Three Degrees Of GOP Crazy: From Benghazi To Planned Parenthood To ACORN

The Republican Party is showing signs of desperation after virtually every attempt to manufacture scandals that they can blame on Democrats has failed. Rather than developing some policy initiatives that might find favor with the American people, or conducting outreach to voter groups, the GOP is diving deeper into unfounded allegations and conspiracy theories. Just yesterday three of their top players engaged in some Olympian nuttiness that produced nothing but embarrassment for their floundering team.

GOP Crazy

Let’s begin this three degrees of separation journey with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program (video below) by the man projected to be the next GOP Speaker of the House of Representatives. Kevin McCarthy may have thought that he would have a genteel Tea Party with the GOP-friendly host, but he wasn’t prepared for the level of animosity that wingnuts like Hannity have for establishment conservatives. Hannity took McCarthy to task for not having done more to monkey wrench the Obama administration’s agenda. He assailed McCarthy and the House GOP for presiding over budget deficits, funding ObamaCare, amnesty for immigrants, and not shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood. Having been caught off guard, McCarthy carelessly revealed the real, not-so-secret purpose of the House Select Committee to Politicize Benghazi as he tried to defend his record.

“Everybody thought that Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

So McCarthy admitted on TV that the true aim of the Benghazi hearings was to damage Clinton’s reputation and electability. To which Hannity graciously replied “I agree, that’s something good. I give you credit for that.” McCarthy later let slip that he intends to form another pointless select committee on Planned Parenthood. Under Republican control, this congress has held an unprecedented number of flagrantly partisan hearings that have produced nothing of value to their party, much less the nation. The Benghazi investigation has now officially lasted longer than any previous congressional investigation, including the JFK assassination, the Nixon Watergate affair, and 9/11, yet has not found a single bit of evidence of any wrongdoing.

The Benghazi Committee is chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-Tea Party), which brings us to the second degree of separation. Gowdy is also a member of the committee investigating Planned Parenthood for misconduct alleged by an anti-abortion group’s videos that have been proven to be edited in a deliberately deceptive fashion. When it was Gowdy’s turn to question Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards he asked whether she had an understanding of those who oppose abortion. Richards said that she appreciates that “people have a lot of different views on the issue of abortion,” then dismissed the condescending premise saying that Planned Parenthood “trusts women” to make decisions about their own bodies.

That provoked Gowdy to accuse Richards of wanting to “frame the issue” to say that she is “the reasonable one, and those of us who have a contrary position are not reasonable.” Which, of course, she did not say. Gowdy actually conceded that she didn’t say that, but then, using his supernatural power to read minds, told her that “It’s not always what you say, sometimes it’s just what you mean.” But he still could not explain how anything she said could be interpreted to mean what he asserted. It’s plain that he was intent on mischaracterizing her remarks no matter what she actually said.

The chairman of the Planned Parenthood committee was Rep. Jason Chaffetz, which conveniently moves us to the third and final degree of separation. During the same hearing, Chaffetz made some glaring blunders. For instance, he displayed a highly distorted and prejudicial chart that Richards had to tell him was provided by Americans United for Life, a virulently anti-abortion group. But his worst gaffe may have been uttered after the hearing when he went on Fox News to spin the event for the media. In an effort to drive home his slanderous perception of events, he said that “Planned Parenthood is the new ACORN. That’s who they are. Remember when we talked about ACORN? That is Planned Parenthood as far as I can see it.”

You know, he’s actually right. ACORN was an organization that helped people, but was smeared by liars who produced false videos that eventually led to Congress defunding the them. Sound familiar? There was never any evidence that ACORN did anything wrong. To the contrary, James O’Keefe, the producer of the videos, lost a lawsuit and was ordered to pay a former ACORN staffer $100,000. But, unfortunately, that was after ACORN lost their funding and had to close up shop. Now the same sort of liars are trying to do the same thing to Planned Parenthood despite several state investigations that have already cleared them of any wrongdoing.

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

What all of this adds up to is the brazen dishonesty of a desperate Republican Party trying to invent scandals and exploit their congressional power to bring down their political foes. With McCarthy we have an admission that their efforts are partisan. With Gowdy we see how blinded they are by their own biases. And with Chaffetz a clear connection is made to a previous effort to sabotage an honorable public service organization.

Ironically, the GOP is whining about taxpayers having to pay for Planned Parenthood and women’s health care services, but most Americans support Planned Parenthood. So the real question is why are Americans forced to pay millions of dollars for congressional hearings that are nothing more than partisan witch hunts based on proven lies?

Here is the video of McCarthy on Hannity:

Liberal Media My Ass: Hillary Clinton’s Alleged Polling Woes

The latest round of polling has hit the press with curiously coordinated reactions. Nearly every mainstream news outlet chose to spin the results as negative for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

To be sure, Clinton’s favorability has suffered in the past few weeks due to relentless bashing by more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls and an unending stream of baseless but damaging stories about her email. However, the uniformity of the media presentation is hardly representative of the reality. Here is how the press is covering the news:

  • Washington Times: Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating approaches record territory
  • ABC News: Clinton Goes Under Water
  • Breitbart News: Gallup: Hillary Clinton’s Favorability at All-Time Low
  • Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Hits Lows on Favorability, Trustworthiness
  • Reuters: Clinton’s favorability ratings lowest since 2001
  • The Hill: Poll: Clinton’s favorability tumbles
  • NBC News: Hillary Clinton’s Popularity Drops Sharply in NBC/WSJ Poll
  • Fox News: Fox News Poll: Clinton popularity drops

While there is nothing wrong with reporting the facts in polling, it is misleading if the reporters don’t put the numbers into context. And an examination of the poll results paints a very different picture of the campaign. Just using the most recent Fox News poll as an example, Clinton’s “low” favorability rating is still higher than every Republican in the poll except for one (Ben Carson). It is not a trivial side issue to note that Clinton scores better than the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, and trounces him in a head-to-head match-up. But that is not considered newsworthy by the so-called “liberal” media.

What’s more, the press didn’t think it was important to report that every Republican’s unfavorables are at their all-time highs. Why is it news that Clinton’s favorabilty is suffering, but it isn’t news that all of her potential rivals are suffering as badly or worse? This is something the media has been doing for years with President Obama. They leap at every opportunity to report any drop in his popularity (which currently stands at about 47%) and how it will hamper the success of his agenda with Congress. What they leave out is that Congress has a favorability in the mid-teens, which should give the President a significant advantage.

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

Every single one of the headlines above could just as easily have read “Clinton And All Republicans Favorability At Or Near All-Time Lows,” but that would have meant engaging in honest journalism rather than deliberately misleading horse-race tabloidism. So the next time you see a spate of negative headlines hammering Clinton, remember that there is almost certainly more to the story than the media is telling you. And what they are usually leaving out is that, no matter how much people dislike Clinton, that hate Republicans even more.

If You Have A Boehner Lasting Longer Than 23 Years, Seek Immediate Medical Attention

In the midst of an uncommonly busy news day that included the Pope speaking at the United Nations and President Obama welcoming Chinese President Xi to the White House, GOP House Speaker John Boehner chose to announce that he is resigning as Speaker and leaving Congress effective October 31, 2015 (Halloween?).


Boehner held a press conference to address his reasons for this surprise resignation, but avoided saying outright why the decision came so suddenly. He alluded to the truth when he mentioned that he didn’t want to put Congress through some unspecified turmoil. What he was covertly referencing was the opposition to his leadership by his GOP peers and the prospect of a motion to vacate the post, in effect a vote of no confidence that could have led to a new Speaker’s election. Rather than face that humiliation, Boehner chose to bug out.

That wimpiness is emblematic of Boehner’s legacy as Speaker. Ever since his ascendancy to the post he has wobbled in fear of the Tea Party caucus that demanded a radical and uncompromising agenda. Boehner has presided over an embarrassing reign of failure and capitulation. The tiny Tea Party cell of extremists in the House has utterly dominated him and reduced him to a dysfunctional figurehead who cannot complete even the simplest tasks of governing. He even set failure as a standard when he said that Congress “should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal.” [Note: Number of laws Congress repealed while Boehner was Speaker: Zero] As a result, Boehner’s tenure is notable for being the most ineffectual Congress in history. It has managed to produce fewer bills, and work fewer days, than any Congress in modern times.

While achieving that dubious honor, they also held more than fifty votes attempting (unsuccessfully) to repeal or otherwise cripple the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare); filed a futile lawsuit against Obama over immigration; orchestrated a costly and unnecessary shutdown of the government; and formed the Special Committee on Politicizing Benghazi. All the while missing real opportunities by declining to hold votes for bills that would have passed merely because they didn’t have a majority of Republicans. What Boehner seemed to fail to grasp is that he was the Speaker of the whole House, not just the Republican caucus – and certainly not the Tea Party.

His departure will create a vacuum at the top that will not be filled without a bloody battle for control. Boehner’s chief lieutenant, and staunch ally, Kevin McCarthy, will not be welcomed by the GOP’s Wingnut Caucus. There will almost certainly be one or more conservatives entering the contest to be his successor. Maybe even Louie Gohmert (if we’re lucky) who got three whole votes when he ran against Boehner earlier this year (despite having endorsements from Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin). Consequently, Boehner’s alleged hopes of preventing the House from undergoing turmoil is going to have the opposite effect. It is just Boehner who will avoid the turmoil.

It is clear that Boehner’s rush to the exits is due to more than just a desire to spend more time with his family. You don’t ditch a job that puts you second in line for the presidency of the United States without serious concerns. Especially during an election year that is so consequential to his party. However, this opening may present an opportunity for Boehner’s last Republican primary opponent in his Ohio district to run again for the seat. J.D. Winteregg may not have had a realistic chance of unseating Boehner back then, but he did have one of the best campaign videos ever.

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

Scott Walker Officially Launches Campaign For Vice-President Of The United States

Today Wisconsin governor Scott Walker began laying plans to snag an appointment to be the Republican nominee for vice-president. He did that by suspending his futile aspirations for the presidency. Now he will be free to brown nose whichever remaining candidates he thinks will be best positioned for the nomination – with the exception of one in particular.

Walker’s concession speech was remarkable for the stance it took with regard to his rivals. He spoke openly about one candidate (without actually saying his name) that he portrayed as negative and harmful to the Republican Party and to America. Walker lamented that Donald Trump’s hostility and proclivity for name-calling made it impossible to mount an optimistic campaign in the mold of Ronald Reagan. He said in part that…

“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and more importantly to the future of our country.”

This is an unprecedented approach to leadership. Walker is appointing himself as the lemming-in-chief for GOP candidates to sacrifice themselves in order to defeat Trump. Were it not for his obvious self-interest in boosting his odds of being picked up as a running mate, it would be somewhat admirable. After all, he is correct in assessing Trump’s front-runner status as being enabled by the size of the field. With fewer candidates distributing the vote, Trump’s lead will disappear. However, the notion that fellow losers like Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, etc., are going to follow Walker over a cliff is unlikely. They will undoubtedly leave the race, but not at Walker’s behest.

Walker must be a terrible disappointment to his billionaire benefactors, the Koch brothers. They invested heavily in him with the expectation that he would would carry their agenda to the White House. Now they’ll have to find another mule to do their dirty work. Lucky for them there are plenty of of others available and willing. As President Obama noted at the last White House Correspondent’s Dinner…

Koch Brothers

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

Birther, Bigot, Donald Trump Wants To Make America Hate Again – Update: Trump Rejects ‘Moral Obligations’

At a rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump demonstrated why he is better suited to running a Klan Kouncil than the U.S. He briefly addressed his audience of crackpots and then opened up the event for questions. The very first one tells us everything we need to know about both Trump and his warped disciples. (Video below)

Donald Trump

Question: We’ve got a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American, birth certificate man. But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?

This would be a perfect opportunity for Trump to exhibit some intelligence or dignity or … what the hell, we’re talking about Donald Trump here. That isn’t going to happen. This was his response:

Trump: We’ll be looking at a lot of different things. And, you know, a lot of people are saying that. A lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re gonna be looking at that, and plenty of other things.

So Trump is gonna be looking at how to get rid of Muslims like President Obama? Despite his recent reluctance to talk about it, he is apparently as committed as ever to his birtherism. It would have been easy to dismiss the question and repudiate the bigoted inferences of the questioner, but Trump’s prejudices are deep seated and he wasn’t about to cut any slack to either the President or the millions of Muslim-American citizens.

Trump’s defenders might complain that he was blindsided by the question and should not be held accountable for not responding appropriately off the cuff. But that wouldn’t explain the statement provided by his campaign hours later after having plenty of time to develop a considered response.

Campaign response: The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians. Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is stake.

Ferchrissakes. They took their time in order to compose the most nauseating, racist, idiotic, official reply they could think of? First of all, the media isn’t making this about Obama. The questioner explicitly made reference to him. The bigger issue is that Trump is now awkwardly attempting to divert attention to his delusional and wholly unsupported claim that “Obama is waging a war against Christians,” whose “religious liberty is stake.”

Where on Earth does he get these lunatic ravings from? Obviously he thinks that by retching up the most grotesque lies imaginable he can distract people from his boorish bigotry. That may work for the putrid collection of imbeciles who support him, but anyone with an IQ higher than Trump’s favorability among Latinos aren’t so easily fooled. And the only question left is how long will Republicans continue to prop up this jerkwad?

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

[Update:] Trump Rejects ‘Moral Obligations’ After ducking the issue, Trump is now responding to his flagrant bigotry in a series of tweets that illustrate his complete obliviousness:

Tweet 1: Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!
This isn’t about defending the President. It’s about defending the truth and repudiating prejudice. Trump should have excoriating the questioner, not as a favor to Obama, but because what he said was both false and hateful. And yes, that is a moral obligation if you expect to be regarded as a leader. Note: Trump got this line from Fox & Friends who spent much of the morning trying to justify Trump’s assholiness and specifically saying he had no moral obligation to respond.

Tweet 2: This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy by NOT saying something.
This is a vain distraction that ignores the responsibility to speak out against bigotry. Martin Niemöller’s famous poem “First they came for…” is a stark reminder of what happens when you do NOT say something. You have to wonder if Trump would have said something if the questioner had said Jews instead of Muslims. Would he have been morally obligated?

Tweet 3: If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!
This is projection on Trump’s part. If someone at an Obama rally said Trump was a fascist Christian and asked how to get rid of them, based on his record of tolerance, Obama would almost certainly have slapped him down.

Tweet 4: If I would have challenged the man, the media would have accused me of interfering with that man’s right of free speech. A no win situation!
What utter nonsense. Trump has the example set by John McCain who faced a similar situation and reacted honorably. He was universally praised for his dignified response. And therein lies the problem for Trump: He has no honor or dignity.

The GOP Debate’s Biggest Winner Was Also It’s Biggest Liar

The second Republican primary debate is in the books and this chapter was pretty much just repetitions of everything the party has been spinning for months (years). While there were some entertaining fireworks at times, they were mostly irrelevant to any policy discussion and consisted of childish insults, whining, and bragging (and that was just Donald Trump).

Donald Trump

Prior to the debate, the pundit class had speculated feverishly about what was at stake for each of the candidates, some of whom would be facing elimination without making some sort of impression. Following the debate the consensus in the media was that Carly Fiorina was the one candidate who surpassed expectations and most helped her own cause. That assessment was based primarily on the confidence with which she expressed herself and her alleged command of the issues. The only problem with that is that she badly mangled some of the answers that she is being credited with answering confidently.

Most egregiously, Fiorina gave an impassioned soliloquy lambasting Planned Parenthood. She referred to the videos produced by an anti-abortion group that has stirred up the GOP and incited members of Congress to call for defunding the women’s health care provider. She said…

“I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes — watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation, and if we do not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”

The only problem with that dare is the there is no such video to watch. Reporters have watched all twelve hours of the videos and the gruesome scenario that Fiorina described simply does not exist. She is either lying or has developed false memories that reflect her personal biases. On a side note, her demand that Obama “veto this bill” doesn’t make sense because there is no bill for him to veto. She seems to think that there is legislation pending to fund Planned Parenthood, but the only bill that is being considered in Congress would revoke their funding, which I expect Fiorina would want him to sign. She is clearly confused on numerous levels. But she does express her erroneous views confidently.

To make matters worse, Fiorina gave a post-debate interview to George Stephanopoulos (video below) who informed her that the video scenario that so enraged her was non-existent. But she held firm and told Stephanopoulos that he should “Rest assured I have seen the images that I talked about last night.” And no doubt she has seen them – in her vivid and warped imagination.

Fiorina’s “beating heart” hallucination was one of her two most memorable moments in the debate. The other being her smackdown on Trump for his sexist statements about how her face somehow disqualifies her from running for president. She said succinctly, and without commentary, that the women of America had heard him. Trump then made things worse with a disingenuous compliment saying that he thought Fiorina’s face is beautiful. What he still doesn’t get is that both his insults and his compliments are sexist. He is still judging her on appearance rather than merit.

For his part, Trump couldn’t manage to say anything that was truthful. He lied about not having declared bankruptcy (he did four times). He lied about his lobbying for a casino in Florida (he did that too). He lied about Mexico not having birthright citizenship (it does). And the rest of his performance was typically lacking any substance or detail. Nevertheless, he believes he won the debate because – well, because he’s Trump.

So now we wait a few days for a new set of polls to see what the Republican electorate thought of their candidates. Even though not a single one offered anything resembling a policy statement other than that America is a Hell hole, it’s all Obama’s fault, and Hillary Clinton is poised to destroy western civilization. But they can’t escape the pitiful situation they find themselves in where the candidate hailed as the biggest winner of their debate achieved that status by telling the biggest lie. They must be so proud.

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

The Next Jade Helm Hoax Per Fox News: Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public

This summer there was a flashing wingnut red alert warning that President Obama was plotting to invade Texas with federal troops to enslave the residents, confiscate their guns, and generally wreak havoc on the Lone Staters. In Realityland, Jade Helm 15 was a military training exercise to prepare soldiers for battle in desert environments and it has been conducted many times before. But that didn’t stop the conspiracy freaks (including Texas governor Greg Abbott) from waxing idiotic about the looming tyrannical threat from the Kenyan Muslim occupying the formerly White House.

This week the Pentagon announced that the Jade Helm operation was complete, and despite the deranged ranting of the right-wing Psycho-chicken Littles, not a single “patriot” was hauled off to a FEMA camp and every armed Texan continues to strut around with their surrogate phalluses, except those who offed themselves while defending their pseudo-freedom. However, the absence of this delusional diversion has left the paranoia hoarders one panicky horror story short. Lucky for them that Fox News is here to fill the void.

Fox Nation

The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, reached out to the Daily Caller and Fox’s bitch, Tucker Carlson, for a story that contains all of the vital elements for a crackpot conspiracy theory. It begins, of course, with Chairman Obama abusing his power by issuing an executive order (which he has issued fewer of than any of his modern predecessors). But this particular order includes a hint of the sort of mind control that makes conspiracy theorists’ toes tingle. The headline blared “President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public,” and warned that…

“President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.”

Oh my. Obama is planning to turn America into a nation of guinea pigs. Now that’s the sort of brain-fried idiocy that hatched Jade Helm (and Obamaphones, and death panels, and Benghazi, etc.). There was nothing in the article to corroborate the wild claim made by these fruitcakes. They just left the charge hanging out there to strike fear into the withering hearts of their dimwitted readers. But if any of them were curious enough to seek out the actual executive order and peruse the contents themselves, they would have found this: Executive Order — Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.

“Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students.

To more fully realize the benefits of behavioral insights and deliver better results at a lower cost for the American people, the Federal Government should design its policies and programs to reflect our best understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and respond to those policies and programs. By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.

So it turns out that the order is simply an initiative to better design forms, applications, and processes so that they are easier to understand and navigate. The goals are spelled out in more detail and include “streamlining processes” and “removing administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms,” as well as to “reduce regulatory burdens.”

What a friggin’ nightmare! Someone has to stop these fiends before they make government so efficient that people come to appreciate it and welcome interactions with its agencies. That, of course, would be a real nightmare for conservatives whose mission is to make everything associated with government fail so that they can argue that it is unnecessary and then propose to cut its budget and fire everybody in Washington. Never mind whether or not it actually helps people and saves money.

Republicans are the party of deliberate failure. They know that if federal services were managed competently, Americans would get used to the benefits and the cost savings and reject the right’s agenda of shrinking government so that only the privileged would benefit. That’s why electing Republicans to run government is like hiring bank robbers as security guards. They both have an incentive to screw everything up.

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

It is no coincidence that these screwball conspiracies almost always originate with right-wingers. They thrive on fear and the falsehoods that produce them. Without their alternate realities they wouldn’t be able to sustain their innate anger and animus toward anyone that looks different. And media like the Daily Caller and Fox News are the fuel that ignites their hate and hallucinations, and obviously they intend to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.

Remedial Republicans: Or How Ralph Wiggum Foretold The Coming Of Donald Trump

Stupidity is not a new development in politics. In fact, according to Napoleon, it isn’t even a handicap. So the campaign of Donald Trump isn’t breaking new ground just by demonstrating how idiotic a certain segment of the electorate is. He is following in the tradition of dimwitted pols like Michelle Bachmann, and fact-challenged pundits like Glenn Beck, who appeal to Tea Party malcontents and paranoid bigots. And his entry into the political circus was eerily prophesied by none other than Ralph Wiggum of The Simpsons who, when told by Lisa Simpson that he was being used by self-serving party operatives, said that…

“Maybe I want to use them. Use them to make this country great again. When we’re mad, we’ll just use our words, then the rest of the world will play nice with us. And the only boom-booms will be in our pants.”

Donald Trump/Ralph Wiggum

From the mouths of babes, whether it be The Ralph or The Donald. Little Ralphie’s brief foray into politics for E Pluribus Wiggum (Season 19, episode 10, 1/6/2008) appears to be the inspiration for Trump’s campaign theme. Not only does he want to make America great again, but he offers nothing of substance, just empty words from an equally empty mind that regards being mad as a path to solving problems. Boom boom bing bing bing. But at least Ralph doesn’t descend into the hostility that characterizes Trump’s brand of hate-spewing. That’s another old wrinkle that Trump is pursuing on his own. Other than that his campaign is notable only for his third-grade language skills and the way he has fooled the media into covering his every hiccup as if it were newsworthy.

But we’ve seen this sort of tabloid megalomania before and never ends well. It is rooted in division and relies on the abundance of intellectually lazy supporters who embrace faulty information and even disinformation (i.e. Fox News). They are a sorry lot who were fittingly described by Sean Illing of Salon as “the infantilized conservative base.” Illing noted that…

“Trump has continued to repackage shopworn stupidities and beam them back at his audiences, and conservatives can’t get enough of it. […and that…] Trump’s success shows how easy it is to openly infantilize the conservative base. You don’t need ideas to win over Republicans anymore; you simply have to reflect their paranoia and frustration, with as much bombast and superficiality as possible.”

As evidence of that theory, Trump made another one of his patented screwball challenges. Upset that CNN might benefit from the free-market capitalism that right-wingers like Trump pretend to be so fond of, he wrote a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker to complain about how much money the network might make on the upcoming Republican debate. Sources have reported that CNN will be charging up to $200,000 for a 30-second ad that normally would sell for $5,000. From the letter…

Trump: While I refuse to brag, and as you know very well, this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is 100% due to “Donald J. Trump.”

If I didn’t know better I would think that this letter was written by Stephen Colbert’s staff. Note how he leads with his refusal to brag, followed immediately by his bragging about providing 100% of the viewer interest. He may be right to the extent that they guy standing on the building ledge is also due credit for whatever ratings the news gets that night. And I wonder why Trump put his own name in quotes. Trump then challenged CNN to donate the program’s revenue to some unnamed veterans charity.

For the record, CNN can sell about fifteen minutes of ad time during the debate, which comes to a total revenue of about $6 million. The network pulls in about $1.27 billion dollars a year, so this isn’t exactly a windfall. And if multi-billionaire Trump is so concerned about the welfare of veterans, why doesn’t he just make a donation himself? Perhaps because he is famously known for being The Least Charitable Billionaire in the world.

This is reminiscent of Trump’s birther challenge to President Obama to release his college transcripts and passport data in exchange for Trump donating $5 million to charity. Once again, why does Trump tie his philanthropy to whatever he can get from other people for himself? Clearly he isn’t driven by an interest in helping others. He made a similar challenge to Obama to release his birth certificate in exchange for Trump releasing his tax returns. Well, Obama did release his birth certificate, but Trump reneged on his part of the bargain.

What all of these behaviors on Trump’s part share in common is an obvious and pathetic childishness. Particularly the traits where a child believes that the world revolves around him or her self, and clings stubbornly to positions despite the absence of any logic or reason. He seems to be either stunted in emotional development or entering a stage of senility. This may explain to some degree his popularity among the infantilized set of GOP dimwits who display the same character flaws. And it clearly makes the comparison to little Ralph Wiggum all the more apt. And while we’re at it, the Simpsons provided another example of behavior that neatly fits Donald Trump. This video could have been taken of Trump as a child or even last Thursday:

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

Hillary Clinton And The Amazing Wingnutty Media Apology Trap

The most overused adjective of the 2016 presidential election cycle so far has got to be the term “Outsider.” The media is thoroughly infatuated with the notion of alleged outsiders dominating the campaign season and crushing their “establishment” rivals. It’s a stark turnaround from their prior position that political neophytes (i.e. President Obama) are unqualified to assume leadership roles in government.

Hillary Clinton

These outsiders have been granted broad leeway to do and say things that ordinarily would sink any other campaign. And in today’s environment the most admirable response when caught making a formerly fatal faux pas is to double down and, by no means, apologize. Notable among the remorseless on the right is Donald Trump who has insulted Latinos by calling them criminals and rapists; dishonored veterans by saying that POWs are not heroes; pretends to be pious while insisting that he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness because he never does anything wrong; and displays blatant misogyny aimed at any woman who challenges him. In all of these, and many other, incidents he has refused to apologize or even acknowledge that his words or actions may have been inappropriate or hurtful.

But Trump is not alone. Many of the Republican candidates are guilty of this. Mike Huckabee refused to apologize after a despicable and insensitive Holocaust reference that Obama’s deal with Iran “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Ben Carson never apologized for likening ObamaCare to slavery. Jeb Bush repeatedly used the pejorative term “anchor baby” without lament (which he got from Trump). In the last presidential race Mitt Romney actually published a book titled “No Apologies.”

So it is rather disingenuous now for Republicans, and most of the media, to be obsessed with whether or not Hillary Clinton will apologize for having used a private email address. In just the past week she has been asked this question by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and again by the Associated Press. She responded that she was sorry that the subject was so confusing and expressed regret that she hadn’t decided to use separate emails, but since she did nothing wrong or illegal there was no other reason to apologize. She told the AP that “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.” These responses were then relayed to the rest of the media that continued to play up the same angle.

It’s interesting that every time a Republican refuses to apologize for their actions they are hailed as people of strong character who stand by their principles. The GOP voters drool all over themselves with ever-expanding esteem for their unyielding commitment. They are venerated for refusing to buckle under to pressure by those who would have them show remorse or even sympathy for those they malign. But when Clinton has the audacity to dismiss the need to apologize, and offers a rational explanation for her stance, she is assailed as arrogant, imperious, or out-of-touch.

This is emblematic of the right’s hypocritical approach to pretty much everything political. Inexperienced candidates are considered a threat to the nation, unless they are inexperienced Republicans like Trump or Carson. Wealthy candidates, like Clinton, are elitists who can’t relate to the common citizen, unless they are wealthy Republicans like Trump or Bush. Religious candidates like Jimmy Carter are belittled and demeaned, unless they are religious Republicans like Huckabee or Cruz. And this goes on and on with other matters including education, military service, and business experience. In every case Democrats are criticized for the same things for which Republicans are praised.

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Personally, I’m a fan of apologies. It shows humility and maturity and the temperament to be able to admit one’s mistakes. People should get credit for apologizing, not criticism. But in the current political environment apologies are taken as signs of weakness. And that’s why Republicans and the press are so adamant about extracting one from Clinton. They want to portray her as weak. That’s the trap. The problem is that if she resists she is portrayed as obstinate and arrogant, but if she complies she is tagged as a spineless wimp. It’s a lose-lose proposition for her alone. Because the GOP can still refuse to apologize for anything and still get applause from the media and right-wingers who go through life with blinders on.

The Unbearable Dumbness Of Being Republican

Confirmation of the relentless idiocy of the Republican electorate continues to unfold as the primary season heats up. With each new day there are fresh examples of the trademark asininity that is emblematic of America’s wingnut demographic.

George Bernard Shaw

The latest revelation comes from a survey by Public Policy Polling that provides a profile of the GOP’s current voter base. It’s a sad picture of a sector of the population that is hopelessly lost and consumed with blind hatred. Here is what PPP had to say about their survey results:

“Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country […] 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12% that grant he’s a Christian. 61% think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21% who accept that he was.”

And furthermore…

“Trump’s beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That’s less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.”

So 40% of Republicans overall (not just Trump supporters) think that Ted Cruz was born in the U.S. (He wasn’t. He was born in Canada). But 51% of the same meatheads think that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. (He was, of course, born in Hawaii). Meanwhile, 54% of Republicans (and 66% of Trump’s supporters) also believe that Obama is a Muslim, despite the fact that they criticized him mercilessly for all the years that he was a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ led by the now infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Whatever you think of Wright, there is no question that he did not preside over a mosque.

To make matters worse, Trump supporters are comfortable with his assertions that he is a devout Christian even though he says that he has never asked God for forgiveness. Due to his spiritual perfection he said “Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?” I thought that Christians believe there was only one perfect person and he died on a cross a couple thousand years ago. Is The Donald the Second Coming? Additionally, Trump was unable to cite a single verse from the Bible when asked last week. And the pastor of the Church to which he said he belongs denied that he is an active member.

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

But this isn’t about Trump. It’s about the whole of the Republican electorate whose absence of easily available knowledge borders on clinical dementia. It would be bad enough if they were merely ignorant of common facts. But it’s much worse than that. These people are convinced of things that are provably false. And as George Bernard Shaw said “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” Which begs the question, how did Shaw know about the Tea Party so many years before it existed?