3 Ways You Can Drive Conservatives Insane: Debunking Right Wing Lies

July 28, 2014 | Filed under: Debunking Right Wing Lies,RIght-Wing Myths |Originally Posted by: Samuel Warde

 

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One of the surest ways or enraging conservatives is through debunking right wing lies, particular the ones most commonly seen on Facebook, Twitter and beyond. Here is this weeks handy list of right wing lies we have taken the time to correct.


Be sure to sprinkle these around and let us know some other great lies you want us to debunk in our next Debunking Right Wing Lies segment.

1. The United States is not a “Christian Nation” founded upon “Christian Principles”.

One need look no further than to Thomas Jefferson to understand the false nature of this claim.

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. “

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

And one cannot forget that Jefferson strongly advocated the separation of church and state:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. “

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

Another founder, John Adams, was a Congregationalist who later became a Unitarian. However, he deliberately avoided creed-based dogmatic religion.

The Treaty of Tripoli, introduced to the Senate by John Adams and ratified by unanimous decree, was signed by Adams in 1797 and includes the following passage for any doubters out there:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

 The Treaty of Tripoli, signed Nov. 4, 1796, effective June. 10, 1797

2. The Affordable Care Act is Working

Rolling Stone puts it best, reporting:

President Obama’s centrist healthcare bill was informed by federalism (delegating power to the states) and proven technocratic reforms (like a board to help doctors discern which treatments would be most cost-effective). Republicans, undeterred, decried it as Soviet-style communism based on “death panels” – never mind the fact that the old system, which rationed care based on income, is the one that left tens of thousands of uninsured people to die.

From the beginning, Republicans have predicted disastrous consequences or Obamacare, none of which came true. They predicted that the ACA would add to the deficit; in fact, it will reduce the deficit. They claimed the exchanges would fail to attract the uninsured; they met their targets. They said only old people would sign up; the young came out in the same rates as in Massachusetts. They predicted the ACA would drive up healthcare costs; in fact it is likely holding cost inflation down, although it’s still hard to discern how much of the slowdown was due to the recession. In total, the ACA will ensure that 26 million people have insurance in 2024 who would have been uninsured otherwise.

It’s worth noting that every time the CBO estimates how much Obamacare will cost, the number gets lower. Odd how we’ve never heard Republicans say that.

3. Ronald Reagan Supported Gun Control

I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

~Ronald Reagan, at his birthday celebration in 1989.

As governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act, which prohibited the carrying of firearms on your person, in your vehicle, and in any public place or on the street, and he also signed off on a 15-day waiting period for firearm purchases. “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons,” Reagan said at the time, according to Salon.com.

In 1986 as president, he signed into law the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which “banned ownership of any fully automatic rifles that were not already registered on the day the law was signed.”

After leaving the presidency, he supported the passage of the Brady bill that established by federal law a nationwide, uniform standard of a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns to enable background checks on prospective buyers.

In 1991 Reagan wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times stating his support for the Brady Bill and noted that if the Brady Bill had been in effect earlier, he never would have been shot. He also urged then President H.W. Bush to drop his opposition to the bill and lobbied other members of Congress to support the bill.

In 1994 Reagan wrote to Congress urging them to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons.

Vlogging Update: May 2017

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Hey y’all,

Sorry for the long absence.

My computer died.

I gave it to my aunt to work on.

She does IT work for the local school district.

Unable to fix it, she gave me another one that a school was getting rid of.

I tried to salvage what I could from the old one.

But, most of my programs and files were lost.

I’ve been searching for the missing software and restoring what I can.

My scanner/printer didn’t want to cooperate with the new computer.

I tried replacing it.

But, the replacements didn’t work either.

After a couple of days messing with it, I finally got it running.

My van has a million problems.

But, at least I got the front tire fixed that kept going flat.

I’ve replaced that tire THREE TIMES and it still kept going flat.

I thought maybe the rim was bent.

I had it looked at and they found a piece of metal lodged inside.

They patched it up.

Now, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Only cost me $15 bucks (thank God)!

I tried to repay my grandmother $700 dollars I owe her.

She forgave some of it.

My ex forgave the $200 I owed her, too, since I’ve been helping her relocate and move her stuff.

Not sure how I’ll get my other debts paid.

But, I try not to get stressed out about it.

That really fucks up my creativity.

How Close the Bush Bullet


Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 by Consortium News
How Close the Bush Bullet
by Robert Parry

Earlier this decade when some of us warned that George W. Bush was behaving more like an incipient dictator than the leader of a constitutional republic, we were dismissed as alarmists, left-wingers, traitors and a host of less printable epithets.

But it is now increasingly clear that President Bush and his top advisers viewed the 9/11 attacks as an opportunity to implement a series of right-wing legal theories that secretly granted Bush unlimited power to act lawlessly and outside the traditional parameters of the U.S. Constitution.

These theories held that at a time of war – even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror” – Bush’s powers as Commander in Chief were “plenary,” or total. And since the conflict against terrorism had no boundaries in time or space, his unfettered powers would exist everywhere and essentially forever.

According to his administration’s secret legal memos released Monday, Bush could waive all meaningful constitutional rights of citizens, including the First Amendment’s protections on free speech and a free press.

John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s powerful Office of Legal Counsel – which advises a President on the limits of his constitutional powers – declared that Bush could void the First Amendment if he deemed it necessary to fight terrorism.

“First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” Yoo wrote in an Oct. 23, 2001, memo entitled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.”

Yoo then added ominously, “The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”

What was particularly stunning about Yoo’s reference to waiving the First Amendment – a pillar of American democracy – was his cavalier attitude. He tossed the paragraph into a memo focused on stripping Americans of their Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

While saying that Bush could order spying on and military attacks against U.S. domestic targets at his own discretion as Commander in Chief, Yoo added, almost in passing, that the President also could abrogate the rights of free speech and a free press.

Wiping Out Public Trials

Another Yoo memo, dated June 27, 2002, essentially voided the Sixth Amendment and a federal law guaranteeing Americans the right to public trials. In the memo, Yoo asserted that Bush had the power to declare American citizens “enemy combatants” and detain them indefinitely.

“The President’s power to detain enemy combatants, including U.S. citizens, is based on his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief,” Yoo wrote, adding that “Congress may no more regulate the President’s ability to detain enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield.”

Yoo acknowledged that in “war on terror” cases, an “enemy combatant” may have no formal connection to an enemy group, may have no weapon, and may have no discernable plan for carrying out a terrorist attack. In other words, an “enemy combatant” could be anyone that Bush so designated.

Under Yoo’s analysis, an alleged “enemy combatant” would have no legal recourse, since Bush’s Commander in Chief powers trumped even habeas corpus requirements that the government must show cause for imprisoning someone. Further, this opinion wasn’t just hypothesizing; it provided the legal basis for indefinitely detaining U.S. citizen Jose Padilla.

Though the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately issued a narrow 5-4 decision overturning Bush’s supposed right to deny habeas corpus and punish “enemy combatants” through his own military court system, many of Yoo’s concepts survived in the Military Commissions Act, which was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2006.

While the law appears on the surface to target only non-citizens, fine print deep in the legislation makes clear that the Bush administration still was asserting its power to detain U.S. citizens who were viewed as aiding and abetting foreign enemies and to punish those citizens through military commissions that denied normal due-process rights to defendants.

“Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission,” the law states, adding that “any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States … shall be punished as a military commission … may direct.”

The reference to people acting “in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States” would not apply to Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda but would cover American citizens.

The Military Commissions Act remains in effect to this day, although President Barack Obama has vowed not to apply it, favoring use of regular civilian or military courts.

Loss of First Amendment

Though some of us have cited Bush’s determination to override key constitutional protections for years (see, for instance, our book Neck Deep), few critics – including me – thought to include the notion that Bush was interested in suspending the First Amendment.

The significance of Yoo’s throwaway paragraph about throwing away the First Amendment is that it suggests that the Bush administration intended as early as October 2001 to act against journalists and citizens who were viewed as undermining Bush’s “war on terror” through public comments or disclosures.

As a right-wing legal scholar, Yoo surely shared the Right’s knee-jerk animosity toward past reporting on the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War’s Pentagon Papers, as well as contempt for Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War.

But his First Amendment reference also may have reflected the thinking of senior Bush aides in those early days of the “war on terror” as they collaborated with Yoo in formulating his legal opinions.

In his 2006 book War by Other Means, Yoo describes his participation in frequent White House meetings regarding what “other means” should receive a legal stamp of approval. Yoo said the “meetings were usually chaired by Alberto Gonzales,” then White House counsel, and involved Vice President Dick Cheney’s legal counsel, David Addington.

So, a seemingly incongruous reference to overriding the First Amendment – in a memo centered on overriding the Fourth Amendment – could be explained by the desire of White House officials to have some legal cover for actions aimed at journalists who were exposing secrets or whose reporting might weaken the national resolve behind Bush’s actions.

It also suggests that Bush’s critics who exercised their free speech rights in challenging his “war on terror” could have become targets of special government operations justified under Bush’s Commander in Chief powers.

In other words, Bush’s assault on America’s constitutional Republic may have been more aggressive than many of us imagined. It was a bullet that came close to the heart of a dream dating back to 1776.

© 2009 Consortium News
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. His two previous books are Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’.


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George Bush’s Gift To The World: The End of American Imperialism

Published on Friday, January 30, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
George Bush’s Gift To The World: The End of American Imperialism
by David Michael Green

George W. Bush was unquestionably the worst American president in the two and a quarter centuries of the country’s existence.
After all, James Buchanan, the previous aspirant to the title, merely did nothing while the South seceded. Hah! You’ll have to do better than that, Jimmy, if you want to wear this crown!

Bush did far better, of course. It would appear to be the one thing in his entire life he actually worked hard at, and the one challenge he was able to meet successfully. This was an astonishingly destructive presidency, that’s true even despite the fact that we don’t really know much about his administration, because in addition to being the worst, it was also the most secretive ever. (I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, too.) Moreover, that’s also even considering that most Americans still vastly underestimate the depravity of Team Bush. As I have argued previously, if you think they were ‘merely’ arrogant bunglers with exceptionally bad politics, you’ve grossly underestimated them. In fact, they were predators who launched their class warfare agenda behind the smoke-screen of national security, faux patriotism and secret government.

Does this record of unparalleled devastation mean that Bush never did anything right in eight years? No, though it’s pretty much the case that he never did anything right on purpose.

Unquestionably, however, Bush did make some positive contributions to American life, even if they were completely inadvertent, and even if they were dwarfed by the swath of destruction he left all across the landscape. Put simply, George W. Bush’s greatest success was that he gave a very bad name to very bad things.

Like the Republican Party, for example. Or conservative ideology. Or theocracy. Or presidents with the last name of Bush. Or emotional midgets who seek the White House as a salve for their personal psychological neediness.

We can be grateful for all these contributions, and I certainly am – though “thanks” is not likely what I would say if I had the pleasure of relating my assessment of Mr. Bush to him directly. More likely it would be something closer to the gracious words Dick “Dick” Cheney had for Patrick Leahy early on in the administration, when the two bumped into each other on the Senate floor. Those remarks were not, shall we say, fit for print in a family newspaper.

But I digress.

George Bush left us many gifts, but perhaps the greatest of them is that he has ruined the sport of imperialism in America, maybe forever.

Admittedly, that may of course be wishful thinking. Woe be unto the world, for example, should there be another 9/11 type of event. Somebody somewhere would have to pay in spades, and they likely wouldn’t be nice white folks.

And god only knows, alternatively, what Americans might be capable of under conditions of real resource deprivation. Considering what we’ve already done while being the richest and most powerful country in the world, it’s scary to think of what we could do with our back genuinely to the wall.

But leaving those unusual situations aside, it must be said that, after Iraq, the fun has really gone out of eviscerating small foreign countries, even those foolish enough to locate themselves on top of our oil.

Imperialism used to be a fairly sporting avocation for gentlemen of a certain class. You could occupy hapless Latin American countries, topple Iranian democracies, and simultaneously sponsor apartheid suppression of whole populations, still having time left by mid-afternoon for a couple belts with the boys down at the club, all in celebration of a good day’s work at the office. It was jolly good fun for all. Except, of course, for all for whom it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, that latter category included more or less the entirety of the southern hemisphere, and not a few in the north to boot. But, so what? We’re Americans! Caring about the morality of imperialism is for pre-dictatorship revolutionary anti-colonialist leaders and washed-up European former empires who can’t get it up anymore.

Truth be told, we’re now closer to being in that latter category than not, and we can thank George W. Bush for that, one of the few contributions of this complete and utter disaster going by the name of the 43rd presidency.

I’d say we’re more than a bit lucky for that outcome, too. Imagine if Iraq had been a success. Imagine if it had been the cakewalk they obviously thought it would be. Indeed, one of the great ironies of American politics is that Iraq probably readily could have been a ‘great success’, at least in terms of what could be marketed as such to a foolish American public.

In that sense, we are really quite fortunate, in a perverse sort of way, that Bush was as much a lazy boob as he was a warmonger. We are lucky that Rumsfeld was as dogmatic about his 21 century military ideas as Cheney was a completely psycho amoral sociopath. For had they simply run an occupation that was as carefully planned and as adequately staffed as the invasion, or had they toppled Saddam and then promptly left, “Mission Accomplished” would have been a lot more than some banner duct-taped onto the bridge of an aircraft carrier.

And that would have been very bad news indeed for the rest of the world. Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba – there’s no telling where they might have gone next, and likely with the full support of the American public, at that point popping the buttons off their jingoistic shirts (made in Thailand, of course), their chests puffed out to the wall.

Americans were already growing dubious of regressive exploits in international adventurism, it seems to me. I remember laughing at the senior Bush, whose first pronouncement after defeating the pathetically under-matched Iraqi military in 1991 was “By God, we’ve licked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!” Yeah, he actually said that. All I could think at the time was, if you have to say it, dude, it ain’t really happenin’. And all I can think now is, out of 300 million people in this country, did we really go to the Bush family twice to staff the presidency?

But, in fact, the Vietnam syndrome had not been licked. That war was a traumatic experience, and it changed public perceptions about the desirability of war itself. On top of which, America was not completely immune to the general Western post-World War II movement away from militarism as a means of settling disputes. Then there’s always been our long-standing vision of ourselves as both peace-loving and anti-imperialistic – however absurd those perceptions often were in light of actual practice. These also provided at least a speed-bump along the road to war in all but the more obvious cases.

Indeed, two things about public opinion and war in America struck me as pretty notable, but not much noted, these last years. One is that there was a surprising – I thought – lack of blood lust after 9/11. I guess part of that was that there was no state enemy to be attacked, as there had been in the past, and part of that was the foregone conclusion that we would be invading Afghanistan. But, really, I’m surprised there wasn’t a far more intense call for revenge. As one measure of the absence of this, consider that Osama bin Laden still has not been captured or killed, almost a decade (!) later, and that nobody seems much to care about that or mention it very often.

The other thing worth noting is that the public was, in fact, dubious about the Iraq invasion, right up until the weeks before. People realized that it was bogus, at some basic level, and they certainly had a hard time connecting it to 9/11. It took a marketing full-court press to eventually garner public support for the war (America’s pathetic excuse for a Congress was a lot easier to roll). It never worked abroad (another reason Americans were a bit slower to come on-board), but in the context of post-9/11 fears, a general tendency to trust the president, and the regressive movement’s prowess at equating militarism with patriotism, the Madison Avenue campaign finally produced a tenuous majority support for the Iraq invasion in the weeks right before it actually went down.

I think it’s slightly encouraging that, even in that context, it still took a real effort to sell the war. It’s also seriously discouraging, on the other hand, that it could be sold, and that it was. But, as noted, this was a tenuous acceptance. Had the war gone well it would have amplified the militarism in the Bush team and the country’s willingness to let them run rampant. Since it went disastrously, it had the opposite effect.

Iraq is probably not the last time America will go to war. But I think it’s fair to say that this country – its nose once more bloodied by a stupid imperial adventure, stupidly prosecuted – will be that much more reticent to repeat the experience. We do learn in America. It is often a painfully slow process, sometimes punctuated by reverse trajectories (can you say ‘creation science’), but we do occasionally exhibit the classic clinical signs of a student who can be taught, however reluctantly and inadvertantly.

And thus we owe a debt of gratitude to the Iraqis, perhaps a million of whom have been murdered, another four or five million dislocated, and countless others wounded – emotionally, if not physically, if not both – for helping us to learn. And the people of Syria and Iran and much of the rest of the developing world owe these Iraqis thanks as well, for giving the US pause from invading other countries at will.

America’s place in the world is likely to be entering a new period now, for several reasons. One is that the low-key successes of the Obama administration will help underscore the sheer lunacy of the Bush years, and all the policies associated with them. Another is that we are rapidly coming face-to-face with the reality that empire is expensive. As our standards of living go from mere steady decline to sheer precipitous decline, you’ll know that we’ve actually turned that corner when mainstream politicians finally have the courage to talk about scaling back expenditures on the obscenely bloated American military machine.

But, in the end, it may truthfully be said that no one did more to discourage American militaristic tendencies than Jingo George, himself, however odd that may seem.

And, who knows? If I ever met him, maybe I could even bring myself to thank him for that, after all.

But only, of course, from above, after I had decked him.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles (mailto:dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, http://www.regressiveantidote.net.


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