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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to discontinue federal tax funding for Planned Parenthood, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) betrayed not only a nakedly partisan agenda to punish the women’s health organization by withdrawing financial support, but also a complete dishonesty regarding basic math.

During his grilling of its president, Cecile Richards, Chaffetz displayed a graph that purports to show “abortions up, life-saving procedures down,” in an attempt to visually demonstrate that Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services have been dramatically overtaken by abortion.

In fact, as Richards noted, the graph was created by the anti-abortion group Americans United For Life, which has been petitioning Congress to defund Planned Parenthood since at least 2011. She advised him to check his source.

Americans United For Life (https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/18201/)

Americans United For Life (via)

Chaffetz repeatedly demanded that Richards explain the graph to the committee — a tall order since it makes absolutely no sense. Even if we were to take the numerical data here at face value, the graph, as designed, is disingenuous at best and criminally idiotic at worse.

There is no proportion; each line behaves according to its own scale. A rise in the number of abortions from 289,750 to 327,000 (an increase of 13 percent) is illustrated as a sharp red line surging upwards, while a 53 percent decline in the number of preventative services is represented by an almost identical inverted slope.

Even worse, the lines intersect one another: The line representing the number of “cancer screenings and prevention services” (colored pink — a cute touch), is seen being overtaken by the red line representing a supposed surge in abortions in the same seven-year period. The effect is that somehow 327,000 becomes a bigger number than 935,000.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) pointed out later in the hearing that much of the decrease in preventive services is due to an overall change in medical guidelines — Planned Parenthood’s breast screenings and mammogram referrals have gone down, for example, because women are no longer recommended to get screenings as frequently as before.

Below is our own quick and dirty (yet mathematically correct) graph of the same data. The chairman is welcome to use it.

2015-09-29-chaffetz-graph-done-right-border

National Memo / Eric Kleefeld

Photo: Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), via Facebook.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)