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When Talking Points Become Lies

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Message Stephen Crockett
When Talking Points Become Lies

Republican talking points being promoted by the Bush political spin machine has finally spun out of the realm of reality. Talking points have morphed from spin control into outright lies. The problem for the American public is that government policy is being based on the lies.

Bush's Iraq War was started based on a Republican PR campaign using talking points that were false. The Downing Street Memos, the revelations of Ambassador Wilson and numerous leaks from inside the federal government make it clear that the Bush Administration was willing to intentionally use falsehoods to promote their War policy.

The list of falsehoods pushed by Bush Republicans to start the War is huge. The examples are so numerous that they cannot be easily examined in a short column. This writer highly recommends two books that document in detail the lies used to stampede the nation into invading Iraq and to justify the poor execution after the invasion. The first book is Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin by Larry Beinhart. The second book is How America Lost Iraq by Aaron Glantz.

The Bush Administration is now trying to re-write history by accusing Democrats of trying to re-write history. They are claiming that Democrats in Congress had access to the same intelligence information as the White House concerning Iraq before the War. Actually, almost all intelligence on military matters and foreign governments available to Congress comes from the Executive Branch of the federal government controlled by the White House. All the intelligence information collected by the Executive Branch agencies (military, CIA, NSA, FBI, etc.) is definitely not passed on to Congress. It is screened, sorted and classified before it flows from the Executive Branch to the Legislative Branch. Even in Congress, all members do not access to the limited intelligence data provided by the Executive Branch.

The lack of honest and full information can cause misunderstandings and bad voting decisions. The Bush Administration knows this basic fact and deliberately uses it to promote their political agenda. Denying access to information and distorting information has been the key to getting members of Congress to vote for bad laws and policies. The Iraq War is one of the results. Lies about terrorist ties, weapons of mass destruction, military threat to Iraq's neighbors, nature of the Iraqi resistance, costs and Iraqi public support of American occupation are all examples where the Bush Administration has not been providing full, honest information to members of Congress or American voters. The price (in lives, international reputation, national security and tax dollars) dwarfs any largely mythical benefits for American citizens.

Iraq is not the only example of lies being used to distort policy decisions. The Patriot Act renewal efforts are largely based on lies. Americans are being told that the Patriot Act is essentially to fighting terrorism. However, there is not a single example of one terrorist attack stopped by use of the Patriot Act! There have been zero successful prosecutions of terrorists based on any provision of the Patriot Act. The falsely named Patriot Act was passed by members of Congress who were not given enough time to read it before voting to pass this assault on American freedom! They voted without sufficient information or consideration based on false information and promises about how it was to be used provided by the Bush Administration.

Tax policy, budget deficits and the national debt have been based on Republican talking points that are in essence lies. They cut income taxes for the wealthiest by stating that "you have to cut taxes for those who pay them." It is a great spin line but is totally divorced from real facts. Payroll taxes (Social Security) was ignored. Real estate property taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, state taxes, local taxes and user fees are ignored. They focus only on taxes paid mostly by the wealthy like estate taxes, capital gains and federal income tax while ignoring all others. The analysis and spin are dishonest.

Election reform is an issue that needs serious, objective analysis based on facts and numbers. The Bush Republican spin machine has thwarted serious voting reforms anywhere and in any way that threatens their grasp on power. Elections should be based on a simple idea that the majority view should prevail by permitting a clean, honest and fair vote of all citizens. It should not be designed to promote one group over another in the quest for political power. I recommend THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008 by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman and Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast as great books that examine this important issue.

It is time for Americans to start demanding honest information and honest debate. As individuals, we need to demand accountability of politicians and government officials. We need to use our brains. We need to read, to research and to share information. We need to vote using that right to reward honesty and to punish dishonest spin.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host Democratic Talk Radio ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: .

Feel free to publish as a Guest Editorial, Letter to the Editor, Op Ed or Democratic Voices column in your newspaper, newsletter, website or blog.
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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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