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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is the Republican Party Built on a Foundation of the BIG LIE?

Despite what we have said in the last few weeks about the Republican platform being the foundation of what the GOP believes, it is now time to comment on their real foundation.  It is NOT the DNC platform; it is the network of lies and half-truths perpetrated upon the public; it is the twisting and ignoring of facts that is the clear basis for this Party.

Where do we start?  Well, why not start where they started:  President Obama is somehow foreign to the American experience and to the American Way.
 
The GOP has made an industry out of manufacturing images of the President that conjure up a foreign-born, non-Christian (Islamist), Kenyan-oriented, elitist who doesn’t even meet the requirement of being a native-born citizen because he doesn’t have a valid birth certificate. 

Maybe you have already forgotten the outrageous “birther” campaign centering on this one thing: an invalid or non-existent birth certificate in this country.  The movement included a Philip J. Berg, Pennsylvania attorney and 9/11 conspiracy theorist, who backed Hillary Clinton for president.  Another notable advocate was Alan Keyes, who was defeated by Obama in the 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate election, and self-described as a ‘conservative political activist’.

But, of course, the right-wing media joined in through the persons of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and even Lou Dobbs.  However, it was a wannabe presidential candidate who put it into high gear.  Donald Trump resurrected the movement of lies and brought it to a head, since President Obama did release the long form birth certificate from Hawaii.  Although Trump took the opportunity to imply that he made it happen, it was more likely the long-term need to get this falsity squashed that brought forth this reaction from the President.

The Obama-haters didn’t stop there.  In spite of the much earlier Rev. Wright controversy which brought attention to Obama’s Christian denomination membership, and despite his repeated references to his Christian faith, and his appearances at the  Congressional Prayer breakfast, or his use of biblical phrases in his speeches, the general public bought into the fabrication that Obama was, and is, a Muslim.  According to the Huffington Post, about 17% of people still believe this lie, but the numbers are even higher among Republicans and in certain southern states.  It is a tribute to Republican truth-stretching strategy that they have been able to sell this chestnut to about 1/5th of the population.  But that’s not all…

According to a recent article on Addicting Info.org, a right-wing political action committee named “Government Is Not God” recently ran a smear-campaign against President Obama in 19 newspapers, using a dozen bizarre lies about religion and values to rally conservative voters to the polls.  “In the ad, the wingnut GING-PAC lays out its vision of ‘the true agenda of Barack Hussein Obama.’ Upon scrutiny from Politifact, all of the claims rate as false, with a whopping 6 “pants on fire” rebuttals.

Force Christian organizations to pay for abortions: MOSTLY FALSE (qualified by “mostly” only if you equate contraceptive access with “abortions”).
Force Christian schools to hire non-Christian teachers: FALSE
Force all states to permit same-sex marriages: FALSE
Force military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages: PANTS ON FIRE
Force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies: PANTS ON FIRE
Force employers to give illegal immigrants the jobs of U.S. citizens: PANTS ON FIRE
Force States to pay the college tuition of illegal immigrants’ children: FALSE
Force courts to accept Islamic Sharia Law in domestic disputes: PANTS ON FIRE
Force police agencies to allow Muslim brotherhood to select staff: PANTS ON FIRE
Force local authorities to allow Occupy protestors to live in parks: PANTS ON FIRE
Force creation of a permanent government funded “underclass”: Deemed too vague to investigate
The same ad also claims Obama is ‘the only President in history who has deliberately removed the words ‘endowed by their Creator’ when referring to our Declaration of Independence, not once, but several times,’ which Politifact also rated as ‘false’.”

It is clear that all of these lies and half-truths are being used to make Obama seem not only different from the rest of us, but intent on destroying certain beliefs and standards that more than a few Americans espouse.  Again, all this to implicate his ways as other than our ways!

There is another huge lie that lies at the heart of Right-wing attempts to make President Obama seem not only different, but foreign, and that is: Obama is a socialist intent on making our government into a socialist state, much like certain European governments.

Trouble is, America is not a socialist country nor is it headed in that direction.  To be a socialist government, the central government would have to be operating all sources of production and distribution.  This means that all manufacturers, all services, all industries, all modes of distribution - like trucking companies and railways - would have to be government-operated.  They aren’t, and they won’t be under this President (or any other most probably). 

Most of the purveyors of this untruth attempt to display Obama as a European-type socialist, meaning he supports a type of cradle-to-grave “welfare state.”  But the real motive for this appellation is displayed for all to see in an article on Forbes.com.  That real reason is the opposition of the rich toward a government that takes taxes from them and distributes what the rich consider their profits and resources to others with special challenges or needs.  It is displayed in a basic misunderstanding of the commonweal, i.e. the health of a society as a whole.  They simply don‘t want their hard-earned rewards going to people who are, in their estimate:  irresponsible, uneducated, and unworthy. 

Thus, the revealing statement of the real motive for this lie:  these measures are “excuses for the state to take from one group to give to another or to coerce people or businesses to do something they do not want to do otherwise. The more powerful the state, the greater the risk of state coercion under the guise of noble aims. ” (Paul Roderick Gregory on Forbes.com)

A so-called “welfare state” and a socialist country are not the same, no matter how badly the antagonist liar wants them to be.  A socialist state, founded either by the Right or the Left, is all about control of citizens, about power over their thinking and their lives, and all about using them as cogs in the mechanisms of the State.  Nazi Germany and Communist China are not that far apart in their national socialism (or communism).  They controlled all aspects of the lives of their subjects, proclaiming citizen “welfare” while simultaneously taking away all individuality and individual rights.  The only right one possessed was the right to serve the State.

In the Forbes article mentioned above, the author wants to term Obama a European-type socialist because the European welfare state takes one half of national output to provide state health care, pensions, extended unemployment benefits, income grants, and free higher education.  However, he also indicates that these countries leave enterprise in private hands but coerce it through taxation and regulation to contribute to what the state deems “social welfare.”  But a state with private enterprises is not a socialist state.  Social welfare is just that; it is not socialism.  Because 60% of Americans are perturbed by the word “socialist” or “socialism”, these purveyors of lies apply that term (wrongly) to any country that provides for “social welfare.”

Security for the elderly and disabled in the form of Social Security, or Medicare for the aged and sick, or the Veteran’s Administration health care system, or the saving of the American auto industry -- these are not signs of socialism.  The point is that government help for those in less fortunate circumstances than those who prosper is not socialism; it is a social contract that people enter into as citizens to enable society to enhance the lives of all its people.  Government aid is not socialism.  America is not on the road to anything like socialism, because we happen to know the difference between control of people by the state and empowerment of people through supports and opportunities. 

The fact that some small percentage of people, receiving some form of welfare, cheat or take advantage of an opportunity to be lazy or “shiftless” is not an argument for taking away all forms of government help.  If that were so, all the “welfare subsidies” to businesses and corporations should also be taken away because a percentage of those businesses (like macro-farm conglomerates and big oil companies) are cheating us all when they take from the general coffers what they don’t deserve or need. 

Likewise, Socialism is not defined  by government regulation of businesses, banks, and other financial services, nor of drugs and food and other products.  This is the legitimate regulation of  production and distribution so that consumers are protected from unlimited practices that tend to exploit them and their families.  Unfettered profit-taking is a threat to the well-being of citizens because it unleashes not just the benefits of entrepreneurship, but the forces of greed, crime and corruption, as well as threats to health and safety.  Radical Republicans tend to overlook these very real matters whenever they discuss the reduction of regulations, which is almost every day.

Finally, another lie that persists is that President Obama is an enemy of small business and that he is looking to undermine the entrepreneurship that such businesses represent. 
If that were so, would he then reduce the tax burden on small businesses some seventeen times?  From an article by Lori Schulman on Whitehouse.gov, we learn the following:

“Since coming into office in January of 2009, President Obama has signed legislation that created or extended 17 small business tax cuts and credits. Several of those cuts were in three key pieces of legislation: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Affordable Care Act, and the HIRE Act. All told, these three laws contain eight different small business tax cuts, including the exclusion of up to 75% capital gains on key small business investments, a tax credit for the cost of health insurance for small business employees, and new tax credits for hiring Americans who had been out of work for at least two months.
The Small Business Jobs Act, signed by President Obama in September of 2010, had another eight tax cuts and credits in it. These included raising the small business expensing limit to $500,000, the highest ever; simplifying the rules for claiming a deduction for business cell phone use; creating a new deduction for health care costs for the self-employed; allowing greater deductions for start-up expenses for entrepreneurs, and eliminating taxes on all capital gains from key small business investments.
In December of 2010, President Obama also signed a tax bill that went one step further and allowed all businesses -- large and small -- to expense 100 percent of their new investments until the end of 2011. It also extended the elimination of capital gains taxes for small business investments through the end of 2012 -- and the President's budget has proposed to make that tax cut permanent.”

Although we have examined only three of the lies continually perpetrated by the Radical Republican base, there are many more, and they persist even now.  Just to name a few (based on information in another blog - prbrownreport.blogspot.com):

Lie #1.
President Obama took $716  billion out of Medicare in order to fund Universal Healthcare. This has been repeated over and over again by both Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan, and by many running for Congress.  But the fact is, as we have reported before,   President Obama intends to cut $716 billion in wasteful spending over a period of ten years and close a gap in the Medicare budget to give senior citizens more benefits.
Lie #2.
President Obama gutted the welfare system and made it no longer necessary for recipients to work for their benefits. Wrong again! The Obama administration initiated a $1.3 billion program that helps states give work to more welfare recipients but this initiative was killed by Congressional Republicans.
Lie #3.
President Obama is soft on terrorism because he is a Muslim sympathizer. More drone attacks have been authorized under The Obama administration than under George W. Bush and a great many top Al Qaeda operatives have thereby been eliminated. And, lest we forget, President Obama authorized the daring operation that killed Osama Bin Laden.  Oh yes, and Mubarak and Qaddafi are also gone thanks to the support rendered by this President for the democratic desires of rebellious Egyptians and Libyans.

During Adolf Hitler's reign of terror in Nazi Germany he employed a cynical media tactic in order to desensitize the country and lull it's citizens into apathy. Rather than tell small lies, he told huge lies over and over again. So much so that some Germans believed that fiction was the truth (not unlike some Americans today). “This represented a tipping point, and lead (sic) to one of the worst atrocities that the world has ever seen.”

Today, decades later, the Republican Party is using the very same tactic.  What are their intentions?  Some believe they simply want to win an election.  Others believe that their intentions are much more sinister and conspiratorial.  I tend to agree with the latter, as I indicated in several recent postings.  This is not just lying to gain an advantage.  This is lying intended to lull the citizenry into compliance with views that are contrary to the fundamentals of our constitutional republic and democracy.  This lying is meant to put the few in charge of, and in control of, the hearts and minds of the many.  Do not succumb to the Radical Republicans’ BIG LIEs.