Monday, August 18, 2014

Exposing More of Larry Schweikart's Lies About Liberals

"I fear that if you're an educated conservative, and you've had the misfortune of reading this book, you've already pulled a good deal amount of hair out of your head like I have........Forget that Schweikart is an abominable writer and harms the conservative movement by making it look like buffoonery. IN know what? .....Just forget this book ever came out"  - Reviewer on

"Schweikart discredits lies that he himself invented and attributed to liberals to make himself appear the hero. It is like the exterminator who releases mice into your house then charges you to get rid of them. "   Reviewer on

We now examine a few more of the ridiculous lies Larry Schweikart attributes to liberals in his book, '48 Liberal Lies About American History' .   

Lie #12: The Founders Envisioned a "Wall of Separation" Between Church and State, Keeping Religious Influence Out of Government

Well, Larry might be excused here, since most fundamentalist-leaning, right wing  radicals don't seem to be aware of Thomas Jefferson's (1802) letter to Danbury Baptists:

“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."

It thereby became an unspoken, unwritten principle that has been practiced on many judicial levels since. And it pretty well embraced Jefferson's (and Madison's) vision of keeping religious influence out of government. The most famous ruling validating it? The 1962 case brought by Madalyn Murray O'Hair which has kept prayer out of the public schools - as it should be.
Lie #18: Senator Joseph McCarthy Concocted the "Red Scare," and There Was Nothing to Fear from Communist Subversives
Most of us, especially from Wisconsin, know the murky history of Joe McCarthy - but evidently this bozo doesn't. We know, for example, that he fomented hysteria about the "Red scare" that reached into almost every U.S. Dept. and agency and at one time bloviated in a Senate hearing about an astounding number of "communists" at  State  and in the military that ran "into the thousands".. He eventually discredited himself by his overreach and unsupported exaggerations, though he ruined hundreds of lives with his insane demagoguery. You can read more here:

One more interesting fact: It was during the 'Red scare' hysteria of the early 50s  that the Children's Crusade 'Know your Commies' cards came out, e.g.

Lie #21: Columbus Was Responsible for Killing Millions of Indians
 Blatant exaggeration and red herring. Columbus himself did not "kill millions of Indians" and no liberal of any sense ever said he did. This is another case of what one reviewer described as Schweikart's tactic of inventing the lies himself than attributing them to liberals - analogous to the exterminator who releases mice in your home then charges you to remove them.  Those who want the lowdown on the effects of the arrival of the Europeans, including Columbus, on native Americans,  can consult James Loewen's excellent and quality book, 'Lies My Teacher Told Me'.
The key aspect to note? The Europeans brought smallpox with them to the New World, as well as other diseases (e.g. measles) which devastated native populations. But, as Loewen also notes, there was indeed a genocide waged but not over one limited period (i.e. Columbus' arrival) but over hundreds of years. (Culminating in the "Indian Wars" fought in the American West, punctuated by many massacres - such as at Sand Creek in Colorado.)
Lie #27: Richard Nixon Sent Burglars into the Watergate Office Complex
Schweikart can maybe be pardoned for this howler, because he wrote his screed before all the Nixon tapes were released (including new ones only recently). But even then he might have been able to obtain the deathbed account of E. Howard Hunt, one of the Watergate burglars,  who 'fessed up that  he'd been sent to the Watergate complex by....who else? Nixon!   Bottom line: 'Tricky Dick' basically hung himself by keeping a tape system originally installed by JFK, and using it to the point every nefarious word or plan was faithfully recorded.  By the time of the Watergate investigation in 1973 his 'goose' was basically cooked. (Though his supporters to this day hate to admit it.)
Lie #28: Neither Ronald Reagan's Election nor the "Contract with America" Proved the Triumph of Conservative Ideas
No liberal of any sense ever  "denied" (or proclaimed as a 'lie')  that Reagan's two terms "proved" the triumph of conservative ideas, because one can't deny what never existed in the first place. . What we have said is that too many millions got suckered by Reagan's "aw shucks"  demeanor into buying into conservatism more than they otherwise might. Much of this mental hijacking was superbly described by neuroscientist Robert Ornstein in his 'New World, New Mind'.
Ornstein noted how this "old Mind" (the regressive mind)  of a nation or people can be ramped up collectively and reinforced if its leaders also display and act on their own 'old Mind' predjudices, beliefs, etc. For example( p. 172):

"..the old mind has never been so much in evidence in American politics as in the second half of the Reagan administration"

Ornstein observed that Reagan's 'avuncular' persona and smile (which essentially disengaged too many  Americans' critical thinking centers) made it much easier for them to buy into the "morning in America" pap and swill he was busy feeding them. Never mind the half million tossed into the streets from mental hospitals, or the conversion of the U.S. to the world's foremost debtor and so on.

The populace' old Mind was its own worst enemy in perceiving the very real damage Reaganites were perpetrating (which has more recently been emulated by the Bushies as well as  Bushie leftovers- i.e. neocons, in Obama's State Dept.. ) Orstein points to the (then) 'Star Wars' program as yet another example of 'old Mind' workings (p. 169):

"The Star Wars program represents the continuation of a mind blindness to trends that have long made military thinking one of the clearest examples of old mind functioning. The rigid, unimaginative training of those who choose military careers apparently reinforces the brain's natural tendency to focus on the immediate and the near term and especially, to count on the environment to remain unchanged. So obvious is this effect that the comment that 'generals are always preparing to fight the previous war' has become a text book commonplace. "
The takeaway was that despite the face these assorted conservo  clowns have put on (e.g. Gee Dumbya) Americans bought into them in enough numbers to put them into power (or keep them there)  where they wrecked the economy even before Obama arrived! Sadly, those like Reagan, Bush Jr. et al have exploited Americans' dumb "faith in the future" i.e. that Repukes will do things better, despite the fact their very core plans (preserving massive tax cuts for the wealthiest) will do the opposite!

But let's go on:
Lie #30: George W. Bush Was Selected, Not Elected, in 2000, and Votes Were Stolen on His Behalf
This is the truth. The theft of the 2000 election was described in detail, including the publication of actual documents from Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris showing how Choicepoint was hired to put more than 53,000 black voters in Duval County on felons' lists (they weren't but they were put there, because Harris knew most black voters were democrats). The entire background and evidence is available - for those who want it  - in Chapter One of Greg Palast's 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.'
The unlawful elimination of all those black voters allowed Bush to take the 27 electoral votes of Florida, though he lost the popular vote by over a half million. Hence, the evidence is there that Harris, Jeb Bush et al, stole the election on his behalf.  The  Fla. recounts to try to show Gore actually won were doomed from the start because they didn't include all counties. In any case, the voter rolls would still have been short those 153,000 banned black voters.

Still, the  abrupt stoppage of the vote recount by the Supreme Court effectively halted the process and amounted to a "selection" of Bush Jr., as Vince Bugliosi pointed out in his book, The Betrayal Of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined Our Constitution and Chose Our President .

The truth is a bitch.
Lie #37: Global Warming Is a Fact, and It's a Man-made, American-Driven Problem
Actually, all the evidence shows that this is the case.  Anthropogenic warming  is certainly as much a fact as just about anything in science can be expected to be, and the evidence is all around us from collapsing ice sheets and glaciers, to the instability of the polar vortex, to increasing intense storms and heat waves to acidification of the oceans. As for being "American -driven", it largely is. It is also a fact that we are offloading many of the worst carbon-laden fuels and also coal, and tar sands oil to China. Hence, much of their CO2 output is actually derived from what WE have dumped on them!
Lie #47: The Reagan Tax Cuts Caused Massive Deficits and the National Debt
Again, this is true, though portrayed by Schweikart as "a liberal lie."  The fact is that before the Reagan era America was still largely a creditor nation, more capital inflows than outflows, holding more debt from other nations than debt owed to them. Reagan changed the dynamic by going on a $2,1 TRILLION spending spree, mainly for military hardware and toys as well as allowing ridiculous cost overruns for common materials (e.g. $75 hammers $3,000 each toilets).  In the wake, and coupled with Reagan's tax cuts, the country went from mainly creditor to debtor and the situation has remained the same since - as tax cutting has become a fetish with the Reepos.
Final Lie: History Textbooks Used in Schools Are Unbiased and Not Politically Correct
Again, this is true, though portrayed by Schweikart as a liberal lie. The problem is not, however, so much "political correctness" as the refusal to look at all the blemishes, fractures and conflicts of our history. In other words, our history books are overly sanitized, a point noted by James Loewen. Do any of the current history texts examine the duplicity of the Warren Commission in its findings on the JFK assassination? Of course not. Do any of them examine the My Lai massacre committed by American troops in Vietnam? No. Do any of them really examine the betrayal of native Americans in assorted treaties (concerning their land) and the many massacres ...such as at Sand Creek here in Colorado, or at Wounded Knee?  What about the nation's track of growing inequality? Is there any examination of the historical factors that have led to this? What about the origin of Army Security and spy programs and how they were mounted against unions, workers? I could go on and on, as Loewen does - which is why he refers to 'Lies My Teacher Told Me' - the title of his book.
But then teachers are constrained by their tepid history curricula and textbooks. If those are avoidant of the underbelly of American history, the history teacher will be averse to exploring it too. (One reason why any real American history teacher also needs Howard Zinn's text : "A People's History of the United States" as an accompaniment.
Our kids get bored senseless by history because it's taught as settled events and assorted dates to be memorized, as opposed to a sequence of conflicts, many of which are ongoing. The aim ought to be not to whitewash our history but to show it with all its boils, pustules and follies as well as internecine, unsettled conflicts and divisive issues.
We do our students a disservice by teaching them the nation's history is immaculate and getting them to buy that we are the "exceptional people of the world". We aren't!  We are no different from all other nations, and the delusional belief we are "special" merely feeds our hubris.

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