Nekid ‘Patriot’ Hailed By Fox News For Stealing Flag And Suppressing Free Speech

In yet another twisted example of patriotism as defined by Fox News, the All-American channel is singing the praises of a disgraced Air Force veteran who sought to deny protesters their constitutional rights.

Michelle Manhart was once a drill sergeant in the Air Force, which she believes gives her the right to decide who can engage in a public demonstration and how they should behave. She exercised that right at Valdosta State University in Georgia where a group of students were using an American flag in a manner considered disrespectful by Manhart. The flag was on the ground and some of the protesters were walking on it. So Manhart took it upon herself to confront the protesters and assume possession of the flag.

Fox News Manhart

This was an unambiguous case of theft. The flag did not belong to her and she refused to return it upon request. She actually argued on video (below) that the flag “belongs to the entire United States.” The absurdity of that is self-evident. In fact, it violates every principle of private property that conservatives are usually pretending to cherish.

In addition, Manhart was interfering with the rights of the students to express themselves. Their free speech rights, including the treatment of the flag, are protected by the Constitution and have been upheld by the Supreme Court. No matter what your position on flag desecration, the Constitution takes priority. As so often is the case with right-wingers, the hypocrisy of Manhart’s stance is entirely missed by herself and the wingnut media that supports her. Manhart told Fox News that…

“When it comes to the flag, it’s our iconic symbol. It stands for everything that we are. It stands for the freedom to allow those individuals to do what they want to protest or have an organization. So how are you even gonna justify ruining or walking upon something that’s given you the right to do what you’re doing?”

In other words, according to Manhart, the protesters do not have the freedom to do those things that the flag supposedly represents the freedom to do. So enjoy your freedom so long as you don’t actually use it. And if you do try to use it, expect to be stopped by some other citizen who disagrees with you.

Eventually, campus police had to forcibly take the flag from Manhart who refused to follow their order to release it and return it to its proper owners. This outraged Manhart, who whined to Fox News that…

“I have seen that flag on caskets returning home. It was just the thought of those demonstrators standing on someone’s casket. I was so internally frustrated.”

Perhaps she would have been able to gather some sympathy for that argument if not for her own past of disgraceful military conduct. Manhart, it turns out, was discharged from the Air Force after posing for Playboy both in her uniform and out of it. The Air Force advised her that such behavior was a violation of the standards of the service. She was demoted and shortly after left the military to pursue an acting career. Did she consider the poor souls in those caskets when she exploited her body and uniform in a publication that objectifies women?

And if that weren’t bad enough, Manhart also appeared in the nude on other occasions, including in an anti-fur ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I’d give her credit for having compassion for animals, but it might rub some of her right-wing fans the wrong way. But the real problem as regards hypocrisy is that she blatantly desecrated the flag in those photos and others by allowing it to touch the ground, and using it as drapery/clothing.

Despite Manhart’s history of less than honorable service and disrespect for the flag, Fox News and other right-wing media have taken up her cause. The usual suspects including the Daily Caller, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Newsmax, and of course Fox Nation, all published stories exalting the Nekid Patriot. The Pope of Fox News, Todd Starnes, hyperbolically declared that “Valdosta State University loves flag burners more so than flag wavers.” However, besides the fact that no one here burned any flags, the university actually loves free speech and obeying the law more so than thieves and censorship.

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Fox Nation Flag DesecrationObviously Manhart has a selective sense of outrage with regard to respect for the flag. And on that matter, Manhart is not alone. With relative frequency Fox News has blasted what they called flag desecration by protesters with whom they disagreed. However, they ignore similarly disrespectful behavior when it is done by their rightist heroes. Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and George Bush have all been caught in public desecrating the flag. Yet Fox News hails such behavior as patriotism when the perpetrators are conservative icons.


James O’Keefe’s Legal Woes Continue To Mount. And It’s Mostly From Former Friends

Not satisfied with having been convicted for unlawful activity in the office of a United States Senator, or losing $100,000 to a former ACORN employee he defamed, James O’Keefe has racked up a rap sheet that a Mafia boss would envy.

James O'Keefe

O’Keefe’s latest legal misadventure just ended with his meritless libel suit being thrown out of court by a federal judge who dismissed the action with prejudice (meaning that it could not be re-filed). The complaint was against the website Main Justice who published an article about O’Keefe’s prior legal exploits. The court ruled that the article by Main Justice was accurate and truthful and did not libel O’Keefe.

This is just the latest legal setback by a recidivist slandering weasel who pretends to be a journalist, but who actually uses deceitful methods to falsely malign his ideological enemies. His utter lack of principles has been recognized by numerous legitimate journalists and even by prosecutors in Texas (yes, TEXAS) who investigated one of his videos at the request of a local judge and concluded that it “was little more than a canard and political disinformation.

Looking back on O’Keefe’s sorry resume of dishonest mudslinging, it became apparent that many of his legal adversaries sprung from his own poisoned well of associates. There was Nadia Naffe, who alleged that O’Keefe held her against her will in a barn and may have drugged her. And there was Daniel Franciso, the executive director of his Project Veritas organization, who sued him for wrongful termination. And there was Richard Valdes, another top staffer, who refused to strong-arm a volunteer into acting as an agent provocateur and inciting violence against police officers. He was also fired by O’Keefe and is considering legal action. And finally, there was Izzy Santa, one of his colleagues who blew the whistle on a perverse plot to attempt to seduce CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau on his “Love Boat.”

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas is a small operation, but has already accumulated four ex-associates who have alleged unethical or illegal practices by O’Keefe. That’s a pretty embarrassing record. But it is no more embarrassing than the stacks of videos he has produced that have been repudiated as lies and castigated for their routine use of deceptive editing and manipulation.

When viewed all together, it quickly becomes obvious that O’Keefe is running a hatchet job shop and that he is just as willing to screw over his employees as he is his video victims. For as long as he has been crawling along the floorboards of society, people in his crosshairs have had to be careful not to fall into one of traps. But now it is just as obvious that anyone considering working for him had better think at least twice before trusting this cretin.

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The Crackpot Conspiracy Theory That Got Fox News To Support A Democrat

Predicting the political biases of Fox News has never required a crystal ball or a gifted clairvoyant. Their devoted support of Republicans has earned them recognition as the PR division of the GOP. So what would have to occur to persuade Fox News to speak approvingly of a Democrat?

The events surrounding the indictment of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez for corruption provide a rare look into the prerequisites for Fox News to stray from their Republican partiality. The specific factors that would drive Fox to defy their nature and support a Democrat become glaringly obvious in the light of the Menendez affair.

Fox News Menendez

First and foremost, the opportunity to disparage President Obama is a temptation too great for Fox News to resist. Therefore, by spinning this indictment as an assault on a senator who has been critical of the President, Fox can accuse Obama of engaging in a distasteful display of political retaliation. This argument goes that the White House applied pressure to the Department of Justice to file the charges in order to punish Menendez for opposing the President on his policies regarding Cuba and Iran.

The only thing wrong with this conspiracy theory is – everything. The investigation of Menendez began years ago, long before the Cuban and Iranian issues were ever on the table. Obama would have had to know in advance that Menendez was going to defy him on these issues in the future, which even Obama’s harshest opponents would not suggest he could do. What’s more, there was no indication that Menendez would ever be a thorn in Obama’s agenda given that he has always been a loyal Democrat who voted with his party and the President 97% of the time. That places him as the thirteenth most reliable Democrat, above party stalwarts like Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid.

The notion that Obama would sabotage the career of such a loyal ally is especially absurd considering that, should he be convicted and forced to resign from the Senate where Democrats are already in the minority, New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, would be in a position to name his replacement. So this theory requires the assumption that Obama would trade a solidly Democratic senator who voted for most of his legacy initiatives (ObamaCare, the Dream Act, disapproval of KeystoneXL, repeal of DOMA, etc.) for a Christie-appointed Republican. The only people who would buy that are still looking for the film studio in New Mexico where the moon landing was faked – and Fox News viewers.

It is not coincidental that Fox has chosen this controversial senator to hitch their wagon to. Republicans are notoriously forgiving of politicians accused of corruption. They regarded the charges against, and conviction of, former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell to be politically motivated as well. They supported the candidacy of New York congressman Michael Grimm while he was facing 22 felony counts (He was convicted after winning reelection). And three of the GOP’s current batch of governors considering 2016 presidential campaigns (Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry) have active investigations against them in progress. From their perspective, Menendez is just their kind of guy.

Note that this affinity for scandal-plagued pols is only valid if the scandal is related to financial malfeasance. When Menendez was accused of sexual misconduct by Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller (among other right-wing rags), Fox News and their Republican allies were quick to condemn him. However, they failed to apologize after learning that the charges stemmed from “witnesses” who were paid to lie. Some accounts charged that the payments came from people connected to the Daily Caller. In addition to the media sources who jumped on this faux scandal, the Republican National Committee also took it up with a rather offensive anti-Menendez campaign.

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Finally, it goes without saying that if the DOJ had not indicted Menendez, Fox News would be throwing a tantrum over what they would call a travesty of justice engineered by a lawless White House trying to protect one of their own. So, as usual, Fox has constructed a lose-lose scenario for the President. But anyone approaching this with a sliver of functioning grey matter would see the ludicrous assumptions that would have to be made in order to believe the Fox spin. Luckily for Fox News, their audience would flunk the “sliver of functioning grey matter” test.

Bill O’Reilly’s Cavalcade Of Lies: A Handy Collection Of The Damage – So Far

Three weeks ago News Corpse published an article revealing that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News had been less than truthful about his alleged exploits as a “war” correspondent. Two weeks later Mother Jones Magazine did an even more thorough analysis of O’Reilly’s pathological embellishments with solid evidence of blatant dishonesty. Ever since then the flow of embarrassing revelations that expose O’Reilly as a self-aggrandizing, jet-powered ego has run non-stop.

Bill O'Reilly

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ONE: The parade of falsehoods began with O’Reilly’s claim to have been “on the ground in active war zones” during the Falkland Islands war with the United Kingdom. He wasn’t. And now there is video of him reporting from Buenos Aires, Argentina that contradicts the accounts he gave afterward.

TWO: O’Reilly also claimed to have been outside the Florida home of George de Mohrenschildt where he said that he heard the shotgun blast that marked his suicide. De Mohrenschildt was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to testify at a congressional hearing on the JFK assassination. However, a recording of a contemporaneous phone call shows that O’Reilly wasn’t even in Florida when de Mohrenschildt died.

THREE: On another occasion, O’Reilly told a story about how he “saw nuns get shot in the back of the head” in El Salvador. That also was not true and O’Reilly himself admitted it in a statement that said he had actually just seen some “images of violence” but did not witness the incidents himself. Oddly, while admitting that his original assertions were false, he neither apologized nor acknowledged any wrongdoing.

FOUR: This was a similar case where O’Reilly spoke of his visit to Northern Ireland. While there he claimed to have witnessed bombings, however, when challenged Fox News issued a statement similar to the one about El Salvador that said he had merely seen pictures.

FIVE: Then there was the time that O’Reilly was covering the riots in Los Angeles sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King. He claimed to have been the target of attacks by rioters, however, his associates covering the story deny that any of them were assaulted or injured. They do, however, contend that some tensions flared due to O’Reilly being an asshole.

These fabrications by the guy who pretends to be running a “No Spin Zone” are hardly the only times he has lied. There have been numerous other episodes including bragging about winning two Peabody Awards (he didn’t), and claiming to be a registered Independent (he was a Republican for several years at the time).

Some other incidents may not have been lies technically, just horribly wrong statements that he refused to correct. For instance, he once argued that there were no homeless veterans in America; as proof that his boycott of France was working he offered a report by the “Paris Business Review,” which does not exist; and he insisted, after doing extensive research, that no one on Fox ever said that people who didn’t pay ObamaCare penalties would be subject to prison. PolitiFact gave that one a “Pants on Fire.”

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After NBC suspended Brian Williams for six months for a single incident of embellishing his experiences in Iraq, it seems like a fair and balanced review of O’Reilly’s behavior would net him a suspension of two or three years. Of course, Fox News does not generally hold itself to the standards of journalistic ethics to which real news enterprises adhere. Nevertheless, O’Reilly and Fox News should not be allowed to sweep these fibs under the floorboards. They must be forced to correct the record, submit to punishment, apologize to their audience as well as to those whose valor they stole, and make a good faith effort to ensure that it does not happen again.

Short of that, we must make sure that the truth is disseminated widely and continues to be raised whenever Fox or O’Reilly seek the trust of the public they are so badly abusing. If they don’t atone in some manner for their misdeeds, then news consumers must be reminded continuously that Fox News and Bill O’Reilly are charlatans that cannot be trusted to tell the truth. So keep the pressure on and let any advertisers know that you don’t appreciate them supporting unabashed liars.

Fox News Helps Bill O’Reilly Defend His Combat Lies By Lying Even More

[Be sure to see this update (2/22/15) with O’Reilly’s interview on Fox’s MediaBuzz]

Two weeks ago News Corpse reported that Bill O’Reilly had committed substantially the same sins of historical “embellishment” that got NBC’s Brian Williams a six month suspension. He said on numerous occasions that he had been personally involved in combat situations where his life was at risk. None of it was true.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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This week David Corn of Mother Jones did a more in-depth article that documented additional instances of O’Reilly misrepresenting his war reporting. Corn’s piece was a fair investigation into O’Reilly’s own accounts of his past that significantly differ from reality. It’s a must read to understand the full measure of O’Reilly’s dishonesty.

Not surprisingly, Fox News and O’Reilly himself are hitting back hard to dispute Corn’s well researched article. O’Reilly has resorted to the most childish sort of response by calling Corn names such as “guttersnipe, irresponsible, liar,” and that old O’Reilly stand-by, “far left zealot.” What he never does is refute a single charge made in the article with any facts. The whole of O’Reilly’s defense is his insistence that “Everything I’ve reported about my journalistic career is true.” If that’s so, then why doesn’t he prove it?

The Fox Nation posted an advance transcript of O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo that he delivers at the start of every broadcast. This is possibly the first time that has ever been done, which speaks to the gravity of this problem and how seriously O’Reilly considers the potential fallout. In the transcript O’Reilly repeats the insults aimed at Corn that he previously gave to reporters and adds more invective directed to his publisher, saying “Mother Jones … which has low circulation … considered by many the bottom rung of journalism in America.”

The “many” to which O’Reilly refers is likely his family and the dimwits who watch his program. In the real world Mother Jones is a respected publication that has distinguished itself by winning numerous journalism awards including honors from the National Press Club, The PEN American Center, American Society of Magazine Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, and a 2012 George Polk Award for Corn’s investigation of the now famous 47% speech by Mitt Romney. The Polk Award may have provided the harshest sting because it is one that O’Reilly was caught lying about having received himself. It was now-Sen. Al Franken who exposed that O’Reilly fib.

Rushing to O’Reilly’s aid is Fox’s media analyst and host of MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. In an article posted to the Fox News website, Kurtz whitewashes O’Reilly’s self-mythologizing by asserting that “the Mother Jones piece appears to turn on semantics.” Then Kurtz posts some of O’Reilly’s false statements that are not remotely semantic in nature. For instance:

–In a 2001 book, O’Reilly said: “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.”

–In a Washington panel discussion, O’Reilly said: “I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.”

–In a 2004 column, O’Reilly wrote: “Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.”

Kurtz writes that in these statements “the dispute comes down to O’Reilly’s shorthand use of the Falklands and the term “war zone.” Huh? What on Earth does that mean? Is Kurtz excusing outright lies with the explanation that O’Reilly was using the lies as shorthand for the truth, and therefore it’s OK?

It’s clear from the statements that Kurtz himself referenced that O’Reilly had put himself “on the ground in active war zones,” and said that he was “there…in the Falklands,” and that he “survived a combat situation in Argentina.” Since there was no combat anywhere in Argentina other than on the Falkland Islands, O’Reilly is implying that that’s where he was. Which he wasn’t. He also was not in Argentina “during the Falklands war,” but arrived after it was over.

Kurtz ignored all of these obviously mis-factual statements in order to absolve O’Reilly of any guilt. Later Kurtz writes that “Corn’s own piece largely backs up O’Reilly’s account of the dangerous situation.” No, actually, it does not. Corn did point out that some of the statements O’Reilly made were corroborated by other accounts, but he never came close to dismissing the multiple assertions by O’Reilly (like those above) that were blatantly false.

In the end Kurtz attempted an awkward exoneration of O’Reilly by claiming that Corn’s reporting was “a far cry from a bogus claim of having been shot down in a helicopter.” How so? By any fair standard O’Reilly’s remarks that placed him in harm’s way on a battlefield (“almost been killed three times”) are at least three times worse than Williams’ mis-remembering of a single event.

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O’Reilly’s lies are a repulsive attempt to exalt himself and his faux bravado. He has repeated these lies for decades in books, on television, and in personal appearances, and now, even after being caught, he refuses to apologize. If anyone deserves to be suspended for an extended period of time, it’s O’Reilly. But he has nothing to worry about on that score. Fox News has never acquitted itself in a respectable manner, particularly when it comes to journalistic integrity. They aren’t about to start now.

However, the stain O’Reilly leaves has now spread to Howard Kurtz, whose groveling and desperate defense is deceitful, unethical, and embarrassing. He should be suspended as well for aiding and abetting O’Reilly’s fraudulent fabrications. Of course, Kurtz will also escape accountability. It’s a perk that comes with working for Fox News. Unscrupulous dishonesty will never be a cause for punishment. At Fox News it is more likely to earn a promotion.

UPDATE: The festering ego we know as Bill O’Reilly came to his own rescue last night by devoting a chunk of his program to piling on more lies about his war reporting. He recruited his pals Bernie Goldberg and Geraldo Rivera as his character witnesses. Meanwhile, actual war correspondents are coming forward to criticize O’Reilly and veterans groups are calling for Fox News to take O’Reilly off the air:

VoteVets: “NBC acted completely appropriately in taking Brian Williams off the air and looking into claims he’s made over the years. Fox News has to do the same thing. […] Men and women have fought, died, been wounded, and scarred by war. There are many journalists who actually were in the crossfire, who died, trying to bring the story to the American people. What Bill O’Reilly has done is steal their valor, and it is wrong.”

SCANDALOUS: Fox News Is Appalled That Obama Didn’t Jet To Paris For Unity Rally

While more than a million people took to the streets to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, the miscreants at Fox News were concocting new ways to exploit the tragedy to demean President Obama. A rapidly forming theme at Fox is that Obama snubbed the rally by not dropping everything and boarding Air Force One to Paris.

Fox Nation

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It needs to be noted that most of the world leaders who attended the rally were not more than an hour away from Paris. Obama’s trip from Washington, D.C. would have been more than five hours there, and five more back. The U.S. Ambassador to France was already there, as was Attorney General Eric Holder. They could both ably represent the United States in a rally that had an important symbolic purpose, but would not have any productive impact on diplomacy or other legal matters related to international terrorism.

A presidential visit might have been nice, but it certainly was not required. And the fact that Obama is now taking heat for not attending is irrelevant because he would have been criticized just the same if he had gone. It’s falls into the Fox News editorial mission of being against the President, no matter what he does or says. I can just imagine the headlines that Fox and other right-wing media would have generated if he had chosen to go to Paris:

  • President Obama Spends $12,000,000 To Attend Street Rally In Paris
  • President Obama Jets To Paris While Congress Is Working To Restore Jobs In America
  • President Obama Links Arms With Socialist French President François Hollande, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
  • President Obama Pays Tribute To Murdered Parisian Cartoonists, But Would Not Attend Funeral of Murdered New York Cops
  • President Obama’s Security Detail Disrupts Paris Unity Rally

See how easy it is when you know how Fox thinks?

The tone of the article on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, suggests not only that Obama doesn’t care about the victims (note the dismissive wave), but also that he must be pro-terror for not participating in an anti-terror rally (even though it was actually a “unity rally”). But it is hard not to notice that there weren’t any Republicans there either, so they must all be uncaring terrorist supporters too.

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In the final analysis, Fox News has demonstrated that they will take the most trivial things and blow them up into phony scandals that draw attention away from the issues that matter most. And they will exploit any opportunity to malign the President or other Democrats regardless of how it harms individuals, institutions, or the nation.

[Addendum] As Fox doubles and triples down on this alleged story, let the record show that of the 50 leaders reported to have participated in the Paris staged photo-op (they didn’t actually march in the rally), 35 (70%) were from nearby European countries. Most of the remainder were from Africa and the Middle East. There was only one from the Americas (Canada sent their Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney). There were none from Asia.

For your sharing pleasure (on Facebook):

Fox News Obama Paris Headlines

Scandal Roulette On Fox News: This Week’s Winner: IRS Emails

With the midterm election now relegated to a past too distant for Teabaggers to recall, Fox News is struggling to advance their scandal mongering. They have dropped Ebola entirely. Benghazi was just debunked by the Republican-run House Intelligence Committee. There haven’t been any terrorist attacks or gun confiscations or Christmas tree burnings that they could blame on President Obama. So that pretty much leaves his birth certificate or IRS emails.

Fox News Scandal Roulette

On Yesterday’s episode of the ong-running soap opera “America’s News Headquarters,” co-host Julie Banderas launched into a frightening alert that some secret documents that were being cloistered in the dark crevices of the White House basement were miraculously discovered.

“Topping the news this hour: First they were lost, seemingly forever, 30,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails at the center of a massive IRS scandal. But today…get this. They have been found. We begin today with the government’s version of lost and found. Federal investigators have recovered as many as 30,000 emails of Lois Lerner. Remember, they had gone missing?”

Get this, people! There were 30,000 of these suckers that were scattered to depths of Hades, but now they have been captured and returned the land of the living conspiracy nuts.

What needs to be known about this revelation is that it is not really much of a revelation at all. The data that is being reported as “recovered” comes from Treasury Department computer back ups that had previously been identified as part of an ongoing investigation. Nobody at Fox News has seen the contents of these allegedly scandalous documents, but that doesn’t stop them from describing the scale of the scandal as “massive.”

Furthermore, there is a possibility that the recovered documents are duplicates of data already delivered to the committees in Congress investigating the matter. Since they have already received over 67,000 such documents, it may be more a probability than a possibility.

There has been no evidence of any effort to conceal information. Indeed, this new crop of data was found by analysts with the Treasury Department, demonstrating their good intentions and thoroughness. And after two years there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing by the administration. It is very likely that any information culled from this data dump will be just as benign as everything else that has been revealed so far.

In the meantime, however, Fox News can squeal with glee as they falsely characterize data that they have never seen and have no idea whether it reveals any misbehavior. Just planting the notion in the minds of their dimwitted viewers is enough, because they will retain it even after it has been debunked. After all, Fox has already labeled this a massive scandal despite not having any proof.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Scandal Roulette. Will Fox find Obama’s Muslim prayer rug? Will they uncover secret videos with his gay lover? Will they find the ashes of the Constitution baked into a gluten-free muffin in Michele’s Che Guevara gym bag? Only time will tell.

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Benghazi A Mini Iran/Contra? Fox News Should Ask Their Own In-House Felon

Earlier this week Fox News helped to promote a shoddily constructed story by a discredited reporter about an alleged effort by the State Department to dispose of documents that might be harmful to then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The story, that they laughably called a “bombshell,” did not provide a single bit of evidence and relied entirely on allegations by a former State Department official who had been reprimanded for being “grossly inadequate” and who clearly had an ax to grind.

Fox News Oliver North

Today Fox News upped the ante by adding new scenarios with even less connection to reality. On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a segment with retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer saying that…

“Anything that could have got them into trouble, Colonel, was grinded up, was shredded, and the review board never got all the documents.”

Of course, none of that was ever verified, and the allegations were merely speculation by someone who the reporter admits never witnessed any such thing. So in order to take the focus off of how thin this whole fictional account is, Kilmeade allowed his guest to offer up a complete fantasy that neither of them bothered to support with any facts.

Shaffer: Some of these documents we’re talking about were probably the direct link to some of the bad incidents, to include the holy grail here that nobody wants to talk about, is the obtaining of weapons from the Libyan rebels, moving them out of the country, to the Turks, through Turkey to the Syrian rebels. Some of those rebels ended up being the ISIS threat we’re now facing.

Kilmeade: So you mean this is almost like a mini Iran/Contra thing?

Shaffer responded “Absolutely,” to this question, apparently ignorant of what the Iran/Contra scandal was all about. Shaffer’s invention of a plot to transfer weapons that were lawfully provided to Qaddafi foes in Libya, to dubious characters in Syria, is nothing like Iran/Contra, and there is no evidence that it even happened. In the Reagan era scandal weapons were illegally sold to Iran while the nation was under an international arms embargo. The proceeds were then used to illegally fund the Nicaraguan Contras, which was explicitly prohibited by federal law.

The funny thing about this is that Fox News could have gotten all of this straight if they had instead interviewed their own employee, Oliver North. It was North who ran the Iran/Contra affair and was convicted by a jury for his felonious behavior. However, he is now a Fox News anchor and military commentator for the network. You have to wonder whether it was his violations of federal and international arms trading laws, or his perjury conviction for lying under oath to Congress, that made him such an attractive candidate for employment at Fox.

Actually, it may be overly optimistic to suggest that North would have straightened anybody out, since he has been lying about the scandal for more than two decades. But it’s interesting that Fox is now using Iran/Contra as an example of grossly unlawful practices with their comparison to the fiction they are hyping about the Clinton State Department purging documents. If this “holy grail” that they are now trying to smear Clinton with is so bad that they are calling it a “mini Iran/Contra,” then how can they ethically employ the leader of the actual, full-sized Iran/Contra?

Of course, the answer to that question is that Fox News has never considered it within their charter to act ethically. That makes their job of lying and distorting the news a lot easier.

Note To Fox News: Rick Perry Was Not Indicted For “Veto Abuse”

Ever since a Texas Grand Jury handed down an indictment against Gov. Rick Perry, most of the Republican establishment and right-wing press have deliberately mischaracterized the nature of the criminal allegations. They all are marching lock-step in an effort to defend official abuse of power by pretending that the violation was due to the execution of a veto, something that is entirely permissable by a governor in Texas.

Fox News Rick Perry

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The problem with their defense of Perry, which he has adopted himself, is that the indictment is not for his having issued a veto. It is for his having threatened an elected public servant in an attempt to coerce her to resign.

Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney for Travis County, has problems of her own. She was arrested and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and behaved poorly during the arrest and initial incarceration. However, a Grand Jury investigated her situation at the time and found no cause to indict her for official misconduct.. Indeed, her misconduct, while egregious, was all personal and unrelated to her duties as a D.A. All of her misbehavior occurred while she was drunk, and when she sobered up she took responsibility, paid her price to society, and promised not to run for reelection.

That wasn’t good enough for Perry. He demanded that she resign immediately and threatened political vengeance if she refused to obey his command. Lehmberg stood fast and Perry carried out his retribution by slashing funds to her department. And that is where he went wrong.

Perry defended himself against the indictment by saying that he has the authority under the Texas constitution to issue vetoes. And in this case he was taking action because he had lost confidence in Lehmberg and that the public deserved better. Perhaps. But that is not within his jurisdiction to decide. Lehmberg was elected to her office by the voters of Travis County and does not answer to the Governor. Perry has no authority to demand the removal of elected officials or to exact retribution on them if they defy his orders. Perry’s own remarks following the indictment reveal the flaw in this line of defense. He said that indictments are…

“…not the way we settle political differences in this country. We settle [them] at the ballot box.”

Exactly (and he may want to relay that message to John Boehner). And since Lehmberg had already pledged not to run, the issue was settled. Perry cannot unilaterally overturn the choice of the voters. And he cannot threaten elected officials as a means of carrying out his unlawful bullying. By vetoing the funds to the D.A.’s Public Integrity Unit, Perry was attempting to force his will on Lehmberg. Even worse, he was actually doing harm to the people of Texas who rely on that agency to keep politicians (like Perry) from engaging in corruption.

It is typical of right-wing media to absolve Republicans of any criminal wrongdoing on a strictly partisan basis. It’s the reason why every investigation of a conservative is portrayed as political. That’s how they reacted to the charges against Dinesh D’Souza (who later pleaded guilty to election fraud), and Sen. David Vitter (who later pleaded guilty to his association with prostitutes), and James O’Keefe (who later pleaded guilty to unlawful activity in the office of a U.S. senator), and more recently New Jersey governor Chris Christy who is being investigated for abuse of power himself. I could go on and on and…

Perry’s fate will rest on a jury’s decision of whether or not he exceeded his authority in threatening Lehmberg to resign, not on the veto he used as his muscle. In the meantime, the media is also on trial, and when Fox News and others misrepresent the facts in order to whitewash the crime, they must be judged guilty as well.

How Inept Is This Republican Congress? More Inept Than You Ever Imagined

If it seems to you that that President Obama has been under an investigative microscope since the moment he took office, it’s only because that’s pretty much true. Republicans were determined to foil anything positive that this president placed on his agenda, and their primary method of achieving that end has been perpetual investigations of trumped up scandals.

Benghazi

But even with their single-minded devotion to destroying this presidency, the House GOP has not produce any evidence of wrongdoing that implicated the White House. Of course, if their purpose was merely to keep the nation from enjoying the benefits of a productive government, Republicans can claim some success. They have certainly obstructed the creation of millions of jobs; progress on environmental protection; reforms of health care and immigration and tax policies; and numerous other initiatives that might have advanced the country’s well being. But any actual manifestations of scandal have been nonexistent.

To illustrate the level of incompetence attributable to these Tea Party hacks, it is useful to put their job performance into historical perspective. One way to do this is to compare their progress with that of prior congressional sessions working on similarly lofty projects. And since there has been so much talk of impeachment of late, it seemed like that would make a good model for comparison.

So get this: From the date that the U.S. Senate voted to establish a select committee to investigate Watergate, until the resignation of President Nixon, it took about 15 months. To reiterate, that’s from the date that the committee was approved, through the maze of contested hearings, the presentation of evidence, the White House defense, and all the way through the conclusion with a disgraced (and obviously guilty) president stepping down, only a little more than a year transpired.

Compare that to the current House Committee on Oversight’s investigation of whether the IRS discriminated against conservative organizations. Those hearings began 16 months ago. So they have already exceeded the time allotted to impeaching Nixon. However, there has not been a single shred of incriminating evidence uncovered. Plus, if you count from the time the Ways and Means Committee began their inquiries, it has been over 38 months. And these hearings are still continuing.

Let’s also compare the House hearings on Fast and Furious, the botched gun trafficking sting that actually began in the Bush Administration. But limiting this to just the Obama era, Congress has been investigating this since June 2011 – 38 months and counting. And nothing of substance has come from it.

The granddaddy of the Obama era pseudo-scandals has to be Benghazi. Over at Fox News they are suffering from a rare form of Benghazi Tourettes, spitting out the word every few seconds for no apparent reason other than to stir up their dimwitted viewers. So far, the congressional investigations into this have been ongoing for 23 months, with nothing to show for it. And on this issue they have been the most insistent that there is a correlation to Watergate. In fact, the Watergate angle has been an obsession that they tie to their wet dreams of impeachment.

Even the impeach-happy congress of the Clinton era took far less time to conduct hearings and actually try the President for high crimes and misdemeanors, than it has taken for any of the current Congress to even find a crumb of presidential misbehavior. From the inception of the House proceedings to impeach Clinton, until his acquittal in the Senate, it took all of four and a half months. If you count from the date that the Drudge Report posted its tabloid article identifying the Monica Lewinsky affair, it was still only 13 months.

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To sum up, every one of the current phony scandals, that are wastefully consuming time and taxpayer dollars, are exceeding that spent on the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. And none of these scandals have produced any hint of wrongdoing. That’s fairly conclusive proof that the Republicans serving in Congress now are profoundly incompetent. There are really only three possible explanations for this. Either 1) There is no evidence and they are wasting everyone’s time, or 2) There is evidence, but these blockheads are too stupid to stumble over it, or 3) They don’t give a damn about evidence, they are only trying to smear the President.

Either way, they need to be relieved of their duties at the earliest opportunity, which would be this November. That makes it the responsibility of American voters to step up and do their duty. All you have to do is vote. And rest assured, if you do not, this GOP idiocy will continue for the next two years and will likely be escalated into a full-blown impeachment of Obama. For God’s sake, don’t let that happen.