COVER-UP: Fox News Reveals Shocking Malaysian Jet Passenger Conspiracy

The story of the missing Malaysian jet continues to fascinate and confuse the world as we enter the third week without a definitive explanation of what happened. The vacuum that forms in the absence of knowledge often leads to wild speculation and conspiracy theories.

Leave it to Fox News, though, to engage their masterful journalistic skills to bring bona fide facts to the issue and to ensure that their viewers are always kept apprised of the latest verified details.

Case in point, this morning the kiddie crew on the curvy couch at Fox & Friends reported on a shocking revelation that the mainstream media has been suppressing. Their investigation, that mainly consisted of reading the UK’s Daily Mail (the National Enquirer of England), turned up photographs of the two passengers who were thought to be traveling on stolen passports. Now, even though everyone who dug into this concluded that the passengers were Iranians seeking to escape the oppressive regime and find refuge in Europe, Fox News believes something nefarious was afoot – or more accurately – a leg. They even got the lie-riddled Fox Nation to repost the article. Fox anchors Steve Doocy and Elizabeth Hasselbeck brought up the budding scandal with an ominous tone:

Doocy: Meanwhile, Fox News Alert: New questions about those two Iranian men who boarded flight 370 with stolen passports. Did somebody Photoshop this picture of them, because they both appear to have the same legs. That’s leading many to believe there is a cover-up happening. [...] The Malaysians are saying ‘No, we didn’t Photoshop or anything like that. They had a Xerox copy and part of the guy on the left was put on top of the duplicate of the guy on the right. Do you buy that?

Hasselbeck: And you can tell he’s carrying a duffel bag. But if they say that this is a mistake, why don’t they correct it? Why don’t they send us the good pictures?

Indeed, the pictures (posted below) show the two men with similar lower bodies. However, the explanation by the Malaysian authorities appears to make perfect sense. Especially because there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to disguise an alteration of the photos. The obvious line dissecting the man on the left is consistent with what would appear on a Xerox copy with another photo beneath it. If there were some secret plot in the works it would have easy to conceal the line or even supply a different set of legs. But to Doocy and Hasselbeck, the fact that Malaysia hasn’t sent them “good pictures” is evidence that they are hiding something.

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If we, for a moment, take the ravings of these FoxNuts seriously, what exactly would be the dastardly scheme that is allegedly being perpetrated? For what possible reason would the Malaysian government deliberately (and ineptly) hide the legs of a passenger in a security photo? Would the exposure of his real legs have given away a classified government pants-related secret? We may never know.

Nevertheless, Fox is cranking up the conspiracy machine to titillate their already on-the-edge audience who are all too happy to swallow whatever moronic feast of crackpottery that Fox serves up. And if they think that these pictures are suspicious…..

Fox News Cover Up Passengers

Just wait until they get a look at this…..

Fox News Cover Up Obama

IDIOT TAX: Breitbart’s Bonehead Defense Of Matt Drudge’s ‘Liberty Tax’

Anyone familiar with Breitbart News will not be surprised to learn that they did something stupid, again. After all, they are the geniuses who think that “E Pluribus Unum” is English. But their latest inanity stretches the boundary of blockheadedness even for them.

Drudge Idiot Tax

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The story began when conservative muckraker Matt Drudge boasted on Twitter that he had just paid what he called his “Liberty Tax,” a reference to the penalty for not getting health care coverage. The problem is that this fee is not payable until his 2014 taxes are due in 2015. Subsequently, Drudge was chastised by more knowledgeable people (e.g. almost anyone) who wondered whether he was deliberately lying or just ignorant.

Coming to Drudge’s defense is Matthew Boyle of Breitbart News. Boyle proceeds to back up Drudge by accusing his critics of not understanding how businesses pay taxes. So Boyle sets out to explain it to them and cites language from the IRS form for filing estimated taxes:

[S]ince he is self-employed as the proprietor of The Drudge Report, he files as a small business. According to the IRS’s website for self-employed individuals, they are required to pay taxes quarterly. [...] So, when they file and pay those 2014 first quarter taxes, such individuals have to pay the Obamacare Individual Mandate tax if they opted to not have health insurance—like Drudge just did. [...] Additionally, the IRS form (1040-ES) for estimating quarterly taxes specifically recommends adding the mandate penalty to line 12 for ‘other taxes’ — to pay before the first quarterly deadline of April 15.”

It’s true that some self-employed individuals are required to make quarterly estimated payments on their taxes. However, none of them are required to include the penalty for not getting health insurance until the following year. In fact, it says just that in the same paragraph that BreitBrat Boyle quoted only a portion of. Here is the whole paragraph:

“Health care coverage. When you file your 2014 tax return in 2015, you will need to either (1) indicate on your return that you and your family had health care coverage throughout 2014, (2) claim an exemption from the health care coverage requirement for some or all of 2014, or (3) make a payment if you do not have coverage or an exemption(s) for all 12 months of 2014. For examples on how this payment works, go to www.IRS.gov/aca and click under the ‘Individuals & Families’ section. You may want to consider this when figuring your ‘Other taxes’ on Line 12 of the 2014 Estimated Tax Worksheet. For general information on these requirements, go to www.IRS.gov/aca.”

Furthermore, Boyle’s defense is based on Drudge’s assertion that he is filing as a business, not as an individual. But what both Boyle and Drudge neglect to mention is that the mandate for businesses with fewer than 100 employees (which certainly includes Drudge) to provide health insurance to their employees was delayed until 2016. So no matter how you slice, Drudge has no tax liability for the coverage mandate in 2014.

So Drudge’s “Liberty Tax” really turns out to be an “Idiot Tax,” because he doesn’t actually owe it. If he did pay the penalty (which we don’t have any proof of) it’s his own ignorance of the law that is to blame, not ObamaCare. And Breitbart’s lame-brained attempt to rescue Drudge only proves that when dumb right-wingers do dumb things, other dumb right-wingers will jump at the chance to compound the dumbness. And dumbest of all is that Drudge is bragging about putting his health in jeopardy by not having insurance. He regards liberty as being at risk for devastating financial hardship that would ultimately fall to other Americans in the form of higher premiums and fees for services.

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Further evidence of this cycle of stupidity is that Fox News featured this Breitbart story as the top headline on their lie-riddled Fox Nation website. And round and round it goes.

St. Vladimir: The Putin Worship Continues On Fox News

The old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has been taken to heart by Fox News and much of the Republican Party. That is the only explanation for the ongoing love affair that is playing out on Fox News for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Given an opportunity to compare Putin with President Obama, Fox News invariably comes out on Putin’s side.

St. Vladimir

The latest example of this is Fox News host Jenna Lee who interviewed the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger yesterday. The segment focused on how Putin is teaching the west a lesson that “fatigue isn’t an option,” a reference to the observation that Americans, after more than a decade of war, are tired of it and reluctant to commence a new confrontation over Crimea. In the course of the discussion Lee presented a scenario that favorably juxtaposed Putin to Obama and other American leaders:

“[Putin] had people openly weeping in the crowd. I don’t remember a time when any of us have been moved to weep based on a speech about America. That actually alarms me.”

Really? Because Fox News was one of the most ardent critics of Obama’s impact on his audience. They frequently characterized him as Messianic and looped video of supporters crying, and even fainting, during his speeches. They called him a “celebrity” president and insulted voters as having been swayed by his soaring rhetoric and appeal to emotion, rather than the substance of issues and policies.

Perhaps when Lee says that she can’t remember “any of us” being moved to weep, the “us” she is referring to is Fox News personnel. Certainly the only weeping Obama has ever induced from them is when he defeated Republican opponents at the ballot box – twice. Obama’s passionate oration is often belittled on Fox as theatrics, but the drama produced by Putin is seen by Foxies as powerful and patriotic. They are dripping with admiration for the Russian strongman and lament that Obama doesn’t emulate his persona and tactics. Of course, if he were to do so, Fox would turn and pounce on him for sounding like a tyrant.

Just this morning Fox strategic analyst Ralph Peters called Putin “gifted” and said that “He is a dynamic, powerful leader with a clear vision of what he wants and the west is leaderless.” Sarah Palin’s schoolgirl crush causes her to see Putin as “one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.” Sean Hannity was “humiliated for my country” after seeing photos of a shirtless Putin doing a butterfly stroke next to a picture of Obama riding a bike (which was a manly pastime when George W. Bush did it).

The infatuation that Fox has for Putin is palpable. But it is also opportunistic. They only admire him so long as they can convert their idolatry of Putin into disparagement of Obama. They tried the same thing with conflicts involving Syria and Iran, but after the administration’s success in forcing both countries to retreat from their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Fox News likewise retreated. And if Putin fails to achieve his goals in Ukraine, look for Fox to forsake their besainted one. But don’t expect them to give any credit to Obama. That would be sacrilege.

Right-Wing Media Feeding Frenzy Over False Story About White House Press Secretary

There is a strain of faith that intertwines everything that emanates from the conservative media pulpit. They are so fiercely intent on believing any bad news about President Obama and all things liberal that they will suspend common sense entirely in order to preserve their dark fantasies.

Right-Wing Media Circus

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Such was the case when Catherine Anaya, a local reporter with the Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO, aired a segment introducing her interview with the President. She made some startling comments that reverberated throughout the right-wing mediasphere:

Anaya: We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing. And this was off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well-versed on every single day.

And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask-or the correspondents-they are provided to him in advance. So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on. So that was very interesting.

First of all, Anaya’s report began with the statement that her meeting with press secretary Jay Carney was “off-the-record,” and then proceeded to report it anyway. That’s the first sign that we are dealing with a spurious story. But the core of the controversy concerns her assertion that White House correspondents are required to supply their questions to Carney in advance. That nugget of pseudo-news set off a flurry of outrage from the usual right-wing media hacks. For instance…

  • Glenn Beck: Did a reporter just admit the daily White House press briefing is a sham?
  • Truth Revolt: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing.
  • NewsBusters: Ariz. Reporter: Carney’s Briefing Questions ‘Are Provided to Him in Advance’
  • Weekly Standard: Reporter: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing
  • Newsmax: Phoenix Reporter: Carney Gets Questions In Advance
  • Rush Limbaugh: Local Phoenix Reporter Reveals Jay Carney’s White House Briefings are Scripted with Questions Submitted in Advance

Needless to say, the story was not true. Anaya later corrected the record and apologized for her “bad reporting.” She admitted that “I made two major mistakes: I reported an off the record conversation and what I reported was not accurate. [...] The White House never asked for my questions in advance and never instructed me what to ask.”

The Weekly Standard is the only one of those listed above that placed a correction in their original story. Truth Revolt, a side project of Breitbart News editor Ben Shapiro (whose name candidly suggests a revolt against truth), went to the trouble of posting an update that only reported denials of the story by Carney and Fox News correspondent Ed Henry, but not Anaya’s retraction. NewsBusters, a website that purports to hold media accountable, just deleted the whole article with no acknowledgement of their error.

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None other than Fox News recognized the shoddy practices of news enterprises that fail to confirm the authenticity of their reporting. Howard Kurtz wrote for his Media Buzz column that…

“…even as this tale caught fire across the web, the only thing it proved is that a local CBS reporter mangled the facts —and has finally retracted her charge. [...] Bad reporting. Muddied. Incorrectly applied. And the apology took too long.”

Not exactly. It also proved that conservatives with partisan agendas will believe anything that fits their preconceived vision of an evil and calculating president. It also proves that they will disseminate their dishonest delusions even after they have been documented as false. The professional missteps of Anaya were unfortunate and embarrassing, but the blindness and persistence of those who continue to flog her mistakes even after she apologized is far worse because they have knowledge of their deceit and engage in it anyway.

Koch Brothers Tea Party Front Group Caught In An ObamaCare Lie (Again)

In the past few weeks Americans For Prosperity (AFP), the Koch brothers financed Tea Party propaganda outfit, has produced a couple of anti-ObamaCare ads that featured alleged “victims” of the health insurance reform. The campaign ended in embarrassment for AFP when the phony “horror stories” were revealed to be utterly false. Independent analysis of the insurance coverage available to the subjects of the ads proved that they were better off under ObamaCare than they were without it.

Koch Bros. Fatcat

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So AFP abandoned that strategy and released an ad that consisted of a lone spokeswoman making vague criticisms of ObamaCare in a tone of voice dripping with despondency and a tag line bemoaning that “It just doesn’t work.” However, even with this tactic of avoiding any verifiable content that might get them tied up in another counterfactual morass, they still managed to produce a thoroughly dishonest commercial that received a “False” rating from PolitiFact.

The principle claim in the new ad was that “millions are paying more and getting less.” However, as PolitiFact’s research shows, there is no truth to the claim:

PolitiFact: Americans are getting more benefits under the law in a number of ways — including, in some cases, being able to buy affordable insurance for the first time.

In addition, insurance purchased in the individual and small group marketplace must meet 10 essential health benefits. This includes coverage for emergency services and hospitalization, prescription drugs, free preventative coverage for things ranging from basic immunizations to HIV screening, and maternity care.

The law also caps out-of-pocket costs, providing greater protection from exorbitant hospital bills. The most a person could pay for health care in a year is $6,300; the most a family can pay is $12,600.

Before the law passed, some insurers capped annual or lifetime benefits, forcing people who thought they were covered to pay large hospital bills once they passed the threshold.

People with pre-existing conditions are also seeing a lot more benefits, since they previously couldn’t buy a policy at all.

PolitiFact concludes by saying that “At worst, they’re paying more to get more, though in many cases they’re actually paying less.” They also include a chart that shows that, while insurance premiums have risen since ObamaCare became law, the rise is slower than in any of the previous fourteen years. What critics of ObamaCare always seem to forget is that before it came along insurance companies routinely raised premiums, canceled plans, narrowed doctor networks, and declined coverage. They also refused patients with preexisting conditions, terminated patients when they filed claims, and capped benefits at amounts far below realistic costs for care.

Prior to ObamaCare it was always the insurance company that came between the patient and the doctor. And their motivation was strictly related to increasing profits. ObamaCare’s mandates are aimed at improving health care and medical outcomes, not enriching corporations and their executives.

As for Americans For Prosperity, the Koch brothers, and their PR division, Fox News, you have to wonder, if ObamaCare is so terrible, then why do they have to repeatedly lie about it to make it look bad? Why can’t they find any real horror stories? Why can’t they tell the truth about the economics of the program? Why do they so feverishly try to frighten people away?

Between Bill O’Reilly And Two Ferns: Video Proof That Plants Are Smarter Than Fox News Hosts

After Bill O’Reilly did his Superbowl interview with President Obama, O’Reilly predicted that “the interview that I did is going to go down in journalistic history.” So far, the only historical notice taken of the affair is O’Reilly’s boorishness and Narcissism.

Bill O'Reilly

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A much more likely candidate for the history books is the interview conducted by Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” It showcased the comedy stylings of the President while demonstrating his keen awareness of modern media and the impact of the Internet as a communications platform. Following his Ferns outing, which has racked up nearly three million views to date, traffic to Healthcare.gov spiked by 40%.

Bill O’Reilly’s famously sensitive ego must have been severely injured by the popularity of the Ferns bit, because he devoted one of his “Talking Points” segments to criticizing it as “problematic” and “desperate.” In fact, whenever O’Reilly is confronted with challenges to his omnipotence, he responds with venom and vacuous attacks. Another recent example of this is his criticism of CNN’s coverage of the Malaysian airliner. O’Reilly complained on his program that CNN was overdoing it, but the real source of his complaint is more likely the fact that CNN has been crushing him in the ratings ever since the jet went missing. Apparently cable news viewers are satisfied with CNN’s reporting, despite O’Reilly’s whining.

Well, now we have a fresh take on the O’Reilly/Galifianakis battle of the interviews courtesy of HuffPost Comedy. And, if anything, it shows that a fern would be a more than acceptable replacement for O’Reilly.

War Lusters: Why Are Tea-Publicans So Obsessed With War In Ukraine?

For the past few months (years?), the Republican Party has been fixated on a single issue that crowded out any other topic of political conversation. Terrorism, taxes, climate change, abortion, the economy – you name it – was ultimately shoved aside in favor of bashing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Health care has dominated the news coverage on Fox News on virtually every program. That is, until Vladimir Putin sent his troops into the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

This begs the question: What is it about this matter that supersedes the GOP obsession with ObamaCare? Why is the conflict between a couple of former Soviet states such a powerful draw for America’s Tea Party extremists? After all, not too long ago, Crimea was, in fact, a part of Russia. It was just in 1954 that the Soviet Russian Republic ceded control of Crimea to the Soviet Ukraine Republic via a “Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” that stated it was…

“…transferring Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic, taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic ties between Crimea Province and the Ukraine Republic, and approving the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukraine Republic Supreme Soviet on the transfer of Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic.”

This is not unlike the transfer of authority for Ellis Island from New York to New Jersey by the Supreme Court. The Soviet leadership certainly did not anticipate that their country would break up and the newly independent Ukraine would scamper off with Crimea. Sixty years later, Crimea is still a predominately Russian community. Seventy-five percent of its population is ethnic Russian. And while the referendum vote last Sunday was rampant with obvious fraud, it is unarguable that a majority of the Crimean residents still associate themselves with Russia. The map below illustrates how segregated the population is. In the blue areas the residents speak Ukrainian. In the red area, virtually all of Crimea, they speak Russian.

Republican War Lust

If there were ever a regional conflict that the United States had little business poking its massive proboscis into, it is this one. It’s fine to take sides rhetorically and even to organize a coalition of nations to advocate on behalf of sovereignty and independence, but rattling the sabers of war over a regional matter that is of no national interest to the U.S. is irresponsible and dangerous. Repeating the mistakes of the previous administration will only cost more American lives without securing anything of value for the loss.

Ron Paul, in a disagreement with his senator son Rand, asked the key question saying “Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?” That question has yet to be answered by the likes of John McCain, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, or any of the squawking heads on Fox News like John Bolton, who take a morbid glee in castigating President Obama as weak and ineffectual because he hasn’t launched World War III yet.

The hypocrites who assert that Obama’s foreign policy is responsible for inviting Putin’s aggression fail to recognize that Putin has never looked to the U.S. for permission to embark on his military misadventures. If that were true, those conservative critics would need to explain what it was about George W. Bush’s foreign policy that invited Putin to invade Georgia. Was he also weak and ineffectual, even after invading and overthrowing the governments of two nations (including Iraq, never did anything to threaten the U.S.)?

So what could possibly be the incentive for so many conservative politicians and pundits to so adamantly excoriate the President and advance the cause of war? The first thing to consider is that Obama’s critics live for chastising him, whether he deserves it or not. They frequently scold him even when he is promoting their ideas. Which is the case with ObamaCare, which was originally a conservative initiative developed by the Heritage Foundation and adopted by folks like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

More importantly, there is a thread of Apocalyptic fervor that runs through the ranks of the right. They have an intensity that is rooted in deep faith and a conviction in infallibility that stems from the same source. They believe that, with God’s help, they will overcome any adversity and that the deadly consequences are not worthy of consideration. And even if they fail, it would be God’s will and that they would be Raptured into Heaven ahead of the Armageddon they so enthusiastically await (and some seek to provoke).

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Consequently, military conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia over a border dispute that has no significance for the U.S. becomes an acceptable option. Diplomacy is the Devil’s way and must be rejected at the outset. The military response is always the first one considered by these dedicated Rapturists. And why not? They won’t be around to suffer anyway.

This is an argument that has no basis in reality and for which there is no rebuttal. You simply can’t convince someone who believes that he is the Lord’s messenger that the voice he hears is coming from his own dementia – or from a Fox News chicken-hawk.

Crazy Old Coot: Fox News Boss Launches Beer Boycott On St. Patrick’s Day

Rupert Murdoch, the 83 year old chairman of 21st Century Fox, the parent corporation of Fox News, is very upset. Apparently any enterprise that expresses a firm belief in civil liberties and equality is subject to the wrath of Murdoch.

In response to the announcement by the makers of Guinness beer that they would not be a sponsor of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade due to the organizer’s exclusion of LGBT participants, Murdoch put out this tweet:

“Where will this end? Guinness pulls out of religious parade bullied by gay orgs who try to take it over. Hope all Irish boycott the stuff.”

Rupert Murdoch

It’s rather impressive that Murdoch could squeeze so much wrongness into such a short space. First of all, to describe the annual event on Fifth Avenue as a “religious parade” requires an extraordinary ability ignore the festival’s Bacchanalian tradition. So unless the religion Murdoch is referring to is Paganism, it’s hard to accept his opening premise.

From there Murdoch characterizes gay organizations as bullies, simply because they want to be included in a public celebration along with everyone else. Would Murdoch have taken the same position if it were African-Americans or Jews who were excluded? He went further to accuse the advocates for gay rights of trying to take over the parade. Where he got that idea is a mystery that he never explains. And his assertion that the folks at Guinness were bullied is contradicted by their own public statement which was made freely and without duress:

“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”

A fair and balanced reading of that could not possibly be construed as having been coerced. What’s more, Guinness competitors Heineken and Sam Adams have taken the exact same positions on Gay rights and public events.

But perhaps the most disturbing part of Murdoch’s tweet is his suggestion that Guinness be boycotted due to their having stood up for equality. Does he really believe that Irish Americans, or any other celebrant, is going to abstain from drinking the most famous Irish beer in the world on St. Patrick’s Day? The only explanation for such a stupendously idiotic remark is that he is either drunk or senile.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: ObamaCare Enrollment Lagging In (Red) States

The Anti-ObamaCare Action Squad at Fox News has been disparaging the program from its inception. (Well, not from its inception when it was a Republican initiative promoted by the Heritage Foundation, but from the time it was adopted by President Obama and congressional Democrats). However, to the extent that it has been falling short of its goals, much of the credit can go to Republicans who have made it their mission to bring about its failure.

In a demonstration of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Fox News is now bragging that their efforts to prevent the program from succeeding have achieved some measure of success.

Fox Nation

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A featured article on the lie-riddled Fox Nation website declared with some glee that “Obamacare Enrollment Lagging In States With Highest Uninsured Rates.” It’s an uncharacteristically accurate assessment, but it leaves out the critical context that makes it useful.

What the Fox Nationalists are not telling you is that the states with the highest rates of uninsured residents are mostly red states run by right-wing Republican governors and legislatures. Those same states have done everything possible to prevent their citizens from benefiting from ObamaCare.

For instance, they have declined federal assistance to expand Medicaid, which would cover millions of Americans who cannot afford insurance and who do not qualify for subsidies under ObamaCare. Some of these states have also put in place obstacles that prohibit organizations from offering assistance to people who want to get insured. The “navigators” who can guide people through the complexities of the law are subject to expensive and burdensome certification tests that result in many of the organizations having to scrap the program.

Of the ten states with the highest uninsured rate, seven of them are run by Republicans. And with the exception of Florida, it is those same states that are lagging in enrollment in ObamaCare. The eighth and ninth states on the list are governed by Democrats and, not surprisingly, they are in the top five of states with the highest rate of residents signing up for ObamaCare.

So what we have here are Republicans purposefully sabotaging ObamaCare where they can, and then complaining that the plan doesn’t work. Except that it’s working great in states where the people’s representatives support it and where Republicans aren’t able to undermine it. It’s a reminder of why Republicans ought not to be given power anywhere. They are a party that is openly hostile to government, so when they hold its reins they intentionally cause it to fail and later point to that failure as proof that government doesn’t work.

Voting for a Republican is like selecting a faith healer to perform brain surgery. After the fake surgeon deliberately kills the patient he tells the family “See? You should have put your faith in Jesus.”

President Obama Makes Breitbart Editor’s Brain Hurt

The staff at Breitbart News has never distinguished itself as particularly astute or intellectually gifted. A recent case in point was their giddy victory dance when Coca-Cola supposedly validated the right-wing campaign for English-only ads by adding the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” to a TV commercial.

Breitbart Ben Shapiro

Today Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large, Ben Shapiro, penned a column outlining what he called “Obama’s Top 5 Distractions.” The article regurgitates a well-worn attack strategy that alleges that anything the President says or does that is not about ObamaCare is a deliberate attempt to distract from that issue, rather than the responsible performance of the duties of his office. BreitBrat Ben begins by admitting his own mental shortcomings:

“Psychologists posit that the brain can only handle so many narratives at one point; if we are distracted by problems at home, for example, we tend to perform less well at work. The same holds true in politics: if our brains are occupied with worries about the war on women, for example, we’re less likely to be thinking about the horrors of Obamacare.”

Poor Ben. By inconsiderately managing the broad array of issues that any president must address, Obama is taxing the shallow capabilities of one of Breitbart’s senior staffers. How dare Obama deal with trivialities like raising workers out of poverty; or mitigating the environmental, economic, and national security threats of Climate Change; or taking action to relieve the suffering of poor families and hungry children; or advocating on behalf women who are exploited, abused, and discriminated against; or endeavoring to advance solutions to the long-term hostilities in the Middle East.

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In Shapiro’s world, placing those five items on the presidential agenda are merely attempts to distract people from the only issue that really exists: ObamaCare. And for the White House to engage in any other domestic or foreign policy can only result in a cognitive breakdown, emotional distress, and a severe brain owie. In the view of these mental deficients, political leaders must always concentrate on a single issue to the exclusion of every other event in the world. Shapiro closes by claiming that…

“…the bottom line is that the Obama administration will do everything in its power over the course of the next few months to distract from the issues Americans care about most.”

For the record, according to the Pew Research Center, the top five issues that Americans care about most are:

  • Strengthening the nation’s economy.
  • Improving the job situation.
  • Defending the country from terrorism.
  • Improving the educational system.
  • Making Social Security system sound.

These are all issues that the Obama administration has identified as priorities. The American people expect him to work toward advancing their interests on these and many other areas, including health care, taxes, crime, the environment, and immigration. And he must do them all simultaneously. In fact, if Obama were to abandon other issues and focus solely on health care, Shapiro would be among the first in a long line of hypocritical right-wingers to criticize him for being too narrowly focused and negligent.

If BreitBrat Ben has his way the nation will be stuck in a single-issue ditch that doesn’t put a burden on the limited brainpower of dimwitted conservatives and Tea Party twerps like himself. So at least we can be grateful that he will not get his way no matter how noisy his juvenile tantrums.

Lose/Lose: The GOP Hates You If You Don’t Work, And They Hate You If You Work Too Much

For most of the past century, and especially the past five years, Republicans have stood forthrightly against every initiative aimed at relieving the suffering of low-income Americans. From opposition to extending unemployment benefits to slashing the SNAP (food stamps) budget to blocking an increase of the minimum wage, the GOP has exhibited stark insensitivity to the hardships of working families. And their determination to advance the interests of the rich is consistently at the top of their agenda.

Today President Obama signed an executive memorandum expanding the availability of overtime pay to millions of workers whose employers have been exploiting their labor by classifying them as management, despite the fact that they earn less than $24,000 a year. That classification enables the employer to forgo paying these employees when they work more than forty hours per week.

Republicans came out swinging as soon as the White House made the announcement of the change in policy. All of the typical right-wing complaints about stifling economic growth, killing job creation, big government intrusion, and executive branch overreach, gushed from the mouths of GOP politicians and Fox News pundits.

GOP on Overtime Pay

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What none of these partisans bothered to mention is that putting more money in the pockets of working class citizens is one of the most effective methods of stimulating the economy. These are people who, by necessity, recirculate their funds by spending them on goods and services, thus producing more growth and creating more jobs. Also not mentioned is how this policy will reduce expenditures on entitlement programs due to recipients being raised out of poverty and no longer requiring assistance.

Nevertheless, the conservative knee-jerk response to Obama’s directive predictably ignores the benefits while inventing problems that they cannot support with facts. Their determination to advocate on behalf of the ruling class and the wealthy corporations who oppose these measures is paramount to the Republican hierarchy.

What’s more, the GOP is engaging in blatant hypocrisy by making disingenuous arguments against the changes proposed by Obama, although they never had any such complaint when George W. Bush did the same thing in 2004 when he updated the overtime rules raising the minimum threshold from $250.00 per week to $455.00. That was ten years ago and it’s time to revisit the situation taking into account current economic conditions, inflation, and cost of living increases.

However, what was good enough for Bush and the GOP a decade ago, is seen by Republicans as the destruction of the economy by a radical tyrant bent on crippling the nation today. For some reason, when the Bush administration unilaterally expanded overtime rules with the stroke of his pen it was appropriate and beneficial, but when Obama does it, it is treasonous and unconstitutional.

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That’s the level of logic that this President has had to face for the last five years. And if he is finally getting around to recognizing the futility of reasoning with the obstructionist Tea-publicans in Congress, it is about damn time.

Disgraced CBS Reporter Resigns Causing Fox News To Weep (And Lie About Benghazi)

Earlier this week investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson announced that she had resigned from CBS News. According to Politico, sources say that her departure was due to her frustration with what she considered the network’s liberal bias. However, the truth is more likely that the network was disappointment with Attkisson’s sloppy and partisan reporting.

The notion that CBS News is some kind of bastion of liberalism is impossible to take seriously. Just last November CBS ran an embarrassing 60 Minutes segment on Benghazi that was based wholly on the account of a disreputable figure whose story they never verified. They later had to apologize and retract the story, but the problem was not due to an unfortunate mistake. The right-wing bias at CBS gets its direction from the very top. The President of CBS News is David Rhodes, who came to the network from Fox News. Politico also reported that…

“Attkisson’s coverage of the Obama administration, which some CBS staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. [...and that...] Pat Shevlin, the executive producer of CBS Evening News, was especially wary of Attkisson’s motives and had even dismissed her, in private, as a partisan carrying water for Republicans.”

Generally Fox News is openly hostile to what they regard as the establishment media and they mercilessly pound their competitors as neither fair nor balanced. But in the wake of Attkisson’s resignation, Fox has become her biggest cheerleader. Yesterday Neil Cavuto brought in rightist media hack Brent Bozell of NewsBusters to lament Attkisson’s fate and complain that CBS had cut her off because of her politics. However that opinion ignores the fact that Attkisson’s reporting had recently been shown to be inaccurate and unfairly critical of the Obama administration. That is the reason that her stories have not been getting on the air.

In the course of this full-throated defense of Attkisson’s journalistic failures, Bozell went on an extended rant aimed at all of the “mainstream” media and CBS in particular. He complained about what he believed to be insufficient coverage of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Only on Fox is there still a raging controversy over what the administration did and said following the attack. Everywhere else the phony allegations promoted by conservatives have been thoroughly debunked. But Bozell went completely off the rails when he said…

“It stands to reason that she [Attkisson] is out because they stopped letting her report the news when she started reporting on Benghazi. [...] If George Bush – if it had been on his watch that we had Benghazi, do you think they’d be quiet?”

To this Cavuto replied “He’d be impeached.” And once again, the rank hypocrisy of Fox News is displayed in all its partisan glory. If Fox were the least bit interested in factual representations of events they would have to have acknowledged that during the Bush administration there were at least thirteen Benghazis (i.e. terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates that resulted in dozens of casualties including the death of David Foy, an American diplomat). Not only was Bush never threatened with impeachment over those atrocities, no one at Fox ever suggested that Bush was the least bit responsible for them. Nor did they criticize Bush as weak for not retaliating afterwards.

Fox News

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Attkisson says that she is going to focus on completing the book she is writing with the totally non-biased title “Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington.” It is being published by HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. From there it is a fairly safe bet that she will find a perch at Fox News where she can continue to peddle her dishonest stories and her rightist views with the full support of her bosses. After all, Fox has long history of scooping up the worst rejects after they have been discarded by other networks.

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Guess What The Fox News “Psycho” Analyst Found Inside The Mind Of Vladimir Putin

The Fox News Medical “A” Team’s resident psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, has a long history of going “inside the mind” of pretty much anyone who is in the news (and especially President Obama). I recently compiled a list of 35 articles in which Ablow entered the minds of unsuspecting victims of his quackery. What they all share in common is a deep disregard for medical ethics and a penchant for sensationalism, wild conjecture, and deranged diagnoses – such as his affection for the Unabomber. [Here is the News Corpse file on Ablow's vast crackpottery]

Keith Ablow

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With the Russian foray into Crimea, the rank opportunist in Ablow has marched himself straight into the mind of Vladimir Putin. And you’ll never guess who he found there. After rattling around for a bit to make some baseless assumptions, Ablow discovered that President Obama had established occupancy and become the key factor in everything that Putin does. In fact, Ablow’s excursion into Putin’s mind is really just an excuse to foster ludicrous hypotheses about Obama’s psychological state. Ablow begins his inane adventure by saying…

“I believe Putin’s psychology is being directly fueled by that of President Barack Obama. Obama being Obama helps Putin be Putin.”

Isn’t that simple? Putin isn’t an autocratic dictator with a compulsion for power and influence. He’s just a vessel into which Obama pours his omnipotence. Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine – he might not even have existed – but for Obama. But despite the fullness of Obama’s ability to fuel Putin’s emptiness, Obama is still Putin’s lesser who is motivated by a desire to weaken America, the nation he rose from simple beginnings to lead. Ablow says that…

“Putin apparently believes he was placed on this planet to be the most powerful person he can be, to assert his religious and social beliefs unsparingly and to help reestablish his Russia as the dominant power in the world. Barack Obama apparently believes he was placed on this earth to be the most powerful person he can be, in order to restrain America in the expression of its power.”

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The interracial child of a single mother struggles his whole life to achieve lofty goals that most people believed to be unattainable just so he could rip it all apart once he arrived. It’s a theory so brilliant that only Ablow himself can understand it as anything other than idiocy.

Ablow goes on to assert that Obama thinks that “national (American) character is a bad thing,” and that Obama is only interested in “in disempowering the United States.” But it isn’t just America as a nation that Obama is determined to destroy, it is every individual in the nation, whose autonomous freedom Obama has set out to eviscerate. And naturally, Putin’s superior observational capability is further praised by Ablow who said…

“I do not believe that Vladimir Putin would miss the fact that Barack Obama has imperiled the notion of individual autonomy (by seeking to disarm Americans, by seeking to make Americans dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps and by making it officially impossible to choose how to spend your own money, via the Affordable Care Act).”

Somehow, in this article purporting to be an examination of Putin’s mind, Ablow has managed to turn it into a parade of nearly every negative talking point about Obama on the Republican Party’s hit list: guns, unemployment, food stamps, health care. If he had thrown in Benghazi, and taxing the rich, he would have completed the set. But he wasn’t finished. He still had to concoct a conclusion that would denigrate the President as being more harmful to America than Putin or its other foes. And this is what he came up with:

“If Crimea becomes part of Russia or all of Ukraine does, it will be in no small measure due to the psychology of Vladimir Putin, and, in equal measure, due to the psychology of Barack Obama.”

There you have it: Keith Ablow’s excursion into the mind of Vladimir Putin – where the mind of Barack Obama rules. It still isn’t clear how a weak and vacillating Obama in mom jeans can overpower the mental superiority of a masculine and virile leader like Putin (Ablow and his right-wing comrades truly love Vlad), but Ablow’s analyses were never intended to make sense. His sole purpose is to attack the President, and it hardly matters if the attack is coherent. His audience is infected with an inability to grasp reason or logic, and they are overtly hostile to facts. And with psychiatric advice from wankers like Ablow, don’t expect them to get any better.

Is This The Most Hateful Fox News Commentary Ever?

This weekend Fox News ran their regular commentary by reporter Liz Trotta. For those unfamiliar with Trotta’s work, she gained a certain measure of infamy when she joked that President Obama should be “knocked off” along with Osama Bin Laden. On another occasion she criticized women in the military for complaining that they are “being raped too much.” Trotta never defined what an acceptable amount of rape would be, just that these soldiers should expect it.

Fox News Liz Trotta

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On the scale of loathsome miscreants, Trotta has set a pretty high bar for herself, but her newest commentary may have succeeded in surpassing all previous efforts. She has managed to squeeze derogatory references to women, men, liberals, African-Americans, gays, teenagers, and Puerto Ricans – all into one grotesque editorial retch. Trotta began by disparaging women as unfit to serve certain roles in government:

“Is there a lesson in the fact the the President, clinging to his diversity mantra, has appointed mostly women to top security and state department jobs? America the exceptional has become America the incompetent.”

Apparently the lesson is that women are incompetent. It’s funny that Trotta never bothered to express this opinion when George W. Bush appointed a women as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State. But then Obama has always had to live by a separate set of standards according to these right-wing hypocrites. Next, Trotta unleashed a barrage of things about which she has grown tired, including…

“…tired of the random rudeness and coarse language on and off the street, especially from oversexed teenagers who advertise their sex and then claim abuse.”

Indeed. Those irresponsible teenagers flaunting their nubile sexuality are just asking for it. They have no right to complain when they are subsequently abused by perverts who can hardly be expected to resist such temptation.

“…tired of weaselly young men with their testosterone challenged beards and mincing ways who would rather do the dishes than defend our country.”

We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? Those young bearded men bellying up to sinks, cleaning dishes, are everywhere. Meanwhile, the quarter million men in the armed services are hardly ever spotted on city streets. They probably have some lame excuse like they’re fighting terrorists in Afghanistan, or they’re stationed in army bases, or some such nonsense.

“…tired of racial imperatives. Hollywood’s robotic devotion to groveling liberalism by requiring every picture to showcase the liberated ingenue as assertive heroine and a cerebral black man as its sensitive anti-hero.”

Exactly!. The last thing we need is Hollywood casting women as positive role models, rather than the dutiful housewives or hookers-with-a-heart that God meant for them to portray. And as for black men, what ever happened to the days when they were rightfully confined to roles as gang-bangers, drug dealers, and dancing slaves? Who ever heard of a cerebral, sensitive black man anyway?

“…tired of the deification of homosexuals who may have won the media race and silenced the incompetent opposition, although many Americans find their lifestyle repugnant.”

It’s good to see that the struggle for civil rights has been reduced to a media race. And the fact that many Americans are repulsed by gays is justification enough for oppressing them, just as it was with African-Americans before they got uppity.

Liz Trotta is obviously bursting at the seams with animus for a wide variety (and a clear majority) of Americans. She even went after Puerto Ricans (who are American citizens) asking “When was the last time you saw an American flag at a Puerto Rican Day Parade?” Well, it took me about two minutes to find this photograph from a parade in Chicago last year.

Trotta is just another in the long line of pseudo-patriots who spew an unending litany of hatred for their country. She ended her rant with a generalized insult directed at the nation as a whole saying “America, the incompetent, rules.” We should be grateful for Trotta and her enablers at Fox. They let us know precisely how they feel about America. It’s too bad their viewers are too addle-brained to recognize that the network they worship hates them and their country.

Foxettes On Parade: Is Fox News Breaking The Massachusetts Upskirting Law?

This week a Massachusetts judge dismissed the conviction of a man who was caught surreptitiously taking photographs underneath the skirt of a female undercover transit officer. The dismissal was based on the judge’s contorted interpretation of the law that found that the woman was not “partially nude” and therefore not a victim.

The Massachusetts legislature quickly drafted and passed an amendment to the law that clarified what constituted a violation. Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill Friday, making this statement:

“The legislation makes the secret photographing, videotaping, or electronically surveiling of another person’s sexual or other intimate parts, whether under or around a person’s clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s intimate parts would not be visible to the public, a crime.”

The media was all over this disturbing story with a nearly lascivious glee. It’s the sort of sex crime controversy that starts tabloid editors salivating. So it is not surprising that Fox News, the tabloidiest channel of them all, covered the story excitedly in their broadcast. However, Fox may be exposing themselves to legal liability due to their penchant for featuring the physical assets of their female hosts and guests.

Fox News Upskirting

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The evidence that is abundantly available of Fox News videotaping “under or around a person’s clothing” could be used against them in a court of law. If one of their employees were to press charges it wouldn’t be difficult to make a case given the thousands of hours of video proof. What’s more, executives at Fox have privately admitted that exploiting the sexuality of their nearly all-blonde roster of women presenters is a key part of their corporate culture. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

megyn-kelly-gq2
Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses. Also, when Gretchen Carlson was tapped to replace Megyn Kelly in daytime, she revealed that “pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends,” and teased viewers with the prospect that on her new show “I might forget my clothes the first day.”

It would fun to see Fox News get hit with an indictment for breaking the Massachusetts Peeping Tom law. But don’t hold your breath. The Foxettes are firmly committed to the mission of their employer despite the fact that they are being exploited as sexual objects. They know that their livelihood depends on the 60+ male demographic that makes up the bulk of their audience. So if they have to suffer the indignity of catering to those perverts, they suck it up, cash their hefty paychecks, and try to remember to keep their legs tightly crossed.

Sean Hannity: “I Am Humiliated For My Country”

Remember when any expression of disrespect directed at America or it’s leaders was regarded as treasonous and unpatriotic? It was a time when blind and unfaltering loyalty was mandatory and dissent was not tolerated. Dick Cheney famously declared that “You are either with us or you are with the enemy.” And Fox News broadcast a red, white, and blue explosion of patriopathic zeal, castigating anyone who dared to diverge from the approved orthodoxy.

Sean Hannity was prominent among those who draped themselves in the American flag and scorned those who expressed dissenting opinions. Which makes it all the more contemptible that he now says on his radio show that he is “humiliated for my country,” without the slightest bit of irony or acknowledgement of his overt hypocrisy.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

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Sean Hannity was among the first to bash the Dixie Chicks when they said that they were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” That remark was hardly as anti-American as Hannity’s since, unlike Hannity, it was only directed at George Bush and not the nation as a whole. Hannity also went off on Michelle Obama for saying that “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” Obama was merely expressing pride in how far the nation has come. It was pride in a specific category of progress, not an overall impression of her feelings of being an American.

So while Hannity called the Dixie Chicks “disgraceful,” and pledged to never listen to them again, and he called Obama “offensive” and insisted that she “owes America an apology,” he has no such regrets for his own expression of disrespect for the nation. In fact, he defended his comments the next day on his Fox News program. And what was it that caused Hannity to suffer such humiliation? Here is whole commentary on the subject:

“Many Americans, including myself are, humiliated today. Take a look at the photo comparison of our commander in chief. There he is juxtaposed with Vladimir Putin [...] For the first time in my adult life, I am humiliated for my country. Just the picture of Putin swimming the butterfly, which is a real hard stroke. Yeah, big chested – and by the way, it’s in frigid water that he’s swimming across a river … so you got a picture of that juxtaposed next to Obama on a bicycle in Martha’s Vineyard with the goofy helmet on riding his bike.”

That’s it. Hannity is shamed by Russian propaganda showing a virile Putin swimming across a river, and his own comparison of that to a photo of Obama on a bike. Hannity is obviously smitten with Putin’s rugged good looks (and Caucasian features), his big chest and burly arms glistening in the sun, and his outdoorsy manliness. Never mind that he is a brutal autocrat who is presently engaged in an unlawful aggression against a sovereign nation. Or perhaps that just makes him all the more appealing since it is reminiscent of the Bush Doctrine that resulted in the U.S. aggression against Iraq. Hannity loved that too.

I’m not sure what makes swimming across a river more masculine than riding a bike. I suspect the participants in the Tour de France might object to that characterization. What’s more, Hannity might find Obama more alluring if he were ogling the pictures of him shirtless in the Hawaiian surf. But what turns on Sean Hannity most is smearing the President, even if it means feigning a rather disturbing man-crush for a Russian dictator.

Sean Hannity

Another Right-Wing Cable News Network To Challenge ‘Liberal’ Fox News

Despite having the top rated cable news network in the country, and a ridiculously undue influence over much of the rest of the mainstream media, conservatives are still not satisfied with their stranglehold on the press. That’s the only explanation for why they keep launching new right-wing cable news networks to compete with Fox News.

Most of these competing enterprises complain that Fox News has betrayed their cause and defected to the enemy liberal camp. Thus the necessity of forming a new network that is devoted to the true conservative agenda that Fox has abandoned. The disappointment with Fox’s brand of conservatism has stirred a flurry of challengers and even a boycott by some determined Tea Party “Fire Ants.”

Fox News Boycott

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The latest entry in the field is the ultra-rightist webzine, Newsmax. The CEO of Newsmax, Chris Ruddy, has a staunchly conservative resume going back to the days when he opposed the Clintons and accused them of murdering their friend Vince Foster. These days Ruddy claims to be on more friendly terms with his former adversaries and is positioning his NewsmaxTV as a “kinder, gentler Fox News.” But It’s hard to see where NewsmaxTV will succeed in the wake of the other recent attempts to pry wingnuts and Tea Partiers away from Fox.

In 2010, a project from Hollywood conservative (and Friend of Abe) Kelsey Grammer and former Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider, was given a flashy fanfare as it promised to bring conservative values to both news and entertainment programming. However, the RightNetwork never seemed to get past the website stage and today doesn’t even have that.

That was followed by the much hyped One America News Network in March of 2013. One America was announced at last year’s CPAC with support from Herring Broadcasting and the “Moonie” Washington Times. It’s founder, Charles Herring, said he was motivated by his perception that “the sources of national news tend to lean to the left…and all we have is Fox.” So far, that has not proven to be a sufficient justification for a new right-leaning network.

And now we have NewsmaxTV – a network that admits that much of its success will rely on the same advertising and hucksterism that fuels Newsmax. That business model is heavily reliant on two non-journalism revenue streams: 1) Selling the email lists of conservative pundits, and 2) Selling highly dubious nutritional “supplements” and medical services. Business week described Newsmax as

“…a smorgasbord of political, health, and financial information, self-help books, and even vitamin supplements constantly pushed through the website and e-mail lists. This eclectic array of products—the company made $46 million in subscription revenue from its 17 newsletters and $6 million from vitamin supplements in 2013—makes Newsmax less of a news business and more of a strange hybrid of the Heritage Foundation and Amway.”

Given the rapidly expanding roster of competitors, Fox News is surely quaking in their Tea Party tri-corner hats and pilgrim boots as a result of this new player in the right-wing media circus. Keepe your eyes peeled because, if NewsmaxTV is anything like the efforts that preceded it, it isn’t going to be there for very long.

ABSOLUTELY UN-AMERICAN: Fox News And Darrell Issa Squelch Democrats In IRS Hearing

In an extraordinary hearing Wednesday morning, Republicans put on a display of tyrannical suppression of speech that would make the Taliban green with envy.

Fox News

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (and recidivist criminal), called to order a hearing on allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for enhanced scrutiny on their applications for tax-exempt status. The sole item on the agenda was testimony from former IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner had previously notified the committee that she would be exercising her Fifth Amendment right to decline to answer questions. Ignoring that, Issa scheduled the hearing anyway as a sideshow that he hoped would embarrass his Democratic colleagues. His strategy blew up in his face.

After making a five minute opening statement, Issa proceeded to ask a series of questions, each time eliciting the same response from Lerner saying that, on advice of counsel, she was exercising her constitutional right to decline to answer. Since Issa already knew that Lerner would not be testifying, it is clear that his only purpose was to hear himself ask a bunch of questions that he framed to imply something incriminating. But it’s what happened next that demonstrates just how disreputable and dictatorial Issa is. [Full video of the hearing via C-SPAN]

Upon completing his opening statement and faux inquiry, the committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, began his opening statement, as is the practice of congressional proceedings. However, Issa immediately cut him off and ordered the hearing adjourned. Issa did not permit Cummings, or any other Democrat to utter a single word on the record. And after silencing Cummings, Issa stomped out of the hearing room.

Not surprisingly, this outraged Cummings who insisted on having his time to address the committee and the witness. Whereupon Issa instructed his staff to cut Cummings microphone off. Cummings valiantly persevered without a mic and made his objections known. He pointed out that Issa’s behavior was one-sided, wrong, and “absolutely un-American.”

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The coverage on Fox News of this shameful display of Republican hubris was pretty much what you might expect. Fox broadcast most of Issa’s opening statement and questions. Then, when Cummings began to speak, Fox curtailed their coverage after showing a brief portion of the dust-up between Issa and Cummings. Fox did not show any of the remarks Cummings made after Issa walked out of the room. Ironically, Fox host Martha MacCallum said that “We’re trying to give equal time to both of these gentlemen here.” Apparently equal time on Fox News is seven uninterrupted minutes of a Republican harangue and 42 seconds of a Democratic response.

Following the hearing, the same measure of biased coverage occurred when Issa and Cummings addressed the press. Fox again broadcast Issa’s press conference in its entirety, but cut away as Cummings approached the same podium from which Issa had just finished speaking. Fox aired none of Cummings remarks to the press. [Full video of the press avails via C-SPAN]

To matters even worse, Fox aired a segment about the hearing shortly afterward with a reporter from U.S. News and World Report. In addressing concerns by Lerner that she was getting death threats, Fox host Jon Scott made this unbelievably grotesque comment:

“I can see why if you’re getting death threats, maybe you wouldn’t want to open yourself up to more scrutiny. But at the same time, it would seem that answering some of the questions might cause some of these people who are so angry to ease up if she’s got legitimate answers for why the IRS did what it did.”

In other words, just comply with the demands of those making death threats and maybe they won’t kill you. See? Problem solved.

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After numerous hearings, testimony from more than three dozen IRS employees, and review of thousands of pages of documents, the Issa Inquisition has proven none of its allegations about corruption, partisanship, or White House involvement. What Issa has proven is that he is a brazenly dishonest hack who has repeatedly deceived the public and the media by issuing reports and releasing documents that he purposefully manipulated to create a falsely negative impression of malfeasance by Democrats. In the process he would systematically remove any data that contradicted his fictional version of events.

As for Fox News, they could not have been more obviously biased in their coverage of this affair. In all they broadcast about a quarter hour of Issa’s propaganda and less than a minute of the Democratic side of the debate. What’s more, they are already promoting appearances by Issa (and only Issa) on Fox News later today. And not once has Fox made note of the fact that Issa, and his GOP led committee, held an unprecedented hearing where only he was allowed to speak.

[Update 3/6/14] The Congressional Black Caucus has put forward a motion to condemn Darrell Issa for his tyrannical abuse of power and to remove him from the chairmanship of the committee. However, Speaker John Boehner has already expressed his continuing support for Issa whom Boehner believes acted appropriately.

Also, Media Matters has obtained and posted the emails that Issa referenced during his sham hearing. Consistent with Issa’s repeated acts of deception and partisan cherry-picking of information to make public, these emails actually prove that IRS director Lois Lerner was taking great pains to avoid any politicization of the agencies activities. As usual, when all the information is made available, it shows that Issa and Co. have lied through their teeth.

IRS Email

JesusCare Being Pushed By Fox News As An Alternative To ObamaCare

Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has been accelerating every month since the mangled launch of the Internet health insurance exchanges. Despite the early difficulties, nearly four million people have acquired insurance that is comprehensive and inexpensive. Millions more are now covered by Medicaid or policies purchased by their parents. Americans overall have indicated in most polls that they prefer keeping ObamaCare in place and fixing any problems, rather than repealing it.

Those facts are the incentive for Fox News to redouble their efforts to sabotage the new law by proposing irresponsible alternatives that virtually guarantee to cause suffering, both physically and financially. On New Year’s Eve Fox News offered up eight alternatives to ObamaCare that failed utterly in providing the protection that is expected of an insurance plan. And now Fox is following up with what may be the most absurd suggestion on the list.

Fox News JesusCare

On Fox & Friends First, and later on America’s Newsroom, the anti-health network ran stories about what they called a Christian alternative to ObamaCare. But what they were peddling is just a medical expense sharing collective that has numerous deficiencies such as no coverage for preexisting conditions, no coverage for routine medical services like annual physical exams, no coverage for “products of un-Biblical lifestyles,” such as contraception or substance rehab, or some preventive medicine, including colonoscopies and mammograms.

What’s more, in order to participate the applicant must pledge their Christian faith and promise not to drink, take drugs or have sex outside of a traditional marriage. And perhaps most worrisome is the fact that, because these organizations are not insurance companies, they are not legally obligated to reimburse anyone for anything and there is no regulatory oversight that protects the consumer.

JesusCare is about as effective a replacement for ObamaCare as faith healing. It may pay for a flu shot, but if you need an appendectomy or are diagnosed with diabetes, you are either going to have to go without care or descend into a financial abyss. Either way, you and your family will suffer unnecessarily.

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For Fox News to continue to do stories promoting this sort of fringe enterprise is downright dangerous. And the only reason they persist is because they are so fixated on doing harm to ObamaCare by attempting to constrain participation. Like the Republican Party, who early on declared that they hope President Obama fails, Fox News wants ObamaCare to fail. And they don’t seem to mind that the people who will be hurt are Americans who were gullible enough to take their bad advice.