Veronica Roberts

Since the day after he was sworn into office, President Obama has been linked to the dreaded S-word by the GOP and the right-winged media, especially their strongest propaganda machine masquerading as a fair and balanced news organisation, Fox News.

Now that we are in an election year, the rhetoric is escalating, with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney throwing the accusatory S-word at his opponent as well.

That big, bad S-word is "socialist," and Republican politicians and their conservative pundits spit it out in disgust every chance they get. To hear them use the word you would think the definition was up there with the most offensive vocabulary, froth with deadly consequences.

So what exactly is socialism, and why does it elicit such passionate repugnance from Republicans? Fox talking heads practically foam at the mouth when calling their president a socialist and Tea Party members' placards, some misspelled, always tout the evil Obama is doing while wearing the Commie cousin's hat of Socialsim.

According to the Merrium-Webster dictionary, Socialism is: "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done."

This apparent nemesis of capitalism, that system America holds dear--was based on Karl Marx's ideology that the society's wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few but more evenly distributed among the masses.

Has President Obama taken over wealth of the one-percenters and distributed it among the poor masses? The last time I checked the Bush-era tax break for the super-wealthy was still in place a decade after it was implemented. In fact, President Obama signed another two-year extension under his watch.

Has there been any take over of the private sector by the government? The Troubled Assets Relief Program.(TARP) where billions, maybe even venturing into the Trillion dollar zone, were given to banks and Wall Street to bail them out of the deep financial hole they had dug for themselves because of risky practices--didn't have any strings attached.

The borderline fraudulent practices by some in the financial sector didn't result in CEOs fired or prosecuted. The financial tsunami that crashed in the U.S. and rippled across the globe in 2007-8, did not immediately cause stringent reform to be slapped on the offending intstitution or see government padlocks on doors of top execs while federal auditors took over. The too-big-to-fail banks weren't commandeered and broken up inot smaller, more manageable Co-ops, controlled by the people or government. Does that look like socialism to you?

The Republicans want to disengenuously pick and choose what socialist programs are okay and what is the kiss of capitalist death. Social Security and Medicare are held up as champions of our humanity and deemed quite necessary. Healthcare, however, including Medicaid, is perceived as evil socialism pushed by President Obama. The Affordable Healthcare Act or "Obamacare" as Republicans like to call it, is held up as the most evil socialist program forced on us by our "socialist" president.

Forget that the bill was watered down to please Washington Republicans and that Obama didn't get the universal healthcare he originally hoped for and that many countries across the globe have implemented this kind of system--to hear partisan propaganda machines like Fox and friends tell it, as well as all the former GOP presidential candidates, one would think that health care reform would force us all into bondage or some similar plight.

Even Mitt Romney, who had passed almost the same reform in Massachusetts when he was governor, has vilified The Affordable Care act. Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, with her death panels and other nonsensical posturing, has whipped the TeaPary/Birther crowd into a frenzy.

But countries like Canada, Uruguay, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom. Australia, New Zealand and pretty much the entire civilized modern world have ensured that they have healthy citizens by providing healthcare.

I guess, unlike Republicans, they have figured out what Winston Churchill once said: "A healthy people is the best asset of any country."

The Republican don't call giving big banks and Wall Street taxpayers' billions socialism, but they still condemned the auto industry's bail-out. Now, incredulously, Romney has taken credit for what the president successfully did. The hypocrisy on the right is stunning, at times leaving you in jaw-dropping speechlessness.

Saw this bumper sticker recently: "The definition of stupid is knowing the truth, seeing the truth but still believing the lies." I think this sums up the "Obama is a socialist Muslim, born in Kenya" crowd perfectly. Incidentally, the Birthers and socialist subscribers are usually the same group of folks. Some say it is not stupidity but something more sinister like racism, but I say those two words stupid and racist are intimately intertwined co-dependents--one cannot survive without the other, though they are not mutually exclusive.

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