On Friday the latest batch of nearly 7,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails were made public. As with with prior data dumps, conservative media feverishly combed through the documents desperately seeking some damaging material with which to put Clinton out of their misery.
Most of what they found was precisely the boring material that Clinton has been telling everyone would be there for months. There was nothing incriminating, or even controversial. The best they could come up with were emails that exposed her as inquiring about the use of smileys on her phone and having communicated with Ben Affleck. It’s not the stuff on which impeachments are based. That is, until Fox News stepped up to uncover the biggest bombshell to date that may upend her campaign for the presidency: “Hillary’s Email Subject Read ‘GUNMEN Try To ASSASSINATE Head Of Libyan Army’ But That’s NOT What She Wrote About…”
That’s right! The former Secretary of State exchanged emails with a top aide that were not related to what was written in the subject line. Assemble the firing squad!
What we have here is a situation wherein Clinton aide, Huma Abedin (whom most wingnuts are certain is a mole for the Muslim Brotherhood), sent Clinton an email with an attached article from the Associated Press about an event in Libya nearly a year before the famous Benghazi attack. So Clinton took advantage of the email to reply with something else that was on her mind without bothering changing the subject line.
Millions of Americans do this every day without being accused of treason. But to the brainiacs at Fox News this was so significant that they posted it to the very top of their Fox Nation website, where it remained most of Sunday morning. [When they eventually updated the site it was with another article about Clinton that implied she was headed for jail] After all, this is big news. And notice their use of caps that were not used on the actual email.
The absurdity of this article was evident in the graphic that the Fox Nationalists were kind enough to include. It shows the exchange between Clinton and Abedin, with the ominous parts highlighted in red.
If this is the sort of “journalism” that Fox News thinks will bring down Clinton, they are pitifully delusional. Although it is typical of their lame efforts in the past to attempt to turn completely trivial events into full-fledged scandals. Jesse Watters has proven himself to be an immature, logic-challenged, amateur in his role as editor of Fox Nation, as well as his duties as staff doofus on Bill O’Reilly’s show.
The only thing this type of story can accomplish is to set the saliva glands of the dimwitted Fox audience to flowing uncontrollably. But that isn’t a particularly difficult task. All you really have to do is show them a picture of Clinton or President Obama with a swastika and stink lines and these miscreants will guffaw and wave their Gadsden flags.
The outrage meter is once again spinning off the dial at the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. This time they are fretting over the threat to traditional American values caused by a TV commercial for Campbell’s Soup (video below).
The objection to the fearsome soup advertisement was that the people featured enjoying a hot bowl of Campbell’s goodness were a gay family with two fathers and their young son. They sat at the dinner table mimicking Darth Vader’s famous line, “I am your father,” as they fed the boy. Most people would find it a heartwarming presentation of family life in an American home.
However, the Fox Nationalists considered the ad an abomination and posted a link to a right-wing website that accused Campbell’s Soup of “Pushing [A] Gay Agenda.” Because obviously, just showing a gay family is a provocative act that will result in hapless saps being indoctrinated into a deviant lifestyle against their will. Think of all the marriages that will be dissolved after watching this ad. And what about the damage done to the wholesome reputations of both Campbell’s and Star Wars?
The comments of the Fox Nationalists are at once horrifyingly bigoted and endlessly comical. The ad, they say, makes them ill, and promotes an unnatural, anti-God culture. They pledge to never buy Campbell’s soup again, switching to Progressive (which is actually Progresso, but still too close to sounding socialist). They are convinced that the ad (which I doubt any of them have seen on TV unless they’re watching the LogoTV network on cable) will destroy the Campbell’s Soup Company because America cannot abide such tolerance for diversity, which is evident by their rejection of television programs like Modern Family (the #8 ranked show among viewers 18-49).
This isn’t the first time that such an insidious threat has been forced on the American public by dastardly marketing villains who seek to shove multiculturalism down the nation’s throat. Last year they went berserk over an allegedly controversial Cheerios commercial that featured a bi-racial family with an adorable mixed-race daughter. And they also lost their lunch when Coca-Cola produced an ad for the Superbowl that featured a variety of people from different ethnic and national backgrounds singing “America the Beautiful.” What could be uglier?
The inbred prejudices of the rightist Fox News audience are fairly predictable. They simply hate anyone that doesn’t conform to their narrow definition of a traditional, conservative, white, Christian, American. Unfortunately for them, that definition is outdated and irrelevant in the twenty-first century. And one of the best demonstrations of how detached they are from reality is the treatment this issue got by Stephen Colbert, whose commentary was devastating and includes the Campbell’s ad in full.
To begin with, it’s not particularly a revelation that Fox News is a constant and unabashed purveyor of lies and disinformation. However, ordinarily they do at least try to obscure their dishonesty in a stew of distorted details, unsupported assertions, and/or mangled misrepresentations of “facts.” But in today’s headline posting on their Fox Nation website they went further than usual to invent a disparaging allegation against Hillary Clinton.
The Fox Nationalists reposted an article from their sister tabloid, Rupert Murdoch’s vile New York Post, with the headline “Clinton’s Camp Says She ‘Could Have A Serious Meltdown.'” That’s a pretty frightening scenario that would have the political world spinning – if it were true.
Note that the headline is a declarative statement of fact as to what “Clinton’s camp says.” In fact, neither Fox News, nor the NYP, has any evidence of anyone connected to Clinton saying anything remotely similar to that scandalous quotation. What they have is the ravings of a bona fide uber-rightist lunatic with a record of equally deranged utterances. At best the headline could have referred to an allegation by a dubious source.
The dubious source, in this case, is Edward Klein. He is a Fox News regular, and WorldNetDaily columnist, whose reputation for wildly false attacks on Hillary Clinton (and other democrats and liberals) is legendary. Klein is an unrepentant birther who believes that President Obama may have been created to be a Manchurian candidate from Kenya. Klein also believes that Chelsea Clinton was conceived after Bill raped Hillary, who Klein says is a lesbian. This is a “journalist” who Fox News takes seriously?
Among Klein’s prior prognostications for Fox was a piece about how Clinton was teetering on the edge of abandoning her quest for the presidency. The headline blared: “Hillary down in the dumps: Is Clinton about to drop out of 2016 race?” The article provided a surreal transcript of a private conversation between Bill and Hillary that Klein could not possibly have witnessed. That was in June of 2014, so we have the answer to the ridiculous question about whether her withdrawal was imminent. And it must be due to that level of inaccuracy that Fox and the NYP chose to revisit Klein’s reporting for this new article wherein Klein uses anonymous sources to allege that…
“Hillary’s been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left staff members in tears and unable to work,” says a campaign aide. “She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her and she’s become shrill and, at times, even violent.”
That’s a great story line if you’re on the writing staff of Days of Our Lives, but anyone who thinks that a Clinton campaign aide is going to divulge spicy rumors to someone like Klein is suffering from acute idiocy. Klein’s M.O. has always been to simply manufacture scurrilous gossip that fits his predetermined soap opera script.
For this sort of fantasy fiction to appear on WorldNetDaily, or the New York Post, is bad enough. But Fox wants to pretend that they are a real news enterprise, and despite all of the evidence to the contrary, they continue to try to convince us that they have true aspirations for journalistic achievement. However, it is reporting like this that always rats them out as the disreputable purveyors of schlock news that they are – and always will be.
Two years ago News Corpse published a collection of articles that documented the deception, propaganda, and outright lies disseminated by the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. It was dubbed “Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Community’s Assault On Truth.” Every chapter was fully verified by reputable sources and exposed the website for its shameful dishonesty and lack of ethics. It is that sort of concerted effort by wealthy and powerful media fabulists that cripple the intelligence of the willfully dimwitted.
Volume II of the series is also available with more documented examples of Fox’s devotion to disinformation. It is titled “Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.” If you purchased Volume I, you will want to add this to your library. It is a great resource for proving to your Fox-deluded friends and family what a den of deceit it is. And if you didn’t buy Volume I you can get Volume II and leap right into the fantastical world of Fox, then go back and read the first volume for additional chuckling and wincing.
Two years ago the first volume of Fox Nation vs. Reality was published revealing an Internet operation that was dedicated to fiercely partisan, right-wing distortions of the truth. Its mission was, and remains, to construct a safe haven for the broader Fox News community to reinforce their preferred fantasies and unfounded preconceptions. The articles aggregated there were from the fringiest sources (i.e. Daily Caller, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Breitbart News, etc.) and often contained nothing but easily disproven falsehoods and rank defamation of liberals.
Since then Fox Nation has evolved into an even more sheltered environment that has taken on many characteristics of culthood. It is a pattern they adopted from their parent, Fox News, where the slogan “fair and balanced” was an implicit condemnation of all other news sources as being neither. Recognizing that the prime directive of a cult is to convince your followers that your version of reality is the only true version and that all others are agents of deception, Fox segregated their disciples to prevent them from being contaminated by impure thoughts, otherwise known as facts.
Some of the enlightening, infuriating, and entertaining chapters include:
Obama’s Imaginary Foreign Fundraising
Paranoid Gun Nuts Go Wild
Night Of The Living Tea Party
The Poor Have It Way Too Good
Was Benghazi A Koch Brothers Plot?
Zombie Reagan’s Fake Declaration Of War
Check out the reviews on Amazon to get an idea of what previous readers have had to say. On a platform that is notorious for focused criticism it has maintained a 4-star average rating. And for reference, that 4-star average was also maintained for the reviews for Volume I.
Purchasing either or both volumes of Fox Nation vs. Reality is a great way to support this website and the work done here to reveal the malignancy of conservative media. And as always, your continued support and patronage is very much appreciated.
The lunatics on the right have embraced some pretty outlandish conspiracy theories over the years. Not the least of which is that President Obama, who supports Planned Parenthood, gay rights, gun safety regulations, separation of church and state, and equality for women, is a Kenyan-born Muslim. Based on his political platform Obama would be the worst Muslim ever. But conservatives have never let reason interfere with their dementia.
Now the Doofus Brigades in the daffy rightosphere have latched unto a new bit crackpottery with which to tingle their nether regions. Two of these “news” sources were featured on Fox Nation, the community website of Fox News. According to the Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher, there is something fishy about the meathead who asked Donald Trump about the “Muslim problem” in America. Treacher notes that “Some people are speculating that the guy was a plant.” He doesn’t bother to identify any of those speculators, but he is worried that nobody knows the questioner’s name. Nobody ever knows the names of random people asking questions at rallies, but this time it’s cause to freak out.
The intrepid pseudo-journalists over at Breitbart News went even further to declare their “Exclusive” story revealing that “The man, whom some suspect to have been a liberal or Democratic plant in Trump’s audience, was featured in a meme in the spring of 2013 that was credited to aattp.org, the website of the group Americans Against The Tea Party.” Actually, that photo dates back to a Glenn Beck 9/12 Project rally in 2009 where there were lots of guys just like this. Also aattp.org features actual Teabaggers and has no incentive to promote phonies. The real ones are bad enough.
Before demonstrating the unparalleled idiocy of these cretins, let’s just point out the obvious fact that liberals don’t need to plant a moron among the Trumpsters. Most of them already believe that Obama is a Muslim who is waging a “War on Christianity.” If liberals sent trolls to Trump’s events they would just blend in with the rest of the imbeciles. Even Trump disputes that the questioner was a plant. He told the Curvy Couch Potatoes of Fox & Friends that…
“When he was asking that question, by the way, a lot of the people in the audience were nodding. They were not laughing at him or anything. They were nodding. I don’t think he was a plant.”
Indeed, they were nodding. Because they agree with the asinine premise. As does Trump. In fact, they’re proud of it. So the entire notion that liberals would have gone to the trouble to plant someone to ask a question that most of the people in the crowd would have asked without any prodding is absurd. All they had to do was watch and wait. Trump’s supporters would expose themselves on their own in due time. [Note: Due time in this instance was the very first question]
But none of that would stop Breitbrat Patrick Howley from concocting the most preposterous plot surrounding the alleged liberal plant. Howley, a disreputable hack who has confessed to unethical and unlawful tactics to smear his ideological foes, asserts that the “plant” at the Trump affair was previously spotted at a Tea Party gathering in 2013. He even posts a link to what he says is photographic evidence of the sighting.
There are just two small problems with Howley’s hysterical hypothesis. First of all, he doesn’t provide any proof that the guy in the old Tea Party photo was a plant. If he was a legitimate Teabagger back then, he couldn’t very well be a liberal plant now..
More importantly, the two men do not share even a remote resemblance. The Teabagger is significantly older with a full head of gray hair. It is unlikely that he got younger in the years since the Tea Party rally. Also, he has a narrower face and a more pronounced chin. No one could plausibly say that these two men were the same person unless they were hopelessly predisposed to seeing only what they want to see, or they were determined to deceive others. And in furtherance of that goal, Howley wrote that “We know now that the left-wing media and activists were aware of this man more than two years before last week’s Trump rally.”
No, actually, you don’t know anything of the kind. You don’t know who the Teabagger was, you don’t know who the Trump guy was, you can’t honestly pretend that they were the same person, and even if he were a plant his question represents exactly what Trump and his followers believe. So all you’ve got left is to continue to lie and invent ridiculous scenarios for which you haven’t got a scrap of proof. In other words, you can do exactly what you always do and hope your glassy-eyed disciples don’t catch on. The rest of us are familiar with your conspiracy ravings and aren’t impressed by your poor journalistic skills and complete absence of logic. So carry on.
This summer there was a flashing wingnut red alert warning that President Obama was plotting to invade Texas with federal troops to enslave the residents, confiscate their guns, and generally wreak havoc on the Lone Staters. In Realityland, Jade Helm 15 was a military training exercise to prepare soldiers for battle in desert environments and it has been conducted many times before. But that didn’t stop the conspiracy freaks (including Texas governor Greg Abbott) from waxing idiotic about the looming tyrannical threat from the Kenyan Muslim occupying the formerly White House.
This week the Pentagon announced that the Jade Helm operation was complete, and despite the deranged ranting of the right-wing Psycho-chicken Littles, not a single “patriot” was hauled off to a FEMA camp and every armed Texan continues to strut around with their surrogate phalluses, except those who offed themselves while defending their pseudo-freedom. However, the absence of this delusional diversion has left the paranoia hoarders one panicky horror story short. Lucky for them that Fox News is here to fill the void.
The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, reached out to the Daily Caller and Fox’s bitch, Tucker Carlson, for a story that contains all of the vital elements for a crackpot conspiracy theory. It begins, of course, with Chairman Obama abusing his power by issuing an executive order (which he has issued fewer of than any of his modern predecessors). But this particular order includes a hint of the sort of mind control that makes conspiracy theorists’ toes tingle. The headline blared “President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public,” and warned that…
“President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.”
Oh my. Obama is planning to turn America into a nation of guinea pigs. Now that’s the sort of brain-fried idiocy that hatched Jade Helm (and Obamaphones, and death panels, and Benghazi, etc.). There was nothing in the article to corroborate the wild claim made by these fruitcakes. They just left the charge hanging out there to strike fear into the withering hearts of their dimwitted readers. But if any of them were curious enough to seek out the actual executive order and peruse the contents themselves, they would have found this: Executive Order — Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.
“Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students.
To more fully realize the benefits of behavioral insights and deliver better results at a lower cost for the American people, the Federal Government should design its policies and programs to reflect our best understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and respond to those policies and programs. By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.
So it turns out that the order is simply an initiative to better design forms, applications, and processes so that they are easier to understand and navigate. The goals are spelled out in more detail and include “streamlining processes” and “removing administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms,” as well as to “reduce regulatory burdens.”
What a friggin’ nightmare! Someone has to stop these fiends before they make government so efficient that people come to appreciate it and welcome interactions with its agencies. That, of course, would be a real nightmare for conservatives whose mission is to make everything associated with government fail so that they can argue that it is unnecessary and then propose to cut its budget and fire everybody in Washington. Never mind whether or not it actually helps people and saves money.
Republicans are the party of deliberate failure. They know that if federal services were managed competently, Americans would get used to the benefits and the cost savings and reject the right’s agenda of shrinking government so that only the privileged would benefit. That’s why electing Republicans to run government is like hiring bank robbers as security guards. They both have an incentive to screw everything up.
It is no coincidence that these screwball conspiracies almost always originate with right-wingers. They thrive on fear and the falsehoods that produce them. Without their alternate realities they wouldn’t be able to sustain their innate anger and animus toward anyone that looks different. And media like the Daily Caller and Fox News are the fuel that ignites their hate and hallucinations, and obviously they intend to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.
It must be exhausting for the punditry and viewers of Fox News to be on a perpetually heightened state of alert in a world where they are convinced that horrors stalk them constantly. It seems that every day they awake to a new catastrophe that sends them diving under their heavily fortified beds where they store their survival gear, gold coins, and assault weapons. This inbred fear has been triggered by everything from health care to immigration to the threat of a foreign-born, Muslim socialist with a scary name invading the White House.
Now the folks at Fox’s Fox Nation website are trembling over what they are characterizing as fledgling terrorists in the form of children taken in as refugees by Germany. The Fox Nationalists proclaimed that this is actually a plot by “Islamists In Germany Trying To Recruit Young Refugees.”
Just look at them. They’re ghastly. The bone-chilling story that Fox cites as proof of this fiendish scheme is an article on Yahoo News from the Agence France-Presse wire service. The article contains reports that “Muslim radicals in Germany are trying to recruit some of the growing numbers of asylum seekers” from Syria. The wrinkle that Fox adds is a photograph of smiling children with cuddly stuffed toys arriving at the train station in Munich. Fox is plainly implying that kids like these will soon be at your local mall with pressure-cooker bombs. The photo is from the Associated Press, was not in the source article and had nothing to do with it. The article spoke only of young refugees, a common target for radical recruiting, but never mentioned children. The only conceivable purpose for inserting this photo into the Fox Nation story was to demonize innocent children as potential future terrorists.
This is all part of a larger Fox News campaign to frighten their easily spooked viewers into rejecting any proposal to bring some of the suffering Syrian refugees to the U.S. For the last week Fox has been airing segments that allege that the refugees have been infiltrated by terrorists and that allowing them into the country would result in certain death. Apparently Fox is OK, however, with refugee children dying and being washed ashore, which they will subsequently blame on Obama.
The Fox Fear Festival also featured rewritten histories of the 9/11 attacks. In an attempt to send shivers up the spines of their already quivering audience, Fox’s Neil Cavuto hosted Michael Pregent of Veterans Against the Deal (VAD), a shadowy organization that unsuccessfully tried to stop the nuclear agreement with Iran. VAD has a multi-million dollar budget whose funding sources are unknown but, not surprisingly, a member of their board, Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth, runs another astroturf vets group (Concerned Veterans for America ) that is bankrolled by the Koch brothers.
Cavuto began the segment by falsely pandering to professional 9/11 alarmists by saying that “We are helping the very folks that may have had a hand in 9/11.” Of course, there is no evidence that Iran had anything to do with 9/11. However, that is exactly the same manufactured argument that the Bush regime used to justify war with Iraq. It is all about increasing the scare quotient and aiming it at a vulnerable enemy. And to make sure the fear sticks, Cavuto made it overtly political. He asserted that the deal was a product of partisan Democrats who had orchestrated a process that Cavuto called “kinda weird.”
Cavuto: They set up this Byzantine parliamentary process by which you needed two-thirds majority and all this other stuff and cloture votes and stuff that’s way over my head, which is not hard to do.
First of all, there is nothing remotely Byzantine, or even unusual, about the parliamentary process used in this vote. Republicans needed to get a filibuster-proof majority to prevail. That’s something with which they should be familiar considering that when they were in the minority they conducted more filibusters than any session of Congress in history. Secondly, Cavuto should know that the threshold to invoke cloture to end a filibuster is only three-fifths, not two-thirds. Finally, his reference to “all this other stuff” is just nonsense. What other stuff?
Having gotten so much wrong it would be easy to believe him when he says this is way over his head, except for the fact that he is obviously lying in order to make it all sound more confusing and sinister. And his accusation of partisanship is really better suited for Republicans, After all, Democrats voted both for and against the Iran deal. It is Republicans who voted lock-step against it in a show of pure partisanship.
In the end, the message here is to fear Democrats, fear Iran, and fear little kids escaping from Syrian turmoil, oppression and death. In short, be afraid. Afraid of everything. All the time. And thank goodness there is Fox News around to make sure that you are.
The Kentucky County Clerk and anti-gay wannabe martyr, Kim Davis, is deservedly rotting in jail for violating a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her incarceration came after a Supreme Court ruling that the right to marry is constitutionally protected for gays and a federal district court finding her in contempt of court for continuing to defy the law.
Conservative advocates of Christian sharia law rallied around Davis, arguing that her religious freedom was being violated. However, there is no protection under the law for religious extremists in government offices to impose their beliefs on the people they have sworn to serve. To the contrary, as the court said, they are required to obey the law regardless of their personal preferences. These simple concepts, however, were profoundly misunderstood by Fox News who posted an article on their Fox Nation website about a separate case of religious faith in the workplace.
The circumstances of Charee Stanley’s dispute with her employer Express Jet are similar to those of Kim Davis only up to a point. Stanley took a job at Express Jet and a year or so later converted to Islam. She then told her employer that her faith forbids her from serving alcohol. It was that refusal to perform the duties required of her that led to her suspension. And this is where the two women’s cases diverge.
Davis is a public servant. She was elected to her position as County Clerk and swore to uphold the law, which includes all federal laws and the provisions of the Constitution. Upon failing to do that she was ordered by the court to comply, which she likewise refused. That refusal was unarguably in defiance of a valid court order, so she was found to be in contempt of court and taken into custody by the state marshal.
Stanley is a private citizen working for a private sector business. By asserting her religious beliefs as an excuse to decline her duties she was only violating the terms of her employment, not any law. Therefore, she could reasonably be punished by her employer, but the state has no jurisdiction to arrest or incarcerate her.
For the Fox Nationalists to suggest that there is some hypocrisy in jailing Davis but not Stanley is only evidence of the idiocy and utter absence of logic by those at Fox. There is no legal justification for jailing Stanley, but Davis is an unabashed outlaw. And in Fox’s world the innocent should be imprisoned and the guilty should go free.
[Update 9/8/2015:] The judge who jailed Davis has now ordered her released because the plaintiffs in the case have received their marriage licenses from deputies in the County Clerk’s office. The release is contingent on her not interfering with her deputies who will continue to issue licenses to all legal applicants.
Now what will the grandstanding pols (Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, etc.) who were planning on attending a protest and visiting the now-former prisoner do when they get to the Kentucky jail and Davis isn’t there? Not to worry. They are so full of bs-infused hot air that they won’t have any trouble finding something to bitch mindlessly about.
Andy Hallinan is the owner of a gun store in Florida who has had enough of the senseless violence that his products cause. Well, that is if said violence is committed by a devotee of a specific religion – in this case Islam – to which he is virulently opposed. His solution to the problem is to deny service to all Muslims.
Announcing the implementation of this flagrantly biased policy, Hallinan posted a video on YouTube (see below) that reeks of both bigotry and ignorance in painfully huge doses. Not surprisingly, Fox News promoted this revolting diatribe on their Fox Nation website. Hallinan begins by warning his fellow fear-infected viewers that…
“We’re in a battle, patriots. The leaders of the country want you to believe that this [Confederate] flag represents white supremacy, hatred, and intolerance. That’s not true.”
Hallinan then delivers an abbreviated remedial history of the flag that ignores the contemporary embrace of it by openly racist people and organizations, including the KKK and white supremacists. He entirely leaves out the fact that the flag had virtually disappeared from public display for nearly a century after the Civil War until it was removed from mothballs as the banner of southern segregationists in the 1950’s and 1960’s. [Side note: Hallinan also seems not to have noticed that, in his hasty patriotic zeal, he hung his flag upside-down (notice the stars)]
He goes on to whitewash the flag’s symbolism as representing “nothing but the rich heritage of the South and the willingness of patriots to stand up against tyranny of all sorts.” By that he must mean the rich heritage of slavery and standing up against the tyrants who fought against it under the flag of the United States of America.
After insisting that he is not a racist, Hallinan asserted that “Racism was on the decline in America until Obama took office.” Perhaps he missed the obvious subtext of his own statement, which is that the emergence of the country’s first African-American president brought out the racist cockroaches who had slithered under the floorboards as advancements in civil rights made it more difficult for them to showcase their hatred in public.
Then this “not-racist patriot” inserted video clips of civil disturbances in Baltimore to shore up his claim that he isn’t racist by presenting images of African-Americans engaged in riots following the tragic and unexplained death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Hallinan never brought up the reasons for the protests, nor did he show the vast majority of protesters who were peaceful. Clearly his intent was to leave a decidedly negative impression of the protesters. And he wasn’t through yet.
“Our leaders are telling you that the cross is a symbol of intolerance and hatred, bigotry, anti-homosexuality. Don’t believe their lies. Our leaders are telling you that Islam is a peaceful religion, full of tolerance and love and hope. Don’t believe their lies.”
I wonder which leaders he is referring to that are making those charges against the cross. He doesn’t say. But he does reveal more of his rancid prejudice with his ridiculous and contemptuous perception of Islam. Hallinan then warned his viewers that they are in “a battle with extreme political correctness that threatens our lives.” Who knew that political correctness could be a mortal foe?
This is when Hallinan got to the meat of his presentation. Saying that he “will not train and arm those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots,” he declared his store a “Muslim-Free” zone. That course of action is so patently idiotic that it is hard to know where to begin. So let’s start with the fact that he is violating the Constitution by discriminating against people on the basis of their religion. Apparently the patriotism that he espouses so freely is conditional when it comes to equal protection of the law.
What’s more, this moron doesn’t explain how he is going to determine the religion of his customers in order to discriminate against them. Maybe he only intends to discriminate against Muslims who look Middle-Eastern. But then he will likely also be denying service to brown-skinned folks who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, and even other Christians. Maybe he could use beards as an indicator. But then he would have to send away ZZ Top and the Duck Dynasty family. And of course, any European Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston marathon would escape detection entirely.
Perhaps even more absurd is the fact that Hallinan is violating the favorite Amendment in the Bill of Rights for right-wing nut cases like himself. The Second Amendment says nothing about permitting the infringement of the right to keep and bear arms from people associated with a particular religion. Although it does include a qualification for “well regulated Militias,” which they generally like to ignore. In Hallinan’s perverted view, law abiding and patriotic American Muslims have no right to protect themselves or their families with firearms. Apparently Hallinan is unaware that the most frequent target of Islamic extremists like ISIS is other Muslims. And never mind the fact that many Muslims are currently serving with distinction in the U.S. military. Many have even given their lives defending this country.
Just for the record, Hallinan doesn’t seem to have any problem with selling guns to domestic abusers, rapists, drug traffickers, car-jackers, bank robbers, serial killers, suicides, or right-wing domestic terrorists. At least he doesn’t have a policy addressing any of those. And they occur with a far greater frequency than any Muslim violence. In fact, the sort of guns that he sells are responsible for about 30,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
It is always somewhat depressing to stumble upon the sort of deranged idiocy that people like Hallinan represent. And unfortunately, there are way too many like him. They are the core audience of Fox News. They are the listeners of Glenn Beck. They are the disciples of evangelical hucksters like Pat Robertson. And they are the voters who are currently swarming around their Meathead Messiah, Donald Trump.
Hallinan closes his video screed by proclaiming definitively that Islam is evil and that our government is not to be believed. So apparently he has hostility for both in equal measures. Yet he still considers himself a patriot. The final frame of the video tells his frightened viewers to “Get armed. Get trained. Carry daily.” But of course he only means that if you are recognizably not Muslim, because Hallinan will not do business with you if you are.
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.
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]
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.