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Bill O'Reilly Bends the Truth Like a Pretzel. So What Else Is New?

Reported by Marie Therese - September 20, 2005

I guess I'm going to get old and gray waiting for Bill O'Reilly to tell the truth. Last night's Factor was no exception. In fact amazingly he actually got around to admitting he was taking President Bush's side against former President Bill Clinton, whose interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Sunday talk show This Week has sent the righties into paroxysms of apoplectic invective.

Bill O'Reilly joined right in. He began his Talking Points Memo by making a statement so ludicrous that I wondered if the Factor had pulled a switcheroo and it was actually Jon Stewart doing an imitation of O'Reilly. With a straight face Mr. O said "You know, I'm in a rather uncomfortable position of having to defend President Bush, who's being battered by partisan propaganda over Katrina."

He continued "But, I just can't sit here and let rank propaganda go unchallenged as most of the elite media does all day long."

He then aired a carefully selected, partial quote by Clinton, made on Sunday, 9-18 to George Stephanopoulos:

VIDEO clip of former President Bill Clinton on This Week, ABC, 9-18-05:

"This is a matter of public policy. And whether it's race-based or not, if you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out alright and poverty goes up and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that's a consequence of the action you made. That's what they did in the 80's. That's what they've done in this decade. In the middle we had a different policy. We concentrated tax cuts on lower income working people and benefits to low income people to help them move from welfare to work and we moved a hundred times as many people out of poverty. We know what works and we had a program that was drastically reducing poverty and they got rid of it, so and they don't believe in it." End video clip.

O'REILLY: Believe in what?!! What is Mr. Clinton talking about? What program did Bush get rid of? We called Clinton's office all day looking for an answer to that very simple question. We didn't get one! Stephanopoulos sat there like a mummy, challenging nothing. The whole thing's absurd."

[COMMENT: Before continuing, I recommend that you read the entire transcript of Clinton's scathing - and truthful - attack on the Bush-league administration. Go to This Week. You'll also learn what FOX News doesn't want you to know. The United States is borrowing massive amounts of money from a lot of countries that hate us in order to fund Bush's wars and his tax cuts.]

O'REILLY: Again, here are the facts. Black home ownership is up 2% under Bush.

REBUTTAL: According to the U. S. Census Bureau, African-American home ownership rose from 42.3% in 1992 to 46% in 2000, a rate of increase of 3.7% which occurred under President Clinton. In the past four years, as O'Reilly noted, that number has increased a mere 2%, which would seem to indicate that African-Americans are finding it harder to buy a home under the Bush administration.

In a bit of irony, Bush may owe some of his "success" to the largely-Democratic Congressisonal Black Caucus. Their WOW (With Ownership, Wealth) program has been working for the past year to increase black ownership through affiliations with various lending institutions and foundations like Habitat for Humanity.

However, there are still unaddressed inequities.

An article published in November 2004 in BlackAmericaNews noted:

"Despite boasts by President Bush that black homeownership rose to an all-time high during his first term, many black households are losing ground because of a growing wealth gap, according to a leading social policy expert. Black families lost 25 percent of their wealth during the jobless recovery from the recent recession, Thomas Shapiro, a Brandeis University professor of law and social policy said Sunday during a meeting with The Trotter Group, an organization of black columnists and commentators."

Additionally, the Charlotte Observer reported on August 28, 2005:

"Blacks who bought homes in communities across America last year were four times as likely as whites to get high interest rates for mortgage loans, according to an Observer analysis of records from 25 of the nation's largest lenders.

Even blacks with incomes above $100,000 a year were charged high rates more often than whites with incomes below $40,000.

For decades, African Americans struggled to get loans at any price. Lenders ignored entire black neighborhoods, a practice called redlining.

Last year, the nation's 10 largest banks still denied black applicants twice as often as whites. On average they made only 5 percent of their home loans to blacks.

A new group of companies has filled the void. These 'subprime' lenders, companies such as Ameriquest and New Century, charge higher interest rates than banks.

The result: In 2004, blacks received twice as many home purchase loans as a decade ago.

But one in every four is paying a steep price."

O'REILLY: Poverty spending is significantly higher under Bush than it was under Clinton.

REBUTTAL: Duh, Bill, get a grip. As has been documented everywhere except in the La-La Land of FOX News, George Bush's misguided policies have added 1.1 million new poor people to the roles. As I pointed out in my recent post (Bill O'Reilly Distorts Poverty Figures - Claims Things Better Under Bush), studies show that most of the newly poor are midwestern white people whose poverty required the government to spend more on their food stamps, health care, etc.

O'REILLY: Educational spending for poor school districts is higher under Bush.

REBUTTAL: Spending on education - and spending of every other kind - is way UP under Bush, so this is a nonsensical statement. In one of its 2004 Opinion Journals, the Wall Street Journal described the GOP as "drunken sailors" for the profligate manner in which they have increased the national debt. What amazes me is that this opinion was written before the last election, yet these idiots went out an voted for Bush! Now, a day late and a dollar short, the mainstream Republicans appear to have realized that they wasted their votes.

Under Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation, increased federal spending was indexed to increased test scores. A lot of states have opted out of NCLB, because they've discovered that children cannot be willy-nilly "improved" on a timetable, especially those who are physically challenged or have language barriers or learning difficulties. States who have continued to participate have been DENIED federal funds (as in my own county) because - gasp! - the rate of improvement for the special needs and immigrant kids didn't go up high enough to satisfy Mr. Bush's budget parameters. So, despite the fact that Bush BUDGETED the increased spending, in actuality he's spending less because the states cannot meet the draconian standards set up by dim-witted bean counters who never taught a day in their lives!

O'REILLY: And the poverty rate stood at 13.7% halfway through Clinton's tenure. It is 12.7% halfway through Bush's two terms.

REBUTTAL: This is Bill simply repeating the same tired old lies. The facts don't match up. According to statistics obtained from the U. S. Census bureau, when Bill Clinton began his term as President in 1993, the poverty rate was 15.1%. By the time Clinton left office the poverty rate was 11.7%, a REDUCTION of 3.4% (approximately 3 million FEWER poor people).

By 2002, under George Bush the rate began to rise again to 12.1% in 2002, 12.5% in 2003 and 12.7% in 2004, an INCREASE of 1% (approximately 1 million new, mostly white, poor people).

O'REILLY: Under President Clinton the tax rate climbed higher than at any time in history excepting World War II. President Bush then came in and cut taxes for everyone and - guess what? Federal tax revenues will be more this year (louder) than at any time during the Clinton administration. Why? Because business is booming, that's why. Capitalism is working and the more money corporations and workers make, the more taxes roll in, even at the reduced rate.

REBUTTAL: This one is really sneaky.

Bill gives you the rebuttal, if you look carefully at what he actually said, i.e. "Federal tax revenues will be more this year than at any time during the Clinton administration. Why? Because business is booming, that's why. Capitalism is working and the more money corporations and workers make, the more taxes roll in, even at the reduced rate."

Let's analyze what Bill said.

Business is booming - the OIL BUSINESS, that is. Bush and his buddies are making out like bandits in tax year 2005. With gas at $3 a gallon and climbing, the taxes on the oil companies alone will swell the federal coffers.

Notice how O'Reilly limits his remarks to tax year 2005. He carefully avoided reference to prior tax years, because he knows that in the tax period 2000-2004, federal tax revenue actually fell to the lowest level since 1959. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "In short, the main effect of cutting taxes has been to lose substantial revenues and to swell budget deficits, not to increase economic growth. As the table also shows, the average rate of revenue growth that CBO [Congressional Budget Office] expects over the period 2000-2015 is extraordinarily low."

In other words Congress had already anticipated a serious reduction in tax revenues prior to the surge in the cost of a barrel of oil.

Although I'm not an economist, I would be willing to bet that, without these oil taxes, revenues for 2005 would still have continued their downward trend.

And, by the way, maybe those companies should give a chunk of those profits back to the people in the form of a hefty windfall profits tax?

What say you, Mr. O?

O'Reilly ended his propaganda Memo by cheerily proclaiming that "President Bush owes me big. I want a pen!"

He then interviewed Hillary-hater Dick Morris from Las Vegas, where he is appearing with Wayne Newton.

Dick Morris on a stage with Wayne Newton in Las Vegas? Enough said!

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