Back when one of my daughters was 8 or 9, she said something that was an alternative fact. I asked, “Where did you hear that?” My daughter responded with a comment that would cement her argument, at least in her mind, “I read it on the internet.”
Needless to say, that did not go over well with my wife or me. First I explained to my daughter why her original statement was not true and then went into a short talk about how you need to know who wrote an article and what their biases might be. My daughter took at least one part to heart. She never used “I read in on the internet” as an authoritative argument in front of her parents again.
Now, as I listen to all the alternative facts by President Trump and Republicans about how Trumpcare is better than the Obamacare, and how high-risk pools can be used to protect the chronically ill while lowering costs for everybody else, I am reminded of my daughter’s statement, “I read it on the internet.” There is one difference. There is a decent chance that you can read something that is true on the internet. When Trump and Republicans talk about how they will “improve” health care, you can be sure that they are lying.
About two months after my first child was born, there was an outbreak of measles in St. Louis. My daughter was too young to be vaccinated, so she was at risk for becoming infected. Our pediatrician advised us to avoid public places as much as possible.
My daughter was put at risk because some people refused to get their children vaccinated.
People refuse to vaccinate their children for at least two reasons. First, people have forgotten how deadly measles and other contagious diseases can be. Vaccines have been too successful. Before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, there were hundreds-of-thousands cases per year and hundreds of people died as a result. Since 2010, we have had at most a few hundred cases per year with almost no deaths. One death occurred in 2015. Cases in this country are often caused by unvaccinated people who travel to other countries and bring the disease back here infecting themselves and others.
Joe Biden never advocated blocking Supreme Court nominees during an election year. Too many people on social media, and worse, too many news organizations keep getting this wrong.
This misconception started February 22, 2016, when C-SPAN posted a video clip from 1992 that shows then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.” Here is the clip posted by C-SPAN:
Conservatives pounced on this quote to show that there is a precedent for denying a Supreme Court nomination during an election year.
Biden rejects this position about 10 minutes later in the speech. He states clearly that he would carefully consider a Supreme Court nominee should a vacancy occur.
Biden said, “I believe that so long as the public continues to split its confidence between the branches, compromise is the responsible course both for the White House and for the Senate. Therefore I stand by my position, Mr. President, if the President [George H.W. Bush] consults and cooperates with the Senate or moderates his selections absent consultation, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did Justices Kennedy and Souter. But if he does not, as is the president’s right, then I will oppose his future nominees, as is my right.”
The second video clearly shows that Biden would follow the established Constitutional process for a hypothetical vacancy. Any other conclusion distorts the record and is wrong.