Dog Whistling: The Meanstream Media Forecasting Of Election Results

There may be just one day to go, but that is no reason for the right-wing media to relax their incessant campaign of unhinged babbling and racial insults.

No one should be surprised by Fox News hammering away at their fervent anti-Obama diatribes. This morning they have ramped up their attacks on Obama for everything from Benghazi (which they compare to Watergate) to Hurricane Sandy (which they compare to Katrina). Needless to say, their comparisons only make sense to people who have had their frontal lobes removed.

In addition to this fictionalization of the news, much of the conservative press is rushing to publish their predictions of tomorrow’s election results. In this area they are just as delusional as they are in their so-called “journalism.” The big, all-cap headline at Fox News is that “ROMNEY WILL WIN.”

Fox Nation Romney Will Win

These prognostications emanate from a group of pundits who hold the Olympic record for being wrong. Karl Rove, Michael Barone, Dick Morris, and George Will, all claim that, not only will Romney prevail, but he will win by a landslide. If I were Rove, Barone, or Will, I would change my prediction just because prostitute toe-sucker, Dick Morris, agreed with me. But the general sense of over-confidence on the part of these pundits proves that they are more interested in trying to produce a result than in honestly forecasting one.

On the other side, the conservative U.S. News and World Report consulted their own pundit for a considered analysis and prediction for this historically significant election:

US News Kenyan Witch Doctor

So there you have it. USNews went all the way to Kenya to find someone they could quote with a prediction calling for Obama to win. Of course, there are hundreds of domestic political analysts they could have consulted for the same response, but apparently it was more important to blow that birther dog whistle and associate Obama with a foreign and pagan philosophy.

By the way, that’s also what Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan is doing in his recent statement about the path Obama is leading America down:

“It’s a dangerous path. It’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”

This sounds exactly like the late campaign desperation rhetoric of Sarah Palin when she started yammering about Obama “palling around with terrorists.” It’s the rhetoric of a campaign that knows it is going to lose.

Fox News Knows Ryan Lost Debate, So They Resort To Distractions And Lies

One of the best ways that experienced debate watchers know when one side has lost is if that side spends most of their time criticizing the moderator and/or the style of their opponent. That’s a clear sign that they believe they came up short on substance. And it’s precisely what Ryan’s side did from the moment the debate ended.

Twitter was buzzing with conservatives whining that moderator Martha Radditz was biased in favor of Biden, even though they had little evidence to cite for that assertion. Much of their complaining reached back twenty years to her 1991 wedding where President Obama was a guest of the groom. They conveniently wipe from their consciousness the fact that Radditz divorced Obama’s pal in 1997 and the unlikelihood that she would be inclined to do a favor for a friend of the friend of her ex-husband.

Fox News leaped to the aid of their client, resuming their role as PR agency for the GOP. And since they were no better able to attack on substance, they obsessively harped on Biden’s demeanor.

Fox Nation - Biden Smiles

They regarded his smiling and laughing as flaws that demonstrated disrespect for Ryan. But seriously, if that’s all they’ve got they might as well admit they were crushed by Biden’s command of the debate. In fact, it was clear that when Biden was laughing it was almost always in response to Ryan saying something that was blatantly false. Biden’s smile was a pretty good sign that Ryan had just lied. And had Biden remained straight-faced you can bet that he would have been castigated by the same critics as dour and unlikeable (sort of like Ryan).

Fox News also made an effort to skew the public reaction to the debate and, true to form, they outright lied. There were two post-debate polls conducted – one by CBS that showed Biden winning 50-32, and one by CNN that put Ryan ahead 48-44. Fox News reported that two polls placed Ryan in the lead.

Fox Nation Debate Polls

The way that Fox arrived at this conclusion was by including an online survey by CNBC. That was actually just a web question that could be answered by anyone who visited their site. It was not a scientific poll. In fact, while the numbers did put Ryan ahead (36-56) when Fox first reported them Thursday evening, later on Friday morning the same poll showed Biden leading (52-44).

CNBC Debate Poll

Nevertheless, Fox was still reporting the older numbers of this non-poll. When Steve Doocy brought it up on Fox & Friends he only mentioned that two polls favored Ryan. Then, when Brian Kilmeade noted a third poll by CBS, Doocy dismissed it saying that it was just a focus group with only 50 people. In fact, CBS conducted a conventional poll with 431 respondents. So Doocy lied to throw out CBS’s real poll while embracing CNBC’s fake one.

Much of the media followed the same course with Politico, The Guardian, The Daily Caller, The Washington Examiner, National Review, and Breitbart Nwes, all characterizing what CNBC posted as an actual poll. This tendency to promote dishonest information fits nicely in the GOP’s new post-truth era. Which brings us back to Paul Ryan, who did his part by dropping at least two lies during the debate that had previously been found to be “Pants-on-Fire” lies by PolitiFact. And not being a slacker, one of Ryans lies was actually the “Lie of the Year” in 2010. Nice work, Paul.

Biden/Ryan Debate: Paul Ryan Reprises PolitiFact’s 2010 Lie of the Year

Pants on FireIt’s not enough for Republicans to merely lie after having set the bar for veracity so low this election season. Consequently, after Romney spent 90 minutes lying last week, Ryan had to aim higher. And boy, did he. He reprised the 2010 Lie of the Year per PolitiFact.

PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: ‘A government takeover of health care’
Ryan: President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. It’s not working.

In addition to that, Ryan let loose another PolitiFact Pants-On-Fire lie:

Smallest Navy Since 1917
Ryan: If these cuts go through, our Navy will be the smallest — the smallest it has been since before World War I.

Republicans have been very upset at having been called liars lately. That’s despite the fact that Romney started it even before the first debate by projecting that Obama would lie. But I would advise them that if they don’t like being called liars, they should stop lying.

The Ten (Plus) Rankest Hypocrisies Of Mitt Romney And The Republican Party

A slightly abridged version of this article was published on Alternet

The Republican National Convention was a rare opportunity to peer into the soul of a party that has embraced an open aversion to the truth. It was a veritable festival of falsehoods, from Paul Ryan implying that a GM plant that had shut down before President Obama was inaugurated was somehow his fault, to Mitt Romney perpetuating the myth that Obama’s health care plan had cut $700 billion from the benefits of Medicare recipients. Even the theme of last Wednesday’s program, “We Built This,” rested on a thoroughly dishonest misrepresentation of the President’s words.

Less noticed was a parade of hypocrisies that would bring shame to anyone with a modicum of self-respect. The degree of hypocritical expressions emanating from the right has reached historic proportions. It’s as if they have lost the ability to recognize the obvious contradictions they exude. Or, more likely, they simply don’t care. They are more interested in scoring political points which, unfortunately, is a deceit at which they are occasionally successful.

The hyper-hypocritical tendencies of today’s GOP has spread through the Party’s blood stream and is discernible from almost every angle. Below is a sampling of recent examples of rank hypocrisy caught gushing from the right and its most prominent proponents.

1) Hypocrisy On Health Care: Romney has promised that his first action on day one of a Romney administration would be to repeal ObamaCare. Of course, he wouldn’t have any authority to do that and attempting to pass legislation in congress would get stopped short in the Democratically-controlled senate. However, he may want to have a discussion with his running mate. It was recently disclosed that Ryan quietly applied for funding of a Wisconsin health care clinic in his district. The funds would come entirely from the Affordable Care Act that Ryan and Romney now propose to repeal. Also, after insisting that he would repeal Obamacare in its entirety, Romney told David Gregory on Meet the Press “I say we’re going to replace Obamacare. And I’m replacing it with my own plan.” Somebody needs to remind Romney that Obamacare IS his own plan, including the individual mandate.

2) Hypocrisy On Political Ads: In an interview on the Bill Bennett radio show, Mitt Romney lashed out at what he considered to be false ads by a pro-Obama Super PAC. In the course of his tirade he lamented that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” Romney said this even as he refused to pull his own ads that had been rated “Pants-on-Fire” lies by PolitiFact. Subsequently, the Romney campaign decided to abandon any pretense to honesty and declare that fact-checkers had “jumped the shark,” and that they would no longer “let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” In other words, we’ll lie if we feel like it.

Ann Romney3) Hypocrisy On Women: At the GOP convention in Tampa, Ann Romney gave a keynote speech wherein she saluted women saying “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you.” It was a naked attempt to appeal to women voters with whom the GOP is having trouble connecting. However, beyond her vacant flattery she never uttered a word of support for issues of importance to women. There was no mention of equal pay, gender discrimination in the workplace, parental leave, or child welfare services like health care or nutritional programs. The only references she made to education were how fortunate her husband and children were to have the benefit of attending first-rate institutions that most Americans will never see. And the GOP platform strikes a markedly different tone by banning access to family planning services and effectively asserting that women, “the hope of America,” are not competent to make decisions about their own bodies.

4) Hypocrisy On Misogyny: The comments of GOP senate candidate Todd Akin regarding “legitimate rape” caused a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Many on the right insisted that Akin withdraw from the Missouri senate race. However, most of the criticism was directed at the harm that Akin caused to the GOP’s prospects of winning the seat, rather than to the offensive views Akin articulated. There was abundant gnashing of teeth over Akin’s stupidity for putting the election at risk, but little condemnation for what he actually said. The reason for that is that when it comes to women, the right’s policies are actually a logical conclusion of Akin’s dumb outburst. In fact, Ryan cosponsored a bill in the House with Akin that sought to redefine the term “rape” so that federal funds were unavailable for victims unless the crime was deemed “forcible,” which would have excluded many assaults that were statutory, incest, or under duress.

5) Hypocrisy On Voting: Fox News and Romney have both recently made an issue of legislation in Ohio that would remove early voting availability for all voters except those in the military. The Obama Justice Department challenged the law arguing that every voter should have early access to the polls. Romney and Fox responded by accusing the President of wanting to make it more difficult for soldiers to vote, even though the administration’s position was to make voting easier for everyone. What Romney and Fox did not say was that their position would have denied early voting to over 900,000 Ohio veterans (in addition to millions of other Ohio residents) who were not included in the GOP’s bill. [Note: An Ohio court just ruled in favor of the administration’s position, but the Ohio Secretary of State insisted that he would defy the court order to open the polls. Then, after the judge demanded the Secretary of State appear before him to explain himself, he backed down and agreed to the court’s order].

6) Hypocrisy On Tax Shelters: Mitt Romney’s problems with his financial records are well known. He continues to refuse to release his tax returns even as more evidence comes out that he has engaged in shenanigans involving off-shore banks and other tax avoidance schemes. Nevertheless, Romney had the audacity to address a group of donors and complain about big businesses that “save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world.” Apparently that’s only acceptable for wealthy presidential candidates.

7) Hypocrisy On The Economy: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Mitt Romney says “Yes.” The key issue of the Romney campaign from its inception has been his contention that the economy is in dismal shape and that it’s the President’s fault. Romney has said on numerous occasions that Obama may have inherited a troubled economy, but he made it worse. However, when asked by radio host Laura Ingraham about improving economic indicators he unflinchingly admitted “Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession.” Ingraham was stunned and gave Romney a second shot noting that he wasn’t helping his argument. Romney held firm saying “Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.” Soon after, Romney returned to falsely accusing Obama of making things worse.

8) Hypocrisy On Terrorism: While running for the GOP nomination for president in 2007, Romney was asked by reporters if he agreed with comments by then-candidate Obama that if Osama bin Laden was discovered in Pakistan he would take action if the Pakistanis did not. Romney responded “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” Earlier this year, on the anniversary of the death of bin Laden, who was killed by American Special Forces in Pakistan, Romney diminished the President’s role by saying that “Anybody would have made that call.” Well…not anybody.

9) Hypocrisy On The Auto Bailout: Romney was a vocal opponent of the auto industry bailout orchestrated by the Obama administration. He famously wrote an op-ed for the New York Times with the title “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. Fast forward a couple of years to a newly profitable and growing automobile industry and we find that Romney has shifted his position to one where he not only claims to have supported the bailout, but he considers himself responsible for its success. He told ABC News that “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” That’s a little like Pontius Pilate taking credit for Jesus coming back.

10) Hypocrisy On Abortion: When Romney ran for the senate in Massachusetts in 1994, he claimed to support abortion rights and punctuated his commitment to that position with a story about a close relative who died as the result of an illegal abortion. In a debate with his opponent, Ted Kennedy, Romney referenced his family’s loss and said “It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.” So Romney was once driven by his grief to make an unwavering commitment to never force his beliefs on others, but now he’s pushing for a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Is he through with grieving now? Is he comfortable with the grief that other families will suffer if his promise to repeal Roe v. Wade is fulfilled?

Hypocrisy and the Republican Party have never been far apart. They were the originators of the health care insurance mandate, but flipped to opposing it after it was proposed by a Democratic president. They supported the DREAM Act until Obama put it on the legislative agenda. Cap and trade was a GOP innovation. And the war hawks of the Republican right – Bush, Cheney, Rove, Boehner, Bolton, Limbaugh, Hannity, Kristol, Beck, etc. – never saw a day of combat. Mitt Romney, after protesting in favor of the draft to send other kids to Vietnam, avoided service via his Mormon missionary work in Paris, and received multiple academic deferments.

The lies that have been so freely disseminated by the right are a serious impediment to democracy, made worse by their arrogant persistence in lying even after having been exposed. But their hypocrisy is just as thickly applied and just as deceitful. It is emblematic of the character (or lack thereof) of the Republican Party and its spokespersons, including their leader, Mitt Romney.

Special Feature: Here are the runner-ups that didn’t make the top ten:

11) Hypocrisy On Socialism: The featured convention speeches by the Republican standard bearers contained some flowery language intended to motivate their delegates and sway voters watching at home. Some of their rhetoric, however, would not have been so well received if it had been offered by President Obama. On Wednesday Paul Ryan said that “We have responsibilities, one to another. We do not each face the world alone.” That was followed by Romney on Thursday saying “The America we know is the story of the many becoming one.” To some listeners those may sound like distinctly socialist sentiments. That sort of collectivist dialogue is commonly heard in leftist conclaves and union halls. All Obama had to say was that he favored “spreading the wealth around” and he was deemed an avid Marxist. For Rom-n-Ry to talk this way and not get branded as subversives is a bit surprising. Particularly when the Republican model of shared sacrifice is lower salaries for teachers, lower benefits for seniors, and lower taxes for millionaires.

Shared Sacrifice

12) Hypocrisy On Music: Paul Ryan, in an attempt to connect with a younger voting demographic, has lately been touting his rocker cred. He said that his favorite band is Rage Against the Machine. That prompted Rage guitarist Tom Morello to ask “I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of ‘Fuck the Police’?” Then Ryan told the GOP conventioneers that his iPod was stoked with songs by “youth-oriented” artists like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin that an old-timer like Mitt Romney couldn’t appreciate. What he failed to note was that his playlist seems to be dominated by bands that debuted some 40 years ago and that Romney is younger than Zeppelin’s lead guitarist, Jimmy Page.

13) Hypocrisy On Immigration: A core part of the Fox News agenda is to demonize immigrants. Last month the Fox Nation web site featured a story about a sexual assault on a child with a headline that blared “Illegal Alien Charged with Raping 4-Year Old.” Of course, the immigration status of the alleged perpetrator is entirely irrelevant to the crime. Fox would never have published such a story identifying a white Protestant American in the headline, although that happens far more frequently. It is also interesting that Fox never posted a story with the headline “Fox News Reporter Charged with Sexual Assault on 4-year Old” when that occurred a few years ago.

14) Hypocrisy On Taxes: Mitt Romney has been campaigning mightily to disabuse voters of the notion that he is an out-of-touch multimillionaire who has benefited unfairly from his wealth and position. Nevertheless, he refuses to come clean about his taxes or his resume with Bain Capital. Part of the reason he chose Paul Ryan to join his ticket was to divert attention from these questions that have been hounding him on the campaign trail. However, he may not get the reaction he hopes. Ryan’s budget plan includes the elimination of capital gains taxes, and since that is almost the entire source of Romney’s income, it would reduce his already low (13.9%) tax rate to nearly zero (0.82%).

15) Hypocrisy On Medicare: The charge from Democrats that the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan will end the program as we know it has rankled the Romney campaign. They respond by saying that no one over the age of 55 will be affected by their reforms. Setting aside for the moment the ludicrous notion that seniors would be happy knowing that only their children would suffer the loss of benefits, Romney’s plan to repeal ObamaCare would immediately end prescription drug benefits and access to preventative care that today’s seniors are currently receiving.

And sadly, this list is still incomplete.

Socialist Republicans And Mitt Romney’s Promise To Do ‘Something’

Wrapping up the Republican National Kvetch-a-Sketch, Mitt Romney delivered a barn-boring speech that nevertheless stirred the sheep in the convention hall. With a different theme every night, Romney chose to highlight a bold new message that is sure to resonate with the Replicant base:

“Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something.”

So there you have it. Mitt Romney pledges to do “something.” That soaring rhetoric ought to inspire America’s voters. And consistent with his campaign to date, Romney refused to say specifically what that something would be. Contrary to the build up from Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, who hailed Romney as a leader who would tell the nation the “hard truths,” Romney stuck to soft platitudes and appeals to the disappointed demographic.

However, a familiar hint of a vision did emerge from both of the GOP’s standard bearers. Romney and Ryan united to express their shared belief in the spirit of collectivism and the sense that we, as Americans, are all in this together:

Romney Ryan Socialists

Romney: “The America we know is the story of the many becoming one.”

Ryan: “We have responsibilities, one to another. We do not each face the world alone.”

Those are admirable sentiments that reflect the views of many Americans who are committed to holding the nation together community by community. Even Chris Christie declared that “We all must share in the sacrifice.” The problem with those remarks is that, had President Obama made them, they would have been castigated by Tea-publicans as anti-American, socialist sermonizing. Fox News and talk radio McCarthyites would have built days of programming around such objectionable ravings.

But an even bigger problem is that Rom-n-Ry don’t mean what they say. Their philosophy leans more toward going it alone – an “I got mine” individualism that rejects social welfare and unity of purpose. The Republican model of shared sacrifice is lower salaries for teachers, lower benefits for seniors, and lower taxes for millionaires.

Shared Sacrifice

There’s going to be plenty of analysis in the media in the next couple of days of Romney’s speech on both its style and substance (although Clint Eastwood may have stolen the RNC finale, and not in a good way). However, much of the right-wing press has already dismissed fact-checking as a liberal plot to which they don’t have to pay attention. That’s convenient considering the frequency with which they lie.

Perhaps the most blatant falsehood in Romney’s speech was when he said “Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.” Not only has Obama cut taxes for the middle class, but Romney’s tax plan actually does raise their taxes. But the funniest misrepresentation was when he said that “My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution.” Romney left out the fact that his father had been born in Mexico because his grandfather, and his five wives, had to flee the U.S. in order to sustain their polygamy. I wonder why Romney glossed over that devotion to the institution of traditional marriage.

Update: This photo just came in off the wires of another hard hitting interview with Invisible Obama:

Pee Wee Herman and Invisible Obama

Romney And Ryan Think Seniors Don’t Care About Their Children

Much of the discussion about Medicare has centered around the question of who will be affected by the proposed reforms. The Obama campaign correctly points out that Romney’s pledge to repeal ObamaCare would immediately subject seniors to higher costs for prescription drugs and preventive care. The President also notes that the $716 billion dollars his plan saves would come from administrative expenditures and the reduction in waste, fraud, and abuse. Not a single dime would be cut from seniors’ benefits.

Romney and RyanHowever, a major talking point from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is that their plan to create a voucher program would not impact anyone who is 55 or older. The first question that raises is: Why not? If it’s so great, why are they preventing current Medicare recipients from enjoying it? Obviously, they recognize that their plan is objectionable and unpopular.

But the the more pressing problem is the notion that they can pacify today’s seniors by assuring them that they will not be harmed by the changes. They think that seniors will respond by saying…

“OK, thanks for not taking away the Medicare plan that is working so well for us. But go ahead and take it away from our children because who the hell cares about them. So long as we get ours those little snots can fend for themselves.”

If Rom-n-Ry think that seniors in Florida, or the rest of the nation, are going to be satisfied with assurances that their own benefits will be preserved but their kids will be hung out to dry, they are going to be in for a big surprise. Most seniors really do love their kids and grandkids and want the best for them. They will not willingly sacrifice the welfare of their children for promises that exempt themselves from the changes that reduce benefits and cost more.

The absurd suggestion that current recipients will not be effected is the very first item in a list of the “Key Elements of Mitt’s Plan.” Other elements are just as deceptive and/or harmful. For instance (taken directly from Mitt Romney’s web site):

#4: If seniors choose more expensive plans, they will have to pay the difference between the support amount and the premium price; if they choose less expensive plans, they can use any leftover support to pay other medical expenses like co-pays and deductibles.

This proposal reveals that the costs awaiting seniors will include unspecified co-pays and deductibles that will not be covered by the voucher, or “premium support.” The burden of that expense will fall on the recipient. It also makes clear the choices that seniors will face with regard to their health care. If their budgets are constrained they may have to settle for “less expensive plans” that fail to meet their needs. If it’s a choice between insurance or rent or groceries, it puts the recipient in an untenable situation. That is a big difference compared to what they get today from Medicare. It is also notable that any of the savings from choosing a an inferior plan cannot be spent on anything but authenticated medical expenses.

#5: “Traditional” fee-for-service Medicare will be offered by the government as an insurance plan, meaning that seniors can purchase that form of coverage if they prefer it; however, if it costs the government more to provide that service than it costs private plans to offer their versions, then the premiums charged by the government will have to be higher and seniors will have to pay the difference to enroll in the traditional Medicare option.

That is an admission that the “traditional” plan that today’s seniors are familiar with will cease to exist. The costs for the recipient may be substantially higher than they are now. And they will be competing with private insurance companies whose plans may be less expensive, but also less comprehensive. That also forces seniors into making decisions driven more by budget than by need.

#7: Competition among plans to provide high quality service while charging low premiums will hold costs down while also improving the quality of coverage enjoyed by seniors.

The assertion that competition among private insurance plans will hold down costs is refuted by the current market for heath care insurance. Does anyone reading this know of any insurance policy that has added benefits and cut premiums? Insurance companies are notoriously greedy in the way they administer their products, despite the fact that they are more profitable year after year. Most policies increase significantly over time while coverage is narrowed. That’s the free market that Rom-n-Ry want to force seniors into. And by encouraging seniors to exit Medicare, it will shrink the coverage pool, thus forcing costs higher while diluting the influence of Medicare to negotiate provider costs downward.

There are some services that ought not to be subject to the whims of the free market. Health care is one. Social Security is another. Just imagine the devastating hardship beneficiaries would have faced if their Social Security had been in the stock market in 2008. Yet that’s precisely what Rom-n-Ry support in their privatization plan. It is a plan that demonstrably harms seniors today and tomorrow. And seniors are not going to selfishly secure advantages for themselves at the expense of their kids. That would be a poor display of family values.

The GOP Is Fighting For Legitimacy

The comments of GOP senate candidate Todd Akin regarding “legitimate rape” are not out of place for conservative Republicans. He was expressing a view that is commonly supported by his colleagues, albeit in a uniquely distasteful manner.

Akin has been an outspoken advocate of banning abortion in all circumstances, including rape, incest and the life of the mother. It’s a position that is also held by Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and many others in the Party. In fact, both Akin and Ryan cosponsored a bill to redefine rape so that only cases where it was determined to have been “forcible” would be approved for federal funds for victims.

But on an even larger scale, the GOP conservative cabal has long aspired to be the authority that certifies what is legitimate in America. They want to rule over legitimacy in patriotism, religious faith, scientific credibility for evolution or climate change, citizenship, and even what constitutes personhood.

Republicans have appointed themselves the martinets of virtue and all Americans must pass their test to be considered legitimate. Submit to their judgment, ye heathens.

GOP Fighting For Legitimacy

Calls for Akin to withdraw from the Senate race are pouring in. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, Tea Party Express, the National Review, and more are among them. Even Karl Rove has announced that his Super PAC is pulling all funding from the Missouri senate campaign. As a GOP candidate, if you’ve lost Karl Rove you are in deep manure.

However, I am pulling for Akin to hold firm. He was the candidate that the Republican voters of Missouri chose to represent them in the campaign and their voice should not be canceled out by a political machine who would replace Akin with an unelected crony chosen by party insiders. That’s simply undemocratic. In 2000 a Democratic candidate for the senate, Mel Carnahan, died during the campaign and his name was not taken off the ballot. So why should Akin be forced out if Missouri is OK with running corpses? By the way, Carnahan went on to a posthumous victory over former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

To be frank, I really would like to see Akin continue his candidacy and fight to defend his views for another couple of months. After which he will likely lose to incumbent Claire McCaskill. The last thing I want is for Akin to be replaced by a candidate who will fare better in November. So hang Tough, Todd. Democrats are rooting for you. You bring much needed attention to the despicable agenda of the right.

Update: Congressman Allen West has joined the chorus of Republicans condemning Akin. He wrote on his Facebook page: “I found Congressman Todd Akin’s comments about rape to be…simply unacceptable.” That’s the same Allen West who said that half the Democrats in Congress are Communists and compared them to Joseph Goebbels. You’ve sunk pretty low when someone like West thinks your comments are unacceptable.

Fox News Continues To Ignore Polls Favorable To Obama

A new poll by the Fox News house pollsters, Rasmussen, shows that President Obama has gained on Mitt Romney since the announcement of Paul Ryan as Romney’s vice-presidential running mate. That’s a striking achievement for Obama considering the notorious right-wing bias of Rasmussen. But first, a little background…

Last week I reported that Fox News was feverishly hyping pro-Romney polls while ignoring those that show President Obama in the lead. I noted that Fox Nation had posted an article showing the results of a Rasmussen poll with a headline that beamed “Romney Opens Up Lead Over Obama.” However they neglected to report any news of all the other polls that showed Obama ahead, including a poll conducted by Fox News itself:

Fox Nation

This week Rasmussen’s presidential daily tracking poll shows a significant five point swing in Obama’s favor. Last Friday, Romney led Obama 47% to 43%. Today he’s trailing Obama, 46% to 45%. That shift took place since the announcement last Saturday of Paul Ryan to join Mitt Romney’s campaign. So apparently Ryan’s addition to Romney’s team has not yielded any benefit in the polling by the GOP’s favorite pollster.

But What’s most notable about this news is that Fox News, who were quick to post the Rasmussen poll results last week, have blackballed Rasmussen this week. As of this writing there has been no coverage whatsoever of Rasmussen’s most recent poll results. Obviously Fox is afraid of presenting any information to their dimwitted audience that might cause them to fret about a socialist Kenyan being reelected. And they certainly don’t want their glassy-eyed viewers to get wind of the fact that Ryan is being received as a dud. As I noted last week, this is…

“…the sort of biased cherry-picking that is the hallmark of Fox’s “news” charade. […It’s] a crystal clear message to pollsters from Fox: If you want to be covered, you better say what we like.”

Last week Rasmussen’s results pleased Fox and they were rewarded with front page coverage. This week Rasmussen’s results upset Fox and they were given the silent treatment. This is further evidence of why Fox viewers are repeatedly shown to be more ill-informed than all other news consumers.

Tom Morello: Paul Ryan Is The Embodiment Of The Machine That Our Music Has Been Raging Against

Rage Against the Machine guitar shredder, Tom Morello, took offense to the fact that Mitt Romney’s choice for vice-president, Paul Ryan, cited Rage as his favorite band. In an op-ed for Rolling Stone, Morello clearly explained his objections:

“I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!

“Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”

Ouch. It can’t be pleasant getting smacked down like that by one of your musical idols. Morello also wonders whether Ryan might have learned a thing or two from RATM’s songs and “Maybe he’ll fill Guantanamo Bay with the corporate criminals that are funding his campaign – and then torture them with Rage music 24/7.”

Morello had something specific to say in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin last year when he was there supporting the people against a governor who sought to strip rights from workers. Perhaps Ryan wasn’t paying attention.

Fox News Recycles The Sarah Palin VP Script – Changes The Name To Paul Ryan

Professional marketers know that when you’ve got a winning product, stick with it. However that doesn’t explain what Fox News is doing with their promotion of Paul Ryan.

The Sarah Palin script was a non-stop parade of effusive flattery for her appearance, her stage presence, and the fresh invigoration she allegedly brought to the doddering campaign of John McCain. Fox News considered her a “rock star” who was the “future of the party.” Rich Lowry of the National Review was bewitched:

“I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, ‘Hey, I think she just winked at me.’ And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.”

Unfortunately, what Fox appears to have forgotten was that Palin lost. When a campaign goes so dreadfully wrong it makes no sense to reprise it four years later with an even less appealing subject. What’s more, Palin is widely believed to have been a drag on the ticket, and she is now a washed up reality TV star and Fox News contributor who isn’t even invited to the GOP convention. Perhaps Ryan should be more worried than flattered.

Nevertheless, Fox has dusted off the Palin script, changed the names to Paul Ryan, and started the whole loser campaign over again. Only this time the “manly” men on Fox have to awkwardly profess their adoring attraction to another man who is best known for being a numbers wonk.

Will Fox calling Ryan a rock star propel him to victory? Will Lowry see starbursts and imagine Ryan winking at him? Will recycling the Palin script work any better on a budget committee chairman than it did on an Alaskan former beauty queen runner-up? I guess we’ll find out in about two and a half months. In the meantime, I hope that Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly can control themselves.

If Mitt Romney Thought Paul Ryan Would Change The Subject From Taxes…

Much of the media is heralding Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan to be his running mate as a significant “reset” of the Romney campaign. But these people might want to think again before they shake the Etch-a-Sketch.

First of all. the clamor for Romney to release more than a year or two of taxes is not likely to recede in light of the fact that Romney demanded more than that from Ryan in order to be considered for the vice-presidential nomination. It will be difficult to justify why Romney needs more tax information for his VP nominee than the American people need for president.

Secondly, Ryan’s reputation rests largely on his budget proposal that includes huge tax reductions for those who earn more than $200,000, while raising taxes for low and middle income taxpayers. Romney is already attempting to distance himself from Ryan’s plan saying that he has his own plan, but since Romney has previously praised the Ryan scheme on multiple occasions, he can’t credibly disavow it now.

Finally, Ryan’s plan calls for the elimination of capital gains taxes. Since that was almost the entirety of Romney’s income in 2010 (the only year for which he has released tax returns), Romney’s taxes would go down to nearly zero.

Romney's Taxes Under Ryan Plan

These are not the sort of talking points that are likely to divert attention from the tax issue that has been eating away at Romney like rust on ’57 Rambler. To the contrary, Ryan only exacerbates the problem for Romney.

PASTROMNEY ON RYAN: Mitt Romney Caves In To The Tea-Publican Wing

Capping a month of monumental failure, international gaffes, and plunging polls, Mitt Romney did precisely what the far-right fringe of the Republican Party demanded of him. He chose, Paul Ryan, a VP running mate straight from the bowels of the Tea Party, whose well-documented agenda of gifting financial benefits to the wealthy and sending the bill to the poor and middle class is the perfect complement to Romney Hood. Congratulations Governor.

Pastromney on Ryan

Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina released the following statement in response to Mitt Romney picking Congressman Paul Ryan to be his presumptive nominee for vice president:

“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”

ThinkProgress compiled 12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan (click link for details).

  1. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand.
  2. Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class, cuts them for millionaires.
  3. Ryan wants to end Medicare, replace it with a voucher system.
  4. Ryan thinks Social Security is a “ponzi scheme.”
  5. Ryan’s budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years.
  6. Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students.
  7. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsides for big oil.
  8. Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies .
  9. Ryan claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.”
  10. Ryan believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.”
  11. Ryan accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget.
  12. Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure.

And as a symbolic harbinger of things to come, in the big stage-managed photo-op of Romney announcing his bachlorette, Romney introduced Ryan as “the next president of the United States.”

Let the games begin…..

An Alien Discovers Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget

Last week the Republicans walked out of the congressional deliberations regarding the debt ceiling. They continue to hold the nation’s economic survival hostage to their obsession for ever more benefits for the wealthy and cuts for the needy – the Republican Model of Shared Sacrifice. As usual, the press fails to put into context the core differences between the Democrats and Republicans. However, those differences are pretty easy to figure out and they have been itemized by economists at the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities.

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would get nearly two-thirds of its $4.5 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years from programs that serve people of limited means.

If an alien exploring the Earth were to draw conclusions about what the most pressing problems are for its inhabitants based on the Ryan budget, it would probably look something like this:


What it boils down to is that Republicans think that the current deficit problems should be resolved by cutting services to seniors, poor children, the disabled, and other low-income Americans. These freeloaders should bear the the burden of restoring our economy’s health, while the wealthy get more tax relief so that they can buy bigger boats and save for their luxury retirement.

Why anyone would think that working Americans and their families should suffer in order to repair problems caused by corporations and Wall Street bankers is unfathomable. But that’s what the GOP is proposing and they’re willing to send the nation into a disastrous default if they don’t get their way.

Is The GOP Ashamed Of Its Tea Party Base?

This morning the Fox Nation has placed as its top story an article on the Democrats’ new campaign to tie Tea Partyists to Republicans. Is that supposed to be a criticism? I thought the GOP and the Tea Baggers were best buddies. Republican candidates across the nation have embraced the Tea Party and enthusiastically sought their support. Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Paul Rand in Kentucky have been lauded as heroes within the GOP. Now, all of a sudden, they are complaining that Democrats are calling attention to the affection these conservative comrades have for one another.

When did the Republicans come to view the Tea Party as a liability? Why would this ad rattle them? Recent polling shows that 79% of Tea Partyists identified themselves as Republicans. And some of the top Republicans have been pandering to the Baggers in the most overt manner possible:

John Boehner, House Minority Leader: There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the tea party activists believe in.

Sarah Palin, 1/2-term governor/Fox News contributor: The Republican Party would be really smart to start trying to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible because this is the future of our country. The Tea Party movement is the future of politics.

Sen. Jim DeMint, GOP Chair Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, and more, share these sentiments. However, the Fox Nationalists seemed to be worried about the association with extremist elements of the Tea Bagging faction. The posting links to an article on The Daily Caller that goes into more detail about this troublesome trend. But the article doesn’t support the contention that it is the Tea Party that worries them. The Caller asserts that the Democratic effort is…

“…a swipe at House Republicans for not offering more specifics of how they would govern if they retake the House. But it’s also an attempt to force the GOP to own proposals by Rep. Paul Ryan.”

Are they worried about the Tea Party or their own Republican agenda? Paul Ryan may be a Tea Party sympathizer, but he is also a Republican leader and the ranking member of the House Budget Committee. Why would the GOP need to be “forced” to adopt the budget proposals of their own budget committee chief? Why are they ashamed to endorse their own platform and people? That’s all the Democrats are putting forth in their video and on the web site dedicated to the Republican Tea Party Contract on America. The site is a summary of the Republican agenda as stated by Republicans, and is fully annotated to document their positions.

While Fox Nation is serving the interests of the Republican Party by seeking to mock the Democrats’ campaign, the Fox Nationalist citizens of the web site (which hilariously just added the words “All Opinions Welcome” to their logo) are not as anxious to distance themselves from the Tea Bagging contingent. Here is a sampling of comments from these completely sane and reasonable folks:

Wolverine Oathkeeper: I do not think it is necessary to puke the reasons why I am not voting for ANY DemonRats especially Obama “The man from Kenya who scammed our country”. My core thought is that they do not represent “One Nation under God, Indivisible With Liberty and Justice For All”

Judgment: Decent People have the common sense to know that the Democratic party has become a Servant of Satan and is using all his favorite ‘tools’ of lies and deception to decieve the people.

Muslim socialist democrats …….taking lying to a whole nother level !: These muslim socialist democrats are runnin scared…………….There is no antidote for the socialist policies of the muslim moron ! America is fed up with these morons and there is nothing the muslim socialist democratic party can do !

WHITE&PROUD2: Hey Liberals, who gives a f–k what you do? Your time is up and you are irrelevant!!

s-t-g: I like the ad. I wish the republican party was more conservative and would enact much of what the tea party stands for.

Exactly! This ad is not the least bit derogatory from the perspective of the Tea Bagger. It is a documentary exposition of the current state of the Tea-publican establishment. No Tea Partyist would find this ad objectionable. So the question is…why do the Republicans and their media mouthpieces?

Update: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor is ashamed. He announced today that he would not be joining the Tea Party caucus in Congress recently founded by Michelle Bachmann (R-TP).