As a Jew, I am especially sensitive to inflammatory lies designed to energize a supporting base, ignorant of the truth, and thirsty for arguments demonizing another group of people.
Anti-Semitism is jam-packed with lies of this sort. Blood libels that brought about pogroms and killing of innocent Jewish men, women and children, peaked with the Dreyfus affair in France.
The false-hearted, fabricated story about the “Elders of Zion” that keeps on circulating in the anti-Semitic Muslim world and beyond, still serves as the basis for the Iranian regime’s key reason for aspiring to wipe Israel off the map; it even tops the contemptible lie concerning the denial of the Holocaust.
The Nazis perfected the art of lying. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda Minister, has been credited with formalizing the effectiveness of deceit. “If you repeat a lie a thousand times, you start believing it yourself,” he proclaimed. And, “The grander the lie, the more people will believe it,” he concluded.
Palestinians and most Arabs and other Muslims have been spreading blatant lies about Israel, which the world’s left-minded public has been buying, digesting and acting upon.
The various flotillas trying to break the “Israeli siege” over Gaza, while refusing to recognize the true facts, are examples. The Muhammad al-Dura fake incident where Palestinians staged a “killing” of a young boy by the Israeli military—proved to be a theatrical performance enacted for the world’s naïve audience on TV screens all over.
There are plenty more examples of how lies about a specific group or particular individuals, spread by people of influence, engulf the unapprised masses and spawn false movements, sweeping millions in its gush.
And this is why the latest lies—broadcasted by Republicans in prime time on the podium in Tampa during their convention and in their recent commercials—make me puke.
To start off, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I voted for both, red and blue candidates in the past. I judged them by their opinions, intelligence, actions and my expectations of their potential contribution—not their party affiliation. In this election cycle I have been inclined to vote for Romney, mostly because I believed in his stronger and more aggressive approach to preventing Iran from going nuclear. I do not support the Republicans’ economic agenda—modeled after president Herbert Hoover, whose policies ignited and poured more gasoline on the Great Depression—or their extreme “pro-life” position, equivalent to a Christian version of Sharia law.
Republicans’ dismissal of Nobel price economist, Paul Krugman; their misunderstanding of Macro Economics and the function of the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, who saved the world from the greatest economic depression known to mankind; their calls for a reestablishment of the Gold Standard; their scorn of one of the greatest economic minds the world has ever known, Maynard Keynes—is discouraging in the least. Republicans’ dismissal of facts such as global warming, evolution, and their general war on science—is terrifying.
Regardless of all these turnoffs, the simple fact is that the president of the United States is unable to shape much of the economy on his own. The American president is unable to initiate a great deal of domestic-type legislation without congressional or judicial approval. Most legislation affecting the economy, the pro-choice/pro-life issue, heath care, and education require bi-partisan support. Romney, should he become the next American president, will find out that his powers are severely constrained when it comes to implementing his domestic Republicans’ agenda.
Nevertheless, it is a different ball game when it comes to foreign relations and initiation of a military campaign. The president assumes far greater independence in this case. And this is why I have favored Romney.
Still, the lies spread and promoted by Ryan, and Romney as well, are a great turn-off when it comes to my future decision regarding who would benefit from my vote. I have become undecided.
Paul Ryan is a demagogue of the uppermost intensity. His acceptance speech during the Republican convention was nauseating. I was even more upset watching the Republican delegates bathing in the deceitfulness that filled the air, clapping and cheering at every falsification dropped from the podium by their newly-crowned Pinocchio prince.
Here are some of the most glaring lies from Ryan’s speech and other GOP false claims:
Claim: “$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”
Fact: This is probably the most blatant lie and the most outrageous. Not only Ryan’s own plan includes the same provisions, but the $716 billion are savings that eliminate inefficiencies, and in fact they intend to prolong the life of Medicare as we know it.
Claim: Obama should be faulted for the nation’s credit downgrade in August 2011.
Fact: As has been well documented by the rating agencies who clearly blamed the GOP for the downgrade, it was the Republicans who promoted a government default on its debt for the first time in history by refusing to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.
Claim: Romney (repeated during his acceptance speech) and his campaign have been claiming that the Obama administration has waived work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform law.
Fact: Everyone from independent fact-checkers to major newspapers to President Bill Clinton (who signed the law) have said that the campaign’s attack is simply untrue. It’s one more lie!
Claim: Obama promised to keep a GM plant that closed down in Ryan’s hometown, Janesville, Wisconsin, open for the next hundred years… It was closed down less than a year later.
Fact: Obama never made that promise. What’s more, the plant shut down in December 2008, before Obama even took office. But the part that makes this claim even more despicable is the fact that Obama actually saved GM and the rest of the auto industry (that makes him a socialist according to the GOP); he and successfully revived the ailing “Made in the USA” manufacturing industry, while Republicans insisted on letting it meet God in Heaven…
Claim: Obama “did exactly nothing on Bowles-Simpson. He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.”
Fact: This is like pouring water on a bald person’s head, then asking why he is sweating. Ryan was the one sabotaging the commission, convincing House Republicans to vote against the plan.
Claim: “More debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.”
Fact: This is merely a spin. Obama increased the debt from $10 Trillion to $15 Trillion (50% only compared to Bush’s increase of over 100%). It was necessary due to the two wars Obama inherited, and the depressed economy (unemployed people and poorly performing businesses do not pay taxes. Also, Republican-legislated tax loopholes for the rich is not helping the deficit. Making the super-rich pay less than 15% of their income in income tax, and insisting on having this wealthy group pay even less is the wrong path to a healthy economy.
There is sufficient evidence that may support a GOP claim to power. Lies are effective only because most people are ignorant; they are neither aware of the truth, nor are they sophisticated enough to understand it. Still, the media must do a better job exposing the liars for who they are, and discourage this mode of campaigning.
I can only hope…
The writer is currently a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN). He served as an intelligence expert for the Israeli government and was a professor at Northwestern University. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories distinguished staff member and manager, and a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to UN International Standards body. He is the author of Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks, and more recently, 72 Virgins. For more information, visit www.aviperry.org.