Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Reporters routinely refer to Mitt Romney as a "venture capitalist" and to Bain Capital as a "venture capital firm." Neither is correct. Venture capitalists underwrite high risk new enterprises, usually with innovative technology or business models. Most of their bets don't pay off but they hope to reap spectacular payoffs from the few that do, in other words they're looking for the next Google or Amazon. Romney has never been a venture capitalist. He and his pals bought existing companies, usually old and tired ones, and made money however they could -- sometimes by chopping them up and selling off the pieces, sometimes by breaking their existing deals with workers and suppliers, sometimes by shutting down less profitable parts and buffing up the balance sheets. That's not venture capital.

A headline on the CNN web site a few days ago said that six NATO "peacekeepers" had been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. There are no NATO peacekeepers in Afghanistan. The NATO forces in Afghanistan are combatants.

The NPR newsreader yesterday morning, referring to the prosecution of ex-CIA agent John Kiriakou for leaking classified information, said that the Obama administration has cracked down particularly hard on "breaches of national security." They've cracked down hard on leaks of information, alright, but whether those constitute breaches of "national security" is a matter of opinion, at best. Kiriakou revealed information about the torture of Abu Zubaydah. Is our national security harmed because we know that?

Of course, Politifact will never label any of these statements as lies, or even half truths. They're just the ordinary perversion of discourse.

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