Bizarro World: Now The Republican Candidates Are Blasting Fox News More Than Democrats

One of the most enduring and annoying characteristics of the Fox News personality is that they are quick to take offense at any criticism and express their inner pain whenever they feel the least bit insulted. They have a defense mechanism that is on a hair trigger. If you have a legitimate complaint about the network you can expect them to fire back with ferocity.

Barack Obama Fox News

When Jon Stewart was on The Daily Show, Fox News regularly went into hysterics over his comic swipes at them. Never mind that his barbs were often aimed at Democrats and liberals as well, the ones targeting Fox brought out their full armory of wrath. And if President Obama dares to make a perfectly reasonable observation that Fox News has been biased against him, Fox reacts as if they were pierced with a presidential harpoon. They cry like babies every time Obama knocks them, even if it’s just in passing and in concert with a knock on the left.

However, they have yet to show the same indignation when their comrades on the right throw mud at the network. They seem to have a special store of umbrage that’s reserved only for Democrats who hurt their tender feelings.

For several months now Donald Trump has been wailing at Fox News for being boring, dopey, dishonest, unfair fools and clowns. He has directed his insults specifically toward featured Foxies like Bill O’Reilly, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Karl Rove, and especially Megyn Kelly. He has sabotaged their debates by refusing to participate and has even advocated boycotting the network.

Now Ted Cruz is also slamming Fox News. In a press conference last week he complained that Fox has been unfair to him as it obsesses over Trump. He actually has a point. Fox has given Trump far more air time than any candidate of either party. And they have also given Trump more airtime than any other network has given him. Still, it generally doesn’t matter to Fox if the incoming criticism is true or not. They usually fire back with everything they’ve got.

So we now find ourselves in the odd position of seeing the top Republican candidates for president both bashing Fox News, the top media mouthpiece for Republicans. You know you have really crossed over into weird territory when right-wing politicians are the most prominent protesters of a media platform that has paved the way for their candidacies. Where will this leave Fox after the election?

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

What’s peculiar is that Fox has not been returning fire at the Republican candidates. With the exception of one response to Trump’s “sick obsession” with Megyn Kelly, the GOP offenders are being given a pass to hammer away at Fox. For a network that is notorious for brutal and rapid responses to critics, this can only be seen as a gift to the GOP. Liberal critics like Stewart or Bernie Sanders or Rachel Maddow had better take cover before delivering uncomplimentary comments. And President Obama should prepare for a nuclear blast. Fox is all for free speech as long as it doesn’t contain any criticism of their blatantly dishonest propaganda. Unless that criticism is coming from their ideological pals.

Racists On Fox News React To The Harriet Tubman $20.00 Bill

Like clockwork, all that needs to happen is for some news event to address something involving race that can be tied to the Obama administration and the bigots come slithering out from the crevices in the floor. The latest example of this is the long overdue initiative to place a woman on U.S. currency. The woman selected for the honor is the heroic former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Oh, and she just happens to be black.

Fox News

Leading the way, Greta Van Susteren of Fox News delivered a commentary (video below) that portrayed the decision to put Tubman on the $20.00 bill as an “awful” idea that amounts to “dividing the country.” Van Susteren blasted the plan in the most insulting terms, saying that “The Obama administration went stupid, and went stupid for no reason.” Then she offered her own alternative to put Tubman on a non-existent $25.00 bill instead, saying that it would be “the smart and easy thing to do.”

First of all, what would be smart or easy about minting a new bill just for the purpose of putting Tubman on it? It would waste millions of dollars to design, produce, and maintain, despite the fact that there is no demand for a denomination that’s $5.00 more than the twenty. That would make it a pretty stupid thing to do. And the only thing that is making any of this divisive is the right-wingers like Van Susteren who insist on dredging up controversy where there need not be any.

What’s more, segregating Tubman to a new, unwanted denomination smacks of a form of the “separate but equal” philosophy that was really just an excuse to practice discrimination. Van Susteren is effectively saying that Tubman isn’t fit for the currency that the rest of us white folk use. That reasoning has also been adopted by Ben Carson and Donald Trump who have both advocated for an even more devalued denomination for Tubman: the $2.00 bill.

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

Not surprisingly, the response to Van Susteren’s commentary by the cretins at the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, was an avalanche of racism. This has become a predictable aftereffect of any race-related news story (see The Collected Hate Speech Of The Fox News Community). Here are just a few examples of the bigoted opinions that Fox fans are comfortable expressing when they are among their own kind:

Fox Nation Comments

If Only: WSJ Says Obama Is Six Months Away From Destroying The Republican Party

The Wall Street Journal just published an editorial that might have been dismissed as an April Fool’s joke, except that it was published on March 30. It is the sort of delusional crackpottery to which conservatives resort when their denial overpowers what little common sense they have.

Obama Destroys GOP

The article by Dan Henninger, the paper’s Deputy Editorial Page Director and a Fox News contributor, is fretfully titled Obama’s Greatest Triumph: He is six months away from destroying both the Republican Party and Reagan’s legacy.” While the claim is one that stirs the promise of hope in every liberal, Henninger may be giving Obama more credit than he deserves. The truth is that the Republican Party may indeed be six months from destruction, but Obama has had little to do with it.

Henninger is employing the venerable rightist tactic of blaming Obama for anything that they deem undesirable. For instance, wingnuts on the right have blamed Obama for the bombing in Brussels, California’s drought, Ebola, and even Hurricane Katrina. He is blamed for high gas prices that hurt consumers, as well as for low gas prices that hurt oil companies. In the warped minds of conservatives there is no way that Obama can win.

And now the disintegration of the Republican Party is just another disaster caused by a president that the right believes is both an evil genius and a lazy incompetent. He’s working determinedly to destroy America while doing nothing but playing golf. The editorial begins with the premise that…

“Barack Obama will retire a happy man. He is now close to destroying his political enemies—the Republican Party, the American conservative movement and the public-policy legacy of Ronald Reagan.”

And how does Henninger arrive at this conclusion? By observing that the GOP has withered into a hollow shell of a party and that…

“With no party spokesman for conservatism, an ideological vacuum existed. Freelance operators filled it.”

The freelancers identified by Henninger are otherwise known as some of the leading figures of their party, including presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Henninger doesn’t explain the dastardly scheme that Obama used to get Republicans to elevate these fruitcakes to their current status, but rest assured, it must have been as diabolical as it was brilliant. But that was only the beginning. Obama’s plots conspired to turn the Republican Party against itself, even utilizing reliably right-wing think tanks and media to do the dirty work.

“They also included a movement to purge and cleanse conservatism, led by groups such as Heritage Action and by talk radio hosts. Together they conjured an internal enemy—the Republican Establishment.”

Once again there is no explanation for how Obama managed to get the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation, Rush Limbaugh, et al, to turn their fire at the so-called “Republican Establishment,” which in reality is no different than what is regarded as the Republican outsiders like the Tea Party. They are all of the same hive mind politically, and advocate for exactly the same agenda.

Nevertheless, Henninger’s proposition that the turmoil in the GOP was brought about by some wizardry on the part of Obama was made even more devious by the President’s ability to keep his fingerprints off of the plan. As Henninger describes it…

“With his Cheshire Cat grin, Barack Obama faded into the background and let the conservatives’ civil war rip. […] The anti-establishment offensive created a frenzy faction inside the Republican base. And of course, it produced Donald Trump.”

Now that is the ultimate praise from the conservative columnist. Taking credit for saddling Republicans with Donald Trump would be a feather in the cap of any Democrat. It would be like threading the Deathstar needle in an X-Wing Starfighter to blow it to smithereens. Obama must truly be a Jedi Master.

All kidding aside, the desperation in this editorial to indict Obama for crimes against the GOP is hilariously obtuse. Responsibility for the Republican Party’s destruction lies solely with GOP politicians, pundits, and voters, who encouraged the foolishness of the Tea Party malcontents to screech their unfocused and incoherent anger at anyone who sought to behave reasonably or to conduct the work of government. It wasn’t Obama who unseated the GOP House Majority Leader. And it wasn’t Democrats who primaried veteran Republican members of Congress. And any clear-eyed observer knows that Donald Trump was the inevitable consequence of their festering rage.

Henninger whines that the GOP’s “bizarre” response to the Obama administration produced a result wherein “the Republicans decided to destroy each other.” That’s true, but it wasn’t Obama who got them to become so bizarre. That’s an honor that they can only award to themselves. And now that most of them are horrified by the prospect of Donald Trump becoming their standard bearer, they are struggling to avoid accountability and to lay the blame at the feet of the President who has been the most consistent victim of their madness. But that is only more proof that they are still suffering from an acute case of denial. And there is no sign that a cure is on the horizon.

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

The Republican Party may very well be six months away from being destroyed. And if it is, the credit belongs to the party and the conservative media that has been deceiving their constituents for the past eight years (or more). At least RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was honest about it when he said that “Republicans don’t exist as a national political party if we do not win in 2016.” To which America is saying “You promise?”

Birther Bombshell: Donald Trump Was Born In Scotland And Is Ineligible To Be President

For most of the presidency of Barack Obama a contingent of fringe dwellers have challenged his legitimacy to serve due to wholly unfounded accusations that he was not born in the United States. One of the most prominent and vocal of those critics was Donald Trump, who joined the nut cases demanding Obama’s birth certificate and then refused to concede that it was real when it was provided.

Donald Trump Birth Scotland

Trump was so obsessed with Obama’s birth status that he allegedly sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to get the goods on the phony president and proclaimed that the world “will be amazed” at what they found. Unfortunately, Trump has never disclosed the results of that investigation and has since refused to even talk about it. Amazing.

Not satisfied to stir citizenship controversies for just President Obama, Trump also raised concerns about the birth status of both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. He even threatened to sue Cruz in a tweet saying that “If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen.”

This backstory makes the news that Trump’s questionable birth status could sink his own presidential ambitions even more significant. Records have been unearthed from a Scottish hospital that appear to document the birth of a baby boy to Mary Anne MacLeod, Trump’s mother, on June 14, 1946, the date of Trump’s birth. Anonymous sources from the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Scotland claim to have the evidence of the birth and are preparing to make it available to the media.

Concurrent with those allegations is a story being researched for book by William MacDougal, an academic from Springfield E.S. with close ties to the MacLeod family. MacDougal conducted interviews with family members, including Mary Anne’s nephew Duncan MacLeod, who confirms that she had returned to Scotland in the Spring of 1946 after a falling out with Trump’s father Fred. It was there that she discovered that she was pregnant and later gave birth at the Western Isles facility. A Dr. Montgomery Scott was listed on the birth certificate as the attending physician. Dr. Scott’s former colleagues, however, refused to comment with one angrily dismissing reporter’s inquiries saying “I’m not the doctor, damn it.”

Upon hearing of the birth of his son, Fred Trump demanded that Mary Anne return to the United States and threatened to use his connections to revoke her citizenship status if she did not comply. Fearing that she might never again see her previous children with Fred, she bundled up little Donald and returned to the Trump family home in Brooklyn where the birth records of Donald were redrawn to indicate a New York delivery.

As this story unfolds it will be interesting to see how Trump responds to allegations that he suffers from the very same citizenship irregularities that he has directed at Obama and others. Will he submit to requests for his long form birth certificate? Will his followers continue to support him? Will there be legal complaints filed?

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

Since it is only April 1st, it is still too soon to have authoritative answers to these questions. But as the election proceeds, Trump will encounter increasingly stiff criticism and demands for clarification. Although, he continues to refuse to provide the tax returns that he once promised to make public, so his obstinate nature may prevail as he stubbornly declines to cooperate and simply insults his critics and attempts to change the subject.

And speaking of bombshell announcements…

How Fox News Uses Visual Messaging To Keep Their Audience Dumb And Angry

If there is one thing that Fox News is determined to do, it’s to make sure that their audience is fed a constant stream of lies. Their purpose is to insure that they are incapable of understanding the real world around them and remain in a perpetual state of outrage over the falsehoods that Fox disseminates.

Fox Nation

Case in point: Today’s headline story on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation blasted the lede that “‘Our Openness To Refugees’ Is How We Fight ISIS: Obama Reiterates Pledge to Bring In 100,000 Muslim Refugees” There is so much wrong with both the text and the image associated with it that it requires a detailed analysis.

First of all, notice that the picture juxtaposes President Obama with a band of ISIS terrorists in a manner that nearly suggests he is leading their mission. That obvious bit of visual messaging aims to create an impression of Obama as a traitor who is aligned with the enemy. The allegation that Obama, or other Democrats and liberals, are terrorist sympathizers or worse is one that has been expressed explicitly by Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests. Just this weekend, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox to declare that Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS.

Additionally, the use of ISIS fighters in the image is a distortion of the accompanying text in that the story is about refugees, not terrorists. But Fox deliberately chose not to use refugees in the picture. By using ISIS fighters they imply that the refugees themselves are terrorists, which in fact is what Fox and other conservatives believe. That is their justification for opposing the humanitarian admittance of refugees into the U.S. And it mirrors the official positions of the two leading Republican candidates for president. Donald Trump has been saying for weeks that he would prohibit any Muslims from entering the country, while Ted Cruz has proposed surveilling the ones already here.

For the full measure of just how deplorable that message is you have to understand that the refugees are the victims of the terrorists. That’s why they are seeking asylum in the U.S. and elsewhere. What Fox is saying is akin to associating Jews with the Nazis who tortured and murdered them. If Fox News, Trump, Cruz, et al, were around in the 1940s they would have called the Jews potential terrorists and forced them to remain in the region were they were being slaughtered.

Next we’ll look at the the headline on the article which purports to be quoting the President. But contrary to Fox’s account, Obama did not say that “‘our openness to refugees’ is how we fight ISIS.” What he said was that our openness to refugees is “another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our counter-terrorism work, and our diplomacy.” That’s an important distinction in that the humane treatment of refugees is just one part of a broader strategy to defeat the enemy militarily while also undermining their propaganda campaign. The Fox News, right-wing plan to insult our Muslim allies and stigmatize Muslim Americans will only help the enemy recruit new fighters. That’s the message Obama gave in his weekly address. He said in part (video below):

“As we move forward in this fight, we have to wield another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our counter-terrorism work, and our diplomacy. And that’s the power of our example. Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL’s violence; our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda — a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause.” In that effort, our most important partners are American Muslims. That’s why we have to reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim Americans and their enormous contribution to our country and our way of life. Such attempts are contrary to our character, to our values, and to our history as a country built around the idea of religious freedom. It’s also counter-productive. It plays right into the hands of terrorists who want to turn us against one another.

Finally, the headline on the article also lies about the President’s efforts to rescue refugees by saying that he is proposing to admit 100,000 refugees (Trump, in his pathologically lying way, has escalated that to 250,000). However, the current plans call for admitting 10,000, so Fox is only off by 90%. But misinforming their audience on this matter plays right into their continuing effort to demonize the refugees and make Americans afraid of an imaginary horde of potential suicide bombers. The truth is that entering the U.S. as a refugee is perhaps the most difficult path to entry. It takes going through a rigorous array of inspections that can take years to complete. Why would a terrorist subject himself to a process that takes so long and is likely to result in his capture?

That’s a question that Fox News will never bother to address because they are only interested in portraying refugees as clandestine evildoers. And it’s why they construct these graphical lies in order to deceive their all too willingly ignorant audience. Keeping them dumb and angry is the core mission of the Fox News cultists.

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

Fox News Is Hyperventilating About Climate Change vs. Terrorism – Again

One of the most predictable lines of attack on President Obama by Fox News and other right-wing media is to latch unto his commitment to mitigating the catastrophic effects of anthropomorphic climate change, and suggesting that his commitment to fighting terrorism is lax in comparison. The idiocy of that argument has been demonstrated numerous times, but since the right keeps bringing it up like a meal of rotten clams, it still needs to be debunked.

Fox News

The latest regurgitation of this nonsense came when Obama spoke at a press conference with the President of Argentina. He was asked a question about the post-Brussels optics of his decision to stay in Cuba and attend a baseball game. Obama expanded on his previous statement asserting that allowing the terrorists to disrupt our lives would be counter-productive, and that the message we need to send is that “You do not have power over us.”

Obama: Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us. They are vicious killers and murderers who perverted one of the world’s great religions. And their primary power, in addition to killing innocent lives, is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies, so that the effect cascades from an explosion or an attack by a semi-automatic rifle. And even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their leaders, rolling up their operations, it is very important for us not to respond with fear.

That profound and powerful statement was contorted into an expression of indifference by the spinmeisters at Fox News with help from CNSNews, a division of the uber-rightist Media Research Center. The problem they had with Obama’s remarks was that they were followed by his support for advancing a positive agenda, including solutions to the very real global threats posed by climate change.

Obama: So it’s important for the U.S. president and the U.S. government to be able to work with people who are building, and who are creating things and creating jobs, and trying to solve major problems like climate change, and setting up educational exchanges for young people who going to create the next great invention or scientific breakthrough that can cure diseases. We have to make sure that we lift up and we stay focused as well on the things that are most important to us.

The Horror! President Obama had the audacity to advocate a path forward that seeks to prevent suffering from disease and worldwide climate-related disasters. Anyone with a clear perspective understands that these are real threats that will affect millions of people. And while terrorism is unarguably agonizing and barbaric, it’s impact is much more narrow in terms of victims. What conservatives want is to terrify people by focusing on the immediacy and bloodshed of incidents like those in Brussels. Which is, ironically, the same thing the terrorists want.

However, most experts on terrorism and international security (including four of the past Secretaries of Defense, three of whom are Republicans) have concluded that climate change, unlike terrorism, is an existential threat. The military has been crystal clear for years about the very real consequences of a world where water and arable land become scarce, and nations erupt into chaos and war. Last year the Rolling Stone published an extensive examination of The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk. Among its many documented examples of the threat certified by numerous military analysts is one that ought to be persuasive to the conservative Republican deniers:

“In 2003, under Donald Rumsfeld, former President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, the Pentagon published a report titled ‘An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.’ Commissioned by Andrew Marshall, who is sometimes jokingly referred to within the Pentagon as Yoda — and who was a favorite of Rumsfeld’s — the report warned that threats to global stability posed by rapid warming vastly eclipse that of terrorism.

You might think that with Rumsfeld warning about the dangers of climate change from a national security perspective, the naysayers at Fox would keep their mouths shut. You would be wrong. And that’s because their goals have nothing to do with solving problems. The Fox propagandists are tightly focused on bashing the President to the exclusion of any other objective, including the best interests of the American people and the rest of the world.

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

For the record, Obama didn’t just bring up climate change at the press conference to rattle conservative cages. The issue was one of the key subjects on the agenda for his trip to Argentina. And during the visit Obama and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri agreed to take significant measures to cut carbon emissions from air flights and integrate solar and wind power into electricity grids.

What’s more, the criticism from the right that Obama has not properly prioritized the fight against terrorism in his public statements was put to rest the very same day in these remarks which Fox News neglected to report:

“I’ve got a lot of things on my plate. But my top priority is to defeat ISIL and to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that’s been taking place around the world. The issue is how do we do it in an intelligent way. But what we don’t do, and what we should not do, is take approaches that are gonna be counter-productive. So when I hear somebody say we should carpet-bomb Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport or in a metro station. That’s not a smart strategy.”

In conclusion, Fox News is blatantly disinforming their dimwitted audience when they try to portray Obama as disinterested in terrorism, when in fact it is one of his highest priorities. And they are likewise disinforming their audience by leading them to believe that climate change is not an existential threat, in particular when compared to terrorism. But what they are doing mostly is advancing the interests of terrorists by helping them to spread the fear that is at the heart of their strategy.

Despite A Week Of Fox News Bashing, Obama’s Approval Rating Hits 3-Year High

It may be time to send Fox News a thank you card for helping President Obama to achieve his highest level of approval since December of 2012. Gallup’s latest numbers show Obama with a 53% approval rating, and 44% disapproval (as of 3/25/2016). Of course, it wasn’t for lack of trying to smear the President with anything they could dig up. Apparently they just underestimated the American people’s appreciation for a leader who engages in positive forward movement, rather than the sort of juvenile antics that are being showcased by Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Barack Obama

The past week was full of the sort of poll-shifting events that often shape the public’s opinion of national leaders. And true to form, Fox News worked rigorously to turn those events into negative fodder for their Obama-phobic audience. They began by brazenly politicizing the tragic terrorist attacks in Brussels. Various Fox News characters desperately tried to blame Obama for the bombing. They asserted that his strategy for combating ISIS was so weak that it encouraged more attacks. However, the truth is that Obama’s counter-terrorism efforts have seriously degraded the capabilities of the enemy, including killing more than half of their top commanders. ISIS has lost 40% of the territory it once held in Iraq. Many experts regard resorting to terrorism as a sign of weakness by combatants who are unable to make military gains.

Then Fox criticized Obama for continuing his historic visit to Cuba. They would have preferred that he tucked his tail between his legs and scurried back to D.C., as if there were anything he could do there that he couldn’t do on the road. Why they think that it would be a good thing for the President to exhibit fear and panic in the wake of terrorist act (whose purpose is to incite fear and panic) is a mystery. And they never criticized presidents Bush or Reagan who both remained on vacation following similar incidents.

There has also been a dust up in Washington concerning the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by Antonin Scalia’s sudden death. Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a widely admired moderate judge who has been praised by Republicans in the past. But now they are clinging to an imaginary constitutional clause prohibiting presidents from doing anything in the last year of their term. The rhetoric on Capital Hill has been decidedly hostile toward Obama simply because he is complying with his constitutional obligations. GOP senators have accused him of trying to “shove” his nominee “down their throats,” and attempting to “pack the court.” All of which is nonsense. He is only asking them to do their jobs as stipulated by law.

Finally, the Republican primary has been a non-stop Obama-bashing extravaganza. For the past eight months every GOP candidate has bitterly castigated the President as inept, dangerous, arrogant, feckless, and even treasonous. They simultaneously claim that he has done more than any other president to harm America, but also that he has done nothing for his entire term. Likewise, he has shown brilliant cunning in his plots to destroy the nation while also being an utter fool who was never up to the job. That kind of schizophrenic contradiction really has be worked at.

So it must be frustrating for the GOP to observe that while all of these heavy-handed and baseless condemnations were being flung at Obama, the American people were warming up to him more than at any other time than in the past three years. By significant majorities they approve of his opening diplomatic relations with Cuba. They want the Senate to confirm Judge Garland for the Supreme Court. And their opinions of the Republican contenders for the GOP nomination range from embarrassment to disgust (even among Republicans).

President Obama must be doing something right. And Fox News is demonstrating that they have far less influence on the electorate than like to pretend. They have yet to report these latest presidential approval numbers from Gallup, even though they gleefully announce any polling down tick with a flashy “ALERT” accompanied by whooshes and gongs to make sure their dimwitted viewers are paying attention.

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

So the Fox audience will remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that Obama is riding high in the polls, and will continue to wallow in the fantasy that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump are going to trample the Democratic candidate in the fall. Just like they did in 2012 when they were lied to by Fox into believing that Mitt Romney was going to win by landslide. That’ worked out pretty well, didn’t it?

Hey Fox News, Donald Trump, And All You Other Gutless Republicans: Stop Helping ISIS

One of the first reactions to the tragic bombings in Brussels came from conservative pundits and politicians who berated President Obama for being in Cuba and sticking to his scheduled activities. They were outraged that the President didn’t drop everything and hightail it back to Washington so that he could…

Well, I’m not sure what they thought he could do there that he couldn’t do from Cuba. Still, for some reason they thought he should have tucked his tail between his legs and scurried back to D.C. In the 21st century the notion that a president has to be in the Oval Office for anything to get done is ludicrous. A few years ago Obama was delivering a hilarious address at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner while Seal Team 6 was disposing of Osama Bin Laden. The mission was ordered, engaged, and in progress without the President chained to his desk. And it was an undeniable success. But to the Fox News crowd America is being let down unless terrorists get to decide where our president should be. And if the President isn’t as rash and irrational as wingnuts think he ought to be, the terrorists win.

That’s the sort of defeatist rhetoric that makes life easier for terrorists. They know that they can’t beat the United States in a military battle, so they engage in acts of terror whose only purpose is to spread fear in the West and to promote recruitment to their cause among extremist Muslims. Of course, they don’t have any governmental infrastructure or media apparatus so they depend on the private press to promote their activities. And like every other public relations campaign, the more press coverage they get, the better for their cause.

Fox News ISIS Flag

That’s why the President was right to stay in Cuba and continue with his historic visit, including a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays. Obama himself put it clearly in remarks to ESPN:

“The whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives. […] What they can do is scare, and make people afraid and disrupt our daily lives and divide us. And as long as we don’t allow that to happen, we’re gonna be okay.”

Exactly. So why don’t conservatives get it? The truth is, they probably do, but they would rather scold the President for invented misdeeds than to admit that he is demonstrating strength, wisdom, and representing the nation’s best interests.

People need to realize that these heinous bombings are intended by the terrorists to inflame emotions and draw Western powers into a quagmire on their battlefield. And as if to validate that goal, war hawks among American conservatives are falling for the tactic and calling for an increased military presence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. Donald Trump is even arguing that the U.S. should adopt the tactics of the terrorists in order to fight them on their own terms. He said that…

“I think we have to change our law on, you know, the waterboarding thing, and they can chop off heads, and they can drown people in cages, in heavy steel cages, and we can’t waterboard. So we have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight on an almost equal basis.”

Fighting on an equal basis as terrorists lowers us to their level. It obliterates any moral authority we might have. Trump is an ignorant cretin who can’t grasp the simple concept that America is only worth fighting for because of the principles we embrace. Resorting to the sort of savagery that is embodied by terrorism, including waterboarding and carpet bombing, makes us no better than the enemy and not worthy of defending. Not to mention that it is precisely what the terrorists want. The more they can portray us as the ruthless ones, the more converts they can acquire. Adopting their methods is a dangerous submission to the will of the enemy. Why would anyone want to give the terrorists exactly what they are hoping for? That used to be called treason.

In the process of castigating Obama with their knee-jerk criticisms, conservatives are demeaning not just the President, but the whole country. They make public statements that disparage our military and our resolve to be victorious. That must go over pretty well with the leaders of ISIS and Al Qaeda. When American senators and news commentators characterize our side as “weak” and “losers” it emboldens our enemies and invites them to escalate their attacks. It is also a blatant lie. What these traitors are forgetting (or not bothering to learn) is that…

Since the beginning of the American-led air campaign against ISIS, the coalition has launched 8,000 airstrikes and dropped about 28,000 bombs on ISIS sites in Iraq and Syria. In other words, we’ve been launching about 17 airstrikes and dropping 60 bombs per day. Every day. For over a year.”

These missions have seriously degraded the capabilities of the enemy, including killing more than half of their top commanders. ISIS has lost 40% of the territory it once held in Iraq. A recent U.S. airstrike killed more than 150 terrorists at a Somalia camp. Critical ISIS figures such as Abu Salah, their financial chief in charge of its extortion activities, Hajji Mutazz, a deputy to the leader of ISIS, and chemical weapons expert, Abu Malik, have all been killed in recent actions. Clearly, anyone observing the available facts can see that there is a concerted effort to defeat these enemies. So the political distortions from the right are a dishonest campaign to harm Obama, and by extension the country.

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

None of this is meant to diminish the genuine harm done by barbarians who have no respect for humanity. But it serves no purpose to give them the free advertising they crave. We are fulfilling their desires when we help them to spread fear and to foment despair. The only sane way to react to these events is to acknowledge that they occurred and then stop obsessing over them. Then we can conduct our retaliatory response calmly and decisively. But by no means should we panic, tear out our hair, and give the enemy the impression (and satisfaction) that they have crushed our spirit and won a victory.

President Obama At Cuban Baseball Game

Hillary’s America: Ex-Con’s Anti-Clinton Documentary Whitewashes The Right’s Ties To The KKK

The architects of the long-festering anti-Clinton crusades are often people who are demonstrably lacking in ethics or honesty. Take for example ex-con Dinesh D’Souza. Two years ago he pleaded guilty to election fraud. Prior to that he was forced to resign as the dean of a Catholic university due to his marital infidelity. This paragon of virtue, who is presenting himself as a spokesman for conservative values, has a follow-up to his 2012 crocumentary, “Obama’s America,” wherein he attempted to portray Hillary Clinton and President Obama as a hippie and a street thug.

The Hippie & The Street Thug

Setting aside those sexist and racist characterizations, D’Souza utterly failed to make any coherent points and his cinematic tantrum had no impact on the election that he hoped to swing to the right. So naturally he is returning with a new screed aimed directly at Clinton titled “Hillary’s America.” If her administration wound up being anything like Obama’s, then the stock market would double again, there would be another 72 straight months of private sector job growth, the percent of Americans without health insurance would be cut in half again, and the deficit would be cut by another two-thirds. What a nightmare.

The trailer for D’Souza’s new film (video below) reveals that it intends to continue an absurd and dishonest argument about racism in America. It begins with a D’Souza voice-over asking “Who are these Democrats?” Before answering that question he whines that “It all began when the Obama administration tried to shut me up.” That’s a reference to his prosecution and incarceration for election fraud to which he admitted guilt. He doesn’t explain how that sneaky rascal Obama got him to break the law by illegally funding a Republican Senate candidate. However, he does dismiss his own criminality to claim that “The big criminals are still at large,” while showing video of Clinton and Obama.

The meat of this propaganda piece appears to be centered on D’Souza’s allegations that the modern Democratic Party is closely tied to the Ku Klux Klan and supports slavery. This is one of the favorite lies of far-right cranks and Republican apologists for bigotry. It is based on the sliver of fact that 150 years ago southern Democrats were angry with Abraham Lincoln’s abolitionist policies and formed hate groups to oppose him. But the flaky right obsessively ignores the reality that Democrats cast off those positions in the 1950’s and 1960’s as they advanced comprehensive civil and voting rights legislation.

As a result, the bigots in the party fled en masse to a welcoming Republican Party that opposed advancements in equality and swelled the ranks of the white supremacist organizations. Former Democrats like Strom Thurmond became leaders of the GOP’s segregationist contingent. And today it is still the Republican Party that is throwing up roadblocks to the voting rights and non-discrimination bills that are proposed by Democrats. It is not coincidental that Donald Trump’s candidacy is backed by David Duke and other white supremacists. And it isn’t just Trump that draws those racists to the GOP. Anyone who can deny that it is the Republican Party that is the home of Confederacy-loving racists is either lying through their teeth, oblivious to reality, or painfully stupid.

D’Souza appeared at this year’s ultra-rightist CPAC convention to promote the film. He revealed his intention to release it during the Democratic National Committee’s convention in July. Clearly he thinks he’s going to disrupt the news cycle with his wingnut fan fiction, but more likely it will get lost amid the more newsworthy events associated with launching the Democrats’ presidential nominee into the general election. So he was reduced to begging the CPAC attendees to see the film on its opening weekend in the hopes of building buzz. [Side note: D’Souza will have wasted a lot of time and his sponsors money if Bernie Sanders ends up being the nominee]

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

The Death Of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Is Instantly Politicized By Callous Republicans

The sudden and unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has produced a flurry of reactions from across the political spectrum. Everyone offering a comment has begun with praise for his public service and intellect, and expressions of condolences for his family.

Antonin Scalia

Unfortunately, Republicans have wasted no time in turning this personal tragedy into a political opportunity. GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (also members of the Senate) added to their sympathies a demand that President Obama refrain from nominating a replacement and leave that to whoever is president in January of 2017. Others, including Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who holds the power to vote or not, have made similar demands. After offering her condolences, Hillary Clinton responded to the GOP by saying that their intention to leave the seat vacant dishonors our Constitution.

There are several problems with the Republican’s overt obstructionism, starting with the fact that it is the constitutional duty of the President to nominate a replacement when there is a vacancy. It would be wholly inappropriate for him to simply ignore that obligation for political purposes. The Senate could refuse to confirm the nominee, or even allow it to come up for a vote. Of course, that would be an abdication of their constitutional duty, but they could do it. The President, however, should not be complicit with that negligence. The Founders intended the Supreme Court to reflect the mood of the nation as represented by the chief executive — not the mood of the nation as represented by the chief executive unless he’s in the last year of his administration.

Another reason that the President should nominate a replacement as soon as possible, and the Senate should confirm, is that this year the Supreme Court has a particularly heavy calendar. There are many cases waiting to be heard, and some are critical issues that will have far reaching effect. The litigants ought not to be penalized by self-serving politicians. And there has never been a vacancy on the Supreme Court for a year, which is what the GOP obstructionists are proposing. Some of the decisions to be made by the court this term could…

  • Limit the ability of unions to collectively bargain (Friedrichs).
  • Further restrict the use of race in college admissions (Fisher).
  • Drastically limit the ability of people to band together in class actions to stop corporate wrongdoing (Spokeo, Campbell-Ewald, Tyson Foods).
  • Dismantle environmental regulations (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).
  • Expand the scope of forced arbitration (DIRECTV and Zaborowski).
  • Further undermine the voting rights of communities of color in urban areas (Evenwel).
  • Sanction far-right efforts to radically restrict women’s abortion rights and ability to obtain contraceptive medical coverage (Whole Woman’s Health and Zubik).

If a new justice is not confirmed, the pending cases would be heard by a short-handed court. And since this court has been divided ideologically with a five to four conservative advantage, there is a great possibility of frequent ties should this vacancy remain. In the event of a 4/4 tie, the ruling of the lower court would stand. From the Republican perspective, this might not be to their advantage. After eight years of the Obama presidency the district courts currently have a majority of Democratic nominated judges. Consequently, those lower court rulings may be more to the liking of liberals. So any effort by the GOP to obstruct the confirmation of a new nominee by Obama may have the opposite effect of what they intend. Senate Republicans also risk the possibility that they will not be in the majority next year and the next president, if Democratic, would have far more leeway in who they nominate.

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

The bottom line is that our government is supposed to work on behalf of the people, not at the whim of the politicians. By obstructing Obama’s constitutional mandate, Republicans would only further cement the impression of them as fomenting division and gridlock. In an election year where the public is fed up with political game-playing, that will likely hurt Republicans at the polls. On the plus side, it might finally elevate the appointment of Supreme Court justices as an election issue. That would be a good thing that should have happened long ago.

Update: President Obama offered his condolences. He also responded to the GOP’s irresponsible and callous politicization of Scalia’s passing, saying in part that…

“Today is a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy. I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. And there will be plenty of time for me to so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility and to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They are bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy.”