To Kill A Meme: No Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton Did Not Start The Birther BS

There must be something in the DNA of right-wingers that prevents them from grasping simple truths and retaining them for periods longer than a Vine video. Case in point: Conservatives who for years have been suckling on the moronic accusations that President Obama is not legally qualified to serve because, they say, he was born in Kenya, have also disseminated a related bit of idiocy that Hillary Clinton was the first Birther. Despite the easily obtainable facts that prove that Clinton was not in any way involved in birthing Birtherism, wingnuts cling fiercely to the lie in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that they have been fully immersed in this nonsense from the beginning. And it isn’t just some fringe characters who have this trouble differentiating fantasy from reality.

Ted Cruz Birther

In an interview with Katie Couric on Yahoo News, Sen. Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, was asked about critics who raise his Canadian birth as an obstacle to his candidacy. Rather than simply repudiating them as idiots who don’t understand the Constitution, he veered from Couric’s question to this wholly unrelated and irrelevant drivel:

“The whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama.”

If you think that a sitting U.S. senator and aspiring president should know better than to spew demonstrably false information like that, then you don’t know Ted Cruz (or most of the GOP). This charge against the Clinton campaign has been around for seven years now. And some proponents of the lie attribute the meme to Clinton herself (see the headline from Fox Nation above). However, a little research shows that the roots of Birtherism lie with an extremist group of hard-core Clinton supporters who were not affiliated with the campaign. As revealed by Daily Beast editor John Avlon:

“[T]he Birther conspiracy theory was first concocted by renegade members of the original Obama haters, Party Unity My Ass, known more commonly by their acronym, the PUMAs. They were a splinter group of hard-core Hillary Clinton supporters.”

The theme was then taken up by Philip Berg, a 9/11 Truther who filed the first Birther lawsuit. He also had no connection to Clinton or her campaign. Thereafter, it spiraled out of control online and in emails. And all the while it was Republicans furthering the fallacy. Many of of them were prominent figures in the party, notably another current candidate for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump. [Fun Fact: Cruz is, so far, the only Republican candidate who is defending Trump’s repulsive and bigoted comments about immigrants for which Cruz doesn’t think Trump has any need to apologize]

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It is significant that Cruz employed this dodge to answer a question that had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. He wants to duck allegations by the lunatics questioning his own national origin without calling them lunatics and alienating an important GOP constituency who still believe that Obama is a foreigner unlawfully squatting in the White House. This is how Republicans embrace ignorance and pass it along to their followers. And no one is a better representative of that mission than Ted Cruz.

Now THIS is Comedy: The Conservative Political A-Hole Conference (CPAC)

The annual parade of wingnuttery known as the Conservative Political Action Conference has been steaming along for a couple of days now. Most of the star attractions have had their say and the general message that we can take away from the affair is that President Obama is an Islamic terrorist, Hillary Clinton is an old liberal, and ObamaCare, Common Core, the IRS, and immigrants must all be abolished.

How’s that for an electoral platform for 2016? It’s pretty much the same agenda that has been broadcast on Fox News for the past six years. And the clapping conservo-bots in the CPAC conference hall responded precisely the way they were trained to respond. Not a single speaker said anything new or insightful. It was hour after hour of regurgitated right-wing dogma, and it absolutely thrilled the glassy-eyed audience who couldn’t have been more predictable if they were hooked up to a machine.

GOP Dream Team

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However, just for the sake of entertainment, there were a couple of moments that deserve some special attention. And it wasn’t Ted Cruz whining about ObamaCare, or Sarah Palin pretending to support the troops, or Scott Walker comparing American working people to terrorists, or Ben Carson calling for unity after saying that, because of liberals, America is very much like Nazi Germany. None of those easily foreseeable sentiments earn much more than a yawn. But there was some unintentional comedy displayed at the conference.

First of all, we have Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson. This long-haired, bearded, headbanded, camo-clad freak took a swipe at hippies. Has he ever seen one (or looked in the mirror)? Somehow that clean living, nature loving subculture that faded into obscurity forty years ago is to blame for every sexually transmitted disease in America today. Now that’s a powerful message for a 21st century Republican Party.

Robertson was invited to the conference to receive the Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award, which is not even worth the time or energy to make fun of. In his remarks Robertson divided the nation into the pious patriots for whom the Constitution was written and “any other” treasonous sinners who are not entitled to its liberties:

“You know what’s happened GOP? We’ve got too many “any others” in the White House. It [the Constitution] wasn’t written for them. […] Stand on the Bible, stand on the Constitution, don’t budge. Hold on to your weapons. That’s what brought us here. We had to have all three to run the Brits back to where they came from.”

Let’s just set aside the divisive elitism that Robertson evokes in order to elevate himself above those he regards as his inferiors. Robertson’s assertion that we needed the Bible, weapons and the Constitution to beat back the British has a glaring flaw. There was no Constitution until four years after the Revolutionary War was won and over. And the British also had weapons and the same Bible, but it didn’t lead them to victory.

The other moment of hilarity was the speech by Donald Trump, the reality TV show host who is so bad at real estate that he couldn’t profitably run a casino (a casino!), and has declared bankruptcy four times. Trump, as usual, spent his time bragging and promoting himself as the bestest, toughest, smartest, conservativest person in the room. He said that he is 80% sure that he is running for president. You could still make a bundle betting against it. He will pull out as soon as he is asked to release his financial statements.

Trump ventured back into the birtherism that he has long espoused. He claimed that Obama “wrote a book when he was a young man and it said born in Kenya.” That’s a flat-out lie. Trump also bragged that he was responsible for Obama releasing his birth certificate. That’s a flat-out lie. Then he bleated “Now we have to find out whether or not it was real.” So Trump is still a full-bore birther. Funny, he has never told us what happened to his team of investigators that he claimed he sent to Hawaii. Does he ever get tired of making a fool of himself? What’s worse is that there was a room full of people who applauded his raving madness.

If you thought that 2012 was fun, with its circus of right-wing loonies, you aint seen nothing yet. 2016 is already shaping up to be even wingnuttier. I really can’t wait for the campaign season to get started.

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WND Nutcase Urges Tea Party To Launch 24 Hour Birther News Network

The ultra right-wing WorldNetDaily website published an article today with the promising title, Good Riddance To The Dying ‘Mainstream’ Media.” Indeed, much of the corporate dominated press that controls about 90% of what is disseminated through television, radio, print, and the Internet, is hopelessly biased and/or lacking in substance. Polls show that respect for the media is at historically low levels, and many outlets are losing audience in droves.

Monckton Birther News

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However, WND has an entirely different take on what is troubling the media. Lord Christopher Monckton (that’s right, “Lord”), the author of the article, is convinced that it is the left that is responsible for the decline of the Fourth Estate. He asserts that…

“The first duty of your average Marxist journalist (and that means most of them) is to report the news in a way that furthers the global spread of a single narrow, outdated political prejudice.”

As the primary example of that prejudice, Monckton asks us to “Consider the question of the Obama ‘birth certificate,'” which he insists is inauthentic. That’s because Monckton is an unabashed Birther who has been steadfastly committed to exposing President Obama as a fraud from Kenya, no matter how many times that stubborn and implausible myth has been debunked. And he blames the media for failing to inform the people, saying that they “have never subjected the ‘birth certificate’ to scrutiny.”

But Monckton’s bent toward conspiracy theorism does not end with Birther delusions. He is also a fervent denier of climate change, which he regards as a hoax. And just as with the Birther contrivance, the media is wholeheartedly behind the deception that the planet is warming, complete with the concurrence of 97% of the world’s scientists who have studied the phenomenon. Monckton accuses the media of “refusing to print any comments or letters to the editor on climate change, if those letters in any way call into question the official version of the science.”

As a result of his dissatisfaction with what he regards as the Marxist media, Monckton has a proposal to address the imbalance and biases of the press. He begins by declaring the conservative wing of journalism to be too cowardly to stand up to their leftist oppressors. And this is where it gets really fun:

“Why, for instance, has Fox News not dared to tackle the birth-certificate question in any depth. The reason is that, though it is generally fair and balanced, it is no longer unafraid. The intolerance of the left knows no bounds. They did not like Glenn Beck’s exposure of the ACORN scandal, so they hounded him and bullied his advertisers till he was forced out.

“Everyone else at Fox is now running scared. The standard Saul Alinsky tactic of viciously and persistently attacking the reputations of any who dare to oppose the left works all too well.

Exactly! Notice that Fox News never ever criticizes the President or Democrats over health care, or Benghazi, or the IRS, or Benghazi, or Ukraine, or Benghazi, or voter fraud, or Benghazi, or welfare, or taxes, or oil pipelines, or gun control. And did I mention Benghazi? As for the birth certificate, Fox never mentions that either, except when they do, repeatedly. So what is Monckton’s solution?

“The tea-party movement would justify its existence if it were now to establish a 24-hour TV news channel sufficiently independent of its advertisers and staffed by sufficiently tough-minded journalists that the bully-boys and Obots would be unable to frighten as they have frightened Fox.”

Just think of it. Twenty fours a day of Sheriff Arpaio and Donald Trump frothing at the mouth with condemnations of the Kenyan usurper in the formerly “White” House. They could bring Glenn Beck back to the airwaves with his unique brand of politi-vangelism and allusions to Nazis lurking in every shadow. Sarah Palin could host a conservative cooking show where she would feature her “word salad” inanities. Ted Nugent could take viewers on hunting safaris where the prey are wild liberals, which he has actually proposed.

Monckton’s network would be one that combined the best of televised snake oil ministries and a paranoia-infected, politically-deranged Game of Thrones. How could it miss? Well, they might want to check with the three other far-right networks that have tried to become the alternatives to the ultra-liberal Fox News: NewsmaxTV, Kelsey Grammer’s RightNetwork, and One America News Network, courtesy of the “Moonie” Washington Times. Well, they could check with them if they could find them.

Fox Nation vs. Reality: Impeach Obama Rally Causes 10 Mile Yawn

The folks at Fox Nation must be getting pretty desperate for any slime to fling Obama’s way. Clearly the parade of phony scandals has failed to convince the President to resign and join a Muslim monastery, so they are grasping for ever shorter straws in an effort to break Obama’s back.

Today the Fox Nationalists reported that an “Impeach Obama” rally in Southern California organized by confirmed birther had snarled traffic for 10 miles.

Fox Nation
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First of all, anyone who has ever driven in Southern California knows that there are very few 10 mile stretches of highway that are not snarled at almost any time of day. That said, the particular claim in this case was easily disproved by photos supplied by the source for the story. One glance shows that traffic was moving fairly well. It also shows that the rally was a pathetic affair that brought out only six or seven nutcases who were unable to articulate an actual reason to impeach the President. Their signs carried unrelated messages concerning Benghazi, immigration, guns, and something about cults. This also further confirms earlier reports that these Teabaggers have not gained any ground in the wake of recent political melodramas.

The organizer was long-time birther, Roger Ogden. He has been advocating for Obama’s impeachment for years. He continues to believe that the birth certificate the White House posted was a fake. He also defends comparing Obama to Hitler and the Nazis. I’m not sure whether Ogden is a LaRouche follower, but there was at least one LaRouche sign at the rally.

I don’t particularly care what a loser like Ogden does on his spare Saturday mornings, but the fact that Fox News saw fit to feature this non-event on their web site says something about how frantic they are to invent a new controversy. But what made them think that a lame handful of wingnuts on a freeway overpass would have a better chance of stirring up trouble than the pseudo-scandals that have already flopped, I’ll never know.

Birther, Marxist, Treason Conspiracies Still Hound Obama At Fox News

On the Fox News community web site Fox Nation (whose grip on reality is suspect), the top featured story today is an article from the uber-conservative blog Human Events with the provocative headline “Obama’s Plan Hatched at Columbia University.”

Fox Nation

The article by diehard birther Wayne Allyn Root begins by asserting that a poor child of a single mother grew up to become the first African-American president of the United States despite being “hostile and resentful towards anyone who has achieved self-made success through American values.” And it gets even crazier from there.

Root’s premise is that while he was a student at Columbia University “Obama and his Marxist cronies hatched a secret plan to destroy our country.” Root apparently has some personal knowledge of this nefarious plot as a result of his being a classmate of Obama. Where he acquired his information is a mystery since he admits that while at Columbia he “never met him, never saw him, never even heard of him.” Having established that as the shaky foundation for his expose, Root speculates that the reason their paths never crossed was because Obama “was busy attending communist party meetings.” Along with everything else in Root’s harangue, that bit of speculative nonsense is unsupported and untrue.

Root then relates a story about how he had learned of the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan while in class, and the response of his classmates. “They cheered. They clapped,” Root says. “They yelled, they high-fived, and whooped in sheer unadulterated joy.” Once again, there is no corroboration of this account, but the next revelation from Root’s imagination is even more surreal and unfounded. He said that “if Obama actually went to Columbia, he’d almost certainly have to have been in that class leading the cheers.”

That sentence is ripe with a dementia fermented in hatred. Root prefaces his remark by questioning whether Obama was in the class at all. In fact, it is one of his primary hypotheses that Obama’s academic history is a complete fabrication. But he doesn’t let his own lunatic theories stop him from placing Obama in the classroom anyway. And after inventing Obama’s presence (and remember, Root claims to never have even seen him), Root assigns to him the mantle of leadership. So Root’s position is that Obama must have been in the classroom leading the cheers despite having never seen him and not believing he was ever a student there at all. Makes perfect sense – if someone laced your Twinkies with LSD. “But wait,” Root exclaims, “The most frightening and eye-opening is still to come.”

The horrific plot Root has uncovered is based on “a detailed plan designed by two former Columbia professors named Cloward & Piven.” Here Root is borrowing from the moth-eaten, psychotic ramblings of Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and other conspiracy theorists who have mangled the teachings of Cloward and Piven for years. They assert that a scheme is underway to overweight the welfare system until it collapses the economy. Root alleges that Obama “is using that plan to destroy America, capitalism, and the U.S. economy right in front of our eyes.”

The objective of destroying America and its economy is never revealed by Root or any of his deranged predecessors. Certainly a bankrupt nation would not be an ideal starting point for a power mad socialist since there would be no funding available for the welfare state he allegedly seeks to form.

More to the point, the only evidence of any policy that has approached an end result of collapsing the economy is the policy of the previous Republican administration and its right-wing overseers. These lackeys of Wall Street, defense contractors, and multinational corporatist interests brought our nation closer to insolvency than anything since the crash of 1928 and the Great Depression.

For Root to stir the historical facts into a soup of cranial mush that contradicts his own wingnut crackpottery is not surprising. He is merely plagiarizing the dimwitted, paranoid fears of the many Psycho-Chicken Littles that have preceded him with panicky tales of Cloward, Piven, Soros, Alinsky, et al. However, it is notable that Fox News has seen fit to headline this tripe as if it were newsworthy – or even sane. And to those pundits who suggest that Fox has moderated its fringy, tea-sotted extremism as a result of the drubbing they took last November, clearly that is not the case.

Media Matters Enters The Liars Den At CPAC – Gets Ambushed By Breitbart

Yesterday a panel at CPAC (which I believe stands for Conniving Propagandists And Crooks) was held following the screening of “Hating Breitbart,” a crockumentary glorifying the late Andrew Breitbart. The topic of the event was “The Uninvited,” a reference to fringe conservatives who are allegedly kept from appearing in the mainstream media. Participating on the panel were several Breitbart-affiliated folks, including the disgraced video mangler, James O’Keefe, and a lone representative of Media Matters, Ari Rabin-Havt.

In the course of the discussion (video below) O’Keefe protested that he felt he was “held to a higher standard than any Pulitzer Prize winner.” Whereupon, BreitBrat editor Larry O’Conner defended O’Keefe by rejecting the notion that just because O’Keefe’s videos were found to have been deceptively edited that “everything O’Keefe does should be considered a fraud.” Actually, that’s precisely what should be done when someone has proven he’s a fraud on multiple occasions.

The discussion eventually veered off into an attack on Media Matters with O’Conner questioning the veracity of their content. When Rabin-Havt began to defend himself, in what seemed to be a transparently staged tossing of the baton, O’Conner recognized Breitbart’s Editor in Chief Joel Pollak in the audience and asked him to weigh in on the subject.

Pollak was visibly upset at what he characterized as a smear directed at him by Media Matters. He cited an article that he claimed accused him of being a birther. Standing in the audience he pointed his finger at Rabin-Havt and arrogantly insisted that “The next word out of your mouth should be ‘Sorry.'” But that was just a small portion of the generalized indictment he made of Media Matters:

Pollak: There’s a Media Matters method, it’s this: You make a statement in the headline that is not proven in the article. The lefties to whom you sell your material, or distribute your material, don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline. So you put in that headline that I’m a birther even though you admit I’m not a birther.

Alright, let’s break this down. First of all, Pollak’s assertion that Media Matters makes unproven statements in their headlines is itself unproven. Media Matters is meticulous about documenting what they publish, and the “lefties” and others who read it care very much that thoroughness. As for the article Pollak referenced, it was posted on Media Matters on March 13, with the title “What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013.” Notice that there is nothing in the headline about anyone being birther and that Pollak isn’t in it at all. So much for his thesis that Media Matters composes false headlines and fails to back them up.

Ironically, Pollak’s complaint applies perfectly to his own article on Breitbart News that Media Matters was writing about in the first place. That article’s headline was “The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'”

Breitbart News

From the wording of that headline it would not be much of a stretch to conclude that the article was advancing birtherism by questioning Obama’s birthplace. Pollak said that he only intended to make a point that Obama, or his representatives, altered his biography when it suited him. However, that was not the inference in his headline. And it could be said of Breitbart what they said of Media Matters – that they “don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline.” What’s more, the first paragraph of the article began by affirming the birtherism in the headline:

“Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as ‘born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.'”

To be fair, there was a “Note from Senior Management” appended to the top of Pollak’s article that asserted that “Andrew Breitbart was never a ‘Birther,’ and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of ‘Birtherism.'” The fact that that note was necessary is telling in itself. But it’s a rather hollow disclaimer when the headline and the opening paragraph seemingly contradict it. Pollak also wrote that “The errant Obama biography in the Acton & Dystel booklet does not contradict the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate.” That’s true, but as Rabin-Havt pointed out, he had not called Pollak a birther. He had simply asserted that Pollak and Breitbart were still responsible for advancing the birther theme even if they themselves did not subscribe to it. And they did that by publishing articles with misleading headlines and expecting to absolve themselves of the birther taint by rejecting it several paragraphs later.

This bit of theatrics staged by the BreitBrats fits nicely into their modus operandi. It is the sort of ambush that Breitbart himself would have enjoyed pulling off. And it even starred Breitbart’s budding video propagandist, little Jimmy O’Keefe. But once again, when the facts are revealed in full, their deceit is all too apparent. The Media Matters article did not call Pollak a birther in the headline. Although Breitbart’s article did question Obama’s birthplace in their headline.

So the BreitBrats got together and conspired to ambush Rabin-Havt with a false accusation that he had done what the BreitBrats actually did do. And then they complain when nobody will take them seriously, and they wonder why they are “The Uninvited” and why everyone hates Breitbart.

Glenn Beck’s Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories

Sometimes the dementia of right-wing fabulists is a richer vein of comedy than a Marx Brothers marathon. And speaking of Marx (Karl), his press agent, Glenn Beck, is contributing more than his fair share of unintentional hilarity to a nation thirsty for humor.

On his silly and mostly ignored webcast, Beck set out to warn his flock of the dangers of getting sucked into conspiracy theories. He expressed his deep concern that people understand that the real reason these tall tales are disseminated is to distract unsuspecting citizens from the evils being perpetrated by the government. You know…evils like the conspiracy theories Beck espouses.

Beck is America’s preeminent source for conspiracy theories. He just published a book titled “Agenda 21” that is based on a nightmare fable of the United Nations subjugating the world to slavery on the pretense of building sustainable communities. He produced a three day Fox News spectacular revealing that George Soros is also plotting to rule the world. He’s certain that the art and architecture of Manhattan conceals communist propaganda. And who can forget his sermons on the Islamic cabal, in league with Western European socialists, to restore the ancient Caliphate and, of course, rule the world.

Now the master of conspiracy madness is revealing a deep cover plot too scandalous to believe (video below). Beck has discovered that the whole birther mess was actually devised and implemented by a scheming White House in an attempt to divert attention away from a dastardly blueprint to bankrupt America and deliver its carcass to her enemies.

Beck: “The only time you ever heard about [Obama’s birth certificate] was from the lunatic fringe – and I mean a very, very, small group of people that were talking about it – but the White House was the one that was constantly bringing it up and stirring the pot.”

That’s right. It was a very small group of people consisting mainly of Fox News anchors and pundits, right-wing activists and Tea Partiers, and the lunatic fringe more commonly known as the Republican Party. The mini-faction included unknown, media-shy characters like Mitt Romney surrogate, Donald Trump. This tiny, almost imperceptible, collective of outliers had little influence on public opinion unless you count the polls that show nearly half of “staunch conservatives” saying that they think Obama was not born in the U.S.

Now that Beck has exposed the truth that conspiracy theories are really covert diversions, the only unanswered question is whether the conspiracy theories Beck spins are themselves distractions from the government’s clandestine plots. How can we know that Beck is not a part of the plot to draw attention away from far more fiendish exploits contrived by federal super-villains? If conspiracy theories are government plots, and no one is more adept at constructing them than Beck, well ….. connect the dots.

Dog Whistling: The Meanstream Media Forecasting Of Election Results

There may be just one day to go, but that is no reason for the right-wing media to relax their incessant campaign of unhinged babbling and racial insults.

No one should be surprised by Fox News hammering away at their fervent anti-Obama diatribes. This morning they have ramped up their attacks on Obama for everything from Benghazi (which they compare to Watergate) to Hurricane Sandy (which they compare to Katrina). Needless to say, their comparisons only make sense to people who have had their frontal lobes removed.

In addition to this fictionalization of the news, much of the conservative press is rushing to publish their predictions of tomorrow’s election results. In this area they are just as delusional as they are in their so-called “journalism.” The big, all-cap headline at Fox News is that “ROMNEY WILL WIN.”

Fox Nation Romney Will Win

These prognostications emanate from a group of pundits who hold the Olympic record for being wrong. Karl Rove, Michael Barone, Dick Morris, and George Will, all claim that, not only will Romney prevail, but he will win by a landslide. If I were Rove, Barone, or Will, I would change my prediction just because prostitute toe-sucker, Dick Morris, agreed with me. But the general sense of over-confidence on the part of these pundits proves that they are more interested in trying to produce a result than in honestly forecasting one.

On the other side, the conservative U.S. News and World Report consulted their own pundit for a considered analysis and prediction for this historically significant election:

US News Kenyan Witch Doctor

So there you have it. USNews went all the way to Kenya to find someone they could quote with a prediction calling for Obama to win. Of course, there are hundreds of domestic political analysts they could have consulted for the same response, but apparently it was more important to blow that birther dog whistle and associate Obama with a foreign and pagan philosophy.

By the way, that’s also what Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan is doing in his recent statement about the path Obama is leading America down:

“It’s a dangerous path. It’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”

This sounds exactly like the late campaign desperation rhetoric of Sarah Palin when she started yammering about Obama “palling around with terrorists.” It’s the rhetoric of a campaign that knows it is going to lose.

The Top Eight Fox News Election Lies In Just The Last Eight Weeks

Mitt Romney - Original BanksterWith the election season fully in bloom, the aroma of deceit and desperation is growing more pungent by the hour. Mitt Romney, The Original Bankster, continues to be evasive about his international business affairs, and he refuses to release more than a single year of tax returns in order to quell speculation. His electoral prospects have not been noticeably enhanced with the addition of Wisconsin congressman, and extremist right-winger, Paul Ryan to the ticket. Consequently, the GOP PR machine (aka Fox News) has swung into action to attempt to cauterize the wounds and manufacture some positive spin on behalf of the struggling Republican standard bearers.

The most effective contribution of the Fox spinners is their expertise in disseminating brazenly dishonest propaganda without shame or fear of reprisal. They construct fabrications that benefit their patrons and broadcast them to an audience that is so undiscriminating that they’ll watch Sean Hannity more than once. And since the majority of rational news consumers will never see much of what Fox works so hard to invent, we have complied a list of some of the most dishonest moments so far in the 2012 election cycle. [Note: in order to pare this list down to a manageable length, it has been limited to just just the last eight weeks. There’s only so much bandwidth on the Internet]

1) President Obama Did Not Call Mitt Romney A Felon
Mitt Romney claims that he had ceased to be involved with Bain Capital in 1999, although his signature on SEC documents affirms that he was the sole shareholder and CEO as late as 2002. Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager, Stephanie Cutter, pointed out that Romney had to have lied on either the SEC forms or his public statements that contradict them. Fox News turned that into an accusation by Obama that Romney is a felon. However, there is a big difference between calling someone a felon and simply noting that if one were to commit a felony they would be a felon, which is all that Cutter had done. But Fox is not inclined to miss an opportunity to invent a controversy where none actually exists.

2) Fox News Built That
In a speech to supporters in Virginia, Obama praised the hard work of individuals and businesses while also noting the collective value of American investment in economic prosperity. So Fox News plucked an out-of-context soundbite from the speech that said “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” What Fox deliberately left out was that Obama was referring to public services like teachers and police, and to infrastructure like roads and bridges that contribute to the success of all businesses. It’s a position that Romney himself has taken. However, Fox News blew this distortion up into such a frenzy that the Romney campaign adopted it and now have made the Fox-built fallacy the theme for the GOP convention in Tampa. [Note: The GOP convention is being held in the Tampa Bay Forum, a facility that was built with mostly public funds]

The tactic of taking quotes out of context has been a favorite of the Fox News gang this year. They did precisely the same thing with remarks Obama made about the economy (the private sector is doing fine) and his record in office (we tried our plan and it worked). In both cases Fox left out critical language surrounding these remarks that revealed just how purposefully dishonest the Fox News team is.

3) The Swift-Boating Of President Obama
Fox News has proudly announced the commencement of a Swiftboat campaign against President Obama. The organization set up to carry out the assault is described as “A group of former U.S. intelligence and Special Forces operatives,” but in reality is a partisan assembly of Republicans and professional Obama haters. The Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund (SOOEF) plans to produce and distribute videos and advertisements that will criticize Obama for “taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.” This is an archetypical implementation of Swiftboating whose purpose is to spread lies about a key achievement of Obama’s leadership as Commander-in-Chief.

The assertions by the SOOEF that Obama has improperly heralded himself for the demise of Bin Laden are demonstrably false. Their video features gross misrepresentations of Obama’s statements on the subject that loop portions of his speech referencing himself, but leaves out his abundant praise for the military and intelligence operatives who carried out the mission. The opening line of the President’s address to the nation announcing that Bin Laden was dead explicitly and unselfishly stated that “the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.” He went on to thank “the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome,” and he praised “the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country.”

None of that was in the SOOEF video which Fox has featured in numerous broadcasts. What’s more, Fox actually uses the term “Swiftboating” to describe the anti-Obama campaign. Either they have completely given up on trying to pretend that they are a “fair and balanced” news enterprise (which no one believes anyway), or they don’t know that Swiftboating means lying.

4) Fox Nation Ignores Polls By CNN, Reuters, And — Fox News
Virtually every time a new poll on presidential politics is released Fox News will make a point to publish the results – so long as the poll shows Obama losing. In a particularly egregious example of this bias earlier this month, Fox prominently reported on a poll by the right-wing Rasmussen operation that placed Mitt Romney in the lead 47-43. What Fox neglected to report was that there were three other polls released at the same time that all put Obama ahead. And the most striking part of this omission was that one of the polls that Fox declined to cover was conducted by Fox News itself and put Obama ahead of Romney by nine points.

Fox couldn’t even bring themselves to report on their own poll conducted by their own pollsters. That’s the sort of biased cherry-picking that is the hallmark of Fox’s “news” charade. And it’s a crystal clear message to pollsters from Fox: If you want to be covered, you better say what we like. And that goes for Fox’s pollsters as well.

5) Welfare-To-Work Rules Were Not Weakened By the Obama Administration
The Romney campaign recently accused Obama of directing his administration to relax the welfare-to-work provisions of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform bill. That accusation is directly refuted by the facts. What Obama did was to permit waivers for states that could affirm their progress in moving people from welfare to work, and allowing them flexibility to enhance their programs. It’s a modification that Romney himself had requested when he was governor of Massachusetts. Nevertheless, Fox News picked up the accusation and ran with it. In every segment on the subject they portrayed the issue precisely as Romney had framed it despite every fact-checking operation concluding that Romney’s charges were entirely false.

And speaking of fact-checking, Romney has been rated untruthful 67 times by PolitiFact, and 14 of those were “Pants-on-Fire” lies (including the welfare lie). In fact, 43% of PolitiFact’s findings on statements by Romney are rated as untruthful. He’s downright pathological, but Fox has not yet reported that fact.

6) Obama Did Not Sell Amnesty For $465.00
After Obama issued a directive to the Department of Homeland Security not to advance the deportation of young immigrants who had been brought to this country by their parents and who had demonstrated achievement in school or the military, there was a rush of dishonest reporting from Fox News that Obama was placating law breakers and opening our borders to criminals, drug traffickers, and terrorists. Of course, none of that was true. News reports from more objective sources correctly noted that the beneficiaries of the program had broken no laws and that the public overwhelmingly supported the President’s plan.

After the initial drama subsided, Fox News decided to take another stab at promoting their false narrative. They began running reports alleging that Obama was “selling amnesty” to illegal aliens. What Fox was grossly misrepresenting was that the program had an application fee to help offset its costs. One would think that deficit minded conservatives would have approved of that fiscal responsibility. But Fox chose to present it as the purchase price for amnesty even though no one in the program would receive amnesty.

7) Soldiers Were Not Prevented From Voting In Ohio
The issue of voter suppression has been a major factor in this years election contests. In states across the country Republicans have been working strenuously to reduce early voting availability and impose unreasonable identification requirements that serve to disenfranchise mostly voters who are minorities, seniors, students, and low income. But perhaps the worst example of distorting the issue occurred when Fox News accused the Obama administration of seeking to trample on the voting rights of people in the military.

The actual story is that the Republicans in the state of Ohio passed a bill that reduced early voting for everyone in the state except the military. The Obama Justice Department contested the move arguing that the same early voting privileges should be available to all Ohio voters. So the Obama administration was actually advocating for expanding voting rights for everyone, including veterans who would have been excluded under the GOP bill. The characterization by Fox News was 180% opposite of the truth.

8) Fox News Reports Obama Birth Certificate “Definitely Fraudulent”
In a stunning piece of journalistic malpractice, Fox News reported assertions that Obama’s birth certificate was “definitely fraudulent.” The remarks were from Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, and while they were correctly attributed, nowhere in the article did Fox note that the birth certificate had been authenticated and that every credible source agrees that it is valid. The only references to the birth certificate’s authenticity were framed as merely “claims.” And Fox being “fair and balanced” regards all claims as having equal weight, even those without any substance to back them up.

Pray for Fox NewsThis is a necessarily abridged collection of Fox falsehoods. There are far too many more to list here. But in the last eight weeks Fox News has disseminated some glaring whoppers in an attempt to prop up the flailing Romney campaign. Expect this to continue through the upcoming conventions and straight through to November. Because when you are supporting a candidate who refuses to reveal his taxes, his business history, or even his proposed policies, all you have left is what you can make up.

Mexican Anchor Baby Mitt Romney: No One’s Ever Asked To See My Birth Certificate

In keeping with his promise to change the tone of the campaign, Mitt Romney just dove head first into birtherism in a speech to supporters in Michigan:

“Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

First of all, I need to point out that Romney is factually wrong. I have asked to see his birth certificate and he has yet to comply. There have also been numerous others who have called on Romney to produce the document. He did release a “certificate of live birth” last May that is obviously a fake. We know that it’s a fake because when President Obama released a similar document the birthers uniformly denounced as an outright fraud.

Mitt Romney's Fake Birth Certificate

By asserting that nobody has asked to see his birth certificate, Romney is illustrating the undisguised racism that has fueled the birther movement. Of course no one asked a wealthy white man to prove his citizenship. Why would they? That’s only a question for foreign looking people who differ from the majority.

In the past week Romney has been complaining that much of the campaign has been about trivial matters that are distractions from issues like the economy and jobs that Romney says he wants to focus on. He whined about having to respond to questions about his tax returns, abortion, and Medicare. So apparently he is taking the initiative to raise the tenor of the campaign by reminding people that President Obama has been accused of being a Kenyan agent sent to deliver America into the hands of godless Muslims and socialists. That is the sort of substantive subject that Romney thinks the nation should be talking about.

Perhaps Romney is just offering a preview of the Republican National Convention Etch-a-Sketch that begins next week and will feature speeches by notorious birthers Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The theme of the GOP event is “We Built That,” a dishonest, out-of-context reference to remarks Obama made in praise of the American system that has helped so many people to prosper. It is unlikely, however, that Romney will acknowledge that the Tampa Bay Forum where the GOP convention will be held, was built by mostly government funding.

GOP Convention

Judging by Romney’s latest attempt at humor, next week should be a barrel of laughs.