New Poll Shows HISTORIC Post-Convention FLOP For Trump And The GOP

The 2016 general election has officially begun. Both party nominating conventions have concluded and the candidates are spreading out across the country soliciting votes. As they do so, the impact of the conventions is beginning to be revealed in the first polling since the balloons dropped. And it’s terrible news for Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Donald Trump

Gallup has been surveying post-convention impressions for more than thirty years, but the results of this year’s poll have Trump scraping rock bottom with regard to public approval. In a first for Gallup, the majority of respondents (52%) say that they have a less favorable view of the Republican Party after the conventions than before. By contrast, a plurality of respondents (44%) view Democrats more favorably. Similarly, a majority of Americans (51%) are now saying that they are less likely to vote for Trump, while more voters (45%) say they are more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton following the two conventions. According to Gallup:

“The 2016 Republican convention is the first after which a greater percentage of Americans have said they are ‘less likely’ rather than ‘more likely’ to vote for the party’s presidential nominee.”

That’s a notable milestone. Trump scored a net negative of fifteen percent who were put off by his nightmarish presentation at the most significant campaign event of the election cycle thus far. That vastly under performs the second worst historical showing in this poll previously, which was a net positive of two percent for Mitt Romney in 2012. And thirteen percent of those saying they are less likely to vote for Trump are Republicans.

Gallup also polled reactions to the candidates’ acceptance speeches with results that should be equally worrisome to the Trump camp. Only thirty-five percent of Americans rated Trump’s speech “Excellent/Good.” Another thirty-six percent said it was “Poor/Terrible.” Clinton fared much better by comparison with forty-four percent rating her speech “Excellent/Good,” and only twenty percent holding the negative view. These numbers contribute to Gallup’s conclusions:

“In the short term, it appears the Democratic Party will leave the convention phase better off than before it began. Gallup tracking finds Clinton’s post-convention favorable rating at 44%, up six percentage points from mid-July. That is much higher than Trump’s 32% favorable rating in the days after the Democratic convention. Also, Obama’s job approval rating is now up to 54%, tied for the highest it has been since early 2013.”

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

These survey results are closely aligned with the Nielsen ratings for the two conventions that showed the Democrats drawing in far more viewers than the Republicans over the four nights of television coverage. Not surprisingly, Americans prefer hope and unity to fear and division. And the failure of the GOP convention, and Trump’s horror show speech, explain why Trump himself is laughably trying to pretend that he had nothing to do with any of it. So now it’s on to the debates, assuming that Trump doesn’t chicken out (for which he is already laying the groundwork).

Chicken-Sh*t Trump Already Trying To Weasel Out Of Debates With Clinton

Now that the general election scorecard is filled and the major party conventions are history, the next big events in the election cycle will be the highly anticipated Clinton/Trump debates. While the conventions are usually seen as self-serving infomercials, voters often regard the debates as critical opportunities to assess the candidates and make a decision.

Donald Trump

Well, it didn’t take twenty-four hours for Donald Trump to start whining about the debate process and laying the groundwork to slither away without having to confront Hillary Clinton face to face. Last night he summoned up the courage to venture out onto the Twitter machine and post this:

As usual, Trump and the GOP are trying to hide their fear by accusing everyone of conspiring against them. Trump’s paranoia is sending him into delusional fits that are precursors to a cowardly retreat, just like when he skipped out on a Fox News debate because he was too scared to face Megyn Kelly. Clearly he has a problem with strong women.

For the record, neither Clinton nor the Democratic Party had anything to do with the debate schedule. The Commission On Presidential Debates (CPD) has been managing these affairs since 1988. It is run by former members of both parties who have no affiliation with any candidate. The current schedule was released nearly a year ago (September 23, 2015), before any of the candidates were chosen. And it would be nearly impossible to find broadcast dates that didn’t coincide with a popular television program, whether it be the NFL or Law & Order or America’s Got Talent.

Trump has already demonstrated his tendency to provoke melodrama with regard to candidate debates. He turned the GOP primary debates into feral spectacles of crass immaturity and avoidance of substance. His tantrums succeeded in forcing the Republican National Committee and the media to capitulate to his will, forcing out networks or media co-sponsors that he didn’t think were sufficiently deferential to him.

What Trump means by “Unacceptable” is unclear. Is he declaring now that he is refusing to participate in the debates? Is he demanding that other terms agreeable to him are implemented? Or is he preparing his excuse for when he fails to show up like every other presidential candidate has done for over half a century? In any case he is revealing that he is a sniveling coward who would be knocked senseless were he to step into the ring with Hillary. And he knows it.

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

So look for Trump to continue his whining up to, throughout, and following the debates (if he even shows up). And watch him try to blame his failures on the legions of imaginary enemies who are amassed to bring him down. Donald Trump is a walking psychosis who is frantically searching for a way to avoid being humiliated by an uppity woman. At times like these you realize that there just isn’t enough popcorn in the world.

UPDATE: Lyin’ Don told George Stephanopoulos on This Week that the NFL sent him a letter saying that “This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against us?” But an NFL spokesman quickly denied it tweeting “While we’d obviously wish the debate commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Trump.”

Democrats’ Message Of Hope THRASHES Republican Fear Mongering In TV Ratings

Now that both of the presidential nominating conventions are over, we can take a look at how the American people felt about the proceedings with respect to their television viewing. The Nielsen ratings are in and they tell a story that may have an impact on the election and its results in November.

Clinton Trump

From the broadest perspective the Democrats scored a significant victory (which may explain why Donald Trump is now pretending that he had nothing to do with his own convention). The cumulative total viewers for all four nights, across ten broadcast and cable networks, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was 116.7 million. For the Republican National Convention (RNC) it was 100.7 million. The Democrats outright won the first three nights by at least five million viewers. On the fourth night Trump’s acceptance speech outdrew Hillary Clinton’s by a small margin of 1.6 million.

DNC RNC
Day 1 28.4 23.0
Day 2 28.0 23.0
Day 3 27.0 19.8
Day 4 33.3 34.9
116.7 100.7

The fourth night of the DNC event requires some additional analysis. It is fair to say that the night when a candidate is making their acceptance speech has particular significance. They are the star attraction at these shows and the impressions they make can have a substantial impact. Consequently, it should raise one’s curiosity as to why the Democrats won every night except the one when Hillary Clinton was making her big speech.

The answer is not especially surprising. When the numbers are broken down by network, you’ll find that Trump drew a massive 9.4 million viewers for his speech on Fox News alone. The following week, by contrast, Clinton was watched by only three million viewers on Fox. There was no similar disparity on any other network.

Clearly the people who watch Fox News were inclined to tune in to see their favorite candidate, Donald Trump. And when it came time for Hillary Clinton to speak, Fox viewers simply tuned her out, preferring to remain steeped in their own partisan stupidity. Absent this warped variable, the average viewership of the convention’s fourth night again shows a healthy lead for the Democrats.

More importantly, it shows a decidedly unhealthy tendency for Republicans to deliberately shelter themselves from the real world and wallow in a pool of purposeful ignorance. This isn’t a new development. A couple of years ago Gallup conducted a study that identified the political leanings of the viewers of each network. It showed that fully 94% of respondents identified as Republican or leaning Republican said that Fox News is their main source for news. Conservatives chimed in at 79%. And a whopping 97% of those who do not approve of President Obama pledged their allegiance to Fox. None of the respondents on the left came within 30 points of that level of extreme partisanship.

What this tells us is that Fox News is virtually irrelevant to the political debate in America. They cater to a uniform community of right-wing zealots whose opinions are locked in place. So it makes no difference that Fox viewers didn’t watch Clinton’s speech because they wouldn’t vote for her anyway. In fact, they may have just been following orders from their master. Yesterday Donald Trump sent an email to supporters telling them not to watch Clinton on Thursday:

“Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don’t watch Hillary’s DNC speech tonight.”

That’s the sort of advice that you give to juveniles you can’t trust to make their own decisions. It’s advice that cripples ones ability to understand the world around them and makes them incapable of knowing how to respond to information that isn’t pre-chewed for them by autocratic demagogues. In other words, it’s advice that Fox News viewers would rush blindly to follow. And what makes this even more ludicrous is that Trump himself declined his own advice. After earlier saying that he was not going to watch Clinton’s speech, he confessed to an audience at a rally today that “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I watched it.”

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

Of course he did. How else would he know what lame insults to tweet in response? Trump’s ego would never permit him to avoid anything that someone might say about him, particularly if it’s critical. As an insecure bully he needs to have constant control of his surroundings so he can strike back when he feels he’s been maligned. These ratings results prove that he’s one of the losers he’s constantly accusing his opponents of being. But don’t expect him to acknowledge it. He’s probably preparing some tweets right now to smear the lefty radicals at Nielsen who he surely believes are deliberately sabotaging his campaign.

Muslim Father Of A Fallen Hero Shames Donald Trump: You Have Sacrificed Nothing

The final night of the Democratic National Convention had many memorable moments including speeches and performances by notables like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Katy Perry. And of course, the headliners for the evening, Chelsea Clinton introducing her mother Hillary Clinton.

However, what may be remembered as the most moving address of the week was the touching story of a grieving father whose misfortune hasn’t dampened his patriotism.

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan is the father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan who was killed serving his country in Iraq. Mr. Khan addressed the delegates after a video wherein Clinton paid tribute to the fallen soldier. His comments were brief and to the point, beginning with his description of his family as “patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” He was clearly moved by Clinton’s tribute to his son. And he was equally repulsed by Donald Trump’s campaign of bigotry and intolerance:

“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America. If it was up to Donald Trump he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He wants to build walls and ban us from this country.

“Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.”

These poignant remarks perfectly illustrate what’s so hurtful and un-American about Trump’s efforts to demonize Muslims and other immigrant families. Trump regards the differences in people as threats to be quashed. He has no ability to recognize the shared values of diverse people who love freedom. That’s why he views refugees as disguised terrorists rather than victims who despise terrorism more than anyone. And it’s why Mr. Khan went on to beseech Trump to educate himself on the subject of true sacrifice:

“Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You’ll see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one. We cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division. We are stronger together.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to accept this challenge. He’s too busy pretending to care about veterans while ripping them off. And the last thing he wants is to abandon his campaign strategy of spreading fear and hatred. Because that’s literally all he has. And you know Khan’s remarks were powerful and effective because Fox News declined to air them, instead running an anti-Clinton commercial about Benghazi.

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

UPDATE: Trump responded to Mr. Khan’s remarks by insulting him and his wife. He accused Clinton of having written his statement. He falsely implied that Mrs. Khan was not allowed to speak. And in an appalling display of insensitivity and conceit, he claimed to have made sacrifices on par with that of the fallen soldier. He cited as an example that he has hired a lot of people. Oh my, what a sacrifice. That must have been so terribly difficult for him.

MUZZLED: House Republicans Kill Live Camera Feed Of Democratic Gun Reform Sit-In

Democratic congress members of the House of Representatives launched an unprecedented protest in the chamber by staging a sit-in. The purpose of the protest is to force Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership into scheduling a vote on gun safety reforms (video here).

CSPAN Blackout

Shortly after the protest began, the Republicans who control the House called a recess saying that the House is not in order, and then shut off the chamber’s cameras to prevent the American people from seeing their representatives actually doing something worthwhile and in agreement with the majority of the people. It is a brazen act of censorship intended to make the courageous demonstration disappear and to help the GOP in their efforts to kill reform at the behest of their NRA masters.

By taking the unprecedented step of shutting off the cameras, CSPAN went dark. They later had to resort to broadcasting video from mobile phones in the chamber, which continues as of the writing of this article. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Rep. John Yarmouth just tweeted that “The Sgt at Arms is asking us to stop taking photos and video from House floor. Republicans should turn the cameras back on.”

These GOP authoritarian tactics are nothing less than government suppression of free speech. This is the people’s house, not the private broadcast facility of the Republican Party. And despite the GOP’s tyrannical usurpation of power, Democrats are united in persisting with this protest. Participants include party leaders like John Lewis and Nancy Pelosi, and they have promised that everyone who wants to speak will be able to.

Republicans will have to shut down the building and evacuate everyone if they hope to end this. Which I wouldn’t put past them. Two years ago the GOP held a hearing on the alleged IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the committee, delivered a five minute opening statement, asked a few leading questions, then gaveled the hearing adjourned without allowing anyone else to speak. The ranking Democratic member, Elijah Cummings, objected to the adjournment, but Issa cut off his microphone and stomped out of the room. Cummings continued without the mic calling Issa’s conduct “absolutely un-American.”

This is pretty much what we can expect from the Republican Party if it is allowed to remain in control of Congress, or worse gain the White House with a victory by Donald Trump (who has revoked the press credentials of several media organizations and whose camp has advocated revoking the broadcast license of CNN). Democrats have to be united in voting out Republicans in every jurisdiction if the nation hopes to preserve its constitutional freedoms.

Hillary Clinton And The Amazing Wingnutty Media Apology Trap

The most overused adjective of the 2016 presidential election cycle so far has got to be the term “Outsider.” The media is thoroughly infatuated with the notion of alleged outsiders dominating the campaign season and crushing their “establishment” rivals. It’s a stark turnaround from their prior position that political neophytes (i.e. President Obama) are unqualified to assume leadership roles in government.

Hillary Clinton

These outsiders have been granted broad leeway to do and say things that ordinarily would sink any other campaign. And in today’s environment the most admirable response when caught making a formerly fatal faux pas is to double down and, by no means, apologize. Notable among the remorseless on the right is Donald Trump who has insulted Latinos by calling them criminals and rapists; dishonored veterans by saying that POWs are not heroes; pretends to be pious while insisting that he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness because he never does anything wrong; and displays blatant misogyny aimed at any woman who challenges him. In all of these, and many other, incidents he has refused to apologize or even acknowledge that his words or actions may have been inappropriate or hurtful.

But Trump is not alone. Many of the Republican candidates are guilty of this. Mike Huckabee refused to apologize after a despicable and insensitive Holocaust reference that Obama’s deal with Iran “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Ben Carson never apologized for likening ObamaCare to slavery. Jeb Bush repeatedly used the pejorative term “anchor baby” without lament (which he got from Trump). In the last presidential race Mitt Romney actually published a book titled “No Apologies.”

So it is rather disingenuous now for Republicans, and most of the media, to be obsessed with whether or not Hillary Clinton will apologize for having used a private email address. In just the past week she has been asked this question by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and again by the Associated Press. She responded that she was sorry that the subject was so confusing and expressed regret that she hadn’t decided to use separate emails, but since she did nothing wrong or illegal there was no other reason to apologize. She told the AP that “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.” These responses were then relayed to the rest of the media that continued to play up the same angle.

It’s interesting that every time a Republican refuses to apologize for their actions they are hailed as people of strong character who stand by their principles. The GOP voters drool all over themselves with ever-expanding esteem for their unyielding commitment. They are venerated for refusing to buckle under to pressure by those who would have them show remorse or even sympathy for those they malign. But when Clinton has the audacity to dismiss the need to apologize, and offers a rational explanation for her stance, she is assailed as arrogant, imperious, or out-of-touch.

This is emblematic of the right’s hypocritical approach to pretty much everything political. Inexperienced candidates are considered a threat to the nation, unless they are inexperienced Republicans like Trump or Carson. Wealthy candidates, like Clinton, are elitists who can’t relate to the common citizen, unless they are wealthy Republicans like Trump or Bush. Religious candidates like Jimmy Carter are belittled and demeaned, unless they are religious Republicans like Huckabee or Cruz. And this goes on and on with other matters including education, military service, and business experience. In every case Democrats are criticized for the same things for which Republicans are praised.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Personally, I’m a fan of apologies. It shows humility and maturity and the temperament to be able to admit one’s mistakes. People should get credit for apologizing, not criticism. But in the current political environment apologies are taken as signs of weakness. And that’s why Republicans and the press are so adamant about extracting one from Clinton. They want to portray her as weak. That’s the trap. The problem is that if she resists she is portrayed as obstinate and arrogant, but if she complies she is tagged as a spineless wimp. It’s a lose-lose proposition for her alone. Because the GOP can still refuse to apologize for anything and still get applause from the media and right-wingers who go through life with blinders on.

Book By Fox News ‘Liberal’ Uses Free Speech To Claim Liberals Are Killing Free Speech

The network that markets itself as “fair and balanced” has spent years proving their commitment to that slogan by balancing their right-wing infused “news” delivered by GOP mouthpieces with right-wing infused “news” delivered by people they falsely claim are liberals. The roster of fake Democrats on Fox News is extensive and includes rabid rightists like Pat Caddell, Doug Schoen, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, and Kirsten Powers, all of whom freely express their contempt for the Democratic Party.

Kirsten Powers has long been a member of the Fake Democrat Society. She invariably agrees with her Fox News colleagues whenever she engages in a so-called debate on current events. Fox will predictably call on her to discuss issues that they know will reflect poorly on other Democrats. So if there is bad news for President Obama or Hillary Clinton making the rounds, Powers will get extra airtime to pile on. And she can be relied upon to make incendiary comments like the time she accused Obama of sympathizing with terrorists. Plus, she gets the benefit of the Fox marketing machine when she has a liberal bashing book to promote.

Fox News Kirsten Powers

This new book by Powers, The Silencing,” has the not-at-all derogatory subtitle of “How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” What could be more appropriate for the network that daily exercises its free speech to disparage lefties while complaining about being victims of official censorship? And what better message for a supposedly liberal pundit to devote to an entire book? And while we’re at it, how dumb is it for someone exercising her free speech in a book (and daily on Fox News) to complain about free speech being killed?

The truth is that this book is a petty and self-serving response by Powers to the derision she endures for her conservative activism while pretending to be a liberal. For some reason she thinks that she can get away with wearing a Democratic label and bashing Democrats, but never be criticized for it. So she wrote a book to further hammer away at those with whom she professes to be aligned. What better way to demonstrate loyalty than to accuse your so-called friends of “killing” free speech?

In some respects this book is just the sequel to Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate,” the book her fellow fake Dem, Juan Williams, wrote a couple of years ago on pretty much the same subject. Both books attack what they regard as political correctness as exercised by a liberal establishment that objects to Fox News passing off right-wingers as Democrats.

As evidence of the rightward ideological slant of Powers, her book was published by the uber-conservative Regnery Publishing, the literary home to Dinesh D’Souza, Ed Klein, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, and Patrick Buchanan. That is not the sort of company kept by real liberals. However, Powers’ book fits right in with the other tomes lambasting liberalism and chronicling the exploits of our allegedly treasonous and foreign-born president.

Additionally, Powers has been lauded by the ultra-rightist Breitbart News on numerous occasions, even as they joined the charade that Powers is not one of them. And the first excerpts of her book were published by the house organ of the Heritage Foundation, now led by former GOP Senator and Tea Party icon Jim DeMint. These are associations that expose the ulterior motives that Powers is pursuing with her partisan diatribe. Those motives are further revealed on the inside flap of her book:

“Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans’ ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation.”

First of all, the notion that free speech comes with a shield from retaliation is contrary to the definition of free speech. What conservatives like Powers want is the ability to say all the nasty, dishonest things they like without being subject to rebuttal or criticism. It’s free speech for them, but no one else.

From a broader perspective, however, this book just reveals an effort to take down liberals for perceived intolerance, while completely ignoring the same from conservatives. If Powers were the least bit concerned about representing a progressive worldview, she would have authored a more balanced assessment of the matter. The fact that she limited her inquiry to the alleged crimes of liberals shows exactly where her heart lies.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Furthermore, the inside flap also declares that the reader will “learn how the illiberal left is obsessed with delegitimizing Fox News.” And that, in the end, is its whole reason for existing. It is a flagrantly self-serving attempt to promote Fox News, excuse their blatant biases, and restore the credibility she and Fox have lost due to their rampant dissemination of lies, which PolitiFact has found is the majority of their reporting.

Fox News PolitiFact

Tea-Bola Infects The GOP: Symptoms Include Secession Obsession And California-itis

Today’s Republican Party is very, very sick. They are exhibiting symptoms of acute cognitive failure and an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. This severe case of Tea-Bola is what accounts for their insistence that the federal government keep its hands off of Medicare; and their denial of Climate Change despite 97% of scientists affirming it; and their perception of a collapsing economy that has actually grown significantly.

The GOP, driven by its Tea Party caucus, is obsessed with repealing a health insurance reform plan that has resulted in lower costs and a substantial decrease in the number of uninsured Americans. They incessantly shout “Benghazi” as if they were suffering from a perverse form of Tourette’s Syndrome. And they want so badly to impeach President Obama that they have forgotten to establish any rationale for such a blatantly deranged legal overreach. Indeed, they are slipping away into wingnut delirium and there doesn’t seem to be any cure.

Tea-Bola

The latest manifestation of the right’s raving lunacy is illustrated in a poll conducted by Fox News (who is both suffering from, and spreading Tea-Bola). The Fox poll asked a question that reveals just how on target Jon Stewart was when he yelled at right-wing hypocrites, with exasperation, “Fuck you and your false patriotism.” The questions hinges on the notion of secession by one or more states. There have been several episodes of pseudo-patriotic Republicans articulating a desire for the United States to break apart, or for their state to secede. And now we have a survey that puts the matter into partisan perspective.

The poll asked: If your state were to hold an election on whether or not to split off from the United States, how would you vote? Democrats, at 4%, weren’t too keen on the idea, but three times as many Republicans (12%) favored it. However, it was the Tea Party that really lapped it up with 23% opting for secession. So much for American exceptionalism.

In another question, the divide was even more stark. The question asked was: Are there any states that you would vote out of the United States if you could? This wording is somewhat more hostile. It no longer wonders whether you would want to leave America yourself, but whether you would like kick out some other state. The party breakdown was: Democrats: 13%; Republicans: 21%; and a full third of the Tea Party contingent (34%) were firmly committed to banishing some other state from the land of the free.

The Tea Party’s favorite state to excommunicate is one that they frequently attack as a bastion of socialism and/or wacky secular heathens. To no one’s surprise it is California that was chosen by 83% of the Tea Party martinets of virtue. That’s six points higher than Republicans as a whole.

The incomparable idiocy of their blind hatred ignores the fact that California, by itself, accounts for about 13% of the nation’s GDP. If booted from the union it would become the sixth richest country in the world. It has all of the assets required to guarantee its ongoing prosperity, such as abundant natural resources; a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, energy, technology, entertainment, and tourism; 800 miles of coastline and ports for access to the world’s trade routes; numerous defense plants and military installations; and an affluent population for its tax base. Let’s face, the U.S. needs California more than California needs the U.S.

If the GOP/Tea Party had its way they would end up with a much poorer America. California is a net positive contributor to the federal budget, getting back only 87 cents for every dollar paid in. Compare that to the Tea Party utopia of Mississippi where they mooch $2.47 for each dollar paid. And if the Teabaggers crusade extended to their second choice for banishment, New York, they would lose even more. New York is another prosperous (and Democratic) state that gets only 72 cents back on each dollar paid to the feds. The two-state combination of California and New York account for nearly a quarter (22%) of the entire nation’s GDP.

This display of stupidity extends to other questions in the Fox poll. For instance, when asked: How concerned are you that the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS will try to launch an attack on U.S. soil in the near future? Democrats had a reasonably healthy concern of 39%. Republicans were a bit more nervous with 59%. But the Tea Party are shivering in their bunkers with 76% consumed by the fear they’ve been fed by Fox News.

This may partially explain the serious diversion from reality that exists in the American electorate. The same poll shows that Obama’s approval rating is currently at 40%. That’s surprisingly low for a president who presided over the nation’s recovery from the worst financial calamity since the Great Depression; who disposed of Osama Bin Laden; and who signed the first major health insurance reform bill.

And yet Obama’s low rating is a drag on Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm election. Polls show that many of the battleground states are perilously tight, with Republicans leading in some. But while Obama is riding around in the low forties, Republicans in Congress are floundering at 23%, almost half of Obama’s placing.

So why are voters considering casting their votes for Republicans whom they like much less than Obama and the Democrats? The answer is that the polling is counting “likely” voters. When a broader group of registered voters, or all eligible voters, are surveyed, the Democrats come out ahead. So the problem here is that Democrats are not considered likely to vote. That makes turnout for this year’s election the most critical objective. If Democrats vote in ratios comparable to Republicans, Democrats will win.

Of course, Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress voter turnout, and particularly to suppress Democratic turnout. They have been implementing voter ID laws that do nothing to prevent fraud, but are deliberately aimed at preventing Democrats from exercising their right to vote. Republicans are spending unprecedented sums on negative and dishonest advertising, largely bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other baldly partisan operatives.

The GOP/Tea Party wants very badly to block your ability to cast a vote. If you allow them to do that you are, in effect, aiding their cause. You are succumbing to their tactics. You are their bitch.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

It’s time to stand up for something positive, as opposed to the relentlessly negative harping of the right. A Republican senate is not a symbolic victory for the other side. It means that every chairman of every committee will be a Republican. It means a senate filled with Darrell Issas and Louis Gohmerts and Michelle Bachmanns deciding what legislation will be considered and what phony investigations will be pursued. It will put more power in the hands of Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. It will almost certainly result in an attempt to impeach the President.

But it doesn’t have to end that way. There are more of us than there are of them. All we have to do is vote. It isn’t that hard. You can register online in many states, and you can vote through the mail. Just fucking do it. Otherwise some toothless, tea-swilling, racist, moron will vote in your stead. The polls are all consistent. If we vote, we win. We can overwhelm their “likely” voter paradigm by simply showing up. And if we do, we beat back the Koch brothers, the GOP elitists, the Tea Party dimwits, and the cynical media that thinks YOU are too stupid to act in your own best interests.

As it turns out, voting is the cure for Tea-Bola.

FLASHBACK: Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party

With the 2012 presidential election behind us, there has been a flurry of post-election analysis by observers from all across the political spectrum. One theme that I have seen coming from both the left and right is the notion that Fox News has not been particularly helpful to the Republican Party, despite that being their primary mission. This criticism reminded me of an article I published three years ago titled “Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party.” So I went back and read it, and to my surprise, it seems just as relevant to today’s political landscape as it did then. In fact, it’s rather frightening (and disappointing) that so little has changed. That is, unless your a Democrat, because the harm that Fox is causing to the GOP is a gift to the Democrats.

So on this lazy Saturday afternoon I thought I would reprise this article for your enjoyment. I reprint it here without a single modification.



[Purchase FreakShow stickers at Crass Commerce]

The case was made long ago that Fox News is a blight on the media map. It is bad for journalism. It is bad for Democracy. It is bad for America. A so-called “news” network that repeatedly misinforms, even deliberately disinforms, its audience is failing any test of public service embodied by an ethical press.

I, personally, have made the case for an embargo of Fox News by Democrats and progressives (see Starve the Beast: Part I, Part II, Part III), documenting via studied analysis that there is no affirmative value to appearing on Fox News – a network that has established itself as overtly hostile to the Democratic message and its messengers.

However, there is another side to this that has not been addressed previously. Republicans might be well advised to avoid Fox News as well. There is a case to be made that Fox News is demonstrably harmful to the Republican Party. In fact, it may be the worst thing to happen to Republicans in decades. That may seem counter-intuitive when discussing Fox News, the acknowledged public relations division of the Republican Party. Fox has populated its air with right-wing mouthpieces and brazenly partisan advocates for a conservative Republican agenda. They read GOP press releases on the air verbatim as if they were the product of original research. They provide a forum where Republican politicians and pundits can peddle their views unchallenged. So how is this harmful to Republicans?

If all we were witnessing was the emergence of a mainstream conservative network that aspired to advance Republican themes and policies, there would not be much of note here. Most of the conventional media was already center-right before there was a Fox News. But Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.). So while most Americans have never heard of actual Republican party bosses like House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, posers like Joe the Plumber and Carrie Prejean have become household names.

Fox News has descended into depths heretofore reserved for fringe characters. They are openly promoting the wackos who believe that President Obama is ineligible to hold office because he isn’t a U.S. citizen. They feature commentaries by secessionists and even those calling for an overthrow of the government and the Constitution. This explains how folks like Ralph Peters, a retired military officer who said that the Taliban captors of a U.S. Soldier would be saving us a lot of trouble and expense if they would just kill him, earn airtime on Fox. Peters previously told Fox News that he favors military strikes against media targets. This explains how Glenn Beck can agree with a guest that it would be a good thing if America were attacked again by Osama bin Laden. And don’t even get me started on Victoria Jackson, who has joined an ever-lengthening line of psycho-Chicken Littles who compare the President to Hitler.

Good Advice:
“If crazy ideologues have infiltrated the news business, we need to know about it.”
~ Bill O’Reilly, 7/16/09

The list of loonies extends to politicians like Michele Bachmann, entertainers like Ted Nugent, and of course, the talk show pundits like Rush Limbaugh, whose maniacal rantings are elevated by Fox into their version of political dialogue. It’s a dialogue that is consumed with ACORN conspiracies and Manchurian presidents. The problem is that by elevating bona fide nutcases, they are debasing honest and informed discourse. The mental cases are crowding out any reasonable voices that might exist amongst the more moderate Republicans (if there are any left). Fox appears to have made a tactical decision to permit the inmates full run of the asylum.

As a result, the Fox News audience is being dumbed down by a parade of paranoid know-nothings. This strategy appears to be successful for Fox in that it has attracted a loyal viewership that is eager to have their twisted preconceptions affirmed. The conflict-infused fare in which Fox specializes is a ratings juggernaut – just like any good fiction. However, this perceived popularity is having an inordinate impact on the GOP platform. By doubling down on crazy, Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

With the Fox network unabashedly promoting the most ridiculous rumors, myths, and nightmares of the rightist fringe, moderate and independent Americans will grow ever more suspicious of the Fox/GOP agenda. Most Americans do not believe that Sonia Sotomayor is a racist; or that FEMA is constructing concentration camps; or that we are on a march toward socialism, communism, fascism, or whatever the right is peddling this week. Most Americans do not believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, a reptilian alien, or the anti-Christ. In short, most Americans think that the loopy yarns spun by Fox News are fables told by madmen – and believed by even madder men and women who wallow in their doomsday utopia.

Fox News is fond of boasting about their ratings dominance. It is a daily occurrence and the structural core of their argument that they reflect the mood of America. The GOP has bought this argument in its entirety. So it is important to note here that success in the Nielsen ratings has no correlation to public opinion polling. The ratings only measure the program choices of Nielsen’s survey participants. That is a subset of the population at large, and not a particularly representative one. It is a sample focused on consumers, not voters. And its respondents are just those willing to have their TV viewing monitored 24 hours a day, which skews the sample in favor of people who aren’t creeped out by that. What’s more, viewing choices are not necessarily an endorsement of the opinions presented in the program. There are many reasons people choose to watch TV shows, the most frequent being its entertainment value. So any attempt to tie ratings to partisan politics is a foolish exercise that demonstrates a grievous misunderstanding of the business of television.

As for what constitutes success in the television marketplace, due to the broad diversification of available programming, it doesn’t take much to be heralded as a hit. A mere 3 share (3% of people watching TV) will land you in the top 10. For cable news the bar is set even lower. In fact, the top rated show on the top rated cable news network (The O’Reilly Factor) only gets about 3 million viewers. That’s less than 1% of the American population. It’s also less than World Wrestling Entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the CBS Evening News (the lowest rated broadcast network news program). By contrast, America’s Got Talent is seen by 12 million viewers – four times O’Reilly’s audience.

Numbers this low ought not to inspire much excitement from political operatives. Nevertheless, Republicans are riding the coattails of Fox News as if it were representative of a booming conservative mandate in the electorate. They are embracing Fox’s most delusional eccentrics. This is leading to the promotion of similar eccentrics within the party. Which brings us the absurd spectacle of the network’s nuts interviewing the party’s pinheads.

The inevitable result of this system of rewarding those farthest from reality is the creation of a constituency of crackpots. It is an endorsement of the philosophy brewed by the Tea Baggers that espouses racism, tyranny, and armed revolt. It is enabling a frightening corps of openly militant adversaries of democracy, free speech, and Constitutional rule. It is the sort of environment that produced the murders of Dr. George Tiller and Holocaust Museum guard Stephen Johns.

This is a textbook example of how the extreme rises to the top. It is also fundamentally contrary to the interests of the Republican Party. The more the population at large associates Republican ideology with the agenda of Fox News, and the fringe operators residing there, the more the party will be perceived as out of touch, or even out of their minds. It seems like such a waste after all of the effort and expense that Fox put into building a pseudo-journalistic enterprise with the goal of confounding viewers with false news-like theatrics.

Make no mistake, Fox News is still managed by hard core party patrons. And I’m not referring just to opinion-driven commentators like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, although they are bad enough. No, I am talking about executives and editors like CEO, Roger Ailes, former Nixon and Bush media consultant. I’m talking about Washington Managing Editor and VP, Bill Sammon, an avid right-wing alum of the Washington “Moonie” Times. I’m talking about Business News Chief and VP, Neil Cavuto, antagonistic interrupter extraordinaire. And let us not forget the head hype-master, Rupert Murdoch, whose UK operations were just discovered to have been unlawfully wiretapping celebrities, politicians, and even members of the Royal Family. Augmenting that executive roster are the GOP regulars who are straight out of the just retired Republican White House: Karl Rove, Dana Perino, John Bolton, Dan Senor, and Linda Chavez. And then there are the Fox News clowns…er…“contributors” like Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Bernie Goldberg, Michele Malkin, and on and on. If nothing else, Fox is a full-employment program for rightist weasels (and they also operate the Conservative Book Promotion Club).

The mission of Fox News from its inception was to be more than just a voice of opposition to Democrats. It was to utterly crush the left end of the political spectrum leaving only a teetering right wing with no counter balance. Yet, despite the torrid embrace between Republicans and Fox News, it is apparent that Fox is the source of a sort of friendly fire that is decimating the GOP by exalting its most outlandish and unpopular players. And since Republicans have not been particularly popular anyway lately, the anchor being thrown to them by Fox can’t be all that helpful – – – Except to Democrats.


The more things change, the more they get even crazier than they were before.

Occupy The Media: Progressives Rule – Republicans Drool

A new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press explores the public’s attitude toward their elected representatives and the ideological viewpoints that divide our culture. The results reveal a surprising discordance between what the people want and what our representatives think we want.

If a neutral foreigner were to be deposited in America and asked to describe the aspirations of the American people based on his observations of politicians and the press, he might describe a populace consumed with conservative values, evangelical fervor, and personal greed. It’s an appraisal colored by the inordinately excessive volume of congressional Tea Partiers, moralistic spokespeople, and Republican anti-tax crusaders.

However, the true character of the American people has only recently been demonstrated via the actions of Wall Street Occupiers and their protests against the undemocratic usurpation of power by wealthy corporations and individuals, and their benefactors in government. We are a far more tolerant, charitable, and forward thinking people than we are portrayed to be.

Pew Survey - Political TermsThe first, and perhaps most notable, revelation in the Pew survey is that, contrary to the conventional so-called wisdom, when Americans are asked for which term they have a more positive impression, “progressive” ranks highest (at 67%) and significantly higher than “conservative” (62%).

This reverence for progressivism will come as a surprise to many in the media who seem to have bought the persistent complaints of conservatives that Americans lean to the right. That has never been true. There has just been a concerted effort to demonize the liberal label, which has been successful to some degree. Glenn Beck tried to do the same thing to “progressive,” but obviously that didn’t work at all. He must be scarfing down Prozac by the handful right about now. And even with the decades-long bashing of liberals, the term still ties with “capitalism” at 50%. Meanwhile, socialism fares pretty well at 31% for a nation that once blacklisted anyone who expressed sympathy for workers or the poor – a nation to which today’s GOP would like to return.

In addition to the disconnect on ideology, the media has presented a pitifully shallow analysis of the public’s affinity (or lack thereof) for Congress. It has been widely reported that the approval rating for Congress is at historic lows (11%). However, that number has not been broken down to reflect the specific object of the public’s disaffection – until now.

The Pew survey reveals that the nation’s mind is firmly made up as to who is responsible for our national woes. When asked who is to blame for the “do-nothing” congress, respondents chose Republicans over Democrats by almost 2-to-1 (40% to 23%). Republicans were also seen as more extreme in their positions (55% to 33%), and less willing to work with the other side (25% to 51%). Meanwhile, Democrats were viewed as better able to manage government (41% to 35%) and more honest and ethical (45% to 28%).

Fox Nation - CongressThis places media reports of low congressional approval ratings in context. What people hate about Washington are its GOP inhabitants. November 2012 can’t come soon enough for Democrats. And, as can be expected, Fox News leads the pack of truth-distorters by publishing an article on low congressional approval with an accompanying graphic that features Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but no sign of the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, or his cadre of lieutenants and committee chairmen who presided over the least productive congress in 60 years.

A similar contextual perspective can be applied to reporting on the Occupy Wall Street movement. While right-wing propagandists have gone to great lengths to insult the protesters as unfocused, unclean, and un-American, the Pew poll paints a very different picture. A plurality of 44% support the movement. Even more (48%) agree with its goals. An overwhelming majority (77%) believe that there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations. That includes majorities of Democrats (91%), Independents (80%), and even Republicans (53%).

This information ought to be a part of every story broadcast or published about the nation’s moods and preferences. The low opinions expressed in media polls do not exist in a vacuum. Those numbers have no meaning without digging further to understand why they are what they are. If you were to put Gandhi in a room with a coven of neo-Nazis and poll the public as to their opinion of the people in that room, it would certainly yield a poor result. The inscrutable press would then report that America hates Gandhi. Of course, a more detailed survey would show that it was only the Nazis that brought the polling down.

That’s precisely the sort of deception that the media is engaging in with regard to Occupy Wall Street and Congress. And it’s why we have to be continually vigilant in monitoring the media and correcting it when necessary. In the meantime, we, as progressives, can be proud that the people are on our side, and we can keep reminding the world that it’s the other guys in the room who are stinking it up.