WTF? Fox News Links Bill Cosby’s Alleged Sexual Abuse To Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects

Earlier this year Fox News fortified their rabidly right-wing roster of Republican PR flacks by hiring Roger Stone, a veteran GOP dirty trickster and notorious Clinton hater. Stone cut his teeth in the nastiest campaigns of Richard Nixon and in 2008 he founded a group to oppose Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign that he called “Citizens United Not Timid,” or C.U.N.T. He said that the group’s mission was “to educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is.”

Hillary Clinton WTF

Well, Fox is getting their money’s worth as Stone makes appearances on the “news” network spewing outrageous allegations and vile insinuations that set the bar for decency at new lows. Last week Stone visited the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes at Fox & Friends (video below) to hurl his trademark insults and innuendo. He was asked by Elizabeth Hasselbeck for some “insight with Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Wall Street.” Stone’s answer began predictably by asserting that it “causes her real problems.” Of course, if she had no relationship with Wall Street that would also be a problem. Fox is hard-wired so that anything that happens, or doesn’t happen, is a problem for Democrats. But then he swerved to inject an unrelated criticism from far-right field.

“Frankly, the much greater issue is the new public Bill Cosby scandal, which is gonna cause a reexamination of the problems of Bill Clinton and what Hillary knew about those actions and what she did to suppress them. So I think the Bill Cosby issue, as it were, could be a real problem for Bill Clinton and, therefore, for Hillary Clinton.”

Yes. That’s “the much greater issue.” A twenty year old incident of marital infidelity that is in no way analogous to Bill Cosby. Clinton’s affairs were consensual and, by all accounts, they stopped twenty years ago. You can be sure that if he were fooling around now some tabloid would have uncovered it. The notion that the Cosby controversy would spark a reexamination of Bill Clinton exists only in Stone’s perverted mind. Nobody cares about any of that, as evidenced by Clinton’s high approval ratings. If anything, it would be a reminder that the Clintons worked through their difficulties and preserved their marriage, affirming their family values.

The fact that Fox News employs a despicable character like Stone is proof that they have no interest in ethical journalism. But he is only the tip of the viceberg. Fox’s cast of characterless mudslingers include Karl Rove, who said that Clinton is too “old and stale” for America; Dinesh D’Souza, who said that the young Clinton looks like a hippy (and young Obama looks like a thug); Edward Klein who thinks that Chelsea Clinton was the spawn of Bill after raping his lesbian wife, Hillary. If there is anyone who still thinks that Fox News is either fair or balanced they had better seek professional help and massive quantities of medication as quickly as possible.

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So F**KING What: Hillary Clinton Is OLD And Fox News Wants You To Know It

Now that the midterms are out of the way, Fox News can concentrate on the 2016 presidential race, and that means relentless and asinine criticisms of prospective Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In fact, the obsessive bashing has already begun with Fox pulling sentence fragments out of context and making fun of her laugh. And now they are raising an issue that is certain to register with their overwhelmingly elderly audience: Millennials Have No Idea Hillary Clinton Is Old.

Fox Nation Hillary Clinton

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That’s right, Fox News thinks it’s important to know that young Americans don’t know how old Clinton is. And the reason they find significance in this is…Oh, who the hell knows. Perhaps they think that young voters won’t support a 67 year old candidate. But if that’s true they would also have to dispense with many Republicans who are even older than Clinton, including the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

This is an insult to every senior citizen in the country. There is a distinct odor of ageism in it that compliments Fox’s racism, jingoism, homophobia, and other assorted flavors of bigotry. What other purpose could there be for making an issue of this rather bland factoid?

The article that Fox published on their lie-riddled Fox Nation website was sourced to the uber-rightist Daily Caller, which happens to be run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. in the piece it is reported that “a new Pew Research poll” found that only 27% of 18-29 year olds were able to correctly say Clinton is in her sixties. On the surface that would seem to be flattering to Clinton who appears younger than her years. But Fox wants to make sure it is seen as an insult.

However, digging a little deeper and you find that this isn’t a new poll at all. Pew published this data back in March as part of a larger survey that also showed the public as generally supportive of Clinton. She was viewed by majorities as being tough, honest, and a plurality thought that this old broad has new ideas.

This isn’t the first time that Fox has gone after Clinton based on her age. Earlier this year Fox contributor Karl Rove lashed out at Clinton saying…

“In American politics, there’s a sense you want to be new, you don’t want to be too familiar, you want to be something fresh, you don’t want to be something old and stale.”

Exactly, You don’t want something old and stale like Ronald Reagan who was older than Clinton when he took office. You don’t people like Fox News viewers whose average age is 69 years old. You don’t want people who have a past filled with experience. If you’re Fox News you just want people whose thinking is from the past. You want youngsters like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz who oppose civil rights and voting rights and women’s rights, and who advocate economic policies that favor the wealthy and were responsible for the worst recession in nearly a hundred years.

And finally, if you’re Fox News you have no problem insulting the largest demographic group that makes up your audience, not to mention the most reliable voting bloc among the citizenry. Nice work, Fox. Keep it up. You have just demonstrated that you hate senior citizens and you think Millennials are stupid.

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Ben Carson Sacked By Fox News As His Loony Presidential Bid Takes Shape

Dr. Ben Carson has no more chance of being elected president, or even getting the Republican nomination, than Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, or Montgomery Burns. Nevertheless, he is slated to appear in an hour-long infomercial (that he calls a documentary) that celebrates his journey from poverty to world renown as a pediatric brain surgeon.

His quixotic fantasy of being leader of the free world is entertained despite his numerous pronouncements of unadulterated wingnuttery. He is an unabashed conspiracy theorist whose delusions include assertions that President Obama is a tyrant; that the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is akin to slavery; and that America is very much like Nazi Germany. Not exactly the sort of soaring, patriotic oratory that is employed by most prospective presidential candidates.

Ben Carson

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The aforementioned television infomercial was the impetus for Fox News to terminate Carson’s contract as a network contributor. While Fox has a policy prohibiting active political candidates from being employed as on-air personalities, they have frequently ignored the policy. In the run-up to the 2012 presidential race, Fox permitted Sarah Palin to remain on the payroll despite her coy flirtation with running. And Fox still allows Mike Huckabee to host his own program even as speculation mounts as to his status as a candidate. But at least with regard to Carson, Fox is playing by the book.

The odds of Carson obtaining the GOP nomination are so remote that even Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace openly sneered at the thought. He asked Carson directly…

“Do you really want to spend the next two years begging people for money, shaking hands, eating a lot of bad meals, when I think you would agree at best you are a distinct long shot?”

Apparently the answer is “Sure, why not.” Carson has the benefit of a rabid cult following that has contributed millions of dollars to a Super PAC aimed at drafting him to run. And therein may be a hint as to what his true aspirations may be. He’ll need some excuse to spend all that money. And by launching a presidential campaign Carson can keep himself in the media spotlight where he can promote his books and speaking engagements. He can also raise his profile so that he can negotiate even richer contracts with Fox News or other media following his inevitable failure as a presidential contestant.

There is a constituency for Carson that he can amicably share with the likes of Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Alex Jones. He has promoted the writing of a Nazi sympathizer. He believes that the suffering of veterans neglected by the V.A. was a “gift from God.” And he even came to the defense of Vladimir Putin as champion of Christian values.

That’s why Carson will continue to be seen on Fox News, although not as an employee. He will still be invited to spew twisted opinions to the dimwitted Fox audience that eats up that sort of hog slop. That’s precisely what happened with former Fox contributor Scott Brown after he left to lose the senate race in New Hampshire. Speaking of which, after everything Fox did to promote his candidacy, Brown still lost.

However, there is another group of Americans that will be even more excited about a Carson candidacy: Liberals, Democrats, comedians, and lefty media bloggers. So bring it on, Benny. Your history of hysterical extremism is just what the doctor ordered. After all the bad news from the midterm election, this has really made my day.

[Extra] Carson now says “I feel fingers” of God driving his aspirations for the White House. Well, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Herman Cain, have all said the same thing, and we know how that turned out.

Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Election day 2014 sucked elephant balls. It is saddling America with a Republican senate that is notable for being unproductive and adversarial. It’s new leader is a hyper-partisan, Washington fossil whose only agenda is obstructionism. One of its new members is an Agenda 21 conspiracy nut who carries a gun to defend herself from the government she now represents. Florida and Kansas returned to office the two least popular governors in the country. And the right-wing noise machine is going to be gloating feverishly for weeks.

But the real story underlying this election is one that the media will almost certainly fail to address. Despite the election returns, America hates the Republican Party and its policies. The turnout is estimated to be about 38%. That means that the GOP victory was achieved with a majority of a little more than one-third of the electorate, or about 20%. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Republican agenda.

Election Turnout 2014

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The demographic makeup of the voters this year was decidedly older and whiter. It was also more concentrated in the South which accounted for 34% of all votes. The rest of the country came in a substantial nine to twelve points lower.

Just two years ago President Obama was resoundingly reelected along with increasing the number of Democrats in both houses of Congress. The turnout then was 58%, or 53% higher than 2014. Exit polls show that both parties are underwater in voter approval, but Democrats are still favored over Republicans 44% to 40%. Exit polling also gives Obama a 41% approval rating, compared to just 13% for Congress.

On the basis of this fractured and biased sliver of the electorate, Chris Wallace of Fox News declared this morning that “The Democratic Party brand is damaged.” But further examination of the exit polls says that isn’t true. On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change. And when asked about preferences for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton is leading every GOP opponent (Clinton 42%, Jeb Bush 29%, Rand Paul 26%, Chris Christie 24%, and Rick Perry 24%).

2016 holds more bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats. And with a popular and history-making candidate like Clinton that outcome is even more likely.

In the meantime, we can expect some epic battles to ensue. Although Mitch McConnell made some perfunctory remarks signalling bipartisan cooperation, his resume suggests a different course entirely. He told supporters last night that “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.” That coming from the man who presided over more filibusters than any senate in history.

But the battles will not be limited to those between the two parties. McConnell is going to experience some of the misery of John Boehner as he tries to herd the Tea Party contingent of his own party into some semblance of unity. Don’t expect Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst to fall obediently in line. In fact, Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing. He told Fox News last night that…

“I hope we begin serious, systematic, sober hearings, examining executive abuse, regulatory abuse, lawlessness, abuse of power. Whether it is IRS wrongly targeting citizens or the debacle of Benghazi and four Americans who lost their lives and why more was not done to save them, or whether it’s the lawlessness that pervaded Obamacare as the president and executive branch has tried to pick and choose which laws to follow. I hope we see serious oversight on those fronts.”

That’s a path that leads to increased animosity and the “perpetual conflict” that McConnell says he hopes to avoid. But with Cruz and Paul and Rubio amongst those in his caucus who are contemplating a presidential run, can McConnell prevent them from hijacking the senate for their own purposes? And will their purposes include attempts to impeach Obama as some Republicans and conservative pundits have already advocated?

The next two years are going to be a bumpy ride for both parties and, unfortunately, the American people. There is much that we cannot anticipate at this time. What we can safely assume is that the extremist, Tea Party wing of the GOP will deliver some histrionics and hilarity. And Fox News will cover all of it as if it were sober statesmanship. So buckle up, folks. And be glad that the ride is over in only two years.

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Whining On Fox News: Correspondent Sulks When Democratic Candidate Snubs Him

Poor thing. Fox News correspondent John Roberts went into a deep depression after he was rejected as a debate moderator by Democratic Senate candidate Michele Nunn of Georgia. Roberts took his mopey lament to Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News and complained about being shunned by meany Michele saying that…

“For some reason, the Nunn campaign just does not want to talk to Fox News […] They didn’t like the idea that someone from Fox would be moderating that debate, so out I went.”

Fox News Whining

Out he goes, into the cruel, cold world of right-wing hacks who make a career out of bashing Democrats and liberals. Now, “for some reason,” he is reduced to having only Cavuto and the rest of the conservative Fox machine into which his lonely teardrops can fall.

As usual, Fox is demonstrating their rank hypocrisy by criticizing Nunn for requesting another moderator (who turned out to be a local Fox affiliate anchor). But they haven’t been the least bit critical of Joni Ernst, the GOP senate candidate in Iowa, who has refused to grant ANY interviews with Iowa journalists. However, she did go on Fox News.

It’s laughable that Fox would try to extract sympathy for being shunned by a Democrat. They know damn well the reason. They are a brazenly hostile enterprise whose mission from day one was to smear progressive values and those who profess them. Roberts fits squarely into that mold, making him an inappropriate moderator for a fair and balanced debate. And in the same segment with Cavuto he provided evidence of why no one at Fox should preside over any debate when he admitted that Fox is just a communications vehicle for the Republican Party, saying that…

“In states where you’ve got to get independent, Republican votes, doing something with the Fox News Channel is something that they need to do.”

This complaint is even more laughable considering the fact that Republicans are the ones who wrote nixing debate moderators into their campaign handbook. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced last year that the party intended to handpick their debate moderators and would not countenance any whom they regarded as unfriendly. Discussing debate strategy with Fox News (who else?) he said that

“I think 23 debates is ridiculous, but the second thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.”

Somewhere Priebus got the notion that moderators from the press were supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And to that end he led the party to ban CNN and MSNBC from hosting any GOP primary debates. That leaves Fox News as the only cable news network that Priebus considers friendly enough to host his party’s debates.

While Republicans have openly declared that they have implemented a wholesale ban on moderators they don’t like from across the mediascape for the entire primary season, they are sorely miffed at a Democrat who asked to substitute a single moderator at a single a debate. So when Fox asks “Are candidates limiting media access?” you have to wonder why that is so disturbing to them when they don’t care at all if a whole political party does it. It really makes you feel sorry for them, but not in the way they hoped.

What’s Wrong With America? Why Is Anyone Voting Republican?

A new poll from Fox News affirms what virtually every other poll has found when people are asked to name the most important problem facing the country. And as James Carville noted long ago, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Economic Poll

The Fox poll had an overwhelming 43% of registered voters citing the economy as the most important issue. That was two and a half times more than the next three issues, immigration, healthcare, and foreign policy.

Nearly every economic indicator shows that the economy has been booming in recent years. The Obama administration has presided over the biggest and most enduring advance in fifty years. The Dow reached another all-time high today. Unemployment is 5.7%, nearly half of what Obama inherited from George W. Bush. GDP growth increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2014. Housing is up, interest rates are down, inflation is imperceptible, and consumer confidence rose in October to its highest level since 2007.

The only significant low points are average wages and public sector employment. In both of those matters it has been the Republican Party that has thrown obstacles into the path of progress. Democrats are universally in support of a minimum wage increase that economists agree would produce higher demand for goods and services, thus stimulating job growth. And Obama has been trying to drag the GOP along to allocate funds for infrastructure development which would not only create jobs, but improve the environment for businesses to succeed. Yet conservative naysayers continue to stifle these measures for no reason other than to hurt the President and his party.

Given the success on so many levels of the President’s economic record, and the fact that the economy is the number one issue on the minds of voters, the obvious question is: Why on Earth are Democrats struggling to hold their position in Congress? The American people ought to be rewarding success and punishing the obstacles to it. With a more cooperative legislative branch, Obama could achieve a great deal more in the last two years of his presidency.

And therein lies the answer to the question. The last thing the GOP wants is for Obama to be successful. It’s what they pledged on the eve of his first inauguration when Mitch McConnell declared that his top priority was to make Obama a one-term president. It’s what their de facto leader, Rush Limbaugh, pronounced when he said that he wants Obama to fail. It’s why they orchestrated a shutdown last year that achieved nothing but cost $24 billion. And it’s why they have a kneejerk opposition to anything that Obama proposes, even if it was originally proposed by a Republican.

Also notable is that the other issues cited as important to voters also have seen measurable improvement during the Obama years. Illegal immigration is way down, while simultaneously domestic responses to the plight of undocumented residents have become much more compassionate and rational. As for health care, more Americans are covered by insurance than ever, and at less cost. And their coverage is more comprehensive and cannot be denied due to preexisting conditions.

Nevertheless, midterm polling is inexplicably showing tight senate races in several battleground states. With all of the good news, Democrats should be running away with this. But Republicans have expertly managed a campaign of dishonest negativity that has distorted the debate and damaged the perception of Democratic candidates. They have also had the benefit of bottomless barrels of cash from billionaires like the Koch brothers with vested interests that do not align with those of ordinary Americans.

Still, in most of these states the Democrats would be leading comfortably if the poll queried the entire electorate. But when constraining the poll to “likely” voters, the numbers fall decidedly against the Democrats. That’s because many of the traditionally Democratic constituents tend to sit out midterm elections.

If Democrats can reverse that trend through voter education, and a strong ground game getting out the vote on election day, the pollsters and the Republicans and the media will be shocked by the results. But it will take money and hard work to do it. Any encouragement you can give to people you know to insure that they vote will pay off in dividends. Especially in races that are so close. And here are a couple of other ways you can help:

Contribute to or volunteer with…
MoveOn.org or Democracy for America

You’ll be glad you did. The work, calling other Democrats like yourself, is fun and rewarding. And any funds can help to expand the outreach. The alternative is to wake up Wednesday morning with the prospect of a senate run by Mitch McConnell where every committee chair is a Republican who wishes harm on this President and his agenda. Victory is not out of reach, but it will require some determination and commitment. So please consider everything that you can do to be a part of a major electoral upset that will put the Tea Party on its knees.

Rand Paul States The Obvious: The Republican Party Brand Sucks

Every now and then a politician will surprise people by saying something that is manifestly true. However, they often only resort to that strategy when it is also unarguably obvious or they have an absurd explanation for why the truth is what it is.

Sen. Rand Paul (KY-Tea Party) made just such a pronouncement yesterday while on the campaign trail for his Kentucky colleague, Mitch McConnell. The glaringly evident observation that Paul issued was that “The Republican Party brand sucks.”

Rand Paul

No, really? Who knew? Well, pretty much everybody except for GOP chair Reince Priebus and most of the cult-bound viewers of Fox News. Notwithstanding all of the media pouncing on President Obama’s low approval rating in recent polls, his 41% looks awfully good compared to the GOP’s ranking down in the low teens. So it’s understandable that Paul would seek to provide a tortured interpretation of reality to explain the public’s distaste for his party. And apparently it’s all the fault of colored folk.

Paul: For 80 years African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans. Why? Because of a perception. The problem is the perception that no one in the Republican Party cares.

Indeed there is a perception among African-Americans (and Latinos, and women, and gays, and youth, and seniors, and workers, and the poor) that Republicans don’t care about them. But it is a perception based on political reality. The GOP’s policies have been aimed straight at the heart of Americans who are not wealthy or otherwise privileged. When Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage, and cutting social security, and advocating tax reform that puts more money in the pockets of the rich while incentivizing corporations to send American jobs overseas, there will be a perception resulting from such deliberately harmful legislative practices.

What’s more, if African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans for 80 years, it may have something to do with the fact that throughout all of that time the Republicans have tried to suppress them by opposing the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and other measures aimed at insuring a more equal society. Even today the GOP has been fiercely fighting to impose obstacles to voting for minorities and other citizens they fear will vote against the GOP. Why on Earth would any of these disenfranchised Americans have a positive perception of Republicans?

Paul, it should be noted, is specifically among those who have advocated for policies harmful to African Americans. In an epic debate with Rachel Maddow he argued his position against parts of the Civil Rights Act, although he later denied he ever took such a position. This disparity is certain to come up again should Paul enter the primary for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, as many expect that he will.

So it is small wonder that the Republican Party brand sucks. It is more surprising that anyone might still hold it in high regard. But for Paul to carry this message as if he were positioned to fix the branding is ludicrous. And the notion that the GOP’s problems are merely related to perceptions, rather than substantive differences with their historical and current platform, is really just another example of why the party is so out of touch.

Fox News: Obama Plans To Flood U.S. With Foreign Ebola Patients

With just one week left before the consequential midterm election, the crackpot right-wing conspiracy theories are starting to erupt faster than they can be recorded. And the common theme among them is a frightening tale of some dastardly scheme devised by President Obama to rain misery on the American people who elected him twice.

Fox News Ebola to America

The latest plot uncovered by the intrepid reporters on Fox News is that Obama has a secret plan to import Ebola patients from West Africa into the United States where they will consume our scarce resources and infect our children. The plot was discovered by the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, who claims to have confidential information that came to him via an “inside source” within the administration. Naturally he takes this skimpy, unverifiable gossip to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. He tells her that…

“There’s increasing evidence they’re making those plans. Members of the media, my office, have received confidential communications saying that those plans are being developed. […] If you are concerned about this problem spreading – and this is a deadly disease that we’re even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it – we certainly shouldn’t be bringing in the patients.”

The alarmist anxiety of Rep. Goodlatte is typical of the fear mongering that Republican politicians and pundits engage in so frequently. And as usual he has no on-record evidence of his allegations. This is just another unattributed assertion from a source whose credibility can’t be ascertained.

Not surprisingly, when the State Department was approached for a response they unambiguously shot down the conspiracy theory saying…

“There are absolutely no plans to MEDEVAC non-Americans who become ill from West Africa to the United States. We have discussed allowing other countries to use our MEDEVAC capabilities to evacuate their own citizens to their home countries or third-countries, subject to reimbursement and availability. But we are not contemplating bringing them back to the U.S. for treatment. Allegations to the contrary are completely false.”

Once again Fox News jumped way ahead of a story that had no foundation to begin with, that turns out to be untrue. In the process they terrified several million of their gullible viewers who will have heard the initial false reports on Fox, but not the State Department’s refutation. Plus, the original story got picked up by numerous right-wing media outlets (i.e. Washington Times, Breitbart News, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, etc.) that further spread the phony report.

Compounding his fake controversy, Goodlatte demonstrated his ignorance of the issue by telling Kelly that…

“The risk, of course, is that we still don’t even know exactly how this disease is spread.”

But we do know exactly how this disease is spread. Goodlatte is just trying to make the problem even scarier by characterizing it as a mysterious malady that threatens us all. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of Fox News and the Republican Party to keep the public afraid as they contemplate the coming election. The GOP stands to gain by casting the administration as evildoers plotting to harm the nation. And the more frightened they can make voters, the more voters will vote against the President’s party. It is a tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism: (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

Rachel Maddow Deliciously Unravels The Fox News “Voter Fraud Frankenstein” Fallacy

Last Tuesday Megyn Kelly of Fox News hosted a segment on what she characterized as a frightening assault on democracy in Colorado as Democrats plotted to surreptitiously turn the “red meat state” blue. Setting aside the fact that Colorado has been a solid purple state for years, Kelly’s alarm was grossly misplaced and indicative of her extreme right-wing bias. She led off with a dire message for her easily spooked audience.

“Breaking tonight. With two weeks to the midterms we are getting warnings that a new law has opened the door to possible voter fraud in a critical senate race that could decide the balance of power in Congress.”

Fox News Voter Fraud

Saints preserve us. What malevolent disaster is looming over us now? Kelly “reported” that Colorado’s Democratic governor and legislature passed a new “first of its kind” law that “literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers.” And with a chastening glare she facetiously asks “What could go wrong?”

What indeed? Well, the first thing that could go wrong is that Kelly’s reporting is entirely false. When local reporters with KUSA TV contacted Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State he told them that there was no truth to the story. Rachel Maddow covered the misleading reporting by Kelly in a brilliant segment that broke down the shameless dishonesty that is the hallmark of Fox News:

Kelly has still failed to acknowledge or correct her false reporting, proving that the only fraud here is that committed by Fox News on their pathetically gullible viewers. But the story doesn’t end there.

Following Kelly’s thoroughly fictional “breaking” news opening, she introduced her guests Michelle Malkin and David Bossie who were there to promote their new crocumentary “Rocky Mountain Heist,” about alleged voter fraud in Colorado. But before the interview began, Kelly played the entire two minute trailer for the film uninterrupted, giving the deceitful project free advertising worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Malkin said the film unveils a “voter fraud Frankenstein,” but like every other right-wing allegation of voter fraud, she never provides any evidence. And in this case she doesn’t even offer an example of any the fraudulent activity she alleges.

Most appalling is Malkin’s apoplectic complaint that “hundreds of thousands of dollars from unknown donors were poured into these races to target them and turn the legislature blue.” And she has the gall to whine about this supposed assault on democracy while sharing the interview with the man that made unscrupulous political donations possible on an unprecedented scale. David Bossie is the President and Chairman of Citizens United, the organization whose Supreme Court ruling permitted donations from corporations and individuals in unlimited amounts that can be kept hidden from the public.

Bossie also told Kelly that he has no problem with the spending on the part of the Democrats, but complained of a lack of transparency. Talk about hypocrisy. It was his lawsuit that made it all possible and he argued in favor of it when it was to his benefit.

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So in this one segment of Kelly’s program she proliferated lies about the Colorado elections procedures, contributed valuable airtime to advertise a brazenly partisan documentary, and gave a platform to hypocritical right-wing propagandists to smear their Democratic foes just days before a consequential election. She provided no opportunity for the maligned Democrats to respond or for a representative of the other side to rebut the scurrilous charges. But that is typical of the absurdly tagged “fair and balanced” network that is neither. And it is the reason that Kelly is no better than Sean Hannity, or Glenn Beck, or any of the other ideologically prejudiced Fox mouthpieces past and present.

The GOP/Tea Party Post-Midterm Agenda: Impeach Obama

With a little more than one week until election day the Republican Party is still lacking any affirmative plan for how they will govern should they assume total control of Congress. They have no economic plan, no foreign policy, no terrorism response, no reforms for immigration, and certainly no programs to address climate change which they don’t believe exists. The whole of their political ideology is a negative fixation that rests on their blinding contempt for President Obama.

Mars Impeaches

Last summer GOP House Speaker John Boehner made a splashy announcement of his scheme to sue the President for having issued an executive order delaying the implementation of a component of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Never mind that Republicans usually oppose frivolous lawsuits and that the ObamaCare measure being delayed was one that Republicans also wanted to postpone, the lawsuit was heralded as a blow for righteousness and justice.

In truth, the lawsuit was a bone being thrown to the Tea Party who had been clamoring for impeachment. Boehner was seeking to pacify the drooling Teabaggers with a scaled back distraction. And now Politico is reporting that the lawsuit that garnered so much excitement has failed to materialize. There has been no progress made on its filing and it is not expected to proceed until sometime after the midterm election. No one even knows what the complaint will consist of. When asked back in June, Boehner responded “When I make that decision, I’ll let you know.” He still hasn’t made that decision.

Speculation by insiders is that the lawsuit has been benched because it might have have fired up Democrats to mobilize in advance of the election and to increase donations and turnout. So the motivations on the part of the GOP are purely political and not tied to any principles. What’s more, it’s confirmation that they intend to resume their litigation as soon as the election is no longer part of the mix.

Therefore, it is not implausible to assume that the fringe-right will also return to their wet dream fantasies of an Obama impeachment as well. With so many Republican operatives having expressed their interest in it, they are very likely to still harbor a desire to proceed. The Boehner lawsuit is a sort of legal appetizer before the main course. And since the issues that were previously discussed as the reasons for the lawsuit may be moot by the time they file (if ever), the only option left for the Obama-haters will be impeachment.

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Without the promise of the lawsuit to look forward to, the Tea Party will demand that they be given satisfaction. The Republican honchos know that they can’t win an election if the Teabaggers bolt. A recent Gallup poll asked voters to describe their motivation to vote in this election. Seventy-three percent of Tea Partiers responded that they were extremely/very motivated. Contrast that with other Republicans at 57%, and non-Republicans at 42% and you can see why the party is worried. You can also see why the party would be inclined to proceed with the impeachment demands of their right flank. Particularly after the much ballyhooed lawsuit fizzles.

In reality, the Tea Party is not as big a factor in national politics as the establishment Republicans believe. They are an ever decreasing group that is supported by less than 25% of the American people. Supporters of reproductive choice outnumber Tea Partiers. So do supporters of background checks for gun purchases, supporters of immigration reform, supporters of taxing the rich, supporters of alternative fuels, and many more progressive causes. Yet for some reason there has never been a poll to ascertain the motivation of those voters.

For most of the past six years the Republican Party has demonstrated itself to be a lily-livered appeaser of its worst elements. And there is no reason to expect them to change after November. So if you have an interest in advancing solutions to real problems in this country, rather than becoming mired in a bitter and partisan impeachment melodrama, you had better vote on November 4th, and make sure that all of your progressive friends and family do as well.

If you don’t think they’re crazy enough to do it, you haven’t been paying enough attention to John Boehner and Darrell Issa and Louis Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann and Steve King and Blake Farenthold and Steve Stockman and – oh hell, this could go on forever. Let’s just say the whole friggin’ congressional GOP caucus.

BUSTED: Pathological Liar James O’Keefe Is Caught Attempting To Commit Voter Fraud

Fresh on the heels of a pathetically dishonest scam in Kentucky, James O’Keefe took his medicine show to Colorado. This time his con was to entrap supporters of Democratic senator Mark Udall into agreeing to participate in a voter fraud scheme.

James O'Keefe

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According to the report published by Mother Jones, O’Keefe’s operatives approached Udall supporters and offered to help the campaign by submitting fraudulently obtained mail-in ballots.

“Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his twenties showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as ‘Nick Davis,’ and he said he was a University of Colorado–Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.”

Of course, the group that the phony “supporter” claimed to represent doesn’t exist and the staffer properly shot him down and sent him packing. But that didn’t stop the O’Keefe operation from trying it several more times. That is the key methodology of his hoax manufacturing outfit. He fishes around for a gullible victim and then throws out all of the evidence of people who did the right thing. It may take him ten or twenty times to find a sucker. Then he pretends that the few people he may have duped were the only ones he encountered. It’s an editing deception that defines O’Keefe’s unscrupulous activities.

On this occasion the O’Keefe con was cracked wide open. His minions were were unmasked and even he was recognized in a lame disguise as he tried to lie through another attempted political smear job. As noted previously, this convicted scumbag seems to have no limit to the copious quantities of shame he can endure at his own hand. And hopefully more people will be wary of this sort of unethical racket and continue to put him in his place.

For the record, here is a boilerplate background on James O’Keefe:
O’Keefe is best known for making an ass of himself on video while imagining an acclaim that is shared by no one outside of the Tea Party Home for the Chronically Delusional. Some of his other recent antics have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office, a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed, and a sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat.” More recently his “Cinema Veri-tasteless” earned him a rebuke from a team of Special Prosecutors in Texas (yes, Texas) who officially concluded that his video “was little more than a canard and political disinformation.” And he staged a remarkably juvenile stunt wherein he crossed the Rio Grande wearing an Osama Bin Laden mask.

Bill O’Reilly: American Women Are Emotional, Gullible, And Don’t Care About The Country

In his Talking Points Memo segment last night, Bill O’Reilly demonstrated his overt bigotry along with a pitifully shallow analysis of public polling. He cited a poll from Politico that found that 64% of respondents from battleground states believe that “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control.” O’Reilly then reported that the poll also found that if congressional elections were held today, 41% would vote for Democrats and 36% for Republicans.

Uh oh. O’Reilly must now find a reason for that snub of his conservative pals. So he contends that the poll results are illogical and blames the ignorant American people. He can’t understand why anyone would vote for a Democrat if 64% of the people think things are out of control. Let’s help him out.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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The main problem is that he is assuming that the people who think things are out of control hold the Democrats responsible for it. That is the result of an inherent tunnel-blindness that wingnuts like O’Reilly suffer from wherein everything bad is the fault of President Obama and the Democrats, and that the whole country concurs. In fact, every poll in recent years show that it is Congress that the people hold in contempt with an approval rating of about 12% (compared to Obama’s 41%), and those polls also show Republicans with a much lower approval rating than Democrats. So if the people believe that things are out of control, it is more likely that they blame the Republicans in Congress.

O’Reilly goes on to say that America is “a much weaker country” since Obama has been in office. To make make that argument requires O’Reilly to recall 2008 as a year that the United States had not just suffered the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression. He would have to have forgotten that there were 150,000 American troops slogging through battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. He would have to believe that a national deficit more than twice as large as the current one was evidence of weakness. He would have to prefer a nation where millions of Americans were unprotected by health insurance and threatened with bankruptcy and/or devastating medical problems. In short, he would have to be suffering from an acute form of ideological amnesia, because who in their right mind would want to return to the nightmare of 2008?

O’Reilly makes the absurd assertion that voting for Democrats is an act of selfishness and that “if you’re voting for the country, you’re less likely to support the Democrats.” That’s the old right-wing canard of calling your opponents unpatriotic. But it gets even worse. O’Reilly surmises that the reason people favor Democrats is emotion, and he puts the blame for that on women who he says, in effect, are too emotional and/or gullible to know what’s good for them. That, he says, is why “American women continue to favor Democrats, no matter what happens to the nation.”

Can right-wingers really still be confused about why so many Americans regard the GOP as engaging in a war on women? With their banner-carriers alleging that women are emotionally-driven dimwits who don’t care about the country, it seems pretty obvious that women would reject them. Yet the GOP continues to say these sort of idiotic and insulting things out loud, and on national television.

O’Reilly’s confusion as to why anyone would vote for a Democrat would be better expressed as why any woman would vote for a Republican. And that can be extended to why any African-American, Latino, working, or middle-class citizen would vote for the party that regards them as lazy, criminal, moochers, and spends all its time and effort tearing down democratic principles and obstructing progress on behalf of wealthy special interests and partisan prejudice.

Clinton-Hater Dick Morris May Have Just Guaranteed Hillary Clinton’s Election

There is almost no one in political punditry who has been more wrong, more often than Dick Morris. He was excommunicated from the Fox News family after he laughably predicted a landslide victory for Mitt Romney just a few days before his landslide loss. He later admitted that he was lying about his prediction in order to boost the Romney campaign. But perhaps the best example of his cluelessness was his book “Condi vs. Hillary,” in which he predicted that they would be the candidates in the 2008 election. But Morris got the Democratic nominee wrong; he got the Republican nominee wrong; and the Republican who Morris said could win if he were nominated (McCain) actually was nominated and lost. He couldn’t possibly have been more wrong.

How this cretinous loser ever gets asked to pontificate on anything is a mystery. It would be difficult to come up with an example of anything he ever got right. And now, as if to cement his reputation as a recidivist crackpot, Morris is claiming that “Hillary Clinton Orchestrated Panetta’s ‘Hit’ On Obama.” And the nutballs at Fox Nation giddily published it.

Fox Nation Dick Morris

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Is he FRIGGIN’ kidding? This is such an absurd and unsubstantiated piece of nonsense that it elevates Morris to new heights of idiotdom. The notion that Panetta could be coerced into doing Clinton’s dirty work against President Obama, who made Panetta both Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA, is ludicrous on its face. Likewise, the notion that Clinton has some sort of vendetta against Obama for which she is recruiting surrogates to deploy makes no sense whatsoever.

If Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, she is going to want a reserve of goodwill for the Democratic Party and its leader for eight years, Barack Obama. She is going to want to run on the successes of the Obama administration, including restoring an economy that was in full collapse, signing the first-ever health care bill, reducing unemployment from 10% to less than six, and so much more. The last thing she would want is to run against a president of her own party who was made to look bad by her own Machiavellian tactics.

In short, the theory Morris is floating can only be seen as credible by a complete moron who knows nothing about politics. That explains why Morris likes the theory. But there is something even more ridiculous in this drooling gibberish that Morris can’t possibly have noticed.

By casting Clinton as the mastermind of a clandestine plot to sink Obama, Morris has affirmed her status as a powerful, resolute, and effective leader. He is asserting that she can push around a former CIA chief, even though she currently holds no reins of power. That is a fairly positive endorsement of her leadership skills.

What’s more, Morris contends that the purpose of Clinton’s plot is bring down a president who is despised by the right-wingers who are expected to oppose her candidacy. That, of course, would immediately make her more appealing to those who would otherwise be her natural enemies. If Morris were right, then all of the people who hate Obama would have a new-found appreciation for Clinton, thus boosting her electability.

Obviously, it is not Morris’ intention to help Clinton in any way. He is just too stupid to understand the ramifications of his own blithering drivel. But the rest of us can enjoy the comic relief he provides by embarrassing himself so publicly every time he opens his scummy mouth.

So F*cking What? Wingnuts Freak Out Over Wendy Davis Ad With Wheelchair

Since when is a wheelchair an attack? Since the excitable pearl-clutchers at Breitbart News (and their fainting Fionas at Fox Nation) got wind of an effective campaign ad by Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Texas.

Fox Nation

The Davis ad (video below) is a stinging indictment of her Republican opponent, Greg Abbot, who has handsomely benefited from a personal injury lawsuit, while throwing legal roadblocks in front of others seeking just compensation for similar negligent or malicious conduct. The ad reveals an abhorrent hypocrisy that deals out misery to people who have already been victimized.

Yet somehow, the rightist media hacks have dredged up a phony sense of outrage over the image of a wheelchair in the ad. Abbott has been confined to a wheelchair since he suffered injuries from a falling tree. The Abbott campaign joined in on the bitch-fest, issuing a furious response that oozes with artificial anger over this alleged affront:

“It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis’ disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represetn Texans,” said Abbott spokeswoman Amelia Chase. “Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas.”

Curiously, Abbott’s statement never explains what they found “disgusting” about the ad. It also never bothers to refute any of the substantive allegations that the ad presented, including Abbott’s legal efforts against a rape victim and an amputee. Those overtly anti-victim, pro-corporation actions by Abbott are ignored by his spokesperson in favor of an irrational rant about the image of a wheelchair.

Yet the reason why a wheelchair is considered insulting is unclear. It hardly seems likely that most wheelchair users regard their form of transportation as offensive or the sight of it as a smear. In fact, the implication that just showing a picture of a wheelchair constitutes an attack says more about the accuser than the party who ran the ad. It says that the wingnut press and the Abbott campaign regard a wheelchair as something objectionable and not proper to be seen in civil society. That, of course, is insane. But when a campaign has nothing else of substance to say, they will resort to absurdities like this and fake outrage.

For the record, Davis’ ad is in no way disparaging to anyone who uses a wheelchair. The ad criticizes Abbott for seeking and receiving legal redress for his injuries and then making it his mission to prevent anyone else from having the same rights. If you want to see politicians disparaging disabled people, you need to look at the Republicans like Saxby Chambliss, who morphed triple-amputee Vietnam veteran Max Cleland into Osama Bin Laden; or Rush Limbaugh who repulsively mocked Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease; or former congressmen Joe Walsh and Allen West who questioned the patriotism of another wounded warrior, Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Those are real examples of despicable disrespect, unlike the made up controversy that Abbott is peddling.

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[Update: 10/13/14] Fox News joins the fray asking if the Davis ad is the most offensive of the year. They must have missed the ad for GOP candidate Wendy Rogers that disgustingly exploits the execution of James Foley by ISIL terrorists. The Rogers ad follows one by another GOP candidate, Allen Weh, who did the same thing.

Fox News

Lying Scumbag James O’Keefe Returns With Predictably Dishonest Hit Piece On Alison Grimes

When you’ve spent your whole career producing feverishly partisan videos that have been denounced as brazenly deceitful by everyone from Rachel Maddow to Glenn Beck, it isn’t particularly newsworthy when a new one is posted that exhibits the same pattern of deception and reeks of the pathetic amateurism that has become your trademark.

James O'Keefe

Of course we’re talking about the infantile news defiler, James O’Keefe, who seems to have no limit to the copious quantities of shame he can endure at his own hand. This week he debuted his latest ode to defamation (video below) aimed at slandering Democratic Kentucky senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. The video purports to cast Grimes as a cynical and hypocritical politician who will say anything to get elected. Setting aside the naivete of that theme when discussing politics, O’Keefe’s opus fails utterly to prove its contention. You have be pretty incompetent if you can’t successfully find some self-serving duplicity in any modern politico, but O’Keefe manages to hit that elusive mark.

As has been the case for his most recent efforts, they are ignored by reputable media, but picked up by the wingnut press like the Free Beacon, Breitbart News, and the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. In the introduction to his dubiously named Project Veritas video, O’Keefe says that…

“Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Grimes has vehemently and repeatedly claimed to oppose President Obama’s coal and environmental policies in what has become an increasingly significant campaign issue.

“Project Veritas Action went undercover in multiple Grimes campaign offices to determine if her opposition to the core principles of her own political party is genuine or an intentional deception.”

On one hand, it might seem like O’Keefe would be the perfect sleuth to uncover “intentional deception” given his personal experience as a prolific producer of it. However, the only thing that O’Keefe manages to do is surreptitiously record a parade of Grimes supporters offering their own opinions of what may or may not be on her mind. These folks are well-meaning and sincere backers of Grimes’ candidacy, but they are also gullible and unsophisticated in the unscrupulous ways of snakes like O’Keefe. Consequently, they got caught saying that they don’t believe that Grimes’s commitment to the coal industry in Kentucky is genuine.

This is the sort of raw meat that sets O’Keefe and his fellow vultures to frothing at the mouth. But to anyone who takes an open-eyed view of the material, there is really nothing of substance about which to get excited. The people that O’Keefe’s minions hoodwinked had no official responsibility for the Grimes campaign messaging. They were not speaking for her and did not represent her positions. Furthermore, they had no inside knowledge of any private thoughts she may have, and they did not profess to be clairvoyant.

The innocent subjects of O’Keefe’s hoax were merely projecting their own opinions on Grimes and expressing their own desires for what they hoped she might do after being elected. It has no more credibility than the lunacy of Ben Carson surmising that President Obama is plotting to cancel the 2016 presidential elections. And the project is further discredited by the tactics used, wherein O’Keefe’s plants pretended to be anti-coal advocates to elicit accommodating agreement from their prey. O’Keefe’s operatives are not campaign “trackers” who objectively record speeches and other public events in order to hold candidates accountable. They are con artists and hustlers who aim to entrap their victims into saying something that can be twisted out of context in the editing room.

It is also notable that O’Keefe posts videos that are heavily edited. The viewer has no idea if the subject’s remarks were premised with a phrase that altered the meaning. For instance, someone might say “…Alison Grimes is anti-coal.” But if that sentence began with the words “Critics falsely believe that…” it has an entirely different meaning. That’s what dishonest editing can do. It can also remove comments that don’t fit the premise that a biased videographer is trying to push. So O’Keefe may have interviewed dozens of people who said only positive things about Grimes, but he left them on the cutting room floor and posted only the handful whose words he could exploit.

A response to this phony video has already been issued from the campaign of Grimes’ opponent, Sen. Mitch McConnell. Seizing on the opportunity to exacerbate the dishonesty, McConnell’s spokesperson said…

“It is absolutely shocking that Alison Lundergan Grimes‘ own staff now admits that she has no intention of protecting the coal industry. The level of deception that Alison Grimes and her campaign engages in to appear pro-coal despite obvious opposition is both disturbing and dangerous.”

What’s shocking is the level of deception of McConnell’s spokesperson who knows very well that none of these remarks came from Grimes’ staff and they do not represent her position. The spokesperson is flagrantly lying. In contrast to this intentionally deceptive hogwash, there was a prior incident in the Kentucky race that has real substance and was not manufactured. A telephone call between McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, and an associate was recorded and released to the press wherein he confessed that he wasn’t especially fond of McConnell, but had an ulterior motive for heading up his campaign:

“Between you and me, I’m sort of holdin’ my nose for two years because what we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand [Paul] in ’16.”

That was an unprovoked statement from one conservative operative to another. There was no deception involved in soliciting it. The motivation for making it public is unknown. Perhaps Benton’s pal was a supporter of Matt Bevin who, at the time, was running against McConnell in the Republican primary. But there is no similarity between this disclosure and what O’Keefe does. The speaker was not some tangentially related volunteer, he was McConnell’s campaign manager. And he wasn’t tricked by a scammer into revealing his opinion. To cap off this affair, Benton later resigned in disgrace from McConnell’s campaign after it was revealed that he played a role in a political bribery scandal in the 2012 GOP Iowa primary.

You gotta check out this awesome ebook…
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For the record, here is a boilerplate background on James O’Keefe:
O’Keefe is best known for making an ass of himself on video while imagining an acclaim that is shared by no one outside of the Tea Party Home for the Chronically Delusional. Some of his other recent antics have resulted in his arrest and conviction in a Louisiana senator’s office, a legal order to pay a $100,000 settlement to a former ACORN employee he defamed, and a sleazy plot to seduce a CNN reporter aboard his “Love Boat.” More recently his “Cinema Veri-tasteless” earned him a rebuke from a team of Special Prosecutors in Texas (yes, Texas) who officially concluded that his video “was little more than a canard and political disinformation.” And he staged a remarkably juvenile stunt wherein he crossed the Rio Grande wearing an Osama Bin Laden mask.

Watch and laugh…..

Tea-Bola Infects The GOP: Symptoms Include Secession Obsession And California-itis

Today’s Republican Party is very, very sick. They are exhibiting symptoms of acute cognitive failure and an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. This severe case of Tea-Bola is what accounts for their insistence that the federal government keep its hands off of Medicare; and their denial of Climate Change despite 97% of scientists affirming it; and their perception of a collapsing economy that has actually grown significantly.

The GOP, driven by its Tea Party caucus, is obsessed with repealing a health insurance reform plan that has resulted in lower costs and a substantial decrease in the number of uninsured Americans. They incessantly shout “Benghazi” as if they were suffering from a perverse form of Tourette’s Syndrome. And they want so badly to impeach President Obama that they have forgotten to establish any rationale for such a blatantly deranged legal overreach. Indeed, they are slipping away into wingnut delirium and there doesn’t seem to be any cure.

Tea-Bola

The latest manifestation of the right’s raving lunacy is illustrated in a poll conducted by Fox News (who is both suffering from, and spreading Tea-Bola). The Fox poll asked a question that reveals just how on target Jon Stewart was when he yelled at right-wing hypocrites, with exasperation, “Fuck you and your false patriotism.” The questions hinges on the notion of secession by one or more states. There have been several episodes of pseudo-patriotic Republicans articulating a desire for the United States to break apart, or for their state to secede. And now we have a survey that puts the matter into partisan perspective.

The poll asked: If your state were to hold an election on whether or not to split off from the United States, how would you vote? Democrats, at 4%, weren’t too keen on the idea, but three times as many Republicans (12%) favored it. However, it was the Tea Party that really lapped it up with 23% opting for secession. So much for American exceptionalism.

In another question, the divide was even more stark. The question asked was: Are there any states that you would vote out of the United States if you could? This wording is somewhat more hostile. It no longer wonders whether you would want to leave America yourself, but whether you would like kick out some other state. The party breakdown was: Democrats: 13%; Republicans: 21%; and a full third of the Tea Party contingent (34%) were firmly committed to banishing some other state from the land of the free.

The Tea Party’s favorite state to excommunicate is one that they frequently attack as a bastion of socialism and/or wacky secular heathens. To no one’s surprise it is California that was chosen by 83% of the Tea Party martinets of virtue. That’s six points higher than Republicans as a whole.

The incomparable idiocy of their blind hatred ignores the fact that California, by itself, accounts for about 13% of the nation’s GDP. If booted from the union it would become the sixth richest country in the world. It has all of the assets required to guarantee its ongoing prosperity, such as abundant natural resources; a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, energy, technology, entertainment, and tourism; 800 miles of coastline and ports for access to the world’s trade routes; numerous defense plants and military installations; and an affluent population for its tax base. Let’s face, the U.S. needs California more than California needs the U.S.

If the GOP/Tea Party had its way they would end up with a much poorer America. California is a net positive contributor to the federal budget, getting back only 87 cents for every dollar paid in. Compare that to the Tea Party utopia of Mississippi where they mooch $2.47 for each dollar paid. And if the Teabaggers crusade extended to their second choice for banishment, New York, they would lose even more. New York is another prosperous (and Democratic) state that gets only 72 cents back on each dollar paid to the feds. The two-state combination of California and New York account for nearly a quarter (22%) of the entire nation’s GDP.

This display of stupidity extends to other questions in the Fox poll. For instance, when asked: How concerned are you that the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS will try to launch an attack on U.S. soil in the near future? Democrats had a reasonably healthy concern of 39%. Republicans were a bit more nervous with 59%. But the Tea Party are shivering in their bunkers with 76% consumed by the fear they’ve been fed by Fox News.

This may partially explain the serious diversion from reality that exists in the American electorate. The same poll shows that Obama’s approval rating is currently at 40%. That’s surprisingly low for a president who presided over the nation’s recovery from the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression; who disposed of Osama Bin Laden; and who signed the first major health insurance reform bill.

And yet Obama’s low rating is a drag on Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm election. Polls show that many of the battleground states are perilously tight, with Republicans leading in some. But while Obama is riding around in the low forties, Republicans in Congress are floundering at 23%, almost half of Obama’s placing.

So why are voters considering casting their votes for Republicans whom they like much less than Obama and the Democrats? The answer is that the polling is counting “likely” voters. When a broader group of registered voters, or all eligible voters, are surveyed, the Democrats come out ahead. So the problem here is that Democrats are not considered likely to vote. That makes turnout for this year’s election the most critical objective. If Democrats vote in ratios comparable to Republicans, Democrats will win.

Of course, Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress voter turnout, and particularly to suppress Democratic turnout. They have been implementing voter ID laws that do nothing to prevent fraud, but are deliberately aimed at preventing Democrats from exercising their right to vote. Republicans are spending unprecedented sums on negative and dishonest advertising, largely bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other baldly partisan operatives.

The GOP/Tea Party wants very badly to block your ability to cast a vote. If you allow them to do that you are, in effect, aiding their cause. You are succumbing to their tactics. You are their bitch.

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It’s time to stand up for something positive, as opposed to the relentlessly negative harping of the right. A Republican senate is not a symbolic victory for the other side. It means that every chairman of every committee will be a Republican. It means a senate filled with Darrell Issas and Louis Gohmerts and Michelle Bachmanns deciding what legislation will be considered and what phony investigations will be pursued. It will put more power in the hands of Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. It will almost certainly result in an attempt to impeach the President.

But it doesn’t have to end that way. There are more of us than there are of them. All we have to do is vote. It isn’t that hard. You can register online in many states, and you can vote through the mail. Just fucking do it. Otherwise some toothless, tea-swilling, racist, moron will vote in your stead. The polls are all consistent. If we vote, we win. We can overwhelm their “likely” voter paradigm by simply showing up. And if we do, we beat back the Koch brothers, the GOP elitists, the Tea Party dimwits, and the cynical media that thinks YOU are too stupid to act in your own best interests.

As it turns out, voting is the cure for Tea-Bola.

Taking It To Eleven: “Principles For American Renewal” Is The GOP’s Latest Re-Branding Debacle

Shortly after President Obama won a resounding victory for reelection in 2012, the Republican National Committee stowed away to analyze what they did so terribly wrong that they lost an election they thought would be a cakewalk. They emerged with a document that they called an “autopsy” of the campaign that included their missteps and a prescription for future success.

Most of the recommendations revolved around improving messaging and outreach to voter blocs that are critical to any winning campaign: women, African-Americans, Latinos, seniors, and youth. The autopsy acknowledged that Republicans had a terrible image with these voters and the party would need to improve it significantly if they ever hoped to win again.

With their new mandate in hand, the GOP set out to ignore everything that it advised. Instead of reaching out to neglected voters, Republicans doubled down on alienating them. They pursued the same policies that drove voters away in the first place and continued to find new methods of garnering their distrust. For instance, they pushed for voter ID laws that disenfranchise minorities, seniors and students, in an effort to prevent election fraud that doesn’t exist. They also enacted laws that negatively impact reproductive health care for women, including forced vaginal probes and restricting access to birth control and cancer screenings. And supporting cops who murder unarmed black teenagers, while opposing care for immigrant children, doesn’t do much to polish their reputation in minority communities.

So what does the Republican Party do after they have abandoned their own solutions? They develop another set of solutions and try to peddle that to skeptical voters. The new program has a name straight out of propaganda 101: Principles For American Renewal. And so as not to be accused of just jotting down the same top ten list of pandering platitudes, the GOP PR team came up with eleven pandering platitudes. Let’s take a look at the GOP’s set of principles:

GOP Principles

  • CONSTITUTION: Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.
    Except when it prohibits forced Christianity or enables same-sex marriage or doesn’t recognize that corporations are people.
  • ECONOMY: We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.
    Unless that means raising the minimum wage or asking the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes or creating jobs in vital infrastructure rebuilding. And never mind that the past six years has seen record growth in corporate profits and reduction in unemployment.
  • BUDGET: We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.
    Even though balanced budgets are a ridiculous notion that no successful business would ever consider, and our current debt was the result of the Bush tax cuts and two off-the-books wars. And please forget that Obama has cut the deficit by more than half.
  • HEALTH CARE: We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.
    Under ObamaCare patients and doctors are still in charge, not unelected insurance adjusters. It’s just that now people can afford insurance so they can see their doctors. By the way, where is that GOP health care plan (other than repealing ObamaCare)?
  • VETERANS: Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.
    But we’ll still vote against funding the V.A., even while we vote for new wars that create more veterans who need health care. Plus, we won’t help poor, homeless vets get housing or food.
  • SECURITY: Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.
    And since each of these things has increased by leaps and bounds in the past six years, how does the GOP opposition to the policies that resulted in that progress help, and what are their alternatives? They don’t say.
  • EDUCATION: Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.
    In other words, we will refuse to sufficiently fund public education and parents will have an equal opportunity to homeschool their kids or pay for private school if they can afford it.
  • POVERTY: The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.
    And making them belong to the sort of families that we approve of, and working for wages that are insufficient to raise them out of poverty. And while they are trying to get back on their feet, the moochers will get no financial support or assistance with food or education.
  • VALUES: Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.
    Unless the family has two mommies, or the religion is not sanctioned by Pat Robertson, or the workers demand fair treatment and living wages.
  • ENERGY: We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.
    Unless that energy is produced by the sun or wind. And God forbid that we transition away from carbon-based fuels that pollute our air and water and exacerbate the disastrous effects of Climate Change.
  • IMMIGRATION: We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.
    This policy seems to have left something out: Immigrants. It also ignores the reality that our society relies on immigration and is already benefiting from it.

The Republicans should be commended for coming up with the most vacant and substanceless list of “principles” ever devised. It studiously avoids taking a position on any issue or offering a specific policy that can be debated and enacted. In short, it declares that they are in favor of the Constitution and opposed to poverty. How courageous. in addition, it leaves out some important matters entirely, such as crime, the environment, campaign finance reform, and foreign policy.

It is telling that the GOP has delivered this heap of empty rhetoric just one month before the midterms. They are struggling to find a unified campaign theme that will nationalize the election. They once thought that ObamaCare would serve that function. In fact, just last February the RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus, was so certain of that that he said

“I think it’s going to be Obamacare all the time between now and November 5. If you ask me what day it is, I’m going to tell you it’s Obamacare. If you want to know what I want in my coffee, I’m going to tell you Obamacare. I’m going to talk about Obamacare all the time because I think it’s the No. 1 issue.”

He has barely mentioned it since then. Part of the reason for that may be that just about every metric for measuring the success of ObamaCare has surpassed expectations. Even Republican enrollees have reported being overwhelmingly satisfied. And thus we have the roll-out of yet another re-branding scheme that fails to recognize that the fundamental problems the party is experiencing are rooted in their policies, not their messaging. Here is a more accurate illustration of the Republican Party’s true brand:

GOP Rebranding

New Ad Campaign Attempts To Convince Voters That Republicans Are People

The modern advertising industry has developed unprecedented techniques to persuade, cajole, and seduce the American people into directed patterns of consumption and lifestyles. Our decisions about which cars to drive or sodas to drink are all influenced by a steady stream of commercial messaging nearly everywhere we go. But now the Republican Party has taken on a public relations task that dwarfs all other efforts at opinion-making. They boldly aim to convince the American people that Republicans are people too.

Republicans Are People

GOP media manipulator, Vinny Minchillo, is the mastermind of this crusade to remake the Republican image into one that embraces a human component. He tried to do the same thing a couple of years when for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Now Minchillo has created a website called “Republicans Are People Too.” and posted a video there to make a case for that dubious proposition (video also posted below). But the text accompanying the video conveys only a determination to whine about the plight of the poor, mistreated Republican. He moans that…

“It isn’t easy being a Republican these days. […] We love political discourse. We encourage political discourse. But when did “Republican” become a dirty word?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is: When Republicans started calling Democrats fascists, communists, moochers, whores, traitors, and devils.

Minchillo’s video is a simple production that seeks to enumerate a series of “regular” folks that he labels with a the hashtag “IAmARepublican.” It is a fairly comprehensive list of average Americans who are not generally associated with the exclusivity, racism, and intolerance of the Republican Party. It is no wonder that the GOP is yearning to attract more of the type of people in the video, because it is a cross-section of the nation that represents its diversity, a word that makes the right tremble. The video consists of a parade of alleged party members and asks “Did you know Republicans…”

Drive Priuses, recycle, listen to Spotify, put together IKEA furniture, are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, read the New York Times, use Macs, are grandmas, daughters, moms, are left-handed, are doctors, welders, teachers, donate to charity, enjoy gourmet cooking, shop at Trader Joe’s, like dogs, and cats, have tattoos, have tattoos and beards, have feelings, are people who care.

The problem with the argument that Minchillo is making is that the people claiming to be Republicans in his video are not actually Republicans. And by that I don’t simply mean that those types of persons are not Republican, which on the whole they are not. I mean that those specific people in the video are not. In fact, they were photos taken from stock image suppliers. A search for a random selection of the photos in the video found many of them in the iStockPhoto website’s library of images. The persons in the paragraph above that are links will lead you to the stock image page for each one.

So the video produced in order to convince everyone that Republicans are real people is populated by fakes. They are models pretending to be the characters that the video claims represent actual members of the Republican Party. And that’s about as real as it gets for the GOP.

This would be a hilarious aside to the pathetic PR that is constantly pushed by right-wing propagandists. But it is actually just another rung in their ladder of deception. It is reminiscent of the effort by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to persuade voters that “We’re Not Stupid.” When you have to mount an advertising blitz to sell the public on the notion that you’re not stupid, you have already lost the battle. And the same thing goes for a campaign to assert your people-ness. If the public doesn’t already know that you’re people, good luck trying to convince them.

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Ben Carson Reveals Himself To Be A Delusional Conspiracy Theorist On Fox News Sunday

This weekend Fox News Sunday interviewed the Tea Party flavor of the week, Dr. Ben Carson. The interview (video below) was notable for some of the uncharacteristically clear-headed questions from host Chris Wallace that exposed Carson as the extremist nut case that he is.

Ben Carson

Wallace introduced the segment by noting that Carson has made some controversial remarks for which he will be held to account. That is an understatement, to say the least. Comparing ObamaCare to slavery, and America to Nazi Germany are not your conventional campaign slogans. Wallace even told Carson point blank that “I think you would agree that, at best, your a distinct long shot.” But the statement that Wallace singled out was when Carson warned that, somehow, the 2016 election would be canceled. It was a profoundly stupid notion without any rational foundation, which Wallace seemed to recognize when he asked his question.

Wallace: You said recently that you thought that there might not actually be elections in 2016 because of wide spread anarchy. Do really believe that?

Carson: Well, I hope that that’s not going to be the case, but certainly there is the potential because you have to recognize that we have a rapidly increasing national debt, a very unstable financial foundation, and you have all these things going on like the ISIS crisis, that could very rapidly change things that are going on in our nation. And unless we begin to deal with these things in a comprehensive way, and in a logical way, there is no telling what could happen in just the matter of a couple of years.

Huh? There is a potential that democracy will be dispensed with because of the national debt and ISIS? What in holy hell is he talking about? The United States and its democratic system has endured for over 200 years, through economic catastrophes, civil and world wars, Nixonian corruption, and assassinations. Yet Carson thinks that it may all soon be over because of our present economy (with it’s soaring stock market, record profits, and low unemployment), and a band of desert rats 8,000 miles away?

It is stunning that anyone would take this man seriously as a candidate for president. But the party that has previously placed at the top of their presidential wish list people like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, and Sarah Palin, is just the party to hoist Carson’s flag. He recently placed a close second (after fellow Tea-publican Ted Cruz) in a straw poll by attendees of the right-wing, evangelical Values Voters conference.

For a party that vehemently castigated President Obama as lacking the necessary experience to be president when he launched his campaign, the Republicans have an intense infatuation for candidates with even less experience. Wallace also addressed this hypocrisy in the interview with a cleverly worded question.

Wallace: After looking at Barack Obama and what’s happened with his lack of political experience in the last six years, wouldn’t putting Ben Carson in the Oval Office be akin to putting a politician in an operating room and having him perform one of your brain surgeries?

Carson: I don’t think so. What is required for leadership is wisdom.

Indeed. And the wisdom demonstrated by a political neophyte who thinks that there may not be an election in 2016, but if there is it will be dominated by voters who “have been beaten into submission,” is exactly what the “doctor” ordered, if that doctor is Dr. Strangelove.

Even the Wall Street Journal noticed that the bizarre rantings of Carson were trouble for the GOP. Columnist Peter Wehner, who served in the past three Republican administrations, wrote that “This is the kind of rhetorical recklessness that convinces many Americans that Republican leaders are extreme, irresponsible, and fundamentally unserious.” […and that…] “Dr. Carson’s comments are evidence of a political mind that is not simply undisciplined but also fanatical.” […and that…] “Any political party or movement that is associated with such utterances will pay a price.”

Carson recently declared that the “likelihood is strong” that he will run for president, despite his having none of the requisite knowledge or skills for the job. His putative candidacy rests entirely on his support from Tea Party zealots and Fox News who, in breach of every code of journalistic ethics, continues to employ him as a commentator despite his admitted status as a candidate.

For more fully documented examples of unethical dishonesty…
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Corruption With Impunity: The Imaginary Exoneration Of Chris Christie

Last week the Department of Justice gave a statement to NBC News regarding their investigation into New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The statement was an update on “Bridge-Gate,” the dangerous, unlawful, and politically motivated closure of several lanes of the George Washington Bridge orchestrated by his administration. It didn’t take long for NBC’s story to become widely misinterpreted by much of the conservative media. According to NBC News

“The U.S. Justice Department investigation into Gov. Chris Christie’s role in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has thus far uncovered no evidence indicating that he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the span, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.”

That statement formed the basis of a broad campaign to rehabilitate the sagging public image of Christie who is anticipated to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. Many pseudo-news enterprises published stories that described Christie as “vindicated,” “innocent” or “falsely accused.” Calls from right-wing media critics went out to insure that coverage of Christie’s alleged exoneration was equal to that which took place while the allegations were being investigated. There’s just one problem.

Chris Christie 2016

Christie has not been exonerated. The report by NBC News said only that no evidence had been uncovered “so far.” The feds explicitly stated that the investigation is ongoing and that no conclusion has been reached. What’s more, there is still an investigation being conducted by New Jersey state officials that is separate from the federal probe and involves different violations of law.

The Christie thumpers need to reserve their celebration until all of the pending investigations are concluded. That does not appear to be imminent. And even if Christie manages to squirm out of any finding of direct culpability, he still needs to answer for how so many of his senior staffers were involved in a sleazy, criminal conspiracy without his knowledge. Either he knew and has successfully covered it up, or he didn’t know and is an incompetent who can’t control his felonious underlings.

That’s not a great place from which to shape a presidential campaign. Your starting off with a significant disadvantage if you have to choose between these slogans: “Christie: He got away with it,” or “Christie: Because he don’t know nothin.”

The last shoe has yet to drop in this affair. These sort of political shenanigans often take some time to unwind as the players jockey for position in order to cop a plea and avoid the consequences of their shady behavior. It is way too soon for Christie to pop the Champagne corks. Likewise, it is too soon for his media boosters to begin writing his victory speech.