Now Can We Declare Trump Insane And Remove Him From Office? (Tweetstorm On Wiretaps)

The reasons to impeach Donald Trump, or otherwise remove him from office, continue to mount. His conflicts of interest, financial corruption, sexual predatory behavior, associations with mobsters, and on and on. And this is the guy that the media swoons over for his allegedly newfound “presidential” demeanor? The most troubling of his growing collection of scandals is the unsavory relationship he and his administration have with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump

However, on Saturday morning Trump revealed another reason to remove him from the presidency. He is STRAIGHT UP BONKERS! Note this latest torrent of deranged tweets:

As usual, Trump provided no evidence that these paranoid accusations have any truth to them. They appear to be a wild excursion into a hallucinatory nightmare that only he can experience. His determination to find villains plotting his demise is taking over his already hampered mental state. Professionals in the psychiatric field have warned of his “malignant narcissism” and other dangerous lapses of cognitive ability. Since his election, legislators from both sides of the aisle have drafted bills to mandate a White House psychiatrist.

Trump’s descent into ever deeper madness seems to be reaching a pinnacle. These tweets cover a lot of maniacal territory. For instance, he is accusing Obama of something that a president has no power to do. Only a law enforcement entity such as the FBI can request surveillance warrants. And in these circumstances even they would need permission from the FISA court to proceed. This isn’t new information either, as Trump insinuated.

His reference to McCarthyism demonstrates that he has no idea what that is. Obama did not make any baseless allegations of treasonous affiliations. Trump didn’t even assert that. To him McCarthyism is just an epithet to toss around recklessly to malign his perceived enemies. The Watergate reference is a bit more on track, except that in that affair Nixon tapped his own phones.

While Trump offered no support for his bizarre claims, the Guardian speculates that he got his info from ultra-rightist radio host, Mark Levin. On his Thursday night show Levin talked about the alleged steps Obama took to undermine Trump’s campaign. That unsubstantiated lunacy was later picked up by Breitbart News, the wingnut hack factory formerly run by Trump’s chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.

This is reminiscent of Trump’s frequent use of unverified lunacies from right-wing media that show up on his Twitter feed within minutes of them airing on Fox News. The President resides in a hermetically sealed bubble of far-right conspiracy theories and fake news. He regurgitates what he see and reads from dubious sources as fact and doesn’t even bother to cite those sources. Bloomberg News recently documented the extent to which Trump relies on Fox News, and vice versa.

The most puzzling part of this is trying to come up with a motivation for making these accusations now. Generally Trump’s intentions are easily discerned as distractions from some other abhorrent activity on his part. However, all this does is to remind people of his nefarious connections to Russia. Congressman Ted Lieu noted this in a candid and colorful tweet on the subject:

All of this points to a deteriorating mental state on the part of our President. This is the man who controls the nuclear codes. Yet he is easily influenced by the likes of Mark Levin, Alex Jones, and his own top aide, Bannon. The circumstances developing in the White House are exactly why the nation ratified the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Section four of the Amendment provides guidance in the event that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

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

If there were ever a situation in which that argument could be made, it is now. And it isn’t just because of these recent tweets. Trump’s entire history in public life is symptomatic of psychological disorder. His pathological lying, his relentless egotism, his multiple marriages and public affairs, his faulty, and often imaginary, recollections, and his childish outbursts and insults, all suggest deep emotional abnormality. It’s long past time that he be evaluated and directed to somewhere that he get the help he obviously needs. And in the process, protect the country from further harm.

WTF? Republicans Are Already Clamoring To Impeach Hillary Clinton

The Republican Party has just affirmed that they have given up on electing Donald Trump. There is no better sign of this than what they are now concentrating on as their next political priority. With election day still a couple of weeks away, Republicans are setting their sights on impeaching President Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

Never mind that there are no grounds for impeachment, or that Clinton has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing. And set aside the fact that the legal standard for impeachment may require that any “crimes” be committed while in office. The crackpot pundits and politicians on the right are determined to satisfy their fetish for removing Clintons from office. NBC News recently reported that:

“In the last few weeks alone, dozens of House Republicans have demanded that a special prosecutor investigate the Clinton Foundation for possible conflicts of interest. Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has called for a ‘serious criminal investigation’ into a Democratic operative featured in a sting video by conservative activist James O’Keefe. And Speaker Paul Ryan has promised ‘aggressive oversight work in the House’ of an alleged ‘quid pro quo’ deal between the FBI and the State Department over reclassifying an email on Clinton’s private server.

“Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who would likely serve as the chief antagonist of a second Clinton White House as chair the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News last week the ‘quid pro quo’ claim alone was worth at least ‘four new hearings,’ claiming it was a ‘flashing red light of potential criminality.'”

Clearly this Republican Praetorian Guard is establishing the battle lines for a prolonged war on American progress. They are reinforcing their reputation as obstructionists who couldn’t care less about doing their jobs for the American people. Their intention is to tie up the Congress and the White House with sham inquisitions. But their ultimate goal is even more absurd.

At least two GOP congressman have called explicitly for Clinton’s impeachment. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), asserts that “If all the things we’ve seen are true and they come out the way I think they will, then we should impeach her.” Mo Brooks (R-AL), agrees saying “With respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Along with these confused congressmen, many of the right’s top pundits are lobbying hard for Hillary’s ouster. Rush Limbaugh rants that “Hillary Clinton is the most prepared to be impeached in advance of any presidential candidate this country has ever had. Hillary Clinton will be elected to be impeached,” Fellow radio yakker Mark Levin whines that Clinton “has attempted to cover-up and obstruct her Espionage Act violations … she must be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors in what is and will be continuing revelations about her criminality.” Judicial Watch President, and longtime Clinton basher, Tom Fitton says that there should be a “serious criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s conduct” and that “impeachment is something that’s relevant.”

For her part, Clinton responded to some of this nonsense way back in October of 2015 (yes, they were doing it then too), when she was asked about it by Rachel Maddow. Clinton laughed and said “Isn’t that pathetic? It’s just laughable, it’s so totally ridiculous.”

Indeed. It’s so ridiculous that News Corpse wrote a satirical article in 2013 predicting that Republicans would attempt to pre-impeach Hillary. But with today’s Republican Party, satire cannot compete with their twisted reality. And while it is obviously ridiculous, it may not be all that laughable.

What Republicans are doing is ensuring that the nation will remain mired in gridlock for the indefinite future. With innumerable urgent matters requiring attention, the GOP would rather play political games and conduct smear campaigns. They would rather act out their petty political vengeance than lift up the economy. Or, for that matter, improve health care, mitigate climate change, enhance education, or even defeat ISIS. And make no mistake, the investigations that Republicans are threatening would severely hamper every other critical function of governing.

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

For that reason alone it is more important than ever to rid Washington of the Republican obstructionists. If Democrats can secure majorities in the Senate and the House, the chairmanship of every committee would be held by a Democrat. The Republicans would be unable to carry out the vendetta against America that they are promising. So be sure to vote (early, if possible) and get every Democrat you know to do so as well. It really does matter.

Mark Levin Goes Off (His Meds) To Promote A Racist Police State

Trying to listen to radio screecher Mark Levin is a worse form of torture than anything Dick Cheney has yet devised. If you can manage to tolerate his soprano yowling, you will be nauseated by his hate-filled rhetoric. And his latest adventure in public embarrassment lives down to his reputation.

Fox Nation

The radio broadcast that was featured on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation, set out to prove that Obama, and his legion of dark-skinned anti-Americans, were engaged in a full scale “War on Cops” as a response to the tragic and needless deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Levin ignored entirely the suffering families of the citizens who died at the hands of over-zealous officers, while he advanced his mission to justify any and all brutality by the police. At the same time he rudely insulted those who fight for reforms that can improve community relations with law enforcement. His acid-tongue was dripping with animosity as he blasted his targets, who all just happen to be black. Here is just a taste of the tirade:

“My blood has been boiling, I’ve been grinding my teeth, listening to all this. […] the president of the United States and the attorney general of the United States, that piece of crap Sharpton […] Obama and Holder and their surrogates were throwing fuel on the fire. […] It’s a war on the cops. They want to nationalize local police departments. Nationalize them to ruin them! […] All of a sudden, all the police departments who are overly militarized, why? Has somebody been shot with a tank?

Levin is clearly in need of in-patient anger management counseling and an immediate infusion of intravenous Xanax. President Obama has been profoundly vocal in his support for the majority of decent police officers, and in his grief over the recent murders in New York. The same is true of Eric Holder and Al Sharpton. They have all called for peaceful demonstrations and expressed their sympathy for those whose lives were lost.

However, the worst part of Levin’s raving is not his dishonest assertions regarding a war on cops or his unfounded allegations of a nationalized police force. The most revolting things he said revealed his longing for an unrestricted police state where officers patrol neighborhoods in tanks and riot gear. He actually defends the notion of militarized policing. So in his haste to condemn an imaginary war on cops, he confesses that he is cool with a war on private citizens.

This advocacy of turning the nation’s populace into a contingent of enemy combatants is not only a vulgar denunciation of our constitutional democracy, it is brazenly hypocritical. Not so long ago Levin was extolling the virtues of battling officers of the law when they tried to bring Tea Party tax cheat Cliven Bundy to justice. Levin was supportive of their armed resistance which eventually led to the murder of two police officers in Las Vegas by Bundy associates. Where was Levin’s outrage and empathy for those officers?

Apparently, for Mark Levin and Fox News, killing cops is no longer considered a travesty if the killers are a white couple from the Indiana chapter of the Tea Party.

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Fox Nation Outrage: Obama Vacations With White People – And Other Lies And Delusions

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, is a non-stop parade of deliberate misinformation, biased reporting, and promotion of notoriously disreputable purveyors of propaganda and conspiracy theories like Alex Jones and Breitbart News. [For more documented proof of Fox Nation’s lies, read Fox Nation vs. Reality] This morning that penchant for bullpucky was in full display with a trio of stories that perfectly illustrate the Fox Nation mission.

Fox Nation

Let’s begin with a little item that alleges that “Obama Suggests Conservatives Are Greatest Threat To Nation.” This story was filched from the ultra-rightist Daily Caller (which is run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson) and referenced an interview of President Obama in the New York Times. Obama discussed gridlock in Washington and told the Times that “Our politics are dysfunctional.” That is an indisputable fact that is evidenced by this congress being the least productive in history. The article also said that…

“The president mused, the biggest threat to America — the only force that can really weaken us — is us.”

That’s quite a different statement than what was asserted in the headline. To be sure, it is Republicans that have boasted of their obstructionism. GOP House Speaker John Boehener even said that the congress under his “leadership” “should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.” By that measure they still suck because they have repealed precisely zero laws. But the point is made that they are proud of being an obstacle to progress. Nevertheless, Obama placed the blame more broadly on “us,” not conservatives as the liars at Fox Nation and the Daily Caller said.

Next up is an article that was picked up from right-wing media distorters, NewsBusters. They in turn were citing England’s version of the National Enquirer, the Daily Mail, who reported speculation that the former Director of Communications for George W. Bush, Nicolle Wallace, had been chosen to replace Jenny McCarthy on “The View.” Fox Nation turned that item into “Liberal Nicolle Wallace Is the New ‘Conservative’ Host on The View?”

“Liberal?” Wallace, as noted above, was a long-time political operative for the Bush regime. She was also a deputy campaign manager for his reelection in 2004, and headed up Sarah Palin’s communications staff for the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. Wallace created a stir when she spoke candidly about Palin’s shortcomings after the election. But that doesn’t make her a liberal. It makes her intelligent and honest. On second thought, maybe it does make her a liberal, because those are qualities that liberals respect and conservatives disdain. However, for Fox Nation and NewsBusters to characterize Wallace as liberal after a career of conservative politicking is just plain delusional. Apparently the only replacement they would find suitable would be someone like Ann Coulter or Michele Bachmann.

Finally, the Fox Nationalists went to their resident screeching hyena, Mark Levin, for a taste of his undisguised racism. The headline on Fox Nation said “Mark Levin Blasts Obama for Vacationing at ‘Whitest Place on Earth’” Indeed, Levin seems to have found something objectionable about our African-American president and his family hobnobbing with his Caucasian superiors, rather than serving them drinks and cleaning their rooms as God intended. Levin continued saying to Obama that “We know how you hate whites,” and that Obama would be better off vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. [Remember what happened to Glenn Beck when he said that Obama hates white people?]

But what makes this truly despicable is that Levin is not only racist, he is stupid – or is that redundant? As noted by Mediaite’s Matt Wilstein, Martha’s Vineyard has a richly diverse history:

“While Martha’s Vineyard is no doubt a ritzy island with more than its fair share of white people, Levin is clearly unaware of its rich history as a summer destination for wealthy black families. This is particularly true of Oak Bluffs, where African-American families began summering as early as the 1890s.”

Levin does make a valid point in one respect. Perhaps Obama should stay away from “the whitest place on Earth.” But it isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. It’s Fox News, where vile bigots roam free to disparage the nation, insult its citizens, and preach a brand of faith that exalts the wealthy, white, ruling class.

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As usual, Fox News is rampant with racism, delusion, and bald-faced lies. The articles above are only a small sample of the repulsiveness that is published there every day. It’s astonishing that they get away with this and even attract devoted fans. Obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done in this country to stamp out bigotry and the ignorance from which it stems.

How The Media Got EVERYTHING Wrong About Cantor’s Primary Defeat

Last week a tsunami of shock washed over the Washington press corps as the second highest Republican in congress was swept overboard in a primary race against an unknown Tea Party opponent. Eric Cantor’s embarrassing loss has sparked debate as to how such a powerful GOP leader could have been caught looking. Unfortunately, the media contribution to the debate is rife with speculation and error.

Koch-Cycle Dave Brat

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First off all, the characterization of Cantor’s opponent, Dave Brat, as an outsider who sprung from the grassroots to slay Goliath is a reflection of the shallowness of the research conducted by the mainstream media. Thom Hartmann went deeper and discovered that Brat was on the radar of the billionaire Koch brothers long before he launched his allegedly underdog campaign. Koch-affiliated financiers endowed Randolph-Macon College with half a million dollars to seat the Ayn Rand disciple as a trickle-down economics professor. Then, when the campaign commenced, radio talk show hosts like Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin took the baton and fervently promoted Brat’s candidacy. Ingraham and Levin are just a couple of the radio talkers who are sponsored by Koch front groups like Americans for Prosperity.

This brings us to the second point. The media repeatedly cast a spotlight on the campaign spending differential between Cantor and Brat. Cantor raised more than $5,000,000 compared to Brat’s $200,000. Many reporters latched onto the amusing anecdote that Cantor spent more on steak dinners than Brat spent in total. However, what they failed to take into consideration was the value of the airtime contributed by the likes of Ingraham, Levin, Beck, Limbaugh, Fox News, et al. It could cost a couple of hundred dollars for a thirty second spot on a high performing radio program. Extrapolate that to twenty or thirty minutes of direct advocacy by the the program’s host every day for a month or two and you could easily have exceeded Cantor’s budget for broadcast advertising.

Adding in the value of the donated airtime rips apart the third fallacy peddled in the press – that Brat’s low cost campaign disproves the contention that money makes the difference in elections. This is a target that has been in the sights of conservatives since the Citizen’s United debacle in the Supreme Court. The rush to exonerate wealthy donors of having any untoward impact on electoral outcomes was head-spinning. Every right-wing pundit with a microphone hailed the demise of the theory that cash-laden campaigns had an unfair advantage. In truth, Brat’s campaign was far richer than acknowledged due to the media support detailed above. But even if there were no other factors, a win by a single candidate in one race surely doesn’t negate the fact that in 99.99% of other races the better financed candidate prevails. If the right is so convinced that Brat’s showing proves that money doesn’t matter, I dare any of them to announce that they are halting their fundraising and capping their spending at $200,000.

Fourth: Tea Party supporters were quick to jump on Brat’s win as evidence of a Tea Party resurgence. In just about every other race this cycle, the Tea Party challenger lost to an establishment incumbent. With Brat’s resounding victory, they claim to have regained their mojo. But the only way they can make that argument is if they forget that they lost just about every other race this cycle.

Finally, the Washington set is dead certain that Brat’s triumph was due to his stance against immigration. After all, he did feature it in his campaign ads and it was a point of departure between him and Cantor. Unfortunately for those who seem to have a desperate yearning for that to be true, polling on the day of the election proved otherwise. Public Policy Polling released the survey showing that “72 percent of registered voters in Cantor’s district polled on Tuesday said they either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ support immigration reform.” And the anti-immigration forces conveniently ignore the fact that on the same day Sen. Lindsey Graham, an establishment, pro-immigration candidate, from an even more conservative state, handily dispatched a slew of Tea Partiers. More likely, the problem for Cantor was that he mustered only a 43% job performance approval, just a couple points off of his losing election results.

So Dave Brat won a peculiar contest in Virginia where he had hidden support from billionaires and an opponent who was widely disliked. Then he disappears and refuses to speak to the voters he hopes will be his constituents. It’s been three days and he hasn’t held a post election press conference. And yet the press continues to misrepresent the realities that produced the results of this election. It’s a state of affairs that proves that Cantor wasn’t the only loser last week. The voters and others who rely on the media to provide useful information and analysis also lost. But they should be used to that by now.

Tea Party Pundit Proposes Unconstitutional Resolution Against Unconstitutional Resolutions

In case anyone has forgotten that last year Louisiana’s GOP governor Bobby Jindal called Republicans the “Stupid Party,” Tea Party radio screamer Mark Levin has generously volunteered to remind us.

Mark Levin

Read Fox Nation vs. Reality for more documented stupidity.

In his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Levin went berserk over what he perceived as a tyrannical usurpation of power by the President. In Obama’s speech he castigated our do-nothing congress for its relentless obstructionism and gave them this rather diplomatic warning:

“I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

That’s all it took for the the right-wing outrage machine to get fired up and begin a frantic crusade against what they believe to be an unprecedented overreach. Of course, the truth is that every president has and uses his executive authority to proceed with initiatives that Congress fails to act upon. It is consistent with the constitutional jurisdiction of the executive branch of government, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from bellowing about dictatorship.

Mark Levin’s post-speech rant took the form of advice to the Republicans in congress. He concluded that they were toO weak to do what he really wanted – which is to impeach Obama for some reasons he didn’t bother to specify. So he proposed an alternative in the form of a congressional resolution:

“Whereas the President of the United States has exerted executive powers not granted to him under the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives hereby asserts, as an equal governing institution, that all such acts by the President of the United States are null and void. The House of Representatives further asserts that no federal department, federal official, or federal employee is authorized to appropriate any sum of taxpayer dollars in furtherance of any unconstitutional act by the President of the United States.”

The Stupid Party (aka the Tea Party, aka the Republican Party) strikes again. First of all, no act by the President, or the Congress for that matter, is unconstitutional until the Supreme Courts says it is. The House of Representatives has no authority to unilaterally designate something the president does as unconstitutional. Secondly, any acts declared unconstitutional by the court are already null and void and don’t require a congressional resolution to be recognized as such. Nor is a prohibition of funding necessary for an act ruled unconstitutional. Since it cannot be carried out, no funds would be allocated to it.

What is laughably pathetic about Levin’s resolution is that it would probably fail the test of constitutionality itself were it ever enacted and challenged in the court. As noted above, the legislative branch cannot rule on the constitutionality of executive actions. And even more idiotic is the fact that Levin doesn’t seem to comprehend that his proposed law could not be enacted without the President’s signature. Does Levin think that Obama would sign this asinine bill?

So what does Fox News do with this utterly delusional rant by a crackpot who clearly doesn’t understand constitutional law? Well, they feature on their Fox Nation website along with all the other blatant lies and disinformation. And thus, the cycle of stupidity continues to flow from wingnut pundits to dishonest news outlets to an audience of willful dimwits.

Fox Nation Posts Radio Rant Against MSNBC That Also Attacks Fox News

One of the most notoriously hyperactive conservative radio shoutcasters is Mark Levin. Some of his on-air convulsions boil over into such bombastic rage that he seems close to having a cerebral aneurysm. He is filled to the brim with contempt for those with whom he disagrees, and that’s a long list.

Fox Nation

This morning his target was MSNBC (again) and the roster of hosts whom he regards as vile character assassins. But while lashing out in what was pure projection, Levin also snared Fox News in his net of wild invective. The subject of his attack was what he considered to be an affront to his Wingnut Queen, Sarah Palin. So he let loose…

“We’re getting way too comfortable with these character assassination efforts by the media, by the left, by the sycophants and their operatives against certain individuals in this country. Did the Republican National Committee speak up for Sarah Palin? No. Did Karl Rove go on Fox to defend one of his colleague? No. Did all of those folks on Fox, with a few exceptions, stand up for her? No.”

In defending Palin’s alleged honor, Levin orchestrated something short of a surgical strike that left his pals at Fox News bleeding in the rubble. This isn’t the first time either. Levin has frequently attacked Fox News and its so-called personalities. He has blasted Rove as “sleazy” and a “liar.” He has called Dana Perino a “jerk.” He hammered Bill O’Reilly as a “fraud.” And, remember, Levin is a frequent guest on the network he is lambasting.

However, what’s notable in today’s news is that the Fox News community website (and Fib Factory), Fox Nation, posted an audio clip of Levin that included his condemnation of Fox. Apparently Fox is so consumed with disseminating anything negative about their enemies that they were either unaware or indifferent to the negativity aimed at themselves. You could probably go on Fox and call the network a festering boil on the ass of television, so long as you also said something nasty about President Obama in the same sentence.

Just for fun, Levin also took a swing at Jon Stewart saying that “Stewart is quoted all over like he’s some kind of a news guy, some kind of an analyst. He’s a comedian, and he’s vile and repulsive and dimwitted. Nobody writes my stuff.” Like anyone would dare to take credit for the asinine swill that Levin pukes.

RNC Votes To Ban CNN/MSNBC Debates – Which They Have No Power To Do

For the past couple of weeks there has been a flurry of fretful reporting about a threat by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ban CNN and MSNBC from the GOP primary debate schedule. Priebus is disturbed by currently non-existent projects about Hillary Clinton that he is certain will characterize her favorably.

Today Priebus made good on his threat by shepherding a resolution though the RNC’s annual meeting that declares that they “will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor.”

Fun Fact: How many GOP primary debates did the RNC sponsor in 2012?
Answer: Zero
There were twenty debates held and not a single one was sponsored by the RNC. However, every debate on Fox News was sponsored by a state Republican Party affiliate. Also notable is that MSNBC held a debate co-sponsored by the Reagan Library, and CNN held debates co-sponsored by Tea Party Express, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.

There is, however, a small problem with the Priebus declaration. The RNC has no power whatsoever to prohibit any debate by an network. Sure, they can pass resolutions that make grandiose claims to authority that they don’t have, but reality trumps their hubris. The truth is that any network can announce its intention to produce a debate. They can invite candidates to participate. The candidates are free to accept or reject any offer as they see fit. Chances are, the second and third tier candidates will accept virtually any opportunity to promote themselves on national television. Subsequently, the frontrunners will be reluctant to let their competitors have the stage to themselves. So the debates will go on with a full cast of characters.

Priebus’ threat, therefore, is an impotent cry for attention. He is not empowered to force his will on the people who are vying to be the next leader of the free world. In a best case scenario he may be able to influence the number of debates, which is a goal he has previously articulated. After all, it is fairly obvious that the more Republican candidates are exposed to the American people, the more they will embarrass themselves, and the more votes they will lose. The GOP has a distinct interest in limiting their exposure, and that is what Priebus is aiming for.

The hypocrisy of Priebus’ resolution is apparent in the fact that he is only nixing CNN and MSNBC, even though there have been reports that Fox may be producing the NBC project. Priebus cannot extend his toothless ban to Fox or there would be no cable news networks available to host a GOP debate. But there is no reasonable explanation for why Fox would be given a pass (other than their role as the GOP PR division).

Fun Fact: What do you get when you remove the vowels from Reince Priebus’ name?
Answer: RNC PR BS

The full text of the resolution cites campaign donations by the head of NBC’s entertainment division to Hillary Clinton, but the head of Fox News’ parent corporation has done likewise. Also, the News Corp political PAC, News America Holdings, has given more to Democrats than Republicans in each of the last four election cycles. So if producing Clinton documentaries and donating to her campaign warrant prohibition as debate hosts, then Fox clearly qualifies.

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Rush Limbaugh

Finally, there have been recent calls for the RNC to recruit right-wing loyalists as moderators for their debates. The names mentioned most frequently include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. In response, Levin has said that he is ready and willing, despite the fact that he has previously said that he will do whatever he can to prevent Chris Christie from becoming the GOP nominee. As for Limbaugh, he told his radio dittoheads that he is “too famous” and would “overshadow” the candidates. That’s a telling remark in itself, as it demonstrates just how diminutive is the stature of the GOP field. Perhaps the GOP should nominate Limbaugh.

This tussle could not be better for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. If the RNC is successful in limiting the number of their debates it will have effectively cut off millions of Americans from learning about their candidates (although, as noted above, that might a good thing for the GOP). But even worse is the prospect of debates led by staunchly conservative radio talk show hosts. Priebus and company think that friendly moderators will help avoid the antagonistic questioning that he presumes would occur on other networks. But to the extent that that is true, it will also result in the candidates being woefully unprepared for the full-contact combat they will eventually encounter in the general election. What’s more, the rightist Taliban, as represented by Limbaugh et al, will be more likely to force candidates to stake out extreme positions which they will be unable to “Etch-a-Sketch” away after the primaries. The wingnut media are notoriously committed to the sort of ideological purity that voters find repugnant.

So if the RNC wants to proceed with this self-defeating initiative, they will have the full support and cooperation of their pals at the DNC. Nothing would please Democrats more than Republicans digging themselves ever deeper holes of extremism. The outrageous statements and gaffes that occur at the “official” RNC events would still be broadcast on the other networks afterwards. So Priebus’ efforts to limit the damage would be futile, and even counterproductive. As would his admonition that disobedience “may include severe penalties for candidates that participate in unsanctioned debates.” That’s right – Priebus plans on giving the reprobates a good spanking. Wouldn’t that look great on a candidates permanent record?

The Talk Radio Congress: Mainstreaming The Madness Of Conspiracy Theories

Once upon a time, the most outlandish fantasies of fringe political fabulists were confined to a narrow spectrum on the AM radio dial. They concocted delusional narratives that ranged from murderous first ladies to galactic alliances with Martians. It was an entertaining world of fiction and a guilty pleasure for some, even as the true believers were convinced of the frightening fate that was unfolding.

Today, however, the boundaries between rational political discourse and raving madness have been erased. The extremist peddlers of nightmare scenarios who were once thought to be charmingly eccentric at 1:00am are now advising elected representatives of the people to initiate investigations and draft bills addressing these non-existent threats. Congress today hosts members who are no more reliable (or sane) than the wooly denizens of Alex Jones-land or the lie factory of Fox Nation. Here are just a few of the urban legends that are now circulating in the halls of state and federal legislative bodies courtesy of the whack job broadcasting set.

The UN Arms Treaty That Threatens US Sovereignty
ButtheadsThe United Nations recently passed an initiative to address the proliferation of “illegal” arms trading amongst terrorists and rogue nations. As expected, the right-wing Chicken Little Brigade immediately began protesting that this was another attempt to dilute national sovereignty and bring about a one-world government. Of course, there is nothing in the proposal that would infringe on the rights of any nation to set their own standards for gun ownership. The actual resolution explicitly states that countries will “exclusively” maintain the right within their borders to, “regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through national constitutional protections on private ownerships.“

This perfectly reasonable attempt to disarm criminals and tyrants was opposed initially by Alex Jones and similar fringe broadcasters. But eventually their outrage bubbled up to singe Republicans in congress who managed to prevent the treaty’s ratification. The GOP opposition was notable for the fact that it concurred with the only three UN nations that also opposed it: Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

Communists Have infiltrated The US Government
This may seem like a throwback to the 1950’s and the Red Scare promulgated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others. But make no mistake, this is all too current. Commie hunters in the fringe media are still accusing all liberals of having pinko sympathies. And they have an ally in former representative Allen West, who is now hosting his own web cast. West told a group of supporters that “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” West lost his seat last November, but it is important to note that the leadership in the House never rebuked him or dissociated themselves or the GOP from his remarks.

Muslims Have Infiltrated The US Government
This is a corollary to the commie conspiracy updated to smear a more contemporary foe. Originally this allegation was espoused by the infamous Islamophobe Pamela Geller. She latched unto the fact that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a close aide with a Muslim-sounding name. Huma Abedin has worked for Clinton for more than a decade and is respected by all who know her. She was even defended by House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. John McCain. That didn’t stop a cabal of House members, led by Tea Party queen Michele Bachmann, to fire off a letter to the State Department demanding an investigation and alleging that Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

There was never any evidence provided to support these allegations. Nor is there any evidence accompanying the new accusations by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who told WorldNetDaily that Obama deliberately “bungled” the investigation of the Boston marathon bombing because “this administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence.”

Benghazi Is Obama’s Watergate
Fox Nation - BenghaziThe king of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh got the ball rolling with this one. He alleged on his program that Obama was deliberately blocking the investigation into the attack on the US facility in Libya. Limbaugh could not come up with an explanation for why Obama would want to stymie the inquiry, so the implication left hanging was that he had some connection to the attack that he wanted to cover up.

Numerous other media outlets jumped on this mini-bandwagon with Fox News assuming a prominent role. Every Fox program began banging the Benghazi drum, and integral to their publicity push was escalating the scandal to include congressional players to add Washington credibility (such as it is). Republicans like Lindsey Graham and John McCain were happy to comply.

The Most Important Story In History
Not one to be ignored, Glenn Beck joined the fray with what he considered to be the “most important story in history.” The plot involved a Saudi man who was briefly questioned following the Boston marathon bombing. It was quickly discovered that he was a victim, not a suspect, and he was released to recover from his injuries. Beck, however, would not let go of the story. He threatened the White House that if they were not forthcoming with the truth about this, he would reveal the evidence he had that would blow the roof off the White House.

Beck’s deadline came and went with no revelations of scandal. He merely repeated what he had previously alleged, which had already been debunked. Which makes it all the more curious that four members of congress are officially demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security based on what they call “media reports,” but are really just Beck’s psychotic discharges.

The Government Is Stockpiling Ammunition To Kill Us All
Last year there was a flurry of panicky hand-wringing by notorious conspiracy mongers over reports that agencies of the federal government had purchased large caches of ammunition. In the minds of the nutcases on the right, that was evidence that the DHS is plotting a response to some impending disaster scenario wherein they will be forced to kill every person in America five times. That is precisely what Mark Levin, Sean Hannity’s replacement for Sarah Palin, is terrorizing his radio listeners with.

This phony horror story was summarily dismissed by the DHS with documentation and proof that nothing out of the ordinary was occurring. It was merely a purchase contract to lock in lower prices for ammunition used commonly by several law enforcement agencies for regular use and training. Nevertheless, congressional overreaction to the “news” has resulted in a General Accounting Office inquiry into the purchase request. That inquiry was spurred by GOP senator (and Levin listener) James Inhofe who has also drafted a bill to prohibit ammunition purchases in amounts larger than those of previous administrations. Presumably that’s to make sure that the black guy doesn’t get any ideas.

And Then There’s Agenda 21
Amongst the conspiracy theory elite there is only one supreme and all encompassing doctrine of apocalyptic disaster: Agenda 21. The furor over this initiative dates back to the John Birch Society. In reality it just a UN guide to sustainable environments that recommends some completely voluntary measures aimed at advancing smart growth and safer, more livable communities. It was adopted by 178 countries and signed for the U.S. by President George H.W. Bush. It was, however, never ratified by the senate.

Glenn Beck - Agenda 21Somehow this benign project was transformed in the minds of conservative mythmakers into a monstrously evil plot to steal the liberty of all mankind. Glenn Beck even wrote a book about it wherein he describes it as “centralized control over all of human life on planet earth.” But the panic doesn’t stop there. Multiple state resolutions banning its implementation with a foreboding tenor have been enacted. For example, Tennessee’s resolution condemned its “destructive and insidious nature” and began by saying…

“WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development…”

That’s fairly typical of the numerous legislative measures aimed at defending America from a tyrannical, global, one-world government, orchestrated by despotic environmentalists and the liberal media. And we might as well throw in George Soros because that’s who freshman senator Ted Cruz of Texas believes is responsible for the whole affair. Cruz has promised that he will “…continue leading the fight, to stop Agenda 21 and any other globalist plan that tries to subvert the U.S. Constitution and the liberties we all cherish as Americans.”

These delusional and thoroughly discredited inventions from the paranoia factories of Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, etc., were once the province of the radio backwoods and militia ham operators. And as frightening as these grim fairy tales are, what’s truly scary is that this conspiratorial fiction is now being embraced by elected officials in Washington and state houses across the country.

The Fox News Paranoid Conspiracy Follies And The Collapse Of Society

Last year there was a flurry of panicky hand-wringing by notorious conspiracy mongers like Alex Jones and the fruitcakes at WorldNetDaily and Newsmax. Reports that agencies of the federal government had purchased large caches of ammunition set the rumor peddlers tongues to wagging as they imagined brigades of Obama’s stormtroopers marching into the corn fields and trailer parks of rural America gunning down everything in their path.

This sickness infected much of the right-wing crackpot community and spread via chain letters and the blogs of Psycho Chicken Littles who were convinced by Glenn Beck that the End of Days was upon us. At the time, these ludicrous delusions were smacked down by more rational thinkers including those at PolitiFact. But the acutely deranged conservative mind is not an easy thing to assuage. And as a result the tales of doom persisted and are even now being retold by Fox News and its heralds.

Fox Nation

The latest incarnation of this horror story is a rehashing of the news that the Department of Homeland Security had purchased more than a billion bullets. In the minds of the nutcases on the right, that is evidence that the DHS is plotting a response to some impending disaster scenario wherein they will be forced to kill every person in America five times. That is precisely what Mark Levin, Sean Hannity’s replacement for Sarah Palin, is terrorizing his radio listeners with:

“I’m going to tell you what I think is going on. I don’t think insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies — they play out multiple scenarios. They simulate multiple scenarios. I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.”

Repent sinners – the end is near. Never mind that in the past four years, since George W. Bush actually did come within a hair’s breadth of collapsing the economy, America’s financial state has recovered nearly everything it had lost. The stock market is higher today than it was before the crash. Housing markets are heating up. Unemployment, though still uncomfortably high, is three points lower than its recessionary peak. None of that, however, has any impact on the FoxPods who are stubbornly certain that we are on the brink of disaster.

What makes this particularly idiotic is that the DHS has fully explained the ammunition purchases and that explanation was even reported by Fox News in a wire story from the Associated Press:

“Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are known as ‘strategic sourcing contracts,’ which help the government get a low price for a big purchase, says Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga . The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.”

The story goes on to note that these munitions were to be used by “more than 90 federal agencies and 70,000 agents.” In addition they are also used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government’s second largest criminal investigative agency. But this exceedingly reasonable explanation didn’t deter Fox from advancing an utterly insane conspiracy theory. It’s what they do and, dammit, they do it pretty well.

[And for good measure…] Sarah Palin couldn’t resist the urge to make an ass of herself:

Sarah Palin