Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Getting Away with Lies

Yesterday, the Post & Courier had an opinion piece by Dave Schwartz.  You may not know him; he doesn't even have a wikipedia page.  But this is just the way his employer, David Koch, of the Americans for Prosperity, likes it.  Anonymity allowed him and his brother, the other Koch, to get away with years of control of our legislators, until investigative journalists like Rachel Maddow forced them out of the shadows.

So we have this new guy who comes into town and spreads lies about bad government and good corporations, bad taxes and good job creators, and then moves on.  He has been State Director for AFP in Maryland, then Virginia, and now South Carolina.

The opinion piece in the Post and Courier is an example of the dirtiest of dirty work, full of blatant and absurd lies, like calling the American Legislative Exchange Council "non-partisan."  He argues, predictably, that it is our high state taxes that is the cause of all our ills.  If only we had low taxes like Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, we would have -- that's right -- job growth and prosperity.  And he sites that other "non-partisan" group, the Civitas Institute, for research that states that SC has the highest tax rate and the "lowest take-home pay in the region."  The Civitas Institute, for those of you who aren't aware, is that North Carolina group of right wing-nuts who, despite Schwartz claim that they are non-partisan, describes themselves as "North Carolina's conservative voice."  A voice that is funded by Art Pope, who as NC budget director engineered the cutbacks that have devastated North Carolina in recent years.  He has just resigned; we might want to keep an eye on him to see where he will be going to spread his dysentery next.

Anyway, to get back to Dave Schwartz and the Post & Courier.  He has made claims in that piece that are totally fabricated, made to scare and anger readers.  We know he is disseminating lies.  We know that our governor bribes businesses to our state with tax giveaways, that our education system suffers as a result, that too many of our workers are not paid a living wage.  We know that the reason our economic growth in SC is lower than much of the rest of the country is that our yahoos in the legislature and our governor are wasting our resources working to cut services to the poor, deny voting rights to seniors and minorities, and ensure that workers are not allowed to fight for a living wage.  We also know that big corporations are favored over small businesses, and that because the wealthy who profit in our state are not made to contribute, our education, health care and infrastructure resembles that of a third world country, where the lines are clearly drawn between the rich and the poor, and those in the shrinking middle struggle every day to access the American dream.

We should not allow Dave Schwartz and other Koch and Pope minions to get away with disseminating lies without fear of contradiction.  When we see an article online, let's quickly comment.  Let's write letters to the editor pointing out the fallacies and distortions, and correcting the misinformation.  Let's not complain among ourselves, or ignore these outrages.  They will not go away.  They will invade and erode, so that truth becomes fiction.  They snuck into North Carolina like body snatchers and left its government wasted and its people devastated.

It is hard to believe that we have elections coming up in a few months.  Interest has been pretty lackadaisical, considering all we have at stake.  Our Democratic politicians and candidates aren't screaming loud enough, they aren't showing enough outrage.  Shouldn't one of those candidates be writing an Op Ed in the Post and Courier denouncing Dave Schwartz's ridiculous claims?

Somebody, anybody, everybody, please, speak out.  And let's start with the fact that he is misrepresenting who he is and what his organizations stand for. 

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