In last night’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly began the program with his routine and hackneyed Talking Points Memo segment. As usual, O’Reilly’s perspective was arrogant, insulting, and entirely devoid of substance or factual basis.
The issue that set O’Reilly off on this occasion was a CBS News poll that showed that 53% of the American people say that President Obama has strong qualities of leadership. Obviously there must be something wrong with those results because O’Reilly knows better than everyone else. He asks “How can that be possible?” and asserts that the people are just “confused.”
The first problem O’Reilly sees with the poll is that the respondents were “adults,” rather than registered or likely voters. For some reason he thinks that’s significant. However, he is now demonstrating his own ignorance because those distinctions are only relevant in polls measuring the current status of an election. For polls gauging the opinions of the general public there is no reason to narrow the respondents to voting demographics. O’Reilly is just desperately grasping for some excuse to dismiss the results.
But the worst part of O’Reilly’s spin comes when he expresses an open hostility to pretty much everyone who supports the President:
“The harsh truth is that many of us are blatantly ignorant and lazy. We simply will not pay attention to the world around us. We get our information from other people, who may be as dumb as we are.”
In O’Reilly’s mind it is impossible to have a positive view of Obama unless you are mentally deficient. It isn’t just a matter of a difference of opinion, it is an inherent inability to comprehend the world you live in. So if you disagree with O’Reilly you are just plain dumb. And since the poll shows that 53% of the nation disagree with him, O’Reilly thinks a majority of the American people are ignorant and lazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if the American people told O’Reilly what they think about that?
The best part of O’Reilly’s remarks is that taken by themselves they are a perfect description of his own arrogance and the willful ignorance of his viewers. It is they who blindly follow the fact-free ramblings of a rabidly biased pundit whose mission in life is to deceive and distort and to disparage his ideological adversaries. And that’s the harsh truth that O’Reilly is too ignorant and lazy to grasp.
After Bill O’Reilly did his Superbowl interview with President Obama, O’Reilly predicted that “the interview that I did is going to go down in journalistic history.” So far, the only historical notice taken of the affair is O’Reilly’s boorishness and Narcissism.
A much more likely candidate for the history books is the interview conducted by Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” It showcased the comedy stylings of the President while demonstrating his keen awareness of modern media and the impact of the Internet as a communications platform. Following his Ferns outing, which has racked up nearly three million views to date, traffic to Healthcare.gov spiked by 40%.
Bill O’Reilly’s famously sensitive ego must have been severely injured by the popularity of the Ferns bit, because he devoted one of his “Talking Points” segments to criticizing it as “problematic” and “desperate.” In fact, whenever O’Reilly is confronted with challenges to his omnipotence, he responds with venom and vacuous attacks. Another recent example of this is his criticism of CNN’s coverage of the Malaysian airliner. O’Reilly complained on his program that CNN was overdoing it, but the real source of his complaint is more likely the fact that CNN has been crushing him in the ratings ever since the jet went missing. Apparently cable news viewers are satisfied with CNN’s reporting, despite O’Reilly’s whining.
Well, now we have a fresh take on the O’Reilly/Galifianakis battle of the interviews courtesy of HuffPost Comedy. And, if anything, it shows that a fern would be a more than acceptable replacement for O’Reilly.
The staff at Breitbart News has never distinguished itself as particularly astute or intellectually gifted. A recent case in point was their giddy victory dance when Coca-Cola supposedly validated the right-wing campaign for English-only ads by adding the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” to a TV commercial.
Today Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large, Ben Shapiro, penned a column outlining what he called “Obama’s Top 5 Distractions.” The article regurgitates a well-worn attack strategy that alleges that anything the President says or does that is not about ObamaCare is a deliberate attempt to distract from that issue, rather than the responsible performance of the duties of his office. BreitBrat Ben begins by admitting his own mental shortcomings:
“Psychologists posit that the brain can only handle so many narratives at one point; if we are distracted by problems at home, for example, we tend to perform less well at work. The same holds true in politics: if our brains are occupied with worries about the war on women, for example, we’re less likely to be thinking about the horrors of Obamacare.”
Poor Ben. By inconsiderately managing the broad array of issues that any president must address, Obama is taxing the shallow capabilities of one of Breitbart’s senior staffers. How dare Obama deal with trivialities like raising workers out of poverty; or mitigating the environmental, economic, and national security threats of Climate Change; or taking action to relieve the suffering of poor families and hungry children; or advocating on behalf women who are exploited, abused, and discriminated against; or endeavoring to advance solutions to the long-term hostilities in the Middle East.
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In Shapiro’s world, placing those five items on the presidential agenda are merely attempts to distract people from the only issue that really exists: ObamaCare. And for the White House to engage in any other domestic or foreign policy can only result in a cognitive breakdown, emotional distress, and a severe brain owie. In the view of these mental deficients, political leaders must always concentrate on a single issue to the exclusion of every other event in the world. Shapiro closes by claiming that…
“…the bottom line is that the Obama administration will do everything in its power over the course of the next few months to distract from the issues Americans care about most.”
These are all issues that the Obama administration has identified as priorities. The American people expect him to work toward advancing their interests on these and many other areas, including health care, taxes, crime, the environment, and immigration. And he must do them all simultaneously. In fact, if Obama were to abandon other issues and focus solely on health care, Shapiro would be among the first in a long line of hypocritical right-wingers to criticize him for being too narrowly focused and negligent.
If BreitBrat Ben has his way the nation will be stuck in a single-issue ditch that doesn’t put a burden on the limited brainpower of dimwitted conservatives and Tea Party twerps like himself. So at least we can be grateful that he will not get his way no matter how noisy his juvenile tantrums.
For most of the past century, and especially the past five years, Republicans have stood forthrightly against every initiative aimed at relieving the suffering of low-income Americans. From opposition to extending unemployment benefits to slashing the SNAP (food stamps) budget to blocking an increase of the minimum wage, the GOP has exhibited stark insensitivity to the hardships of working families. And their determination to advance the interests of the rich is consistently at the top of their agenda.
Today President Obama signed an executive memorandum expanding the availability of overtime pay to millions of workers whose employers have been exploiting their labor by classifying them as management, despite the fact that they earn less than $24,000 a year. That classification enables the employer to forgo paying these employees when they work more than forty hours per week.
Republicans came out swinging as soon as the White House made the announcement of the change in policy. All of the typical right-wing complaints about stifling economic growth, killing job creation, big government intrusion, and executive branch overreach, gushed from the mouths of GOP politicians and Fox News pundits.
What none of these partisans bothered to mention is that putting more money in the pockets of working class citizens is one of the most effective methods of stimulating the economy. These are people who, by necessity, recirculate their funds by spending them on goods and services, thus producing more growth and creating more jobs. Also not mentioned is how this policy will reduce expenditures on entitlement programs due to recipients being raised out of poverty and no longer requiring assistance.
Nevertheless, the conservative knee-jerk response to Obama’s directive predictably ignores the benefits while inventing problems that they cannot support with facts. Their determination to advocate on behalf of the ruling class and the wealthy corporations who oppose these measures is paramount to the Republican hierarchy.
What’s more, the GOP is engaging in blatant hypocrisy by making disingenuous arguments against the changes proposed by Obama, although they never had any such complaint when George W. Bush did the same thing in 2004 when he updated the overtime rules raising the minimum threshold from $250.00 per week to $455.00. That was ten years ago and it’s time to revisit the situation taking into account current economic conditions, inflation, and cost of living increases.
However, what was good enough for Bush and the GOP a decade ago, is seen by Republicans as the destruction of the economy by a radical tyrant bent on crippling the nation today. For some reason, when the Bush administration unilaterally expanded overtime rules with the stroke of his pen it was appropriate and beneficial, but when Obama does it, it is treasonous and unconstitutional.
That’s the level of logic that this President has had to face for the last five years. And if he is finally getting around to recognizing the futility of reasoning with the obstructionist Tea-publicans in Congress, it is about damn time.
The Fox News Medical “A” Team’s resident psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, has a long history of going “inside the mind” of pretty much anyone who is in the news (and especially President Obama). I recently compiled a list of 35 articles in which Ablow entered the minds of unsuspecting victims of his quackery. What they all share in common is a deep disregard for medical ethics and a penchant for sensationalism, wild conjecture, and deranged diagnoses – such as his affection for the Unabomber. [Here is the News Corpse file on Ablow's vast crackpottery]
With the Russian foray into Crimea, the rank opportunist in Ablow has marched himself straight into the mind of Vladimir Putin. And you’ll never guess who he found there. After rattling around for a bit to make some baseless assumptions, Ablow discovered that President Obama had established occupancy and become the key factor in everything that Putin does. In fact, Ablow’s excursion into Putin’s mind is really just an excuse to foster ludicrous hypotheses about Obama’s psychological state. Ablow begins his inane adventure by saying…
“I believe Putin’s psychology is being directly fueled by that of President Barack Obama. Obama being Obama helps Putin be Putin.”
Isn’t that simple? Putin isn’t an autocratic dictator with a compulsion for power and influence. He’s just a vessel into which Obama pours his omnipotence. Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine – he might not even have existed – but for Obama. But despite the fullness of Obama’s ability to fuel Putin’s emptiness, Obama is still Putin’s lesser who is motivated by a desire to weaken America, the nation he rose from simple beginnings to lead. Ablow says that…
“Putin apparently believes he was placed on this planet to be the most powerful person he can be, to assert his religious and social beliefs unsparingly and to help reestablish his Russia as the dominant power in the world. Barack Obama apparently believes he was placed on this earth to be the most powerful person he can be, in order to restrain America in the expression of its power.”
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The interracial child of a single mother struggles his whole life to achieve lofty goals that most people believed to be unattainable just so he could rip it all apart once he arrived. It’s a theory so brilliant that only Ablow himself can understand it as anything other than idiocy.
Ablow goes on to assert that Obama thinks that “national (American) character is a bad thing,” and that Obama is only interested in “in disempowering the United States.” But it isn’t just America as a nation that Obama is determined to destroy, it is every individual in the nation, whose autonomous freedom Obama has set out to eviscerate. And naturally, Putin’s superior observational capability is further praised by Ablow who said…
“I do not believe that Vladimir Putin would miss the fact that Barack Obama has imperiled the notion of individual autonomy (by seeking to disarm Americans, by seeking to make Americans dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps and by making it officially impossible to choose how to spend your own money, via the Affordable Care Act).”
Somehow, in this article purporting to be an examination of Putin’s mind, Ablow has managed to turn it into a parade of nearly every negative talking point about Obama on the Republican Party’s hit list: guns, unemployment, food stamps, health care. If he had thrown in Benghazi, and taxing the rich, he would have completed the set. But he wasn’t finished. He still had to concoct a conclusion that would denigrate the President as being more harmful to America than Putin or its other foes. And this is what he came up with:
“If Crimea becomes part of Russia or all of Ukraine does, it will be in no small measure due to the psychology of Vladimir Putin, and, in equal measure, due to the psychology of Barack Obama.”
There you have it: Keith Ablow’s excursion into the mind of Vladimir Putin – where the mind of Barack Obama rules. It still isn’t clear how a weak and vacillating Obama in mom jeans can overpower the mental superiority of a masculine and virile leader like Putin (Ablow and his right-wing comrades truly love Vlad), but Ablow’s analyses were never intended to make sense. His sole purpose is to attack the President, and it hardly matters if the attack is coherent. His audience is infected with an inability to grasp reason or logic, and they are overtly hostile to facts. And with psychiatric advice from wankers like Ablow, don’t expect them to get any better.
In addition to being able to see Russia from her house, Sarah Palin now thinks that she was able to see into the future. On her Facebook page Palin is bragging that she predicted that Russia would invade Ukraine if Barack Obama were elected President:
Palin: Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did.
Palin and her conservative comrades are taking advantage of events in Ukraine to reignite their cold war passion for conflict with the former Soviet empire. This is a brief diversion from the Putin love-fest that they have been consumed with for the past few months.
However, the evidence of Palin’s alleged prophecy was a trifling passage from a campaign speech she gave in October of 2008. Although she was obviously reading from a TelePrompter a speech that was surely written for her by McCain staffers, the substance of her remarks fell somewhat short of the clairvoyance about which she is boasting. If you look beyond the brief reference to Russia, it is apparent that her prognostication skills are sorely lacking. Nevertheless, the right-wing media machine is in full distribution mode to hype this phony grab for undeserved credit. Everyone from the so-called mainstream, yet lie-riddled Fox Nation, to the wingnuttery of Breitbart News is regurgitating Palin’s boast. But the truth is readily available in her stump speech forecast (video below) that contained what she called the “Four Crisis Scenarios” that would accompany an Obama administration. It’s a bundle of wrongness that will be hard for future political fakers to exceed.
Crisis Scenario #1 was that Obama was “proposing to meet with the regime in Tehran that vows to wipe Israel off the earth.” Of course this never happened, so Palin is starting out with a wild swing and a miss. What did happen was that sanctions implemented by the Obama administration, and diplomatic efforts to unify the international community to oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons program, forced Iran to capitulate, cease development, and agree to inspections.
Crisis Scenario #2 concerned Obama’s advocacy of “sending our U.S. military into Pakistan, without the approval of the Pakistani government, invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war on terrorism.” Indeed, Obama held open the option of taking action to pursue dangerous terrorists when our so-called allies refused to do so. However, this is the policy that rid the world of Osama Bin Laden, a conclusion that would not have been achieved had Palin’s protocol been in effect.
Crisis Scenario #3 criticized Obama’s position on Iraq when he “voted to cut off funding for our troops leaving our young men and women at grave risk in the war zone.” In reality Obama eliminated the grave risks faced by our troops when he pledged to end the Iraq war and bring the troops home. It was Palin who advocated leaving those young men and women in the war zone.
Crisis Scenario #4 is the money scenario. This is where Palin said that “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.” Notice that Palin did not say what Obama’s response was or why it would encourage Putin in future military endeavors. For the record, here is what both Obama and John McCain said at the time:
Obama: There is no possible justification for these attacks. I reiterate my call for Russia to stop its bombing campaign, to stop flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and to withdraw its ground forces from Georgia.
McCain: Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.
If Obama was indecisive and lacking moral fortitude, it was in exactly the same measure as Palin’s running mate, McCain. Palin’s remarks were nothing more than the typical carping that occurs in campaigns that have nothing of substance to say. Instead, Palin asserts an absurd scenario wherein Putin would require “encouragement” to engage in military aggression, as if he’s looking to the west for validation. If that’s so, what did George W. Bush do to encourage Putin to invade Georgia?
To a certain extent Palin got lucky in that she happened to mention the Ukraine one time during a campaign rally. But overall her speech was littered with inaccuracies and failed vision. It is surprising that she would bother to remind people of her foreign policy inadequacies. She didn’t predict the citizen uprising in Ukraine, or the ouster of it’s president, or the Russian presence in Crimea, a region whose population is majority Russian and staunchly pro-Russia. And to characterize her 2008 remarks as predictive of what is taking place today is nothing short of delusional.
If there is one thing you can credit Fox News with, it is their tenacious determination to stand by even the most ludicrous figments of its overactive and politically twisted imagination. Once they sink their teeth into a story, nothing – and certainly not exculpatory facts – will dampen their resolve to peddle their delusions to their dimwitted viewers.
The string of pseudo-scandals that Fox has nurtured for most of the past six years has not produced a single shred of evidence of any wrongdoing by President Obama or his administration. Even with the aid of a bitterly partisan and hostile Republican majority in the House of Representatives conducting dozens of hearings, issuing subpenas, calling witnesses, compiling thousands of pages of documents, and staging theatrical press events, they have still failed to make a case against the President or any of their other targets.
What they have done is to compile an impressive record of psychotic obsession with prosecuting the White House for whatever they thought might stick if rubbed in hard enough. And in an effort to make the slander even stickier, they stirred in a generous heap of Watergate analogies. For instance…
Never mind that none of these alleged scandals were ever proven in any way, despite hundreds of hours of congressional hearings and investigations by the right-wing press. It’s interesting that Fox is fixated on aligning Obama with disgraced former president Richard Nixon. The only thing they are succeeding at is reminding people that it is Republicans who are responsible for this sort of criminality. But that won’t stop the folks at Fox. Look for them to dig up some new affair that they will equate with Watergate. Maybe he has been covering up his actual golf score, or perhaps the scandalous revelation that he has been dying his hair gray to garner sympathy (oh wait, that one has already been done).
The right-wing outrage machine is a sensitive instrument that requires little more than a sideways glance to set off a fierce rumbling. For instance, a tweet that noted that conservatives would hate a Cheerios commercial with a biracial family, that they already said they hated, produced a fury of immense proportions. But where is their outrage when this happens:
In a town hall meeting in the district of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-Tea Party), one of his God fearing, traditional values loving constituents rose to express her patriotic desire to send President Obama to the morgue:
Crazy Lady: “Obama, he’s not president, as far as I’m concerned, he should be executed as an enemy combatant. [...and congress is...] doing nothing and that legally allows this moron to make decisions. He has no authority. None!”
Obviously this woman has an inability to grasp the concept of democracy. But far more disturbing is the response of her neighbors (who laughed) and Rep. Bridenstine. Rather than admonish her for advocating birtherism and treasonous violence, Bridenstine validated her comments with examples of why he agreed with her:
Bridenstine: “Everybody knows the lawlessness of this president. He picks and chooses which laws he’s going to enforce or not enforce. He does it by decree. When he can’t create a law, or when he can’t create a law through Congress, then he uses the bureaucracies of the executive branch to create rules and regulations through executive order. And, ultimately, when he can’t even get that done, then he uses foreign bodies. He uses the United Nations to try to change the laws in the United States.”
Nothing in his response repudiated the woman’s presidential death wish. To the contrary, Bridenstine elaborated on it with charges that are the substance of the most inane conspiracy theories that swirl through Fringelandia. The right is fond of castigating this president for the use of executive orders, even though he has used them less often than any president in over a hundred years. Just today, over at Fox News, their Fox Nation website featured an article about Obama’s “Executive Order Tyranny.”[Read Fox Nation vs. Reality for more than 50 examples of documented dishonesty]
But Bridenstine can’t let facts get in the way his Tea Party agenda. At least not while he is still standing in front of his wild-eyed constituents. After the meeting, and presumably some criticism, Bridenstine released this statement on his web page:
“A public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. I obviously did not condone and I do not approve of grossly inappropriate language. It is outrageous that irresponsible parties would attribute another person’s reckless remarks to me.”
It’s true that a public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. But he can respond in a manner that indicates his approval or disapproval. Bridenstine, contrary to his assertion that he did not condone the “grossly inappropriate language” (that he doesn’t specify), actually did condone it by not repudiating it, and worse, by embellishing it with his own pseudo-facts.
This sort of thing is commonplace among Tea Party politicians and pundits. They demonize the President, and all Americans who hold progressive views, as traitors and commies and villains who salivate at the thought of destroying America. Then they turn around and complain if a liberal correctly points out bad behavior by a Tea Party disciple. But they cannot escape their repugnant views when they are captured on video expressing them. And sadly, this is just one more example of their vulgar hostility and seething hatred.
Today the highly [er, make that barely] anticipated Superbowl interview of President Obama by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News (video below) went off pretty much how you might expect. Hoping to cover matters of importance to the special broadcast’s audience, the irascible O’Reilly jumped right into the discussion with an issue that has been dormant for weeks and went from there to some of the most overwrought pseudo-scandals that Fox has failed miserably to ignite, despite countless hours of effort.
O’Reilly led off by asking the President about the website glitches that plagued the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare ) when it launched four months ago. He inquired why Obama hasn’t fired his Secretary of Health and Human Services, as if she had personally written the faulty code. And he asked about Obama’s prior statement that “if you like your plan you can keep it.” Of course, Obama has answered all of these questions numerous times, so O’Reilly’s dredging them up could not possibly have produced any new information.
The next subject was Fox News’ favorite mantra: BENGHAZI! This issue is even older than the website failure. The unique angle O’Reilly sought to mine involved the claims of “some people” who O’Reilly said believe that the White House refused to describe the attack as terrorism in order to help his reelection campaign. There’s just two small problems with that: 1) O’Reilly doesn’t explain how that would help the reelection effort. and 2) The President did describe the attack as terrorism the day after it occurred. Nevertheless, O’Reilly insisted that Obama explain why there are people who believe the false premise. Obama had an excellent explanation saying that “They believe it because folks like you are telling them that.”
Next up for O’Reilly’s inquisition was the infamous allegations that the IRS had targeted Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations who applied for non-profit status. Obama pointed out that, despite extensive hearings in Congress, no evidence has been produced to support the charges. In fact, the evidence increasingly reveals that both liberals and conservatives were given scrutiny by the IRS, as they should be. Obama further noted that, just as with Benghazi, “These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them.”
Finally, O’Reilly read a question that had been sent to him by a viewer. The viewer wanted to know “Why do you feel it’s necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you such opportunity and success.” Seriously? This idiotic bit of tripe has been swirling around the conspiracy theorist community since the first Obama inauguration when it was posited by Glenn Beck. These brain-damaged twerps can’t seem to grasp that a turn of phrase during an election campaign is not a coded reference to some nefarious plot to unravel the American Dream. The only meaning was that then-candidate Obama intended to repair the damage that the previous eight years of President Bush had caused.
So this was the entirety of O’Reilly’s interview. It was a rehashing of tired rumors and slander. Given this platform to reach an unusually large audience, O’Reilly wasted it with bitterly partisan nonsense. He could have addressed some of the issues that are currently on the minds of the American people, like the economy and jobs, immigration reform, the Keystone XL Pipeline, or the situations in Syria and Iran. He could have dug deeper into the President’s recent State of the Union speech and sought to get him to elaborate on income equality. He might even approached the tribulations of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, or legalizing marijuana.
But no. O’Reilly stuck with the Fox News manufactured scandal mongering related to ObamaCare, the IRS, and as always, Benghazi. As a result, the interview was a pitiful waste of time and more proof that Fox News doesn’t have the first clue about what constitutes journalism. But rest assured they will find some sentence fragment in the segment that they will inflate into humungous proportions that will produce buckets of raw outrage by Monday morning.
Trying to point out every occurrence of idiocy by Fox News would drive most people to an asylum. The quantity is just overwhelming and sometimes you have to let some truly mind-boggling treasures of dumbfuckery go by because there just isn’t enough time in the day. But not this one.
[Update: On Martin Luther King Day, Fox Nation decided to move this racially provocative article to the top of their web page with some curious modifications. See below.]
For more than 50 examples of blatant lies by Fox Nation,
read the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available at Amazon.
The race-baiters at Fox Nation have extracted a single sentence from an extensive (over 16,600 words) article in the New Yorker about President Obama. The obvious intent of this journalistic malpractice is to deliberately convey the false impression that Obama is playing both the victim and the race card.
Now, if this was all that Obama said, he would be unarguably correct. There is no end to the proof of racial animus that has been directed at our nation’s first African-American president. Many of his bigoted opponents barely disguise their racist tendencies. So Obama could not be faulted for observing something that is so indisputably true.
However, as you might already have guessed, that is not all that Obama said. Here is the full quote from the New Yorker’s article:
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”
So does that sound like a victim or a realist? The New Yorker went on to note the evidence of broad based biases that are reflected in the national character.
“Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters.”
Nevertheless, they quote Obama defending his critics and warning that their reservations about him should be judged on their merit, not on historical prejudices.
“I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans.”
Despite the exceedingly tolerant tone of Obama’s words, the Fox Nationalists knew that their out of context fragment would inflame their audience. And that was their purpose. As evident in the comments on the Fox Nation website, the response was predominately negative and critical of Obama whom they accused of being a thin-skinned, racially motivated, whiner. So…mission accomplished Fox. You successfully riled up a rabble of dimwitted racists just as you hoped. Not that that’s a particularly difficult achievement given the substandard confederacy of dunces that you cultivate.
[Update} Not satisfied with ordinary, everyday race-baiting, the Fox Nationalists chose to take this bigotry-inciting article and boost it to the top of their web page. And notice the modifications they made to make sure none of their cognitively-challenged readers would miss the point: They colored Obama’s name and the word’s “I’m Black” a bright commie red. And they underlined the words “Don’t Like Me,” So happy MLK Day, from Fox News.
From nearly the beginning of Barack Obama’s first campaign for the presidency, he had advocated shutting down the Constitutional cesspool that is Guantanamo Bay. The very concept of it violates legal principles that have been part of the American ethic for decades. Plus , Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, and his 2008 Republican opponent, John McCain, had the the audacity to completely agree with him.
However, the goal of closing the prison camp has been stymied by Republicans in congress who invoke irrational fears of terrorists moving into the house next door to yours. Enter Fox News, who predictably pile on to advance the theory that Obama is providing aid and comfort to the enemy. The Fox Nation website is doing its part by posting an article with the sensationalized headline, “Obama Parole Board Frees Al Qaeda Terrorist Deemed ‘Too Dangerous To Be Released.”
The first, and most obvious, problem with this is that the terrorist in question has not been been freed as the headline says. There has simply been a determination that he is eligible to be transferred from Gitmo to Yemen, his nation of origin, but only after sufficient security arrangements have been settled. That means that if he is released, it will be into the custody of Yemen’s prison system.
Furthermore, the Fox Nationalists linked to an article by the right-wing legal hacks at Judicial Watch, where they spent most of their time spinning a tale of a different former Gitmo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, who is alleged to have “participated in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Libya.” What Judicial Watch doesn’t disclose is that Qumu was released in October of 2007 by George Bush to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi later released him in an amnesty for political prisoners.
Of course, it is not possible for the U.S. to anticipate every future action by a foreign government and, to some extent, Obama has to rely on the assurances of Yemen that they intend to keep their prisoners locked up. But Fox News is quick to smear Obama as aiding and abetting terrorists for something that has not even taken place yet, while at the same time remaining silent about Bush, when both were executing the same policy. Fair and balanced my ass.
Hillary Clinton once said that if President Obama walked on water he would be criticized by Republicans for not being able to swim. Sadly, the point Clinton was making about the knee-jerk hostility of the right does not go nearly far enough. For example, this week the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, took a swipe at Obama’s judicial nominations with an article titled “Obama Seized Control Of ‘Second Highest Court’ In The Nation.”
For more than 50 documented examples of blatant lies by Fox Nation,
Read the acclaimed ebook, Fox Nation vs. Reality, available at Amazon.
The Fox Nationalists cribbed this item from the ultra wingnut brigade at Newsmax, who nurtured a conspiracy out of the rather routine process of filling vacancies on federal courts. Writing for Newsmax, John Gizzi said that…
“In November, Obama effectively gained control of the 11-member court when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the ‘nuclear option’ — reducing the threshold needed to stop a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority.”
Putting this assertion into the context of reality, a state of consciousness that conservatives deliberately avoid, one would first have to recognize that Harry Reid only moved to modify the Senate rules because Republicans had abused them in an unprecedented manner. While filibusters were once employed as a last ditch effort to derail legislation that a member simply could not abide on principle, today’s GOP made it a routine procedure by filibustering virtually everything that came up for a vote. This was particularly egregious when it came to the confirmations of administration appointees and judges. It was a tactic aimed at gutting the authority of the executive branch of government that, for the first time in history, was headed by an African-American.
As a result of the filibuster reform, Obama’s nominees for judicial posts were able to be confirmed by a majority vote in the senate. This is sometimes called “democracy.” Subsequent to confirmation, however, Obama has no control over the decisions by his appointees who are independent and have lifetime tenure. So there is no truth to the assertion that Obama has seized control of anything.
Newsmax went on to quote the rightist Heritage Foundation lawyer, Hans von Spakovsky (a cartoon villain name, if there ever was one), complaining that by filling the court’s vacancies, it would then have a majority of jurists appointed by Democratic presidents. In the view of von Spakovsky that was some sort flaw that artificially prejudiced the judiciary. To the contrary, that is precisely how the Framers intended the system to work. Over time the courts would represent the political diversity of the populace as democratically expressed by their vote for the presidency.
All that Obama has done, with help from the senate, is to carry out his duties as stipulated by the Constitution. It is the president’s responsibility to place nominees before the senate for confirmation when a vacancy is created. There is no reference whatsoever to filibusters in the Constitution. So the charge that is being made that Obama has “seized control” of the courts is unarguably false. But that never stops Fox Nation from publishing such charges. In fact, it probably makes it all the more likely.
Ted Cruz has distinguished himself as the GOP’s answer to conspiracy theory superstars like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. His wild imagination and fantastical declarations stretch the boundaries of absurdity. Consequently, it is fitting that his latest attack on President Obama contains a hidden warning about future Republican presidents. It’s a concession to the unprincipled nature of the conservative movement and particularly the Tea Party faction.
Cruz spoke at a policy orientation conference for the Texas legislature held by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The TPPF has a conservative pedigree that includes the State Policy Network, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and numerous Koch brothers affiliated entities. Their agenda focuses on cutting government programs and taxes (i.e.Social Security, education, etc.), opposing health care reform, climate change denial, and generally advancing the interests of big business and energy enterprises.
In his keynote address, Cruz attacked Obama as “dangerous and terrifying” due to what Cruz alleged was “lawlessness on a breathtaking scale.” The Statesman reported Cruz as saying that…
“…from giving relief from deportation to some young unauthorized immigrants to enforcement of drug laws to waiving rules for Obamacare, the president has acted by executive fiat in defiance of the rule of law.”
Of course, there has been no legal finding that the President has violated any law with respect to the issues Cruz enumerated, or any other issue. These are nothing more than the typical ravings of a Tea Party extremist who wants very badly to denigrate a president he despises.
However, in the course of his rhetorical assault, Cruz reveals something about his own party’s unethical aspirations when he says…
“My message to all the Democrats and all the liberals is, what do you think about the next president, maybe a Republican, having the power Barack Obama has as a president who is not bound by the law?”
Setting aside for the moment that, as president, Obama has not exercised any executive authority not exercised by his predecessors, the upshot of Cruz’s warning is that, whatever you think of the legality of Obama’s actions, you cannot depend on Republicans to behave any differently. Cruz is confessing that the GOP will resort to lawlessness once they obtain power. That’s not a particularly compelling campaign platform. Just imagine the bumper sticker: Vote Republican if You Like Criminal Tyranny!
The bottom line is that Cruz doesn’t have any evidence, other than his conspiratorial hallucinations, that Obama has broken any laws, but if he has, Republicans will follow suit if given the opportunity. It’s similar to the GOP’s response to Sen. Harry Reid modifying filibuster rules in the senate. They claimed that it was an unprecedented assault on democracy – and that they do the very same thing if they assumed control of the chamber. So much for integrity.
In the end, America is better off with leaders who aspire to uphold the law and the Constitution, even if they sometimes fall short of their goals. At least they have ethical goals and they will be held to a standard of honor that can be measured. That’s far better than the admitted lawlessness that Cruz is proposing because, once you have declared your intention to ignore the law, as Cruz has done, you can dismiss those who criticize you for it. After all, you told them what to expect if they vote for you.
The troubled rollout of the website for the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has been a persistent irritation for the Obama administration. This despite the fact that many of the metrics used to measure the program’s success have been drifting into positive territory. For instance, millions of previously uninsured Americans now have coverage for the first time. About 2.2 million have enrolled via the state and federal exchanges, which is about two-thirds of the number that was set as a benchmark by the Congressional Budget Office. Millions more have qualified for Medicaid or have been added to their parent’s plans, both opportunities made available by the ACA.
While the media maintains a relentlessly negative tone when reporting on the issue, the American people still have a favorable view of ObamaCare. Consequently, Fox News and other conservative players are pressing a strategy that alleges that anything the White House says or does that is not about ObamaCare is a deliberate attempt to distract from the issue. Should the President have the audacity to perform the duties of his office, his critics accuse him of obfuscating for political purposes. This means that he cannot move forward on his previously stated agenda on the economy, on the minimum wage and unemployment, on immigration reform, on the environment, or on foreign affairs and diplomacy, without being accused of orchestrating a distraction from ObamaCare.
Fox News, as usual, is taking the lead on this tactic by reporting that Obama’s recent talk about income inequality is just such a distraction, even though he has been talking about that throughout his presidency. Fox raised the distraction allegation on the air with an interview of former Bush crony, and current GOP SuperPAC-Man, Karl Rove. They also made it the headline feature on their website, adding the angle of class warfare to the charge of distraction. For the record, class warfare has been raging for years in this country. It was started by the rich and any objective appraisal of the situation would have to conclude that the rich are still winning.
The recent talk of income inequality being a ploy to shift focus from ObamaCare is hardly the first issue that has been exploited for that purpose. The media has made the same stale accusation for a variety of issues that are generally considered to be a part of any president’s responsibility. For instance:
It doesn’t seem to matter what this White House does. If it doesn’t involve ObamaCare then it is a distraction from it. Of course, if they were to focus exclusively on health care, their critics would then accuse them of neglecting all the other critical duties of the presidency. This is the sort of shallow and partisan politicking that is engaged in by people who don’t have substantive points to make. Because Republicans have no agenda for the nation other than repealing ObamaCare, subjugating women, minorities, and gays, expanding the proliferation of guns, and cutting taxes for the rich, they are forced to resort to these lowbrow methods of attacking the President for doing his job.
Be prepared for more of this in the coming election year. Already we have a GOP congressman predicting that Obama will start a war in an effort to deflect from ObamaCare. It’s only a matter of time until reports about Sarah Palin’s alien love child are making headlines at Fox News as just another attempt by Obama to distract Americans from the health care reform that they presently view favorably.
After what was described as an “exhaustive investigation” the New York Times has published a report that thoroughly debunks right-wing accounts of attacks on the United States mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The story concludes that there was no direct Al Qaeda involvement and that many of the participants in the attack were motivated by an anti-Islam film, an explanation that Republicans and conservative media had dismissed.
The months following the attack led to a relentless campaign by Fox News and others to promulgate their Benghazi Hoax theory of events, but they were never able to supply the evidence to support their wild accusations against President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and other administration targets of their politically inspired wrath.
Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.
[O]n Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.
There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.
Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network.
The leaders of Ansar al-Shariah…lauded the assault as a just response to the video.
Not surprisingly, Fox News reacted swiftly to the New York Times reporting to defend their vested self-interest in advancing some sort of conspiracy on the part of members of the Obama administration. First to take Fox’s fire was Hillary Clinton. On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked GOP Rep. Mike Rogers a particularly loaded question whose premise was not supported by any evidence.
Wallace: Do you think there was a political motivation for this Times report? Some people have suggested that, well, this is trying to clear the deck for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Rogers: (saying that he “finds the timing odd”) I don’t know but I find it interesting that there was this rollout of stories.
Wallace never identified who the people were who suggested that the Times was clearing the deck for Hillary. He simply used the old “some people” contrivance to disguise the fact that it was Wallace himself who making the ludicrous suggestion.
Fox’s Catherine Herridge also did a report about the Times story that dismissed much of its findings, but offered no substantive rebuttal to the facts as they were laid out by the Times. In addition, she brought along a uniquely preposterous angle that did little to advance the discourse:
“Fox News was able to review the findings of an independent data mining firm which assessed the social media traffic in Benghazi in the 24 hours leading up to the attack and the 24 hours after the attack and, significantly, the first reference to this anti-Islam video was in the day following. It was in a retweet of a Russia Today story. So once again, this does not comport with the idea that this was in response to the anti-Islam video.”
This is a demonstration of Fox’s desperation to belittle the Times’ story. Trying to tie references to Twitter mentions of the event with affirmations of its execution is absurd in the extreme. Especially when there were verifiable accounts of information about the film being broadcast on local Libyan television, and many witnesses testified of its impact as an inspiration for the violence.
Stalwart proponents of the Benghazi Hoax also appeared on TV this weekend to defend their rapidly dissolving positions. They included GOP super-hawk Peter King and the mastermind of a flurry of fake scandals, Darrell Issa, who said on Meet the Press that “We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi, a very isolated area, or that it was a leading cause.” If Issa hasn’t seen any evidence, he obviously hasn’t been paying attention. Or more likely, he is deliberately diverting his attention to the dishonest horror stories he prefers to peddle.
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Fox News has behaved true to form in the wake of the revelations published by the Times. They circle their wagons and defend their phony and sensationalist version of what they laughably call “news.” They fail to address any of the specific assertions in the story and retreat to friendly interviews with conservative characters who will plod forward with their false narratives. The last thing Fox wants is for people to be exposed to actual journalism that presents information in a coherent and factual manner. That would destroy the whole Fox business model if it got out of hand.
Addendum: You didn’t think that Fox Nation was going to be left out of this hoax-mongering, did you? They jumped in with two stories about the New York Times article, and both were typically dripping with lies and partisan distortions, as they have been known to do (see abundant proof in the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality).
Just as every December comes with the annual Fox News War on Christmas, there is a right-wing ritual that engages whenever President Obama and his family take a vacation. The wingnut whine factory ratchets up its outrage at the deplorable notion of a presidential holiday, particularly if the president isn’t a Republican whose vacations are always proper and well deserved.
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The latest hissy fit being thrown by the right comes from the Fox News community website Fox Nation (whose many documented lies can be found in the acclaimed ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality). The article sports a shocking headline that asserts that President Obama has taken more vacation time than private sector workers – as if that comparison had any relevance to anything. After all, how many private sector workers are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even while they are on vacation?
But even the obvious inaptness of the example doesn’t come close to the dishonesty proffered by the Fox Nationalists. Their source is CNSNews, a division of Brent Bozell’s uber-rightist Media Research Center. CNSNews in turn cites as its source the rabidly right-wing Government Accountability Institute (GAI), which was founded and run by the same pseudo-journalistic charlatans who bring you Breibart News.
GAI’s report takes data from the Bureau of Labor Management and spins it into an unrecognizable slop of fraudulent PR. They state that Obama’s average vacation days per year (21.5) exceeds that of private sector workers who have been at their jobs for five years, which GAI reports as 19 days. However, a quick glance at the actual BLM data (pdf) shows that the 19 day figure is a mean average that is brought down by the 20% of workers who get less than 15 days of vacation, and some as little as two days. In fact, the number of employees who get 15-19 days off is only about 20%. The majority of private sector workers (60%) get greater than 20 days of vacation. So the truth that GAI and Fox is concealing is that most private sector workers get more vacation than President Obama. That, of course, is the complete opposite of what their headline and article assert.
And just to add some context, these conservative dissemblers also fail to note that Obama has taken far fewer days off than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama’s average of 21.5 vacation days per year makes him look like a workaholic compared to Bush’s 110 day average per year – more than five times Obama’s. But if you’re a rich white Republican you can’t be accused of being lazy or shiftless when you are enjoying some leisure time at your ranch in Crawford or on your yacht in Kennebunkport.
It’s time once again for the unveiling of the “Lie of the Year” by the fact-checkers at PolitiFact. This year the dis-honoree is President Barack Obama for his promotional assurance that under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
Pretty much everybody, including Obama, now concedes that making such a blanket statement was unwise and unsustainable. There were signs early on that some plans would be terminated because they fell so far below the standards for acceptable coverage that they were effectively useless. Obama could have made small modifications to the statement that would have been easier to defend, such as: “if you like your health care plan, what the fuck are you thinking?” However, I’m pretty sure that comment wouldn’t have made it past the first draft.
The whole concept of liking one’s health care plan is rather comical to begin with. How often have you ever heard someone bring up in casual conversation how much they liked their health insurance provider? Insurance companies are rarely the object of much affection. Especially for those who get their coverage from the private market rather than from an employer. And that small subset of the population (about 5%) is all that is affected by this.
Whether or not the President’s statement deserved to be the “Lie of the Year” is subject to debate, just as every year’s selection is. But it is notable that PolitiFact’s explanation for their choice began by saying that…
“It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.
‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.
“But the promise was impossible to keep.”
A promise, of course, is completely different than a lie. If it was the President’s intention to deliver on the promise, but in the course of legislative compromises and flawed implementation it failed to materialize as expected, than it was not actually a lie at all. But it is obvious that PolitiFact’s analysis is aimed at the distance of the intention from the outcome, not the veracity of the statement itself. And that’s fine since most people apply the same reasoning with regard to the truthiness of a public figure. Also, Obama didn’t help himself by initially trying to defend or rewrite his original comment. Although he does get credit for eventually owning up, apologizing, and taking steps to correct the matter.
The selection of this statement by the President is certain get a lot of attention from the press, particularly the conservative media that eats it up whenever they can shine a spotlight on presidential missteps. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Fox News has leaped to the front of the line to hype PolitiFact’s findings. Ironically, it was Fox Nation that was first out of the gate with a simple headline at the top of their page saying “Politifact: Lie of the Year!”
Coming from a website that has been documented to be riddled with lies (see Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth) obliterates any moral authority they have to disparage the honesty of others. What’s more, the impact of their reporting might have been greater had they not posted this headline just last week: “Never Trust Politifact Again.”
To recap: On November 5, Fox admonishes its audience to never trust PolitiFact, and on November 13, one week later, they feature a PolitiFact ruling at the top of their website. This really says more about Fox than it does about PolitiFact, or even Obama.
For the record, while PolitiFact selected Obama’s comment as their “Lie of the Year,” they also posted the runners-up. It is not unreasonable to expect the winner to get the majority of the attention from the media, however, there is a notable trend amongst the year’s other lies that ought not to be dismissed. Most conspicuously that out of the remaining nine lies in the top ten, eight of them are from republicans or conservatives.
Ann Coulter: No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.
Betsy McCaughey: Obamacare will question your sex life.
Bloggers: Obamacare provision will allow “forced home inspections” by government agents.
Ted Cruz: Says “President Obama just granted all of Congress an exception” to Obamacare.
Chain email: A United Nations working group has “adopted a proposed agenda” to enable member nations to “disarm civilians within their borders.”
Barack Obama: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “is transparent.”
Saxby Chambliss: The United States has never stood by and seen innocent people slaughtered to the extent that’s happening in Syria.
Chain email: Says the word “Dhimmitude” is on page 107 of the health care law and means “Muslims are specifically exempted from the government mandate to purchase insurance.”
Michele Bachmann: The IRS is going to be “in charge” of “a huge national database” on health care that will include Americans’ “personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets.”
So while Obama may have captured the big trophy for the year, conservative liars were far more prolific in fabricating and disseminating disinformation in pursuit of an agenda that they obviously don’t believe merits honest discourse. It illustrates a pattern of behavior that marks the right-wing as incorrigibly deceitful and wholly untrustworthy. At least President Obama apologized, a gesture that is foreign to the unprincipled cretins on the right.
There really is no bottom to the well of indecency that Republicans dig for themselves. If they aren’t challenging the citizenship of President Obama, they assert that he palls around with terrorists. Now we have a GOP candidate for congress in New York who has made the incoherent leap from Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, to his opponent and to Obama as well.
The ad features George Demos who is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop. It begins by asking viewers if they are “tired of politicians?” Behind this narration is a picture of Bishop, Obama and Ford. Demos has an peculiar definition of politicians in that it includes substance abusers in Canada, but not himself, even though he is running for political office.
But it’s the juxtaposition of the repulsive Rob Ford with Obama and Bishop, who have nothing in common with him, that is such a heinous act of character assassination. Demos might have been a little closer to the mark had he used a picture of freshman Tea Party Republican Trey Radel of Florida, who was recently arrested for cocaine possession.
Clearly Demos is more interested in slandering his enemies than in being honest or ethical. His behavior reeks of the bitter, tired politics he pretends to denounce. In that respect, he makes a perfect Fox News-style candidate who projects his own flaws onto his opponents. Although Fox has gone even further to mastering the tactic of labeling Republican miscreants as Democrats.
Here it comes, folks. The Fox News sufferers of ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) are exhibiting advanced symptoms of ever greater severity. Their determination to demonize President Obama is returning to the absurdly elevated levels that characterized the last two elections when they portrayed him as a friend to terrorists and a foreign-born Marxist who hates America.
The latest in their cavalcade of lunacy is a report that compares Obama to Pope Francis with a headline feature, “Pope Francis is the Catholic Church’s Obama – God help us,” that is insulting to both of them.
The story, in predictable Fox fashion, assails the President as a weak, ineffective leader who naively panders to his enemies. What was less predictable is the attribution of the same failings to the previously infallible Pope. The author, Fox News editor and self-described Catholic, Adam Shaw, begins by declaring that the popular new Pope is already headed in the wrong direction and that “just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.” That’s a pretty strong condemnation directed at God’s anointed representative on Earth. Either Shaw knows better about what’s best for the church than the Lord Almighty, or he just wants to exploit this matter to beat up on a president he and his bosses despise.
Shaw’s argument supporting this view loiters around feverish criticisms that the Pope is insufficiently dismissive of gays, contraception, and those churchly nuisances, the poor. He chastises the the Pope for grumbling that “Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected.” What Shaw means by “vacuous” is the Pope’s remarkable exhortation on economic inequality that rebuked the idolatry of money and trickle-down economics (you know, like Jesus did). It’s a theme the President picked up on yesterday in his speech on the same subject, but what Shaw called “vacuous” Obama called “eloquent.”
“The Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. ‘How can it be,’ he wrote, ‘that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’”
Shaw sums up his screed with a twin-barrel attack on both Obama and the Pope as confused and deceived dupes of some sort of covert socialist cabal:
“Like Obama, Francis is unable to see the problems that are really endangering his people. Like Obama he mistakes the faithful for the enemy, the enemy for his friend, condescension for respect, socialism for justice and capitalism for tyranny.”
There is nothing particularly new in Shaw’s offensive rhetoric. It is a rather typical example of the Fox News, right-wing disparagement of any advocacy on behalf of society’s less fortunate. Any public activism that doesn’t inure to the benefit of elite, wealthy individuals and corporations is looked upon as tantamount to Marxist tyranny in the eyes of modern Tea Party conservatives. And the opportunity to wrap their hostility in a blanket of feigned spirituality proved just to compelling to resist. God help us, indeed.
I was gonna write up something funny about Republicans saying that the nuclear deal with Iran was an attempt by Obama to distract from health care. But reality beat me to the punchline – again.
Why is it always someone from Texas? So John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the senate, thinks that this deal, that has been in the works for months, was concocted as a scheme to divert attention from a bad news cycle about the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). And furthermore, Cornyn is seriously asserting that President Obama somehow got Iran, Germany, France, England, Russia, and China to participate in the deception. If Obama could pull that off he would deserve to go down in history for that alone.
The agreement put together by Secretary of State John Kerry is a hardball deal that requires Iran to neutralize existing stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, abandon high-tech centrifuges, cease construction and operations at their plutonium reactor, and consent to intrusive inspections. Plus, it leaves most sanctions in place until Iran demonstrates that it is in compliance. It’s everything on our wishlist, yet this goofball thinks the whole thing is an elaborate distraction from a glitchy website.
I swear, it just doesn’t pay to try to do satire anymore.