Who Asked This: “Do You Think Obama Is A Crypto-Muslim?”

I’ll give you three guesses. No, it was not Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.

So that pretty much leaves about 700 other extremist, evangelical, Tea-publicans and rightist media hacks. However, it does narrow it down one particularly delusional Christo-fabulist whose identity I just hinted at in the previous sentence.

That’s right. It’s God’s own press agent Pat Robertson, who still wonders where President Obama was born, and who advises his manly followers to beat their wives. On his 700 Club broadcast yesterday (video below), Robertson took a break from blaming natural disasters on gay marriage to delve into the gnawing mystery of whether Obama is concealing a clandestine plot to deliver America to his Islamic brothers and bring an end to the Judeo-Christian western civilization that he obviously despises.

Robertson: What is it with the Obama administration? Do you think Obama is a crypto-Muslim? What’s the story?
CBN’s Erick Stackelbeck: I think he is a revolutionary leftist. [...] If you have that mindset, in my view, you will work with other entities that you may not agree with on everything. You will work with other entities against a common foe. For the hardcore left, for the hardcore Islamists, the common foe is Judeo-Christian western civilization.
Robertson: Chilling. And ladies and gentlemen, I wish it weren’t TRUE!

Robertson has a point. Have you ever noticed all the shocking similarities between American progressives and Muslim fundamentalists? It is downright uncanny.

Tea Party Taliban

Oh, I’m sorry. I was confusing American progressives with Tea Party Christianists. As it turns out, it is the American right-wing that is joined inseparably with the ideological mission of the Jihadi crowd. So, Never mind.

If [fill in the blank] Had Guns Hitler Would Have Married Gandhi On Matching Unicorns

The Reality-Challenged Case For Arming Everyone

The conservative congregation of gun worshipers is pulling out all the stops to prevent any dialogue on gun safety and common sense measures that might protect citizens from the sort of mass carnage that has shocked Americans recently in places like Newtown, Aurora, and Tuscon. With the help of right-wing media, notably Fox News, they are promulgating fear and hostility as a response to a political difference of opinion over how to make our communities safer.

Gun Nutz Problem Solver

They mantra from the right is that Obama is a tyrant who will abolish the Constitution and confiscate all guns. While there is not even an inkling of evidence that any of that is true, the terrifying specter of a dictatorial slave state is flushing through the veins of pseudo-patriots who pretend to revere America and the soldiers who defend it, but are adamant that they retain sufficient firepower to massacre them if necessary. That’s how they thank our heroes for their service.

In the rhetorical battle to preserve their alleged right to carry weapons of carnage into schools and bars and laundromats and baseball stadiums, the Gunnies are now declaring that every threatened or oppressed group of people would have been better off if they had been armed to the hilt and prepared to blow away their assailants. Reality is at variance with these apocryphal claims, but that doesn’t lessen their feverish insistence that a fire-with-fire response to every conflict will bring about a peaceful, secure society. Despite the obvious contradiction in that view, conservative mouthpieces are expressing remarkably similar themes that arrive at the same conclusion: If [fill in the blank] had guns the good guys would always win and violence would become a thing of the past (er, like the wild west?). It’s a Fox Nation style argument that dispenses with truth in favor of hyperbole and historical revisionism. For instance…

If Civil Rights Activists Had Guns…

Rush Limbaugh: “If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed [to march at] Selma?”

This astonishingly blockheaded statement ignores the fact that the civil rights activists protesting segregation and discrimination in Selma, Alabama were devoted to peaceful change. They were led by Martin Luther King who was inspired by the non-violent methods practiced by Gandhi. It was a successful strategy that resulted in profound changes in both government and people’s hearts. In effect Limbaugh is expressing solidarity with the Black Panthers and suggesting that armed protesters shooting at southern sheriffs would have brought about a better result. However, the presence of guns would only have put everyone in greater danger, sapped the moral advantage of the protesters and produced more corpses all around. And Limbaugh would have been the first to condemn them for their reliance on violence.

If Slaves Had Guns…

Gun advocate Larry Ward: “If African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”

Of course. If the slave traders had given each of their human “cargo” a musket along with their shackles they would have been able to kill off their prospective masters and enjoy life in the new world. I’m sure that Ward and the others propounding this theory would have been delighted to hear that armed slave rebellions had put folks like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their graves before they ever got around to declaring independence from the British. Furthermore, the unorganized, disoriented, involuntary African immigrants would have had no problem dispatching the southern slave states that a civil war with the rest of the nation struggled with for years at horrendous human cost.

If Jews Had Guns…

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News: “If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.”

Once again, the dimwits on the right think that civilians of an oppressed minority would have managed to overcome a military power that held at bay most of the free world. Apparently Napolitano believes that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had some superpowers that, were they armed, would have made them a more ominous opponent than the Americans, the Russians, the English, and the French combined.

If Schools Had Guns…

Ann Coulter: “Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits. If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area, you sort of sense this, because they so often happen at public schools.”

Something that the Gunnies seem all to willing to excise from the debate is the fact that prior incidents of shootings at schools occurred despite there being armed guards present. That was the case at Columbine. It was also the case at Virginia Tech where they had a whole armed police squad on campus. Despite their best intentions, guards cannot be everywhere at once. And they also are often at a disadvantage when confronted by an assailant with a military style arsenal and bullet-proof gear who gets the jump on them.

If Teachers Had Guns…

Pat Robertson: “The truth is, if teachers had guns in classes, these shooters wouldn’t come in because they would be afraid of getting shot themselves.”

The truth is, that teachers are frequently the first victims of school shootings. The time it would take them to retrieve a weapon from a place that is safe enough for it to be stored in a classroom full of students would be plenty of time for an assailant with an AR-15 to riddle them with bullets. Robertson also forgets that most of these assaults are perpetrated by people who end up taking their own lives, so it is ridiculous to regard them as being afraid of getting shot themselves. And the presence of others with weapons certainly didn’t deter the shooter at the Ft. Hood Army base in Texas, where he certainly had reason to believe that there were other armed persons in the vicinity.

The speculative query as to whether there would have been a different outcome in any of these situations if [fill in the blank] had guns is just plain lunacy. It would be dubious under any circumstances to pretend to predict what might have occurred in these after-the-fact scenarios, but the specific examples chosen by these Gunnies demonstrate how blinded they are by their prejudices and violent, video game fantasies. The speculation could go on indefinitely. What if the women suffragettes had guns? What if the students at Kent State had guns?

What if Jesus and his disciples had guns? Pontius Pilate might have been riddled with armor-piercing bullets. There would have been no crucifixion. In fact, the soldiers and pharisees who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane would have been slaughtered. It was there that Jesus admonished his disciple Peter, who took up his sword to defend him, saying “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” That’s a lesson the sanctimonious gun evangelists still haven’t learned 2,000 years later.

Right-Wing Blames God For Romney Loss And America’s Descent Into Socialism

The Republican Party has been suffering debilitating and very public seizures produced by the results of the election a couple of weeks ago. They are desperately attempting to find explanations for how they could have lost on such a grand scale an election they presumed was in the bag. After spending unprecedented amounts of money, Republicans still had to wake up Wednesday morning with Obama returning to the White House for another four years, two more Democrats in the senate, and nine more in the House. Even with the propaganda power of Fox News, the top rated cable news network, and its frothing companion web site Fox Nation, conservative fanatics were unable deceive enough citizens to vote against their own best interests.

At first the excuses focused on typically lame dodges involving the weaknesses of their candidates. Then they shifted to assertions that it was a failure from not being sufficiently conservative. Eventually they trotted out accusations directed at the allegedly negative, Chicago-style campaigning of the Democrats. And sprinkled in amidst all of this were hysterical wails of imaginary corruption and voter fraud.

Now that some time has passed, the forlorn right-wingers have been able to reflect on these events and discovered the true source of their despair: GOD!

That’s right. The Heavenly Father on whom they had entrusted so much of their hopes had betrayed them. It has become impossible to ignore that God clearly preferred Obama and other Democrats to the roster of GOP loonies that pretended to speak in His name.

Prior to the election, folks like Pat Robertson had confidently declared that God had personally assured them of a Republican victory. Now Robertson has had to backtrack saying that “I thought I heard from God, I thought I had heard clearly from God, what happened?” What happened was that you were unable to distinguish the voice of God from the hallucinatory voices rattling around in your senile head.

And speaking of hallucinatory, Glenn Beck had his own divine prophesies mangled when he spoke of an inner certainty that the Lord was preparing the path for righteous Republicans to prevail:

“I am to the point to where I think that God is trying to make this so clear to us that if it happens, it’s his finger. Because, boy, nothing looks good. And yet, everybody I know who I consider a spiritual giant feels good.”

Glenn Beck Messiah

The day after the election Beck was singing a different hymn when he said “Man, sometimes God really sucks.” But what else can he say when the day before he declared “If [voters are] so dead inside that they can no longer see the difference between good and evil, we have to be destroyed.”

That’s typical of the sanctimonious zealots who believe that they are the only ones with a direct line to God. They exalt themselves and their imagined favor with a deity that their principles mock. They blithely ignore biblical instructions to “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and openly denigrate the faith of others – particularly President Obama, who is wrongly believed to be a Muslim by about one-third of Republicans.

Right-wingers on the Fox News community web site Fox Nation even go so far as to explicitly state that Obama is “God-Less.” This article linked to the execrable conspiracy obsessed Breitbart News.

Fox Nation

The spiritual consternation of the right is thoroughly understandable. They had just run a campaign that fervently tried to paint Democrats as socialists bent on imposing a secular, atheist dictatorship on America. They condemned their policies as big-government takeovers that would throw freedom-loving patriots into bondage. They cast Democrats as leaning far too extremely to the left to be acceptable to voters. Yet people voted for them anyway. That could be interpreted in some circles as a mandate for the sort of socialism that the GOP was running against.

What the right missed was that all of the left-leaning agenda of the Democratic Party had far more in common with God’s agenda than the rank selfishness and greed of the GOP. Democrats advocated for health care (healing the sick), immigration (brotherhood), financial assistance (caring for the least among us), income equality and separation of church and state (giving Caesar his due), and deescalation of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan (blessed be the peacemakers). What’s surprising is that Republicans could oppose all of these things and still think they were doing God’s work.

The funny thing is that they had plenty of signs. The religious right is fond of ascribing meaning to significant events such as natural disasters. Many of them told their disciples that Katrina was God’s wrath on the sinfulness of New Orleans. Why, then, did they not see that God was sending them a warning when Hurricane Isaac slammed down on Tampa, scuttling day one of the GOP convention? Why didn’t they hear God’s message when Sandy battered the New England states just days before the election, giving Obama an opportunity to look presidential?

Now that we know whose side God was really on, Republicans are expressing their bitterness and disappointment with the Lord. That doesn’t seem like a particularly good way to get back in His good graces. But then the GOP was never very good at humility or admitting their mistakes. So what we see now is an escalation of apocalyptic doomsday scenarios that thrust the weak-minded into fearful panics. Leading the way is Fox News who broadcast this cheerful special on Thanksgiving Eve: “Countdown to Doomsday.”

Fox News Doomsday

They might make out better if they take some time to study the teachings of their Savior and seek to integrate them into their political philosophy. But then that would just make them liberals, wouldn’t it?

Fox News Steps Up Their Anti-Media Matters Campaign

For much of this week Fox News has been engaged in a scorched earth campaign to smear the reputation of Media Matters timed to the release of a new book from the watchdog group (The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine). They have blanketed their news properties with stories sourced from The Daily Caller (TDC), which is run, coincidentally, by Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson. Never mind that TDC’s “investigation” has uncovered nothing of significance and almost everything it has published was either old news published elsewhere, or laughably obvious and not news at all (i.e. the latest installment that jolts its readers with the surprise revelation that Media Matters receives funding from progressive donors. Shocking, I know). To date Fox has featured the story twelve times on its Fox Nation web site and at least as many times on the Fox News Channel. And all of that “news” activity occurred in just three days. You’d think this was the equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down.

On Thursday the story made the leap online from Fox Nation to the mothership, FoxNews.com.

FoxNews.com

This promotion took the form of three articles on the same day – one in the opinion section and two categorized as “Politics.” The subject matter for the articles covered two angles that any enterprising journalist would regard as evocative of nothing but boredom. All of the articles failed to produce anything that could be considered newsworthy, and even fell short of the tabloid appeal that Fox usually exploits so well.

First up was an article reporting that Media Matters had received a $50,000 grant to scrutinize religious media. Fox framed this as some sort of attack on religion, a topic it has been hammering on recently anyway. However, the work done by Media Matters in this area has focused exclusively on religious broadcasters who feature news as a part of their programming. For example, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. Robertson is a veteran of political activism and even ran for the GOP nomination for president. His program routinely discusses political issues and has its own news segments. The story, as reported by TDC and Fox, contained no examples of any work done by Media Matters that was critical of religious content from Robertson or any other religious broadcaster. Media Matters has remained true to their mission of monitoring bias in the news, regardless of the venue on which it appears and TDC produced nothing to show otherwise.

Secondly, there as article on FoxNews.com that sought to manufacture some controversy over an allegation that “Media Matters Took Gun-Control Money While Boss Paid A Bodyguard…Packin’ Heat.” The first point that should be recognized is that TDC has produced no evidence whatsoever that this allegation is true. It was made by a single anonymous source and is uncorroborated by any other documentary proof. But even if we accept the allegation hypothetically, so what? Advocates of gun control, contrary to the frantic hyperbole of right-ringers, are not opposed to the existence of guns. They are, as the label makes clear, advocates of “controlling” access to weapons so that they are not easily available to people who would use them to commit crimes or harm others. A gun in the possession of a bodyguard is entirely appropriate and would not be objected to by gun control advocates or the pro-gun-control Media Matters donor.

So once again, Fox News has succeeded only in pumping up their highly coordinated and self-serving campaign to misinform their audience about Media Matters and to damage their reputation. And this campaign is all taking place the week prior to the release of a book by Media Matters that pulls the curtain aside to reveal the makings of The Fox Effect. I’m sure that the timing of the Fox smear is totally unrelated to the book’s release.

Christian Broadcasting Network v. News Corpse

The Christian Broadcasting Network, home of The 700 Club, has notified News Corpse of a defamatory posting on this web site. I received an email from their legal team that included an attached letter (pdf) from Louis Isakoff, Vice President and General Counsel of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Isakoff is representing Pat Robertson’s son (and CBN’s CEO), Gordon. The letter said in part:

“It has recently been brought to our attention that your internet site, newscorpse.com, has posted comments from Cheryl Spencer which are false, misleading, and defamatory. A copy of that post is included with this letter. The posting accused Mr. Robertson of adultery. Obviously this accusation is inaccurate.”

The letter goes on to demand that I “remove the posting immediately” to “avoid legal action” against me. The posting in question is over two years old and it did not address Robertson in any way. It was about the hiring of the late Tony Snow, former Fox News host and Bush press secretary, by CNN. The offending material was contained in a comment made by a reader. Cheryl Spencer, whom I do not know, made a comment, that I did not endorse, concerning Robertson’s marital fidelity. News Corpse, as an advocate for higher standards in the media, respects free speech and provides an open forum for opinion from all ideological perspectives.

CBN and Robertson are demonstrating a rare measure of sensitivity by bringing down the hammer on a small Internet publisher of opinion over an old article that didn’t even mention their client. Isakoff may be a Yale lawyer and the head of the legal division of a big university and media enterprise, but he is woefully uninformed on matters of new media publishing and free expression. Had he taken the time to research the matter, he would have quickly discovered that US Code Title 47, Chapter 5, Sub-Chapter II, Part I, § 230(c) provides immunity from any cause of action related to comments posted on blogs:

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

There is an abundance of case law affirming the protection for bloggers from lawsuits stemming from comments made by readers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Citizen Media Law Project have extensive documentation of this. And that protection even applies when a blogger is notified of an allegedly defamatory comment and declines to remove it.

I can’t say whether this misunderstanding of the law is typical of Regent University lawyers, but there are certainly curious circumstances associated with that crowd. The Bush administration hired some 150 of them, including White House counsel Monica Goodling, who took the fifth before a congressional committee investigating the potentially illegal firing of U.S. Attorneys by the Bushies for partisan political reasons. And the presence of 150 lawyers in the Bush Department of Justice from a single Christian law school that was less than thirty years old is startling and unprecedented.

I have no intention of removing the comment posted on my site. I believe that the demand by CBN is without merit and is deliberately intended to harass me and to stifle free expression. This sort of bullying tactic has a chilling effect on individuals and organizations who seek only to exercise their Constitutional rights and provide forums for others to do so as well. It’s disappointing to see a religious institution, who’s rights are protected by the very same Constitutional amendment, exploit their power by threatening innocent authors and publishers.

BREAKING: Fox News Switches Parties

In a stunning and unexpected development, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and the CEO of its parent corporation News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, appeared at a hastily assembled news conference this afternoon to announce that they are abandoning their long-time affiliation with the Republican Party in favor of a political organization that more closely reflects their conservative values.

“We are not leaving the Republican Party,” Ailes told the press. “The Republican Party left us. After more than a decade of dedicated service to right-wing propaganda, the Republicans, and their supporters have drifted away to the point that there are hardly enough of them left to justify their own network anymore.”

Murdoch elaborated that…

“Recent polling shows that a mere 21% of the nation identify themselves as Republican. I’ve got a bloody network and newspapers to run, mate. I can’t be bothered with struggling to gain a bit of market share from that measly bunch.”

Murdoch is already trying to recover from news that his New York Post lost more than 20% of its readers in the past year. Consequently he has been broadening his rhetoric to be more inclusive. For instance, as reported in his own Wall Street Journal this week…

“[Murdoch] said complete nationalization of the biggest banks might have been a good thing; it would have allowed the government to break up the banks’ businesses and sell them as smaller entities. That way, ‘there would be no more too big to fail firms,’ he said.”

That is quite a departure from the sermonizing of Glenn Beck who would likely argue that that way there would be Socialism. Apparently they still have some kinks to work out.

The switch comes on the heels of Sen. Arlen Specter’s surprise jump to the Democratic Party after serving five terms as a Republican senator from Pennsylvania. Some view Specter’s move as an embarrassment to Republicans as they seek to regain their footing after losing badly in the last two election cycles. Others view it as an inevitable result of of the shrinking ideological spectrum within the Republican Party. Still others regard it as the hysterical act of radical Socialist who has been masquerading as a Republican for 30 years while leading a sleeper cell of covert Marxist revolutionaries bent on the submission of free people throughout the world.

But while some say some stuff and others say other things, associates inside the Specter camp, who have asked for anonymity to keep from being pointed and laughed at by strangers on the street, are saying that the Senator is merely hoping to hang on to his senate seat regardless of any consideration for politics or principles. An independent analyst was quoted as saying, “Duh!”

As for News Corp and Fox News, the new relationship, that they are still in the process of finalizing, will serve their interests better than those they have cultivated in the past. First on the agenda is the acquisition by News Corp of the Christian Broadcasting Network. CBN’s chief, Pat Robertson will be brought along in the newly created post of Senior VP of Editorial and Evangilism. The remaining News Corp enterprises will be re-branded as Fox Christian Ministries.

Although Specter’s jolt may have expedited the move by Murdoch and company, the move might have been predicted by many observers. Fox News has been drifting to what might be called a sort of Tele-Conservangilism™. Its message has increasingly been disseminated as if from a pulpit, complete with saints (Bush, Palin, Gingrich, and Pope Reagan) and a long list of demons (ACORN, Soros, Gun regs, Abortion, Muslims, Communism, FEMA camps, Fairness Doctrine, Taxes, Global Warming, Evolution, and, of course, the “mainstream” media). The anointed preachers for the movement were, and will continue to be, familiar names like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck.

Look for Ailes to unveil the new party insignia in the next few weeks. Reports are presently leaking out that suggest that the top contenders all have something to do with tea.

Junk News Gets FCC Seal Of Approval

Junk NewsTelevision news has taken criticism from every direction imaginable. It is accused of being too far left, or too far right, or too shallow, or too consumed with profit, etc.

Now the Federal Communications Commission has settled the argument. Television news is too newsy. The FCC’s latest satire-defying ruling has declared that the gossip-mongers at TMZ, and the God-casters at Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, are “bona fide” news providers. In arriving at that ruling, the Commissioners had to conclude that there would be no overt political partisanship in the news content from these parties.

The significance of this ruling is that the broadcast licensees of these programs will not have to comply with political equal-time requirements. In the case of TMZ, the licensees are the stations in the Fox Television Station group owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The 700 Club, of course, is openly partisan and is controlled and hosted by a former Republican candidate for president. So obviously the FCC found that there was no risk of political favoritism from these notorious right-wing entities.

Perhaps the most embarrassing revelation in this story is that the FCC justified the ruling by citing Entertainment Tonight as a precedent. Apparently the standard for newscaster bona fides is that they cover:

“…some area of current events, in a manner similar to more traditional newscasts.”

More traditional newscasts like Entertainment Tonight? This is the modern media measure for newsworthiness. And this why the legacy news networks have all taken to emulating ET. It is why Lindsay Lohan leads the evening news broadcast even when soldiers are fighting and dying in Iraq. It is why Rev. Wright dominates the news cycle even when the economy falters and thousands of Americans are losing their homes to foreclosure.

It may seem ludicrous that the FCC would grant newscaster status to TMZ and the 700 Club, but the real joke is that, by contemporary standards, they deserve it.

John Bolton Blames America First

nullThere is a Society of Conservative Demagogues (SCD) who specialize in spewing a sort of Patriopathic™ zeal that is really not much more than low grade sanctimony. They are descended from Crusaders and Witch Burners and the defective souls who have convinced themselves of their own infallibility. Their contemporary Cardinals are TelePundits preaching from their TelePulpits of the heathens (i.e. Liberals) whom they dismiss as traitors. They rally the faithful (i.e. fearful) with liturgies expounding on the Infidels whom they say always blame America first.

Yesterday, a charter member of the SCD helped to prove the old saying, “If you hate something enough, you become it.”

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton made the rounds at Fox News to offer his assessment of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and to point his accusatory finger at the U.S. of A.

On Hannity & Not Hannity (video): “I think by acceding to Benazir Bhutto’s desire to get back into the game in Pakistan, seeing her as somebody who is an alternative to Musharraf we, in effect, helped precipitate this dynamic which has led to her tragic assassination.”

On Fox News (video): “I think that in part the United States is responsible for this by pushing Musharraf, trying to cut a deal with Benazir Bhutto, by encouraging her to go back in the country, by trying to act like we could have a democratic election campaign in a situation of great instability”

I never heard Bolton express such an aversion to democracy with regard to Iraq where there is a fair measure of instability as well. While Bolton blamed America, Bhutto blamed Bolton’s pal, Musharraf. He continued his analysis by recommending a “timeout” that would “require a period of martial law.” What a great way for the U.S. to promote freedom throughout the world.

The conservative taunt of “Blame America First” appears to have originated with Ronald Reagan’s UN Ambassador, Jeane Kirkpatrick, in a speech before the Republican nominating convention for Reagan’s second term:

“…the San Francisco Democrats didn’t blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first.”

Four years later Reagan himself used it at the RNC’s anointment of George H. W. Bush to tarnish Democrats for…

“…policies of tax and spend, economic stagnation, international weakness and accommodation, and always, always, always, blame America first.”

In the interim it has been employed by everyone from House Minority Leader John Boehner to Culture Warrior Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly even adopted Kirkpatrick’s swipe at “San Francisco Democrats”, which at the time was a reference to where the Democratic National Convention was held the same year, not a regional insult as is intoned by O’Reilly.

However, you never hear rightists complain when one of their own resorts to blaming America. For example, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson wasted no time in assigning the blame for 9/11 to a broad swath of American citizens and institutions:

Falwell: I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays, and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way…I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’

Robertson: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.

But I’m sure this will all be rectified when O’Reilly returns from vacation and lets John Bolton know that such irresponsible rhetoric will not be tolerated and that America-haters like Bolton should either straighten up or shut up. That’s right…I’m as sure of that as I am that O’Reilly will kiss Keith Olbermann full on the mouth the next time he runs into him at Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem.

The pseudo-rectitude of the “Absolve America Always” crowd flies in the face of our nation’s traditional values. This country was founded by rebels who felt so passionately about the right to dissent that they enshrined it in the very first amendment to the Constitution. And true Americans will always prefer to align themselves with those who condemn torture and tyranny, as opposed to those who condone it in the name of patriotism.