November 25, 2010

Limbaugh lies about Thanksgiving

Rush Limbaugh Rips Obama's Thanksgiving Proclamation (AUDIO)

By Adam J. RoseRush Limbaugh tried to rain on Barack Obama's Thanksgiving Day parade, lashing out against a proclamation issued by the president to honor the national holiday and the story behind it.

He also went on the war path against Native Americans, calling for a look at the "scoreboard" of number of people killed since European settlers arrived, and insisting that "a bunch of Native Americans scammed us" in the deal to purchase Manhattan.

As found in the show's transcript, Limbaugh interprets Obama's version of events:

We were the invaders. The Indians are minding their own business. We were incompetent idiots. We didn't know how to feed ourselves. So they came along and showed us how, and that's what Thanksgiving is all about. Now, he says nothing about the Constitution in his Thanksgiving proclamation, because he's got a problem with it ... Every cliche that is wrong about Thanksgiving shows up in his proclamation.

Obama did acknowledge George Washington, who declared the first nationally recognized Thanksgiving when the Constitution was enacted. Limbaugh didn't further clarify why the document from 1787 required a mention, even though the holiday's roots are generally traced back to at least 150 years earlier and it wouldn't become a regular national holiday until more than 75 years later.

Insisting that he thought the presidential proclamation seemed like a "phony," "parody," "hoax" and "prank," Limbaugh then offered his own interpretation of the holiday's significance:

[Obama] said that Thanksgiving is about the Indians saving us, with their agriculture and everything else. The true story of Thanksgiving is socialism failed. Of course we showed them gratitude! We shared our bounty with them, not because we didn't know how to make it. It was because we first failed as socialists. Only when we turned capitalists did we have plenty. The Indians didn't teach us capitalism.

Limbaugh punctuated his pre-Thanksgiving show with shots at Native Americans, joking that Obama had said their "rich culture continues to add to our Nation's heritage ... at their casinos and on their reservations." He immediately made it clear he was making that last bit up.

The host also argued that more people have been killed from lung cancer, "thanks to the Indian-invented custom of smoking tobacco," than from the arrival of Europeans and their wars and diseases. "Where are our reparations?" asked the well-known cigar smoker.

And despite his problems evaluating the recent Manhattan real estate market, Limbaugh had another look at the one from 1626. "We got shafted when we bought Manhattan," he claimed, saying that European settlers initially paid a Long Island tribe that didn't own the land, then had to repurchase it from the actual owners. "We got scammed ... we got hosed ... we paid for Manna-hata twice because a bunch of Native Americans scammed us."

In the long run, there hasn't been much buyer's remorse on behalf of the settlers.

As agitated as the conservative commentator was over Obama's buckle-hat tip to Native Americans, Media Matters notes that another well-known conservative named Ronald Reagan did the same in his 1981 proclamation:

On this day of thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we recall the first Thanksgiving, celebrated in the autumn of 1621. After surviving a bitter winter, the Pilgrims planted and harvested a bountiful crop. After the harvest they gathered their families together and joined in celebration and prayer with the Native Americans who had taught them so much. Clearly our forefathers were thankful not only for the material well-being of their harvest but for this abundance of goodwill as well.
Comment:  Once again Limbaugh proves he's a big fat liar.

In his first comments (above), everything Limbaugh said is false is basically true. Limbaugh doesn't provide any evidence for his anti-historical claims because he can't.

Trying to link Thanksgiving to the Constitution when there's no link is another lie. It's a blatant attempt to smear Obama as un-American.

In his second comments (above), it isn't clear who he's blaming for "socialism." The Pilgrims with their communal society and food-sharing? Then why don't we cancel this socialist holiday and replace it with something else?

Actually, the Indians did help the colonists learn capitalism. Their barter system of trade was a pure expression of free markets, unencumbered by taxes or regulation. Why do you think the colonists dressed as Indians at the Boston Tea Party...because Indians represented socialism? No, they did it because Indians represented freedom from Britain's government meddling.

Reparations for lung cancer? I don't think tobacco killed a lot of people until cigarette companies began adding chemicals to their products. But okay...after the US upholds all its broken treaties and pays Indians the full value of the land it took, then I'm sure Indians will be glad to pay reparations for lung cancer.

Natives = scammers?

The only thing that may be true in Limbaugh's rant is the part about Natives scamming the Dutch over Manhattan. I've heard that before. I believe it's just a speculative claim, not a historically proven fact.

Even if it's true, Limbaugh's mention of it is misleading. He makes it sound as if Natives were scam artists in general. If he had said, "The US scammed Natives thousands of times, but the Natives got even once," then his remarks would be fair. But he didn't say that because he's prejudiced against Indians.

Finally, it's a lie of omission to slam Obama for the same kind of proclamation made by presidents such as Reagan. Like other conservative liars, Limbaugh doesn't care about the truth. He cares only about scoring points against the black man in the White House.

For more on Limbaugh's prejudice against minorities, see Limbaugh:  Indians = "Redskins," "Clowns" and Limbaugh Blames Flood Victims.


Burt said...

By Limbaughs own standards, he is a drug addict in recovery. You will hear little or no more about Thanksgiving from this guy because as you've pointed out, he cannot back historical claims.

Only white people could have their own show to arouse prejudice and racism. If it were an African American, Latino, Asian or Native, the FCC would never let them get such a wide reaching audience, but someone has to do their dirty work for them.

dmarks said...

"Actually, the Indians did help the colonists learn capitalism. Their barter system of trade was a pure expression of free markets, unencumbered by taxes or regulation"

This is true, and contradicts those who denigrate the Natives as socialists. The Natives knew what worked, and had not been bamboozled by Marx's "give the rulers all the power and everything will work out fine" ideology.... something a racist white man created.

K. said...

Since Adam Smith didn't publish The Wealth of Nations until 1776 and the word "capitalism" didn't come into use until 1854, it's doubtful that the Pilgrims were familiar with the concept. But, ignorance never stopped the BFI.

dmarks said...

The precedents of the later term "capitalism" were present anywhere where people were allowed to freely trade (going back to the Phoenician traders and before). The precedents of the later term "socialism" are present anywhere tiny ruling elites had godlike power over the masses. Going back to the Pharaohs and before.

Rob said...

It's stupid to think of a traditional tribe as a "socialist state." That would mean the tribal chiefs and councils owned the means of production: the land, homes, clothing, food, weapons, tools, animals, etc. In most cases, I don't think that was true. Even if tribes didn't have privately owned land, I think they recognized the concept of private property.

It would be more accurate to compare a traditional tribe to a corporation. Some assets belonged to the organization and some to the individuals. Members had assigned jobs and were "paid" with goods or status when they performed well. Those who didn't perform well were demoted or fired (banished). Decisions within the tribe were made by executives (chiefs) and management committees (councils). Trade between tribes was on a strict barter or money basis with no government oversight.

K. said...

Most of the wingnuts couldn't explain the difference between a socialist and a gorilla: All they do is parrot what they hear. The comments on the recent Ireland stories were appalling in their ignorance. One after another, Ireland's financial breakdown was blamed on social welfare programs bankrupting a socialist economy.

Ireland has one of the most deregulated economies in the developed world with a notably low corporate tax rate, but that didn't stop anyone from blaming a failure of capitalism on the evils of socialism.

Burt said...

In most tribes, wealth was not always determined by material or ownership of things like lands, property, etc., that is a whiteman concept. Wealth was also determined by feats of bravery and skills in hunting, spiritual power(s) and yes, fighting.

The natives that lived during the mid to late 1800s began to assert leadership based on not only white resistance and wars against white expansionism, but white alliances also.

In other words, peacemakers were valuable to both sides during this time as well as those that held out from assimilating into white society.

There were converts into Christianity and Catholicism in Indian country just as there were those that resisted and kept the traditional way of life. Those are the ones that history and Hollywood concentrated on.

Chiefs were not elected per se by a democratic system of voting because white concepts, values and definitions are different than that of native values.

Families took care of their own hunting and survival needs. There was no central bank or socialized welfare either. When a family member died, sometimes their belongings would be given away; buried with them or burned. There were feasts and celebrations of course that pre-date Thanksgiving.

Some tribes, like Apaches, have extensive and sophisticated lunar and astrological time calendars. There are more words in the Apache languages pertaining to the moon and its cyles than the sun.

It is an insult to try to define native thinking and values through white economic systems.