There are some things I hear repeated day after day that just drive me nuts. These little nuggets of “everybody knows it’s true” misinformation form the building blocks of really really huge lies that are getting sold to us as THE TRUTH. They get repeated so often that people simply accept them as fact and start building on them, or start constructing elaborate arguments against their consequences, thus lending them credibility and credence. These falsoids are responsible for such things as people believing that Barack Obama has refused to show his birth certificate to the Supreme Court or that the current financial meltdown was caused because fuzzy liberals wanted to give houses to black people. This is my list of some of the biggest bits of misinformation in the past year.

Can we please put to rest the canard that the sub-prime crisis was caused because “we let people own houses that they couldn’t afford”? “WE” did no such thing and even if we did, those loans were not the cause of the sub-prime financial crisis. The sub-prime crisis was not caused because the Democrats forced the banks at gunpoint to lend money to blacks and irresponsible poor people. The sub-prime crisis was caused by irresponsible, criminal rich people who figured out a way to swindle the system and pay no consequences. It was caused by college-educated rich people who figured out a way to divorce their profits from any risk of loss. It was no less criminal than the S&L collapse in the early 90s or the Enron scandal at the start of the 2000s.

Barack Obama is not hiding his birth certificate. He has not refused to show his birth certificate. The “original birth certificate” debate is the most ridiculous mishmash of misunderstandings and outright lies that I’ve seen in a long time. Barack Obama has not refused to show his birth certificate to a court because no court has ordered him to show his birth certificate. Barack Obama HAS shown his birth certificate and it contains everything that is needed to show his eligibility to serve as president. There is no evidence at all that Barack Obama was born outside the United States.

A parent cannot give up the U.S. citizenship of his/her minor child. A minor child cannot give up their own citizenship, in fact. Thus, it was not possible for Barack Obama’s mother to give up his U.S. citizenship and render him ineligible to serve as president of the United States.

An economic stimulus package is more than a $500 check to everyone in the United States. This one drives me nuts. I keep hearing people argue against Obama’s economic stimulus package because “the last stimulus package didn’t do any good”. Well, DUH!! That wasn’t a stimulus package. It was pissing into a bucket. What the hell use was $500 in my pocket six months ago? A better plan? Reduce payroll taxes for a year and put an extra $25 in my pocket every single week. That $25 will get spent, trust me. That’s a spending stimulus package that will encourage me to replace my coffee maker, go to the movies, buy a few magazines, pay for a coffee at the diner — in other words, the kind of regular, sustained spending that keeps money circulating.

However — off track there. This economic stimulus package is being sold wrong. It’s not a bailout, and it’s not a “stimulus”. It’s a freaking investment. We’re not talking about sending $500 to every taxpayer. We’re talking about rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges, schools and public buildings. We’re talking about upgrading water treatment plants, repairing, rebuilding and re-tooling the energy delivery grid, increasing the reach of broadband access — and every single one of those things will improve our ability to meet challenges in the future.

Industries do not move their manufacturing and service jobs overseas because of lower taxes in other countries. They move to other countries because of the lack of regulations governing their business. They move to other countries because no one in other countries requires them to provide for worker safety. No one in other countries requires them to clean their poisons out of the water before they dump it into the rivers and oceans. They move to other countries because they can pay workers less than half what they pay them here and force them to work more hours than is good for health, safety or sanity.

“Improving infrastructure” does not mean building roads and bridges. Or, more specifically, it means MORE than building roads and bridges. It means more than giving money to states who hire people to repair roads and bridges and wastewater treatment plants, though those are all very necessary things and are part of the equation. It means investing in companies that are laying cable for broadband access – because the U.S. is so far behind other countries in providing universal broadband access, it’s not funny. It means providing government funding for startups who are working on ways to produce and deliver greener energy choices. It means things that many of us can’t even conceive because we aren’t THERE, dreaming up things that may be possible.

The vast majority of Obama’s supporters do not believe he is the Messiah, and we have not drunk anyone’s Koolaid. Frankly, Obama wasn’t serving up Koolaid. He was serving up cups of truth laced with hope. I’ve never quite got the people who think we all fell under the spell of Papa Obama promising that he’d “take care of us” when every single one of his speeches enjoined us all to work for the things we believe. We voted for empowerment, dude. We voted for a guy that said “you gotta work for the change you want, but if you work for it, I will back you every step of the way”.

As many people voted for Obama IN SPITE of his color as voted for him BECAUSE of his color. Most of us who voted for him didn’t give a fig what color his skin is. And frankly, most of those who voted for someone else didn’t give a fig what color his skin is, either. But race most certainly played a part in this election. It was the tap-dancing elephant in the room.

The story of Kaylee Anthony was a sad one, but it occupied far more media attention than it deserved. Sadly, there are thousands more little children who go missing every year and whose names no one ever has heard.

Torture does not deliver actionable intelligence most of the time. It’s a fiction promoted by some of our favorite television shows. The truth is that we get more truth through softer interrogation techniques.

The media is not liberal or left-wing biased. Sorry. It’s just not. The media has promulgated all the right-wing talking points for so long that most people have never even HEARD a real liberal agenda.

There’s more, so much more that I can’t possibly fit it into one post. There are fallacies about public health care (hint: Canada’s “socialized medicine” is far more effective than ours, and Canadians don’t want to sneak across the border to see our doctors), about economics (corporate tax cuts do not stimulate anything but higher profits for stockholders and CEOs) and about the economy (we DO need to rebuild our manufacturing base and create local economies without losing sight of the global economy). I’m holding my breath till January 20th… and we’ll see where we go from there.

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