Connect with us

COMMENTARY

Head of Federal Agency Responsible for Wildly Inaccurate Jobs Numbers Is Trump Holdover

Published

on

Asked if He Will Resign, the Commissioner – a Former Heritage Foundation Fellow – Does Not Answer

Some areas of the U.S. federal government are sacrosanct.

The CDC doesn’t screw around with reporting COVID information, because millions of people, including scientists, make life or death decisions based on those data.

The Labor Dept. doesn’t tweak jobs numbers for political purposes, or to make a president look good or bad, because to report inaccurate results leads to tremendous distrust of the government, messes up markets, and plans of major corporations.

And yet under President Donald Trump the Health and Human Services Dept. altered CDC documents – once considered sacrosanct documents – for political purposes, CNN reported last year.

“Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying the CDC fell under the agency’s umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top.”

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input — often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature — to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response. The development marks the latest example of political interference by administration appointees at the nation’s health agencies.

So when The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the federal government “sharply underestimated job gains for most of 2021, including four months this summer in which it missed more job growth than at any other time on record,” some expressed concern.

“In the most recent four months with revisions, June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported it underestimated job growth by a cumulative 626,000 jobs — that’s the largest underestimate of any other comparable period, going back to 1979. If those revisions were themselves a jobs report, they’d be an absolute blockbuster,” the Post noted.

They add, “recent revisions have been big enough to turn a substantial slump into a surprising surge.”

Americans, in other words, have been living under the false belief that the labor market wasn’t exactly hopping, thanks to wildly inaccurate numbers out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency under the Dept. of Labor that collects, tracks, and analyzes these critical numbers.

Yes, under President Joe Biden the labor market has been surging, we now know, contrary to the information that’s been coming out of the BLS.

Curiously, as the Post also noted, the exact opposite happened last year, when Donald Trump was president.

“Revisions in the already calamitous months of March and April 2020,” under Trump, “found the economy had lost 922,000 more jobs than initially reported.”

Oops.

Given what we know happened at CDC, you’d think some might be wondering what’s going on.

Well, we are.

As it turns out, William Beach – the head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that since the start of the pandemic has been churning out wildly inaccurate (but very pro-Trump) numbers – was appointed by Donald Trump, used to work for a very pro-Trump think tank known as the Heritage Foundation, worked for a university research center that is funded by the very pro-Trump Charles Koch (as in the Koch Bros.), and also used to work for the Republicans on the the Senate Budget Committee.

(And while it’s unclear when Beach left Heritage, it’s important to know that right wing think tank is a purveyor of climate change denialism, fake critical race theory and voter fraud claims, and voter suppression legislation.)

So, who cares if the labor numbers are wrong?

Well, everyone, when they read headlines calling Biden’s jobs numbers a “colossal miss,” “ugly,” “dismal” and “disappointing,” as The Post noted. Companies make major decisions based on these numbers, which everyone realizes are just estimates, but up until last year were good indicators of what is going on.

Under Beach, the Biden administration has been slammed, giving Republicans a false tool to attack. And like bad newspaper articles that appear on page one and linger in Americans’ minds for days, corrections only appear on the back pages, invisible to the vast majority of people who only remember what was false.

An important side note: the Bureau of Labor Statistics is also responsible for reporting out the Consumer Price Index, which in recent days has claimed massive price increases.

NCRM emailed Commissioner Beach on Wednesday, asking if he intended to resign, and asking him to explain what caused these massive errors and if that has been fixed.

We also asked if he maintains any professional, personal, or financial ties to The Heritage Foundation, Senate Republicans or any of his previous right wing employers.

Commissioner Beach did not respond, but Bureau of Labor Statistics Deputy Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski did – with a boilerplate explanation of revisions, and a statement assuring us that the “integrity of BLS data collection and reporting is paramount. The BLS commissioner, as has always been the case, does not see data until they are finalized. Civil servant economists and statisticians tabulate and analyze the data.”

No word on any resignation – or if this massive problem has been fixed.

There’s no evidence to say these massive screw ups are intentional – or worse, politically motivated – but the American public and American businesses deserve better, they deserve factual data they can count on, and they deserve to know what’s actually happening on their President’s watch – any president.

If that cannot happen under this commissioner, it’s time for a new one.

Image by jaimebisbal via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

COMMENTARY

Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Published

on

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the Respect for Marriage Act on the Senate floor late Monday afternoon. It is expected to pass, thanks to about a dozen Republicans who are expected to vote to protect, at least at the federal level, the marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.

Franklin Graham, who unlike his famous father has devoted a great deal of his time to attacking LGBTQ Americans, posted an ugly lie on Facebook to stir up his base of 10 million followers.

The Respect for Marriage Act merely states the federal government is required to recognize any marriage that was legal in any state it was entered into. An amendment to the bill goes a long way in codifying the right to anti-LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based organizations, but LGBTQ activists see it as a win to protect marriages after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for cases that would help him overturn several laws, including the right to intimate contact and the right to marriage for same-sex couples.

READ MORE: 37 Senators Just Voted Against a Bill Protecting Same-Sex and Interracial Marriages. All Were Republicans.

The bill also ensures states, even if they ban marriage equality, will recognize any legal marriage that happened before any possible ban or that happened in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

“It is very disappointing that these 12 Republican senators would side with the Democrats and ultra-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer to put the vast majority of Americans who believe in and support marriage between a man and a woman in jeopardy,” Graham wrote in an obvious and ugly lie on Facebook over the weekend.

He then listed the Senators’ names, and add links to their contact information on their government websites.

Graham’s false claim that somehow anyone who believes in or supports marriage between a man and a woman would be put “in jeopardy” by this bill is a dangerous falsehood.

READ MORE: 35 States Still Have Same-Sex Marriage Bans on the Books – Dems Say Same-Sex Marriage Bill Has Enough Votes to Pass

Graham didn’t stop there.

“The deceptively-named Respect for Marriage Act that Senator Schumer is trying to push through is just a smokescreen to give more protections to same-sex marriage—and it doesn’t protect the religious liberties of those who support traditional marriage. In fact, it would make individuals, churches, academic institutions, and organizations who stand with marriage between a man and a woman in danger of persecution and legal attacks because of their convictions,” Graham added, which, again is false.

As NCRM has previously reported, all the religious protections that people of faith currently enjoy would be unchanged – if not strengthened – contrary to numerous false claims of far right extremists and religious extremists, like Graham.

The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Despite decades of demonization by the right, same-sex marriage has become extremely popular, and not one of the false claims Graham and the religious right made before Obergefell has come true.

Same-sex marriage enjoys a favorability rating of 70% (per Gallup), and 61% of Americans say legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society (Pew).

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.

A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.

The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”

Why Graham is telling his flock something greatly different is par for the course.

“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,’” Graham said two weeks ago in an egregiously false statement.

“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham added, again, falsely.

Should the Respect for Marriage Act pass it heads back to the House for a final vote, as the House’s version is slightly different. President Biden has promised to sign it into law.

Continue Reading

COMMENTARY

Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Published

on

For years Tucker Carlson has been targeting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The Fox News host and “propagandist” has attacked Buttigieg, the youngest and arguably one of the most popular to hold that Cabinet position, for the high price of gas, inflation, complaints against airlines – including ticket prices and flight delays, speaking out in support of women’s reproductive rights, and for allegedly working “feverishly on the equity agenda.”

All that was in just one of Tucker Carlson’s opening monologues, back in June, during which he also pushed Russian propaganda against the United States for supporting Ukraine in Vladimir’ Putin’s illegal war against the sovereign nation.

The 53-year old TV host has been accused by some of being a purveyor of white supremacist rhetoric – or even a white supremacist. “Tucker Carlson’s monologues” were mentioned in the first sentence of a New York magazine piece titled, “White Christian Nationalism ‘Is a Fundamental Threat to Democracy.’”

So it’s no surprise that Carlson’s attacks against Buttigieg are more often than not homophobic, linked to the fact that Buttigieg is gay, out, married, and a father.

Carlson has infamously attacked Secretary Buttigieg for taking family leave after he and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, adopted twins. He said Sec. Buttigieg was trying “to figure out how to breastfeed,” and snarked, “No word on how that went.” The twins were born prematurely, and had medical issues, which the Buttigieges later revealed was RSV, and “the entire family — including Pete and Chasten — soon got it,” as The Advocate reported.

In response to Carlson’s bullying, Buttigieg praised the Biden administration for being “pro-family” by having a family leave policy for new parents. Carlson responded with sarcastic trolling, saying on Fox News, “It turns out that Buttigieg is not a dwarfish fraud whose utter mediocrity indicts the class that produced him. No, not at all.”

One year ago this month Carlson went after Sec. Buttigieg for his accurate claim that racism played a part in the design of some of the nation’s highways, including in New York.

READ MORE: Tucker Carlson Serves Up 12-Minute Long Homophobic Hate-Filled Rant Attacking Pete Buttigieg Over ‘Equity’

“I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a Black neighborhood, or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach—or it would have been—in New York, was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” Buttigieg told The Grio’s April Ryan, The Daily Beast reported. “I don’t think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality.”

Buttigieg is one of “the dumbest people in the world,” Carlson declared in response to the fact that there is racism built into our roads.

“Carlson said it’s ‘obvious’ that ‘roads can’t be racist’ but that the transportation secretary ‘didn’t know it,'” The Daily Beast added, pointing to a Washington Post explainer about “historical examples of institutionalized racism,” including roads.

In January, Carlson slammed Butigieg in yet another homophobic attack, calling him an “unqualified ‘kid’ who ‘breastfeeds,’ and has no business running the agency,” Mediaite reported.

“Joe Biden hired a kid,” Carlson claimed of Buttigieg, who was 38 when Biden became President, “who had never had a real job outside McKinsey and no grounding of any kind in physical reality,” a provable lie.

READ MORE: Watch: Pete Buttigieg Perfectly Slaps Aside Conservatives Criticizing His Paternity Leave

The Advocate noted, “in addition to working for McKinsey, a consulting firm, Buttigieg served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Ind., and spent seven years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.”

Carlson, who never served his country and reportedly failed his attempt to join the CIA, apparently has since learned that Buttigieg spent seven years serving in the U.S. Military, from 2009-2017. The Secretary was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve, deployed to Afghanistan, served in a counterintelligence unit, and received ten military awards.

On Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, Carlson did serve up a dishonest, homophobic attack against Buttigieg, this time by going after his military service.

In a mocking, sarcastic slam Carlson accused Buttigieg of “hiding” his homosexuality while serving in America’s Armed Forces – something everyone knows was literally the law, under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

DADT was federal law, in effect from 1993 – 2011, in effect when Buttigieg enlisted. Buttigieg did come out during his military service, in 2015.

“After being deployed with the Navy to Afghanistan in 2014, he said he realized he could die having never been in love, and he resolved to change that. He finally came out in 2015, when he was 33,” The New York Times reported in 2019, during his presidential run.

Meanwhile, Carlson seemed to be unaware that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land, claiming instead no one knows why Buttigieg refused to “admit” at the time he was gay – words that literally could have ended his military service.

“Pete Buttigieg, of course couldn’t pass pass up a moment like this,” referring to the mass shooting hate crime in Colorado Sprigs, Colorado last weekend during which five people were massacred at an LGBTQ nightclub during a drag event, something Carlson has repeatedly been railing against.

“It’s not like Pete Buttigieg just wants to talk about how things are going over at the Transportation Department, which he supposedly runs – short answer, not well,” Carlson claimed, serving up no proof of that.

“No, Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about identity. He always wants to talk about identity,” another provably false claim. “And the funny, ironic thing is that until just a few years ago, Buttigieg wouldn’t even admit that he was gay.”

“He hid that and then lied about it for reasons he has never been asked to explain – why not?” Carlson disingenuously asked.

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Brilliantly Destroys Tucker Carlson After Fox Host’s Homophobic Hit Job

“But whatever. Now he is happy to use his sexual orientation as a cudgel to bash you repeatedly in the face into submission,” Carlson continued, in what some might call an act of stochastic terrorism.

Carlson, who claimed he was a member of the “Dan White Society” in his college yearbook, this week on social media has been accused of engaging in stochastic terrorism after doubling down on his anti-LGBTQ attacks, even after the Colorado Springs Club Q mass shooting.

The Fox News host’s rant was not complete. On-screen Carlson had a tweet from Buttigieg, and read it in a mocking voice.

“Quote, here’s the latest. If you’re a politician or media figure who sets up the LGBTQ community to be hated and feared, not because any of us who ever harmed you but because you find it useful, then don’t you dare act surprised when this kind of violence follows. Don’t you dare act surprised,'” Carlson said mocking the Secretary.

“Don’t you dare,” he added. “Alright, fair enough. We won’t dare. But honestly, we were a little surprised to learn that the anti-trans shooter is himself trans,” Carlson claimed, falsely identifying the shooting suspect whose attorneys say they say they are non-binary.

“Were you surprised by that Pete Buttigieg? Now that you’re admitting you’re gay after lying about it? Since we’re talking about identity, what do you have to say about that? Well, nothing. Weirdly Pete Buttigieg hasn’t said anything, nor is he apologized for attacking other people on false pretenses.”

That too is a false claim, one the right often employs.

LGBTQ people can be anti-LGBTQ, homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic, and people can be racist against their own race.

Wednesday evening, in response to Carlson’s remarks, Chasten Buttigieg posted a photo of his husband in military uniform.

Friday morning on CNN, Chasten Buttigieg responded to Tucker Carlson’s latest attack against his husband.

“My husband served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which meant that he would have been discharged from the American military had he come out of the closet,” he tells CNN host Don Lemon. “I know on the clip, Tucker Carlson goes on to talk about how it seems that my husband only wants to talk about identity rather than his job. And I would just love for him to follow Secretary Pete on Twitter. You can follow along with all of the things that are happening at the Department. But remember, this kind of rhetoric is easy. It’s so easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening.”

“I love my husband deeply, Chasten Buttigieg continued. “I know he’s a committed public servant. And he has everyone’s best interests at heart. I just think these people again with these megaphones, they have they have a big platform and rather than focusing on real issues, people’s lives, making them better, they’ve decided to focus on hate.”

Watch the videos above and below, or at this link.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

COMMENTARY

Franklin Graham’s Extremely False Claims About the Senate’s Same-Sex Marriage Protection Bill Are Riling Up His Base

Published

on

On Wednesday the U.S. Senate will begin the process of debating and likely passing the Respect for Marriage Act, bipartisan legislation that merely attempts to keep the status quo on marriage equality by requiring states to recognize all legal marriages of same-sex couples. It does not require states to allow same-sex couples to marry. Despite its sponsors extreme efforts to ensure existing religious rights are not compromised, far-right-wing Christian activist Franklin Graham is making extremely false claims about the legislation and riling up his supporters on social media.

The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.

“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” the LDS Church said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The bipartisan legislation includes two Republican U.S. Senators as original co-sponsors: Rob Portman of Ohio, and Susan Collins of Maine.

READ MORE: 35 States Still Have Same-Sex Marriage Bans on the Books – Dems Say Same-Sex Marriage Bill Has Enough Votes to Pass

Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, also an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.

A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.

The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”

It also “Confirms that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” and “Guarantees that this bill may not be used to deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity – including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, grants, contracts, agreements, guarantees, educational funding, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, claims, or defenses – provided that the benefit, right, or status does not arise from a marriage. For instance, a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.”

READ MORE: ‘Lie From Hell’: Franklin Graham Spends Weekend Promoting Anti-LGBTQ Extremism – and Calls for ‘Regime Change’ in US

Here’s how Franklin Graham characterized the legislation.

“The deceitfully named Respect for Marriage Act will be voted on by the U.S. Senate this week, as early as Wednesday,” he writes overnight to his 10 million Facebook followers.

“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,'” which is egregiously false.

“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham claims, while not mentioning the bill has Republican co-sponsors and is expected to get at least ten Republicans in the Senate to vote to for it.

“Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler wrote, ‘Anyone who would redefine marriage, the most fundamental building block of society, is no conservative, no friend of the natural family, and no defender of family values.’ I ask every senator to vote NO. Please call or email your two US senators and tell them to vote NO on the Respect for Marriage Act,” he concludes.

The bill is being prioritized because the House this summer already passed a similar bill, and should Republicans take the majority it’s unlikely it would even be allowed to go to the floor for a vote, much less pass.

READ MORE: Franklin Graham Launches ‘Religious Freedom’ Attack on ‘Godless, Secular Agenda’ of ‘Sinful’ LGBTQ Voters

As NCRM reported earlier, supporters also want the Senate to act quickly, given U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has encouraged marriage equality opponents to bring cases that could allow the Court to strike down its ruling in Obergefell. As many Americans learned this summer when the Court struck down its 49-year old ruling in Roe v. Wade, laws that remain on the books can go back into effect immediately.

Graham ignores all this, leading his supporters on Facebook to respond with comments like, “It seems every day there is an attack on the Constitution, as well as principles this country was established on.”

“Democrats are the biggest threat to America and its children.”

“The left is unhinged and getting more and more radical everyday. These people are sick and they are evil doers to boot! God help us!”

“There they go again. The label the Democrats stick on one of their bills almost always turns out to be the exact opposite of what the label says. In this case the “defense of marriage act” is aimed at re-defining traditional marriage. Just more destructive garbage from the loonies.”

“Mental illness is rampant within the the democrat community and when they say in the Bible “pray for our leaders “,I am thinking it means,we pray they be touched by the Word of God and our constitution.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.