Who Was Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Why Would Donald Trump Have Hated Her?

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Parkland, Florida school, where fourteen kids and three adults were murdered by a maniac with an AR-15 assault weapon, has become a flash point in the debate for gun safety. That debate has been driven mainly by the student survivors themselves. Their passionate and articulate commitment to finally making change happen is one of the few signs of hope in the aftermath of yet another massacre.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

However, little has been reported about the namesake of the school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. As it turns out, she was an inspiring woman who was a fierce advocate for speaking out on matters of importance. During a life of activism and personal sacrifice she was quoted as saying “You have to stand up for some things in this world.” She lived those words throughout her life and inspired others to do the same. In 1993 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton. And while in the White House that day she was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill).

But that isn’t the only eerie coincidence about Douglas and the specific focus of her activism. According to a biography on the National Park Service website:

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, born April 7, 1890 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, graduated from Wellesley with straight A’s with the elected honor of “Class Orator.” That title proved to be prophetic.

In 1915, following a brief and calamitous marriage, she arrived in Miami, working for her father at the Miami Herald. She worked first as a society reporter, then as an editorial page columnist, and later established herself as a writer of note. Here she took on the fight for feminism, racial justice, and conservation long before these causes became popular.

So Douglas began her professional career as a journalist. Or as Donald Trump would say “an enemy of the American people.” She went on to champion women’s rights, something Trump has ridiculed and whose personal history of sexual harassment and assault demonstrates extreme disrespect and misogyny. Douglas was also a proponent of civil rights and racial justice. That contrasts with Trump’s overt bigotry and that of his base, which includes KKK and Nazi leaders and organizations. And finally, Douglas was best known for her environmental activism and her work to conserve the Florida Everglades. She wrote a landmark book on the subject titled, The Everglades: River of Grass.

Trump surely doesn’t know anything about Douglas or her lifelong dedication to service and social change. But if he did he would certainly despise her and attack her with a flurry of furious and derogatory tweets. He would insult her and make up stupid nicknames. And he would express his opposition to everything she stood for. All of this adds a rather somber poignancy to the tragedy in Parkland. But it may explain the stirring and righteous reaction from the students who probably do know Douglas and her work. They are likely inspired by quotes like this one: “I believe that life should be lived so vividly and so intensely that thoughts of another life, or of a longer life, are not necessary.”” And it may explain the heartrending intensity of their oratory as exemplified in this speech by student Emma Gonzalez:

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

Mr. Trump, Can We Put An End to the ‘Rights Come From Our Creator’ Nonsense?

Donald Trump made an appearance at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday to deliver a typically wooden, TelePrompted speech (video below). Most notable from a style perspective was his awkward, overly coached pauses for applause after nearly every sentence. But just his presence is peculiar. As a thrice-married, confessed sexual abuser, who doesn’t think he needs to ask God for forgiveness, he becomes emblematic of this evangelical organization’s hypocrisy.

Donald Trump Messiah

The President’s speech was a basket of pseudo-spiritual cliches that represent the whole of what he has learned about religion. But if he can’t read a ten page document from the Intelligence Committee, he surely has never read through the bible. So he mechanically recites platitudes about “the Lord’s grace,” about faith being “central to American life,” and about how “blessed we are to be Americans” then he unloads one of the oldest tropes about what our Founding Fathers intended for this nation at its birth:

“Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Our currency declares ‘IN GOD WE TRUST.’ And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim that we are ‘One Nation Under God.'”

Whoever wrote this tripe for Trump was as ill-informed as he is about both religion and history. First of all, the Founders very deliberately referenced a “Creator” to avoid any appearance of favoritism. That’s something our Muslim-banning president couldn’t care less about. Secondly, the references to God on currency and in the pledge of allegiance are relatively recent additions that have little significance in our nation’s traditions.

However, the most annoying rhetorical rubbish in this simpleton sermonette is the hoary affirmation that “our rights are granted to us by God.” Sure. And storks bring babies, and fairies shell out cash for used teeth. These childish notions can only be believed by the sort of incurious and dependent minds that populate cults. Which explains why Trump’s followers applauded this line so enthusiastically.

If our rights were actually granted by God, there would be no use for the Constitution at all. Why bother to write down protections for free speech or privacy or speedy trials if those rights were already assured by an omnipotent power? And did God actually ordain from on high the bearing of arms by well-regulated militias? He must really be a stickler for detail.

It’s a sad testament to human progress that so many people still rely on such intellectually thin concepts. This is not an indictment of religion per se. There are plenty of deep thinkers among the faithful of all flavors. But those who fall for dimwitted drivel like this are not in that group. It is obvious to any thinking person that if we value our rights we must make certain that we grant them to ourselves and document it with specificity. Otherwise, they do actually exist, no matter what any particular God says.

Trump’s Prayer Breakfast speech was just his latest performance art, pretending to be pious before an audience of blind worshipers. And on a side note, that audience also welcomed some of Trump’s Russian pals. In fact, as CNN reported, “As many as 60 representatives from Russia” attended the affair. That’s more than three times the number who attended last year. Now why do you suppose that was?

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

Fox News Fear Mongers Over Fake News Claim That Illegal Immigrants Are Voting

Attorney General Jeff Sessions just announced that he will begin to issue subpoenas to sanctuary cities. It’s an effort to force Donald Trump’s racist federal immigration policies down the throats of local jurisdictions. This obsession by Republicans to dehumanize immigrants has overtaken almost every other item on their agenda. It’s what derailed the budget negotiations last week and led to the shutdown of the government.

Fox News Ann Coulter

Last year Trump’s phony voter fraud commission was disbanded because state election officials refused to participate with the blatantly biased operation that couldn’t find a scintilla of evidence that any voter fraud had occurred. The whole charade was launched because Trump wanted to invalidate the fact that he lost the popular vote by three million votes.

Undaunted, the right’s determination to sow distrust in democracy continues. And Fox News leads the way. They are orchestrating a well coordinated campaign to blame undocumented immigrants for imaginary voting irregularities. The latest salvo in this contrived war was fired on Tuesday night’s episode of the Laura Ingraham Angle (video below). The segment was introduce by Ingraham asserting that:

“Under new California law people will be allowed to vote, and it will happen actually automatically when they obtain old or new drivers licenses regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens. As leftist politicians import voters they still don’t seem to understand that there are actually dangers when this happens.”

Oh No! People will be allowed to vote? What’s next, a representative democracy? Surely that is against the long-held principles of Fox News, Ingraham, and her guest Ann Coulter. But make no mistake, Ingraham’s dismay over improper voting is entirely a figment of her deliberate deception. Democrats are not, and cannot, “import voters.” The law is clear that only U.S. citizens are permitted to vote. The law referencing voter registration through driver’s licenses accounts for that and does not send registration data to the Secretary of State unless the applicant is eligible.

This fact is even stated in an article on the Fox News website. Although the article also falsely states that a “New California Policy Opens the Door to Illegal Immigrant Voting,” buried near the end is this errant factoid:

“Undocumented immigrants obtain a special driver’s license that notes on it ‘Federal limits apply.’ […] “They’re asked if they’re 18, if they’re U.S. citizens. They don’t move on to the voter registration if they’re not eligible.”

That ought to have settled the debate and eliminated the need to even bring this up. Undocumented immigrants get a different license than U.S. citizens, and they do not get automatically registered to vote. The same is true for legal, non-citizen immigrants. And the same is true for sixteen and seventeen year olds, who are old enough to drive but not to vote.

So Fox News knows that the system is set up to only send registration information for applicants who are eligible. But they are nevertheless hyperventilating over massive illegal voting that isn’t occurring now and never has. Their only objective is to incite fear among their bigoted viewers and exacerbate the hatred and division that has become the primary political strategy of the Trump Republican Party.

But this tactic will surely backfire. That’s because there really are millions of Latino citizens who see this overt prejudice and will be motivated to show up at their polling places and throw the bigots out of office. And although it may be several years away, the legal immigrants who eventually become citizens aren’t going to be any more likely to vote for racist Republicans. So good work, Fox News. And good luck when those Southwest red states like Arizona and Texas turn bright blue.

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

Bill O’Reilly Has Totally Lost His Feeble Mind with this ‘Price of Freedom’ Rant on Guns

Being a notorious sexual predator who has paid out tens of millions of dollars to victimized women is taking its toll on Bill O’Reilly. Now that he’s sequestered to his chintzy weblog since Fox News fired him, O’Reilly is exhibiting signs of acute mental distress. Among other humiliations, he has been making guest appearances on Sean Hannity’s radio show despite having hated him when they were Fox News colleagues.

Bill Reilly

On Tuesday O’Reilly posted a mini-rant on Twitter (video below) to complain about criticism he received for his remarks on gun regulations. Following the Las Vegas massacre, O’Reilly wrote on his website that:

“This is the price of freedom. Violent nuts are allowed to roam free until they do damage, no matter how threatening they are. The Second Amendment is clear that Americans have a right to arm themselves for protection. Even the loons.”

Gee. Why would anyone criticize that? O’Reilly is just quoting from the Constitution’s “Even the Loons” clause of the Second Amendment. Never mind that he is expressing a perverse comfort with potentially violent miscreants obtaining guns at will without any public safety oversight. Even worse, he is justifying the carnage as an acceptable consequence of making sure that every American has unfettered access to assemble a personal armory. And so O’Reilly takes to Twitter to double down on his lunacy, posting this belligerent response to his critics:

“The last time the Vegas thing happened I said this is the price we pay. This is the price of freedom. And all the left – ‘Oh O’Reilly, arrgh – [blubbering sounds].’ Look you pinheads, our freedom dictates that police cannot intervene unless a crime is committed.”

So O’Reilly is cool with dozens of people being slaughtered at a country music concert so long as psychopaths can still buy AR-15s. Then he asserts that “everybody knew this guy was bad news.” He was referring to the shooters in both Las Vegas and Texas. He went on to say that the price of freedom demands that the rights of people like these to buy guns supersedes the rights of the rest of us to live. And while he notes that there is an exception for people with felonies, he apparently forgot that the Texas shooter’s criminal record had not been properly recorded. But here is where O’Reilly slipped off the rails:

“In the Reagan years there was a downgrading in getting people institutionalized. So it used to be a lot easier, in this country, to put people who are misbehaving, or behaving in an aberrant way, under observation and to take them off the street. But then the ACLU stepped in, the civil liberties people, and ‘Ah, no no no.’ So now you’ve got people walking all over the place and the authorities can’t do anything. [Raising his voice} The Price of Freedom!”

First of all, there was no “downgrading” of criteria to institutionalize someone in the Reagan years. What Reagan did was to close institutions in order to cut his budget as governor of California. That meant that thousands of people who were previously being treated for mental illness – voluntarily in many cases – were put on the streets. It was a budgetary decision, not a medical one.

Secondly, WTF is he talking about? He starts off reminiscing about the good old days when it was easier to lock up people for psychological reasons. He even takes a swipe at the ACLU for protecting the rights of the mentally impaired. And he bitches about all the free-roaming nutcases who can’t be involuntarily incarcerated. Apparently, freedom doesn’t mean that people with mental problems should be allowed to actually be free. However, he then reasserts his premise that freedom does mean they should all be able to arm themselves to the teeth.

If O’Reilly got his way, and the “authorities” were allowed to pick up “people who are misbehaving,” O’Reilly would have to be at the top of the list. Anyone with his decades long history of sexually harassing and assaulting women ought not to be “walking all over the place.” And his clear inability to articulate a coherent thought makes his case all the more troubling. He’s obviously a very sick man, in more ways than one. And in the final analysis, his “price of freedom” was $32 million (and more) paid to silence his victims.

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

WTF? Donald Trump Just Used Low Ratings to Justify His Attacks on Kneeling NFL PLayers?

The embarrassing spectacle of Donald Trump’s feud with popular sports figures continues to heat up. It began several days ago with Trump lashing out at NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and NBA star Steph Curry. These and other public figures have been actively expressing themselves regarding civil rights and racism in America. And what they get for exercising their First Amendment rights is ignorant insults from the White House.

Donald Trump NFL

In response to Trump’s Twitter tantrums, many more players are speaking out. What’s more, they have been joined by their coaches and team owners. Among those castigating Trump are friends and political supporters like former Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan, who is “pissed off.” Patriots owner, and Trump donor, Robert Kraft, said he is “disappointed” with Trump. On Sunday morning players for the Jaguars and the Ravens took a knee, joined by coaches and owners. The entire Steelers team will not take the field for the national anthem.

Trump’s ill-advised tirade is producing a backlash that any sensible person could have predicted. He has inspired more people to protest than ever would have had he kept his mouth shut. And the criticism directed at him points out the obvious racist overtones in his outburst. For instance, many observers have noticed that Trump called protesting athletes “sons of bitches,” but praised white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” It’s apparent that the President has a case of tunnel blindness that prohibits him from seeing reality. And that may explain his latest tweets on Sunday morning:

First of all, it is unprecedented that a president of the United States would call for a boycott against American enterprises on purely political grounds. He is advocating financial harm and the loss of jobs for businesses and citizens who have done nothing more than employ free speech to lawfully and peacefully express their opinions. Furthermore, he is calling for Americans to be fired for constitutionally protected activities. Clearly Trump has no understanding of American values as he demonstrates his overtly anti-American position. But he wasn’t finished with this juvenile tantrum:

Trump totally skids off the rails with this criticism of the NFL’s ratings. He recently misrepresented the TV ratings as being “massively” lower. That’s a lie. They are modestly lower. And the reasons have more to do with the evolving state of television than with player protests. But what makes this criticism so absurd is that Trump’s own ratings have broken records for descending into an abyss. No president has ever had lower approval ratings at this point in his presidency. And he is bringing the whole Republican Party down with him.

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

By his own standard, therefore, Trump is “disrespecting our flag and country.” The American people “stay away [from him] because they love our country. They should boycott this presidency, and he should be fired. It’s fair to say that given the choice, voters would choose to keep the NFL over this failure of a president. And his most recent abhorrent behavior only solidifies the distaste and distrust they have for him. If there’s one thing that Trump has succeeded in, it’s getting people to join together in their hatred for him.

Fox News Smears Renowned Civil Rights Org With Slanderous Defamation and Lies

The cable “news” network most closely associated with the white supremacism of Donald Trump and the alt-right is living up to its heinous reputation. On Friday the Fox News program “The Five” broadcast a segment attacking one of America’s most honored civil rights organizations. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been providing legal services to victims of prejudice for decades. So obviously Fox News had to invent some BS to charge them with.

Fox News Greg Gutfeld

The program’s cast mined the dregs of the ultra-rightist Washington Free Beacon for their material. And they sought the support of the Family Research Council, a notorious hate group, for confirmation. The SPLC responded with a demand for a correction and a detailed itemization of what Fox News got wrong.

The Fox News segment began with a diatribe by co-host Greg Gutfeld. He rattled off some falsehoods that portrayed the SPLC as charlatans and associates of violent nutjobs. His rant began with the charge that the SPLC was “a hard left outfit that loves to label people as extremists.” Then he dived deeper into the barrel of outright lies (video below):

“This poverty center has loads of [money]. A $320 million endowment and chucks almost 20% of it into offshore equities. Cayman Island stuff. I don’t understand it. So this poverty group sits on a pile of offshore dough. That’s like a personal trainer with a gut. Or a priest with a harem.

“The Center paid out $20 million in salaries in 2015 but provided just 61 grand in legal assistance. So the Southern Poverty Law Center appears to have no poverty and do virtually no law. It’s the most misleading name since the Democratic Party.”

The SPLC’s letter to Fox News addressed Gutfeld’s allegations and plainly showed them to false. All of the information was publicly available and posted on the group’s website. For instance, with regard to the charge that they spent only $61,000 on legal assistance, the Center replied that:

“That figure represents the amount that the SPLC spent on its own corporate legal services, not the amount it spent providing legal services for others. The same page of the SPLC tax returns that lists the $61,000 figure for internal legal services, shows that the SPLC spent more than $1.8 million on out-of-pocket case costs for litigation brought on behalf of its clients.”

The letter goes on to point out that they spent more than $15 million on initiatives on behalf of their clients. That’s a far cry from the $61,000 Gutfeld dishonestly reported. The whole segment was a smear job filled with easily disproved assertions. Clearly Fox News didn’t do even the most cursory research before broadcast. Consequently, the SPLC is demanding that Fox “acknowledge on the air its errors in the story.” But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

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

Here are 11+ Reasons Trump Should Never Have Pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio

On Friday night, Donald Trump used the weekend, as well as Hurricane Harvey’s tragedies, to bury his latest despicable act. In seeking to satiate his racist base, Trump awarded the notorious birther and disgraced former sheriff, Joe Arpaio, a pardon for his federal crimes. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. He was found to have deliberately breached the constitutional rights of American citizens.

Joe Arpaio Donald Trump

The fact that Trump thinks these are pardonable offenses is definitive proof of his bigotry and support for fellow bigots. The white supremacists who make up much of his support were elated at the whitewashing of Arpaio’s vile criminality. (With an emphasis on “white”) But Trump’s exacerbation of the racial division for which he is largely responsible has not gone over well with everyone. Patriotic Americans who value equality and justice will not forget this affront to the rule of law.

One critic, a professor at Harvard University, makes a credible case that Trump’s pardon could itself be an impeachable offense. Add it to the list: Russia, obstruction of justice, financial corruption, the Emoluments Clause, cover ups and perjury, sexual harassment and assault.

As for Arpaio, he also has a list offenses. And his acceptance of Trump’s pardon carries with it an implicit confession of guilt. That can be used in civil cases against him going forward. The Phoenix New Times has been on the front lines of the Arpaio assault on humanity for twenty years. They posted a series of tweets linking to the horrific record of Arpaio’s unlawful regime. Here is just a taste of what they have been reporting for years:

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

The Phoenix New Times has many more examples of this official misconduct and heinous brutality. And by pardoning a cretin like Arpaio, Trump is effectively making himself complicit with those crimes. He is intentionally aligning himself with Arpaio’s disdain for the rule of law. And it is very likely he is also setting the stage for future pardons of his family, his partners in crime, and perhaps himself. Based on on his behavior to date, you can’t put anything past him.

Fox News Hideously Twists Loretta Lynch’s Inspiring Message As Calling For ‘Blood and Death’

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch broke many barriers during her tenure as head of the Justice Department. Not the least of which was being the first African American woman to hold the position. She has been a committed advocate of civil rights for decades. And she has always supported peaceful, legal efforts to advance the cause.

Loretta lynch

That makes the recent headlines in the right-wing media all the more troubling. Lynch recorded a video message (posted below) upon leaving the Justice Department when President Obama’s term as president expired. It is an inspiring appeal to all Americans to continue the struggle for equal justice under the law. The brief statement serves as a reminder that the fight for equality has “never been easy.” Here are her remarks in full:

“I know that this is a time of great fear and uncertainty for so many people. I know it’s a time of concern for people who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on, even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult. But I remind you that this has never been easy.

“We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our founding fathers. And it has been people, individuals, who have banded together. Ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference.”

“They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.”

It seems hard to believe that anyone could find fault in that positive message that exalts American values. But conservative bigots and their media outlets would not be deterred from doing just that.

The ultra-rightist, conspiracy theory website, WorldNetDaily, took the lead with an article that heinously misrepresented Lynch. They maliciously turned her words into a call for blood and death. WND clipped the part where Lynch honored those who sacrificed so much to bring about equality and gave it a new and hateful meaning. They headlined their story “Loretta Lynch: Need more marching, blood, death on streets.”

Obviously Lynch was not advocating for more blood and death. That’s an interpretation that can only be made by a blindly partisan and deliberately dishonest bigot. She was saluting heroes from the past who advanced the cause of liberty. People like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, whose mission was always one of peaceful protest. The violence came from the opponents of equal rights for all.

After WND published their hit piece it circulated throughout the right-wing echo chamber. Most prominently, it was featured on the Fox News community website (and lie factory), Fox Nation, with the same headline. And it didn’t stop there. The wingnut network embraced this slanderous theme. It was also published on a variety of right-wing sites including Alex Jones’ Infowars, the Gateway Pundit, and the Drudge Report.

This is how the alt-right, white supremacists distribute their hate-speech. And it isn’t a coincidence that all of these outlets are on Donald Trump’s favorites list. His presidency has emboldened the worst elements of our national character. When Klan groups openly celebrate the election of Trump, someone they regard as one of their own, it should set off alarms. But Trump’s tepid response to his most fervent and vile followers continues to serve as encouragement to the racist right. And the smears against Lynch are just the latest examples of how committed bigots will distort reality to further their mission of hate.

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

WTF? Trump Regime Mulls Making Foreign Visitors Turn Over Social Media And Cell Phone Info

During the presidential campaign there was considerable anxiety about the way that Donald Trump was shaping his political ideology. It seemed to be frighteningly similar to the authoritarian regimes he admires. His casual advocacy of policies that reek of dictatorship worried civil libertarians and Constitutional experts. But now those concerns appear to have been fully justified.

Refugees, Let Them In

CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Sunday that the Trump administration is considering the sort of “extreme vetting” that he threatened in the campaign (video below). Tapper’s sources revealed:

“…the preliminary idea being kicked around in the U.S. government right now. And that would be to ask foreign visitors to the U.S. to provide the names of websites and social media sites that they visit, and to provide all the contacts on their cells phones. And if a foreign visitor refuses to turn that over they would be denied entry.”

This sort of invasive screening is both ineffective and contrary to the values of a free society. Probing personal information in order to discriminate against people for their political beliefs might be done in totalitarian regimes like Russia, but not in America. What’s more, once this policy is in place, all an aspiring terrorist would have to do is get a new phone before boarding the plane. And when asked about websites and Facebook pages, provide only those without any controversial content. How hard is that?

In the meantime, every innocent traveler would be subject to this invasion of privacy and potential harassment. There is no mention of what would be done with the private data after scrutiny at customs. And a regime that would demand to see it would also be likely to store it and use it against perceived political foes. That could include diplomats, journalists, and even members of Congress.

Tapper was careful to append a disclaimer of sorts to his story. He added “Again, this is a preliminary idea being discussed by the White House and the Trump administration.” However, there are already reports of these tactics being implemented. Caroline Mortimer of the UK’s Independent reports that:

“US border agents are checking people’s Facebook pages for their political views before allowing them into the country, an immigration lawyer has claimed. […] The [American Immigration Lawyers Association] said border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and were interrogating them about their political beliefs before allowing them into the US.”

To reiterate, these abusive tactics are being carried out against legal residents of the U.S, with valid visas. Some have lived in the U.S. with their families for many years. So if people like this can be treated so shamefully, just imagine how refugees will be treated. People fleeing terrorism, who have already endured unthinkable suffering, will be harassed and humiliated. And following that they could still be sent back to their native country and an uncertain future. Many would be marked for death as a result of their attempt to escape.

This is not the promise of freedom that is carved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. It is a decree of oppression from the new regime in Washington that is taking its cues from Vladimir Putin. And if it is allowed to stand, the American people may soon notice their own freedoms withering away. If Trump and his politburo get away with this, what’s to stop them from doing worse in the future?

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

Fox News Hails Beyonce Boycott By Police Because She Supports #BlackLivesMatter

This morning a Baltimore police officer was acquitted of four charges related to Freddie Gray, an African-American who died in police custody in 2015. That was just one of many recent incidents involving police use-of-force (i.e. Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice) that resulted in a tragic and unnecessary fatality. These deaths inspired the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement as an attempt to raise awareness of the problem.

Fox News on Beyonce

From the start, Fox News has been dismissive, or outright hostile, to #BlackLivesMatter and it’s representatives. They pushed the insensitive and disingenuous alternative of “All Lives Matter” and labeled the black activists racists and anti-police. However, saying that “black lives matter” is no more exclusive of concern for other lives than saying “save the whales” means screw all the other marine mammals. It is just a way drawing attention to a serious problem.

What Fox News considers to be a serious problem is the exercise of free speech by American citizens, particularly those in the entertainment industry. Their target this morning was Beyonce, who will be performing in concert in Pittsburgh next week. Some of her recent appearances and videos have carried the message of #BlackLivesMatter, which has drawn criticism from right-wing pundits and politicians.

On Fox & Friends today, co-host Ainsley Earhardt invited Robert Swartzwelder, the president of the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police, to explain why he is filing a labor complaint on behalf of officers potentially being “forced” to work the concert. She introduced the segment saying that…

“Beyonce backlash is brewing. The singer’s apparent anti-police message has gotten the attention of Pittsburgh officers, many of who plan to boycott the singer’s upcoming concert in their town. There is just one problem. The city might force those officers to work security at her concert on May 31st.”

Earhardt’s bias was plainly stated in her opening by referring to an “anti-police message.” When she asked Swartzwelder about the looming boycott (which he said was not a boycott) he characterized it as ordinary and uncontroversial, and that officers regularly decline certain assignments such as traffic detail. Which is, of course, a ridiculous comparison. No officer has ever cited their objection to the political position of an automobile as a reason for not wanting traffic duty.

Swartzwelder went on to say that officers were offended by “various references in Beyonce’s music” that “all police officers engage in police brutality,” which Beyonce has denied. In the view of Swartzwelder, and Fox News, any criticism of the police is a criticism of all police and is, therefore, unacceptable. And Earhardt was sympathetic saying…

“I get it. I understand. You watch the video and you’re saying she is anti-cop rhetoric, you see the anti-cop images. So if she’s gonna be anti-cop why would we wanna go work her concert?”

While Earhardt did inquire as to whether the police “have an obligation to the people” that would “trump your feelings toward Beyonce,” she buried it under the false premise that Beyonce is against the police. The larger point is that the police do indeed have an obligation to the people. The security services that they provide are not just for the safety of the artist, but also the rest of the community. Their service ought to blind to politics and driven by a commitment to the ethical codes of conduct of their profession and their sense of duty.

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

Officers should not have the ability to veto an assignment based on their political prejudices. You never see them refusing to provide security during a KKK rally, so why should they be able to put an artist and the community at risk simply because they disagree with a perceived political opinion? Aren’t they validating their critics? And more importantly, what does it say about those who refuse to serve?