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Shameless GOP Lies: Is There Any Limit to What Republicans Will Say -- And What People Will Believe?

If it were in the interest of the ruling oligarchs to convince a majority of the public that the earth is flat, could they succeed?

"In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -- George Orwell

Is there any limit to the outrageousness of the GOP lies?

Is there any limit to the capacity of a large number of our fellow citizens to accept these lies?

If it were in the interest of the ruling oligarchs to convince a majority of the public that the earth is flat, could they succeed?

This is, after all, a public almost half of which refuses to accept evolution -- the central coordinating concept of modern biology. And approximately half of the GOP primary voters believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

These unsettling thoughts came to my mind when I heard Michael Steele remark that "not in the history of mankind has the government ever created a job." This from a man who held a government job as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. That remark was echoed by Mitch Daniels, the Governor of Indiana and Sarah Palin and I can testify that I have heard it elsewhere.

Michael Steele's comment is more audacious even than the claim that the earth is flat. (After all, the earth looks flat, doesn’t it?). To say that government never created a single job flies in the face of ordinary, everyday experience. What are police, firefighters, teachers, judges, prosecutors, postal workers, military personnel, etc engaged in if not “government jobs.” What is the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, the certification of the safety of our food and drugs, air traffic control, if they are not “government jobs.”

The claim that government never creates jobs is so preposterous that it seems pointless even to bother to refute it.

Yet somehow, some GOP politicians freely utter this absurdity without fear of being laughed off the stage of public debate. And apparently some people, failing to give the claim even a moment’s critical reflection, believe it. Otherwise, why would Steele and others say such nonsense in the first place?

And this is only the most egregious of a long string of Republican lies thrown at the public by right-wing politicians and pundits and largely unchallenged by a compliant corporate media. Among them:

  • Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet and to have discovered the toxic contamination of Love Canal.

  • John Kerry’s allegedly heroic war record was fraudulent.

  • Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim.

  • Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

  • Global warming is a gigantic hoax, perpetrated by thousands of deceitful scientists.

  • Obama has raised taxes.

  • “Obamacare” is a “socialist government takeover of health care.”

  • Ninety percent of Planned Parenthood funding is for abortion services.

  • Elections in the United States are always accurate and fair.

These are not “matters of opinion,” they are flatly and demonstrably false. Clear and decisive refutation of all these claims are available to anyone who cares to examine the evidence. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously remarked, while we are entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts.

Then there are the contradictions:

  • Teachers, police officers and firefighters are greedy. But billionaire CEOs and hedge-fund managers are not.

  • Wall street banksters are entitled to their million-dollar bonuses because these bonuses are contractual obligations with their firms. But the states are not required to honor their contractual obligations to public workers, obligations such as pensions and health coverage.

  • Federal revenues are increased by cutting taxes (i.e., revenues).

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