His Majesty Donald Trump Uses Threats To Gain Superiority Over Politics And The Press

The media is pouncing on Donald Trump today for his blatantly false claims to have seen “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. What he says he personally witnessed never actually happened and PolitiFact, among other fact checkers, rated it a Pants on Fire lie. He is also taking heat for re-tweeting a racist graphic of homicide statistics that were completely made up (probably by a neo-Nazi). And then there’s the episode at his rally where he encouraged his supporters to beat up a protester, later saying that he deserved it.

Donald Trump

However, there was another newsmaking event that took place that isn’t getting much play from the media. Trump’s bullying of the press has devolved into severely oppressive tactics that reflect his tyrannical tendencies. He and his campaign aides have taken steps to punish, muzzle, and otherwise suppress the First Amendment rights of the reporters covering his campaign. It has gotten so bad that media organizations that normally compete with one another are meeting to discuss the matter and to formulate a response. The Washington Post reports that…

“According to people at multiple networks, senior managers from the five leading TV news networks — ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox and NBC News — will discuss their response in an effort to push back against what they deem harsh and restrictive behavior by Trump’s managers, including his top aide, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.”

The abuses being suffered by the press include the Trump campaign threatening to pull the press credentials of reporters who dare to leave the “pen” provided for them by Trump’s handlers. His people even explicitly threaten to “blacklist” disobedient reporters. By disobedient they mean those who seek to interview people attending Trump’s events or to cover protests. In other words, those who are doing their jobs as reporters. In one case Lewandowski told another campaign staffer “Hey: Tell Noah [Gray of CNN], get back in the pen or he’s f—ing blacklisted.” WaPo further reported that…

“The campaign has also declined to give credentials to reporters from news organizations it has deemed unfriendly. The list includes BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision and the Des Moines Register.”

This is unprecedented in a democracy that reveres freedom of the press. But worse, it is a preview of the sort of ham-handed censorship that a wannabe dictator like Trump would employ were he to hold any position of power. It has to have gotten pretty bad for competing media enterprises to come together in search of a solution. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the press to challenge Trump. They are more interested in the potential ratings they think he will draw than in their journalistic integrity.

It’s fascinating that his supporters, ostensibly conservatives who claim to favor small government and personal freedom, are still drawn to this budding despot who seeks absolute power and is proposing growing government in the most intrusive way: more federal agents to monitor churches, more security forces on the border, more surveillance of citizens and registries to track them. And his supporters are the same people who were so rapt with an irrational fear of President Obama’s imaginary “czars.”

In a separate example of the intransigent totalitarianism of Donald Trump, he is holding the Republican Party hostage with threats to bolt and run as an independent if they don’t squelch a growing contingent of critics who are uniting to produce and distribute anti-Trump ads. [This isn’t the first time he has threatened to break his pledge of party loyalty]. It’s called politics and every politician is aware of how it works. But for Trump, the notion that His Majesty would be the target of an attack is unthinkable. Reuters reports that…

“Donald Trump’s presidential campaign warned the Republican Party on Tuesday about donors pooling funds for attack ads, saying Republicans must treat him fairly if they want to keep him from launching an independent bid.

“Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN that if Republican donors backing different presidential candidates come together for an anti-Trump advertising campaign, it would be a ‘bad, bad decision.’ […] ‘If they treat him fairly, he will honor the pledge because he’s an honorable guy. If they break that agreement with him, as they say ‘woe be on them,’ Cohen told CNN.”

“Woe be on them?” Trump is literally going Medieval on the RNC. Of course, the Republican Party has no control over Super PACs that are independent and free to pursue their own political missions. In Trump’s mind there is an overarching authority on whom he can force his will under threat of annihilation to any peasant who dares to defy his omnipotence.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The question is, will the RNC capitulate to Trump and forever be his bitch? Will the media surrender and allow Trump to dictate the terms of their coverage? Trump is an aspiring tyrant and the time to squash his power-mad dreams is now. Unfortunately, his party and the press may be too impotent to stand up for their own interests, and for those of democracy and America. If they had any integrity or guts the RNC would tell him to stop whining, honor his pledge, or take a flying leap, and the press would tell him go to hell and then cover him the way they would any other candidate. As it looks now, they are just preparing to embarrass themselves and let an ignorant, loudmouth, with delusions of grandeur run all over them.

Donald Trump: The Republican Party Is My Bitch – Threatens Independent Run

Observers of Donald Trump’s bizarre campaign for the Republican nomination for president have seen in just a few months the ugliness that he can present as he seeks to attract voters by appealing to their fear, hatred, and ignorance. And now they can also see how worthless his word is as he throws a temper tantrum over being attacked by his political rivals.

Donald Trump GOP

When Trump announced his candidacy in June, there was speculation that he would not remain a Republican candidate if he faltered in the campaign or failed to get the nomination. That controversy caused the GOP to insist that all candidates sign a “loyalty pledge” if they wanted to participate in party sanctioned debates or even get on the primary ballot in some states. The pledge required the candidate’s to…

“…affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination of any other party.”

It’s difficult understand how Trump could endorse other Republicans that he has already disparaged as weak, incompetent, corrupt, ugly losers, but under pressure from the party, Trump signed the pledge and tweeted how proud he was of the commitment. He further stated that “I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands,” and that “I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.”

That was on September 3, just two and a half months ago. Today, however, Trump was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on This Week and was asked whether a new ad by his opponents, characterizing him as dangerously inexperienced, might cause him to change his mind. Stephanopoulos also quoted from a Wall Street Journal article that described the Republican establishment as “increasingly alarmed by the enduring strength of Donald Trump’s presidential bid,” and said that they were “ratcheting up efforts to knock him out of the race.” So when Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he still intended to honor his pledge, he responded:

“I’m going to have to see what happens. I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly. When I did this, I said I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine. All I want to do is a level playing field.”

Trump’s idea of fair treatment is when everybody stoops to kiss his wrinkled butt. Consequently, any pledges he makes are subject to cancellation at will. His stance now is to wait and see. That flip-flop demonstrates that he is someone who is not to be trusted, even after he has signed a written commitment. He played Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, for access to the debates that have raised his profile, and now he is threatening to ditch the party to boost his own super-sized ego.

The prospect of Trump mounting a third-party run would be great news for Democrats. But the really interesting part of this is how the GOP will react to Trump’s deceit. Will they bend over with lips puckered and beg him not to torpedo their 2016 presidential hopes? If so, that would make them look pretty impotent going into the general election. But do they have the guts to stand up to him and refuse to be bullied by a painfully stupid trust fund baby whose sense of entitlement could blot out the sun?

Trump has already cowed two titans of the media. He made bitches of both Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes of Fox News, who scampered away in fear of offending The Donald. They let him make asses of them in order to preserve what they believed to be a ratings bonanza, but will prove to be a short-term blip. Will the Republican Party now follow in their baby steps and allow Trump to stomp all over them?

If the GOP/RNC has any guts they will demand that Trump reiterate his promise to endorse the Republican nominee and forswear a third-party run. They should force him to make a public proclamation of loyalty or face being booted from any future debates or, where allowed, access to state ballots as a Republican candidate.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The likelihood of that, however, is low. Republicans have not been known for their commitment to principle. And they have already demonstrated that they fear Trump more than they love their party or their country. Why else would they stand with him when he has insulted millions of minority voters, women, and seniors? And his recent fear mongering over refugees literally devolved into fascistic ranting that has no place in a free America. So It’s your move Republicans. What will you do with your treacherous Trump now that he is wiping your face in it?

Donald Trump Has Gone Full Nazi – And If The GOP Doesn’t Repudiate It They Own It

If the Republican Party is ever going to wake up and shut down this misanthropic racist it had better be now. Donald Trump’s latest hateful howling has crossed a line of indecency that is impossible to ignore. And Godwin be damned, he is articulating Nazi rhetoric on a scale not seen since the originals.

Donald Trump

Just yesterday Trump told Yahoo News that he would support the development of databases and other systems to track and monitor people in the United States on the basis of their religion. He did not rule out forcing Muslims to have identifying papers or badges. Perhaps he would make them wear a star and crescent in the manner that Hitler’s Nazis made Jews wear the Star of David. From Yahoo…

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

This grotesque policy position fits nicely with his prior statement that he believes it may be necessary to close mosques in America. He said that “there’s absolutely no choice” because “some really bad things are happening.” Apparently one of the “really bad things” isn’t the assault on our Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion. But that’s not all, Trump also told Yahoo News that…

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

So “security is going to rule.” And I’ll bet the trains will run on time. And speaking of trains, this is the same man who wants to round up 11,000,000 Latinos for mass deportation. How he proposes to do that is a mystery, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it involved boxcars and concentration camps. He approvingly cited the 1950’s Operation Wetback as a model for his plan. That operation resulted in dozens of deaths and was abandoned as a failure that violated humane standards.

In the short history of Trump’s campaign he has gotten away with saying repulsive things and demonstrating overtly bigoted behavior. Even when he disparaged solidly conservative principles like the military sacrifices of John McCain, or making a mockery of the practice of Christianity, his supporters remained faithful. And despite all of that, he still clings to the top of the polls in the Republican presidential primary. There has been an astonishing and troubling loyalty by Republicans who seem unfazed no matter how disgusting or ignorant he gets. And it isn’t just his supporters. Other GOP voters, pundits, and candidates, are reluctant to take him on.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If that continues it will be impossible for the GOP to separate themselves from his repugnant views. And the same goes for Fox News, who flagrantly promote Trump’s campaign. They are already tied to him on most other issues with which they agree completely. But if they don’t want to forever be associated with the outright appeal to the policies of the Nazis, they need to renounce him and cease supporting him. If his polling isn’t hurt by this we’ll know for sure that a significant chunk of the Republican Party is cool with fascism.

Donald Trump’s Latest Bonehead Theory Is Custom Made For His Racist Supporters

The Republican Party’s front-runner for their presidential nomination, Donald Trump, continues to peel off nonsense of the most extreme variety. Just when you think he’s topped out at proposing to reprise the repugnant “Operation Wetback,” he reaches down deep to deliver something that far surpasses the idiocy of any ordinary mortal.

Donald Trump

Yesterday Trump was on Laura Ingraham’s radio show and had something to say about the Syrian refugee crisis that most of the civilized world is struggling to address. But his remarks were not about the human suffering or the logistical challenges or potential solutions. What Trump sought to add to the debate was a ludicrous and wholly unfounded conspiracy theory accusing President Obama of another dastardly deed.

Trump: They send [the refugees] to the Republicans, not to the Democrats, you know, because they know the problems. In California you have a Democrat as a governor. In Florida you have Rick Scott. So, you know, they send them to the Republicans because, you know, why would we want to bother the Democrats? It’s just insane. Taking these people is absolutely insanity. I don’t know if you know. They’re talking about hundreds of thousands potentially. Hundreds of thousands.

Where to begin. How about with the fact that Trump’s assertion is a bald-faced lie. His projection of the distribution of refugees based on the party affiliation of a state’s governor makes no sense whatsoever, and he doesn’t bother to provide any support for the wild claim. Even using the example that he provided, the facts show that California has already taken in 218 Syrian refugees this year (more than any other state), while Florida has taken only 104 (placing them down at seventh). What’s more, states with Republican governors can be expected to receive more refugees simply because there are more of them. Currently there are 31 states led by Republicans and 18 by Democrats.

Furthermore, Trump’s assertion that there are plans to resettle “hundreds of thousands” of refugees must have been pulled straight out of his ass, because there is no such estimate in reality. The federal government has committed to receiving about 10,000 refugees. So Trump is only off by at least ninety percent.

Now if you’re wondering how Trump can get away with making such blatantly false comments and still retain his position at the top of the GOP primary contest, the answer is in the the type of voter to whom Trump is appealing. A new survey (pdf) by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) reveals that Trump’s supporters are fervently opposed to immigrants with 69% saying that “immigration is a critical issue to them personally.” That compares to only 50% of supporters of other Republican candidates. In addition, the survey found that…

Trump supporters are much more likely to express negative views of immigrants than the supporters of other candidates. Eight in ten (80%) Trump supporters say that immigrants today are a burden to the U.S. because they take American jobs, housing, and health care. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Trump supporters say that it bothers them when they come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English.

Never mind that it is completely untrue that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans or are consuming financial benefits. What’s most disturbing about these findings is the overt bigotry of the Trump contingent. But it gets even worse:

Trump supporters also express greater concern about discrimination against white Americans and white men in particular. Roughly three-quarters (74%) of Trump supporters — compared to 57% of supporters of all other Republican candidates — agree that, today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.

That must be why it’s so hard for white men to get jobs, or find housing. And it explains why so many of them are being killed while unarmed by police officers. [/snark] It would be bad enough if there were a significant portion of Trump’s supporters who held these absurd opinions, but these numbers are frighteningly high. It means that 75% of Trump’s followers are seriously deranged in a way that exposes the rancid biases of the Republican Party. Because in the end, Trump’s followers are GOP voters, and when he eventually flames out, the Party is still going to have to appeal to these same cretins to support their nominee.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Wingnut Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine: Say ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ Three Times

The warped philosophy of conservatives in America has long held that the primary reason for the persistence of terrorism is that President Obama and other Democrats are reluctant to utter the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” They somehow have concluded that those magical words are key to defeating groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. And they wonder why we think they’re stupid.

Fox News Beetlejuice

Following the Democratic Debate in Iowa on Saturday, the call to cast the magic spell was once again made the centerpiece of rightist criticisms. GOP candidates, and right-wing pundits on Fox News and elsewhere, have uniformly adopted the fabled “Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine” wherein you shout “radical Islamic terrorism” three times and ISIS disappears. Actually, it isn’t even required to shout it. You can just tweet it. For example:

  • Donald Trump: Why won’t President Obama use the term Islamic Terrorism? Isn’t it now, after all of this time and so much death, about time!
  • Jeb Bush: Yes, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism. #DemDebate
  • Ted Cruz: We need a President who is unafraid to name our enemy — radical Islamic terrorism — and will set out to defeat it.
  • Rick Santorum: Yes, @HillaryClinton we are at war with radical Islam! You are not qualified to serve if you cannot even define our enemy! #DemDebate
  • Mike Huckabee: You’re all grown up now. You can do it. Three words. Ten syllables. Say it with me: “Radical Islamic terrorism.” #DemDebate
  • Carly Fiorina: We need a President who will see and speak and act on the truth…Hillary Clinton will not call this Islamic terrorism. I will.
  • RNC (Republican National Committee: Hillary refuses to say we are at war with “radical Islam.” #DemDebate
  • Todd Starnes (Fox News): If your #DemDebate drinking game words are “Radical Islam” — you’ll be going home cold sober tonight, folks.
  • Eric Bolling (Fox News): Just so all you vapid @HillaryClinton supporters know. She just said “we are not at war with radical Islam”. #parisisburning
  • Donald Trump (again): When will President Obama issue the words RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM? He can’t say it, and unless he will, the problem will not be solved!

In addition to these individuals, conservative media is singing from the same hymnal. National Review, Breitbart News, Washington Times, Free Beacon, and the Daily Caller are among those in the choir. It’s clearly an obsession with these folks. They are convinced that babbling a few specific words is a better indicator of the determination to fight terrorists than actually fighting terrorists. So even though Obama ordered the successful assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and as Commander-in-Chief presided over the killing of thousands of terrorist operatives, including many of their leaders, he can’t possibly be serious about the mission until he recites the approved scriptural incantation.

For the record, just this week under the leadership of President Obama, missions were carried out that are believed to have resulted in the deaths of the ISIS chief in Libya and the infamous ISIS executioner known as Jihadi John. And all without invoking the magic spell.

At Fox News they are engaging in their standard game plan of distorting reality in a way that twists it to their far-right biases. Ed Henry, their senior White House correspondent, in a post-debate report told Sean Hannity that “At one point [Hillary Clinton] said ‘I do not believe we’re at war with radical Islam.’ The reaction to that online and overnight will be very interesting.”

Of course the most interesting part of that is that it is not what she said. What she said was “I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists.” Nevertheless, Henry’s bastardization of her remarks is what will stick in the already gooey minds of Fox viewers. The cult simply will not permit free thought based on verifiable facts.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There are numerous reasons for declining to fall into the “radical Islamic terrorist” trap. News Corpse spelled them out early this year in some detail. The gist is that we have legitimate concerns regarding our ability to form coalitions with the Muslim nations in the Middle-East whose cooperation is required to prevail against ISIS. That is not helped by demeaning their faith. But it’s more than that. By accepting the terms and definitions of the terrorists, Republicans, Fox News, et al, are acting as the PR department for the terrorists who desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. Why are they insisting on granting the terrorists that victory?

And here’s some perspective from Muslims on the anti-Islam extremists who pretend to be Muslim.

GOP Debate Lowlights Featuring Donald Trump’s ‘Sarah Palin Moment’

Fox Business Network is patting itself on the back for pulling off the most boring primary debate to date (transcript). They led the candidates through what amounted to a two hour Republican infomercial. The moderators were so detached that when Donald Trump flew off on a tangent about China in response to a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they failed to inform him that China was not a party to the deal. Rand Paul stepped in to correct the record, but they never followed up to get a straight answer from Trump.

And speaking of Donald Trump, he contributed some of the most hair-brained comments of the evening. Most notably, Trump may have delivered what will become his “Sarah Palin Moment.” He was asked what he would do in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Trump said “I got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes.” That’s about as delusional as Palin’s belief that her geographical proximity to Russia gave her insight into the region’s labyrinthine complexities.

The Republican Foreign Policy Dream Team:
Donald Trump Sarah Palin

Furthermore, Trump never actually met Putin who taped his 60 Minutes segment in Moscow. Trump was interviewed in his Manhattan penthouse. So what he meant by being “stablemates” is incomprehensible. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was being deliberately misleading.

In addition to his fudging a close relationship with Putin, Trump came out against raising the minimum wage because he thinks that people “have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” He continued saying that if wages were higher it would make the U.S. less competitive. In other words, he expects American labor to compete with the slave-wage earners of China and other nations that abuse their working class. That should make a good campaign bumper sticker.

But a Trump rant wouldn’t be complete without his descending into rancid bigotry. And Trump didn’t disappoint. While answering a question about his utterly ludicrous proposal to round up and deport eleven million undocumented residents, Trump sought to validate his approach by comparing it to a program implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. And as if to put a sunny disposition on the controversial program, Trump introduced the comparison with a reminder of Eisenhower’s chummy campaign slogan, “I like Ike.” What Trump left out is that Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback (yes, that was what it was called) resulted in dozens of fatalities and a taint of racism. Approximately 1.2 million people were deported to rural areas of Mexico with none of their possessions or other resources necessary to survive. Trump is calling for ten times as many deportations and still won’t explain how he will do it.

Now we don’t want to pick on Trump exclusively. Ben Carson also indicated his opposition to raising the minimum wage saying that “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Once again, Carson is pulling data out of a human body part far removed from area that he generally operated on. There is ample evidence that raising the minimum wage has no negative impact whatsoever on job creation. But not satisfied with merely misstating reality, Carson went on to actually call for lowering the minimum wage for some workers.

Marco Rubio weighed in on the matter of wages and education. Apparently he is not too anxious to encourage Americans to seek higher education. Consequently, he advocated for vocational training as opposed to college. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with vocational schools, which may be superior alternatives for some students. But Rubio reduced the argument to “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” However, Rubio’s argument is not based in reality. The median salary for philosophy professors is almost $64,000. The median salary for welders is about $37,400. And philosophy majors (who often go into many other lines of work where an understanding of people and society is required) command higher average salaries throughout their careers. We need both welders and philosophers, but no one should be persuaded based on dishonest applause lines from self-serving politicians.

Rand Paul’s breakout moment in the debate came during a discussion on income inequality when he said that “If you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.” Not surprisingly, this is another Republican distortion of the truth. Of the ten states with the worst income inequality gaps, six are run by Republicans. Do these people ever get tired of being wrong?

Apparently not. Because Carly Fiorina joined the parade in a rant against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She inexplicably said that “We’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.” What Fiorina considers a “vast bureaucracy” is a relatively small agency with fewer than 1,000 employees. For comparison, the IRS has about 90,000. What’s more, it has the same measure of congressional oversight of almost every other federal agency. It’s director must be confirmed by the Senate, and it is subject to budgetary constraints imposed by Congress. Finally, you’ll have to ask her what she finds so offensive about uncovering fraud and protecting America’s consumers.

To give credit where it’s due, there some questions that where genuinely probing and worthwhile. Sadly, not one of them got a direct answer. The candidates exercised the old debate strategy of not answering the question you are asked, but the question you wish you were asked. And the moderators did nothing in the way of follow ups to attempt to get a responsive answer. Here are three outstanding, and unanswered, questions:

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal: Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you’ll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?

Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business: [Hillary Clinton] was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight. Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?

Baker: Income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This debate was a peculiar creature from the start. The Fox Business Network has program ratings so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. The only explanation is that it was a gift from the Republican Party to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News family. As it turns out, it was a generous gift in that the debate drew a record number of viewers (13,500,000) for the tiny network. Although it was still the smallest audience of any of the debates held so far this election cycle. The next debates are scheduled for November 14 (Democrats on CBS) and December 15 (GOP on CNN).

GOP Debate On Fox Business Wants To Know: Whose Plan Would God Endorse?

The rancorous aftermath of the Republican debate a couple of weeks ago on CNBC laid the foundation for a comparison to what Fox News would do when they hosted their second GOP debate on their sister network, Fox Business. The hype prior to the FBN affair was all about how they would show the rest of the press how a debate should be run.

Fox Business

Well now we know. Rather than questions about whether Donald Trump is a cartoon candidate (which deserves further scrutiny), Fox’s Neil Cavuto, the Glenn Beck of business news, sought to ascertain the candidates’ positions on tax policy. And opening that segment of the program, Cavuto turned to Ben Carson and asked

“I think God is a pretty fair guy. So tithing is a pretty fair process. But Donald Trump says that is not fair, that wealthier taxpayers should pay a higher rate because it’s a fair thing to do. So whose plan would God endorse then doctor?”

Seriously? That was the first question asked on the subject of taxes. And it was rather contentious framing that pitted Carson against Trump, something Republicans railed against after the CNBC debate. And yet, following this debate Fox will undoubtedly spend untold hours exalting themselves as superior debate hosts and praising how they put on a more serious, less combative candidate forum.

It may indeed have been a program more closely in tune with their audience who likely support the notion of a faith-based tax policy. Perhaps the next Republican debate can be an American Idol spin-off called “God’s Favorite,” where candidates compete to see who gets voted out of Heaven.

Anyone who has researched the tax plans of the GOP field, however, will not be surprised by the reliance on faith. They all create varying degrees of additional debt with Trump’s topping out at more than $10 trillion over ten years. The Rev. Ted Cruz continued sermonizing with a comparison of the IRS tax code to the bible. You’ll never guess which one he preferred. But the sin of lying was given short shrift. PolitiFact examined recent representations by some of the candidates and rated them all less than truthful.

So did Fox achieve their goal in presenting a less antagonistic debate that focused on the issues and served the interests of voters? Well not if disseminating real information is the standard of judgment. At no time during the debate was it brought up that these candidates were pitching tax plans that exploded the debt. That seems like something that voters would want to know.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In the end, though, if the voters were not served, the candidates were. They got pretty much exactly what they wanted: A forum to articulate their views without any serious challenge. The debate was more of an extended infomercial for the candidates who were permitted to spin, lie, and even promote their websites in a brazen appeal for cash. Which actually is kind of a perfect synergy for a GOP (Greedy One Percent) debate on Fox’s money-media network.

The Reviews Are in: Donald Trump Bombs On SNL

Now that is it’s all over, it turns out that the hype that engulfed Donald Trump’s appearance on Saturday Night Live was more entertaining than the actual show. There are barely any reviews that have anything positive to say about either Trump’s performance, or that of the regular cast and writers.

Donald Trump Racist

The big problem with Trump hosting the show, and the reason the protests were so pronounced, was never about the debate between opposing political ideologies. It was about the noxious validation of an unrepentant hate monger. Would SNL proffer an invitation to a KKK leader if they thought it would produce big ratings? One can only hope not. Likewise, the role of political satire is not to suck up to the rich and powerful, but to slather them in mockery. On that level SNL failed miserably.

Even with regard to ratings, SNL failed to achieve much of a victory. The program did not break any records. It did exceed their other programs over the past three years (not a long time frame for a show that’s been on the air for more than forty years), but fell below such non-talents as Sarah Palin and Charles Barkley. And the reviews for Trump were decidedly unflattering to say the least. Here’s a short sampling of the damage:

  • New York Times: “S.N.L.” stuck with obvious, anemic political riffs and apolitical sketches that were cringeworthy all around.
  • Los Angeles Times: “SNL” seemed so bent on appearing nonpartisan that it over-compensated and forgot its actual mandate: Be funny.
  • The Wrap: In its 41st season, the show would rather play along with the wealthy and powerful than satirize them.
  • Yahoo TV: Host Donald Trump kicked off this week’s Saturday Night Live with an opening monologue that demonstrated all the reasons it wasn’t a good idea for him to host SNL. […] The only entity that came off worse than Donald Trump was SNL.
  • Variety: Most of the sketches involving Trump were weak, timid or predictable.
  • Time: His episode of SNL was among the most anodyne in the show’s recent history.
  • Washington Post: Trump’s sorry night on ‘SNL’: An overhyped bummer for us all.
  • Townhall: Trump on SNL Was Dull, Unfunny.
  • Greg Gutfeld, Fox News: They deliberately wrote nothing, as a protest. It’s like a restaurant cook spitting on someone’s food.

The last two in this list were specifically included to show that it isn’t just the “liberal” media ganging up The Donald. Gutfeld’s paranoid observation that there was a conspiracy by the writers to tank Trump is especially ludicrous. Why would they do so knowing that it would make them look just as atrocious as their star? They have their own careers to consider.

The one moment in the show that was universally applauded was Larry David’s heckling of Trump’s opening monologue wherein he called Trump a racist. David was cashing in on the actual offer by Latino activist group Deport Racism to pay $5,000 to anyone in the SNL audience who called Trump a racist on the air. The group says that it will honor the offer and pay the prize to David (not that he needs it). SNL’s attempt at a preemptive strike to dilute the impact of an audience member disrupting the show backfired because David’s disruption got far more people talking about Trump’s bigotry than an unknown person in the audience would have.

Trump, on the other hand, was stiff and painfully humor-challenged. What’s worse, he managed to make himself appear even less presidential than he has on the campaign trail this year (not an unimpressive feat). It probably won’t hurt him among his supporters because, by definition, their judgment is pitifully defective.

But the real losers in all of this are NBC, who reversed their pledge to cut ties with Trump due to his offensive remarks, and SNL, who are demonstrating a crushing weakness in what should be their core comedic competence. It’s a sad decline for the program that seems to be accelerating downward. And following this disgraceful capitulation to a bully bigot, you have to wonder what’s next for SNL.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Donald Trump SNL

Ted Cruz Super PAC Brags That He ‘Makes Things Happen,’ Like 1,000 Mass Murders Since Sandy Hook

Texas Senator Ted Cruz sure loves him some guns. His affection for assault weapons is so fierce that he brags about using them to cook bacon. He portrays himself as a defender of the Constitution whose Second Amendment he distorts by ignoring the “well regulated militia” clause.

Ted Cruz Sandy Hook

Now a Super PAC working on his behalf has produced an ad (video below) aimed at taking down fellow Republican Marco Rubio. In the course of the attack on Rubio it veers to the right to direct some fire at President Obama. Unfortunately, it misses the target and results in severe harm to some truly innocent bystanders. The ad says that…

“Ted Cruz makes things happen. After Sandy Hook, Ted Cruz stopped Obama’s push for new gun control laws.”

Indeed, Cruz was one of the leading opponents of measures to protect children and others from the horrific tragedy that befell the residents of Newtown, Connecticut. The fact that twenty children can be slaughtered by gunfire from a military-style assault weapon in their elementary school classroom, and nothing is done about it, is due in part to the determination and indifference of Ted Cruz to “make things happen,” or more precisely, to make things NOT happen, because that’s the only skill he’s demonstrated in his single senate term.

So thank you, Sen. Cruz, for ensuring that future citizens will be just as vulnerable as those kids. Thank you for standing up for the gun manufacturing lobbyists at the NRA instead of the victims and their families. You’ll be glad to know that your efforts have already resulted in nearly 1,000 more mass shootings in the United States just since the December 2012 massacre in Newtown. The shooters in those incidents killed at least 1,251 people and wounded 3,602 more. You must be so proud. Your senate colleague, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, responded to the ad with an impassioned righteousness.

“Showing off how callous he was in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting may win him some right-wing votes that get swept up from Donald Trump or Ben Carson, but it disqualifies him in a general election.” [… Cruz is…] “the one senator who took on the parents of Sandy Hook in the wake of the most horrific mass shooting in our lifetime.”

“Ted Cruz makes things happen,” should become the new slogan of his campaign. And so long as voters know that the things that he makes happen are threats to the welfare of all Americans, the nation will renounce his dangerous agenda. What’s more, his policies that include the repeal of ObamaCare, the destruction of Social Security, tax cuts for the wealthy, the crippling of the middle-class, never-ending war, and demolishing the wall between church and state, will hurt every other American. And that agenda is shared by all of his Republican pals running for the presidency. Yes, Republicans make things happen. Very, very bad things.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Ben Carson’s Brazen Dishonesty Still Isn’t As Bad As His Glaring Lunacy

The recent revelations about Ben Carson’s proclivity for embellishing his life story are certain to present him with problems going forward. He has now been found to have been less than truthful about a scholarship offer to West Point. On the same subject he said that he met with General Westmoreland at time that he was hundreds of miles away. His recollections of childhood hostility have come under scrutiny for having changed in substantive ways on each telling. The tale of cowardice in a fast food restaurant when he directed a gunman to assault someone else has no evidence of ever having occurred. He appears to be making up his legend as he goes along.

As serious as that sort of mendacity is, it is still not the biggest problem with Ben Carson and his improbable candidacy for president. That’s because, in just the past few days, Carson has added to a series of strikingly ignorant commentaries. It is truly baffling that a respected neurosurgeon can utter such nonsense. It is equally baffling that so many Americans can be fooled into supporting him. And the examples herein don’t even include the stupendously idiotic assertion that the great pyramids of Egypt were built to store grain.

Ben Carson's Oddities

The three most blatantly harebrained remarks that Carson made this week should make any voter cringe. For instance, defending his absence of political experience, Carson conceded that…

“I have no political experience. The current Members of Congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience. Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.”

The argument that a lack of political experience is an endorsement of one’s fitness to be the Leader of the Free World makes about as much sense as a brain surgeon boasting that he’s never actually performed surgery. But Carson’s comment is also off base because nearly every signer of the Declaration of Independence had elected office experience. Whoever is doing Carson’s research should be fired.

In another attempt to exalt the inexperienced, Carson turned to the bible and constructed an analogy that in his dementia he must have thought supported his argument. he said that…

“It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.”

Is he now advocating that all shipbuilders be interrogated to assure that they have never actually worked on ship construction? Just hire the ones with the most piety and confidence that God will guide them to build a nice boat. What’s more, Carson is comparing the seaworthiness of Noah’s Ark, a vessel for which there is no evidence that it ever sailed, or even existed, with the infamous Titanic. The logical flaw in this analogy is that the Titanic, which existed, was extremely well built. It didn’t sink due to any construction or design flaw, but due to the bad navigation and judgment of the captain and crew who steered it into an iceberg. Consequently, this analogy undercuts Carson’s point, because it’s the experience of the sailors that would have made the difference.

The introduction of God into Carson’s political philosophy occurs with great frequency. He freely mixes religion into matters of politics and science. For instance, he believes that the Big Bang Theory and evolution are the work of Satan. However, he also believes that…

“The good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News. We’d be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”

Who knew that the Lord Almighty was directly responsible for Fox News and for making it available to Carson? What’s more, who knew that Fox News is the only reason that the United States is not a tiny communist island? The notion that America would have fallen into the sphere of Soviet style communism, but for the existence of a cable news network that is watched by about one percent of the population, is further evidence of Carson’s acute derangement. What kept America from becoming Cuba prior to 1996 when Fox was launched?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Indeed, it is important to be able to believe what those who aspire to lead the nation say. Hillary Clinton is getting a lesson in the value of trust herself. But she doesn’t go around spouting fables as facts and turning history into mythology. So Carson, as many people are now learning, may be a bald-faced liar, but that isn’t nearly as bad as his being a totally unhinged schizoid who is convinced that God sent him to save America and the world.

[Update:] As if to affirm his utterly insane perspective, Carson went on an epic rant complaining that the media was responsible for his misrepresentations of reality. In the course of his barely lucid explanation he rattled off a bunch of old and widely debunked conspiracy theories about President Obama, saying “I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running.” He included: Frank Marshall Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Obama’s “sealed” academic records. Of course, upon examination, there was either no truth or nothing controversial in any of these issues. But more to the point, and despite his faulty memory, they were all scrutinized by the media in far greater depth than anything Carson has experienced yet. Why he doesn’t recall months and months of endless reporting on these and other phony issues is another reason to question his fitness for office.