was that he had no involvement -- not relationship. Then he said he gave some speeches but had no relationship. He is a liar. It doesn't matter who pressed who when in that sequence of statements. Carson is a liar.

      Delete
  3. "As we've watched our tribe settle for our pitiful talking points, we've thought of Earl Butz's pathetic/sad joke from 1976 about the unambitious fellow who only wanted 'loose shoes and a warm place to poop,' among other alleged desirables."

    "Because the joke was obscene and racist, ..."


    Huh ?!?

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    1. Somerby doesn't give the whole joke -- it is cleaned up.

      From Wikipedia, as quoted by Time:

      "Butz said: "I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit."

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    2. Bob substituted "unambitious" for "nigger," left out "tight pussy" altogether, then pussied out by substituting "poop" for "shit."

      Bob wanted to go with "lazy" but thought his readers might confuse that as Butz attacking liberals instead of blacks.
      Then readers would think Bob was dropping the "R" bomb on Butz for taking the same position on liberals that Bob does.
      He didn't want them to have to invent what he really meant.

      Delete
    3. We all know what you really mean too.

      I dislike it when quotes are cleaned up or paraphrased instead of accurately quoted. Butz said this stuff, not Somerby. I don't think it is a colorful or cute rhetorical device but let's not pretend it reflects Somerby's racial worldview.

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    4. What is Somerby's racial worldview, how does it differ from the pretend Somerby racial worldview, and who is pretending about it?

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    5. You can infer his racial world view from the fact that he changed the quote to avoid offending African American readers of this blog and to avoid promoting ugly racial stereotypes. What inference do you suppose I am making about your racial world view?

      Delete
    6. If we have to infer his racial worldview by assuming motives, then is inference better than pretense? Both seem like make believe to me but you have yet to point out how they differ.

      Is Bob inferring liberals like loose shoes?

      Delete
  4. Let's talk. A week after the most recent Republican debate, Bob has written 6 posts that touch on the event. What have we learned?

    "We're stuck inside our own Salem Village, feeding urine cakes to dogs......We're hapless and lazy and nobody likes us." 10/29

    "Which pundits are blind to a basic fact? Which pundits can't see, or can't bring themselves to say, that the CNBC moderators performed rather poorly?

    Last night. Rachel Maddow couldn't see this obvious fact, joining many pundits at the new Salon." 10/30


    We liberals! With our gatekeepers largely gone, are we up to the challenge of playing this game? Do we have what it takes to struggle and win?

    At bottom, we’d say the answer seems to be no.
    ---------
    We liberals! With the gatekeepers gone, we’ve been left on our own. It sometimes seems to us that we’re eager to blow one again." 11/2

    The liberal world reacted in an unintelligent, childish way to last Wednesday night's debate.
    ------
    Truly, we liberals are utterly hapless. It's true almost all the way down."
    11/3

    "This brings us back to the haplessness of last Wednesday's debate. CNBC had assembled a trio of made-for-TV cable players who seemed to have little desire or ability...Their incompetence was gross, astounding, relentless, routine.

    The liberal world couldn't see this.
    --------
    As liberals, we never stop accepting this level of performance." 11/3

    "Actually, we think we do know why people rushed to say Carson lied! Looking for a warm place to poop, we liberals were grateful for the chance to recite that point." 11/4

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    1. As criticism of Somerby's work, I give this a 1 (on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is least effective and 5 is most effective). As always, you seem to think that quoting Somerby says it all, without ever pointing out what you think should be done differently.

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    2. Kind of like what Bob has done with the moderators at the debate?

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    3. Unlike this commenter, Somerby says what he finds lacking in his complaints. This commenter just strings together a bunch of quotes, as if that were enough for everyone to see his complaint. It isn't. It also reflects an odd sort of unwillingness to take responsibility for making a complaint, something Somerby has never been shy about himself.

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    4. What explains your characterization of Somerby quotes as criticism?

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    5. You think this particular commenter is listing Somerby's greatest hits?

      Delete
    6. You are not very good at answering questions are you?

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    7. @ 2:59 I would suggest the commenter might not be listing Somerby's greatest hits but he is certainly highlighting what seems to be Somerby's talking points. And not just about the debate.

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    8. Talking points would provide a cogent summary of Somerby's main points. This isn't anything like that. I don't think these are talking points. They seem to be phrases that irritate the commenter, although it isn't clear why, since the commenter explains nothing about why he went to the effort of excerpting these particular quotes.

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    9. Of course you don't think so @ 4:20. It is clear why, although for obvious reasons not clear to you. The liberal world can't see things. Stop feeding urine cakes to dogs and get out in the real world instead of being a hapless seeker of a warm place to poop.

      Delete
    10. anon 5:19, if there is some point to your observation, other than that your are kind of a jerk, I'd like to hear it

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    11. You are reacting in a unintelligent, childish way.

      Delete
  5. The specific details of Carson's statement matter less than the fact the the Dems are destroying whoever is the leader for the Republican nomination. Trump is a comic book figure, and now Carson is a grifter. The Republicans try to demolish Hillary Clinton too, but the Dems are better at it. One reason the Dems are better is that so many media people participate in their attacks, just as if they were declared Democratic operatives.

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    1. In what universe is pointing out the flaws of a candidate an attempt to destroy him? That's how campaigns work. The opposing party points out their own strengths and the flaws of the opponents. It is not the Democrats fault when Republicans have such egregious flaws and minimal strengths.

      The moderators in all debates try to ask questions that will bring out or sharpen controversies emerging in the campaign. Their role is not to help any candidate but to ask what the public might like to know -- that public includes both Democrats and Republicans. In that sense they are a proxy for the people.

      A well-prepared candidate should welcome a difficult question because it will provide a forum in which to tell people his side of things, to explain or reframe some potential criticism. It is not the moderator's fault if the candidates are poorly prepared.

      Delete
    2. I agree in principle, 2:58. But, how is a candidate supposed to answer a question like

      Are you a comic book character? or
      Are you a grifter?

      Actually, those weren't even questions. Those were statements made by media people about the two most popular Republican candidates.

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    3. Perhaps if Somerby had done a better job of analyzing the basis for Krugman's theme of "Springtime for Grifters" instead of endlessly repeating charges of McCartyhyism you might not have gotten confused.

      I can't explain why you attribute the "comic book character" charge to a media person. It was made by Ted Cruz who
      simultaneously touched his own inner tailgunner soul by characterizing the Democrats debate as between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

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    4. "A grifter is a con artist: someone who swindles people out of money through fraud."

      Ben Carson provided testimonial speeches about a product that made extravagant claims about curing cancer and Alzheimer's. The company he did this for was accused of inflating product claims to the point of fraud. Carson benefitted financially. That makes him a grafter.

      Trump's main source of income (aside from investment) is selling his brand via licensing agreements. To support that branding he has lied about his accomplishments (a type of fraud). His policy statements in his campaign are so vague that they seem to be going through the motions of running for office. Like Carson, he is promoting his books. That makes his campaign a con designed to benefit himself financially, which makes him a grifter.

      Marco Rubio has been involved in several questionable financial deals with people charged with financial crimes. He continues to maintain his relationships with those people while campaigning. He has proposed a budget that makes no financial sense and cannot adequately explain it to the public. That makes him a grifter.

      Ted Cruz has several very large PACs that have collected relatively large amounts of money on his behalf yet have run no ads and been engaged in no campaign activities. Most of the funds seem to be going to administrative expenses (e.g., to the people running the PACs). That makes them a con/fraud. To the extent that he allows this to be done in his name, he is a grifter.

      Jeb Bush, aside from his numerous business fiascos, which benefitted him personally, coordinated with his large PAC deliberately delaying declaring as a candidate in order to do so, flouting campaign finance rules. His pretense about deciding whether to run was thus fraudulent, benefitted him financially, and makes him a grifter.

      There is plenty of evidence supporting these accusations. The candidates need to be held accountable for them. It is fair for Krugman to allude to this and there is no way he has sufficient words in a column to lay out the support. Nor is there sufficient time for moderators to explain all this to viewing audiences. But the voting public needs to hear about it. Hopefully the internet will fill the gap.

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    5. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/is-carson-for-prez-a-direct-mail-scam

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    6. Personally, I'm fascinated by the details of Carson's statement[s] about his relationship/non-relationship with a snake oil company ripping poor and desperate people off.

      I think it makes him less honest and trustworthy

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    7. I wonder why Somerby, who says Carson could be lying, did not provide links to articles which might clarify that relationship.

      After all: "I didn't have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda" and "I did a couple of speeches for them. I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them" are two seemingly self contradictory repsonses contained in one answer.

      BTW mm, under Clinton rules, what would have been the reaction if Bill Clinton has said that in response to a question about his relationship or involvement with Petra Nemcova's Happy Heart's Fund?

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    8. Under Clinton rules, Clinton is guilty and a bad person no matter what he says or does.

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    9. If there were videos of Hillary Clinton shilling for a snake oil salesman ripping off poor and desperate people, would we even be talking about her as a candidate?

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    10. @mm

      If HRC blamed a YouTube video for the deaths of four Americans which she knew to be a lie would she even be the Democratic Party's only viable candidate for POTUS?......

      HRC shills for the Clinton Foundation which takes money from FSA, a propaganda tool for the repressive Saudi regime. So yes, not only would you be talking about her candidacy, she is the candidate.

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  6. "Those Republican candidates' budget plans are the craziest in American history. What explains Ezra's support for the trio of flyweights who utterly failed to examine that state of affairs?"

    What evidence has Somerby given in multiple posts for the first sentence? How is the first sentence connected to the second? What evidence does he give of "Ezra's support" for the moderators? What evidence does he give that the three are flyweights?

    Finally how can Somerby suggest that the moderators failed to address
    "that state of affairs" when the first two questions addressed to individual candidates included their tax proposals?

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    1. Somerby not only doesn't give evidence of Ezra Klein's support for the CNBC "flyweights" he doesn't give a link to the work he is talking about. Klein has written two posts about the debate. That is sloppy, fuzzy work by Somerby.

      Perhaps Somerby is angry because Klein takes a 180 degree opposite position of whether the moderators asked about the tax/budget positions of the candidates in one post.

      KLEIN: And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks — but that's because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.

      The Republican primary has thus far been a festival of outlandish policy. The candidates seem to be competing to craft the tax plan that gives the largest tax cut to the rich while blowing the biggest hole in the deficit (a competition that, as of tonight, Ted Cruz appears to be winning). And the problem is when you ask about those plans, simply stating the facts of the policies sounds like you're leveling a devastating attack."

      http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9633420/ted-cruz-republican-debate

      He uses slippery journalism to attack Klein. And given the fact Klein details questions and answers he has disappeared, it is hard to say Somerby has been obsessively honest.

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