101 Newt-Lies and Deceptions
Why Hitler-like propaganda tactics don't work so well in America (Mar 2000)
The following is a copy of an article I wrote in November 1995 to point out to news agencies throughout America the enormous extent to which most of them had been deceived by Newt Grigrich's "propaganda machine." Copies of this article were widely distributed in early December 1995.
It is considered a violation of Congressional rules of etiquette for a Congressman or Senator to accuse another Congressman or Senator of lying, so some Congressman and Sanators become habitually accustomed to floating "really big whoppers" simply because such "whoppers" normally go unchallenged in that environment. For at least two years prior to the 1994 elections, most of our nations' news agencies likewise tended to publish whatever Newt and his fellow propagandists said "without batting an eyelash", thereby contributing significantly to the "takeover" of both Houses of Congress by conservative Republicans. For the most part, during the first eleven months of 1995, Newt was portrayed in our press as being "the most popular and powerful politician in America." Many Congressmen, Senators, and even state Governors proudly claimed to be "soulmates of Newt Gingrich." Then, within a month or so, Newt quickly became one of the most UNPOPULAR politicians in America!
That abrupt drop in Newt's poplularity is normally attributed to public revulsion in response to Republican attempts to "shut down the government" over the national debt issue. However, although I can't prove to what extent I contributed to that change, I did observe that the real reason that Newt's popularity dropped so dramatically (and continued to stay low until he was forced out of his House Speaker position four years later) was because from that point on our nation's news agencies finally began to hold Newt ACCOUNTABLE for the credibility and truthfulness of his statements. Once they began to do that, Newt's "ideological bubble" collapsed. For a sizeable majority of Americans, his credibility and appeal "dried up" like a "vampire exposed to the Light of Day."
Unfortunately for most American citizens, since then Newt's "soulmates" have seriously degraded our nation's environmental and consumer protections as well as our nations' "social safety net", federal support of education, and efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In the meantime, they have sqandered over two billion of our tax dollars each year on highly dubious "corporate welfare" programs, apparently in response to hefty coporate political contributions.
Conservatives tend to talk to conservative audiences, and liberals tend to talk to liberal audiences; it's rare that you get a chance to see a point-by-point rebuttal of their arguments in print. Here is your chance to do so. Although our nations' Congressman and Senators have since learned to "tone down their rhetoric" in order to keep their jobs, most of the issues discussed in this article are still quite relevant to what will be decided in the Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional elections this coming November.
101 NEWT-LIES AND DECEPTIONS
When the Republicans won control over both houses of Congress last fall, many Democrats reacted in disbelief. In political terms, they didn't seem to know what "hit" them. Although the Republicans scored just a few percentage points higher in the overall popular vote, their procedures for distributing their financial resources were far better organized to utilize their dollars where they would most likely make a difference in the various state and congressional district contests. That was one of the major factors leading to their so-called "landslide victory." The other major factor was, quite frankly, the Republicans' superior willingness to lie--coupled with the Democrats' lack of experience at dealing with (or even recognizing) the use of such blatantly dishonest propaganda tactics.
During the last one or two weeks of an election campaign, most Americans have come to expect, tolerate, and even forgive the use of "negative" campaign tactics. In the past few years, Newt Gingrich has changed all that. He has turned bi-annual bouts of "negative" campaigning into a well organized, well financed, 365 day per year propaganda program designed to literally take over control of the entire US Government. The purpose of this document is to help "level the playing field" of knowledge regarding how to identify such dishonest propaganda tactics in the first place, and how to effectively neutralize their impact. Once the American public learns to more effectively recognize the use of these tactics, those who are using them will experience a serious loss of credibility (and electability). They will be forced to begin dealing honestly with the issues if they wish to stay in the game.
In his 1995 book, To Renew America, and in his political speeches, Newt has taken propaganda tactics which he apparently learned from studying what Adolph Hitler did (manufactured anger, name-calling, scape-goating, big-lies "proved" by repetition, etc.) and adapted them to more appropriately fit America's situation in the 1990's. His 1995 book is designed to serve much the same purpose as did Hitler's Mein Kampf. Hitler blamed Germany's problems on Jews, communists, and homosexuals. Newt blames America's problems on his "evil" strawman characterizations of "cultural elites", "liberals", government employees, and people who live on welfare. Hitler's model ideal was "the Aryan race" which he used for his comparisons between good and evil. Newt's model ideal for such comparisons is a religiously inspired, conservative epitome of "individual responsibility", an idealized (Newt-like?) person who can figure out how to succeed when placed in just about any situation (a convenient model when one is attempting to justify significant reductions in government services).
Hitler's use of big-lie propaganda tactics was overwhelmingly successful, because his people had taken over control of nearly all of Germany's news agencies, which in those days was a manageable number of radio stations and newspapers. Hitler also organized massive "book burning" programs to further strengthen his monopolistic control of information resources in Germany. In today's America, however, there is no way that Newt and his followers (like Rush Limbaugh) can achieve such a monopolistic overall control of information. So they developed an entirely new propaganda tactic more suitable for the "information age"--the "dis-information-overload" tactic. They discovered that if they kept generating new BIG-LIES at a rapid rate and propagating them quite widely, there would be no possible way for their opponents to effectively rebut them all. They took full advantage of the natural tendency of humans to believe sweeping generalities as long as those generalities don't conflict with their own personal knowledge of the facts ("preying on the un-informed"). An interesting thing has happened, however.. As their inventory of big-lies expanded with statements that became increasingly "far-fetched", more and more people began to recognize (at times with help from the press) that at least some of what they were saying was untrue, and Newt's credibility suffered accordingly.
But Newt is not the only one the Democrats need to be concerned about. The November 20, 1994 edition of The Boston Globe describes how over the past few years, using his GOPAC organization to conceal political funding practices of questionable legality, Newt personally trained at least 33 of the 74 incoming GOP freshmen in the use of his propaganda tactics, and he helped raise money for 137 other Republican candidates. He provided them with video tapes that taught them to use words such as "sick", "pathetic", "lie", "traitors", "greed", "antifamily", "disgrace", etc. when talking about Democrats and words like "moral", "courage", "pristine", "dream", "freedom" when talking about Republicans. They were taught how to develop "shield issues" (false-concern deceptions) whereby they would seek an opportunity to express compassion or agreement with some particular concern (like protecting the environment, helping people find jobs, etc.) in order to divert attention away from the fact that they were actually working against that particular concern. It's easy to recognize the "graduates" of Newt's propaganda course by their rhetoric (one can say they sound like "mindless mouth-pieces of Newtism").
An important point to note is that these people are very well aware that they are using dishonest propaganda tactics. They're probably rationalizing what they are doing as being "just part of the game." Most of them lack the experience needed to fully appreciate what the ultimate consequences of their actions will be (some of them may not even care). Consider the consequences of the Republican opposition to fully paying the past and present US dues and peace-keeping assessments to the United Nations (a tactic that was part their attempt to sabotage President Clinton's foreign policy efforts, so they could claim, as Senator Dole did, that Clinton's foreign policy was "ineffective.") The anarchy and bloodshed in Bosnia has dragged on for the last few years largely because the United Nations lacked the funds needed to deploy an adequately manned, adequately equipped UN Peace-keeping force there (the members of the UN Security Council had to give the UN forces there a "weak" mandate, because they lacked the funding needed to deploy sufficient forces to enforce a stronger mandate). Now we're about to send our own ground forces to Bosnia to help accomplish what was a UN mission; but this time the peace-keeping forces will be far better equipped and supported, their mandate will be much clearer and stronger, and they will have the peace agreements worked out in Dayton to help reduce the likelihood of actual bloodshed. Why couldn't this have been done two years ago thereby saving at least a hundred thousand lives in Bosnia? Because our Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress opposed paying our past and present UN dues (and peace-keeping assessments) which amount to only $7.00 per year per American! So decisions of these politicians can easily lead to serious problems for our nation (and others) when their decisions are based on lies!
The pages which follow contain an examination of 101 of Newt's misleading statements (most of which come from his 1995 book) along with editorial comments describing the propaganda tactics he was using and illustrations of how to neutralize their impact. To fully understand how Newt has been able to ideologically seduce so many people into believing his lies, you would need to actually read his book along with this document and compare. Newt goes to considerable effort in his book to camouflage his falsehoods by "burying" them among valid, thought-provoking observations and inspiring quotations which nearly everyone can agree with. He uses such techniques to sneak false premises by people without their fully realizing what he's done. Eventually, he uses those falsehoods again in an emotional "crescendo" of Newt-lies which he hopes they will (by then) accept. Even when you know he's lying, while you read his book, you'll have to admit that in many cases, what he says "sounds" great (he's good at it)!
In a biographical article on Newt Gingrich in the October 9, 1995 edition of The New Yorker, Connie Bruck referred to Newt's use of such propaganda tactics as "the politics of perception." She concludes that Newt is "unhampered by the internal censor that inhibits most of us", and that he gets away with it because "what he is doing defies our most fundamental assumptions: one simply does not expect to find so consummate a con artist serving as the speaker of the House." After reading this analysis of 101 of his statements, you might conclude that her assessment was "too kind."
Have fun with it!
Except where noted, the Newt-quotes which follow come from Newt Gingrich's 1995 book, To Renew America, published by Harper Collins. The page numbers are shown in parentheses. The New-quotes themselves are printed in italics. Those which are identified (and numbered) as being either lies or deceptions are printed in bold-faced italics. [Unfortunately, my web site software doesn't support bold-face or italics.] NOTE: The quotes which are identified as "false-concern deceptions" may in themselves be generally valid and true--the dishonesty is in the way he uses such quotes--to create a false impression that he supports a particular concern when in fact he and his fellow Republicans have been working against such concerns (like protecting the environment, creating or saving jobs, etc.). [My own comments are enclosed in brackets.]
1. (pg 3-4) "The intellectual nonsense propagated since 1965--in the media, on university campuses, even among our religious and political leaders--now threatens to cripple our ability to teach the next generation to be Americans."
[An untrue generalization designed to help him build his strawman target. A "strawman" is a stereotyped (selectively over-simplified) characterization of a group of people (or a system) which is designed to be easily "blown over" by the definer's arguments and proposals.]
2-4.. (pg 4) "If we fail to reform, the consequences will be incalculable. The underclass of poverty and violence will continue to grow....Our quality of health and life will diminish. In this weakened state, we will be unable to sustain our military and diplomatic responsibilities and the world will break into isolated and competing blocs characterized by internal and external violence. Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Somalia will all be harbingers of the future."
[Psychologists refer to false-concern deceptions like these as "psychological projections", because he's trying to make it appear that his strawman target is to blame for problems which he knows he himself has been helping to make worse by drastically curtailing government funding support for:
-- Virtually all levels of education in America
-- President Clinton's "cops on the street" program to help reduce rime rates
-- And the United Nations peace-keeping and sustainable development efforts.
As described in Connie Bruck's article "The Politics of Perception " in the October 9, 1995 issue of The New Yorker, Newt acquired the nick-name "Neutron" because of his frequent efforts to "destroy the current system" (so he could then move in and pick up the pieces). An important point to keep in mind about this is that efforts to '"destroy the current system" in the international arena (by drastically curtailing funding for the UN or attempting to get the US to "pull out" of the UN altogether) tend create or perpetuate anarchies which get a LOT of people killed (as happened in Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda)!]
5. (pg 5) "An America that has replaced the culture of poverty and violence with a culture of opportunity would be the safest, most prosperous place on the globe."
[This evil-sounding description of his strawman target may exist among some groups of people (street gangs) in some communities, but to apply such a description to America in general is really "stretching" the truth. It's also unclear that any of the legislation proposed by Newt and his fellow Republicans will do anything to remedy a "culture of poverty and violence" where such a culture exists.]
6-8. (pg 5) "The choice between the two futures is stark and decisive. Either we will pull ourselves together for the effort or we will continue to decay. There is virtually no middle ground."
[A false dichotomy between his "evil" strawan and his proposed ideological model (re-stated twice for enhanced ideological effect). Adolph Hitler used to tell his staff that if a BIG LIE is repeated often enough, people will eventually believe it (a propaganda tactic known as "proof by repetition").]
9. (pg 7) "Our civilization is based on a spiritual and moral dimension. It emphasizes personal responsibility as much as individual rights. Since 1965, however, there has been a calculated effort by cultural elites to discredit this civilization and replace it with a culture of irresponsibility that is incompatible with American freedoms as we have known them. Our First task is to return to teaching Americans about America and teaching immigrants how to become Americans."
[Some untrue generalizations with name-calling ("cultural elites") to make his targets appear to be "not one of us" (imposing a limiting distinction on his definition of neighbor).]
10. (pg 7) "Until we reestablish a legitimate moral-cultural standard, our civilization is at risk."
[Now that's hypocrisy! On one hand, he is criticizing "cultural elites" for imposing their cultural standards on others, while on the other hand he's attempting to create his own "cultural elite" of people who obediently support his particular interpretation of what a "legitimate moral cultural standard" should be. Can you imagine what America would be like if it were a "civilization of Newt Gingriches"?]
11. (pg 8) "Second only to renewing our civilization is making the intellectual investment necessary to understand these changes and harness them to our lasting advantages."
[Here's a straight-forward example of a false-concern deception, one Newt's favorite and most commonly used propaganda tactics. He uses statements like this to make himself appear to be in favor of investing in our future by better educating our children. Such statements are designed to divert attention away from the reductions he's been attempting to implement in government support for education at virtually all levels.]
12. (pg 8) "The best of our competitors are very, very good. Yet we can only lead the world to freedom if we remain the predominant economy."
[This is another a untrue generalization. There are in fact many ways we can "lead the world to freedom" (by supporting the peacekeeping and sustainable development efforts of the United Nations, helping to establish an effective International Criminal Court, etc.). Newt's statement implies that the US economy is the world's predominant economy now and that other nations will become "more free" as they try to emulate us. There's some truth in that view, but it's also misleading, because most other nations lack the resources to economically achieve what we have done . It would be more accurate to state that "our" (?) international corporations have already become the "predominant economy" of the world. There have been numerous instances (as illustrated by the recent hanging of environmental activists in Nigeria and corporate child-slavery practices in India and Pakistan) where "our" international corporations have contributed to an observable loss of freedoms in some countries. Newt's claim that the success of our economy alone will "lead the world to freedom" is intellectually dishonest and greatly oversimplified.]
13-14. (pg 8-9) "No civilization can survive for long with twelve-year-olds having babies, fifteen-years killing one another, seventeen-year-olds dying of AIDS, and eighteen-year-olds getting diplomas they can't read. Yet every night on the local news, you and I watch the welfare state undermining our society."
[The first statement above is a false-concern deception. The legislation proposed by Newt and his fellow Republicans would do little, if anything, to reduce the number of "twelve-year-olds having babies, fifteen-year-olds killing one another", etc.]
[The second statement above is a clear example of a propaganda tactic known as "scape-goating." He's attempting to mislead people into believing that only twelve-year-olds on welfare are having babies, and that only seventeen-year-olds on welfare are dying of aids, and that only eighteen-year-olds on welfare are "getting diplomas they can't read"--to lead people to conclude that such unfortunate instances are all being "caused" by the (scape-goat) "welfare state". Statements like these are designed to help "morally justify" significant reductions in funding for welfare. His implication that "the welfare state" has gotten so large that is "undermining our society" is also untrue. Less than 15% of the US population receives any of the forms of public assistance commonly referred to as "welfare." Of those, only about 40% receive such assistance for more than 2.5 years; 20 percent of the cases it is less than six months. The form of welfare Newt most often refers to (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) costs only $11.5 billion--less than 1% of the total Federal Budget. The are many other causes contributing to the problems described above, but Newt has chosen not to address them.]
15-16. (pg 9) "America is too big, too diverse, and too free to be run by bureaucrats sitting in office buildings in one city. We must replace our centralized, micromanaged, Washington-based bureaucracy with a dramatically decentralized system more appropriate to a continent-wide country."
[More untrue generalities. America is being "run" by federal, state, and local bureaucrats who reside all over the country. Not surprisingly, the advent of the "information age" has actually made it easier (and more feasible) for bureaucrats in Washington DC to "micromanage" things--regardless of how big, diverse, or free America is. The same technology can just as easily be used by state and local bureaucrats to "micromanage" activities within their own jurisdictions. At least at the Federal level, the bureaucrats are accountable (if they wish to keep their jobs) to politicians who must satisfy a much wider diversity of interests in order to stay in office. This tends (though not always) to make them less likely to seriously abuse their powers. The issues of micromanagement (by whomever) and policies regarding property rights can be far more effectively dealt with if they are addressed directly (rather than merely using them to justify spending cuts to "decentralizing the federal government"). Newt's "Corrections Day" proposal whereby the House of Representatives would meet once a month to "consider rescinding, overturning, and otherwise zeroing out any particularly absurd thing done by the bureaucracy." (pg 227) sounds great! Newt has been running the House of Representative for nearly a year now. What's happened to that "Corrections Day" idea?]
17. (pg 9) "Medicare will be in serious financial trouble by 1996 and will start going bankrupt by 2002."
[A false-fact whopper. If Medicare would really be in "serious financial trouble" in 1996, then why would it then take 6 more years for it to go "bankrupt"? The funding for Medicare comes from US "general tax revenues", so it can't really go "bankrupt" until the US Government itself goes bankrupt. The fact that the costs of Medicare and Medicaid have been rising faster than the US rate of inflation represents a problem that definitely needs to be fixed, but the Republicans are using statements like the above to "morally justify" cut-backs that far exceed what will really be needed to appropriately fix those problems. The Republicans' proposed cut-backs may actually make matters worse by severely curtailing the efforts of government auditors to identify, remedy, and deter instances of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse.]
18. (pg 9-10) If the federal budget remains in deficit, the Treasury will not be able to repay the notes in the Social Security Trust Fund, and the baby boomers will see their retirement pensions evaporate. At the current rates of borrowing, a child born in 1995 will pay $187,000--an estimated $3,500 per year over the course of his or her working lifetime--just to pay off the interest on his or her share of the debt, without beginning to reduce the principle and relieve the burden on the next generation."
[This is an example of a misleading-concern deception (as opposed to a false-concern deception where he knows he's doing the opposite of what he claims to be concerned about). Regardless of how accurate the above $187,000 estimate may be, most people will probably agree that Newt is addressing a really serious impending problem in this case. Ross Perot deserves initial credit for proving to everyone in 1992 that a "deficit reduction" platform could be politically viable. Newt and his fellow Republicans deserve follow-on credit for "taking that political football and running with it." But, so far at least, the pieces of legislation created by Newt and his fellow Republicans only propose to balance the budget (in seven years),--not to pay off the present or future-accrued principle portion of the debt that Newt describes above (instead, they've preferred to offer tax-breaks and to funnel even more unneeded tax dollars to "defense" contractors). So under Newt's proposed legislation, that child will continue to pay $3,500 per year (or more) over the course of his or her working lifetime for interest on the national debt. The failure of the Republicans as well and the Democrats to propose a solution for this aspect of our national debt problem creates a fertile ideological foundation for a third-party movement. If the Democrats really want to regain control of both House of Congress next year, they'll have to prove to the American people that their program will help solve this problem as well.]
19-20. (pg 30) "To be an American is to embrace a set of values and living habits that have flourished in this continent for nearly four hundred years. Virtually anyone can become American simply by learning the ideas and habits of being an American."
[Oh really? No doubt there are many immigrants in America who wish it were that easy to become a truly assimilated American. And no doubt there are even more Americans who are already US citizens and who don't share Newt Gingrich's "set of values and living habits."]
21-25. (pg 30-31) "Multiculturalism switched the emphasis from proclaiming allegiance to the common culture to proclaiming the virtues (real or imagined) of a particular ethnicity, sect, or tribe. 'Situational ethics' and 'deconstructionism'--the belief that there are no general rules of behavior--began to supplant the centuries-old struggle to establish universal standards of right and wrong... All this led to a collapse in our ability to teach ethical behavior to our own people. Traditional history has been replaced by the notion that every group is entitled to its own version of the past. Moral standards have been replaced by "role playing". Time once spent imprinting the accumulated wisdom of our culture is now spent creating and reinforcing a bogus and perfunctory 'self-esteem.'"
[This is another example of Newt's false dichotomies. The more "traditional" interpretations of history and moral standards are also being taught. The multiculturalist approaches described above are used in some school settings to provide students with practical experience and lessons regarding ethics that are essentially equivalent to the Christian commandment to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (without placing cultural distinctions on one's definition of neighbor). Claims that such approaches teach "no general rules of behavior" or that they lead to "a collapse in our ability to teach ethical behavior to our own people" are WHOPPING BIG LIES! Newt conveniently ignores the fact that some of those "traditional" approaches to teaching history and moral standards were being used as late as the 1960's to "morally justify" racially based lynching/murders, school segregation, other forms of racial and cultural intolerance.]
26-27. (pg 31-32) "The biggest surprise was to find how far most twentieth-century intellectuals have strayed from the assumptions and values of the Founding Fathers...America was built on the concepts of individual responsibility, the centrality of a Creator, and the sense of honor and duty that bound the Founding Fathers together. Just as the Creator has been driven from the public arena, so individual responsibility has been undermined by the philosophy of victimization, and honor and duty have been replaced by cynicism and pleasure seeking."
[More untrue generalizations. Even though "school prayer" is no longer allowed to be institutionally required in public classrooms, the rise of TV Evangelists, religious cable networks, and religious teleconferencing have provided more exposure "in the public arena" to various interpretations of "The Creator" than ever before in our nation's history. As to whether or not there's a significant difference between then and now with regards to publicly held attitudes of "individual responsibility", "a philosophy of victimization", "honor and duty", or "cynicism and pleasure seeking"--such claims would be difficult to prove either way. Ben Franklin, for example, was also very well known in his day as being a "pleasure seeker."]
28. (pg 33) "This is the America of voluntary associations, practical problem solving, active local leadership, and an ethic of getting the job done as efficiently as possible. What is different today is that this practical, democratic culture has been overlaid with an elite culture--predominant in the upper echelons of Washington and the media--that says that American history is nothing but a story of racism, oppression, genocide, disenfranchisement, and constant violations of the norms to which we all thought we subscribed."
[A false dichotomy supported by an untrue "nothing but" generalization. Perhaps the rest of us (who are not among the "upper echelons of Washington and the media") can feel relieved that he's not including us in his definition of an evil "cultural elite." What a-minute! Isn't Newt himself part of the "upper echelons of Washington"?]
29-32. (pg 34) "All of our rights come from our Creator. Even today this is a very radical idea. In nearly all countries, power belongs to the state and is occasionally loaned to individuals. In America, power comes from God to the individual and is loaned to the state. It does not belong to the state or a king. It would be hard to imagine a greater difference in first principles."
[Here Newt begins framing a new false-dichotomy, again supported by untrue generalizations. He uses a couple of very elegant, religiously inspirational quotations by Ben Franklin and by Abraham Lincoln to "prove" his first point, but in fact his starting off point is a lie. It's true that our "Founding Fathers" invoked the use of God's name in the Declaration Of Independence to help garner popular support for their proposed revolution (an ideological tactic which even to this day is frequently used by revolutionaries and terrorists to "morally justify" their use of violence). However, based on their own experiences and observations of atrocities committed during our "War or Independence" (and their memories of deadly religious persecutions in Europe and in Salem, Massachusetts) their attitudes regarding such uses of God's name changed significantly by the time they assembled in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution of the United States of America. Rather than invoking the name of God in the preamble of United States' Constitution, they carefully stated that the purpose of the US Constitution was "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Furthermore, in Article IV, para 3 they decreed unequivocally that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Then, to even further ensure the separation of church and state, they collectively agreed to add the first amendment which states right-up-front that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." So, contrary to what Newt (and the John Birch Society) would like us believe, our Founding Fathers did NOT agree with the proposition that "all of our rights come from our Creator". In Article I, para 1 they specifically stated that "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives." And who elects those representatives? Citizens elect them. For better or worse, their power comes from the citizens!]
[If the rights of American citizens truly came from "our Creator", then how can Newt honestly reconcile such a proposition with the often shameful conduct of our government towards its Afro-American and native American citizens during its first 150 years or towards its citizens of Japanese descent in California during World War II? He can't! Nevertheless, he goes on to say...]
33-37. (pg 38-39) "Precisely because our rights are endowed by our Creator, the individual burden or responsibility borne by each citizen is greater than in any other county. This is why our new-found sense of entitlement and victimization is exactly wrong--and so corrosive to the American spirit... By blaming everything on 'society', contemporary liberals are really trying to escape the personal responsibility that comes with being an American... One of the most important concepts of the countercultural left is the idea of an all-powerful 'society.' In their view, 'society' is always responsible for everything."
[The above paragraph of Newt statements contains five sentences,--each one of which is a lie (a crescendo of Newt-lies!). Now we can see why Newt is invoking the name of The Creator at this point. He's using that time-proven ideological tactic to garner public acceptance (by "clouding their minds") for one of his BIGGEST lies--that "contemporary liberals" are "blaming everything on society." The fact that some trial lawyers have occasionally succeeded in achieving acquittals for their clients by convincing some juries that "society was to blame" does NOT mean that "contemporary liberals" also buy or sell such arguments. Most "contemporary liberals" will agree with Newt's points regarding the importance of education and "personal responsibility" for solving problems, but they also recognize that in some situations there are social, economic, or political factors which can severely limit the potential effectiveness of one's efforts to exercise personal responsibility (such as institutionalized discrimination based on race or sex, or seriously limited opportunities for education). To their credit, liberals often seek to solve those kinds of problems as well. Their proposed solutions may not always work as well as they had expected, but at least they are trying to solve such problems. Newt's proposed approach for "solving" such problems is to simply attribute them to "a lack of individual responsibility" and then "morally" justify budget cuts based on that premise.]
[38-40. It's also important to note that Newt himself is the one who's been using such "blaming society" types of arguments (it's another one of his "psychological projections"). As reported on the CNN Headline News, while he was addressing a Republican governor's conference in New Hampshire on November 21, Newt blamed "the welfare system, criminal justice system, liberals, and the education system" for the triple-murder incident in Illinois where the murderers cut an infant boy out of the murdered mother's womb. He went on to claim that incidents like that are happening because "for two generations we haven't had the guts to talk about right and wrong" and then "We have gradually tolerated, as Moynihan put it, the process of lowering standards, so that you could engage in virtually any behavior and have a reasonable case" (two more untrue generalizations). If Newt wanted to, he could build a very good case to show that in some neighborhoods, such a lowering of standards has resulted from the illegal sale of drugs (rather than the "welfare system"), but it's the funding for the welfare system that he is trying to justify cutting. To make matters worse, Newt is also attempting to cut the funding for President Clinton's program to put more cops on the street, thereby helping to ensure a continuation of the illegal sale of drugs.]
41-45. (pg 42) "One favorite argument in the decline-of-America scenario is that all-important manufacturing jobs are declining, and being replaced by unimportant service jobs. We may be giving people work, the argument goes, but it's nothing more than "hamburger flipping. In response, I would advise these people to read Grinding It Out, the autobiography of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds... Generosity, trust, optimism, and hard work--these are the elements that have driven the American entrepreneurial system, creating the most powerful and vibrant economy the world has ever known. Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as it used to be. Taxes, regulation, and litigation have all thrown a blanket over the entrepreneurial spirit. Elite criticisms of the can-do spirit have undermined that ethic. Credentialing the professions has raised barriers to entrepreneurial inventiveness. The welfare system has sapped the spirit of the poor and made it harder to climb rungs of the economic ladder."
[In fact, it's true that manufacturing jobs are declining in American and service jobs are increasing. But those services jobs are not just the "hamburger flipping" types of jobs. The number of jobs in computer-related areas is increasing rapidly, and the pay scales that go with such jobs are often as good or even better than most "manufacturing" jobs. Where is the "elite" criticizing the "can-do spirit"? Taxes, regulation, and litigation haven't dampened the growth of small businesses in Massachusetts (a.k.a. "Taxachusetts") or in Japan or Germany where taxes are even higher. America has many millions of "working poor" people who have never been on welfare. Has the welfare system "sapped their spirit" as well? By proposing drastic reductions in "earned income tax credits" and adamantly opposing any increases in the minimum wage, Newt and his fellow Republicans are seriously attempting to actually MAKE it harder for most of America's "working poor" people to climb the rungs of the economic ladder!]
46-47. (pg 49) [After an inspirational description of the management principles taught by Edward's Deeming, Newt claims,] "Government today works on the same 1920s Taylorite model that has long been superseded in business. What we need now, throughout the federal government, is the same sort of strategic downsizing and overhaul of basic assumptions, based on respect for individual achievement that has benefited business so enormously in the past decade."
[The "Taylorite-model"(named after the inventor of "time-and-motion studies") was developed to help improve the efficiency of manufacturing operations. The US Government does very little manufacturing (other than producing coins, currency, and stamps). Governments are primarily service organizations, so Newt's claim that our government works on the Taylorite model is another untrue generalization. Demming's management principles are likewise designed to help improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of "production" to meet the needs or desires of customers. Who are the US Government's "customers"? It would require a hefty-sized book to adequately answer that question. Demming's' principles have in fact been used within some governmental agencies (where applicable), but to imply that they can be used throughout the entire United States Government to achieve the "the same sort of downsizing" as some businesses have done is another untrue generalization.]
48-52. (pg 58-59) "Why are governments so painfully slow at adjusting to change? Why are their agencies almost always obsolete? The basic reason is that governments are not customer driven. Governments almost always grant monopoly status to their own operations so they won't have to compete. Look at public education. Look at the post office. It's the same story everywhere. Consumers are too often stuck with inefficient service and a poor product because they're not allowed to go anywhere else. Because government operations don't have to please consumers, they end up catering to employees. That's why most government operations are overstaffed..."
[Although there may be some instances where the above statements would validly apply, Newt's attempts to apply such statements to our federal, state, and local governments in general amount to untrue generalities. These governments do NOT impose a monopoly on our children's education (they permit parochial schools, "charter" schools, "home education", etc.) Our Federal Post Office system has to compete with United Parcel Service, Federal Express, General Overnight Delivery, etc. The most common reason our governmental agencies are "slow at adjusting to change" is because Congress has refused to provide them the funding they need to modernize their systems (e.g. to replace the FAA's vacuum-type air traffic control technology, to replace the State Department's obsolete Wang office systems, etc.). As to whether or not our government agencies are "overstaffed", that's a difficult point to prove. Our Federal Government, at least, has "manpower" agencies established in virtually all of its branches whose specific function is to determine how much manning each agency should have to adequately fulfill its stated missions. If you actually talk to government employees, you'll find that a vast majority of them are working as hard or even harder than their counterparts in the "business world". And unlike most businesses, governmental agencies have the additional challenge of having to please "customers" and politicians who often have widely divergent and conflicting interests and concerns.]
53-54. (pg 71) "The greatest moral imperative we face is replacing the welfare state with an opportunity society. For every day that we allow the current conditions to continue, we are condemning the poor--and particularly poor children--to being deprived of their basic rights as Americans. The welfare state reduces the poor from citizens to clients. It breaks up families, minimizes work incentives, blocks people from saving and acquiring property, and overshadows dreams of a promised future with a present despair born of poverty, violence, and hopelessness."
[More of Newt's false-concern deceptions. Newt is the one who is attempting to deprive poor people of their "basic rights as Americans" by eliminating "safety net" entitlements, drastically reducing the earned income tax credit, reducing funding for the Head Start program, job-training programs, school lunches, etc.]
[Turning welfare recipients into homeless people will only increase their despair and hopelessness. There are certainly things which need to be done to fix problems that are caused in part by the welfare system's rules, but Newt's "opportunity society" alternative is for the most part an ideological cop-out.]
55-57. (pg 75) "Social reformers emphasized that nothing could be more destructive than giving people help they didn't deserve... Olasky's model for true caring requires a level of detailed knowledge that is not possible for government bureaucracies. Because of the very magnitude of the task they attempt to undertake, government caretakers can do nothing more than provide indiscriminate handouts for income maintenance."
[Do those "social reformers" really believe that starving to death is less destructive than giving people "help they didn't deserve"? Those next two statements are false-fact generalizations. The "information age" technologies can make such levels of detailed knowledge possible, but only if the caretaker agencies are provided adequate funding to acquire and implement such technologies.]
58-60. (pg 76) "Unless people get some kind of religious bearings, it is unlikely they will make the effort needed to change their circumstances... For two generations we have tried to replace spiritual transformation with secular counseling. The experiment has failed miserably. Since no secular bureaucracy can (or should) engage in spiritual renewal, it is clear this effort must be undertaken by churches, synagogues, mosques, and other charitable and nonprofit institutions."
[Three more untrue generalizations.]
61. (pg 80) "If there were five Steve Jobses or one Bill Gates in Harlem, the entire nature of the community would change."
[That's doubtful. More likely than not, they would move out of Harlem. Better schools, good jobs, and urban renewal would more realistically bring about a change for the better in Harlem. Newt's points regarding the need to make life "dramatically easier for small businesses" (pg 81) are has some validity.]
62-66. (pg 83) "Safety is simply the most fundamental concern of government. After all, none of our God-given rights matter much if we can be raped, mugged, robbed, or killed. And the poorest neighborhood is as entitled to be safe as the richest... Everything else will fail if we cannot suppress drugs and violent crime. Establishing safety is the first foundation of creating opportunity for the poor."
[More of Newt's false-concern deceptions. By attempting to sabotage President Clinton's "Cops on the Street" program and the Americorp programs, Newt knows that what he's trying to implement will make such problems worse, so he's attempting to "hide" behind statements like these.]
67-68. (pg 88) "The truth is, of course, that the cost of the military as a share of our economy declined for most of the Cold War and the great growth of government was in the domestic sector. We do not run a deficit because of defense spending."
[A misleading generality followed by an outright lie. The truth is, that when you add in the continuing costs incurred from past military spending (costs for Veterans' benefits and interest on the portion of our national debt that was incurred to support President Reagan's "military buildup"), approximately half of all of our tax dollars are going to pay for past and present military services. Furthermore, in spite of the end of the "cold war", our annual military expenditures are greater than the sum of the annual military expenditures of next nine highest-spending countries combined! Nevertheless, Newt and his fellow Republicans have actually succeeded funneling extra funds to "defense" contractors (7 billion dollars more than the Pentagon requested) for unneeded purposes such as the "Star Wars" and B-2 Bomber programs. To claim that such unneeded expenditures are not adding to our nation's deficit-spending problem is ...well, A WHOPPER!]
69-70. (pg 89) "The ability of the liberals to increase spending has outpaced anything Republicans could do in raising taxes... I watched the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations talk themselves into tax increases to 'fight the deficit,' and each time the liberals simply took the new revenues as an excuse for even higher spending."
[More misleading generalizations. Congressional Republicans, including Newt, were as much responsible for "overspending" as anybody. In fact, the greatest increases in our nation's national debt occurred during the (Republican) Reagan and Bush administrations, and every one of the Republicans in the House and Senate voted against President Clinton's budget package in 1993 which (in spite of Republicans' dire predictions to the contrary) did in fact reduce the rate of deficit spending while helping the nation's economy to recover.]
71. (pg 97-98) "In 1974 the liberals passed an accounting gimmick that provided automatic increases in spending each year. This is called the 'current services budget.' Any increase that is less than the programmed increase is called a 'cut.' The liberals claim regularly that they are "cutting" spending when they increase spending less than the amount prescribed by the 'current services' automatic pilot... It is this gimmick that has allowed the liberals to scream that Republicans were 'cutting' the school lunch program ('taking food out of the mouths of children', as President Clinton so politely put it) when we were actually providing a 4.5 percent annual increase over the next five years."
[Whether automatic cost-of-living adjustments should be included in various programs is worthy of debate. Where that principle has been accepted, differences in opinion as to how such adjustments should be computed are also worthy of debate. However, Newt's claim that the Republicans were "actually providing a 4.5 percent increase over the next five years" in the school lunch program is a deliberate deception. As pointed out in FAIR Magazine last summer, that "4.5 percent increase" figure is based on some convenient, but highly misleading, assumptions regarding how the states would choose to us a major portion of their "block grant" funds. That Republican calculating technique could be used to create the impression that they were proposing "increases" in other programs as well--by assuming that the very same "block grant" money would be used for those other programs.]
72. (pg 105-106) "The liberal model is that an enlightened national capital will establish the correct laws and hire the bureaucrats to enforce them... Instead, the Republicans envision a decentralized America in which responsibility is returned to the individual. We believe in volunteerism and local leadership. We believe that a country with ten million local volunteer leaders is stronger than one with a thousand brilliant leaders."
[There's that cop-out theory again. In fact, the Republican's have been attempting to severely restrict the activities and fund-raising capabilities of volunteer organizations throughout America (though various incarnations of the Ishtook amendment and their attempts to terminate government funding support for PBS stations).]
73-75. (pg 112) "By 1993, however, the world had changed considerably. A young, energetic generation of conservative leaders had come of age. Meanwhile, President Clinton's popularity was stuck in the mid-40s--close to the plurality by which he won the 1992 election. His advocacy of unpopular social issues had alienated much of middle America. Tax increases had angered the small business Community. His health plan had collapsed and his heralded welfare reform had never materialized."
[More deliberately misleading generalizations. It was the (largely unchallenged) dishonest propaganda tactics of Newt and other "right wing" Republicans that turned what had been popular Democratic social issues into the "unpopular" ones. It was the wealthy who were affected by (and possibly "angered" by) the tax increases in Clinton's 1993 Budget Plan. Clinton's health plan "collapsed" (in spite of its popularity in the public opinion polls) because the Republicans in both Houses of Congress did everything they could (including filibustering) to sabotage it.]
76-77. (pg 115) "As the fall campaign began to build momentum, our greatest concern was that the politics would turn too negative. We knew the Democrats were in trouble and figured their strategy would be to run a scorched-earth campaign."
[More of Newt's psychological projections and false-concern deceptions. Starting almost from the day President Clinton was inaugurated, Newt, Limbaugh, and other right-wing Republicans launched what has probably been the most negative "scorched-earth" propaganda campaign of lies and deceptions ever waged during the first two years of an incumbent US President. They even succeeded in convincing the editors of TIME Magazine to help orchestrate such lies in TIME's "Incredible Shrinking President" issue. Much of the Republican's success in the 1994 elections can be accurately attributed to the Republicans' superior willingness to use dishonest, negative propaganda tactics! The use of negative propaganda tactics will no doubt be more evenly balanced among the two or three political parties during the 1996 campaign season (they'll all be accusing each other of "lying"). Hopefully, by then the American public will be better educated to recognize when dishonest propaganda tactics are being used , so that they can more accurately judge for themselves who's been doing most of the lying.]
78. (pg 134) "In sum, the argument was between the family budget and the federal budget. We believe the family budget is primary, and liberal Democrats believe the federal budget come first."
[A false dichotomy. The Democrats as well as the Republicans are proposing "tax cuts" in the future. Their plans differ with regards to the kinds of cuts and how much those cuts should be.]
79. (pg 135) "There is a class warfare mentality that infects the Washington press corps and set the tone of much of the debate in Washington."
[Another one Newt's psychological projection false-concern deceptions. Knowing that his proposals will further increase the disparity between the rich and the poor in the US, he seeks to "cloud people's minds" regarding that point by accusing the Democrats of engaging in "class-warfare rhetoric."]
80. (pg 135) "The Christian Coalition and other social conservatives had agreed not to include school prayer, abortion, or any other powerfully divisive issues in the Contract [with America] in exchange for the tax break for families."
[Newt's admitting that he "bought off" the Christian Coalition on the above issues by offering them a proposed tax break. As with the line item veto, the Republicans' willingness to actually deliver on such promises remains to be seen.]
81-82. (pg 141) "Poor children enter school with inadequate preparation and are behind from day one. Too many children simply will never learn how to read or write. High school students are not learning the math and science they need to be competitive in the world market."
[More false-concern generalizations designed to distract the public's attention from his proposed cuts in government support for the Head Start Program and for education programs in general.]
83-84. (pg 141) "We spend much more on an education system that is producing much less. We double and redouble our efforts even as the system grows more out of touch with the society it is trying to educate."
[Two more untrue generalizations used to "morally justify" cuts in government funding for education.]
85-86. "The minute high schools are made accountable for their graduates, they will have a whole new incentive to educate. If teachers and principals know their pay can be docked for turning out students who cannot read or do math, they will become much more honest and aggressive in insisting that students learn."
[More false-concern deceptions. What percentage of our high school graduates "cannot read or do math"? Have the Republicans actually proposed legislation to implement provisions whereby teachers and principles "know that their pay will be docked for turning out students who cannot read or do math"? Where have they offered legislation that would actually help solve these problems? What are they doing to help reduce the staggering high-school "drop out" rates in our inner cities?]
87-90. (pg 153) "One of the great debates of the near future will be individual versus group rights... The very concept of group rights contradicts the nature of America. America is about the future, about 'the pursuit of happiness,' while group right are bout the past. America asks who you want to be. Group rights ask you who your grandparents were. America is about a dynamic, shifting, mobile world of opportunity where everyone has a chance to build a better mousetrap or brake a bigger pie. Group rights is a concept that fits a static world in which limited resources have to be carefully allocated by the government. Group rights are about grievances, lawsuits, conflict, and the use of government coercion to impose a solution on an adversarial relationship. Group rights trap us into lawyers, trials, courts, and a suspicious view of one another. Every inconsequential action carries the threat of a complaint, a grievance, and administrative action. People learn to be defensive, cautious, and protective."
[More false dichotomies and untrue generalizations. Apparently, Newt would like to "do away" with class-action lawsuits. But the facts remains that class-action lawsuits are at times the only effective non-violent recourse available to bring and end to occasional incidents of gross and willful misconduct by large corporations or governmental agencies. The National Rifle Association and various "militia" organizations would like people to believe that "assault weapons" are needed to protect their individual rights. Class-action lawsuits can usually accomplish the same kinds of goals--without getting people killed in the process.]
91-92. (pg 155) "Secondly, any nation has an absolute obligation to protects its sovereign border. If you can't block people from coming across your border, you really can't protect your citizens."
[That's nonsense. Countries in the European Community (France, Germany, Belgium, etc.) have eliminated their guard stations along their borders with other European Community countries. Citizens of any European Community country are free to cross borders, live, and work in any other European Community country, just as US citizens can freely move from one state to another. Eliminating those border restrictions has tended to make those European countries economically stronger, not weaker. The NAFTA and GATT treaties, though economically painful for some people in the short term, will eventually (in a decade or two?) help to raise the standard of living in Mexico to a level where Mexicans will no longer feel the need to "migrate" to America to find better job opportunities. The reason we don't have a "problem" with illegal immigrants from Canada, is because an economic equilibrium between the Canadian and US economies has already been reached. In the meantime, we should be encouraging immigrants to become "documented", find jobs, pay their fair share of social security and income taxes, etc., rather than forcing them to hide in an "underground" society.]
93. (pg 176) "We want to ensure that all of our citizens have access to health care."
[A WHOPPING BIG false-concern deception. The Republicans did everything they could to scuttle President Clinton's attempts to do just that.]
94. (pg 181) "I strongly favor a mandatory death penalty for entering our territory with a commercial quantity of illegal drugs."
[So Newt's a "right to life" pro-death penalty Republican!]
[Newt talks about various new approaches for discouraging illegal drug use (e.g. charging users 10 percent of their gross assets for first conviction, etc.), but what legislation have they actually offered to help deal with our nation's illegal drug problems? They have, in fact, attempted to scuttle President Clinton's "Cops on the Street" program which is designed to help to reduce such problems.]
95. (pg 186) "Since Desert Storm, liberals have been consistently reducing our
military strength. We would have a hard time achieving the decisive success of Desert Storm today. If we continue to under-invest in equipment and training, we will once again be putting our young men and women at risk."
[Our nation's military manning levels (and number of military installations) are declining somewhat, because there is no longer any plausible need to maintain the Ronald-Reagan-levels of spending for defense. In light of the technological advances are armed forces have continued to develop since Desert Storm ("smarter" bombs, missiles, and anti-tank weapons, increased air-transport capabilities, etc.), our nation's "military strength" is probably as good or perhaps even greater than it was then.]
[Republican opposition to providing adequate funding for the UN peace-keeping mission in Bosnia has led to a situation where NATO is now being called upon to take over that peace-keeping role there. That will put some of our young men and women at risk. It's remarkable to see how the very same Republicans who have been pushing for increased spending for "defense" are also the ones who've been adamantly opposing the actual use of our military for any real missions like enforcing the Dayton peace agreement in Bosnia.]
96. (pg 191-192) " I recently asked an aerospace executive what would happen if we got the government out of the business of designing space shuttles and space stations. She replied that the cost would drop by 40 percent and the amount of time would be cut in half. Then I asked a senior designer for another aerospace company how we could best buy a second-generation shuttle. He replied that a space shuttle was technically about as complicated as a commercial airliner and should cost as much."
[Here's an example of a "hear-say WHOPPER" (or false-authority lie). If Newt actually found some "senior designer" who was willing to make such a statement, then he can get a warm fuzzy feeling that he is truthfully stating that a "senior designer" made such a statement (i.e. let the "other guy" do the actual lying for you).]
97-98. (pg 196) " Our quality of life will be much better if we maintain wilderness areas, national parks, nature preserves, migratory bird paths, and similar facilities... To get the best ecosystem for our buck, we should use decentralized and entrepreneurial strategies rather than command-and-control bureaucratic efforts."
[The first statement is another one of Newt's false-concern deceptions. The second is an ideological "smoke screen" designed to camouflage Republican (and corporate polluter) efforts to dismantle significant portions of our nation's environmental protection programs.]
99-101. (pg 202-203) "First, the liberals associate guns with violence and argue that to be antiviolence is to be antigun... My response on this issue is really quite simple. Our problem is not with weapons but with criminals; we should be concerned not with legislating against weaponry but with legislating against crime. For some psychological reason, liberals are antigun but not anti-violent criminal. In fact, for all its hyperbole about gun control, the Clinton administration has still refused to charge convicted felons with the additional ten-year penalty they could get for using firearms in the commission of a felony. The administration is non too eager to go after the law-breakers but is determined to harass law-abiding, middle-class citizens."
[A false-concern deception followed two SUPER-WHOPPERs. The Republicans are trying very hard to dismantle President Clinton's anti-crime measures!]
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002