Myth Busters: American Politics Edition, Part I



Myth: "The national debt will be a burden to future generations."


Reality:  The national debt is made up of bonds, 82% of which are held by American banks, government agencies, the Federal Reserve, corporations and citizens.  The next generation will inherit the national debt, from both the creditor and debtor standpoint.  In other words, the next generation will inherit both the debt and the bonds.  In any event the Treasury can sell new bonds to pay off the old ones, and will have no trouble selling them.  If not, then its all over anyway, and we just form a new government.  It happens all the time elsewhere, but this is an EXTREMELY unlikely scenario.  Governments don't go bankrupt, they aren't people, they aren't businesses.  The only thing that could be a burden to future generations is the inheritance of less capital due to the crowding out effect, but that is negated by the Fed's artificially low interest rates.  On the other hand, deficit spending is bad for the economy, it leads to greater inequality and slower growth.  


Myth:  "Israel is surrounded by enemies."


Reality: Israel is bordered by four countries: Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.  Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid and U.S. arms, after Israel.  Israel and Egypt have been at peace since the Camp David Accords in 1978.  Egypt will never attack Israel again, and in reality has never done so, which is a separate issue.  Jordan, similarly, is U.S. ally and has never attacked Israel, will never do so in the future.  The King of Jordan's forces have been training Palestinian terrorists to attack Palestinians.  Israel's border with Syria, the Golan Heights is currently being occupied by the Israeli Defense Force.  A Mossad agent became the Vice President of Syria, I don't think they are a threat.  Lebanon has never, in history, invaded another country, or anyone else.  They couldn't even mobilize forces into Southern Lebanon.  On the other hand, in the last thirty years alone, there have been FOUR devastating, US-backed, Israeli invasions of Lebanon, each of which destroyed significant progress in development.  


Myth:  "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a dictator."


Reality: Venezuela is a constitutional republic.  The highest governmental power is the National Initiative.  Dictators tend not to allow direct democracy to become the highest power in their government.  In addition, the Parliament has more power than the President.  Hugo Chavez has been elected several times by huge majorities, with his main opposition being the Democratic Action(social democrat) and the Movement for Socialism.  The other opposition parties "pro-democracy" forces, are neoliberal parties who wouldn't exist for another day without U.S. aid.  The State Department has accused the justice system of being used as a weapon against political opponents.  They didn't seem to be bothered with a century of the U.S. government using the justice system, the army, congressional oversight and numerous other supposedly independent tools as a political weapon.  They haven't condemned the Nixon administration for arranging a Gestapo-style assassination of Fred Hampton, for instance.  They have also accused him of shutting down an opposition media, RCTV, which is only partially true.  They didn't shut it down.  They just didn't renew the broadcast license.  RCTV did not pay for the license.  They also didn't pay their taxes.  They also participated in the failed 2002 coup d'etat to overthrow the government, backed heavily by the United States and President Bush.  If say CBS had backed a coup to overthrow President Bush, their leaders would have been executed in 2002.  If The Sun had tried to overthrow Tony Blair in 2002, their leaders would have been sent to prison permanently, in 2002.  


Myth:  "The U.S. is opposed to or at war with fundamentalist Islam."


Reality: The United States provides decisive support for the most fundamentalist Islamic state in the world, Saudi Arabia.  The Saudi royal family and elite are closely tied to many American energy companies and financial institutions and to the people involved in them and their families.  For instance, Saudi Prince Bandar, Saudi Ambassador to the United States, is referred to by the Bush family as "Bandar Bush".  The U.S. has strongly opposed secular Arab nationalism except in Egypt, because both Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Al-Sadat where willing to more or less accept their role in Washington's plans for the region.  On the other hand Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran, a secular nationalist, was overthrown, despite being a staunch anti-communist and pretty pro-American, by a CIA sponsored coup at the request of British Petroleum.  Both where pretty pro-American, both allowed the Americans to control their oil resources, both anti-communist, but the difference was the Saudis where religious and where willing to keep the oil profits for themselves and western multinationals, where as Mosaddegh was secular and wanted to use the oil revenue to develop Iran rather than enrich himself and his friends.  The U.S. also supported the Mujahideen movement in Afghanistan, later known as the Taliban, their sponsor General Zia, a brutal, Theocratic dictator.  On the other hand, the U.S. strongly opposed Yasser Arafat and the PLO, which where secular left-wing nationalists and decisively supported many devastating Israeli invasions of Lebanon, a secular state with three secular ruling parties tied to religious-cultural groupings.  The U.S. also supported the Baathist Parties(the most anti-Al Qaeda political force in the Middle East) in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq until late 2002, and now strongly opposes them, which doesn't seem to cohere with the thesis that the U.S. government is trying to capture/kill the perpetrators of 9/11 and their associates.  


Myth:  "Republicans, so-called conservatives/Evengelicals, etc. are supporters of family values"


Reality: One of the main tenants of Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" was Welfare Reform, which transfered the program Aid to Families with Dependent Children into Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.  With the money saved from the program, he planned to give it to state governments to build orphanages(which of course would be privatized and would be a subsidy to the construction and other industries, another issue).  The rationale, which is obvious, with people leaving the welfare programs there would be an increase in unfit homes, and so the orphanages would fill the gap.  This means that the state is the proper caregiver for children, not their mothers, and this is sold to us under the doctrine of "family values".  Another example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratification was defeated by these groups, because of its unacceptable provisions that the state and communities must act in the best interests of children, an end to treating children as possessions or chattels, the right to life, the right to a name or identity, the right to have relationships with parents, freedom of expression, protection from abuse, rights to privacy and from unjustified interference and forbidding capital punishment for children(Much of which was drafted by Jeane Kirkpatrick and the Reagan Administration).  In a more general example, the policies of Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher have led to huge increases in child poverty, homelessness, hunger, etc., which in turn lead to increases in crime, child abuse and juvenile violence and drug use.  Not to mention other social issues like teen pregnancies and divorces.  Rep. Cynthia L. Davis of Missouri declared "Hunger can be a positive motivator" with regard to extensions in the school lunch and food stamp programs.  Of course it is factually false, if hunger was a motivator, which it is not, it would be a negative motivator, a negative reinforcement, and of course it is reprehensible and not fitting with family values.  Back to Gingrich, on his campaign to dismantle the public school system, appeared with Al Sharpton and Arne Duncan on Meet the Press, remarked about how ridiculous he thought parents who where suing a school district where, showing his general contempt for them.  So parents of course should have no say in the matter of disciplining kids, which the state should super seed them.  His commitment to family values reflected his life, as he divorced his wife while she was recovering from cancer.  For more family values include decreasing the amount of time children spend with their parents by increasing time spent at work and with home work through various means.  



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