America thinks that it has a problem with discovering reality–what is true and what is “fake.” This was never a problem until now. Presidents didn’t lie…not about important things. Nor did they…even when called out on a lie…refer to the press or electronic media as…“fake news.”
Cheney Did Lie, of Course. And Tens of Thousands Died.
No one called George W. Bush a liar. We called Cheney a liar because he lied. We all knew he was lying. We gave George W a pass probably for two main reasons. One, many people felt that he was too dumb to lie. He would have been caught. Two, most of the serious stuff, malevolent, anti-Middle Class, anti-working class, and anti-poor stuff was done by Cheney. He pushed tax cuts for the rich and big corporations, literally borrowing from government needs. He encouraged sending jobs overseas, hired private armies, like Blackwater, who seemed loyal only to him and to money. He enriched oil companies and arms manufacturers by starting a huge unnecessary war that disrupted an entire geographic area, killed 45,000 Americans, over a million Iraqis and cost over a trillion dollars. Then it got worse. Much worse.
Obama Didn’t Lie. But Racist Republicans Called Him a Liar.
Decent people laughed or shook their heads every time the Republicans, or Mitch McConnell in particular lied about Obama. Or when it was Sean Hannity, one of the world’s greatest liars (he earns $20 million a year merely to tell lies for the Right Wing.) No, the average American, the average Democrat, the average Republican, the independent voters nor anyone not paid by the rich, thinks that President Obama was a liar. Nor do many people think President Clinton was a liar despite the fact that we all know he lied about a sexual affair. Even after he was impeached for lying, a very large majority of people polled still said they considered him honest and trustworthy.
“Lock Her Up?” Ridiculous and Childish
Despite the fact “that Donald Trump, as a candidate invented a story that both added to and drew from the complete propaganda messages in the whole cottage-industry of telling lies about Hillary Clinton, the people voted for her overwhelmingly. Sixty five million Americans voted for her, three million more than for Trump. Despite the tens of thousands of web sites, books, movies and blogs generated by the “dirty tricks” experts of the Republican Party like the now-convicted Roger Stone, independent experts say that not one crime, or corrupt act, or censurable deed, or lie about any government legislation or activity has ever been found when reading those books or watching those movies. Despite the ridiculous and factually meaningless “Lock Her Up” chants by the moronic Trump troglodytes, Hillary Clinton has never been guilty of anything, ever. Not so much as a misdemeanor or a reprimand or a lie, except perhaps a white lie about how beautiful her grandchildren turned out to be. So, yes, we are all guilty of one or two lies in a lifetime.
Trump Has Lied to Americans over 13,000 Times and Counting.
According to the Washington Post, President Trump has lied or misled the People, 13, 435 times as of last counting. He lied about health care, saying he would protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. Then he encouraged Republicans to vote for a bill that would have repealed Obamacare and ended the prohibition against pr-existing conditions. He lied about never touching Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. His budget the one he is responsible for, cuts over a trillion dollars to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He lied about asking the President of Ukraine to look for political scandal that could taint the campaign of Joe Biden. For that he is being impeached, finally. At last, at least one of his lies…and there are many that cause huge problems for our country and its people…will finally bring him down and end his relentless propaganda.
Using “Fake News” to Counter Real News—to Fight Facts.
Trump understands propaganda. You can call it “selling” or “building a brand” or “public relations” but the truth is this: when you say that you are working for the People, and you are really working for heavy industry and global corporations and billionaires, that’s a lie. And when you lie about being a Populist, a man working for the People but you are working for wealthy special interests, you are definitely not Populist, but you are, more than likely, a Fascist. Hitler lied about being a man of the people. As did Mussolini and many other dictators who pretended to be on the side of the people, but only after millions went to prisons, and millions of others died, did the people find out that they should have paid attention to those who cried out repeatedly, “Watch out. He’s lying to you.”
A common Fascist technique is to attack the opposition with what you yourself are doing. For example, when President Trump calls out the media for promoting “fake news,” he is in fact creating “fake news.’ He is trying to confuse people by attacking long-standing and very conscientious media sources as liars. We know he has lied consistently. We know that dozens of people heard his phone call to President Zelensky of the Ukraine. Yet he says that the media, who are only reporting what dozens of attorneys and military officers and state department executives have said they heard.
Dictators Don’t Like Laws.
When a leader lies to the people, it is usually because he does not want them to know what he really has in store for society. In the United States we have created a system of laws primarily to protect the people. In the United States we often protect our system of laws so carefully that we will occasionally follow the law even when everything we see and know about a situation cries out for us to go beyond or around the law. Now we have a President who tries to break down our long-standing institutions, like the FBI, the press corps, the military, the state department. He says he is right, what he says is right and everyone else is wrong. Trump apparently wants to be a dictator. To become a dictator, he must make you believe that our entire system is wrong. Health care for everyone, a decent living wage, the FBI, the CIA, much of the court system, He wants to replace them with yes men…just as dictators before him did.
Lies are Lies—Until They Become Propaganda.
If a President lies about having a girlfriend, that is serious. Not because the lie is serious, but because it is serious for the President to lie to the people. If a President lies to you about whether we should go to war, the lie and the matter are both serious. That is what we call propaganda. Propaganda is a serious lie designed to cause some action against another political point of view or to increase the power and dominance of a point of view or a movement. When that view is slanted in favor of huge special interests, corporations, the Super-rich, leaders of the military and occasionally politically motivated religious leaders, it is by definition “Fascist.” A Fascist movement is one that pretends to be working for the people, but in fact is working only for their own people, the followers and the leaders of the movement. One sure sign that a leader is a dictator or wants to be is that he no longer has faith in the legal system or the media. If a dictator can diminish belief in our legal system or persuade the people that the media is lying, then he may be able to control enough voters to keep him in power while he inserts his people into the Foreign Service, the judicial system and the legislature. Once those people are in place, he faces no challenge. Only perhaps from the military. And this is why in many countries around the world, military men are appointed to head a country. The people have lost faith in all of the former establishments, usually because some dictator, still in power, or deposed, has created a permanent doubt in the minds of the people.
. If we do not challenge a tyrant’s assertions about “fake news” and call him out on his lies, he will win. Hitler said that the secret to winning control of Germany, long before he had an SS corps to imprison, torture and murder people, was his ability to “divide and conquer.” Hitler was able to confuse the population, make them question their long-standing beliefs. For example, he created doubt about whether the laws that they had made, their own laws, were obsolete. He was able to divide neighbor from neighbor, friend from friend, by calling the press, “fake news” and calling political opponents “traitors.”
People Joke About Dictators—Until They Have Complete Control.
Many less ambitious men may laugh and joke about the pomposity or arguably foolish claims for total domination by a dictator. A “paperhanger” or a “desk clerk” or some other caricature often become the source of great amusement even among well-educated citizens, who have not yet realized that this person is dangerous. We all understand that one does not play with poisonous snakes or dangerous animals. We confine them in places where they can do no damage. Then we can laugh at them.
We need faith in our public systems and organizations. Members of the FBI have long been known to be “straight arrow” and often considered “boring.” Why? Because they conformed to a pattern of behavior (that even extended to a sort of civilian uniform…suit, white shirt and plain tie) that confirmed that they were, in fact, objective, bland, a-political, and dedicated to combating all forms of crime. The CIA, for all its mysterious operations, by and large, has been populated by dedicated men and women whose principal attribute has always been patriotism. Once in a while the zeal for accomplishing the task, generated an excess of imagination, and mistakes were made. But few would contend that the CIA, as an organization is other than totally dedicated to the welfare of Americans.
Trump Is Not Alone. He Is Not Even the First to Try to Divide Us.
We cannot let dictators, or those who would be dictators, separate us by using the divisions that Right Wing Billionaires, who own two-thirds of all corporate stock in U.S. corporations, have created in society over the last 30 to 40 years. Their organizations, like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato institute, and dozens of other spinoffs, have created justification for different antagonisms, like abortion vs. anti-abortion, Jew vs Arab, White vs African-American, straight vs gay, veteran vs non veteran, old vs young, immigrant vs non-immigrant and, of course, Republican vs Democrat. They even slotted Republican vs Republican, until the Tea Party candidates, the Right Wing Republican candidates who were placed on the primary ballot to the Right of normal Republicans, and then given huge campaign budgets, until there were eventually no regular, traditional Republicans left. Think about the reality. Do billionaires and CEOs of giant corporations, who make from 200 to 500 times more than the average worker, need more tax cuts and tax breaks? The average family gets by relatively easily, so long as nothing bad happens. In European society, few really bad things can happen. If a person loses a job, there is ample unemployment insurance. If someone is sick, health care is excellent and is free. If a worker is tired or has additional responsibilities, difficult to assume, like a baby, government steps in and helps, with assistance or time off or therapy. In the United States, we have let billionaires fund organizations that lobby for their positions, basically keeping more of their money. We have encouraged them to promote their viewpoint by creating movements, like Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party. The job of these groups is to promote wealth and corporate profits for those who earn most. And their other job is to elect Republicans who will help them keep as much of that wealth as possible.
History—Will We Be Obliged to Repeat It?
Capitalism provides our jobs. But Capitalism is not everything. Most people who are major capitalists inherited their corporations or the wealth they or others used to fund new, major enterprises. Two little guys from a bicycle shop in Ohio invented nascent modern aerospace, perhaps. But they did not fund the modern airline. Banks and investment companies do that. Capitalism is composed of the biggest and the boldest and the most financially powerful. They have stockholders but they also have stakeholders. Those others involved include workers, suppliers, governments, armies, statesmen, families, and societal infrastructures. All these things go into the making of a viable corporation. All owe some allegiance to the corporation and the corporation in turn owes much allegiance to them.
Society uses the momentum of corporations to build its communities help fund opportunities. One may argue about all these relationships…corporations and workers, workers and stockholders, corporations and governments…but one cannot argue that one man, who appoints himself ultimate decision-maker, ignoring the will of the people, even damaging the people, is the wrong system. Government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has always been the standard of American Democracy. If we relinquish all our legal protections to a tyrannical leader, one who sees his way, and only his way, as the future, and is willing to break any law to secure his personal goals, then we will be in a disastrous situation.
History tells us, that when dictatorships assume control of countries, that corruption itself breeds more corruption at all levels. People are hurt. People are rebellious. Then People are imprisoned, often tortured, and sometimes literally murdered. It is because of the oppression of large numbers of people who are used to living in a free society. All because one man or one group of usually very powerful men cannot live by the law because of their own appetites, or egos, or arrogance. History tells us clearly that only revolution, or war, or terrorism result from dictatorial governments. We can stop this now. We must all work together to put our personal feelings aside, and look, really search for truth and facts and spread that healing balm across the population, of blue and red states, of Liberal and Conservative points of view, whether Democrat or Republican. The simple fact is this: if the current forces for Fascism, or “America First” policies, as some like to call it, the forces of greed and intolerance, win in this country, for many of them and fore untold others, innocent citizens, it will be a death sentence.
Five million Germans of a population of fewer than 50 million died as a result of Fascism in the 1930s. Every tenth person. But because of their foolishness, 50 million others died from the eventual chaos that resulted from their actions. History repeats itself. When it does, intelligent human beings can change the outcome of history. But we must all take responsibility and find ways to act responsibly before it is too late.