MAGA: Make American’s Golden-Years Awful – Trump Advocates Cutting Social Security – Again

The debate over entitlements has a long history that reveals one of the most defining differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. Democrats were responsible for implementing broadly popular programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And they still support them. Most Republicans staunchly opposed them from the beginning, and still seek to diminish or terminate them.

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Donald Trump has been all over the map on this issue, generally based on whether his variable positions benefit him at the time. More often than not he has sided with right-wingers who are against these programs. But occasionally – when it suits his interests – he will claim to be a supporter.

For instance, Trump criticized Ron DeSantis for proposing cuts to entitlements. Even though they were some of the very same cuts that Trump has proposed. To be clear, Trump was not supporting entitlements. He was attacking DeSantis. And his opposition goes all the way back to his first campaign…

SEE THIS: GOP Insider Leaks Donald Trump’s Secret Plan To Slash Social Security

On Monday morning Trump was interviewed by rightist shill, Joe Kernan, on CNBC. Kernan raised the subject of entitlements with a blatantly leading question and attempted to get a coherent response from Trump. Which is always a loser’s mission. The exchange confirmed Trump’s commitment to undermining the programs that ensure quality of life for America’s seniors.

Kernan: Have you changed your outlook on how to handle entitlements? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. It seems like something has to be done. Or else we’re gonna be stuck at 120% of debt to GDP forever.
Trump: So first of all, there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting. And in terms of, also, the theft and bad management of entitlements. Tremendous bad management of entitlements.

Kernan’s question has his bias built into it. He is more concerned about deficits than human lives. As for Trump, his answer is his latest embrace of a policy aimed at cutting benefits for entitlement programs. Then he adds that he would also address waste, something he obviously had no interest in doing for the four years that he previously occupied the White House.

This would be a good time to point out that entitlement programs are not welfare. They are paid into by the eventual recipients, and they are not included in budget deficit calculations. Although, their funds are often used to offset those deficits.

It is also important to note that – as both Kernan and Trump agree – there are things that can and should be done. But cutting isn’t among them. Neither of them mention that contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund are capped for high income taxpayers. If that cap were raised it would eliminate any threat of underfunding for decades to come.

It would be foolish to ignore Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to inquiries about entitlements. Despite what he might say in certain venues in order to pander to voters, he is squarely opposed to them and yearns to slash them. He has tried before, and his GOP confederates in Congress are determined to send him legislation to do so, if given the opportunity. And this is not just an issue for seniors. It is an issue for anyone who hopes to someday be a senior, and to anyone with elderly parents or other family.

This interview is just the most recent affirmation of Trump’s anti-entitlement crusade. And along with cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, it will be a core part of the Trump/MAGA agenda.

It’s comforting to note that President Biden, in his State of the Union address last week, vowed to stop anyone in Congress who tries to cut these programs. Which is just another of the many reasons to work furiously for his reelection. And to that end, his campaign just released a video showing the past attempts by Trump to rob America’s seniors and future seniors…


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Ted Cruz Makes a Great Argument for COVID Mandates While Arguing Against Mandates

America is suffering from the recent spike in the COVID pandemic far more than is necessary. This is due primarily to the deliberate disinformation being spread by Fox News and by Republicans who care more about securing and preserving power than they do about human life. The Pandemic of Fox News. is responsible for the majority of new infections and deaths, which otherwise would be mostly preventable.

Ted Cruz, COVID Virus

If Fox News wanted to reduce the number of people getting sick and dying, they could do so easily. But it’s clear that they don’t want to. They are devoted to the agenda they have been pursuing for more than a year now. And it’s the same deadly, sociopathic, pro-COVID agenda of Donald Trump.

It is also the same agenda of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Like the rest of his GOP confederates, Cruz is locked into a partisan pandemic perspective that aims to exacerbate the harm caused by the coronavirus. Their goal is to exploit an utterly disingenuous advocacy of “freedom,” while blaming Democrats for the persistence of the pandemic. To that end Cruz appeared on CNBC to demonstrate how shamelessly obtuse he can be on this subject (video below).

From the start Cruz displayed a profound ignorance of what he was there to talk about. He asked CNBC’s Squakbox co-host, Andrew Ross Sorkin, “How would you feel if CNBC had a series of medical procedures that they demanded you do as a condition of your employment?” Apparently Cruz doesn’t know that all of the divisions of NBC News require every employee to be vaccinated in order to return to the office.

What’s more, Cruz doesn’t seem to be aware that many employers have health related requirements that must be adhered to as a condition of employment. Construction workers are not allowed onto a work site without helmets and other safety gear. Truck drivers and pilots are not permitted to drink alcohol or to use stimulants. Even teachers are are often tested for drug use. And vaccines are mandatory to attend to some schools or work abroad.

Sorkin then asks Cruz to comment on the view that “We have to respect the idea that we do not want to injure our colleagues or other people in society who have every right to stay healthy and alive.” To which Cruz replies…

“My view is that we should have no COVID mandates. What does that mean/ That means no mask mandates. No vaccine mandates. That means no vaccine passports. We shouldn’t step into the regime where the government says show us your papers if you want to do the basic activities of life. […] This argument that those that don’t get vaccinated are somehow the unworthy, unwashed, reckless people endangering everyone else, I don’t think that actually stands up to scrutiny.”

It is an established fact that those who are unvaccinated do endanger others. They can transmit the virus to people who are unvaccinated, as well as – to a lesser extent – those who are. And in both cases those they infect can in turn pass the virus on. For Cruz to assert that this verified science doesn’t withstand scrutiny is pure bullpucky. Cruz then reveals that he has been vaccinated, but that…

“If somebody doesn’t take the vaccine, they pose relatively little threat to me. They pose relatively little threat to someone who has chosen to take the vaccine. Now, they may potentially pose a threat to somebody else who isn’t vaccinated. Well, you what? They made that choice.”

That is just plain wrong. The more available hosts there are for the virus, the more opportunities it has to mutate. And new variants have the potential to defeat the protection offered by the current vaccines. So everyone who refuses to get vaccinated now is putting everyone else – including those who are vaccinated – at greater risk of infection. And you know what? That is NOT their choice.

From there Cruz went on to make one of the best arguments for vaccine mandates, although he had no idea he was doing so:

“Smokers, when they light up a cigarette, they’re increasing their chances they’re gonna get lung cancer. That may not be a wise decision to do, but in America we give people the freedom to make decisions about their own health even if we don’t approve of the decisions they make.”

Somebody needs to inform Cruz that there are already numerous mandates that apply to smokers. They may not light up in elevators, or restaurants, or many offices, or some apartment buildings, or airplanes, or almost anywhere that people gather in public. And the reason is that their unwashed, reckless behavior poses a serious risk to those around them. This same principle could apply to mandates for the COVID vaccine.

It’s hard to tell if Cruz is pitifully stupid, or if he is just a terrible liar and propagandist. But if we were to use his analogy to smoking, we could impose vaccine mandates immediately. And doing so would make the world safer for everyone, including crackpots like Cruz.

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

Trump Flings Feces at Fox News for Poll Showing that America Favors Biden

As the nation continues to endure a deadly pandemic, Donald Trump continues to be obsessed over his public image. The death toll is approaching a tragic milestone of 100,000 Americans lost to COVID-19 (coronavirus). And recent studies show that tens of thousands of those deaths could have been avoided had Trump not been so negligent, incompetent, and even deliberately dismissive of the threat.

Joe Biden, Donald Trump Baby, Fake News

Trump manages to turn every public appearance into an infomercial for his 2020 reelection campaign. He simply cannot address this crisis without ultimately referring to himself and what he regards as mistreatment by the media. For the alleged “leader of the free world” Trump sure seems to fall back into a state of paranoid victimhood every time he speaks.

For two days running Trump has also been lashing out wildly at his State TV network (aka Fox News). Anyone who is paying attention recognizes that Fox News is the unabashed propaganda organ of Trump’s presidency. But even with the unprecedented loyalty and adulation that Fox pours over Dear Leader, it can never be enough to mollify Trump’s acute narcissism. And when Fox is less than sufficiently adoring, Trump unleashes his wrath. For instance, on Thursday he whined that…

Trump apparently thinks that Fox “News” is obligated to “help Republicans, and me, get re-elected.” That’s how corrupted his concept of journalism is. Not that Fox practices much journalism. But you would have to believe that some of their “reporters” would take offense to being cast as Trump’s political lackeys. However, none of them have said so since this tweet was posted. And in Trump’s diseased brain, the difference between being “great” and “garbage” is the quality of your bootlicking. Any divergence from total obedience is not tolerated. That’s the deranged mindset behind Trump’s Friday morning tweet demanding that…

Naturally, Trump regards any negative polling results as “fake” and an offense that serves as grounds for termination. However, his complaint that he’s “Never had a good Fox Poll” is an easily provable lie. In fact, he’s had many, and he has effusively praised Fox on those occasions. That doesn’t mean he won’t forget that the moment there is a less positive poll. But Trump wasn’t through whining:

If Trump is really interested in examining a variety of polls, he might take a look at the RealClearPolitics poll of polls that averages the most recent published surveys. As of May 22, every single one of them has Joe Biden leading Trump, including CNBC and CNN. However, what’s particularly disturbing about this tweet is Trump’s shout out to the late Roger Ailes, the former Fox News CEO who was fired due to numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Although, you can’t blame Trump for admiring someone so much like himself. And with regard to the findings in the Fox News poll, it is understandable that Trump would be worried. It shows that

“…voters prefer Biden to Trump 48-40%. Biden wins on on health care by 17 points, coronavirus by 9, and relations with China by 6. Trump is trusted more on the economy by a slim 3-point margin.”

Trump’s outrage notwithstanding, he will surely continue to show favoritism to Fox News. He has done the vast majority of his television interviews on Fox. He regularly promotes Fox News Trump-fluffers like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Jesse Watters, Maria Bartiromo, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. And while he will occasionally exploit other news sources (such as One America News Network – OANN – which some of his big donors have taken a financial interest in) in order to pressure Fox to be more subservient, he will always return to Fox for the ego stroking he craves. And Trump’s attacks will be passively tolerated because that’s what the Fox News Ministry of Propaganda was created to do.

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

The GOP’s Debate Dysfunction Is A Mirror Image Of Their Governing Dysfunction

Anyone who is surprised by the clumsy efforts of Republicans to try to manage their circus of a primary hasn’t been watching what they have been doing in Congress for the past several years. Their legislative record is by far the least productive in modern times with both the fewest bills passed and the fewest hours in session. They have developed a reputation as ineffective, incompetent, and obstructionist, even failing to pass their own bills.

GOP Debate

The recent calamity surrounding their election of a new Speaker, following the wingnut driven exile of John Boehner, didn’t do much to enhance their reputation. They eventually settled for Paul Ryan, who doesn’t want the job and is despised and distrusted by their right wing “Freedom” caucus. What the Tea Party has wrought for the GOP is The Congress That Can’t Govern Straight. And not surprisingly, the resounding chaos and absence of leadership that is emblematic of the GOP’s congressional majority is precisely what is being seen in their response to what they regard as a poor debate performance.

Following the debacle at CNBC, the candidates attempted to band together to insist that reforms be made in order to avoid the messy affair that took place last week. They resolved to produce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would include a list of demands to present to the media organizations that produce and broadcast the debates. But as soon as it began the edges started to fray leading to a complete collapse. Within days the congregation of candidates fell apart. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and John Kasich have said that they will not sign on to the draft MOU. Carly Fiorina didn’t even send a representative to the meeting. Chris Christie called out his rivals for complaining and boasted that all he needs is a stage and a podium (a line that Trump later stole, after he had already done his share of whining). Consequently, the group’s MOU appear’s to be a non-starter.

The whole process, however, was a catastrophe resulting in a set of criteria that was in no way different than what was already being done. In other words, it was a lot of frantic bluster that changed nothing. If you compare their demands to the debate agreement drawn up between the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012, you are not going to find much difference. What’s more, nothing in the MOU would have prevented any of the things that occurred during the CNBC debate to which they so fiercely objected. So what’s the point?

Some of the candidates had suggestions for reform that never made it into the MOU. Ted Cruz expressed his desire to see the debate moderators limited to registered Republicans like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. Because these respected journalists would bring a air of dignity and rationality to the debate. Ben Carson floated the idea of not broadcasting the debates on TV. He also lobbied for a two hour time limit with all 15 candidates in the same debate. Each would get a five minute opening and closing statement. Of course that would take two and a half hours.

Clearly these people cannot be taken seriously. It is unlikely that they even intended to pursue these debate negotiations. All they really wanted was an opportunity to bitch about the media, an easy target and a reliable applause line. But it wasn’t the media in general, just a specific subset that irks them. That would include anything in the NBC family and any network with a foreign sounding names (i.e. Telemundo). To be fair, Jeb Bush asked that Telemundo’s debate be reinstated, but Trump quickly slapped that down saying that if it was he would walk. There was one network though that got a free pass. All the parties agreed that the debate demands would not apply to Fox News because “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad.”

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

If there is one thing that is obvious about this charade, it’s that it couldn’t possibly succeed. Republicans aren’t really looking for fairness or balance in their debates. They want to turn the debate into an infomercial for the GOP. The networks could never agree to that. And with all of the infighting and conflicting priorities among the candidates it was destined to disintegrate. And like everything they have tried to do Washington, Republicans have proven once again to be bumbling fools.

Crybaby Donald Trump Calls For NBC Debate Boycott But Still Wants To Host SNL

Following the debate fiasco on CNBC, the Republican candidates announced that they would be meeting to discuss how they could could strong arm the media into producing debates that weren’t so hard on their fragile and weak-kneed candidates. They are exposing themselves as the cowards that they are and responding like bullies, as cowards often do. I wrote a more detailed analysis of this situation yesterday, but there is a new development that requires attention.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, announced that he would punish NBC for what took place on CNBC by suspending the agreement to have NBC host a GOP debate that was scheduled for February. It’s another act of Republican cowardice with a side of revenge. And shortly after this announcement, Donald Trump’s campaign came aboard saying that he “supports the RNC’s decision to suspend the debate on February 26th due to the total lack of substance and respect.”

What a pompous act of hypocrisy. If a “total lack of respect” is sufficient justification for the RNC to cut NBC’s debate, then it’s more than sufficient for NBC to cut Trump from hosting Saturday Night Live. Trump’s disrespect to Latinos (and so many others) is far worse than anything that happened at the CNBC debate. And now that he is attacking NBC and Telemundo, they should respond in kind. What obligation do they have to allow him to host their program while he is advocating a boycott of their network?

Donald Trump SNL

Trump should not be surprised if NBC decides to do the right thing and cancel his SNL hosting gig. After all, he is currently forbidding any reporters from Univision (another Latino news outlet) to cover his campaign events. The nonsensical reason he gives is that he is suing the network’s entertainment division because it canceled their contract to broadcast his Miss Universe pageant after he disparaged Latinos as murderers and rapists. He says it would be a “conflict of interest” – a phrase he apparently doesn’t know the meaning of – to admit Univisions’s reporters. Don’t try to figure that out, it’s the Trumpian anti-logic that he uses to justify his bigotry.

The invitation to host SNL came after NBC had broken business ties with Trump due to his “derogatory statements” about Latinos. NBC said such rhetoric was contrary to their values. Have their values changed? Is it now acceptable to do business with the same noxious blowhard who’s pushing a boycott of your network? What’s more, Latino groups are appalled that SNL would allow an overtly racist hate monger like Trump to appear as host, especially considering the fact that there are zero Latinos in the current SNL cast, and only two in the whole forty-one year history of the program. What message does the network send by embracing Trump?

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

In conclusion, if it’s OK for Trump to banish Univision’s Latino reporters from his campaign events, and to advocate a prohibition of Republican debates on NBC and Telemundo, then it is more than justified for NBC to retract their offer to let him host SNL, and they should do so immediately. [There is a petition to urge NBC to rescind the offer here.] The question is, do they have the principles and the backbone to do it, or will they kneel before The Donald in utter disgrace?

What We Learned From The GOP’s Trainwreck Debate On CNBC: Republicans Hate The ‘Liberal’ Media

In the best of circumstances, a political debate should be illuminating in a manner that allows voters to assess the fitness of candidates for public office. However, the best that can be said about the Republican primary debate on CNBC (transcript) is that it illuminated the rabid opportunism of the candidates and the penchant for provocation on the part of the moderators.


While there was an attempt by the moderators to inject some substance into their questions, they inexplicably capped their queries with an inappropriate zinger that only left them wide open for criticism. For example, John Harwood constructed a perfectly legitimate question for Donald Trump that called on him to explain how his wall building, tax slashing, immigrant deporting policies could be achieved without wreaking havoc on the economy. But then Harwood finished off with “Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” Regardless of the aptness of the imagery, the only conceivable purpose for that framing would be to give Trump something to complain about. This pretentious strategy was repeated throughout the debate.

And the complaints veritably gushed from debaters who were eager to hear some reasonable questions and avoid answering them (which they did all night). The backlash directed at the media and the moderators easily became the dominant feature of the debate, and it was almost the only thing that was discussed in the post-debate analyses. The most replayed moments included Marco Rubio tagging the mainstream media as a SuperPAC for the Democrats, and Ted Cruz lamenting that “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.” Consequently, the only takeaway from this debate was that Republicans hate the media, something everybody already knows.

Cruz went on to argue that the media treated Democrats differently, “fawning” over “Which of you is more handsome and wise?” That characterization of the Democratic debate is wholly inconsistent with reality. From the transcript of their CNN outing, moderator Anderson Cooper asked Democrats the following questions:

  • [To Clinton] Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency. […] Will you say anything to get elected?
  • [To Sanders] A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?
  • [To O’Malley] Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what’s going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?
  • [To Clinton] Russia, they’re challenging the U.S. in Syria. According to U.S. intelligence, they’ve lied about who they’re bombing. You spearheaded the reset with Russia. Did you underestimate the Russians?

Those were not fawning, softball questions by any stretch of the imagination. But Republicans only retain information that comports with their preconceptions. Therefore, the liberal media is invariably portrayed as fiercely pro-Democrat and virulently anti-Republican. What’s more, the conservatives never apply the same standards to their benefactors at Fox News, to whom they still suck up despite the tough questioning they got when Fox hosted their debate.

One of the more shameful exchanges of the CNBC debate was when Becky Quick posed this query to Trump: “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B.” Trump interrupted to insist that “I never said that. I never said that.” So Quick quickly apologized. The problem is that Trump actually says exactly that on his own website. When the debate came back from a commercial, Quick noted that fact but never challenged Trump’s denial. And to make matters worse, this segment of the debate was discussed on Fox News the next day and host Jon Scott falsely asserted that it was Quick who was wrong, saying that “it seems that the research was not necessarily done.” This was after he already knew that she was correct and had cited her source during the debate.

In addition to that, the debate featured a couple of statements that were highly significant, but are not likely to garner much attention. First, Carly Fiorina said that “There is no Constitutional role for the Federal Government to be setting minimum wages.” Apparently ignorant of the Commerce Clause, Fiorina boldly came out in favor of ditching the minimum wage. Secondly, Carl Quintanilla directed a question to Trump with the preface that the site of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon “was a gun-free zone,” Trump readily agreed. But not only is that untrue, there were actually people there with guns who did not engaged the shooter.

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

So aside from all of the misinformation, the inter-party hostilities, and the failings of the moderators, the one thing that will persist as the defining characteristic of this debate is the intense loathing that Republicans have for the media. It is that rancorous acrimony that will supplant any useful knowledge that might have been gained about the candidates. And since everyone already knew that Republicans hate the press, the whole affair was a complete waste of time.

Donald Trump Is A Punk-Slash-Ignoramous Who Fears Bernie Sanders And Debates

Billionaire crybaby Donald Trump is once again showing severe signs of his true character (or lack thereof). It has been obvious since he began his delusional campaign for the Republican nomination for president that he was an egomaniac obsessed with whining and hurling childish insults at anyone who hurt his tender feelings. Every day he embarrasses himself further with demonstrations of ignorance and conceit. And yesterday was a treasure trove of typical Trumpian nonsense.

Donald Trump

First up, Trump appeared at a rally in Virginia where he revealed just how scared he is of Bernie Sanders, and how little he knows about, well anything. He launched into a rabid tirade aimed at Sanders’ description of himself as a Democratic socialist, a term that Trump couldn’t define if his life depended on it.

Trump: “This socialist-slash-communist – OK? Nobody wants to say it. […] Nobody’s heard the term communist, but you know what, I call him a socialist-slash-communist. OK? Cause that’s what he is.

No, that’s actually not what he is. But I can form trite couplets that are far more descriptive of Trump and more accurate. For instance, Trump is a wuss-slash-narcissist, or an idiot-slash-racist, or a dad-slash-pervert, or a fatcat-slash-fascist. He seems so proud of himself for daring to call Sanders something only a total fool would think is applicable. He is, therefore, proud of his ignorance, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump has no idea what a communist is, but he’s pretty sure that he could build a wall to keep them from taking our jobs, raping our daughters, and sapping and impurifying all of our precious bodily fluids (h/t Dr. Strangelove).

Trump’s Sanders-phobia continued with an Instagram video wherein Trump offered the asinine and racist comparison of #BlackLivesMatter to ISIS. The video ended with a graphic reading “Bernie can’t even defend his microphone, how will he defend the country?” Trump seems to think that a confrontation with peaceful protesters advocating justice at a political rally is the same as the military battle against international terrorists. If that’s an indication of how he would respond to dissent in America, everyone should be terrified of him having any power greater than a tollbooth attendant.

Finally, Trump has been throwing another of his patented tantrums over the proposed terms of a GOP debate. He’s complaining that CNBC is stretching the debate to three hours so they can make more money. Even if that’s true, since when does a right-wing Republican object to businesses exercising their rights in a free market? He said that a three hour debate would be unfair to viewers. Does he think that just because he has to stand there the whole time that everyone watching at home is prohibited from changing the channel or walking the dog any time they want? A longer debate gives people more information, even if they view it in parts over the next few days.

Viewers are not burdened by the running time of the debate, but apparently Trump is. Clearly he doesn’t have either the energy to stand for three hours, or the intelligence to answer questions. With ten candidates on the stage three hours only provides about fifteen minutes of questions each (minus commercials and opening and closing statements). That’s not really very much time for deciding on who should become the leader of the free world. Cutting the debate to two hours leaves about nine minutes each. Trump is also insisting that opening and closing statements be part of the format because then he can deliver prepared politispeak rather than having to show that he understands any real issues.

Bonus whining: Trump has resumed his Twitter war with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. In a fevered blast of tweets he called her a liar and said that he “can’t stand to watch her” and her “two really dumb puppets,” Chris Stirewalt and Marc Thiessen. I wonder if Fox CEO Roger Ailes will take this latest assault on his network and staff laying down. He has previously shown that he is more than willing to be Trump’s bitch.

Trump’s petulant hissy fitting is at once pathetic and entertaining. It illustrates the worst aspects of the inherited wealthy elitists who presume themselves to be entitled to special privileges and unwavering attention. This video shows exactly the mindset that Trump has had his whole life:

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

What’s The Difference Between Wealthy (Koch) Republicans And (Soros) Democrats?

The billionaire Koch brothers have been corrupting democracy for decades. Their labyrinthine web of front groups toil 24/7 to distort the facts on issues like climate change, voter suppression, gun control, and taxes. And if that collection of topics sounds familiar, it’s because the Kochs almost single-handedly created the Tea Party (with PR help from Fox News) to push their views on those subjects unto a gullible sector of the American populace.

Koch Bros. Fatcat

AT&T and Verizon users: Stop funding the Tea Party.
Switch to CREDO Mobile, the progressive cell phone company, today!

One of the right’s favorite knee-jerk responses to criticisms of the Kochs is to point to wealthy Democrats who contribute to candidates and causes that lean more to the liberal side of the political spectrum and claim that the Koch’s critics are hypocrites. However, there have always been some obvious distinctions between the right and left wing upper-crusters. The false argument of equivalency falls flat when given scrutiny.

For one thing, the Republican rich can usually be found bankrolling people and projects that benefit them personally or professionally. Thus the Kochs’ fixation on opposing unions and denying climate change is closely aligned with their exploitative and polluting business interests. Well-off Dems, on the other hand, commonly finance more philanthropic endeavors (civil rights, environment, aid to the poor) that aim to improve the quality of life without necessarily enriching themselves.

It is also notable that conservatives advocate for less regulation of money in politics, creating an environment where the rich get ever more power to bend society to their will. Liberals, conversely, spend more of their cash on trying to remove money from politics. As an example, it was conservatives, including the Kochs, who pushed for Citizens United so that they could fund their self-serving projects without restrictions or even identification. But Jonathan Soros, the son of the right’s favorite wealthy liberal George Soros, created the Friends of Democracy PAC, a SuperPAC aimed at ending the influence of SuperPACs.

A new survey was just published that affirms these distinctions between the rightist rich and the lefty leisure class. Conducted by the Spectrem Group for CNBC (Wall Street’s cable news network) the Millionaire Survey “polled 514 people with investable assets of $1 million or more, which represents the top 8 percent of American households.” Among the sometimes surprising findings was that more than half of the respondents agreed that “inequality of wealth in our nation is a major problem.” Also, 64% favored higher taxes on the rich. A similar number (63%) support an increase in the minimum wage. And only 13% said that unemployment benefits should be reduced. Remember, these are all millionaires in this survey.

Digging a little deeper into these numbers, another interesting trend takes shape. It turns out that there is a marked difference in the views expressed by the millionaire class depending on their political affiliation.

“Democratic millionaires are far more supportive of taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage. Among Democratic millionaires, 78 percent support higher taxes on the wealthy, and 77 percent back a higher minimum wage. That compares with 31 percent and 38 percent, respectively, for Republicans.”

CNBC Millionaire Survey

So the breakdown reveals that it is the Democratic wealthy who are the most conscientious and concerned about their country and their fellow citizens. While the Republican rich are selfishly and characteristically concerned mainly with themselves. It’s the difference between Patriotic Millionaires and Ayn Rand sociopaths. That’s not a particularly surprising revelation, but it is nevertheless useful to see it validated by hard data.

Crazy Ann Coulter: We, Of Course, Found Weapons Of Mass Destruction In Iraq

Last night on CNBC’s “Kudlow Report,” (video below) Ann Coulter delivered another of her patented wingnut flameouts. In a discussion about the trumped up Benghazi scandal, Coulter called the media a “threat to democracy” before wandering off into a realm of such utter delusion that even Fox Nation picked up the story despite it being the work of their arch-rival NBC.

Ann Coulter

“The things that they went crazy over when Bush was president — I mean, remember that video at the White House Correspondents dinner? We, of course, found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but were not the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. He had a little video — I don’t know, like the dog looking for the weapons of mass destruction under the White House furniture. It was a silly little video. You would think someone died. Well, here in this case under Obama, four people did die.”

Let’s start with the easy part – Coulter’s absurd claim that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. That has proven false more times than anyone can count. No credible source, even on the right, is making that assertion. The most they can say is that the intelligence was wrong, but the evidence points to them fabricating and/or distorting the intelligence and giving credence to disreputable figures like the covert informant “Curveball.”

Moving on to the “silly little video,” it was not a dog that was looking for weapons. It was Bush himself, making an astonishingly insensitive joke about not finding the weapons that he used as an excuse for an invasion that cost the lives of more than 4,000 Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Then for Coulter to snidely dismiss the righteous anger of those who criticized Bush’s silly little video by saying “You would think someone died,” she dishonored the thousands of Americans who did in fact die due to Bush’s deceit. And she compares those 4,000+ casualties to the four people who died in Benghazi at the hands of terrorists, not the incompetence of a corrupt administration.

Neither host Larry Kudlow, nor any of the other guests, bothered to correct Coulter’s gross misrepresentations of the facts. They all sat smugly as she lied and disgraced the memory of their fellow Americans. And this wasn’t even on Fox News. It was the Kudlow Report on CNBC, but it would fit in nicely as a lead in to Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity.

The Many Faces Of The Tea Party

Malice in Wonderland - Tea PartyOn the cover of the new Weekly Standard is a caricature of two people that the magazine’s cover story regards as the banner carriers of the Tea Party movement. They are Rick Santelli, a correspondent for the cable business network CNBC, and Glenn Beck, a delusional Fox News host with a Messiah complex. The title of the cover story is The Two Faces Of The Tea Party.

The article by Matthew Continetti is an overly verbose examination of the Tea Party founding and philosophy. It employs a comparative clash between conflicting visions of the movement represented by Santelli as a sober, businesslike advocate for economic rationality, and Beck as a feverish, paranoiac warning of impending economic and social doom. The problem is that, even as Continetti defines the battle in terms of this duality, he entirely misses the real source of the Tea-volution. He insists on distilling it down to these two charactors, despite recognizing in his opening paragraph the multiple personalities residing in the body of the Tea Party:

“Is the anti-Obama, anti-big government movement simply AstroTurf fabricated by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks? Is it a bunch of Birthers, Birchers, conspiracists, and white power misfits? Is it a strictly economic phenomenon […] Or are the Tea Partiers nothing more than indulgent Boomers […] Reagan Democrats and Perotistas?”

Continetti correctly answers his own question saying, “All of the above.” However, he then immediately retreats to present the argument as one between Santelli and Beck for the remainder of his interminably long essay. And Continetti takes sides. He characterizes Santelli and Beck in starkly different terms. Santelli is the “former businessman” who “you’d expect to find at the Rotary Club,” while Beck is the “former Top 40 DJ” who “was addicted to alcohol and drugs.”

On Santelli: They are the words of a man who is worried about America’s future, but who thinks the right mix of policy and leadership can cure the nation’s ills. They are the words of a forward-looking, optimistic, free-market populist.

On Beck: For Beck, conspiracy theories are not aberrations. They are central to his worldview. They are the natural consequence of assuming that the world hangs by a thread, and that everyone is out to get you.

As if to confirm Continetti’s portrayal of Beck as perennially victimized, Beck’s producer, Stu, posted a response that blasts the article and the magazine with both barrels. He condemned the author for his laziness and accused him of deliberately lying. But worst of all, says Stu, is that these attacks appeared in the Weekly Standard, an organ he must have presumed would always be friendly.

But Stu wasn’t finished. He helpfully published the Standard’s phone number so that readers could boycott the magazine by canceling their subscriptions. And then, in a fit of hysterical hypocrisy, Stu adds a postscript asserting that he doesn’t believe in boycotts.

The Weekly Standard (until recently owned by Rupert Murdoch) is one of the few remaining advertisers on Beck’s program. They may not take kindly to spending scarce advertising dollars on a program whose producer is encouraging people to cancel their subscriptions. Is this a trend on the part of Beck and company to insult their advertisers? Just a few weeks ago the Vermont Teddy Bear Company was blindsided by Beck bashing Mother’s Day in an intro to the company’s ad for Mother’s Day gifts.

I have to give Continetti some credit for drawing sensible distinctions between Santelli and Beck. Not that Santelli was right. He basically rallied a bunch of commodities traders to whine about financial aid for working people while supporting bailouts for their employers. But there is still a difference between his greed-infused ranting and Beck’s fear mongering.

There are many faces of the Tea Party that Continetti didn’t even mention. Nowhere in his eight page opus did he recognize Tea Party Queen, Sarah Palin, even though he is the author of a book called “The Persecution of Sarah Palin.” I think he is desperately trying to shift attention to folks he feels are reasonable and away from the Becks of the world. But Continetti’s most egregious failing was something that ought to have been pretty obvious. As the Tea Party was forming, neither Santelli nor Beck were representatives of the people. They weren’t activists or politicians or academics or citizen advocates. They were, and are, media personalities. They represent a class of elite, well-to-do broadcasters working for giant, multinational corporations.

Look back at the opening paragraph of Continetti’s article where he identified lobbyists, birthers, racists, etc., as the components of the aborning Tea Party. Notice that he left out what is arguably the most influential component of all – the media. Fox News acted as the public relations arm of the Tea Party. They hosted the early organizers and candidates. They produced lavish rallies that aired live with custom graphics and music. They dispatched their top anchors across the country to perform the duties of masters of ceremonies. They literally branded Tea Party events as Fox News productions.

The question as to what the face of the Tea Party is can be debated for hours on end. But there is one thing that is indisputable: Without the media, there would not have been any Tea Party.