With everything going on in the world today, much of the right-wing media has decided to make a federal case of President Obama playing golf with Tiger Woods and not permitting the media to tag along.
How dare the White House shut the media out of Obama’s private time with a golf pro. What are they plotting? Is Woods giving the President advice on how to nail porn stars? Is Obama recruiting Woods to run the FEMA golf courses where wealthy conservatives will be incarcerated?
So F**king What?
Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry bitterly complained that “There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.” Henry’s devotion to hard-nosed journalism is admirable. He’s just the sort of uncompromising reporter who will expose the next Kardashian scandal.
And while we’re on that subject, Henry’s Fox News colleague, Charles Krauthammer, doesn’t concur with Henry’s assessment of the important principle here. When Krauthammer was asked about this breaking news he said “If the guy wants to play golf, the guy deserves a couple of days off. He wants privacy? Big deal… This is the biggest non-story the media have created since the Kardashian weddings.” The only thing Krauthammer missed was that the media responsible for creating this non-story was the one that pays his salary.
The elephantine ego, with the road-kill squirrel hairpiece, that we know as Donald Trump has emerged again from his lair to make squealing noises about some affront to his imaginary immunity from criticism.
Trump had his lawyer, Alan Garten, dash off a cease and desist letter to the organizer of a protest aimed at getting Macy’s to sever their relationship with the fake billionaire birther. He is suing Angelo Carusone for not less than $25 million for “disrupt[ing] Mr. Trump’s long-standing and well-established business relationship with Macy’s.”
Curiously, Garten undermines his own case in the letter by insisting that Carusone’s efforts have been unsuccessful and that he has grossly inflated his support (A petition initiated by Carusone has received more than 680,000 signatures). But if Garten’s claim is so, then there cannot be any justification for a multimillion dollar lawsuit. Where are the damages? Nevertheless, Garten issues brassy threats to “not test Mr. Trump’s resolve” lest you suffer “a judgment of stunning proportions.” The only other potential for liability rests in Trump’s complaint that Carusone attempted to “maliciously”“cast him in a false light,” however, nowhere in his letter did he cite any example of that.
In point of fact, Trump is attempting to bully Carusone into abandoning his rights under the First Amendment. It is squarely within the law to organize and engage in protests, including those that encourage boycotts and other consumer actions. Trump’s threats represent another example of his aversion to democracy and the Constitution. He recently threatened to sue Bill Maher for having made a joke about Trump’s thoroughly joke-worthy challenge to get hold of President Obama’s college transcripts.
Rest assured that this suit is going nowhere. It would be laughed out of court by any reputable judge. Which is too bad for Trump because this appears to be the only way he has of making any money. His business record is replete with bankruptcies and he recently had to unload his Trump Plaza in Atlantic City for a record low price that was less than 10% of its original cost to build.
Given Trump’s dismal performance in real estate, and his declining popularity as a game show host, it seems that there would be no cause of action for defaming his reputation because, seriously, how much lower can he go?
Last November the GOP lost two senate seats that Republicans should have won easily. In both Missouri and Indiana GOP candidates made shockingly ignorant and insensitive comments about rape that cemented the anti-woman attitude that permeates the party. It wasn’t enough that they oppose a woman’s right to choose, they voted against the Violence Against Women Act, they resist efforts to secure pay equity, etc., they also felt it necessary to reveal that they regard rape-induced pregnancies as blessings and that they know nothing about the reproductive system that they so feverishly wish to regulate.
Having been incapable of countering their obvious disdain for half of the electorate, Republicans, with the help of Fox News, are now trying fabricate an equivalent controversy by a Democrat. Unfortunately, they are only further demonstrating their pitiful lack of understanding. Here is the Fox Nation headline story this morning: “Democrats Have A Full-Blown Akin On Their Hands.”
First of all, could they have come up with a more disturbing way to say that? More to the point, the Fox Nationalists seem to have no idea what the original controversies were about. To refresh the record, it was Missouri’s Todd Akin who said that womens’ bodies had a magical ability to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly sperm. It was Indiana’s Richard Mourdock who opined that babies resulting from rape were God’s gift to the rape victim.
However, the comments by a Democratic state senator in Colorado are not remotely similar. Joe Salazar was engaged in a debate over arming students at Colorado universities. He opposed the measure and stated his reasons to his legislative colleagues:
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.”
Salazar was not making any absurd statements regarding the physiology of women or the ancillary benefits of rape. He was simply noting that armed civilians might possibly misinterpret the intentions of someone else and that such a mistake could lead to the tragic shooting of an innocent person (remember Trayvon Martin?).
Nevertheless, Fox Nation saw fit to compare this perfectly reasonable argument against the proliferation of guns to the Akin affair, to which it has nothing in common. To make matters worse, the issue was also taken up on Fox News when Laura Ingraham visited the Kiddie Krew at Fox & Friends. Ingraham twisted the matter to imply that Salazar was opposed to women defending themselves from known rapists. But his remarks were clearly directed at situations where there was no actual threat and the suspected assailant was actually innocent.
That little complexity apparently made the Fox gang incapable of understanding Salazar’s comments. But it didn’t keep them from exhibiting their feeble-mindedness and leading their viewers down another blind alley of ignorance.
Last year there was a flurry of panicky hand-wringing by notorious conspiracy mongers like Alex Jones and the fruitcakes at WorldNetDaily and Newsmax. Reports that agencies of the federal government had purchased large caches of ammunition set the rumor peddlers tongues to wagging as they imagined brigades of Obama’s stormtroopers marching into the corn fields and trailer parks of rural America gunning down everything in their path.
This sickness infected much of the right-wing crackpot community and spread via chain letters and the blogs of Psycho Chicken Littles who were convinced by Glenn Beck that the End of Days was upon us. At the time, these ludicrous delusions were smacked down by more rational thinkers including those at PolitiFact. But the acutely deranged conservative mind is not an easy thing to assuage. And as a result the tales of doom persisted and are even now being retold by Fox News and its heralds.
The latest incarnation of this horror story is a rehashing of the news that the Department of Homeland Security had purchased more than a billion bullets. In the minds of the nutcases on the right, that is evidence that the DHS is plotting a response to some impending disaster scenario wherein they will be forced to kill every person in America five times. That is precisely what Mark Levin, Sean Hannity’s replacement for Sarah Palin, is terrorizing his radio listeners with:
“I’m going to tell you what I think is going on. I don’t think insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies — they play out multiple scenarios. They simulate multiple scenarios. I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.”
Repent sinners – the end is near. Never mind that in the past four years, since George W. Bush actually did come within a hair’s breadth of collapsing the economy, America’s financial state has recovered nearly everything it had lost. The stock market is higher today than it was before the crash. Housing markets are heating up. Unemployment, though still uncomfortably high, is three points lower than its recessionary peak. None of that, however, has any impact on the FoxPods who are stubbornly certain that we are on the brink of disaster.
What makes this particularly idiotic is that the DHS has fully explained the ammunition purchases and that explanation was even reported by Fox News in a wire story from the Associated Press:
“Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are known as ‘strategic sourcing contracts,’ which help the government get a low price for a big purchase, says Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga . The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.”
The story goes on to note that these munitions were to be used by “more than 90 federal agencies and 70,000 agents.” In addition they are also used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government’s second largest criminal investigative agency. But this exceedingly reasonable explanation didn’t deter Fox from advancing an utterly insane conspiracy theory. It’s what they do and, dammit, they do it pretty well.
[And for good measure...] Sarah Palin couldn’t resist the urge to make an ass of herself: