Donald Trump Can Save The World From ISIS, But Won’t Unless We Let Him Be President

In case you haven’t heard, there is a bloodthirsty terrorist militia marauding through Iraq and Syria, killing innocent, mostly Muslim civilians and making hundreds of thousands refugees as they flee the crusading army. These same murderous fanatics are threatening to turn the streets of America red with blood. They are being fought by Iraqi and Syrian soldiers, rebel groups who oppose Bashar al-Assad, Shiite militias backed by Iran, Jordanian fighters, and American bombers and drones. Yet they manage to endure and even achieve some measure of victory.

The problem that ISIS presents to the world is clearly one that defies easy solutions. However, that doesn’t stop self-serving demagogues from pretending they have one. So what can realistically be done to put an end to the slaughter? Who will step forward to save us? It can only be the Ego of the East, Donald Trump, who recently unveiled his 2016 campaign slogan:

Donald Trump Hell Hole

It is times like these that we must be grateful to have heroes like Trump walking among us. The ferret-topped reality TV host, and alleged business genius (alleged by him), has come forward to reveal that he knows precisely how to squash the terrorist hoards once and for all. This what he told Greta Van Sustern today on Fox News (video below):

Trump: I do know what to do and I would know how to bring ISIS to the table or, beyond that, defeat ISIS very quickly. And I’m not gonna tell you what it is.

Setting aside the lunatic notion that Trump would ever sit across a table from ISIS negotiating an armistice, his childish refusal to share his military brilliance could be seen by some as rather unpatriotic. After all, people are dying right now and ominous threats of escalation are being thrown around that include domestic attacks.

Now, anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex knows that Trump is not going to run for president. He’s pulled this scam before, and there is no way that he would engage in an activity that would require him to disclose his shady finances. But if we indulge that fantasy for a moment, we would also have to be dumb enough to pretend that he would have a shot at winning the nomination and beating Hillary Clinton. So it would not be until January of 2017 at the earliest that Trump would be able to launch his ISIS-crushing plan. Could Trump be held responsible if another 9/11-like attack occurred in the next year and a half because he withheld his magic formula for victory?

Of course we should believe Trump because he has been so credible on all of the other proclamations he has made in the past. Like the time he said that the private investigators he sent to Hawaii to finally discover where Barack Obama was really born were telling him that “they cannot believe what they’re finding.” Trump never revealed those findings to us, they were that unbelievable.

Then there was the time that Trump told the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes of Fox & Friends that he had “very big news … concerning the president of the United States” that would significantly alter the race between Obama and Mitt Romney. The payoff came several days later he released a cheesy video wherein he made Obama an offer that he could not refuse. Of course, the offer to tempt Obama with a five million dollar bribe to hand over to Trump his college transcripts and passports was not only refused, it was completely ignored.

So now Trump says that he will decide in June whether or not he will run for president (he won’t) and that his decision will surprise everyone. Frankly, I’m surprised he can complete a sentence without drooling.

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Wingnut News: Ultra-Rightist Group Blames California Drought On Immigrants

Conservatives are fond of attributing all manner of perceived evil on the nearest liberal or Democrat who happens to be handy. The blame game reaches epic levels of absurdity at times with right-wing accusations that gays are responsible for hurricanes and that the poor caused the banking collapse and Great Recession of 2008.

California Drought

However, the competition for the the most ludicrous assignment of liability for society’s ills is heating up with the charges brought by an organization called “Californians for Population Stabilization” (CAPS). This group pretends to have an environmental mission that consists of reducing population in order to save natural resources. But its real goal is to lobby against immigration, particularly from our neighbors to the south. Their allegedly environmental activities have spanned everything from opposing drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants to overturning the Constitution’s provisions for birthright citizenship. A real “back to nature” outfit.

The Los Angeles Times is now reporting that CAPS has launched a television campaign that asks the question on everyone’s mind, “If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water?” They answer this question by asserting that immigrants, legal and otherwise, are the reason that the state is running dry. Of course, it’s so obvious. Among their allegations is that “Every newcomer to California adds 140 gallons of water demand per day.” There is no explanation for how they arrived at that ridiculous figure.

A saner analysis would recognize that the number of immigrants in California have little impact on the availability of water. The state’s problems were not the result of overuse, they are the result of an historic years-long drought that has depleted the snowpack and drained reservoirs throughout the state. What’s more, residential water consumers are hardly the main draw for these resources. Agriculture is consumes the majority of water in the state by far.

But mere facts are not sufficient to blunt the accusations of such determined racists. For evidence of the underlying motives of the Folks at CAPS you need only look into their funding. The group is supported almost entirely by grants from the uber-rightist Scaife family. And the projects they bankroll have included the notoriously anti-Latino activists at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA. Additionally, at least three organizations deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center have benefited from CAPS grants, including the vile bigots of VDARE.

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So just when you thought you’d heard it all, a pseudo-environmental nativist enterprise pops up to blame a major drought on the presence of immigrants. What must they think of Texas right about now, where there is also a large immigrant population, but they are suffering from torrential rains and flooding? I suppose they are just waiting for the frogs and locusts so they can declare this the Apocalypse and get it over with.


What Conservatives (And Politico) Still Don’t Understand About Fox News

Earlier this month Bruce Bartlett published a paper titled “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” Bartlett is a veteran conservative operative who worked in both the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan White Houses. His paper’s premise is that Fox News has had a harmful effect on the Republican Party’s electoral appeal by herding its already right-wing flock into an even fringier parish where it is shielded from differing views. Bartlett appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning and said…

“I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that’s brainwashing.”

Fox News Bad For GOP

Brainwashing is not too strong a word. Fox News has become the central authority in a cult-like cabal of rightist true-believers who envelope themselves in the scripture as preached by Fox. This has been proven by in-depth studies that show how conservatives have drastically constrained their news sources to a narrow collection of like-minded, far-right outlets. There’s an implicit belief that exposure to a contrary ideological creed would be a breach of faith and a mortal sin.

It is encouraging, therefore, to see a conservative with an open mind and the ability to recognize the toxic role that Fox has played in the media and in politics. Bartlett’s paper is an interesting and well-documented read. However, it took him long enough to come to these conclusions. News Corpse published an analysis of how Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party six years ago, with an update expanding on the theme last year. I wrote in part that…

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.) […and that…] Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

Conservatives, of course, are appalled by the treasonous utterings of Bartlett. A good representative example of the reaction comes from Politico’s Jack Shafer who wrote a column that seeks to reveal “What Liberals Still Don’t Understand About Fox News.” However, in his attempt to rebut Bartlett he fails to even grasp the logical concepts being discussed. Nowhere is that more evident than when he writes that…

“Fox in its current incarnation is neither a help nor a hindrance. Fox News — and its Svengali Roger Ailes — aren’t the Republican kingmakers they’re made out to be. […] the network is better at employing presidential candidates than electing them.”

Let’s set aside the fact that this alleged rebuttal actually agrees with Bartlett’s core thesis that Fox is having an adverse effect on Republican politics. Where Shafer really goes off the rails is arguing that Fox’s failure to succeed in electing Republicans is not a negative for the Party. If creating a field of losers is not a hindrance, what is?

Shafer goes on to correctly note that Fox’s power is often exaggerated. What is bragged about as ratings dominance is, in reality, a rather minor victory. Shafer notes that “Fox’s most popular program, The O’Reilly Factor, pulls in about 3.3 million viewers on its best nights.” Once again, Shafer is late to the party. That is something News Corpse pointed out six years ago with some additional perspective:

“[S]uccess in the Nielsen ratings has no correlation to public opinion polling […because it is…] focused on consumers, not voters […and that…] There are many reasons people choose to watch TV shows, the most frequent being its entertainment value. So any attempt to tie ratings to partisan politics is a foolish exercise that demonstrates a grievous misunderstanding of the business of television.”

O’Reilly’s 3 million viewers is less than 1% of the American population. It’s also fewer viewers than World Wrestling Entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the CBS Evening News (the lowest rated broadcast network news program).

So what ever power Fox has is not vested in its audience. And this where Shafer, and most other conservative media pundits, fall off the wagon. Fox’s viewers were not turned into conservatives by watching Fox. They watch Fox because they are conservatives who need to have their preconceptions validated. Then, by being exposed to the bias and disinformation that makes up Fox’s programming, they become ignorant, radicalized conservatives.

The real power that Fox wields is with Republican office-holders, candidates and party strategists. They have been fooled into believing that Fox’s ratings are an indication of the nation’s political mood. Consequently, they believe that taking positions aligned with the extremist right-wingers on Fox will advance their electoral goals. That has cost the party dearly in the last two national elections. In fact, they were so befuddled by Fox that the election results, which most Americans could have predicted, were a shock to many Republicans and Fox pundits (recall Karl Rove’s tantrum on election night?).

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All of this should make the next few weeks oodles of fun as GOP candidates seek to please the Fox-gods so that they win a spot on the debate stage. Fox announced that only the top ten candidates in an average of certain polls (that Fox will decide) will be included in the debates. Therefore, between now and then the candidates on the edge will have to take aggressive measures to appeal to the people who they think are likely to be polled.

That means more chest-beating about war with Iran, more hate-speech about gays, more talk of bigger, stronger fences on the border, more promises to slash taxes and government programs, and much more bashing of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that competition to become the most extreme wingnut will filter into the campaign strategies of the rest of the GOP field as they struggle to become the Fox favorite.. All of which will result in making them completely unelectable in the fall of 2016.


Bill O’Reilly Joins Delusional Deniers To Attack Obama On Climate Change

This week President Obama gave the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The speech devoted significant time to the issue of climate change and the problems it creates for the military. He said in part that…

“I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

To no one’s surprise, Fox News bristled at the notion that the potential harmful effects of climate change would be a topic of discussion at a military graduation ceremony. And among those flustered by the President’s message was pathological liar Bill O’Reilly (video below) who began his reproach by claiming that “that theory surprised a lot of military people.”

Bill O'Reilly

Then, as evidence of the many surprised military people, O’Reilly played a clip of Sen. John McCain (who has not been in the military for 34 years) saying that he is, indeed, worried about climate change, but wonders whether “we give a damn about what’s happening in the streets of Ramadi.”

McCain was attempting what many intellectually vacant demagogues do by implying that it’s impossible to care about more than one thing at a time. Even so, he undermined O’Reilly’s point by admitting his worries about climate change. But more importantly, that soundbite from McCain was the only proof O’Reilly offered of his assertion that the military are surprised by Obama’s speech. Had he actually done any research on the subject he would have found that the Pentagon has expressly cited climate change as a “threat multiplier” that can “aggravate” conditions that lead to conflict and terrorism. As stated in the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review:

“The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

What’s more, sixteen retired Generals and Admirals writing for the Center for Naval Analyses’s Military Advisory Board published a report that warned that…

“…developments in scientific climate projections, observed climate changes (particularly in the Arctic), the toll of extreme weather events both at home and abroad, and changes in the global security environment have all served to accelerate the national security implications of climate change.”

So as usual, Bill O’Reilly doesn’t have the foggiest notion what he is talking about. Not only do 97% of scientists who study climate agree that climate change is a real concern and is exacerbated by human behaviors, but the military has repeatedly affirmed the geo-political risks. Which makes it all the more disturbing that O’Reilly can say with a straight face that…

“It’s fine to want a cleaner planet. I do. And it’s good to explore ways to eliminate harmful emissions. Every sane person supports that. But to tell a group of military graduates that climate change is a defense priority borders on delusion.”

Apparently O’Reilly believes that America’s military leadership are suffering delusions with regard to climate change. Then again, if anyone knows about being delusional it’s O’Reilly. And he isn’t alone. His contention that every sane person supports exploring ways to eliminate harmful emissions would put congressional Republicans in the insane category. Just last year GOP members of the House voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the Defense Department from using funds to implement the recommendations of the science institutions best qualified to assess climate change.

This is just another example proving that the last thing the GOP wants is for experts to be contributing their expertise to policy. And the last thing O’Reilly and Fox News want is for facts to get in the way of their rightist propaganda.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


Donald Trump’s Campaign Slogan: This Country Is A Hell Hole

Failed businessman and birther, Donald Trump, has not yet announced whether he will run for president in 2016. Of course his failure to make a decision isn’t exactly leaving anyone wondering about what it will be (or caring). He has been down this road too many times and now everyone pretty much knows that he’s just a publicity-seeking fraud. However, last night on Fox News Trump did reveal his fake campaign slogan: “This Country Is A Hell Hole.” [Video below]

Donald Trump Hell Hole

What better way to endear himself to an electorate of Fox pods who are similarly unpatriotic and harbor hateful feelings about an America that elected Barack Obama twice. These pseudo-patriots pretend to be loyal flag-wavers while constantly maligning the country and their fellow citizens who happen to disagree with them. They pretend to support the troops unless they are conducting training exercises in Texas, in which case the same soldiers are invaders bent on imposing martial law. They pretend to adhere to Christian tenets of charity and loving thy neighbor unless their neighbor is black, Muslim, or on welfare (you know how Jesus despised the poor).

And now Trump tells Megyn Kelly how he really feels about America. He’s not alone. A couple of years ago Rush Limbaugh admitted that “I am ashamed of my country.” Not long after that Sean Hannity confessed that “I am humiliated for my country”

Someone should tell these cretins that we’re not exactly bragging about them, either. As for Trump, he will never run for president for at least one unavoidable reason: Candidates have to produce financial statements. Trump won’t do that because he doesn’t want everyone to know what a loser he is (he declared bankruptcy four times). He says that he will announce his intentions next month and everyone will be surprised. Even Megyn Kelly said that she would only be surprised if he runs.

Most Americans are surprised that anyone takes him seriously – or that he takes himself seriously. In the Clown Car of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is riding in the trunk, but he thinks he’s driving.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

And by the way, here is Trump’s campaign theme song:


Goodbye Dave, And Thanks For This: Top Ten Signs There’s Trouble At Fox News

Maybe the funniest top ten list ever – and still as profound as when it aired on October 6, 2010.

David Letterman

Letterman: The category tonight, the top ten signs there’s trouble at Fox News. Yesterday Fox News reported that the city of Los Angeles spent one billion dollars on jet packs for its police department. One billion dollars on jet packs for the LAPD. The story turned out to be a hoax first reported by the World Weekly News. Fox picked it up and ran with it.

Of course, the jet pack story was no more absurd and dishonest than the rest of the lies on Fox News.

Best wishes Dave. And now I can’t wait for Stephen Colbert to premiere in September.

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Ignored By Fox News: Christian Terrorist Pleads Guilty In Plot To Massacre American Muslims

Whenever there is an act of terrorism that conservatives can attribute to Muslims, they jump at the chance to condemn the entire Islamic faith as inherently violent. And at the same time, they advance their ingrained superiority by asserting that only Muslims would ever engage in such behavior. They insist that Christians would never resort to violence in response to a perceived insult or political disagreement.

Never mind the ample evidence of Christian attacks on those with whom they disagree, including the murder of Dr. Tiller, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the extremist in Norway who murdered dozens of children, or the tragedy in Oklahoma City that killed 168 innocent people. The Christian defenders simply don’t see what they don’t want to see. Although, to some extent they also don’t see what is deliberately kept from them. That’s because Fox needs to reinforce the racist theme that all terrorists are dark-skinned foreigners.

Fox News Terrorist Color Chart

The media often fails to publicize acts of Christian terrorism in the manner they do with Muslims. An example of that occurred this week when court records were revealed describing Robert Doggert, an ordained minister in the Christian National Church, who pleaded guilty to plotting a massacre of the citizens of an upstate New York community of Muslims known as Islamberg. The records showed a detailed plan to kill people and destroy buildings, churches and schools. Doggert was quoted as saying “We will offer [our] lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” In other words, it was a suicide mission not unlike those committed by Islamic extremists, and for the same reason.

In keeping with the right-wing media determination to insure that their audience remains biased and ignorant, the Fox News Channel failed to report the story. This failure is all the more egregious considering the complicity that Fox News has in Doggert’s scheme.

Doggert, who was working with right-wing militias that share his view that President Obama was guilty of treason, told the FBI in his confession that he “justified his attack on lslamberg by claiming that the residents of Islamberg were planning a terrorist attack.” And where did he get this groundless notion? In January Bill O’Reilly hosted, Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the United States where they would train and launch domestic attacks. These claims were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, and the organizations to which Mauro belonged were well known anti-Islamic propagandists.

That didn’t stop Fox News from inviting Mauro back numerous times to spread his false and inflammatory smears. It is that sort of disinformation that gives Doggert, and so many other Fox News viewers, the wrong impression of Islam along with an unwarranted fear of peaceful fellow citizens. It is the same sort of dishonest “journalism” that prevents Fox News, and other conservative media outlets, from reporting the other side of the terrorism story that reveals the criminal activities of Christian extremists like Doggert.

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Fox News has a long history of fear mongering about Muslims while neglecting news stories involving right-wing extremists. A couple of years ago another Christian terrorist was arrested – and ignored by Fox. Earlier this year Fox became hysterical about a study produced by the Department of Homeland Security that warned of right-wing domestic terrorists. They believed that this demonstrated the government’s anti-conservative bias. What they never told their viewers was that a similar study had also been produced previously that addressed the same sort of threats from radical left-wingers.

That’s the sort of deceptive biases that Fox engages in routinely. And it’s why people like Doggert become radicalized on behalf of insane conspiracy theories. Should any of the crackpots who buy into this nonsense succeed in carrying out one of their plots, Fox News should share in the responsibility for the damage done.


Free Speech At Fox News: Offensive To Muslims OK – Critical Of Police No Way

A few weeks ago a well known Islamophobe and professional instigator, Pamela Geller, held what she pretended was a contest to “Draw the Prophet Muhammad.” In reality the affair had nothing to do with art or free expression, but was a deliberate attempt to incite violence.

Geller’s hate-fest was praised as a courageous expression of liberty by sympathetic bigots at Fox News. They regarded her repugnant message as patriotic and celebrated the death of the two idiots that Geller was successful in provoking into senseless violence. But if you want to know what the same Fox News blowhards who revere Geller really think about free speech, just keep watching and they will reveal their true disgust for the First Amendment when it protects speech that they don’t like.

Fox News Free Speech

Last week Eric Bolling delivered a commentary about an art exhibit by students at a New Jersey high school. The exhibit was called “Law Enforcement – Police Brutality.” It was a subject chosen by the students and was open to, and included, opinions from all sides of the debate. Bolling, of course, focused solely on the work that was critical of the police, and he was not shy about expressing his desire for censorship.

Bolling: OK, I get the idea of free speech but … hey, teachers at Westfield would you put up an art exhibit showing teachers abusing students? I don’t think you’d do it. Nor should you have done this. I’d like to see that thing taken down.

Judging by this comment it is not particularly clear that Bolling really does “get the idea of free speech.” These students have every right to express their own opinions of significant current events that affect their communities. Suppressing the artwork they produce is a clear breach of those rights. But hypocrites like Bolling continue to expose themselves as having variable principles that permit freedom only to those with whom they agree. This is illustrated best by what Bolling himself said a couple of weeks prior in defense of Geller and her hate exhibit.

Bolling: Free speech is protected no matter how inciting it may be. We’re becoming too politically correct. We worry that offending Muslims somehow overrides our won Constitutional rights.

It should surprise no one that Bolling never suggested that Geller’s exhibit should be “taken down,” nor that he never stood up for the students’ free speech “no matter how inciting it may be.” To Bolling and his Fox News cohorts, Geller’s anti-Muslim bigotry makes her a standard bearer of American virtue, but the students’ concerns about abuse of power by law enforcement makes them snotty little delinquents who should be neither seen nor heard.

On a side note, why is Fox News so obsessed with demeaning high school students? Check out this previous attack on students in Vermont after they defended their state from disparaging remarks by a Bill O’Reilly producer.

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Icing on the flake: The following day, Bolling responded to criticism he received for his overt hypocrisy. In his whiny, self-defense he insisted that he is a stalwart proponent of free speech and all that he meant to convey was that he also had the right to say that he didn’t approve of the student art show. However, there a couple problems with that “clarification.” First, he didn’t say that he didn’t approve, he said that he would like to see it taken down. Second, he never acknowledged that critics of Geller’s phony exhibit also have a right to disapprove. He still regards them as anti-free speech, once again proving that his rights are legitimate and everyone else should shut up.


Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

Last week the nation marveled to the spectacle of Jeb Bush fumbling what must have been the most highly anticipated question that he could possibly have been asked in his nascent campaign for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America: Knowing what is known now, would you have authorized an invasion of Iraq?

Bush responded that he thought his brother George had made the correct decision given the available intelligence. That, of course, was not the question he was asked. So in the days following the flub, Bush claimed to have misheard the question, but still gave multiple different answers before finally admitting that he would not have ordered an invasion if he knew what he knows now.

Marco Rubio

For Marco Rubio, that ought to have been an object lesson in tackling this otherwise softball question. But for some reason, the freshman senator managed to do in three minutes what it took Bush five days to do: make an utter ass of himself. In an exchange on the decidedly friendly territory of Fox News Sunday (video below), Rubio engaged in a painfully comical routine with host Chris Wallace wherein he repeatedly failed to grasp the nature of the question he was being asked. Here is just a portion of that train wreck:

WALLACE: Was it a mistake? Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —
WALLACE: I’m asking you to —
RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.
WALLACE: But that’s the question I’m asking you. Was it a mistake to go to war?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —
WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —
RUBIO: In hindsight.
WALLACE: Yes.
RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.
WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?
RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —
WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —
RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.
WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Well, that clears that up. Is Rubio really that dense or was he he just desperate to avoid criticizing George Bush? Wallace gave him ample opportunity to craft a response that included support for Bush as well as the obvious acknowledgement that no president should invade a country without airtight justification. Rubio kept trying to answer a question that Wallace had not asked, despite Wallace repeatedly restating his actual question. And it isn’t as if this were a surprise, gotcha question (like what magazines do read read?). It is a question that has been in the news for a week.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? This sort of obtuse defiance of common sense is what makes people convinced that the GOP is a party of war mongers who will launch into battle on the slightest whim. It reinforces the widespread impression that they are lackeys to the defense industry and others who profit off of war, including those whose profits are political rather than financial.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace raised Rubio’s campaign theme of “21st century ideas” and asked him to talk about them. That would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity to drop a campaign ad into an interview. However, Rubio dodged any reference to new ideas saying only that “the balance of power in the world has shifted” because of “autocratic governments in Russia and China” and “rogue states like North Korea and Iran.” Right, because none of them were around in the 20th century.

When Wallace pressed him to reveal his actual new ideas to address those allegedly new problems, Rubio eventually complied saying that “we need to cut [tax] rates” and improve the education system. Those, of course, address only domestic problems that have no bearing on the foreign affairs he had just raised. Not to mention that neither of those “ideas” can be coherently described as “new.”

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If this is a taste of what Rubio’s campaign will be offering in the coming months, it can be safely assumed that he isn’t going far. But then Bush has already flubbed some of the same questions and the rest of the GOP pack has even less foreign policy experience than these two flounders.

This election cycle promises to be an entertaining romp with plenty of twists and turns. It should be serialized as a reality TV show a la The Amazing (Presidential) Race. I, for one, can’t wait for the debates to see who is voted out of the clown car next.


Stephanopoulos Isn’t The Only Media Donor To The Clinton Foundation (Is He, Fox News?)

The conservative media circus is furiously banging their drums to chastise George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week, for his failure to disclose a donation to the Clinton Foundation. This oversight is being portrayed as an unforgivable offense of partisan bias. As with any matter that can be hyper-dramatized by zealous punditry, Fox News took the lead in running Stephanopoulos through the metaphorical grinder.

Fox News Stephanopoulos

A couple of notes need to be raised in order to fairly assess this situation. First of all, Stephanopoulos donated to a charitable organization, not a political campaign. Thus, it cannot really be regarded as partisan in that the Clinton Foundation does not engage in any political activities. Its mission is purely philanthropic and no fair observer has ever alleged any ideological leanings. Furthermore, unlike a corporate donor or a foreign entity, there isn’t any conceivable benefit that Stephanopoulos might have been seeking in exchange for a donation. Even his critics do not allege that his motives were anything but altruistic.

That said, there are problems with his failure to disclose that impact his reporting when the subject is the Foundation itself. For instance, Stephanopoulos recently interviewed the author of “Clinton Cash,” a book that alleges improprieties on the part of Hillary Clinton in connection to donations to the Foundation. The fact that the book was filled with factual errors and failed to prove its premise does not excuse Stephanopoulos from an ethical duty to reveal that he was also a donor.

Taken in its entirety, this scandalette hardly seems to approach the degree of significance that is being assigned to it by Fox News and other conservative media. There was no effort to extract any personal gain and the ethical lapse did not result in any reportorial distortion. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing muckrakers from attempting to whip it up into a full-blown catastrophe for Stephanopoulos. He has been maligned as hopelessly biased and there have been calls for him to resign or be fired. Fox’s Howard Kurtz described the affair as…

“…such a bombshell that George Stephanopoulos has now had to withdraw as ABC’s moderator in the Republican presidential debate next year.”

What makes the debate moderation move somewhat comical is that last November the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, ruled out anyone that he regarded as being unfriendly to the Party’s interests.

Priebus: [the] thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.

Priebus reinforced that edict yesterday saying that “I’ve been very public about this. George Stephanopoulos was never going to moderate a Republican debate anyway.” Somewhere Priebus got the impression that debate moderators are supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And the last thing that the GOP wants is a debate that is truly spirited and informative. They are looking for something more on the order of an infomercial.

Amidst this tumultuous uproar over the fate of Stephanopoulos and his relatively modest $75,000 gift, what has gone unmentioned is that he is not alone in making donations to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, Fox News has been even more generous than Stephanopoulos. Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the COO of 21st Century Fox (parent company of Fox News), made a donation in the range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000. The News Corporation Foundation contributed between $500,000-$1,000,000. Fox regular Donald Trump forked over between $100,000-$250,000.

There might be more of these types of ethical problems involving media personalities on the right donating to Republican charities like the Bush Foundation. However, we can’t uncover them because the Bush Foundation doesn’t disclose their donors like the Clintons do. Curious, isn’t it?

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So the question is: How can Fox News criticize George Stephanopoulos for his undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, when they have made far bigger donations without disclosing them? What’s more, the donations from the Fox media empire can be regarded as possible bribes since, unlike Stephanopoulos, they have pending business before the government and its regulatory agencies. If Fox News wants to pretend to be “fair and balanced” they need to immediately come clean. And if Stephanopoulos is denied the opportunity to moderate any GOP debates, then Fox News should be prohibited from airing them.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to act ethically in this matter. They will neither remove themselves from the debate schedule, nor cease their attacks on Stephanopoulos. That’s just the way Fox does business and it will continue despite the obvious hypocrisy and lack of journalistic principle.