Chris Christie: Telling It Like It Is – If “IT” is Vulgar, Tactless, And Rude

The Republican Party has its fourteenth official candidate to be their nominee for President of the United States. This morning Chris Christie made his announcement from his hometown in New Jersey. Christie joins a parade of hopefuls, none of whom have succeeded in igniting much enthusiasm on the part of GOP voters. Christie enters the race at 2% (according to a Fox News poll) in a field whose leader, Jeb Bush, has a pitiful 15%. And he has some weighty baggage.

Chris Christie 2016

Most of Christie’s speech was focused on his family history and the struggles faced by his two single-parent grandmothers who raised his parents. Other than that, he spoke of his mythical reputation as a frank-speaking truth-teller. He didn’t offer a single specific regarding the platform for a Christie administration. And he left out the fact that his state has had financial downgrades seven times during his tenure.

Christie’s campaign theme of “Telling it like it is,” is ironically one of the most dishonest presentations in modern politics. There is very little to substantiate the claim of straight-talk attributed to Christie. What the media seems to be mistaking for candor is actually Christie’s tendency to be crude, vulgar, and insensitive to common civil behavior. But insulting constituents, berating reporters, and in general being verbally abusive in public is not the same thing as telling it like it is.

The arrogant brutishness evident in Christie’s so-called personality makes it easy to believe that he would order a major bridge closure to retaliate against a mayor who was not sufficiently obsequious. Why would someone like Christie care about who was harmed? And while he still denies any role in that unlawful and potentially dangerous act of revenge, the fact that so many close members of his staff were involved can only mean that he is either lying or incompetent.

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Currently Christie does not meet the requirements established by Fox News to participate in the upcoming GOP debate. That leaves him out of a group that includes Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson. It’s hard to see a path to victory for Christie if some his party’s biggest jokes are pushing him out of contention. And he has his work cut out for him anyway since the Tea Party fruitcakes still haven’t forgiven him for embracing President Obama following the hurricane that devastated much of his state. That is what likely has resulted in his polling second only to Trump on the question of “Who would you never vote for?”

That’s a far fall from grace for candidate who once topped the polls and was personally solicited to run by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Setting aside that gross ethical breach by an alleged “news” operation, Christie will still enjoy Fox’s favor when he visits Sean Hannity tonight for his first post-announcement interview, just as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio did before him. So welcome to the Clown Car, Gov. Christie. And as they, buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Stupid Congressional Tricks: ScotusCare Act To Force Supreme Court Justices Into ObamaCare

Maybe it’s not fair, but candidates for president often suck up most of the air during the campaign season. This often results in embarrassing displays of ignorance or incompetence or just plain lunatic notions that are part and parcel of the wingnut agenda. A few weeks ago Jeb Bush provided an example by being unable to answer a question on whether or not he would have invaded Iraq knowing what we know today. And Donald Trump served up an example with his bitterly derogatory remarks about immigrants. Other examples abound from folks like Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, etc.

ScotusCare

This state of affairs must be making members of Congress uncontrollably jealous. After all, most of the time they have a free reign of the idiotic terrain. Now one congressman has been driven to do something about it and has taken a bold step to restore the reputation for dumbfuckery that the Republican-run Congress has always treasured. GOP Rep. Brian Babin of Texas (where else?) introduced what he calls the ScotusCare Act of 2015. It’s purpose is to force the Justices of the Supreme Court and their staff to acquire health insurance policies available on an ObamaCare exchange.

Babin’s obvious intention is to inflict what he regards as punishment on the Court for doing their job, which in this case was to rule in favor of the availability of ObamaCare subsidies nationwide. Babin thinks that by making the Court live under ObamaCare it will teach them a lesson, and thus influence their behavior in the future. There are a couple of reasons this qualifies as being hysterically stupid.

First of all, it is a violation of the Constitution for Congress to use its law-making authority to retaliate against, coerce, or threaten another branch of government or its personnel.

Secondly, Babin’s intention to “force” people unto ObamaCare reveals his ignorance about what the Affordable Care Act actually does. The objective of the legislation is to make health insurance available to all Americans. That means that if you are not covered by your employer, or as part of a family policy, or by Medicare, or some other means, you can sign up for a policy on an exchange. However, the Supreme Court justices and their staff do have an employer who provides health insurance: the Federal government. So what Babin is proposing is to amend ObamaCare so that these specific Americans are treated differently and are denied the insurance that other federal employees get. Thus making the ObamaCare exchange their only option. That is brazenly punitive.

The absurdity of this is evident when considering what would prevent a similar bill from prohibiting people in some other profession, lawyers or plumbers, from getting insurance from their employers. It is an arbitrary burden that serves no purpose. The ObamaCare exchange is the solution for people who have no other access to health insurance. For them it is a valuable benefit that gives them the opportunity get insurance as part of pool that lowers their costs and assures effective, comprehensive coverage. But for people who have employers who provide insurance the exchange isn’t necessary.

The ScotusCare Act, therefore, is a poorly thought out, vindictive prank that is intended to hurt a perceived political adversary. And it isn’t the first time that Congress has sunk this low. In an even stupider display of irrational vengeance, Congress did the very same thing to themselves. And now members of Congress and their poor, innocent staff, are denied access to the health insurance that other federal employees get. All because some idiots wanted to lash out at something, oblivious to the harm it would cause or to whom.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
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What this tells us above all is that Republicans are completely incapable of governing. They are proving once again that their hostility to government is an impenetrable obstacle to acting responsibly, or even maturely. And furthermore, their professed aversion to big government is a facade, otherwise they wouldn’t use the tools of government to arbitrarily punish people. These are the same people who voted more than fifty times to repeal ObamaCare. And even with those failures, and two decisions from the Supreme Court, they continue to insist that they will fight to make sure that millions of American lose their health insurance. What a brilliant campaign platform.

These Republican cretins seem to get a perverse pleasure from putting people’s lives, health, and financial well being in jeopardy. And yet, they still manage to con some dimwitted, tea-sotted people into voting for them. And that’s really stupid.

Boycott Trump: The Donald Declares A War On Latinos That He Can’t Possibly Win

Well, there can be no more doubt about. Donald Trump is the most pathetic ignoramus in the Republican Presidential Clown Car Primary. If it wasn’t bad enough that his laughably embarrassing announcement speech was riddled with falsehoods, or he claims to have a foolproof plan that will “bring ISIS to the table or, beyond that, defeat ISIS very quickly,” but he refuses to say what it is, he is now launching a trade war against Latinos, the fastest growing demographic in the American electorate.

Boycott Donald Trump

The war was instigated after Trump insulted Mexican immigrants by saying that “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” And although he probably thinks that he was being complimentary with his appended assumption, it certainly wasn’t taken that way by those he was insulting. Subsequent to his remarks, the Spanish-language TV network, Univision, announced that they would no longer partner with Trump on his Miss USA Pageant, and would cease all business relationships with Trump.

Univision was not alone in condemning Trump. Many other Latino celebrities, executives, and politicians cited Trump’s vile comments and pledged to avoid associations with him. In one instance that crossed the line of civility, a Univision exec retweeted a photo juxtaposing Trump with Charleston killer, Dylann Roof. The Tweet was quickly deleted despite the obvious similarities in appearance and expression. But not before the poor attempt at humor pierced The Donald’s thin skin.

The war, now raging, saw Trump escalate to threats of lawsuits against Univision. But even more frightening, Trump declared that Univision execs would not be permitted on Trump’s golf courses. That’s a pleasant bit of imagery. Trump is now running restricted country clubs that prohibit Latinos. Somehow, I don’t think that any of them are losing any sleep over not being able to play on Trump’s lawn.

Perhaps the most absurd volley in this battle is Trump’s attempt to get the Republican National Committee to cancel the GOP presidential primary debate on Univision. It’s absurdity rests on the fact that Univision is not scheduled to be hosting a debate, and was explicitly snubbed when the RNC put together their debate plans. RNC Chair Reince Priebus called Univision “a long-term enemy of the Republican Party.” Instead, the RNC went with the number two Spanish-language network, Telemundo, which has half the viewers of Univision and is owned by the GOP-friendly (?) NBC network. So Trump’s temper tantrum to terminate Univision is just another figment of his dementia.

Not surprisingly, Trump has gotten some support from the Wingnut Echo Chamber. One of those digging deep to defend him, Breitbart News, leaped face first into the dump Univision shallow end. An article by their editor, John Nolte, began by agreeing with Trump’s insult to Mexicans saying that “What Donald Trump said about illegal aliens and rape and crime was not untrue.” So Nolte is also a racist who believes that there are eleven million Mexican criminals and rapists in America. As for the Univision debate, Nolte agrees that the broadcast should be removed from the schedule that it already isn’t on. But his brilliant alternative is to have the fictional debate moved to Fox’s Spanish-language network, MundoFox. Nolte apparently thinks that the MundoFox audience of about 170,000 is a better platform for the GOP Comedy Hour than Univision’s 2.1 million (more than ten times greater).

With Trump banishing Univision from his country clubs and trying to get his party to nix a debate that doesn’t exist, he is begging for retaliation. This is something that he would surely regret if Latinos en masse responded by ditching the Trump brand. They could all boycott his golf courses, and his hotels as well. They could refuse to buy his ties, cologne, or other cheesy consumer goods. That includes the Trump line at Macy’s (who should also feel the heat of partnering with a racist). They could shun his real estate properties. And this economic backlash could extend to anyone who is repulsed by Trump’s overt racism. Asians, Saudis, Europeans, and American consumers can and should withhold patronage from him on the basis of his prejudice. And if he thinks he can prevail by blackballing all of them from his golf course, then his reality blind-spot is even bigger than his ego (and that may not be possible according to the laws of physics).

[Update 6/29/15: NBC has announced that they have cut all business ties with Trump. This includes the Apprentice programs and the pageant broadcasts. And while Univision is not a debate host, NBC’s Telumundo is. Will Trump now lobby the RNC to cancel that debate? Stay tuned]

Donald has always been a fraud who is more adept at promoting himself than any business venture. For a sampling of his tendency to fail, take a look at these 12 Donald Trump businesses that no longer exist. There is a reason he embarrasses himself by hosting a TV game show. Can you think of any other billionaire who has the time to do that? Obviously he needs the money. He is no more a businessman than Kim Kardashian.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

What’s more, Trump is a way too obnoxious to get anywhere in politics. It is simply idiotic to say that Mexico “is not out friend,” when they are one of America’s biggest trading partners (second biggest market for exports and third biggest for imports).

The fact that he suffers from Doofus Tourettes Syndrome doesn’t help either. How else do you explain his birtherism, or his recent declarations that America is a hell hole,” and that the American dream is dead?” These are not the bumper-stickers of a winner. But they do define the cretinous, narcissistic, anti-personality of Donald Trump. And Democrats couldn’t be more thrilled that he is among those who want to be the banner carriers for the Republican Party in 2016.

Republicans Despondent Over ObamaCare Should Be Sending The Supreme Court Fruit Baskets

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is being portrayed in the media as an historic victory for President Obama. And, to be sure, the ruling does affirm the constitutionality of the law and prevents the cancellation of more than six million health insurance policies nationwide.

However, from a political perspective, the big winners are the Republican Party. Chief Justice John Roberts really pulled their butts out of the fire with his decision finding that…

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. […] Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

For the rest of the day, and throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, you will hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth of disingenuous Republicans pretending to be disappointed by the ruling. In fact, they could not be happier. This ruling allows them to run on a platform of repealing what they claim is a disastrous law that curtails all freedoms and sets the course of the nation toward Armageddon.

ObamaCare Supreme Court

Had the Court ruled against the subsidies, millions of Americans would have lost their health insurance, and the the remainder would have been subject to higher premiums as the pool of the insured became smaller and sicker. In that scenario, Republicans would have had to run the gauntlet of enraged voters who were suffering the consequences of the GOP’s greedy self-interest. Most of those voters would have been from red states and the south where the most recipients of subsidies from federal exchanges reside.

As a result of the this ruling, the GOP will still run on a “repeal and replace” campaign, but they won’t have to do it with their own constituents breathing down their necks in disgust. Instead they will lament the corrupt socialists on the Court and promise to deliver something better if they win the White House and Congress in 2016. Never mind that they have made that promise for more than six years but have never produced a viable replacement. To their credit/shame, they have voted more than fifty times to repeal ObamaCare.

On the other hand, Democrats won the legal and logical battle with this ruling. But they lost the opportunity to run against a Republican Party that had stolen the health insurance from millions of Americans. One of the great ironies of democracy is that it is harder to run on your accomplishments than it is to run on your opponents’ failures. So while millions of voters who were rescued from the heartlessness of the GOP by this ruling should be grateful to Democrats for passing the legislation, their gratitude will be harder to translate into votes than if the Court had struck down the bill and they could vote their disapproval of Republicans.

In the final analysis, it is far better that the Court upheld the subsidies because, politics aside, real people’s real lives hang in the balance. For whatever period of time that ObamaCare may have been obstructed by a negative ruling, Americans would have suffered both financially and medically. Indeed, people without access to health care would have become sicker and even died. And those who survived would have lost much of their financial security, including their homes and retirement savings. So if Democrats have to try harder to get their message across, then so be it.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In light of that, every time you hear a Republican whining about the awful Supreme Court decision, remember these two things: 1) They are actually ecstatic that it takes them off the hook for all the outraged voters who would have lost their insurance had the decision gone the other way. And 2) Their feigned despair is actually an expression of disappointment that millions of people didn’t get shafted and forced to face poor health and bankruptcy, which is what they were ostensibly rooting for.

Right-Wing Haters Slam Michelle Obama For Advocating Education For Girls

The conservative hate machine is churning out bile twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. It is a non-stop factory of hostility that is distributed to all manner of liberal “enemies” in an effort to smear the innocent and divide the country. As a result of the relentless manufacturing schedule, there are times when the source material gets pretty thin and, frankly, stupid.

Michelle Obama

One of those times came this week when First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to the U.K. with her daughters and visited the Mulberry School for Girls in London. The message she came to deliver was a positive one that emphasized the need to ensure that girls around the world have access to education. She was promoting her “Let Girls Learn” initiative with a mission that recognizes that…

“To educate a girl is to build a healthier family, a stronger community, and a brighter future. Unfortunately today, 62 million girls around the world are not in school. Half of them are adolescents. We know that countries with more girls in secondary school tend to have lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS, and better child nutrition. But too often, a girl who could change her world for the better is locked out of that future by the circumstances of her birth or the customs of her community.”

So obviously the right-wing zealots who thrive on baseless contempt had to turn this worthy event into something evil and un-American. The hook that the haters latched onto was a sentence fragment where Obama told the students that “In so many ways your story is my story.” For context, here is a bit more from that part of the inspiring speech:

“I’m here because girls like you inspire me and impress me every single day. I am so proud of your passion, your diligence; as Dr. Ogden said, your grit, your determination. And I am beyond thrilled that you are working so hard to complete your education. It is so important.

“And I’m here because when I look out at all of these young women, I see myself. I may come from a country that’s an ocean away, but — I’m a bit older than you all. (Laughter.) Yes, I am. I know I don’t look it. (Laughter.) But I’m just a little older. But in so many ways, your story is my story.”

Obama went on to describe the struggle she faced as child growing up on the south side of Chicago. She told them about the trials and the obstacles, as well as the achievements and the satisfaction that comes from hard work and dedication. And it was from these stories of perseverance and accomplishment that conservative jerkwads contrived an abomination. Apparently the only thing of interest to these misogynist racists bent on defaming the First Lady was that the school was in a minority neighborhood and served a largely Muslim community. These are a few of the headlines from articles in the wingnut press reporting Obama’s visit to the school:

    Fox Nation (via the Washington Times): Michelle Obama to Muslim Girls: ‘Your Story Is My Story
    Breitbart News: Mrs. Obama in Britain: Visits Bangladeshi-Dominated School Which Hosts Hard-Left Conferences in Islamist-Friendly Borough
    WorldNetDaily: Michelle O: ‘I see myself’ in Muslim girls
    Wizbang: Michelle’s Inner-Muslim Comes Out
    Conservative Tribune: Did Michelle Obama Just Accidentally Admit She’s a Muslim?
    America’s Freedom Fighters: Michelle Obama Trashes America While Overseas
    Creeping Sharia: Michelle Obama visits UK terror enclave

There is a unique brand of dementia demonstrated in those headlines. No sane appraisal could find that Obama had disparaged America. To the contrary, she praised the opportunities that were available to her and pledged to make those opportunities available more broadly around the world. And the accusation that there were any terrorists among these children is just plain lunacy.

It is astonishing that these ignorant right-wing blowhards can so quickly forget the heroism of people like Malala Yousafzai, who in 2012 was shot in the face at the age of fifteen by Taliban terrorists for advocating education for girls in Pakistan. She survived and went on to become an international activist, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

It is girls like Malala that attend the Mulberry School, often in defiance of the extremists in their community who don’t believe that women should be educated. And it is the girls at Mulberry that conservatives are calling terrorists and using to malign the First Lady. We have long known that conservatives have no problem lying in order to achieve their ends. They have no problem slandering those with whom they disagree. And to that we can add that they really have no shame.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This is the video of Michelle Obama at the Mulberry School:

Donald Trump Launches Pretend Campaign Saying “The American Dream Is Dead”

Real estate fraud and TV game show host, Donald Trump, has bought into another season of his long-running comedy show “The Pretentious.” In a speech at his own Trump Tower in Manhattan, Trump defied his critics by actually continuing to pretend that he is running for president of the United States of America.

Trump’s forty-five minute rambling regurgitation was notable primarily for two themes: 1) How terrible America is, and 2) How great he is. By the end of the speech it was clear that Trump thinks he is doing the nation a favor by allowing us to vote for him (although it will never get that far). After petulantly calling all other public servants “stupid” and “losers,” Trump unveiled the latest branding for his 2016 presidential bid: “The American Dream Is Dead.”

Donald Trump

That ought to fire up the Republican Party that is so bereft of competent leaders that Donald Trump is currently ranked in the top ten (along with such respected statespersons like Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum). Trump promises to resurrect a better, stronger Zombie American Dream with a Great Wall on its southern border, no healthcare for its citizens, an abundance of guns, and deal-making lobbyists in place of foreign ambassadors.

Trump’s new “dead dream” platform appears to be replacing the one he floated last month that declared that “This Country Is A Hell Hole.” (Seriously, he really said that). These appeals to conservative, Tea Party Republicans may attract some support since most of them also spend a majority of their time complaining about what a rotten country this is. These pseudo-patriots believe that our troops are brave when they are killing brown people in foreign lands, but are evil invaders when they conduct training exercises in Texas. The American Dream may not be dead, but with Trump’s candidacy, you can’t say the same about the Republican Party.

As an example of Trump’s diplomatic skills, he spoke about our neighbors to the south and said that Mexico “is not our friend. They’re killing us economically. […] They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Setting aside the fact that this “unfriendly” neighbor is one of America’s biggest trading partners (second biggest market for exports and third biggest for imports), it was nice of Trump to concede that there are “some” good Mexicans out of the 11,000,000 drug dealers, criminals, and rapists that are currently living here undocumented.

The main reason that most people don’t take Trump’s candidacy seriously (other than his crazed birtherism and crass demeanor) is that he would be required to file detailed financial reports that would expose him as a fraud. He brought this up during the speech and insisted that he is proud of his financial status. Well, he’s also proud of his hair, so we can’t place much stock in what makes him proud. More to the point, he still has not produced any bona fide financial statements, and the one that he did produce was blasted by Forbes Magazine as “Exaggerating His Net Worth (By 100%).” And the conservative magazine Newsmax debunked Trump’s wealth claims saying…

“Most of his signature property, Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, is comprised of condominium units and common elements — hallways, elevators — that have been sold and no longer hold value for Trump. […] Developers in locales as far flung as South Korea, Turkey, Panama and Hawaii have paid Trump fees to put his name on buildings he neither constructed nor owns.”

Additionally, Trump’s vaunted reputation as a real estate wizard is a fairy tale and totally undeserved. His businesses have failed on numerous occasions and filed for bankruptcy at least four times. It’s on the basis of that resume that Trump hopes gain support.

Trump has thirty days to officially file his candidacy and produce financial records that show assets, liabilities, and sources of income for himself and his immediate family. He promised today that he would so, and do it on time with no extensions. I still don’t think he’s going to do it. However, the delay gives him time to appear in the first GOP debate that will air on Fox News next month. He’ll be on Fox News sooner than that though, as he visits Bill O’Reilly tonight for his first post-announcement interview (bypassing Sean Hannity).

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If Trump does follow through and becomes a real candidate, it will be interesting to see where his support comes from. He doesn’t need regular people to donate to his campaign as he can self-finance if he wants. Most likely the group of Americans that will contribute most generously will be the professional comedians lobby. They are a powerful special interest group and have an agenda of expanding joke-creation and restoring America’s hysterical exceptionalism.

Jeb Bush Announces That He’s Running For The Nomination Of A Dying GOP

“Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.” Or so Jeb Bush would like you to think as he officially throws his hat into the clown car for the 2016 GOP presidential primary. This would make the third time getting fooled if anyone falls for it.

Jeb (as he will be known from now on, having dropped “Bush” from his logo), gave a typically Republican speech chock full of animus for liberals and promising to right the alleged wrongs thrust on the nation by the current occupant of the White House. For some reason, Jeb neglected to mention that President Obama restored a nation that was in a deep recession caused by brother George and his two wars and tax cuts for the rich. In fact, Jeb was so determined to leave his brother to the ash heap of history that he never even mentioned him by name in the speech.

Also unsaid by Jeb was any reference to ISIS (or Al Qaeda or terrorism). Ordinarily that wouldn’t mean a damn thing, except that that sort of omission is always used as evidence of weakness when a Democrat does it. Just this week Fox News skewered Hillary Clinton when her speech mentioned ISIS only once. Which was once more than Jeb. What are the odds Fox News will notice that?

Jeb has already revealed that his first post-announcement interview will be with Sean Hannity of Fox News. So he will be following in the footsteps of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry, who all lost their interview-ginity to Hannity as well. This is a Republican christening of sorts, and one sanctioned by the party, whose chief spokesman, Sean Spicer, said “I think if you didn’t go to Hannity you would be sued for political malpractice.” So according to the Republican Party it is malpractice not to kiss Hannity’s ring. That’s a pretty good confirmation that the Republican Party doesn’t really exist anymore with Fox News taking over their messaging and the Koch brothers taking over their electoral operations.

And if that isn’t proof enough, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (whose name without the vowels is RNC PR BS) was recently interviewed by conservative radio talker and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham and told her that “Republicans don’t exist as a national political party if we do not win in 2016.”

Reince Priebus

Still not convinced? Back in 2012, Rush Limbaugh told his audience of proud dittoheads that “If Obama wins let me tell you what it’s the end of … the Republican Party.” So the party’s demise is already three years overdue by Limbaugh’s calculation. Of course, Limbaugh’s track record for accuracy is dismal. There’s a much better gauge coming up tomorrow. That’s when Donald Trump is scheduled to make a “major announcement” concerning his presidential ambitions. I still stand by my prediction that there is no way he will run. But if he does, then all of the predictions about the end of Republican Party will be immediately fulfilled.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

What Republican Party? Fox News And The Koch Brothers Have Replaced The GOP

Everyday there is more and more evidence that the Republican Party is dissolving into the ether of a new political atmosphere. It began with Fox News usurping the PR responsibilities of the party. For anyone to advance in the GOP they had to go through Fox News. At the same time, the Koch brothers have been moving in on party operations and raising more campaign money than the party could ever hope to.

Koch Brothers

News Corpse has covered this phenomenon in some detail here and here, examining how the interests of Fox News came to supersede those of the GOP:

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.). […] The problem is that by elevating bona fide nutcases, they are debasing honest and informed discourse. The mental cases are crowding out any reasonable voices that might exist amongst the more moderate Republicans (if there are any left). Fox appears to have made a tactical decision to permit the inmates full run of the asylum. […] So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

The trend is accelerating as we go into the 2016 presidential campaign season. Now Fox has appointed itself the gatekeeper of the GOP primary, wherein they will only permit the top ten Republican candidates, as determined by certain unnamed polls, to participate in their televised debates. Even Republican party operatives are opposed to this power grab by a media company.

In addition to Fox News assuming the roll of party spokesman, the billionaire Koch brothers are angling to replace the party’s electoral architects by building and distributing the voter access tools and outreach capability that used to be the sole province of the political party. Yahoo News published an in-depth investigation that shows how the Koch’s syndicate has moved in on party territory, much to the consternation of the party chieftains.

“The RNC is now openly arguing, however, that the Kochs’ political operation is trying to control the Republican Party’s master voter file, and to gain influence over — some even say control of — the GOP.

“‘I think it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how,’ said Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.”

So if the Koch brothers end up running the electoral operations of Republican candidates, and Fox News continues its role in media strategy and execution, the only question that remains is: What’s left for the remnants of the Republican Party to do? They become an organization with no authority, responsibility, or relevance.

If they don’t take steps to reverse these trends, and do it soon, the GOP will drift into an ignoble and faded history. Ordinarily, that might not seem like such a horrible idea. But if their replacement is Fox News and the Koch brothers, we might all be better off rooting for the GOP.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

What Conservatives (And Politico) Still Don’t Understand About Fox News

Earlier this month Bruce Bartlett published a paper titled “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” Bartlett is a veteran conservative operative who worked in both the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan White Houses. His paper’s premise is that Fox News has had a harmful effect on the Republican Party’s electoral appeal by herding its already right-wing flock into an even fringier parish where it is shielded from differing views. Bartlett appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning and said…

“I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that’s brainwashing.”

Fox News Bad For GOP

Brainwashing is not too strong a word. Fox News has become the central authority in a cult-like cabal of rightist true-believers who envelope themselves in the scripture as preached by Fox. This has been proven by in-depth studies that show how conservatives have drastically constrained their news sources to a narrow collection of like-minded, far-right outlets. There’s an implicit belief that exposure to a contrary ideological creed would be a breach of faith and a mortal sin.

It is encouraging, therefore, to see a conservative with an open mind and the ability to recognize the toxic role that Fox has played in the media and in politics. Bartlett’s paper is an interesting and well-documented read. However, it took him long enough to come to these conclusions. News Corpse published an analysis of how Fox News Is Killing The Republican Party six years ago, with an update expanding on the theme last year. I wrote in part that…

Fox has corralled a stable of the most disreputable, unqualified, extremist, lunatics ever assembled, and is presenting them as experts, analysts, and leaders. These third-rate icons of idiocy are marketed by Fox like any other gag gift (i.e. pet rocks, plastic vomit, Sarah Palin, etc.) […and that…] Fox is driving the center of the Republican Party further down the rabid hole. They are reshaping the party into a more radicalized community of conspiracy nuts. So even as this helps Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line, it is making celebrities of political bottom-feeders. That can’t be good for the long-term prospects of the Republican Party.

Conservatives, of course, are appalled by the treasonous utterings of Bartlett. A good representative example of the reaction comes from Politico’s Jack Shafer who wrote a column that seeks to reveal “What Liberals Still Don’t Understand About Fox News.” However, in his attempt to rebut Bartlett he fails to even grasp the logical concepts being discussed. Nowhere is that more evident than when he writes that…

“Fox in its current incarnation is neither a help nor a hindrance. Fox News — and its Svengali Roger Ailes — aren’t the Republican kingmakers they’re made out to be. […] the network is better at employing presidential candidates than electing them.”

Let’s set aside the fact that this alleged rebuttal actually agrees with Bartlett’s core thesis that Fox is having an adverse effect on Republican politics. Where Shafer really goes off the rails is arguing that Fox’s failure to succeed in electing Republicans is not a negative for the Party. If creating a field of losers is not a hindrance, what is?

Shafer goes on to correctly note that Fox’s power is often exaggerated. What is bragged about as ratings dominance is, in reality, a rather minor victory. Shafer notes that “Fox’s most popular program, The O’Reilly Factor, pulls in about 3.3 million viewers on its best nights.” Once again, Shafer is late to the party. That is something News Corpse pointed out six years ago with some additional perspective:

“[S]uccess in the Nielsen ratings has no correlation to public opinion polling […because it is…] focused on consumers, not voters […and that…] There are many reasons people choose to watch TV shows, the most frequent being its entertainment value. So any attempt to tie ratings to partisan politics is a foolish exercise that demonstrates a grievous misunderstanding of the business of television.”

O’Reilly’s 3 million viewers is less than 1% of the American population. It’s also fewer viewers than World Wrestling Entertainment, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the CBS Evening News (the lowest rated broadcast network news program).

So what ever power Fox has is not vested in its audience. And this where Shafer, and most other conservative media pundits, fall off the wagon. Fox’s viewers were not turned into conservatives by watching Fox. They watch Fox because they are conservatives who need to have their preconceptions validated. Then, by being exposed to the bias and disinformation that makes up Fox’s programming, they become ignorant, radicalized conservatives.

The real power that Fox wields is with Republican office-holders, candidates and party strategists. They have been fooled into believing that Fox’s ratings are an indication of the nation’s political mood. Consequently, they believe that taking positions aligned with the extremist right-wingers on Fox will advance their electoral goals. That has cost the party dearly in the last two national elections. In fact, they were so befuddled by Fox that the election results, which most Americans could have predicted, were a shock to many Republicans and Fox pundits (recall Karl Rove’s tantrum on election night?).

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

All of this should make the next few weeks oodles of fun as GOP candidates seek to please the Fox-gods so that they win a spot on the debate stage. Fox announced that only the top ten candidates in an average of certain polls (that Fox will decide) will be included in the debates. Therefore, between now and then the candidates on the edge will have to take aggressive measures to appeal to the people who they think are likely to be polled.

That means more chest-beating about war with Iran, more hate-speech about gays, more talk of bigger, stronger fences on the border, more promises to slash taxes and government programs, and much more bashing of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that competition to become the most extreme wingnut will filter into the campaign strategies of the rest of the GOP field as they struggle to become the Fox favorite.. All of which will result in making them completely unelectable in the fall of 2016.

Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

Last week the nation marveled to the spectacle of Jeb Bush fumbling what must have been the most highly anticipated question that he could possibly have been asked in his nascent campaign for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America: Knowing what is known now, would you have authorized an invasion of Iraq?

Bush responded that he thought his brother George had made the correct decision given the available intelligence. That, of course, was not the question he was asked. So in the days following the flub, Bush claimed to have misheard the question, but still gave multiple different answers before finally admitting that he would not have ordered an invasion if he knew what he knows now.

Marco Rubio

For Marco Rubio, that ought to have been an object lesson in tackling this otherwise softball question. But for some reason, the freshman senator managed to do in three minutes what it took Bush five days to do: make an utter ass of himself. In an exchange on the decidedly friendly territory of Fox News Sunday (video below), Rubio engaged in a painfully comical routine with host Chris Wallace wherein he repeatedly failed to grasp the nature of the question he was being asked. Here is just a portion of that train wreck:

WALLACE: Was it a mistake? Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —
WALLACE: I’m asking you to —
RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.
WALLACE: But that’s the question I’m asking you. Was it a mistake to go to war?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —
WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —
RUBIO: In hindsight.
WALLACE: Yes.
RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.
WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?
RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —
WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —
RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.
WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Well, that clears that up. Is Rubio really that dense or was he he just desperate to avoid criticizing George Bush? Wallace gave him ample opportunity to craft a response that included support for Bush as well as the obvious acknowledgement that no president should invade a country without airtight justification. Rubio kept trying to answer a question that Wallace had not asked, despite Wallace repeatedly restating his actual question. And it isn’t as if this were a surprise, gotcha question (like what magazines do read read?). It is a question that has been in the news for a week.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? This sort of obtuse defiance of common sense is what makes people convinced that the GOP is a party of war mongers who will launch into battle on the slightest whim. It reinforces the widespread impression that they are lackeys to the defense industry and others who profit off of war, including those whose profits are political rather than financial.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace raised Rubio’s campaign theme of “21st century ideas” and asked him to talk about them. That would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity to drop a campaign ad into an interview. However, Rubio dodged any reference to new ideas saying only that “the balance of power in the world has shifted” because of “autocratic governments in Russia and China” and “rogue states like North Korea and Iran.” Right, because none of them were around in the 20th century.

When Wallace pressed him to reveal his actual new ideas to address those allegedly new problems, Rubio eventually complied saying that “we need to cut [tax] rates” and improve the education system. Those, of course, address only domestic problems that have no bearing on the foreign affairs he had just raised. Not to mention that neither of those “ideas” can be coherently described as “new.”

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

If this is a taste of what Rubio’s campaign will be offering in the coming months, it can be safely assumed that he isn’t going far. But then Bush has already flubbed some of the same questions and the rest of the GOP pack has even less foreign policy experience than these two flounders.

This election cycle promises to be an entertaining romp with plenty of twists and turns. It should be serialized as a reality TV show a la The Amazing (Presidential) Race. I, for one, can’t wait for the debates to see who is voted out of the clown car next.