Debating The Ebola Czar: The Fox News “Power Panel” Of Dunces

The Ebola mania continues in the media as the White House announces the appointment of an Ebola response coordinator. Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to both Vice President Biden and former vice president Al Gore was chosen for his managerial skills to assume a purely administrative role. No sooner was the announcement made than Republican pundits and politicians piled on to criticize the move.

At this point, anyone who takes criticism from the right seriously has an acute deficiency of mental capability. President Obama’s opponents are so notoriously kneejerky that whatever they say has lost all meaning. Recall that they spent months during the President’s first term deriding his advisers as “czars,” comparing them to Soviet apparatchiks, and demanding that they be dismissed. Then the Ebola situation occurs and the same folks demand the immediate appointment of a czar. But after Obama agrees with them and appoints one, they grumble that he chose the wrong guy. This is further evidence that there is nothing that Obama can do that will satisfy these trolls.

While at the Fox News asylum, the inmates have taken over. The naming of Klain was belittled as a political gesture and Klain himself was said to be unqualified. But the people making these assessments were themselves lacking in any credentials on either public health, infectious diseases, or government administration. Take for example the “Power Panel” assembled on The Real Story with former Miss America turned Fox News anchor, Gretchen Carlson.

Fox News Ebola Panel

The panel called upon to grade the President’s performance consisted of Matt Schlapp, a right-wing activist and chairman of the American Conservative Union, Rick Reichmuth, a Fox News weatherman, and Philip Segal, a criminal defense lawyer. Not a single one of them had any experience with public health, infectious diseases, or government administration. Yet they were somehow qualified to pass judgment on Obama and Klain. And this was not some random group of talking heads who simply wanted to express their opinions. This was the “Power Panel.”

The panel began on a hilariously ironic note when Schlapp tried to raise the anxiety level by saying that the CDC “has shown incompetence” and that he would “move from being alarmed to being scared.” Then he laid into the czar question saying that “Now we’ve picked a czar over this who is more a political spinner than a health expert.” Remember, this is coming from a professional political spinner. The lawyer didn’t contribute much more to the discussion.

Surprisingly, Reichmuth the weatherman made the most cogent remarks, reminding the panel not to over hype the “crisis,” and that not responding to AiDS in a timely manner in the eighties led to a real tragedy. Reichmuth didn’t venture further on that subject, but we know that it was Ronald Reagan who said nothing about AIDS until after some 20,000 people had died. Contrast that with the current “outbreak” where there has been only one fatality in the U.S.

Fox News has been decidedly negative about every aspect of the administration’s response to Ebola. They opposed the czar. They opposed sending troops to West Africa. They opposed bringing infected Americans back home for treatment. The only measures they advocate are those that seal the United States off from the rest of the world in a continental haz-mat suit that prevents travel and border crossings. Never mind that actual experts dismiss those ideas as being ineffective and even counterproductive.

Shameless self-promotion…
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All of this panic over an epidemic that has never materialized has drawn attention away from the midterm elections. But the idiotic rhetoric, fear mongering, and other ill-informed blathering by the right should serve as a reminder of the real importance in voting on November 4th. If the Republicans gain more control over our government, we can expect a couple of things that would be truly disastrous. First, they would initiate impeachment proceedings for Obama over Benghazi or health care or gay marriage or something something Kenyan something Muslim something. And secondly, they would contract an exterminator to tent the entire nation and fumigate to rid it of pests whom they define as Democrats, liberals, minorities, non-Christians, and women who don’t know their place.

They are praying that you don’t vote. And when they aren’t praying they are passing legislation to make it harder for you to do so. Don’t let them succeed. There are more of us then there are of them. If we vote, we win. So vote and make sure everyone you know votes. Well, except for your lost friends and family who still listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News.

Glenn Beck’s Lunatic Ebola Conspiracy Theory: Obama Hates Dallas

Whenever two of America’s most delusional alarmists get together to fan irrational panic, you know the combination is going to produce fireworks. That’s what happened Wednesday night on the O’Reilly Factor when Bill O’Reilly (who thinks the CDC chief is a lying propagandist who should resign) hosted Glenn Beck (who is Glenn Beck).

Glenn Beck Ebolamania

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In this soon-to-be classic episode, Beck erroneously says about Ebola that “With every single person that gets it, it mutates and it changes. Danger.” That claim must have come directly from the “Pundit’s Butt Reference,” which Beck keeps conveniently on his office chair. Then he continues, making the ludicrous assertion that the recent stock decline was the result of “two people in the hospital right now with Ebola,” ignoring the actual causes: the weak economies in Asia and Europe, an anticipated “correction” following one of the longest bull markets in history, and routine profit-taking. O’Reilly never refuted any of Beck’s nonsense.

As if this wasn’t enough idiotic speculation and misinformation, Beck was just getting warmed up. He still had a thorough;y insane conspiracy theory up his sleeve that he was waiting for just the right moment reveal. And when that moment came, Beck said…

“If this were happening in Washington, D.C. right now do you think the president and his administration would be acting like this? Do you think that Congress would be acting like this? This is happening in Dallas, Texas. This is a top ten city in the United States of America. Happens to be one that doesn’t particularly care for the President all that much and his policies. One that the President has not been too favorable on. We are already being squeezed on our southern border. Now we’re being squeezed on Ebola. Is there an agenda here?”

Good question, Glenn. Obviously President Obama’s agenda centers around the fact that he hates Dallas so much that he arranged to have an Ebola-infected Liberian fly there and die. In the process, Obama’s plot somehow made sure that two of the nurses attending the patient were also infected. How Obama managed to accomplish all of this is a greater mystery than how Bigfoot shot Kennedy and escaped to the moon on the alleged “landing.”

Unfortunately for Beck, his theory falls apart when facts are brought into the conversation (which never occurred on the O’Reilly show). First and foremost, it is not true that Dallas “doesn’t particularly care for the President.” In 2012 Obama was reelected with 57% of the vote from Dallas County. That’s a larger margin than he won nationally. Obama also beat McCain in Dallas by the same amount in 2008. What’s more, the current mayor of Dallas is Mike Rawlings, a Democrat. These facts make it difficult for Beck to peddle his theory based on Obama’s alleged vendetta against the city.

Like all of Beck’s theories, this one is rooted in falsehoods mixed with deranged fantasies and never approaches any sense of plausibility. They are merely vehicles for him to spread fear and panic among his gullible disciples, which translate into dollars thrown into his collection plate by desperate waifs who believe that he will save them. And Fox News cooperatively provides him a platform to advance his apocalyptic vision to a broader, but still dimwitted, audience.

Shameless self-promotion…
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Shepard Smith Blisters His Fox News Colleagues With Calm And Sense On Ebola

Credit where credit is due. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith opened his program today with a well thought out commentary that put the facts about Ebola into perspective. It was a rare moment of realism and reason from Fox News and it was delivered with passion and a sincere intention to quell the unnecessary anxieties being stirred up elsewhere in the media. Without further ado, here are Shep’s words (and video below).

For the next few minutes I’m going to give you the facts on Ebola. It’ll take just three minutes. But first today, given what we know, you should have no concerns about Ebola at all. None. I promise. Unless a medical professional has contacted you personally, and told you of some sort of possible exposure, fear not. Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television, or read the fear provoking words online. The people who say or write hysterical things are being very irresponsible. [...]

Indeed. And that includes Fox News.
Fox News Ebola

Again, these are the facts. We do not have an outbreak of Ebola in the United States. Nowhere. We do have two health care workers who contracted the disease from a dying man. They are isolated. There is no information to suggest that the virus has spread to anyone in the general population. Not one person in the general population of the United States.

But that does not apply to Tea-Bola which is ravaging the wingnut constituency in America.
Tea-Bola

Suggestions have been made publicly that leaders and medical professionals have been lying to us. Those suggestions are completely without basis in fact. There is no evidence of any kind of which we at Fox News are aware that leaders have lied about anything regarding Ebola. I report to you with certainty this afternoon that being afraid at all is the wrong thing to do. Being petrified, and that’s a quote, is ridiculous. The panic that has tanked the stock market and left people fearful that their children will get sick at school is counterproductive and lacks basis in fact or reason.

Somebody tell Bill O’Reilly (and numerous other Fox alarmists) who says that leaders have lied and that they should resign.
Fox News Bill O'Reilly

There is no Ebola spreading in America. Should that change, our reporting will change. But there is nothing to indicate that it will. Best advise for you and your family at this moment…get a flu shot. Unlike Ebola, flu is easily transmitted. Flu, along with resulting pneumonia, killed 52,000 Americans last year alone. A flu shot will reduce your chance of getting flu. So get one.

Yet Still Fox fear mongers about an “outbreak” of two.
Fox Nation Ebola Outbreak

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This commentary is an island of rationality in a sea of animus, bluster, and rancid partisanship. It begs the question, how long does Shep have left on Fox?

OUTBREAK: Millions of Americans Exposed To Ebola-Phobia By Hysterical Media

There is a debilitating pandemic that is rapidly spreading across the nation and infecting millions of Americans. What’s more, it is airborne and spread indiscriminately by irresponsible entities that are licensed by the government.

It isn’t Ebola. It is Ebola-Phobia – the irrational fear that an extremely difficult to acquire viral fever is threatening every man, woman, and child in America. The transmission vehicle for Ebola-Phobia is a common carrier known as television news. And a new survey has revealed that the more one is exposed to an infected news source, the more likely the virus will spread, and the more serious the consequences for those infected. As reported on NJ.com

“Those who claim to be following the outbreak the most closely also have the most inaccurate information about it.

“For example, people who are paying a lot of attention to Ebola are twice as likely to hold the erroneous belief there is effective medicine to treat it. They are also more likely to believe it is spread easily, even though the deadly fever is less contagious than the flu.”

This is a shocking development. How can it be possible that accumulating more information about a news event results in being less informed about it? That is the exact reverse of what ought to be the case for conscientious news consumers.

The problem rests primarily in the fact that the news producers are not particularly conscientious. They are deliberately stirring up panic and contributing to a wholly irrational hysteria. For instance, take a look at this headline from the Fox News community website, Fox Nation:

Fox Nation Ebola Outbreak

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Outbreak? Is that an appropriate characterization of a viral infestation that has grown to engulf fewer people than can fit into a Mini-Cooper? It is if your purpose is to frighten rather than inform. Fox News and other media outlets may be more interested in curing their ratings deficiencies than in delivering factual data.

In addition to the survey from New Jersey, a national poll by the Harvard School of Public Health was recently concluded that shed some light on the adoption of misinformation by the American people.

“The HSPH/SSRS poll found people with less education are more likely to be concerned about an outbreak in the U.S. (less than high school 50% vs. some college 36% vs. college grad or more 24%). People with less education are also more concerned they or their family will get sick with Ebola (less than high school 37% vs. some college 22% vs. college grad or more 14%).”

There is a disturbing inference from the combination of these two studies. It tells us that people with less education who watch more news are the most likely to have incorrect impressions of the facts. It has already been established that Fox News ranks near the bottom of all news sources for education level of its audience, and it is the most watched cable news network. That sets the stage for a massive epidemic of ignorant panic over Ebola (or ISIL, or Benghazi, or ObamaCare, or the IRS, or gay marriage, etc.). And the proof of this rests in surveys that confirm that the more one watches Fox News, the more misinformed one is.

The fact that Fox News would portray the discovery of a second Ebola patient from the same Texas facility that produced the first one as an “outbreak,” shows how deliberately dishonest they are. Next they will probably report that the infection rate has increased by 100%. And while that’s technically correct, it obviously doesn’t advance the understanding of what is occurring. And that is what Fox intends to do with so much of their reporting – impede the advance of understanding.

[Addendum] Shortly after this was published, Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith delivered a rare and inspiring commentary that put Ebola into realistic perspective. It’s a must read/watch.

Bill O’Reilly’s Ebola Ultimatum: CDC Chief Must Appear On My Show Or Resign

The 800 pounds of gorilla ego that is better known as Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, is bitterly dismayed by the refusal of Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to accept his invitation to be abused for eight minutes on The Factor.

Fox News Bill O'Reilly

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O’Reilly believes that since he is the only living entity with the superpowers necessary to unravel the heinous plots that public health officials are devising to wipe out western civilization, submission to his brand of ignorant battering is mandatory for continued service. That’s why O’Reilly devoted his program’s opening Talking Points segment to lecturing the absent Dr. Frieden and calling for his resignation.

“We have asked Dr. Frieden a number of times to appear on the Factor. He will not because he is afraid. He knows that I know he’s not being candid, that he is spinning the situation and not being forthcoming about how the disease is being spread. Frieden should resign.”

Notice that O’Reilly never explains what Dr. Frieden is not being candid about or how Ebola, in his warped imagination, is actually being spread. And without any factual basis he called Dr. Frieden the government’s chief propagandist. This is typical O’Reilly intimidation tactics. He routinely accuses anyone who declines to be browbeaten on his program of being afraid of him. Of course, there are many good reasons to refuse his invitation, not the least of which is that he is an ignorant and hostile host with an inability to grasp any logic that conflicts with his pre-chewed biases. That’s the only thing scary about O’Reilly.

So now O’Reilly is terribly concerned that some horrible secret is being kept from the American people. He seems to think that Ebola is spreading by some undisclosed method that will ultimately put everyone at risk of certain death. He asserts that a second case of Ebola (count ‘em, two) in Dallas is proof of a budding pandemic that threatens to engulf the nation, and that “Americans are rightly concerned that their government will not protect them.”

The segment’s headline, “Why The Government Is Not Protecting Us,” paved the way for O’Reilly to float a bunch of loony conspiracy theories alleging that we are not being protected, but he failed to answer his own question as to why. Is it because Obama wants to punish America for slavery as Rush Limbaugh says? Is it so he can declare martial law, throw people into FEMA concentration camps, and cancel the 2016 elections, as Ben Carson asserted? Or is he simply evil and wants to see people suffer as he fulfills his mission as the Anti-Christ?

O’Reilly never bothers to say why Obama would deliberately neglect his duty to protect the nation, even though that was the premise of the whole segment. However, he does make a bold prediction saying that…

“Talking Points is just asking for common sense, which the Obama administration is rejecting outright. But I will predict tonight, they will soon reverse course.”

Specifically, O’Reilly was referring to whether or not there should be a travel ban on Ebola-infected countries, which he neglects to realize includes the U.S. (The faulty reasoning for a travel ban was covered after “doctor” Keith Ablow, another Fox News crackpot, suggested it). But a quick recap of O’Reilly’s track record with predictions exposes a pitiful success ratio. For instance, he predicted that his program would have higher ratings than President Obama’s State of the Union address. He was wrong. But my favorite flub was when he insisted that the Supreme Court would strike down ObamaCare and that he would replay his prediction and admit he is an idiot if they didn’t. Of course the Court did not strike down the law, but O’Reilly never apologized or admitted his error or his obvious idiocy.

If refusing to appear on the O’Reilly Factor is justification for forcing someone to resign from their job, then 75% of the government should be dusting off their resignation notices. Fortunately, the reverse is a better gauge of an effective public servant. That is, anyone who is smart enough to turn O’Reilly down is automatically regarded as being better suited to public service as evidenced by their good judgment to snub him.

Shameless self-promotion…
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New Study Explains Why Fox News Is Obsessed With Sex And Porn

Media observers have not missed the preponderance of titillating and sexually suggestive content that permeates so much of the Fox News broadcast day. The on-air personalities who are young, blonde women far outnumber their ratio of the population at large. Ironically Fox has a program called “Outnumbered” that features four young female co-hosts. And no cable “news” network has done more segments than Fox on Hooters and spring break and hot teachers who seduce the boys in their classrooms.

megyn-kelly-gq2
Fox’s women exclusively wear short skirts and it has been reported that they have been ordered by management to do so. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Sean Hannity struts across the stage in those fuck-me pumps.

A new study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior sheds some light on why Fox features so much skin. The study found that “American states that identify as more religious and conservative are also more apt to search for sex online.” The researchers concluded that in parts of the country where sexuality is suppressed by religious tradition, there is a pent up demand for that forbidden fruit.

While the study is an interesting window into the lascivious psyche of conservative America, it also helps to explain the decisions by Fox News programmers. As a network devoted to a staunchly right-wing, Christian audience, much of their viewership comes from the states that this study identifies as porn fiends. Consequently, Fox is catering to the demands of their audience. No doubt Fox’s marketing executives figured out a long time ago what this study is affirming more scientifically.

Additionally, at 69 years, Fox’s viewers er … voyeurs skew much older than their competitors. So what we have here is an audience of bible-thumping, Tea Partying, leches who are cooped up in rural communities that look askance at prurient interests. Thus, Fox becomes their source of gratification for both erotic and political arousal. And make no mistake, the obsessive nature of Fox’s concentration on tabloid thrill-fiction like Benghazi and Obama’s birth certificate is the news equivalent of porn. It is presented with a lustful glee and repeated ad nauseam.

The jackpot for Fox, and their audience, comes when Fox can manage to combine porn and politics. An example of that occurred this morning in a segment on Fox & Friends that reported on a man who was acquitted for taking “upskirt” photographs. This gave the program an excuse to show sexy pictures and talk about the decadence of liberalism. One guest even provided justification for the lascivious proclivities of Fox’s viewers by blaming the victims in the case, saying that “These women made a conscious choice [...] to wear certain clothes that day, and some of their body parts were the public domain.” That is, in effect, a legal argument for Peeping Toms.

Fox News Upskirting

The conservative states that revel in pornography do so in contravention of their Puritan reputation. But the correlation to their politics makes perfect sense. In both cases they are fixated on fantasies from which they derive extreme pleasure. And Fox News is their Orgasm Channel in more ways than one.

Shameless self-promotion…
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Ebolophobia: Fox News “Psycho” Analyst Infects America With Irrational Fear

Be afraid America. President Obama’s “reticence to put America first” is making it impossible to contain the “psychological virus” of fear that is spreading across the nation due to an outbreak of the Ebola virus that has already claimed as many as one life within our borders. That’s the warning issued by Fox News “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow, who is calling the epidemic of fear “Ebolophobia.”

Keith Ablow

Ablow is best known for his astute diagnoses of prior public health threats like the Obama Virus, which Ablow alleged would result in America’s children succumbing to “the subtle, chronic, steady erosion of their belief in themselves.” He prescribed the following preventative measure:

“So it is time to immunize our sons and daughters against the president’s psychologically toxic rhetoric, which has the capacity to destroy the self-esteem of a generation of young people.”

In response to the potential of unnecessary Ebola-related anxiety, Ablow suggests taking steps that only appear to be absurdly paranoid to those who aren’t gifted with his unique strain of dementia. He notes that “fears of a deadly epidemic in the United States are bound to accelerate,” even as he warns about “worries that dogs and other animals could transmit Ebola.” Now that may seem like a peculiar way of mitigating unwarranted fear, but then you would have to be a pseudo-professional like Ablow to understand its efficacy.

Ablow’s first proposal for treating Ebolophobia is to implement a travel ban on countries that currently have a problem with the virus. Never mind that public health experts agree that this would be counterproductive and could even exacerbate the problem by prohibiting the flow of medical personnel and materials to areas that need it most. And it would be unlikely to prevent infected persons from entering the country because anyone originating travel from, say Liberia, could easily fly to Rome and continue on to the U.S. from there. What’s more, the U.S. is now an Ebola-infected country. Does that mean that Ablow would advocate an international ban on travel by Americans?

As an indication of just how serious the threat of Ebola paired with the Obama Virus is, Ablow offers his diagnosis of the President’s mental state, which Ablow surmised via the classic “Puhlit Outta Myass” protocols that enable alleged doctors to arrive at conclusions about a subject despite never having examined, or even met them. Ablow says that…

“I think [Obama] sees himself as a citizen of the world and sees Americans as having infected others with our deadly economic policies for a long time, thereby inflicting untold suffering on developing nations. To now lead the way to America insulating itself from a scourge sweeping the very countries he seems to think we have preyed upon could, of course, strike him (if only unconsciously) as profoundly unfair.

I believe the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations.”

In other words, Ablow thinks that the uncaring socialist Obama is willing to infect every American with a deadly disease because of his hatred for the virus of Capitalism. Ablow literally believes that the President’s anti-Americanism is leading him to deliberately launch a pandemic. Furthermore, Ablow advises that the correct response should be “a medical-military one that replicates fighting a war.” Because who isn’t for more wars? Here is the rest of his prescription:

  • “The borders should be sealed to travelers who have visited nations affected by Ebola in the last 30 days.”
    Of course, that would include travelers who have visited the United States.
  • “The surgeon general and a special assistant surgeon general for Ebola defense should be dispensing daily information about public health initiatives and medical research initiatives being undertaken to contain and combat the illness.”
    He may want to talk to the Republicans who have blocked the appointment of Obama’s Surgeon General nominee for eleven months due to their fear of the NRA.
  • “A special national fundraising drive should be launched to pour money into virology labs to jumpstart research into an Ebola cure and a vaccine.”
    Because it certainly isn’t the government’s job to protect the welfare of the nation. That would just be more socialism. So let’s make financially strapped citizens fork over more cash or die.

Ablow closes by conflating the Ebola issue with the fight against terrorism in the Middle East. He blasts Obama as “a president who seems to see America as having no particular manifest destiny” which Ablow says “may be seen in the spread of ISIS abroad.” See? They’re exactly the same thing. Maybe Ablow would support a special national fundraising drive to eradicate ISIS. After that we could implement a travel ban on anyone who has been exposed to ObamaCare. And why not direct our public health institutions to develop a cure for Benghazi?

Ablow is right about one thing. There is an epidemic of irrational fear. And its source is the miscreants and misinformers that populate the Fox News Channel. They spend the bulk of their days deliberately frightening their dimwitted viewers with fabricated nonsense and unfiltered hostility toward fellow Americans who happen to have different opinions. Ablow is just another cog in the Fear Factory of Fox News, whose transparent intention is to spread distrust and division. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent infection by this virus of hate and ignorance. Turn off Fox News. Now, if only we could quarantine those already infected.

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…
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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.

Fear Factor: Fox News Fabricating Terror, Pure And Simple

Taking a break from their special programming highlighting the fake pandemic of Ebola, Fox News returned to their fake fear mongering over rampant domestic terrorism. This morning on Forbes On Fox, the panel took a demented view of the Oklahoma murder case wherein a disgruntled former employee decapitated a former coworker. The theme of the segment was whether this crime was workplace violence or terrorism. However, that question was quickly dismissed in favor a blatant position that was summarized by the program’s namesake:

Steve Forbes: This was a terrorist act, pure and simple.

Fox News

Having set the stage for a mostly one-sided discussion, the host, David Asman, dutifully agreed that all signs pointed to terrorism, ignoring the actual known facts.

Asman: It’s tough enough even to get them to say the word terrorism. To head off a threat though, you’ve got to be willing to acknowledge it first. That’s part of what led to the growth of ISIS, isn’t it?

Exactly. There would have been no ISIS at all if only people had said the word “terrorism” more often. Or maybe they just needed to clap louder so that Tinkerbell would have survived to kick the terrorists’ butts.

The only problem with these alarmist rants is that they are not in alignment with reality. First of all, Terrorists generally target victims either randomly or at a specific enemy, but these victims were the perpetrator’s former coworkers whom he knew personally and against whom he had grudges.

Secondly, terrorists strive to create as much damage, and thus fear, as possible in order to send a message. They seek out highly populated targets where they can harm the most number of people. But this crime scene was sparsely populated, remote, and chosen only for its connection to the perpetrator.

Thirdly, terrorists generally plan their missions in advance to have the greatest impact. This crime was spontaneous, occurring on the same day that the perp was fired, and directed at those he felt were responsible for his firing. He even used a weapon that was available at the scene, rather than acquiring or building something more broadly destructive.

So contrary to the ranting by Fox News, and other panicky fear merchants, all signs actually point to workplace violence. Is it possible that the murderer was also influenced to decapitate his victim by his exposure to radical jihadists? Might he have wanted to falsely project that as his motivation? Sure, but that would only be a secondary component of the crime. From all of the actual evidence, the motivation was personal and the perp acted spontaneously out of rage resulting from his being fired. Had he been an actual terrorist he would not have timed his crime to coincide with his termination. He would not have confined his victims to those he knew and from whom he sought revenge.

The purpose of Fox News passing judgment on this as “a terrorist act, pure and simple” is that it fits squarely into their mission to raise the boiling point of hate and fear regardless of the facts. Fox needs people to be frantic and disoriented in order to effectively brainwash them with their phony horror stories. That makes it much easier to blame liberals for all of the world’s ills and argue that only the courageous billionaires, corporations, and defense contractors have our best interests at heart.

If you buy into this you are a member of the Psycho-Chicken Little Society, and have willingly abandoned your common sense. Reality tells you that the doomsday scenarios that right-wingers preach are fiction. There is no epidemic of terrorism in America. There will always be crime, and there will likely be other attempted terrorist attacks, but to dawn combat helmets and take up defensive postures in backyard bunkers is the behavior of crackpots. With serious issues to face in this country, this is no time to let the nut cases rule our future.

Ebola Terror Threat? The Best Fox News Horror Story Since Boob Bombs

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is a truly disturbing situation that is tragically taking the lives of hundreds of people. But as painful as that is, the compulsion to turn it into a geopolitical hazard is unfounded and irrational.

Fox News Ebola

Nevertheless, Fox News is among the many media outlets who are attempting to unduly frighten the American people by speculating that terrorists are going to embrace Ebola as a mechanism for their homicidal escapades. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of biology is aware that Ebola would be an awful candidate for weaponized bioterror. It is difficult to work with without infecting oneself, and it isn’t even an effective agent because of how hard it is to spread. Every good terrorist knows that anthrax, ricin, or sarin, among others, would be far more effective. Even the conventional flu virus, which already kills about 36,000 American each year, would be a better choice.

What is abundantly clear is that the right-wing media is obsessed with turning every scary news story into a prospective terror plot. Children cross the southern border into Texas and suddenly terrorists are disguising themselves as twelve year old immigrants. A women is decapitated by a disgruntled former co-worker and now beheadings can be expected across the nation. A single man is found to have placed a bomb in his shoe in a failed attempt at bringing down a jetliner and now millions of people have to remove their shoes to board a plane.

Perhaps the most ludicrous nightmare fantasy came from Fox News when they published an article sourced to the ultra-fringe WorldNetDaily that announced that British spies were “Hunting Breast Implants of Death.” That’s right, folks. Boob Bombs have arrived to terrorize our helpless mammary-fixated nation. And while that was over four years ago, there has still not been a breast-related attack, unless you count a few angry Hooters waitresses.

To date, the number of deaths attributable to Ebola in the United States is zero. Contrast that with the 8,000+ homicides committed by guns. There is a good argument to be made that the NRA is a bigger threat to America than Ebola. In fact, the U.S. currently has no Surgeon General (a figure who could be instrumental in educating the nation during this alleged crisis) because the NRA has conservative members of Congress scared of confirming the nominee that President Obama put forward, specifically because of his views that firearms play a role in public health. That view is affirmed, of course, by the statistic cited above.

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And if you’re not already sufficiently afraid of infectious terrorists from Mexico with exploding breasts hiding in every shadow, then think about this: Jihad Monkeys: A ridiculous story about the Taliban training monkeys to do battle with American soldiers. The story, sourced to the People’s Daily in China, was published by at least two Murdoch properties, Fox Nation and the New York Post. No, really. Here’s “proof.”

Fox News: A Fanged Threat To Freedom Of The American People

President Obama delivered a speech this afternoon on the state of the economy. Coming just a month before the critical midterm election, it was a significant opportunity to communicate the facts that Americans need to know prior to voting. So of course, Fox News was the only cable news network to fail to broadcast any of the address live.

Fox News

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The blatant editorial bias of Fox News validates a small portion of Obama’s speech wherein he mentioned the network that would refuse to air his remarks. He said…

“There’s a reason fewer Republicans, you hear ‘em running around about ObamaCare. Because while good, affordable health care might seem like a fanged threat to freedom of the American people on Fox News, it turns out it’s working pretty well in the real world.”

Exactly. And that’s why Fox decided that they must not alert their sheltered and frightened viewers to the reality of a nation that has come a long way since the Bush administration put it on a path to economic collapse. While there is still some ways to go, anyone with a clear perspective recognizes that we a have made astonishing progress in the past six years.

Polls, however, do not reflect the positive results we’ve seen. Perhaps people need to be reminded of the days when the stock market lost half its value, dropping thousands of points and bankrupting iconic institutions like Merril Lynch, AIG, and Bear Stearns, The auto industry was on the brink of total failure and had to be bailed out with federal funds. The country was losing 800,000 jobs a month, and more Americans than ever were losing their homes to foreclosure. Plus, we were still mired in two costly wars that were off the books and not reflected in our deficit.

This year the stock market continues to reach new all-time highs. Corporate profits are breaking all previous records. The unemployment rate has declined from a high of 10% to 6.1%, while jobs are being created at more than 200,000 per month. The auto industry is back in the black, as is home construction and retail sales and services. The annual deficit has been cut by more than half. And with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), health care costs are rising at record low rates, while Americans are getting coverage in greater numbers than ever. With stats like those how can anyone plausibly say that we are not better off now than in 2008?

We could be doing more, but for the obstructionism on the part of Republicans who fear that any more good news will harm their ability to fool Americans into voting for them. We should be raising the minimum wage to put more buying power into the hands of working people. We should be embarking on an infrastructure rehabilitation that will not only create jobs, but enhance the economy by improving transportation and safety. And we could pay for that with a modest increase in the top tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations who are enjoying some of the best economic times of their lives.

The President’s speech is well worth reading as it lays the foundation for the road ahead. It also puts into perspective the path we’ve just traveled and the hardships we’ve endured and prevailed over. You didn’t see this speech on Fox News because it conflicts with their mission to disparage Obama at every opportunity and smear him and his policies with lies. And the last thing Fox wants before an election is for voters to get a realistic view of the state of the nation. Because if the American people were better informed there would be very few Republicans celebrating on November 5th.

Fox News Gets No Emmys For News (Again). Maybe Reporting Some News Would Help

Today much of the electronic journalism world will be talking about the television ratings for the just-concluded third quarter of 2014. As expected, Fox News topped the cable news category, as it has for several years. Also, as expected, Fox will hype the crap out of this non-newsworthy information that is only an affirmation of Fox’s ability to herd all of the conservative viewers/cattle into their cable corral.

To put this news in perspective, earlier this year Fox News posted their worst ratings in thirteen years. So their achievement spotlighted in this report is that they are now slightly higher than their worst showing in thirteen years. They must be so proud.

Go Fox Yourself

However, there was another less noticed announcement today that has far more significance. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences released the recipients of the Emmys for news and documentaries. And the winners were: PBS with eleven Emmys; CBS News won ten; ABC News won three; NBC News and the BBC each got two; and CNN and Al Jazeera America both received one Emmy.

Conspicuously missing from that list was Fox “News.” Or perhaps the real surprise would be if they had actually won an Emmy. Fox has been stiffed by the Academy since their launch in 1996. That is largely due to the fact that Fox doesn’t broadcast any news. They are strictly an entertainment network that is filled with fiction, drama, scandal, soap opera, soft-porn, and a prodigious amount of unintentional comedy. What’s more, their entertainment projects are slanted heavily in favor of the Republican right for whom Fox serves as a PR agency. For instance, see if you can find a pattern in these special “Fox News Reporting” investigations:

  • Benghazi: The Truth Behind the Smokescreen.
  • Benghazi: White House Cover-Up Revealed?
  • 13 Hours In Benghazi.
  • Charles Krauthammer: A Life That Matters.
  • The Great Food Stamp Binge.
  • Behind the Obama Breakdown.
  • Surrendering America.
  • Behind Obama’s Green Agenda.
  • Live Free Or Die: Obamacare In New Hampshire.

Those are just a few of the blatant attack pieces produced by Fox to smear the Obama administration. They were laden with rumor, innuendo, unsubstantiated allegations, and outright lies, that never resulted in any noteworthy revelation. Like all of Fox’s scandal mongering, they went nowhere because there were no facts to support their made-up premises. Is it any wonder why Fox can’t snag an Emmy?

A few years ago, in an impudent rant, Fox publicly stated that they were refusing to compete in the Emmy contest, accusing the Academy of being biased against them. However, in order to take that complaint seriously, you would have to believe that all of their peers in the business were biased, because it is they who vote. The Academy merely tabulates the votes. So Fox is admitting that their own colleagues have no respect for them as journalists. Hence, they took their deflated ball and went running home whining “We don’t want your crummy Emmy anyway.” So there.

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American Spectator’s Hit Job On Veterans (And Suck Up To Fox News)

The fallout from an offensive “joke” told by Fox News host Eric Bolling has quite properly reverberated throughout the media. Bolling callously insulted jet fighter pilot, Major Maryam Al-Mansouri of the UAE Air Force, as “boobs on the ground,” even as she was putting her life at risk in combat against the ISIL terrorists. Bolling’s colleague Greg Gutfeld joined in the misogyny with a childish taunt that she wouldn’t be able to park her aircraft.

It was encouraging to see the widespread condemnation of these remarks, including from many on the right. One of the responses came from a coalition of veterans who wrote an “Open Letter to Fox News” to express their outrage and disappointment. The letter signed by sixty veterans and called on Fox News to apologize.

However, the ultra-rightist magazine American Spectator couldn’t join the responsible members of our society in recognizing the harm of the Fox News hosts’ infantile remarks. They published an article that maligned the veterans as “partisan hacks” and dismissed their justifiable rage as deceptive and self-righteous. The article, by former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord, was titled “The Hit Job On Fox News,” as if the veterans concern for the welfare of soldiers in the field were nothing but a slam on a notoriously biased cable news channel.

American Spectator

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The gist of the Lord’s argument was centered on the identity of the vets who signed the letter. Lord complained that the vets were only identified by their name and the branch of service they were in. To Lord this was an opening to attack the vets as politically motivated. So he did a little research and found that some of them could be affiliated with Democratic organizations or officeholders. Oh my freakin’ Gawd, somebody call 911.

The first problem with Lord’s idiotic gripe is that it disparages the views of veterans if they have a political ideology that is different than his own. He is, in effect, dishonoring vets by dismissing them unless they agree with him. If some of those who signed the letter are in fact affiliated with Democrats that is their right. They fought for it and they are entitled to express themselves.

On a more fundamental level, Lord’s painfully trite analysis comes up far short of the conclusions he makes. There are sixty veteran signatories on the letter, but Lord only provided additional information on sixteen of them. That means that 70% of the signatories were not connected to Democrats and Lord has no idea if they are Democrats or Republicans. Nevertheless, he maligned the whole lot as partisan hacks who should be ignored. That is extraordinarily flawed logic and further indicts him as generally anti-veteran.

Lord exacerbates his anti-vet stance by actually defending against what he calls “an attack on Fox News and two of the co-hosts on the Fox show The Five — Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld.” Apparently Lord doesn’t believe the Fox hosts warranted the criticism they received. He goes out of his way to distract from the original offensive comments and bizarrely twist the narrative around to a conspiracy against Fox and an attack on women’s advocates. Lord says that…

“…this isn’t really about Eric Bolling or Greg Gutfeld. What this is really all about is a hardcore and on-going political effort to smear Fox News. This time as part of that ‘war on women’ business liberals need to survive politically.”

In other words, Lord wants us to forget about Bolling’s insult to soldiers and women, and turn our attention to the poor, beleaguered, defenseless, Fox News. That is, if nothing else, a creative take on the matter. But it doesn’t succeed unless the whole of the audience is as dimwitted as that of Fox itself.

The bottom line is that Lord’s position is even more insulting than Bolling’s because it encompasses all veterans, not just a single pilot, and denies them the respect they have earned. And all that Lord has done is to confirm the phoniness of the right’s alleged patriotism and support of the troops. Conservatives only adhere to those principles when it benefits them, or they can use it to bash liberals.

Ben Carson Reveals Himself To Be A Delusional Conspiracy Theorist On Fox News Sunday

This weekend Fox News Sunday interviewed the Tea Party flavor of the week, Dr. Ben Carson. The interview (video below) was notable for some of the uncharacteristically clear-headed questions from host Chris Wallace that exposed Carson as the extremist nut case that he is.

Ben Carson

Wallace introduced the segment by noting that Carson has made some controversial remarks for which he will be held to account. That is an understatement, to say the least. Comparing ObamaCare to slavery, and America to Nazi Germany are not your conventional campaign slogans. Wallace even told Carson point blank that “I think you would agree that, at best, your a distinct long shot.” But the statement that Wallace singled out was when Carson warned that, somehow, the 2016 election would be canceled. It was a profoundly stupid notion without any rational foundation, which Wallace seemed to recognize when he asked his question.

Wallace: You said recently that you thought that there might not actually be elections in 2016 because of wide spread anarchy. Do really believe that?

Carson: Well, I hope that that’s not going to be the case, but certainly there is the potential because you have to recognize that we have a rapidly increasing national debt, a very unstable financial foundation, and you have all these things going on like the ISIS crisis, that could very rapidly change things that are going on in our nation. And unless we begin to deal with these things in a comprehensive way, and in a logical way, there is no telling what could happen in just the matter of a couple of years.

Huh? There is a potential that democracy will be dispensed with because of the national debt and ISIS? What in holy hell is he talking about? The United States and its democratic system has endured for over 200 years, through economic catastrophes, civil and world wars, Nixonian corruption, and assassinations. Yet Carson thinks that it may all soon be over because of our present economy (with it’s soaring stock market, record profits, and low unemployment), and a band of desert rats 8,000 miles away?

It is stunning that anyone would take this man seriously as a candidate for president. But the party that has previously placed at the top of their presidential wish list people like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, and Sarah Palin, is just the party to hoist Carson’s flag. He recently placed a close second (after fellow Tea-publican Ted Cruz) in a straw poll by attendees of the right-wing, evangelical Values Voters conference.

For a party that vehemently castigated President Obama as lacking the necessary experience to be president when he launched his campaign, the Republicans have an intense infatuation for candidates with even less experience. Wallace also addressed this hypocrisy in the interview with a cleverly worded question.

Wallace: After looking at Barack Obama and what’s happened with his lack of political experience in the last six years, wouldn’t putting Ben Carson in the Oval Office be akin to putting a politician in an operating room and having him perform one of your brain surgeries?

Carson: I don’t think so. What is required for leadership is wisdom.

Indeed. And the wisdom demonstrated by a political neophyte who thinks that there may not be an election in 2016, but if there is it will be dominated by voters who “have been beaten into submission,” is exactly what the “doctor” ordered, if that doctor is Dr. Strangelove.

Even the Wall Street Journal noticed that the bizarre rantings of Carson were trouble for the GOP. Columnist Peter Wehner, who served in the past three Republican administrations, wrote that “This is the kind of rhetorical recklessness that convinces many Americans that Republican leaders are extreme, irresponsible, and fundamentally unserious.” [...and that...] “Dr. Carson’s comments are evidence of a political mind that is not simply undisciplined but also fanatical.” [...and that...] “Any political party or movement that is associated with such utterances will pay a price.”

Carson recently declared that the “likelihood is strong” that he will run for president, despite his having none of the requisite knowledge or skills for the job. His putative candidacy rests entirely on his support from Tea Party zealots and Fox News who, in breach of every code of journalistic ethics, continues to employ him as a commentator despite his admitted status as a candidate.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: Zombie Reagan’s Fake Declaration Of War

When you are relentlessly bombarded with exaggerated, alarmist calls to fear every shadow in your path, grasping onto anything that provides even temporary comfort becomes a necessity to retain some semblance of sanity. That’s the position many gullible adherents to the fear-mongering war-hawkery of the right find themselves in. They are so inundated with panicky howling that America, and the world, are succumbing to certain and imminent doom that they need to suck on psychological pacifiers to keep from having mental breakdowns.

Fox Nation

Thus, an enterprising yarn spinner at a conservative blog composed a fairy tale that perfectly fits the bill for these unstable Tea Party types. And it was promptly posted on Fox Nation, the community website for Fox News. The tale comes in the form of an imaginary speech by their long dead savior, Ronald Reagan. But how this can assuage the anxiety of these worrywarts is a mystery considering how absurdly constructed it is.

It begins by asking “How different would our response as a nation be if the Commander-in-Chief were Ronald Reagan?” The answer to that, however, cannot be reliable surmised since the only military conflict that Reagan oversaw was the invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. That was not exactly a proud victory for the armed forces of the world’s biggest superpower.

The fantasy speech lays out the justification for unbridled fright by saying that “Today we face a threat the likes of which we have not seen since the darkest days of World War II and the Cold War.” This specious claim mirrors that of today’s Republican scaredy-cats like Sen. Lindsey Graham who believe with all their hearts that the desert rats in Syria are coming to our shores to slaughter us all. Never mind the reality that there are only about 30,000 ISIL fighters, which is far less than the Axis forces of World War II that numbered in the millions. They can hardly be capable of doing the sort of damage that Hitler and his comrades did. The important thing for the fear trade is to convince the peasants that every enemy is the worst the world has ever seen.

Continuing on that theme, Zombie Reagan says that “We never faced members of the SS or the KGB prepared to be suicide bombers. Today we do.” I suppose we can forgive the Gipper for having a bad memory since he is, you know, dead. But the Japanese famously deployed Kamikaze pilots who were into suicide missions long before Al Qaeda thought it was cool. What’s more, many wartime tactics involve plans that the soldiers know they are not likely to return from. Just because they are not officially designated as suicide missions doesn’t mean that the soldiers aren’t aware of the expected outcome. Yet they follow their orders despite that knowledge.

Of course, for this declaration to be plausibly Reaganesque, it has to contain some of the movie hero bravado that was such a big part of his public imaging. He had to reflect the egocentrism that is the hallmark of the American Exceptionalist crowd. Only the U.S. of A. can send the message that will send our foes into shivering spasms of dread. Ergo…

“Our Muslim and Arab allies must be the frontline in this conflict, but without America’s fighting with them, this war will not be won. Not simply because our forces are so superior, but because if we are not prepared to send our people in harms way to fight the barbarians that wish to destroy our civilization, then we send a very simple message to the Enemy and to the world: our civilization is not worth saving.”

Zombie Reagan closes by articulating a theory that sounds very much like the Obama Doctrine. And if any of the Reaganites ever catch wind of that they will immediately flip-flop and refute it. But it is unmistakably reminiscent of the tactics favored by the current administration.

“Our enemy is not ISIS, the Islamic State, or even Al Qaeda; it is the ideology that drives all such barbaric groups. [...] But we must learn the lessons of the past. When fighting totalitarians, it is never enough to defeat them militarily. One must defeat their ideology.”

Not very Reagany, is it? Fox News has been working overtime to convince the nation that there is only one solution to the ISIL problem. It was prosaically proffered by their military analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (whose name translates to “vomiting dicks” in Slanglish), who said the measure of success is “acres and acres of dead terrorists.” Now, after advancing that plan, Zombie Reagan comes along to adopt Obama’s method of draining terrorism of its appeal and recruiting capability.

The ultimate folly with resurrecting Reagan to rally the wingnut troops is that it can’t help but remind people that his leadership was rampant with failure. How different would our response be if Reagan were running things? Well (as Reagan would say), he cut and run after 200 Marines were murdered in their barracks by a suicide bomber in Lebanon. He sold weapons to our enemies in Iran in violation of international law. He used the proceeds of those sales to finance death squads in Nicaragua in violation of federal law. He failed to respond after an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the USS Stark, killing thirty-seven Navy personnel. He neglected the suffering of blacks in South Africa, called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, and opposed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, which was passed by Congress over his veto. Obviously, Reagan’s legacy is not one of vanquishing dangerous foes. But he wasn’t bad at asking, in stern tones, for walls to be torn down. Even that milestone didn’t occur until the administration of his successor, George H.W. Bush.

All in all, it’s a good thing that Reagan isn’t running things today. If Republicans want to pretend that he would have produced better results than we are seeing now, they are welcome to indulge their fantasies. That’s mostly what they do anyway by watching Fox News all day. But America, and the world, have big enough problems that we certainly don’t need them exacerbated by one of the worst presidents of all time.

The Fox News War On Women Presents: Boobs On The Air

Yesterday’s broadcast of The Five on Fox News featured a brief segment (video below) wherein Kimberly Guilfoyle delivered a rather inspiring tribute Maj. Maryam Al Mansouri, a female fighter pilot from the United Arab Emirates who led the UAE’s forces in attacks on ISIL.

Guilfoyle aimed her comments directly at the terrorists saying “Hey ISIS, you were bombed by a woman.” She highlighted the poetic justice of religious extremists who won’t even allow women to drive cars, getting blown away by a competent, accomplished female soldier from an Arab nation. Unfortunately, the response from her male colleagues on the program was somewhat less dignified.

Fox News

The panel’s resident troll, Greg Gutfeld hurled a stereotypical insult at the Major saying that “The problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” Then Eric Bolling chimed in with a demeaning and sexist query, “Would that be considered boobs on the ground?” And all Guilfoyle could do was plaintively ask why they were ruining her piece.

If that were the only example of offensive, juvenile, anti-woman behavior by Fox News jerks it would be bad enough. But this came shortly after Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends made “jokes” about the lesson from the video of Ray Rice beating his girlfriend into unconsciousness is that he should have taken the stairs where there were no cameras to capture his assault. It came after Fox News “psycho” analyst Keith Ablow belittled First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts on behalf of healthier children saying that “How well can she be eating. She needs to drop a few.” It came after Fox’s Anna Kooiman introduced right-wing YouTubers, the PolitiChicks, as “A lot of hotness on the couch this morning.”

The pattern of demonstrating such brazen disrespect for women is a familiar part of Fox News programming. They regard women as little more than eye candy for their predominantly old, male viewers. Fox CEO Roger Ailes has been reported as insisting that his female anchors wear skirts and show leg. But to carry this boorishness over to demean a woman who is putting her life on the line against terrorists is especially repulsive. Sadly though, it is not unexpected from Fox News.

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[Update] The following day Bolling made an apology of sorts. He said…

“I realized some people didn’t think it was funny at all. I said sorry to my wife and I apologize to all of you as well.”

So he was only apologizing because the joke wasn’t funny, not because it was brazenly offensive and demeaning to women and soldiers? And the “apology” was only directed to his wife and Fox viewers, but not to the pilot or others he insulted? Typical Fox avoidance of responsibility and ethics.

Fox & Friends Lament “The Wussification Of Popeye”

The competition for most epically stupid program on Fox News is always a thrilling spectacle. With contestants like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy, and so many more, it’s impossible to predict who will hold the top spot at any given moment in time. However, for this week the prize has to be awarded to the weekend cast of Fox & Friends for their in-depth analysis of “The Wussification Of Popeye” (video below).

Fox News Popeye

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This nearly unbearable babbling by three of the most puerile pundits in television kicked off with a segment on some possible modifications to the Popeye character in an upcoming movie. Here is how the exchange began:

Clayton Morris: According to leaked photos, the new Sony Pictures version of Popeye will look like this – without the iconic anchor tattoo and the smoking pipe. Are they wussifying Popeye?

Tucker Carlson: Of course they’re wuss… Nothing is scarier to a modern liberal than tobacco. If Popeye were driving around giving the morning after pill to fourth graders, that would totally fine. But smoking a pipe – a single (sic) of freedom and masculinity in America itself – the reason this country exists – tobacco – that’s like, oh, that’s outrageous.

There is so much idiocy in that brief observation it needs to be broken down into pieces for examination.

First of all, if liberals are scared of tobacco it may have something to do with the fact that it kills 400,000 Americans every year. That’s more than a hundred 9/11’s, not once thirteen years ago, but every single year. And that’s not counting the thousands of victims who survive with debilitating health problems that devastate families emotionally and financially.

Secondly, while Carlson may not fear the epidemic of cancer, he does seem to be afraid of fourth graders who aren’t pumping out babies. His snarky hyperbole about giving out morning after pills is a deliberate trivialization of a serious problem. Nine year old girls should have options to avoid pregnancy in the event that they have engaged in sex, which at that age is often the result of an rape or incest. Apparently Carlson is fine with forcing children to become parents before they enter junior high school.

Thirdly, Carlson’s characterization of pipe smoking as a symbol (?) of freedom is best represented by a man who is a notorious pipe smoker and certainly a hero of Carlson’s – communist dictator Joseph Stalin. The notion that smoking a pipe is uniquely American exists only in his cartoon-fed brain. And by invoking tobacco as “the reason this country exists” Carlson is also reminding us that the tobacco trade was largely successful in our country’s early days because the plantation owners had the benefit of free (i.e. slave) labor. If that’s his idea of an iconic symbol of freedom, there may be several million Americans who disagree. The legacy of tobacco in America is one of bondage and brutality and suffering and death.

The truth is that Carlson and his cranky cohorts are rattling off an old wingnut whine about what they perceive as political correctness. They think it’s the PC police who demand that Popeye quit his filthy habit and stick with spinach. However, it is actually the fact that we have learned a thing or two about the health risks of tobacco and most parents don’t want their children to be exposed to positive images of a product that will kill them. Would Carlson be just as happy if his kids were influenced by an alcoholic superhero guzzling whiskey in between clobbering villains?

The video of this derpitude is proof that the Fox & Friends crew have earned special recognition for ass-holiness this week. And for extra credit, they segued from the Popeye story to one about Wonder Woman wherein they complained that her new costume wasn’t sexy enough. That’s just another example of these pathetic wretches projecting their fetishes on kids by advocating sexualizing cartoon characters.

On Hannity: Fox News Strategic Analyst Calls For More Civilian Casualties

The hopelessly hysterical war hawks and fear mongers that populate Fox News seem to have no bar too low to slither under. Their primary mission is to lambaste President Obama no matter what he does. The President is in a perpetual no-win spiral of knee-jerk negativity from his robo-critics on the right.

As an example, following the horrific beheadings by ISIL terrorists, panicky conservatives demanded that Obama respond without hesitation. Never mind developing a plan or assembling allies, the need to act was more urgent than the need to act effectively. Consequently, Fox News contributor and bloodthirsty former diplomat, John Bolton, accused Obama of orchestrating a politically motivated October Surprise.

Bolton: I have the sinking feeling, based on six years of performance, particularly the timing of this attack, last night had more to do for the President’s politics than for national security.

Setting aside the fact that it is still September, Bolton’s unfounded criticism comes after being one of those who complained that if action were not taken immediately it would be tantamount to dereliction of duty. So the President acts and all of sudden his action is denounced as political. In Bolton’s twisted view, any delay until after the November election would be treasonous, but any strike prior to it is electioneering. As noted above, the President cannot win with these nutcases.

However, the new standard for nauseating tirades was unleashed later in the day when an utterly deranged rant on the Sean Hannity program was delivered by Fox News strategic analyst, Ralph Peters (video below). The dripping bile in his painfully falsetto caterwauling was steaming with rancid hostility as he proposed that the United States emulate the ruthless brutality of our enemies.

Fox News Ralph Peters

Peters: Another thing we’ve gotta get over. This nonsense about you can’t have any civilian casualties. War is ugly, sloppy, and messy, and sometimes there are civilian casualties, especially when your enemy uses human shields. If you’re gonna go after ISIS you gotta suck it up and do what’s right. And by the way, civilian casualties? Look what ISIS is doing and it’s actually gaining them recruits as they slaughter civilians.

There you have it. If ISIS can attract new recruits by slaughtering civilians, then why shouldn’t America do it? After all, we are seeking the same sort of psychologically demented murderers that ISIS is, and leaving a trail civilian corpses throughout Syria and the Middle East would only endear us to the regional population. Right?

This isn’t the first time that Peters has suggested something so inhumane and contrary to American values. He has advocated for letting terrorists murder American soldiers (Bowe Bergdahl). He accused Obama of seeking common ground with terrorists. Indeed, on last night’s Hannity he asserted that the airstrikes in Syria were “designed to limit terrorist casualties.” But his repeated advocacy of what amounts to international war crimes is what sets him apart from your run of the mill wingnut. Here are a few quotes from Peters:

“We must dispose of one last mantra that has been too broadly and uncritically accepted: the nonsense that, if we win by fighting as fiercely as our enemies, we will ‘become just like them.'”

“Sometimes a heavy hand and brutality works. [The Russians] don’t do stop-and-frisk, they do stop-and-frisk and beat the hell out of you. And you know what? It’s brutal, it’s ugly, and sometimes it works.”

[In calling for attacks on the media] “Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar.”

Pair this with the idiocy of Bill O’Reilly’s recent plan to build an army of mercenaries to combat terrorists around the world, because what could be better than legions of paid fighters with no loyalty to anything but their paycheck? And of course, their moral standards would be out of our control. O’Reilly seems to think these sort of characters would be immune to accepting a higher bid for their services and turning on their American bosses. He also rejected the criticisms of military experts on his own program who called the idea “ridiculous.” Even his pal Charles Krauthammer couldn’t dissuade him from his crackpot theory.

The tendency of right-wingers with undisguised blood-lust to tolerate, and even advocate, barbarism and criminal atrocity exposes them for the heathens they are. They want to turn America’s sons and daughters in the armed forces into savages and then expect them to come home and live normal lives. And they believe that by acting like terrorists, America can eradicate terrorism. That’s how irreparably delusional they are. It is more than wrong, it is dangerous. And it doesn’t belong in the discourse of a civilized society.

Shepard Smith Owes Obama’s Press Secretary “Every Penny He Will Ever Make” At Fox News

The military operation executed last night against ISIL in Syria surprised many in the nation and the media by its timing and force. However, there was another consequence of the mission that will have an impact on a much smaller scale, except for those involved.

Fox News

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White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest just became a very rich man. Last week he was interviewed on Fox News by Shepard Smith (video below) about the coalition that President Obama was building to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist organization ISIL. In the course of their discussion they had this exchange that included a very specific challenge from Smith to Earnest in the form of a wager:

Earnest: We are going to have Muslim majority countries, Muslim led countries, as part of this coalition. This is not going to be the United States against ISIL. This will be the international community, including the Muslim world, against these extremists.

Smith: Like Saudi Arabia’s going to have some boots over there, or Jordan.

Earnest: Well, I will let the individual members of the coalition announce the commitments that they’re prepared to make.

Smith: There will be no commitment from those two. On this I will bet every penny I will ever make at this network.

Earnest: That’s a substantial bet.

Smith: It is a big bet, and it is a good bet, because it’s not going to happen and the whole world knows it.

Of course the whole world now knows that the United States led a series of airstrikes last night in Syria against ISIL and other terrorist operations. The mission was conducted with substantial participation from neighboring Muslim nations. According to the Pentagon

“U.S. military forces and partner nations, including Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, undertook military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria overnight.”

So the question is: How and when will Smith pay up? Will he even acknowledge the debt he owes or his horribly off-base prediction? At the very least he should apologize to Earnest, as well as to his viewers for misinforming them.

The smug and mocking tone Smith used when challenging Earnest only exacerbates his pitiful analysis of the situation. However, he proved that he fits right in on the network that gets everything else wrong, particularly when it comes to reporting on anything this president is doing, plans to do, or has done.

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Fox News Feminism: A Lot Of Hotness On The Couch This Morning

In recent weeks Fox News has been promoting a new book by a trio of conservative women who purport to have an inside track into “What Women Really Want.” The authors, Gina Loudon, Ann-Marie Murrell, and Morgan Brittany, comprise the Internet video non-sensation, Politichicks.

Fox News

The PolitiChicks contend that modern feminism is hurting women and does not represent their interests. But it’s hard to take them seriously when they appear on Fox & Friends with an introduction by co-host Anna Kooiman saying that there are “A lot of ladies, a lot of hotness on the couch this morning.” Not a lot of wisdom, or a lot of dignity, or experience, or intelligence, but that all-important component of feminine identity, hotness. Now try to imagine three men promoting a book on the male agenda in American politics being described that way. Kooiman went on to assert that “Feminists claim they help empower women, but are they really suppressing them? Our next guests say yes.”

The whole segment, and a similar one on Fox’s Huckabee program, conveyed much of the same offensive attitude. Their basic contention is that a women’s movement is no longer necessary because “We earned the right to vote. We have equality in the workplace.” Well, one out of two is pretty good for a Tea Partier. But despite the book’s title claiming to reveal what women want, the discussion on these programs was primarily about what they don’t want, most of which, according to the PolitiChicks, was the liberal brand of feminism. For instance, Murrell said that…

“[Feminism] has nothing to do with empowering women anymore. Everything they’re about now is from the head down. It has nothing to do with women’s brains or their hearts.”

First of all, Murrell might want to take a refresher course in anatomy, because the heart happens to below the head. As for her assertion about the focus on issues that involve women’s bodies, there is some truth to that. But that’s only because the men in power have been so insistent on forcing their decisions on them with regard to their health care and reproductive freedom. It is a proper area of concern for women’s advocates. Continuing to enumerate the things women don’t want, Loudon offered that…

“Women don’t want to be objectified, and what the feminist movement has successfully done is sexualize women instead of feminizing women.”

Indeed, objectification is a dehumanizing act, but it’s one that feminists have fought against from the start. What Loudon means by “feminizing” women sounds very much like a contradiction that would result in further objectification. Particularly when you pair it with her later comment that…

“It’s time for women who really want to be women, who want to be feminine, who want to be what God designed them to be.”

Apparently Loudon has a fixed notion of what women are and what God intended when he built them from Adam’s spare rib. That sort of intransigence conflicts with her accusation that it’s “old feminism” that puts women in shackles. What could be more confining than a divinely dictated state of being? And if that weren’t bad enough, Murrell added that…

“[Feminists] are like cave women waiting for a caveman to bonk them on the head and drag them into the cave by the hair.”

With that comment you have to wonder if Murrell has ever met a feminist. These authors keep going back and forth between advocating choices for women (including forsaking a career to stay at home and raise kids), and confining them to narrow gender roles that have long ago been discarded as sexist. And they don’t seem to recognize the irony in their positions as they advance choice, but not in all things. As an example, Brittany correctly noted that…

“Women want less government in their lives, they want to make their own decisions, they want freedom to choose for their children, for their families.”

However, that doesn’t apply to reproductive choice. In that case the PolitiChicks defend big government’s role in making the most personal of decisions for women, who cannot be trusted to decide for themselves with the counsel of their doctors and their family. They even support forcing women to undergo unnecessary and invasive procedures and endure arbitrary waiting periods and patronizing lectures. That is not a position in accord with small government or free choice.

The hypocrisy and disrespect that is represented by these so-called feminists does nothing to improve the status of women in America. It does not end discrimination, or wage disparity, or harassment, or the welfare of children. What it does is advance the agenda of extremist, right-wing Christianists who seek to impose their beliefs on the nation’s women, and men too, for that matter.

The PolitiChicks are being aided and abetted by Fox News who are providing them with a platform to deliver their partisan sermons. But if they think that this is the way to appeal to women voters who have been staunchly supporting Democrats, they will be sorely disappointed. Their method of reaching out to voter constituencies by advocating positions that are detrimental has not worked for Latinos or African-Americans, or seniors, or students. And it won’t work on women either. They are all much smarter than Republicans give them credit for, and they won’t fall for this wingnut propaganda.

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