[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]
For my first column of the new year, here’s a quick look back at the top political deceptions of 2014.
I used to be a radio disc jockey, so we’ll do a Casey Kasem and go with the Top 10. I base this ranking on a combination of the audacity of each deception, its effectiveness, and the importance of the underlying issue. YMMV.
First, tied for the #11 spot:
The pretense that the surge of illegal alien children caught the Obama administration by surprise, and the claim that President Obama’s “executive action” on illegal aliens was (a) constitutional, based on “prosecutorial discretion,” and (b) the sort of thing that had been done by previous presidents such as Ronald Reagan.
The claim that deserter Bowe Bergdahl, who was traded for five top-level Taliban fighters, had, in the words of National Security Adviser Susan Rice, “served the United States with honor and distinction.” Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has been sitting on the official report about Bergdahl’s actions that led to his capture.
The hoax that the name of the Washington Redskins is somehow insulting to American Indians (often wrongly referred to as “native Americans”). One of the main proponents of the hoax, Suzan Shown Harjo, recently received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
Now the Top 10:
10. The effort by the Obama administration, especially the Environmental Protection Agency, and by interest groups like the American Lung Association (formerly a legitimate charity, now a left-wing political group) to confuse carbon dioxide—an odorless, invisible gas that makes 1/2500th of the atmosphere and which humans and other animals exhale—and call it “carbon pollution,” deliberately confusing it with black carbon soot and carbon monoxide. This deception is the basis for the EPA’s War On Coal, an effort to cause electricity prices to, in the President’s own word, “skyrocket.”
9. The IRS scandal, in which the federal government targeted the President’s critics for (ahem) special treatment. Lois Lerner, who spearheaded this effort, again took the Fifth and refused to testify, and the hard drives that might have provided evidence were said to have been destroyed. After this, the President lied, saying there was not a “smidgen of corruption” in this case. Meanwhile, the Justice Department claimed falsely that it was investigating the scandal. (I can say “falsely” because, in a real investigation, the first thing you do is interview the victims, which, more than a year after the scandal was first exposed, had not happened.)
8. Jonathan Gruber, architect of Obamacare and its predecessor Romneycare, who was paid millions by state and federal governments for his supposed expertise, admitted that the passage of the program was based on deception. “A lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he noted, because of Americans’ “stupidity.” He made comments along those lines repeatedly over the past five years, often before audiences that laughed at the references to the stupidity of regular Americans. I list this as a 2014 deception because the great deception—that Obamacare is a viable program that might somehow work out in the end—continues, even as people are quickly losing access to health insurance that’s affordable without assistance from welfare programs such as taxpayer subsidies. Also, the government’s funny accounting continues, from the Census changing the definition of uninsured, to the double-counting of people who signed up for medical and dental insurance—all designed to make the program look like less of a disaster than it is. Another aspect of the continuing deception: Left-wing politicians and their media allies assert that, by supporting Obamacare, they are sticking it to the evil insurance companies. This theme has appeared in campaign ads for candidates who support Obamacare, and in pro-Obamacare “satire” on Web sites such as Funny or Die! (To see this lie in action, and for a display of just how stupid/evil celebrities can be, go to http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/041b5acaf5/protect-insurance-companies-psa .) In fact, the health insurance industry is headed by a longtime activist for government-run healthcare, and the insurance companies helped write Obamacare and campaigned to get it passed, because it protects them from competition and guarantees them profits and, if necessary, bailouts.
7. Mexico, Canada, and Nelson Mandela’s South Africa all have/had voter ID. Indeed, it’s one of the basic elements of any effort to protect voting rights, because it protects against the multiple voting that cancels out the votes of legitimate voters. Photo IDs are a basic requirement for functioning in society, whether one is getting on an airliner or picking up a prescription or attending a presidential speech or getting into the studio to attend a taping of “Saturday Night Live” at which you might see a sketch suggesting that ID requirements are racist. That racism claim is made relentlessly by the Obama Justice Department and its defenders. To support this absurdity, they claim that voter ID isn’t needed because voter fraud is virtually unknown in America. (My personal experience: As a young reporter, the first scoop I ever had was when I caught a mayor stealing an election for another politician, and, when I covered political conventions, I would sometimes stay up ’til two o’clock in the morning or so sharing stories of vote fraud with other reporters.)
6. The Republican Party faces Demographic Doom, they say. It’s only a matter a time, because, in an America that is rapidly transforming, the party depends too much on the votes of white people. As former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw declared on “Meet the Press,” the GOP’s problem is that it has “too many rednecks.” After all, as Bill Clinton told college students who cheered at the prospect, America will soon be a majority nonwhite country. That’s all nonsense, of course. The Census Bureau invented the Hispanic category circa 1980, moving most of the members of that group from the “white” category (where roughly 90 percent still put themselves), and one effect has been to create the illusion that the country is going through some huge, unprecedented demographic shift. (Not being a racist, I don’t care what the country’s demographic makeup is, but the fact is that, by the standards of the early 19th Century, the U.S. was “majority minority” around 1850, and, by the standards of the early 20th Century, the U.S. was “majority minority” by 1950 or so.)
The shifts that are occurring do not threaten Republicans at all. African-Americans might be expected to continue as a solid bloc for Democrats, but, thanks largely to abortion, the African-American percentage of the population is about what it was a century ago (adjusting the numbers for changes in the way people label themselves and for shifts in survey patterns by the Census). The number of Asian-Americans is up in relative terms from a small base, but Asian-Americans are the Number One target of the Left’s racist “affirmative action” programs, and they are disproportionately present in industries that are the targets of the Left’s Luddite policies. Hispanics/Latinos are often socially conservative, which favors the GOP; many of them will actually be harmed by the wave of illegal immigration the President is seeking to bring about; and, in the Martin/Zimmerman case, it was leftists, including the President himself, who attempted to lynch a member of that group. Recently, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Colorado split the Hispanic/Latino vote evenly with his Democrat opponent. In Texas, the incumbent GOP Senator carried that vote and the GOP candidate for governor, in a supposedly competitive race, got 44 percent as he won the election. In 2016, it appears, there will be two Hispanics/Latinos as serious candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.
Besides—and this is one of those cases of “Which do you believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”—the Republican Party in 2010 had its best election since (depending on how you count) 1948 or 1928, followed in 2014 by its best election since 1928 or 1860 (that’s 1860, not 1960). It may be true that one of the nation’s major parties is headed for collapse, but, based on those results, it ain’t the Republicans.
Part of this Demographic Doom falsehood is the characterization of the GOP as somehow racist, which I have dealt with in recent columns in this series. (Regarding one aspect, the myth that Southern Republicans are like the segregationist Democrats of the past, see http://capitalresearch.org/2014/10/we-have-lost-the-south-for-a-generation-what-lyndon-johnson-said-or-would-have-said-if-only-he-had-said-it/ , http://capitalresearch.org/2014/10/that-lyndon-johnson-quote-part-2/ and http://capitalresearch.org/2014/12/your-own-lyin-eyes/ Others have dealt with this point, including Kevin Williamson at National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/394137/landrieus-loss-end-epoch-kevin-d-williamson and Kevin Baker in the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/opinion/sunday/delusions-of-the-democrats.html. Regarding the claim that the Tea Party, which often works within the GOP, is racist, see http://capitalresearch.org/2013/12/15603/ .)
5. That government shutdown in 2013, when Ted Cruz and his allies tried to stop Obamacare, was a disaster for Republicans, right? That was the message from the Washington Establishment and their toadies in the media throughout 2014. Never mind that, in the immediate aftermath of the shutdown, as Republicans were proven to have been right about Obamacare, they moved up on the generic ballot question, achieving a tie with Democrats which by September became a lead, and they subsequently had their best election in 76 years or 154 years, depending on what measures you use.
4. “You cannot get it [Ebola] from casual contact like sitting next to someone on a bus,” said the President, looking the American people in the eye. Yes, you can. By the way, late in 2014, scientists were forced to admit that, contrary to proclamations by the administration and some in the scientific community, scientists in fact have no idea how long the Ebola virus survives on surfaces. Perhaps the most infuriating aspects of the Obama people’s p.r. campaign on Ebola were these: (a) It was claimed that the quarantine of healthcare working returning from Africa constituted unfair stigmatization. In fact, quarantine has nothing to do with being stigmatized; the returning Apollo 11 astronauts, among America’s greatest heroes, were quarantined. (b) The Left viciously attacked people like Senator Rand Paul who accurately described Ebola as highly contagious. Along with its cousin Marburg, it may be the most dangerous virus known to man, and, as far as is known, this year’s outbreak affected more people than all previous outbreaks combined. Yet, from comedian Jon Stewart to the comic strip Doonesbury (http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/dec/18/doonesbury/doonesbury-says-3000-died-guns-during-time-ebola-s), people’s legitimate fears were treated with condescension and the bizarre argument that, well, it hasn’t killed that many Americans yet, has it? (That’s roughly the equivalent of someone prior to 9/11 dismissing the possibility of such an attack with a sneer on the ground that, well, nobody’s hijacked planes to fly them into iconic American buildings—not yet.) Astonishingly, administration-sponsored falsehoods about Ebola formed the basis for the “Lie of the Year” selected by PolitiFact, which is supposedly a fact-checking project by supposed journalists. (See http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2014/dec/15/2014-lie-year-exaggerations-about-ebola .) And a CBS producer, Katy Conrad, mocked Senator Paul for making comments on the matter as if he were an expert; “Not sure when #SenRandPaul became a doctor,” she tweeted sarcastically. The answer, by the way: Dr. Rand Paul, like his father Dr. Ron Paul, got his medical degree at Duke.
3. During the days of widespread lynching, African-American men were often falsely accused of rape. From the case of the Scottsboro Boys—once a major cause of the Left, which actually issued fundraising stamps in support of the accused—to the fictional-but-based-on-truth case in To Kill a Mockingbird, the fear of rape and the fear of false rape allegations were used as tools of social control. Today, radical feminists use fake statistics (20 percent of women are raped in college, the President claimed preposterously) to back up fake rape allegations. This year, Lena Dunham, creator/star of the HBO series Girls claimed that she had been raped by a Republican activist at Oberlin College, leading to harassment of the man who best matched her description of the rapist, and, facing legal action, her publisher promised to change future editions of the book. Rolling Stone published a phantasmagorical story alleging that a certain fraternity at the University of Virginia used gang-rape as part of its initiation process, and the national media widely repeated the obviously fabricated story. And the Obama Justice Department forced colleges to give up the presumption of innocence in rape cases, making it easier to frame innocent people. If you don’t think that African-Americans will be disproportionately the victims of this process, you don’t know the history of fake rape accusations. Meanwhile, all the lies will make it more difficult to convict and punish those who actually do commit rape. Great job, feminists!
2. Remember “Al Qaeda is on the run” from the 2012 presidential campaign? The Benghazi attack, on the 9/11 anniversary, exposed that as a lie, which is why it was blamed absurdly on a guy who, outraged by the oppression of Christians in the Muslim world, posted a crude anti-Islamic video on YouTube. Secretary of State Clinton promised the families of Benghazi victims that “we will get that guy who made the video,” and the video-maker was arrested and jailed for a—heh-heh—parole violation, while the President and theologian-in-chief told the United Nations that “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam,” “those who slander” being a category that, from the Muslim perspective, includes all non-Muslims. All that was done because it was critical in 2012 that Americans be kept unaware of the fact that Al Qaeda’s numbers were increasing in terms of fighters, affiliated groups, and terrorist attacks.
This year, the lie was that the “Islamic State” organization (ISIS), the former “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” was just a jayvee (junior varsity) team, not to be taken seriously. The lie was compounded when the President claimed that he had never made the jayvee comment in the first place, not specifically about ISIS. As reported by FactCheck.org (http://www.factcheck.org/2014/09/obama-fumbles-jv-team-question ):
President Obama enjoys his sports analogies, so let’s just say that he fumbled when he was asked whether he made a “misjudgment” eight months ago in dismissing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as the equivalent of “a jayvee team.”
Obama said he “wasn’t specifically referring” to ISIS when he made the junior varsity reference during an interview with The New Yorker in January. But the magazine article and a transcript of the interview — which Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler obtained and wrote about earlier this month — shows that Obama was referring to ISIS when he said “if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
Obama and Clinton encouraged Islamist revolution (the Cairo speech/“Arab Spring”/the illegal war in Libya) and coddled Putinist Russia (Hillary’s “reset” button/”Tell Vladimir I can be more flexible after the election”) and cozied up to Communist China (see my article in the current issue of Green Watch); their actions have helped set much of the world aflame. Of all the foreign policy disasters that followed foreseeably from the policies of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, perhaps the most galling and dangerous was the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the rise of ISIS. Lies matter.
1. The Number One lie of the year, which helped lead to the deaths of two New York City police officers, was this:
The incident to which this gesture refers is one that never happened. Michael Brown did not raise his hands in surrender. This lie, along with the police-are-racist-killers myth with which it is clearly linked, has been spread by hate-preacher Al Sharpton and his friends and supporters, including President Obama and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. They are responsible for the deaths of Officers (posthumously, Detectives) Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos—not directly responsible like the monster who pulled the trigger, but indirectly responsible like the Southern politicians who egged on the Klan during the Civil Rights movement.
In 1963, when four little girls were killed in a church bombing in Birmingham, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed that Alabama Governor George Wallace (D) had blood on his hands. Roger Ebert, the future Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic, then a 21-year-old, wrote this for the Daily Illini:
“The blood of these innocent children is on your hands,” Martin Luther King cried out to the governor of Alabama. But that was not entirely the truth. The blood is on so many hands that history will weep in the telling. And it is not new blood. It is old, so very old, and as Lady Macbeth discovered, it will not ever wash away. It clings and waits and in its turn it kills again.
Lies have consequences. All those who spread the “hands up” lie share the guilt of Sharpton, Obama, and de Blasio. Those hands they’re holding up have blood on them.