There hardly is a reason to believe that this coming election will offer up anything new for Americans. It might be a previse to dark days ahead…..if anything.
Anyone who has followed me on the internet for any amount of time, during the last election, knows I was a huge Obama supporter. I believed the hype so to speak. Although I’m NOT a happy camper, I think it’s safe to say that Mitt Romney and his sidekick Robber Baron the boy wonder are truly treacherous men. What little progress we have made will surely be erased.
I’ve considered third party options. Some of them, like Jill Stein, are very inviting. They have great ideas.
The problem is, they won’t make a dent in the big picture of moneyed politics. And so, they’re truly a “waste of time”.
It boils down to this: Vote Obama because we have to. It’s the only option.
It could mean “Equal, Equality, Equal Rights”
It could mean “Sum or sum of it all
It could be “We’re all the same”
It could mean whatever you want it to mean.
I was thinking about the “Happy Face” buttons , the Peace sign, and simple logos like that.
09/09/2011 by Peter Hart
Frontrunner-of-the-moment Rick Perry is getting a lot of press for his performance at the recent Republican debate–especially because he’s standing by his belief that Social Security is a “monstrous lie” and a Ponzi scheme, and that climate change is an untested theory advanced by corrupt, discredited scientists.
You can call such ideas a lot of things. “False” or “untrue,” for example, would work. But a lot of reporters characterized Perry’s performance in positive terms. In today’s New York Times (9/9/11), Michael Shear writes that Perry
made clear in his first national appearance that he would campaign as an unabashed Southern conservative who is unafraid to speak bluntly, would double-down on controversial statements and planned to shrug off the concerns of the Republican establishment.
Shear later added that “Perry did not back down Wednesday night from his assertion that Social Security was a failure, even in the face of direct criticism by Mr. Romney.”
“Unabashed,” “unafraid,” not backing down–these are all more or less positive descriptions.
Likewise, on NBC Nightly News (9/8/11), Andrea Mitchell said: “Perry proved he could throw a punch and take one. And he was unapologetic about attacking Social Security as a monstrous lie.”
So he’s not only a fearlessly blunt speaker, he’s also an unapologetic punch-thrower. This is the kind of coverage the Perry campaign would probably pay for. Yes, there are pieces here and there that point out that, you know, Social Security isn’t actually a massive scam. On the other hand, Washington Post liberal Ruth Marcus writes today (9/9/11): “On the substance, Perry’s point about Social Security-as-Ponzi scheme has some grounding in reality.” She gets around to criticizing him, but that’s a lot of ground to cede to a falsehood.
As Greg Marx notes at CJR, the media designation of certain pieces as “factchecks” is strange because one might logically conclude that run-of-the-mill articles don’t dwell on checking the facts of politicians (a conclusion that would largely be a correct one). He points to a CBS News piece on Perry and Social Security that quotes other Republicans disagreeing with his stance. Readers are apparently being asked to believe either Karl Rove or Rick Perry on the issue. That’s a lot to ask of anyone.
By David E. Phillips
Okay, first things first. I don’t think republicans are serial killers, provocative title notwithstanding. It’s just that the other day I had something seemingly completely unrelated to politics pop in my head that drew an analogy between the infamous murderer of women, Ted Bundy, the republican party and who they look out for.
So, stay with me. I promise this will make sense by the time I’m done.
Most of you probably don’t remember the NBC film from 1986 called The Deliberate Stranger starring Mark Harmon of NCIS fame as Ted Bundy. At the time, it was pretty well thought of although it has largely been confined to the faded annals of TV movie history.
However, there is one scene from that telepic that has always stuck with me. Near the end of the film as the prosecutor is making his closing argument, he brings out a blackboard and a piece of chalk. He then takes the long round edge the piece of chalk and makes a thick straight line across the board. After doing so, he begins to discuss the evidence the state has against Mr. Bundy. With each new article of information he erases a portion of the line until the line disappears completely. The point being that when you stack up all that is known about the case against Mr. Bundy, you can only conclude that there is no reasonable doubt as to whom committed the murders of at least 30 women in the 1970′s.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, that’s interesting, but what does it have to do with the GOP?” On the face of it, nothing. However, if you apply the Ted Bundy Chalkboard Test to the republican party and whose interests they represent, you get a similar result.
At this point, I want you to imagine that blackboard and that long, thick, straight line all the way across it. Now, I want you to think of the different groups of people in our country who make up the population of the United States.
Let’s start with racial minorities. Do you think that republicans stand for the rights of Mexicans, Latinos, Asian Americans, African-Americans, or Native Americans? No, you say? Well, I agree. They are anti-affirmative action, anti-immigrant, and even anti-civil rights. Okay then, let’s mentally erase a pretty good portion of that line.
Now let’s look at the ladies. Who doesn’t like women? Didn’t we all come from one? Well, the GOP opposed Lily Ledbetter, are anti-choice, and for the most part prefer their women of the Stepford variety (see Cindy McCain, Michell Bachmann, and whoever Newt’s latest wife is). I’m thinking we can erase some chalk off the board.
How about gays and lesbians? Sure, I know there is such a thing as gay republicans, but their existence baffles me. Here is a party that fought hard to sustain DADT, bends over backwards to keep gays from marrying, and in some cases compares their lifestyle to that of practitioners of beastiality (this means you, Rick Santorum). Don’t get me wrong, I understand the idea of not being a “one issue” voter, but what if that issue is essentially your right to exist? Time to remove some more chalk.
Then there’s senior citizens. A group of people whom are dependant upon Social Security and Medicare to sustain not only their health and home, but their very dignity. The GOP’s current front-runner thinks Social Security is a “Ponzi Scheme.” And there so-called fiscal genius, Paul Ryan, wants to replace Medicare with a coupon. Eraser, please.
Lastly, let’s look at the Middle Class and the poor. Have you ever seen a party less concerned with those making less than 250K per year? They want no investment in schools, teachers, the building and repair of roads and bridges, any extension of unemployment rates despite the current state of the economy. And that’s what they think of the working class. If you’re poor, well you better get a helmet, not that you could afford one. They want to kill Medicaid, drug test those on welfare (even though it would cost more to do so and the rate of addiction among the under class is not appreciably higher than that of those above the poverty line), cut back food stamps, force poor women to have children and then leave them out in the cold, and those are just the programs I can think of off the top of my head. Looks like we got a whole lot more chalk to get rid of on our line.
But hold on, we still have a little line left! Who are those people? What group of individuals could possibly be left after we have completed our Ted Bundy Chalkboard Test? It’s not much, just a sliver of very stubborn calcium carbonate that will not bend to the will of our eraser.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the next time you watch a republican debate, wait until they scan the crowd. All those people cheering on the Governor of Texas’ death penalty record (243 and counting, yo!). All those with their expensive haircuts, brooches, and dresses and suits. You know, rich older white people. For the most part, the stale, the male, and the pale. And let’s not forget the rich, the very very rich. That’s who makes up that 2%. That is who the republican party represents. And somehow, that ever so thin line of remaining chalk has convinced nearly 48% of the rest of us that there is somehow some reasonable doubt about this party’s intentions towards the rest of us. It is nothing less than a fatal combination of alchemy and ignorance.
Once again, I’m not suggesting that the GOP is filled with craven lunatics like Ted Bundy. I mean, come on, they actually have a little chalk left on the board, whereas poor Ted was left with absolutely nothing at the end of the prosecutor’s closing argument.
I suppose they should be proud.
Al Gore writes, “The tar sands are the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet. As I wrote in Our Choice two years ago, gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. This pipeline would be an enormous mistake.”
Oh yes America was such a moral place in the past
The mortgage crisis began in 2006 and it’s all President Obama’s fault—at least according to Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity recently blamed Obama—“his policies, his economic plan, his fault”—for the mortgage crisis, ignoring who was actually president (that would be George W. Bush) as the housing market slipped.
Hannity’s is just one example of the selective memory and historical revision frequently on display in the conservative movement. Right-wing pundits, politicians and pseudo-historians are nibbling away at objective historical truths to rewrite history for present-day purposes, and hardly any topic is off-limits: glorifying the “Reagan Revolution” to children, sugarcoating the Jim Crow South and revising textbooks to offer a favorable view on Phyllis Schlafly—among many others.
Below, read about eight ways in which conservatives try to rewrite, sugarcoat or ignore aspects of American history.
1. Michele Bachmann on the founding fathers and slavery. Propelled to the front of the Republican field after her victory in the Iowa straw poll, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s historical views are notoriously error-prone. In one her infamous gaffes, she said the founding fathers “work[ed] tirelessly to end slavery” (in fact, George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves) and that John Quincy Adams was a founding father—he was born in 1767.
Bachmann was a research assistant to John Eidsmoe for his 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers, in which Eidsmoe wrote, “The church and the state have separate spheres of authority, but both derive authority rom God. In that sense America, like [Old Testament] Israel, is a theocracy.” And at a conference, Eidsmoe outlined his belief in church/state separation: “The church’s responsibility is to teach biblical principles of government and to drive sinners to the cross…. The function of the state is to follow those godly principles and preserve a system of order.” Bachmann has praised Eidsmoe as “absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects about our godly heritage.”
2. Secession was fine, dandy and legal. Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is fond of pro-secession comments; in 2009, he joked that “we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”
In his dreams. In fact, these attempts at humor sidestep what secession actually leads to: a nullification crisis, a Civil War, hundreds of thousands of casualties and the federal government as the victor anyway. And secession is illegal. In 1866 the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that Texas’s ordinance of secession was “absolutely null.”
Perry isn’t the only Republican to make such comments. Congressman Zach Wamp alluded to secession and Georgia’s Senate passed a secession-related bill in 2009.
3. Forgetting September 11? Conservatives have an uncanny ability to misremember when the September 11 attacks occurred. In July, Fox News host Eric Bolling said “we were certainly safe between 2000 and 2008 — I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.” (In his “apology,” he accepted no blame: “Yesterday, I misspoke when saying that there were no US terror attacks during the Bush years. Obviously, I meant in the aftermath of 9/11, but that is when the radical liberal left pounced on us…. thank you liberals for reminding me how petty you can be.”)
A surprising slip came from ex–New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In January 2010 he claimed that “we had no domestic attacks under Bush.” In December 2009 Mary Matalin made the outrageous claim that Bush inherited the attacks from Bill Clinton. In November 2009 Bush’s ex–Press Secretary Dana Perino said “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”
4. Mike Huckabee’s “Learn Our History.” Mike Huckabee’s cartoon history series is whitewashing American history. While claiming to engage children in an easy-to-digest format without “misrepresentations…historical inaccuracies, personal biases and political correctness,” personal biases somehow make an appearance. Each video is produced with consultation from Learn Our History’s “Council of Masters;” one “Master,” Larry Schweikart, is the author of 48 Liberal Lies About American History, including “Lie #45: LBJ’s Great Society Had a Positive Impact on the Poor.”
In a DVD on the “Reagan Revolution,” viewers are invited to “journey to a time when America suffered from financial, international and moral crisis:” Washington, DC, 1977. A knife-wielding African-American man demands “gimme yo’ money!” Ronald Reagan’s arrival—against triumphant music playing and a caption reading “one man transformed the nation…and the world”—changed all that for the better, the DVD suggests.
5. The New Deal did harm. Anti–New Deal views have long reverberated among Republicans. Bachmann blamed FDR for turning a recession into a depression by passing “Hoot-Smalley Tariff” (never mind that it’s Smoot-Hawley and it was passed three years prior to Roosevelt’s inauguration). And a barrage of recent books, including FDR’s Folly, by Jim Powell of the Cato Institute, and Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man, blame FDR and the New Deal for prolonging the Depression. Newt Gingrich has praised The Forgotten Man, with its anti-stimulus message, as a blueprint for a return to “Whig-style free-market liberalism.”
6. David Barton. An amateur-turned-“historian,” Barton is the founder of WallBuilders, a pseudo-historical organization “with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built,” says its website. One of his revisions insists that John Adams claimed that government cannot exist without the Holy Ghost. In his presentations of the subject, Barton misunderstands Adams’s mocking statement about fervent believers in the Holy Ghost as historical truth, omitting succeeding sentences wherein Adams describes those beliefs to be “Artifice and Cunning.”
Barton’s claims about the religious roots of the country have been debunked from academics, even from Christian colleges. John Fea, chair of the history department at Messiah College, wrote, “Barton claims to be a historian. He is not. He has just enough historical knowledge, and just enough charisma, to be very dangerous.”
7. Texas Textbook Revisions. Last year the Texas Board of Education revised public school textbooks, expanding discussion of Ronald Reagan at the expense of public figures like Justice Sonia Sotomayor, omitting reference to Thomas Jefferson as an Enlightenment thinker in favor of Protestant leader John Calvin, and offering favorable views on Senator Joseph McCarthy, women’s rights opponent Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation.
Many historians opposed the changes—but the board voted along party lines to approve of the revisions. Nearly 5 million Texas students live with the result.
8. Jim Crow wasn’t that bad. Last December, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi sugarcoated Jim Crow–era Mississippi, saying of his native Yazoo County, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” and, “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.”
In reality, 1960s Mississippi was 42 percent black, of which only 2 percent were registered to vote, according to the nonprofit African-American Registry. Civil rights activists were murdered and students rioted against integration. “Not bad” indeed!
* * *
Conservatives’ view of history is either a warm, patriotic tale of American exceptionalism or a tale of Big Government oppression. It glides over or misrepresents progressive triumphs like the New Deal or Great Society and ignores unpleasant episodes like the Jim Crow era. Only studying the United States’ “best hits” ignores the contributions of minorities, labor and other groups.
“Historians constantly challenge each other, and understandings of the past evolve (for whatever reason),” William Link, a professor of history at the University of Florida, told The Nation. “But these people are different in that they aren’t really reality-based and don’t have much standing or credibility among scholars.”
For American youth—particularly those subjected to revised textbooks in Texas—the political revision of history may have important consequences. Imagine a future when children know about the contributions of Phyllis Schlafly but not César Chávez, have heard of the “Reagan Revolution” but not the Bush recession. “It can pollute the educational process,” Link said. “A good education involves a search for truth and understanding. To an extraordinary degree you have to validate what you say with evidence…. that’s the accepted professional standard.