Friday, April 06, 2012

Paul Buchheit's "Five Preposterous but Persistent Conservative Myths", because it's good and easier than writing my own stuff.

You have to wonder or at least you should wonder how total untruths become accepted as "just feel it in my bones", has to be, actual fact.

Take for instance, that all of mankind's woes because of one woman's/girl's lack of will power and substandard reasoning ability (compared to male's) to withstand the temptation of an apple or some other fruit.  And this, whichever you choose to believe, truth or untruth has been used to subjugate the female sex for centuries.  History is just filled with examples of myths used to give someone or some group an advantage over others.

OK, at least understandable back in the days when humankind had no other way of explaining things besides local superstition, you know, before the internet and now anywhere outside of the American South.

Well, the "why" is pretty simple, if you hear something over and over enough without questioning it, it becomes an accepted fact, not to be confused with actual fact, or truth.

One guy, back in 1925, very eloquently put this idea into words and later and not so eloquently used the idea with devastating effect.

But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.

Such a simple technique, amazing that it works on an educated and sophisticated population, best example is 1930s Germany and the quote above is from "War Propaganda", in volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925), by Adolf Hitler.

This country is a pretty good example of how it still works and later I'll try to give some insight as to why it does.  But right now from Paul Buchheit at Buzzflash:


         Five Preposterous but Persistent Conservative Myths
With the mainstream media in the hands of the mostly conservative and wealthy, it's difficult for average Americans to learn the truth about critical issues. The following five conservative claims are examples of the mythical beliefs that fall apart in the presence of inconvenient facts:

1. Entitlements are the Problem

Beyond the fact that we're "entitled" to Social Security and Medicare because we pay for them, these two government-run programs have been largely self-sustaining as they support the needs of millions of Americans.

Medicare is much less costly than private health care. Social Security, which functions with a surplus, would not be in danger of a long-term shortfall if the richest 10% (those making over the $106,800 cutoff) paid their full share.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently reported that 91% of entitlements go to the elderly or disabled, or to members of working households needing supplemental assistance. Only 9% of entitlement dollars go to non-working but employable individuals, and most of that is for medical care, unemployment, and survivor benefits.

2. Charter Schools Are the Answer

Free-market adherents have a lot of people believing that the public school system needs to be "saved" by charter schools. That belief is not supported by the facts. A Stanford University study "reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well as their traditional public school counterparts."

A Department of Education study found that "On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress."

Charter schools also take money away from the public system. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District loses nearly $7,000 in state money for each student who transfers to a charter. In Florida, the entire $55 million budgeted in 2011 for school maintenance went to charters. Governors in several states plan to direct money to schools that serve upper-middle-income families.

Furthermore, charter school teachers have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate, and according to one study were less likely to be certified.

Perhaps most damning are studies by the University of Colorado and UCLA, which found that some charter schools segregate students by race and income. Said researcher Gary Miron of Western Michigan University, "Parents are selecting schools where their child will experience less diversity."

3. Corporate Taxes Are Too High
This one is easy. The facts can be found in US Office of Management (OMB) figures, which show a gradual drop over the years in Corporate Income Tax as a Share of GDP, from 4% in the 1960s to 2% in the 1990s to 1.3% in 2010. That's one-third of what it used to be.
Also coming from the OMB is the percent of Total Tax Revenue derived from corporate taxes. The corporate share has dropped from about 20% in the 1960s to under 9% in 2010.

Finally, in a US Treasury report of global competitiveness, it is revealed that US corporations paid only 13.4% of their profits in taxes between 2000 and 2005, compared to the OECD average of 16.1%. A similar analysis of 100 of the largest US companies found that less than 10% of pre-tax profits in 2010 were paid in non-deferred US federal income taxes.

Corporate tax avoidance is rampant at the state level, too. A new study by Citizens for Tax Justice, which evaluated 265 large companies, determined that an average of 3% was paid in state taxes, less than half the average state tax rate of 6.2%.

4. Jim Crow is Dead
Even though white Americans are the nation's most frequent drug users and dealers, the people in jail for these offenses are overwhelmingly black. In some states, African Americans make up 80-90% of all drug offenders sent to prison.

As a nation, we lead the world in rates of imprisonment, and drug offenses have accounted for two-thirds of the increase in federal inmates. 
Once drug users are in prison, they're stigmatized for life. As stated by Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow": "Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color 'criminals' and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind...Once you're labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination - employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, and exclusion from jury service - are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow."

5. Poverty Is Declining Everywhere
There's something disturbing about World Bank researchers using mathematical functions to determine who's living in poverty. But free-market fanatic, The Economist, liked the results, proclaiming that "poverty is declining everywhere."

That's easy to say when the World Bank gets to set its own poverty threshold, at $1.25 per day. The organization admits there was little change in the number of people living below $2 per day between 1981 and 2008. And almost half the world lives on less than $3 a day.

Another fact is that the rapid growth of China accounts for most of the global poverty changes. China is where hundreds of millions of starry-eyed young people went from zero income on the farms to a few dollars a day under oppressive factory working conditions. The GDP may show a decline in poverty, but a "quality of life" index wouldn't make that mistake.

6 and 7. Evolution and global warming don't exist.
These are just too preposterous for words.

Progressive activists continue to work toward the day when poverty is down everywhere, and minorities receive equal treatment, and education is properly funded, and tax subsidies rather than entitlements are minimized. But that day is being delayed by make-believe messages from the American conservative.
Paul Buchheit obviously didn't think that evolution and global warming needed any in depth explanation.  Understandable since evolution is one of those actual, instead of accepted, facts and man made global warming is believed by something like 98%+ of climate scientists.  Now, wait a minute, I'm not going into the evolution thing, that's a done deal.  However I will try to explain why there is so much question about man made global warming, simply.

Let's go back to Herr Hitler's explanation of propaganda and repeating it over and over again and keep that in mind, because it applies to all these myths, not just global warming.  General Motors recently quit its funding of the Heartland Institute.  The Heartland Institute "which identifies itself as a free-market think tank, has questioned the ideas on global warming through its newsletters, web site and associated scientists. Last year, the tagline for its annual conference on the subject was "Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis?"  Got that?  Ford and Chrysler stopped funding them some time ago. 

One of Heartland's paid, although he denied being paid and later got caught lying about that, then issued the statement "that being truthful about one's funding is "a very quaint and old fashioned practice", scientists is Robert M. "Bob" Carter.  Bob appears to be just one hell of a guy if you pay him, he'll say what you want him to and even provide the phony data to back it up.  Bob's awfully popular with with the global warming crowd, I guess because there are so few in the scientific community morally bankrupt enough to do what Bob does.  Here are a few;

* The Heartland Institute
 * The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI)
 * The Science and Environmen­tal Policy Project (SEPP)
 * The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)
 * The Nongovernm­ental Internatio­nal Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)
 * The Internatio­nal Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Check 'em out, all funded by the big polluters who would rather spend their money trying to confuse people instead of cleaning up their nasty acts.

Later I'll bring you why some people refuse to believe actual facts and that's reason enough for the rest of us to really know what's going on.

This is from Stumpburner-The Political Voice of the South, I post there under lowdown and if you enjoy politics it's not a bad place to be.  Couple of minutes to register and hours to try to raise the level of political discourse.  Plus more than 700 games in the arcade.


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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)