Democrats’ Message Of Hope THRASHES Republican Fear Mongering In TV Ratings

Now that both of the presidential nominating conventions are over, we can take a look at how the American people felt about the proceedings with respect to their television viewing. The Nielsen ratings are in and they tell a story that may have an impact on the election and its results in November.

Clinton Trump

From the broadest perspective the Democrats scored a significant victory (which may explain why Donald Trump is now pretending that he had nothing to do with his own convention). The cumulative total viewers for all four nights, across ten broadcast and cable networks, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was 116.7 million. For the Republican National Convention (RNC) it was 100.7 million. The Democrats outright won the first three nights by at least five million viewers. On the fourth night Trump’s acceptance speech outdrew Hillary Clinton’s by a small margin of 1.6 million.

DNC RNC
Day 1 28.4 23.0
Day 2 28.0 23.0
Day 3 27.0 19.8
Day 4 33.3 34.9
116.7 100.7

The fourth night of the DNC event requires some additional analysis. It is fair to say that the night when a candidate is making their acceptance speech has particular significance. They are the star attraction at these shows and the impressions they make can have a substantial impact. Consequently, it should raise one’s curiosity as to why the Democrats won every night except the one when Hillary Clinton was making her big speech.

The answer is not especially surprising. When the numbers are broken down by network, you’ll find that Trump drew a massive 9.4 million viewers for his speech on Fox News alone. The following week, by contrast, Clinton was watched by only three million viewers on Fox. There was no similar disparity on any other network.

Clearly the people who watch Fox News were inclined to tune in to see their favorite candidate, Donald Trump. And when it came time for Hillary Clinton to speak, Fox viewers simply tuned her out, preferring to remain steeped in their own partisan stupidity. Absent this warped variable, the average viewership of the convention’s fourth night again shows a healthy lead for the Democrats.

More importantly, it shows a decidedly unhealthy tendency for Republicans to deliberately shelter themselves from the real world and wallow in a pool of purposeful ignorance. This isn’t a new development. A couple of years ago Gallup conducted a study that identified the political leanings of the viewers of each network. It showed that fully 94% of respondents identified as Republican or leaning Republican said that Fox News is their main source for news. Conservatives chimed in at 79%. And a whopping 97% of those who do not approve of President Obama pledged their allegiance to Fox. None of the respondents on the left came within 30 points of that level of extreme partisanship.

What this tells us is that Fox News is virtually irrelevant to the political debate in America. They cater to a uniform community of right-wing zealots whose opinions are locked in place. So it makes no difference that Fox viewers didn’t watch Clinton’s speech because they wouldn’t vote for her anyway. In fact, they may have just been following orders from their master. Yesterday Donald Trump sent an email to supporters telling them not to watch Clinton on Thursday:

“Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don’t watch Hillary’s DNC speech tonight.”

That’s the sort of advice that you give to juveniles you can’t trust to make their own decisions. It’s advice that cripples ones ability to understand the world around them and makes them incapable of knowing how to respond to information that isn’t pre-chewed for them by autocratic demagogues. In other words, it’s advice that Fox News viewers would rush blindly to follow. And what makes this even more ludicrous is that Trump himself declined his own advice. After earlier saying that he was not going to watch Clinton’s speech, he confessed to an audience at a rally today that “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I watched it.”

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

Of course he did. How else would he know what lame insults to tweet in response? Trump’s ego would never permit him to avoid anything that someone might say about him, particularly if it’s critical. As an insecure bully he needs to have constant control of his surroundings so he can strike back when he feels he’s been maligned. These ratings results prove that he’s one of the losers he’s constantly accusing his opponents of being. But don’t expect him to acknowledge it. He’s probably preparing some tweets right now to smear the lefty radicals at Nielsen who he surely believes are deliberately sabotaging his campaign.

Lyin’ Donald Trump Now Pretends He Had Nothing To Do With His Own Disastrous Convention

From the commencement of Donald Trump’s journey to the Republican nomination for president he has bragged about his super-awesome skills in television production and media spectacles. To be sure, he’s had some experience in these areas with his glitzy beauty pageants and schmaltzy Apprentice programs (although it’s unclear what his producing role was in either).

Trump Convention

Prior to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump touted his alleged showbiz cred to build anticipation for a glossy entertainment-rich extravaganza. Last April he told the Washington Post that it was his intention to produce a “monumentally magnificent convention” that is “brilliantly staged.” As it turns out, he was only able to coax D-List talent like Scott Baio and Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson. Contrast that with the Democratic Convention’s roster of Meryl Streep, Paul Simon, Alicia Keys, and Katy Perry.

On the political front, Trump’s party has kept its distance from him with both of the former GOP presidents (Bush and Bush, Jr.) staying away, as well as both of the previous GOP nominees for president (McCain and Romney). Only two of the seventeen 2016 contenders bothered to show up, and John Kasich, the governor of the state that is hosting the convention refused to step foot inside of it. While at the DNC affair they exhibited Democratic star power like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton (of course), Joe Biden, and Michelle and Barack Obama.

Immediately following the RNC debacle Trump tweeted that it was “One of the best produced, including the incredible stage & set, in the history of conventions. Great unity! Big T.V. ratings!” That was before the reviews came in that were almost unanimously negative. Even prominent conservatives were bad-mouthing the event. For example:

As the reality set in that the GOP convention was a national turn off, Trump ran for cover, afraid of being associated with the losers responsible for it (i.e. himself). As reported in the New York Times:

“The Times asked Trump about why his convention seemed haphazardly thrown-together, unlike the very coordinated and on-message Democratic convention and unlike Republican conventions of the past. ‘I didn’t produce our show — I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday,’ he responded.”

If it’s true that Trump just showed to give his speech, then he abdicated his responsibilities as the leader of his party. Every nominee owns their convention and campaign. Trump is saying that he was no more than a hired spokesman for the most important event in the entire campaign process.

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

That’s the sort of dishonest buck-passing that we could expect if Trump were to prevail in November. His notoriously thin skin, and his infamous narcissism, would never allow him to take responsibility for anything that had the taint of failure. Before it was apparent that the Republicans threw an epic dud, Trump was boasting that it was all his doing. Now he can’t run away fast enough. And it’s significant that the failures of the GOP convention were specifically in the areas that Trump claims to excel. It would be funny if the consequences weren’t so serious.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

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

Donald Trump’s Latest Tweets Prove He’s A Whiny Brat Who Will Never Be ‘Presidential’

Throughout the Republican primaries Donald Trump has behaved like a colicky infant throwing tantrums and lashing out at opponents with insults that would make an eight year old wince with shame. He is easily the most profane, classless, cretin who ever ran for president. His remedial English, hollow policy pronouncements, and incessant boasting, are cartoonish in nature. Even Fox News mogul, Rupert Murdoch, agreed when he tweeted “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?”

Donald Trump

Trump has spoken about “pivoting” to “acting” more presidential several times in response to reporter inquiries. Setting aside the absurdity that such questions need to be asked, he generally took the position that he would get around to it eventually and that it would be easy. That position is an admission that he is not currently acting presidential and that when he does so it would just be an act. rather than a genuine component of one’s character.

Now that he is the official nominee of the Republican Party, it might seem like a good time to make the pivot. Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t think so. He posted a could of tweets today that are typical of his childishness and evidence that he doesn’t have the temperament to be hall monitor, much less president. First he took a wild swing at Sen. Elizabeth Warren using one of his juvenile and offensive taunts to describe her:

There isn’t a single word in that tweet that is true. All of Warren’s public statements prior to Kaine’s selection indicate that she never considered herself to be a VP candidate. Following the Kaine announcement she responded directly to Trump with her own tweet saying that “I’m right where I want to be, @realDonaldTrump: Calling you out & holding you responsible for your reckless vision for America.” She has a close relationship Hillary Clinton who campaigned with her just last week. Trump assumes that everybody else harbors the same measure of hatred that he does. But no one has less insight into why Clinton chose Kaine than Donald Trump.

A few hours later, Trump posts another petulant tweet aimed at the new Clinton/Kaine ticket:

First of all, Trump is ignoring the fact that ISIS has virtually endorsed his candidacy. And just as Clinton predicted, they are using him in their recruiting videos. But it’s his third grade level heckling that continues to prove that he is utterly incapable of even a hint of presidential bearing. The reason Clinton and Kaine don’t look presidential to him is that he doesn’t know the meaning of the word (literally).

Trump has called his own GOP colleagues “losers, weaklings, liars, and pussies.” Even if he were to start behaving like a princess at high tea, it would just be another facade that he could abandon when he no longer needs to pretend. And if you aren’t convinced that this behavior is cause for concern, Just imagine how Trump would deal with Congress, citizen groups, and foreign heads of state. It would not be merely embarrassing, it would be dangerous.

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

Watch Donald Trump being “presidential”

WATCH: Racist Icon David Duke Announces Senate Run With Praise For Donald Trump

Now that Donald Trump has officially become the nominee of the Republican Party for president, the election season can shift some focus to down ballot races for governors and Congress. One such race is the senate seat being vacated by prostitute patron David Vitter in Louisiana. Among the throng of hopefuls for the seat we can now add former Klan leader David Duke.

David Duke

What makes Duke’s candidacy notable is the inspiration he cites for throwing his white, pointy hat in the ring. In a video launching his campaign (below), Duke says “I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years. My slogan remains ‘America First.’” His argument for electing him is that he would be the one person in Congress looking out for white, Christian Europeans. Well, except for the other 80% of the members of Congress.

The Louisiana Republican party said that Duke is “a hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the GOP.” However, there is no disputing that Duke is running on Trump’s coattails with a nearly identical platform. He has endorsed Trump for president and was impressed with his acceptance speech tweeting “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” That’s high praise. Trump must be proud that he is so perfectly articulating the hopes and dreams of one America’s leading white supremacists.

In addition to being inspired by Trump, Duke takes some credit for inspiring Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican Party. Earlier this month when he first floated his interest in running for office, Duke bragged that “I’ve said everything that Donald Trump is saying and more. I think Trump is riding a wave of anti-establishment feeling that I’ve been nurturing for 25 years.”

He may have a point. Trump is rather new to the bigots banquet, at least so far as assuming a public role in the movement is concerned. But he has risen rapidly and succeeded in corralling a broad measure of support from the racist rank and file. Last year Politico reported that:

“The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.”

Indeed, Trump is making it easier for avowed racists to come out of the closet and profess their bigotry with pride. Let’s call it “The Trump Effect.” It begins with his willingness to retweet racist memes and comments from blatant white supremacists. And he scores more points for failing to disassociate himself from racist supporters, or for only doing so after being criticized. And even then without much conviction.

Trump, of course, denies that he is racist. But if you are being heralded by racists and neo-Nazis, at some point a conscientious person would want to know what it is they are doing that is attracting such a repulsive contingent of cretins. Trump’s supporters and the Republican Party ought to be asking themselves the same questions.

Having conquered the Republican primary, Trump has thrown the door wide open for racists who used to be reticent about going public to actually seek public office. They now have carte blanche to advertise their biases with some confidence that they can attract votes, at least within the GOP. That’s the distasteful opportunity that the Trump Effect has created for David Duke and others like him.

UPDATE: Trump just announced that he might vote for Duke:

“Mr Trump was asked if he would support a Democrat over Mr Duke if it was necessary to defeat him, Mr Trump replied: “I guess, depending on who the Democrat is.”

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

Speechwriter Exposes Trump Camp’s Lies About Melania’s Plagiarized Speech

The controversy over Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention stubbornly refuses to go away. Following the initial revelation that several passages were blatantly lifted from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, Donald Trump’s defenders mobilized to deny reality and try to convince America that they could not believe their own eyes and ears.

Michelle Obama/Melania Trump

The Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, dismissed it as being a coincidental collection of commonly used words. That was after he baselessly blamed it all on Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie excused it because only part of it was plagiarized. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson complained that Michelle Obama thinks she “invented the English language.” RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer turned it back on Michelle Obama saying that she plagiarized My Little Pony. Trump Communications Director Jason Miller reduced it to “included fragments that reflected her own thinking.” The Trump people simultaneously said that Melania wrote the speech herself (which she told NBC’s Matt Laurer), but that any problems were the fault of her team of writers.

Today the speechwriter came forward with a totally new account of what happened. She released a letter on Trump Organization stationary (image below) taking the fall for the whole affair:

“My name is Meredith McIver and I’m an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization. I am also a longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.”

“In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

So it turns out that the lines were indeed lifted from Obama’s speech after all. And it was Melania who did it. McIver is taking responsibility for not checking Melania’s work. However, everyone on the Trump team who vociferously denied any remote possibility of plagiarism, even ridiculing the notion, are now exposed as either liars or fools.

McIver went on to say that she offered Trump her resignation, but that he refused to accept it saying that “people make innocent mistakes.” This was an “innocent mistake” that made Melania look awful in her national coming out, and resulted in two days of distractions from the whatever messages Trump was hoping to convey at the convention. (That may be a blessing in disguise considering the fright-fest that Trump put on yesterday). And in the end, Trump thinks it was all a positive development:

Almost as significant as the admission that the speech was plagiarized is the discovery that Michelle Obama is “A person [Melania] has always liked.” That may not sit well with a crowd that regards the Obamas as foreign interlopers bent on destroying America. For the record, Donald Trump was also a big fan of Obama at one time, as he wrote in his book “Think Like A Champion.”

Apparently Melania et al couldn’t find any Republican women who expressed the same values that Michelle did. But stealing lines from a historic speech is a funny way of showing your admiration. And that’s why this episode remains significant. It demonstrates that Trump’s fabled management skills are just another fraudulent PR scam. This speech would have to have been reviewed by numerous people before allowing the candidate’s wife to take it out onto the stage. But they couldn’t handle something as simple as sourcing a speech. And Trump’s want’s us to trust him with the nuclear codes?

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

McIver Letter

Hurricanes, Riots, And Viruses, Oh My. Is God Trying To Tell Republicans Something?

In the past Republicans, and their evangelical emissaries, have been quick to declare that natural disasters and other civil disturbances were indications of God’s disapproval for sinful behavior. They believe that the calamities that wreaked havoc on Haiti, New Orleans, the Jersey shore, and even acts of terrorism like the massacre in Orlando, were divine messages conveying God’s anger and were intended as punishment for sinners.

God's Pissed

Today there is a report that the Republican National Convention may be suffering from an outbreak of biblical-style pestilence. Several delegates have come down with symptoms consistent with the norovirus which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is:

“…a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up. These symptoms can be serious for some people, especially young children and older adults”

The good news is that treatment for the norovirus is covered by ObamaCare. However, this potential health crisis could still threaten to upend a convention that has already been roiled by human-made catastrophes like Melania Trump’s blatant plagiarism of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama. But this is just one symptom of a much larger problem for the the GOP.

Civil unrest has been a constant threat for the RNC since back in March when Donald Trump raised the specter of violence at the convention if he wasn’t crowned king of the Republican Party. He literally warned that “I think you’d have riots.” Having set that tone, Trump’s followers began planning to attend the convention fully armed and prepared for a righteous battle. The city of Cleveland has had to take extraordinary steps to try to prevent bloodshed.

And that’s not all. The last GOP convention in Tampa, Florida, in 2012 was also beset by tribulations. They were forced to cancel the first day due to the approach of Hurricane Isaac. That was actually the second consecutive Republican convention that was interrupted by a hurricane. The 2008 affair in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota was cursed by Hurricane Gustav.

So with this virus outbreak this is the third Republican convention that appears to have stirred God’s wrath. After hurricanes, riots, and viruses, what’s next? A plague of frogs? At some point you need to ask the question: Is God trying tell Republicans something? Is their aversion to many of the principles espoused in the bible causing these divine adversities?

After all, Jesus was a proponent of the poor; of feeding the hungry (food stamps) and healing the sick (ObamaCare). The bible commands believers to welcome immigrants in Exodus 22:21 saying “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” And even the environment is sacred as noted in Genesis 2:15 which says that God’s orders for humans with regard to his creation were “to cultivate and care for it.”

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

In reviewing these sins of the Republican Party it is easy to draw conclusions. Anyone with an open mind can clearly see that God is pissed. It may be wise to stay away from GOP conventions, or vote for their candidates, until these issues are resolved and Republicans change their evil ways. And at the top of the list is dispensing with Donald Trump who says that he has never asked God for forgiveness despite having already committed all seven of the deadly sins.

The Company You Keep: 13 Extreme Right-Wing Nuts Who Love Trump’s New VP Mike Pence

When Donald Trump canceled his news conference to announce Mike Pence as his VP pick he effectively handed the terrorists a victory by demonstrating with his cowardice that, under his “leadership,” they can have a profound impact on our democratic processes. Although it may have been more ego than cowardice as he didn’t want to compete with the tragedy in Nice for attention from the press.

Trump/Pence

However, now that his selection of a running mate is official it is revealing to observe the throngs of conservatives who regard Pence as a brilliant choice and the salvation for a candidate that many on the far-right never trusted. The rush to praise Pence was immediate, celebratory, and nearly unanimous. Here are just a few of the accolades that have been pouring in since the choice was confirmed:

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House: “Mike Pence comes from the heart of the conservative movement — and the heart of America. I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate.”

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union: “This is a great day for conservatism and great news for conservatives.”

David Macintosh of the Club for Growth: “Mike Pence would be an outstanding Vice-President.”

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin: “Governor Mike Pence provides the opportunity to give GOP voters still undecided about Donald Trump a reason to unite and to vote for a more principled ticket.”

Brent Bozell, of the ultra-rightist Media Research Center: “Naming of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate is a homerun for Donald Trump.”

Penny Nance, president and CEO, Concerned Women for America: “This is an excellent choice by Donald Trump … will be a unifying factor and conservatives will be very supportive.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List: “An affirmation of the pro-life commitments he has made and will rally the pro-life grassroots.”

Mark Meckler co-founder of Tea Party Patriots: “An excellent selection”

Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and Senior Fellow of the Family Research Council: Trump “gets an A-plus for his first presidential decision.”

Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan: “Pence is a good choice for VP.”

Laura Ingraham, Fox News contributor and right-wing radio talk show host: “Trump/Pence does have a nice ring to it!”

Mark R. Levin, Right-wing radio talk show host: “Pence is an excellent choice”

Dana Loesch, host at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze and Special Advisor on Women’s Policy for the NRA: “IMO Pence as a VP pick is the best choice among the listed.”

If anyone thought that Mike Pence was a mainstream Republican who would be a moderating influence on the mercurial, hotheaded Trump, this parade of wingnut rapture should put an end to that delusion. Pence is an ultra-rightist who has a long record of supporting the most extreme conservative positions. He is a favorite of evangelicals and other social conservatives who oppose LGBT equality and a woman’s right to choose. He is among the science deniers who believe that climate change is a hoax. And he is a proponent of the hoax that cutting taxes for the wealthy will benefit the poor and middle-class.

There is, though, at least one notable skeptic of the Pence selection: Donald Trump. CNN’s Dana Bash is reporting today that Trump spent last night beseeching his aides for ways to get out of naming Pence. Apparently they couldn’t come up with a plausible escape route.

Perhaps Trump’s reticence stemmed from some of the serious disagreements on core policies that are certain to be brought up as the Trump/Pence campaign leaves the launching pad. For instance:

And:

It’s too late now, Donnie. You are stuck with each other. At least you have some consolation knowing that you have the approval of the Neanderthal wing of the Republican Party. The Trump/Pence ticket will likely have all the success of the group that shares its “TP” acronym: Tea Party. Good luck with that.

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

EPIC FAIL: Donald Trump Wrangles The Most Laughable Roster Of Speakers For His Convention

With the Republican National Convention set to begin next week, Donald Trump finally released the schedule of speakers. Two weeks ago Trump tweeted that “The speakers slots at the Republican Convention are totally filled” and promised to release the list the next day. That highly anticipated announcement took two weeks to materialize. Perhaps the reason is that the list, as just revealed by the New York Times, is an embarrassing collection of has beens and D-List denizens of the tabloids. Other than speculation about who Trump will select as a running mate (which Fox News may have inadvertently revealed), this is the most hotly sought after convention news, but the Trump camp is treating it as an afterthought.

The Times, however, is reporting that the lineup is “lacking many of the party’s rising stars” and relies instead on “Trump’s eclectic collection of friends, celebrities and relatives.” What’s more, in an effort to transform the convention into a shallow spectacle that draws on Trump’s Reality TV experience, the nightly schedule has been assigned dramatic themes akin to chapters in a soap opera:

“There are plans to emphasize different themes each night of the convention. Mr. Trump wants to touch on a few of his favorite hot-button issues, like the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, former President Clinton’s infidelities and border security.”

Really? Trump and his handlers actually think it’s a good idea to dredge up Benghazi, which multiple investigations, including those led by Republicans in Congress, absolved Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration of any wrongdoing. Even the latest Special Committee, after spending two years and seven million dollars, found nothing of significance that wasn’t already known or reported by one of the seven other congressional committees (which didn’t stop Fox News from desperately trying to find a way to spin it negatively).

And the night devoted to “President Clinton’s infidelities” is certain to be a major draw to anyone interested in twenty year old personal scandals that were thoroughly reported at the time and have been resolved by the Clinton’s who, to their credit, preserved their family and their marriage vows. Contrast that with Donald Trump, who has openly bragged about his adulterous ways and is currently on his third wife (so far).

The list of speakers obtained by the Times is a revealing look into the weakness of Trump’s support and his inability to produce an event that voters will find relevant to their lives. Rather than praise for the candidate, the schedule is focused on negativity toward his opponent and the Americans who he has already maligned for the past year. From the Times:

Night 1: A Benghazi focus, followed by border patrol agents and Mr. [Jamiel] Shaw, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant. Senator [Tom] Cotton, Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, Melania Trump, Ms. [Joni] Ernst and others.

Night 2: A focus on the economy: Mr. [Dana] White, president of the U.F.C.; Asa Hutchinson, the governor of Arkansas; Michael Mukasey, the former United States attorney general; Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a vice-presidential possibility; Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader; Tiffany Trump; Donald Trump Jr. and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Night 3: Ms. [Pam] Bondi; Ms. [Eileen] Collins; Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker; Senator Ted Cruz of Texas; Eric Trump; Ms. [Natalie] Gulbis; and the nominee for vice president.

Night 4: Mr. [Tim] Tebow; Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee; Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma; Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman; Gov. Rick Scott of Florida; Mr. [Peter] Thiel; Mr. [Thomas] Barrack; Ivanka Trump; Donald J. Trump.

Wow! I can hardly wait. In addition to Benghazi, Trump will spend a portion of the first night on his racist immigration proposals by featuring speakers intent on demeaning Latino-Americans. His second night’s economic focus is headlined by the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, who will be followed by crowd pleasers like Mitch McConnell and Scott Walker. The third night welcomes Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, who also stars in an alleged bribery scheme wherein she sought a campaign donation from Trump before shelving an investigation into his phony university. And on the fourth night, which ought to be the grand finale, Trump is trotting out a failed NFL quarterback who is currently unemployed, and a couple of fellow billionaires. And of course his family is distributed on various nights throughout the convention.

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

Where are the GOP’s leading lights and rising stars? Most are not even attending the convention. None of the living Republican presidents will be there. Nor will the past two GOP candidates for president. Nor will at least a third of the sitting Republican senators. And only three out of the seventeen Republicans who ran for president in 2016 will appear at the podium, and one of those (Ted Cruz) hasn’t even endorsed Trump.

This may be one of the most pathetic political conventions in modern times. The animosity Trump has sown among his peers via his abhorrent policies, inherent hostility, and childish behavior, has doomed him to casting a third rate affair that will produce more laughter than enthusiasm for his candidacy. Personally, I think my satirical lineup would way more fun:

Trump's RNC

The Republican Party Platform Is More Worried About You Getting Off Than Getting Shot

The nation is currently undergoing the heart-wrenching anguish of senseless violence and loss of life. Last week saw an unusually painful series of events that included the killings of citizens by over-zealous police officers, followed by a brutal attack on good cops who were protecting a peaceful protest of such killings. In both cases guns played a prominent part in needless slaughter.

Gun Lady

Fox News, and the rest of the conservative media, immediately launched an assault on #BlackLivesMatter, branding them racists and hostile for their efforts to draw attention to the far too frequent incidents of African-Americans becoming victims of police misconduct. The blame from the right extended even further to include President Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom they alleged were directly responsible for the Dallas shootings. It requires an unfathomably perverse logic to make those associations but, as it turns out, it isn’t even the craziest thing the right has done this week.

Reports from the Republican National Convention’s Platform committee reveal that they have unanimously approved an amendment declaring that:

“Pornography, with his harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions. We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and wellbeing.”

Everyone can agree that protecting children from nefarious types who would harm them, or exploit them for deviant purposes, is a worthy goal. However, Republicans are making an Olympian leap of reason by designating pornography in general as a “public health crisis.” Never mind that they don’t bother to cite any references to professional journals or medical studies to validate that claim. They simply expect it to be taken on faith.

RELATED: New Study Explains Why Fox News Is Obsessed With Sex And Porn

What makes this absurd is that these are the same Republicans who have fought fiercely to prevent gun violence from being studied as a public health crisis. The Republican majority in Congress, at the behest of the NRA, passed legislation that explicitly prohibits government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, from appropriating funds to conduct research on gun violence and injury prevention. And this was after prior studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine established that gun ownership is a risk factor for homicide in the home. The American Psychological Association agrees and has lobbied to eliminate the GOP’s freeze on funds for research:

“APA endorses the provision to end the freeze on federal gun violence research. This ban has significantly hampered psychological scientists’ ability to systematically assess the risk of assault and other weapons to the public, and to determine the effectiveness of various preventive measures. APA supports increased federal funding for research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, including attention to violence in media, to jump start this field after so many years of neglect.”

But none of these reasonable arguments has moved the the Republican Party to act reasonably. Under the banner of their presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, they are becoming more radically conservative than ever. With this platform they are asserting that pornography is a public health crisis despite the lack of any credible evidence. But they won’t allow gun violence to even be studied by medical professionals even though existing research indicates a very real problem. It is emblematic of the GOP’s shift to the ultra-right with other platform items that include opposing marriage equality, supporting gay conversion therapy, and declaring coal to be “clean” energy.

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

Today President Obama and others paid tribute to the fallen officers of the Dallas Police Department. And while these solemn events are unfolding, the Republican Party is making it easier for other maniacs, like the one that murdered five cops, to acquire and use weapons that escalate the body count. But at least we’ll be safe from the horror of nakedness.