Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The twisted mind of Nathan Bech


You'd think that after my nice civil discussions with a member of his staff, I'd lay off Nathan Bech for awhile. He did tell me I'm Bech's harshest critic, after all. Maybe I should pause and let others catch up to my level of harshness. Or maybe the guy just deserves a break.

Truth be told, I probably would have given him a break, because I'm not super-interested in giving him a ton of press, and I'm not too concerned about him winning the election. Olver should retain his seat easily.

But if there's one thing I can't resist, it's a batshit-insane press release. And Bech has served one up to me on a golden platter.

To be honest, I don't even know where to start with this piece of bullshit. Let's just quote and fisk, shall we?
Olver Home Heating Plan Fails 75% of Needy Bech says "Drilling will provide relief for all."

21st July 2008

Nathan Bech (R - West Springfield) expressed bewilderment about incumbent John Olver's (D- Amherst) continued unwillingness to loosen regulations for new refineries or to allow drilling for oil in ANWR and offshore drilling in the United States. "Olver knows seniors and poor people will freeze this winter if we do nothing. He knows his plan won't work and still he pursues the same failing polices," said Bech
Here's the first problem (aside from the fact they forgot a period at the end of that paragraph): Bech is talking about "this winter."

Does he seriously think that ANWR and offshore drilling will keep anybody from freezing this winter? Because that's just insane. Try 2030, if you're lucky.

But I've been over all that before, so let's not worry about it now.

Moving on..
In a speech before the House of Representatives on Wednesday July 16th Olver explained, "A whole new crisis looms as families face a price approaching $5 per gallon for heating oil for their homes. That's twice last winter's price. Last winter in Massachusetts and New England alone, 350,000 low-income families used the LIHEAP program to get by, yet only one in four of the families eligible by income use [sic] the program. Many of those already eligible families will be in desperate need of help this winter, and many more middle-income families' budgets will be severely stressed by the doubled price of home heating oil."
See where I put that "[sic]"? There's an intentional misrepresentation a typo there.

If you compare Bech's press release to Olver's, you'll see that Olver didn't say that only one in four eligible families "use" the program, he said they "used" the program. There's a subtle but important difference, which Bech will now further twist to his own bizarre interpretation.

Oddly, you'll also find Olver's "middle class" replaced by Bech's "middle-income." But it's the use/used distinction that Bech exploits.

Witness the insanity!
Bech argued that Olver's own words prove three quarters of the people refuse government handouts for heating oil. "The people of central and western Massachusetts do not want to be dependant [sic] on welfare to heat their homes. We are self sufficient and don't want to take handouts. We simply want government to get out of the way and let increased supply lower costs. If we allow new refineries to be built and if we allow off-shore drilling energy prices will go down," said Bech.
Holy fuck that's stupid.

Seriously, Nathan? You seriously think that Olver's words "prove three quarters of the people refuse government handouts for heating oil"? Are you high? Do you have even the faintest idea what you're talking about?

Now, a sane person hearing that only a quarter of eligible recipients get help from LIHEAP might imagine many reasons for why that's the case.

For instance, they might assume that most people who are eligible for assistance are unaware of it, so they never even think to apply for help. Or they might assume that the application process is so grueling that a lot of eligible people don't make it through. Or they might assume that there are other programs that people use in its place.

They absolutely do not assume that poor people are refusing "government handouts" that would help keep them from freezing to death!

The only people who would assume that are either rich assholes that are totally disconnected from reality, or deranged militia members living in shacks and preparing for "the coming race war." Either way, they share a detachment from reality.

Want to know why only a quarter of people eligible for LIHEAP get help? Maybe this is related...
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is not an entitlement program, meaning that you are not guaranteed help because you meet certain criteria. Congress provides a specific amount of money each year for LIHEAP.

When the LIHEAP funds are gone, LIHEAP grantees can no longer provide federal help until Congress provides funds for the next Federal Fiscal Year that begins on October 1st of each year. Therefore, it is possible (at the time one applies) that a state will have exhausted its available federal LIHEAP grant monies, and thus be unable to serve additional households even if those households are eligible to receive help.
Yeah, and how's that funding going?

Oh, not so well:
FY 2009 Proposed Funding
The President’s proposal for FY 2009 LIHEAP funding is a cut of 22 percent, reducing the block grant from $1.98 billion to $1.7 billion and the emergency contingency fund from $590.3 million to $300 million. The President has proposed zero funding for the Community Services Block Grant and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
Starting to see a trend here?

The whole point of Olver's speech to Congress was to try to get more funding for LIHEAP. That's why he was talking about people who are eligible but couldn't use it. Only a quarter of those eligible get help, not because they refuse it, but because there's no fucking money to give them!

It takes a truly twisted mind to turn an attempt to get proper funding for heating assistance for poor people into a claim that people reject that very assistance out of some twisted desire to conform to Republican ideals. It's impressive, in the same way that 2girls1cup is impressive. And both can cause nausea.

Must we go on with this?

Yeah, we must...
Olver blamed Republicans for the crisis saying, "Congress must end rampant speculation in crude oil futures, yet our Republican colleagues in both branches have consistently opposed such legislation."
Hey, that's true! Maybe things are looking up!
Bech responded, "It is Economics 101, when action to increase supply is taken, the price of futures goes down and speculators leave the market place. When the executive offshore drilling ban was lifted last week the price of crude went down $9 a barrel with in [sic] hours.
Hey, he's doing pretty well. Bech and Olver agree that speculation is a problem, they just differ in the best way to solve it. I'm inclined to agree with Olver and disagree with Bech on this matter, but reasonable people can differ.

Maybe this is a sign of an upcoming improvement in the Bech press releases! Oh, but wait... that quote didn't close... there's one more sentence to go...
Olver doesn't seem to have a problem with speculators in the pharmaceutical industry; after all he has thousands of dollars in Pfizer stock."

I thought we were talking about energy costs and LIHEAP and people freezing this winter, and Bech comes out with a slam that Olver owns stock in Pfizer? What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? How is it relevant to anything anyone is talking about? Is speculation some sort of problem when it comes to pharmaceutical prices? How does this have anything to do with anything???

I give up. This is way past just honesty problems. This is dementia.