Michael Hartwell of Sentinel & Enterprise is a liar

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a liar.

I’ve written about Michael Hartwell in the past. My initial criticism of him was largely confined to the fact that he uses a poor writing style to avoid answering tough questions. That might be fine for a regular journalist, but Hartwell acts as little more than a common pundit who feigns a neutral position. As such, he has put himself in a place where the onus is on him to defend his writings. (Armchair Psychology Alert: I think he enjoys the respect that comes from making people think he’s fair-minded. He isn’t particularly interested in uncovering respect for actual ideas, in part, because doing so would expose the fact that he’s just another ideologue.) In short, he is not a reputable source for objective information, but I can see how he could appeal to a Republican audience – people like to have their biases confirmed.

Unfortunately, Michael Hartwell of Sentinel & Enterprise isn’t merely a bad journalist. He is also a liar. In a post about the Nazi-run economy of 1930’s and ’40’s Germany, Hartwell says this:

Over and over again I find myself clarifying that fascism and Nazism were sister movements to socialism and communism. This runs counter to the cheap political trick where modern capitalist-loving right wing movements are likened to Hitler and his followers.

Hartwell then spends more than the next 10 paragraphs describing how socialism was the mindset behind Nazism and the Nazi economy. Once done, he says this:

If younger generations fundamentally misunderstand the driving force behind evil mindsets like Nazism, then they will be completely vulnerable if it comes back again, striking not with mere hate but with false promises of prosperity.

In other words, he just hates those “cheap political tricks” where people try to tarnish something by associating it with Hitler and Nazis. But, oh yeah. Socialism is nothing but associated with Hitler and Nazis. Hell, it drove Nazism. (Sorry, racism and nationalism! Maybe next time!)

Of course, none of this is particularly notable as far as lies go. After all, in the words of Hartwell, it’s not much more than a cheap political trick. Perhaps we can just file this one under “Ironic rhetoric”? Except it gets better:

Fascism was indeed a form of socialism on a national scale instead of as an international movement…

Fascism economic policies that were put into place include the strict control of all businesses, such as telling them what to produce, and setting of prices. Those that violated these rules were nationalized. The execution of German invalids was defended as saving resources for the fit Germans. The amount of control over individuals daily lives was staggering.

Emphasis mine.

Either no one ever taught Hartwell about the importance of topic sentences or he was just overtly implying that socialism led to the murder of retarded individuals. Let’s just link his words together in way which perfectly and honestly reflects what he said: Fascism is a form of socialism that led to Germans executing “invalids”. (He even gets cute and uses the politically correct language for the 1930’s.)

But now here’s the question: Will Hartwell own up to his claim? Take a wild guess:

No. I was demonstrating fascisms belief in central planning.

And of course the best way to do that is to point to the fact that 1) fascism is a form of socialism and 2) fascism led to the murder of “invalids”. What!? How is that dishonest!?

Give me a break.

If Michael Hartwell wants to blog up a storm of right-leaning tripe, that’s fine. It doesn’t bother me that he thinks a series a declarations and a handful of links makes an argument. However, it all becomes an issue when he runs away from points and even resorts to (overt) lying. Moreover, I think it’s an issue when his goal is to present his blog as a good source of journalism, something to which potential employers can look as a piece of his resume. That is why his (publicly listed) place of employment has been included in the title of this post. I think journalism in the United States is already quite awful. I’d rather not see it get any worse.

Sean Hannity is willing to lie

I had the misfortune of hearing Sean Hannity on the radio the other day. Before I was able to change back to my Elliott Smith, I heard him declare that Nancy Pelosi has a favorable rating of 8%. Eight percent, you say?! Why, that’s sounds atrocious. We knew she was unpopular, but who knew the numbers were so low?!

Except they aren’t.

Hannity was implying – without any shame whatsoever – that Pelosi’s overall favorable rating was 8%. Among everyone. That was precisely his intention and he didn’t bother to correct his lie. Why is it a lie, you say? Because the evidence says so.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorable rating is down seven percentage points since May to 29%, a new low for her since assuming the top congressional post.

That’s the very first sentence in the Gallup write-up of the poll. It’s hard to imagine Hannity missed it.

What the chief liar at FOX Noise did was cite the Republican favorable rating for Pelosi. That is not what he said he was doing on his shitty, nasal-y radio program. He intentionally portrayed his statistic as her overall favorable rating. This man is extremely willing to lie.

What makes this all the dumber is that 29% is already pretty terrible. There’s no need to lie, Hannity.

LePage freaks out

This joke of a candidate, Paul LePage, has had issues with his anger in the past. He once declared he wouldn’t be talking with reporters directly when he was caught up in his creationist lies. According to some info from a little birdie, there exists a tape of him from March 2008 where he flipped out on a librarian at a City Council meeting; the librarian apparently had some budget concerns – the audacity! (FYI, the tape is available for $50 at Waterville City Hall.) And now there’s this.

On Monday, Paul LePage was asked by a reporter to clarify the residency status of his wife. He said he’d already addressed the issue.

When other reporters continued pressing for an answer, he began walking away.

“I am running for governor, not my wife. I want to talk about the $1 billion shortfalls we have,” he said.

Asked why he transferred the deed for his house at 438 Main St. in Waterville from both their names to just her name, LePage said his name never appeared on the deed.

“I never had it on. Never had it on! Ever,” he said. “That house was bought for my wife. That house in Florida my mother-in-law bought, we helped her.”

According to Kennebec County property records, however, LePage and his wife’s names were on the deed issued October 11, 1995 when they purchased the house. The property was transferred to just Ann LePage on Feb. 23, 1996, according to another record bearing Paul LePage’s signature.

The guy clearly has poor control over his emotions. But notice when he has poor control. Once the issues move from his constant threats to cut every program into oblivion because he hates poor people, he gets testy. LePage’s big rhetorical weakness is on the social issues. Of course, he’s a weak candidate all around, but rhetorically, at least on the economy, he has obvious appeal. But that disappears when he starts talking about his creationist beliefs or his deeply held bigotry. Once he moves into those issues, he’s a goner.

I hope reporters keep pressing him; he shouldn’t be the one dictating the election season discourse.

LePage talks where he cannot lead

As I’ve mentioned previously, in order to speak with a relevant voice about obesity in the United States, it is necessary that the speaker is making an honest effort towards health. Republican candidate for Maine governor Paul LePage is clearly not doing that, if anything gaining weight during his campaign of creationism, tea partying, and lies. Of course, as a matter of simple logic, the truth of a statement does not depend upon the credibility of the person saying. If a murderer says murder is wrong, we don’t think he’s somehow incorrect. But LePage is a politician (and nothing but). It’s the effectiveness of his words that matters. Despite this, he’s still impotently spouting off.

LePage said parents and schools need to better educate children on nutrition, but he also linked the problem to Maine’s economy.

“In this state, all we have to do is make this state prosperous, allow Maine families to go from 80 percent of the national average in earnings to 100 percent so they can compete and buy healthy groceries,” he said.

If this all comes down to personal earnings, then why is it that LePage is able to maintain healthy finances but not a healthy lifestyle?

Here’s one I missed

Everyone knows Paul LePage is a huge liar. But still some people refuse to believe he wants creationism taught in schools. For Christ’s Sake.

Creationism: “Quite frankly, it’s a learning tool for our kids. I think we should teach them everything possible and let them make their own minds up on how they want to live their lives.”

There is no candidate more anti-science than Paul LePage.

LePage: lying about his creationist views

When asked if he believed in creationism and if it ought to be taught in schools, Paul LePage answered this.

I would say intelligence, uh, the more education you have the more knowledge you have the better person you are and I believe yes and yes.

It’s a ramble, but a ramble that ends with a definitive answer: “I believe yes and yes.”

But now LePage is lying.

Over the weekend, during a whistle-stop train trip through the Midcoast, LePage told reporters that his opponents had claimed LePage was not fit to be Governor because he’s French and Catholic. He claimed the comments had been made in blogs by Arden Manning, manager of the Democrats’ statewide campaign effort, called Victory 2010.

Manning says he doesn’t have a blog, denies ever making such comments, and says LePage’s allegation is “a lie”. But LePage was defended by Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster. He told NEWS CENTER that Democrats have been attacking LePage as “too extreme” because of his French Catholic values.

Webster and LePage both claim the issue revolves around creationism and whether it should be taught in schools. LePage says he has never said it should be taught, but MPBN radio has reported that during a GOP primary debate on MPBN television, LePage answered that he believes it should be taught.

Aside from no such blog or comments existing about LePage’s heritage or religion (both of which are strong forces in many parts of Maine anyway), LePage did – definitively – profess support for the teaching of creationism. Since that time he has backed away slightly, saying he supports local boards deciding what ought to be taught. Unfortunately, this still means he is okay with allowing creationism in schools. A rational person would reject such rubbish getting anywhere near children.

What I really want to hear is someone ask LePage how old he thinks the Universe is, how life has come to its current state – with specific reference to whether or not he accepts the fact of evolution – and if he believes Adam and Eve really existed. These are important questions that LePage needs to directly address – and not lie about later.