The ‘So-Called’ Trump Presidency Is Crumbling Under The Pressure – And They Know It

Since the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated, the American people have flooded the streets and town halls to express their opposition to his agenda. Unprecedented numbers of citizens turned out for the nationwide Women’s March on January 21. A week later, more protesters showed up spontaneously at airports to oppose Trump’s Muslim ban. Now town halls are being inundated by angry voters who won’t stand for Trump’s efforts to gut ObamaCare.

Mitch McConnell GOP Town Hall

These protests are having a profound effect on the Republican Party. Nervous GOP representatives in Washington, and across the nation, are running scared – literally. Many are avoiding their own constituents meetings for fear of encountering their wrath. And the ones that are going are being greeted by passionate advocates for progressive policies and values.

For those who are skeptical that these tactics are effective, set aside your worries. There is abundant evidence that they are working better than anyone anticipated. And the best proof of that comes from Republicans themselves. Take for instance the remarks by former GOP senator Jim DeMint. He is currently the president of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. Tuesday night he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on MSNBC (video below). His intent was to vent his displeasure with citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. But he ended up validating the efforts of the citizens he hoped to discredit:

“It’s not really like the Tea Party. I was going through this document today, Indivisible. These folks are very well financed. Very well organized. They’re being bused around to go to these different town halls to disrupt them.”

First of all, he’s partially correct about the Tea Party. It was quite different in that it was bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Indivisible Movement is a grassroots campaign whose partners are social activist organizations, not multinational corporations. However, DeMint’s assertion that protesters are being “bused around” is delusional. They would have to have thousands of buses motoring across the whole country at impossible speeds. But DeMint wasn’t finished:

“So it’s gonna be difficult for congressmen to go out and defend their positions. Because these folks who are coming are not coming to contribute. They’re coming to disrupt. So it’s an organized effort to make it hard for Trump and Republican congress to be successful.”

DeMint is admitting that the GOP’s position is difficult to defend. No kidding. Their platform calls for throwing twenty million people off of their health insurance plans. It proposes tax reforms that will shift the burden from the rich to the middle-class and poor. They are pushing bigoted immigration schemes that will ban Muslims and deport Latinos. And DeMint wonders why that might be difficult to defend? But here’s the best part:

“Hopefully they [Republicans] will continue to plow through. Although I’m concerned that all of this push-back has delayed the repeal of ObamaCare, and certainly other agenda items that need to be taken up.”

That’s right. It’s working. Keep it up. It is highly unusual for a right-wing political operative to concede that his opponents are winning. This admission ought to encourage every progressive to redouble their efforts to prevent the Trump agenda from being implemented. These actions are also being felt all the way up to the White House. They’re rolling out their talking points intended to portray the protests as “fake news.” Press secretary Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) laments that “There is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there.” And Trump himself tweeted this:

We previously were warned about “so-called judges,” and now we have “so-called angry crowds.” Apparently our so-called President is living in a so-called reality where anything he doesn’t like is fake. SAD! It’s not surprising that he’s baffled by citizens “planning” their activities, rather than behaving erratically the way he does. Even worse, in a recent press conference Trump made it clear that he is not the president of all the people:

“We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare — I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

Setting aside the odd reference to “alleys,” Trump just confessed that he’s only interested in what Republicans have to say. He continues to prove that he’s a divisive, partisan politician with no interest in having a productive dialog. The extremists in Trump’s administration are determined to steamroll their agenda of hate and elitism through a rubber-stamp congress. Unfortunately for them, the American people do not seem willing to allow it. And if we keep the pressure on, we can stop them in their tracks and replace them in 2018. Forward.

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

Book By Fox News ‘Liberal’ Uses Free Speech To Claim Liberals Are Killing Free Speech

The network that markets itself as “fair and balanced” has spent years proving their commitment to that slogan by balancing their right-wing infused “news” delivered by GOP mouthpieces with right-wing infused “news” delivered by people they falsely claim are liberals. The roster of fake Democrats on Fox News is extensive and includes rabid rightists like Pat Caddell, Doug Schoen, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, and Kirsten Powers, all of whom freely express their contempt for the Democratic Party.

Kirsten Powers has long been a member of the Fake Democrat Society. She invariably agrees with her Fox News colleagues whenever she engages in a so-called debate on current events. Fox will predictably call on her to discuss issues that they know will reflect poorly on other Democrats. So if there is bad news for President Obama or Hillary Clinton making the rounds, Powers will get extra airtime to pile on. And she can be relied upon to make incendiary comments like the time she accused Obama of sympathizing with terrorists. Plus, she gets the benefit of the Fox marketing machine when she has a liberal bashing book to promote.

Fox News Kirsten Powers

This new book by Powers, The Silencing,” has the not-at-all derogatory subtitle of “How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” What could be more appropriate for the network that daily exercises its free speech to disparage lefties while complaining about being victims of official censorship? And what better message for a supposedly liberal pundit to devote to an entire book? And while we’re at it, how dumb is it for someone exercising her free speech in a book (and daily on Fox News) to complain about free speech being killed?

The truth is that this book is a petty and self-serving response by Powers to the derision she endures for her conservative activism while pretending to be a liberal. For some reason she thinks that she can get away with wearing a Democratic label and bashing Democrats, but never be criticized for it. So she wrote a book to further hammer away at those with whom she professes to be aligned. What better way to demonstrate loyalty than to accuse your so-called friends of “killing” free speech?

In some respects this book is just the sequel to Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate,” the book her fellow fake Dem, Juan Williams, wrote a couple of years ago on pretty much the same subject. Both books attack what they regard as political correctness as exercised by a liberal establishment that objects to Fox News passing off right-wingers as Democrats.

As evidence of the rightward ideological slant of Powers, her book was published by the uber-conservative Regnery Publishing, the literary home to Dinesh D’Souza, Ed Klein, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, and Patrick Buchanan. That is not the sort of company kept by real liberals. However, Powers’ book fits right in with the other tomes lambasting liberalism and chronicling the exploits of our allegedly treasonous and foreign-born president.

Additionally, Powers has been lauded by the ultra-rightist Breitbart News on numerous occasions, even as they joined the charade that Powers is not one of them. And the first excerpts of her book were published by the house organ of the Heritage Foundation, now led by former GOP Senator and Tea Party icon Jim DeMint. These are associations that expose the ulterior motives that Powers is pursuing with her partisan diatribe. Those motives are further revealed on the inside flap of her book:

“Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans’ ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation.”

First of all, the notion that free speech comes with a shield from retaliation is contrary to the definition of free speech. What conservatives like Powers want is the ability to say all the nasty, dishonest things they like without being subject to rebuttal or criticism. It’s free speech for them, but no one else.

From a broader perspective, however, this book just reveals an effort to take down liberals for perceived intolerance, while completely ignoring the same from conservatives. If Powers were the least bit concerned about representing a progressive worldview, she would have authored a more balanced assessment of the matter. The fact that she limited her inquiry to the alleged crimes of liberals shows exactly where her heart lies.

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Furthermore, the inside flap also declares that the reader will “learn how the illiberal left is obsessed with delegitimizing Fox News.” And that, in the end, is its whole reason for existing. It is a flagrantly self-serving attempt to promote Fox News, excuse their blatant biases, and restore the credibility she and Fox have lost due to their rampant dissemination of lies, which PolitiFact has found is the majority of their reporting.

Fox News PolitiFact

The Queen Of Astroturf Doesn’t Know The Meaning Of Astroturf

When Sharyl Attkisson left CBS over her flagrant insertion of conservative political bias into the stories she covered, she might have tried to rehabilitate her decaying reputation by affiliating herself with a credible news organization. Instead, she immediately signed up with Fox News (not exactly the place to prove your aren’t shilling for the right) and took a position with the The Daily Signal, the pseudo-news Internet outlet run by the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation.

Media Circus

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Her post-CBS work has mainly been limited to three areas of shameless whining: 1) Bashing those in her past that she felt had discriminated against her freedom to propagandize; 2) Promoting her anti-Obama diatribe “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington;” and 3) Telling paranoid (and ultimately debunked) tales of being spied on by shadowy, unnamed enemies in the government determined to destroy her professionally and personally.

Continuing her transparently prejudiced crusade against a select group of imagined adversaries, Attkisson has published her list of “The Top 10 Astroturfers.” In the process she has demonstrated that she is viscerally determined to persist in slandering her perceived foes. What’s more, she is proving that she doesn’t have any idea what Astroturfing is. For the record, here is the generally recognized definition of this neologism:

Astroturf: An apparently grassroots-based citizen group or coalition that is primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms. It seeks to disguise a powerful special interest as a popular movement.

On that basis, here is Attkisson’s list:

  1. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown
  2. Media Matters for America
  3. University of California Hastings Professor Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Dr. Paul Offit
  4. “Science” Blogs such as: Skeptic.com, Skepchick.org, Scienceblogs.com (Respectful Insolence), Popsci.com and SkepticalRaptors.com
  5. Mother Jones
  6. Salon.com and Vox.com
  7. White House press briefings and press secretary Josh Earnest
  8. Daily Kos and The Huffington Post
  9. CNN, NBC, New York Times, Politico and Talking Points Memo (TPM)
  10. MSNBC, Slate.com, Los Angeles Times and Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and Jon Stewart.

There is not a single group on the list that meets the definition of an Astroturf enterprise. The one that comes closest is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense due to its relationship with another group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, MDA was started by an actual mom in Indiana and has a membership of more than 150,000. The rest of the list is patently absurd.

Media Matters is a watchdog group that documents conservative bias in the media. It does not lobby any government entity, organize citizens to demonstrate, or otherwise engage in social activism. However, it is one of Attkisson’s most effective critics and thus won the number two slot on the list.

The U.C. professor and Children’s Hospital have worked on educating the public about the importance of vaccinations. Apparently that has stirred Attkisson’s ire. Also in this category are a few science-related blogs. However, Attkisson doesn’t explain why they should be on the list other than because they have a point of view. She never even bothers to try to connect them to some well-heeled benefactor. In any case, universities, hospitals, and independent blogs are not Astroturfers by any stretch of the imagination.

The most well-represented group on the list are media enterprises. They range from mainstream outlets like CNN, NBC, and the New York Times, to established magazines and Internet sites like Mother Jones, Salon, and Politico, to more alternative sources like Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post. The only conceivable reason for Attkisson citing these media players on her list is that they are all regarded by conservatives like herself as left-leaning, and therefore deserving of her wrath. But they are certainly not Astroturf.

Attkisson really goes off the rails by including the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart on the list. How can anyone define either of them as faux grassroots-based citizen groups backed by wealthy special interests? More than any other people or groups on the list, these two show that Attkisson cannot be taken seriously.

Attkisson describes her list as “an informal, non-scientific survey.” Her footnote reveals that “the results represent 169 Twitter respondents who answered a public query either directly or through direct message.” What could possibly be more ludicrous as a sampling of opinion than a tiny group of respondents to her own Tweet? Is Atkisson purposely sabotaging her reputation in a public spectacle of professional suicide? The remainder of her commentary accompanying the list essentially redefines Astroturfing to fit her personal enemies list. It’s like dieters defining cupcakes as vegetables so they can eat more of them.

If she wants some examples of bona fide Astroturfers, she need look no further than her employer the Heritage Foundation, which began as a right-wing think tank, but with new leadership provided by former Republican senator Jim DeMint, it has become a full-fledged factory for fake activism. Under DeMint’s tenure it launched the Daily Signal which publishes highly biased articles including those by its new correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson.

Other Astroturfers include the Tea Party Express, which was founded by a Republican public relations firm and is notorious for funneling nearly all of the donations it receives back into its own pockets. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Numerous Koch brothers funded entities like Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Generation Opportunity, The LIBRE Initiative, Concerned Veterans for America, and many more. Even Sarah Palin has joined the con game with her Super PAC and the subscription Internet site she launched that often has no content for days on end. In all of these cases there is little evidence of public support, but massive bankrolling by wealthy conservative rainmakers.

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A recent study by a conservative news organization highlighted the rampant corruption in many of the right-wing Astroturf enterprises and political action committees. The Washington Post reported that…

“Right Wing News released a report on a group of conservative PACs that took in millions of dollars in contributions in 2014, ostensibly for the purpose of electing Republicans, but spent almost none of it on actual political activity. Instead, the money went into the pockets of the people who run the PACs and their associates.”

This appears to be the rule, and not the exception. And part of why it becomes so easy to rip-off the ignorant wingnut community is that fakers like Attkisson permit the scams to proceed without consequence. By shining her spotlight on an array of organizations that in no way qualify as Astroturf, Attkisson allows the grifters to operate freely while their victims are lost in a maze of false accusations.

Comic Relief: Fox News Runs Laughably Biased Report On Media Bias

Reminiscing about the year gone by is a favorite pastime of media outlets as the calendar turns the page to a new year. At the top of everyone’s list are lists – generally assembling the best or worst of some category of events. And Fox News is no different as they try to capture those things that resonated for the nation, or at least for their viewers.

However, being so devoted to misinforming their audience as they are, Fox couldn’t help themselves as they demonstrated an Olympian mastery of self-delusion and unintentional comedy. They chose for their topic a collection of what they called “The Worst of the Worst: Ranking the Most Bias (sic) Reporting of 2014”

Fox News

First of all, we can’t let it go by that Fox inadvertently provided the perfect description of themselves in the on-screen graphic for this segment. Either somebody wasn’t paying attention, or there is mole in the studio with a great sense of humor. Moving on…

For the cable network best known for manipulating news stories to fit their editorial obsession, Fox should have recognized the danger of looking foolish by feebly attempting to turn the spotlight around to others. But no, not Fox. They dispatched their crack Fox & Friends crew to tackle this precarious subject ignoring the risks. The segment (video below) was anchored by the recently re-hired Scott Brown, a Republican politician-turned-talking-head who is the only candidate in history to lose two races for the Senate in two years, running in two different states. And shortly after each loss, signing up with Fox News. His co-host was evanga-pundit Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a loser in her own right having been voted off of Survivor only to wash up on the island of Fox & Friends.

Hasselbeck opened the episode by declaring, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, that “It’s been a banner year for bias in the mainstream media.” Then she and Brown welcomed their guest, Genevieve Wood. She was introduced as a senior contributor to the Daily Signal blog. What they left out was that the Daily Signal is the propaganda arm of the ultra-rightist Heritage Foundation, where she has been a member of the senior management. Wood’s appearance was solicited because she was one of the judges for “The Worst of the Worst” awards presented by another fringy right-wing enterprise, the Media Research Center (home to NewsBusters, the lie-riddled, wingnut version of Media Matters).

It was in this atmosphere that the three orthodox conservatives set off to impugn the journalistic skills of their avowed enemies in the press. They began with a swat at the head of NBC News, Jeffrey Zucker, for his refusal to be bullied by Fox into covering the Benghazi hoax. Then came a swipe at CBS’s Scott Pelley, who earned his tribute for correctly reporting that ObamaCare did not result in job losses. Then they defended the family of their Fox colleague Sarah Palin who, with her daughter Bristol, had incited a drunken brawl at an Alaskan beer bash. And finally, they slammed Politico’s Roger Simon for a rather harmless and snarky Tweet.

In what they called a “banner year for bias” they managed to miss every serious incident of it. That may be due to that fact that most of it was occurring right under their noses in the Fox News studios. With a concerted effort to portray everything that President Obama did as a step toward Armageddon, and a devotion to overtly opposing any progressive policy, the Fox news-manglers demonstrated just how media bias is done: With a year-end ceremony hosted by staunchly activist right-wingers, bashing journalists they have long castigated as ideological foes. Is it possible that in 2015 there is still anyone who actually believes that Fox News is “fair and balanced?”

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Benghazi “Bombshell” Dropped Just In Time For The New Committee’s Maiden Hearing

The theatrics that go into the Fox News production of right-wing scandal mongering rival the most ambitious Broadway presentations. There is drama and conflict and complex stage management that grabs the audience and drags them through a narrative that is lurid and mysterious.

Gowdy DoodyThat applies nowhere more fully than to their long-running Benghazi blockbuster. It is what they turn to whenever they need a quick jolt of fabricated controversy. And with the first public hearing of Trey Gowdy’s brand spanking-new “Committee to Politicize Benghazi” scheduled for this week, Fox News has aired a promotional extra to accompany the premiere. Anchor Eric Shawn introduced the segment and correspondent Doug McKelway saying…

“We have a Fox News Alert, a ‘bombshell’ as they say, in the Benghazi terror attacks investigation. Turns out a former State Department employee speaking out in a new report now claims that aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, they claim, took part in after-hours sessions to quote ‘separate’ damaging documents before those allegedly damaging documents were handed over to investigators.”

Golly willikers, this can’t be good news for Miss Hillary. Even though Fox has, in conjunction with Darrell Issa’s Committee on Overstepping, declared numerous other disclosures to be bombshells that turned out to be nothing but duds, this one is fer-sure a bona fide bombshell. That’s because it was discovered by Sharyl Attkisson, the disgraced former CBS reporter who was fired as a result of her shoddy and biased reporting including about Benghazi. Attkisson’s new story was published by The Daily Signal, an arm of the uber-rightist Heritage Foundation. It contains zero evidence of the alleged activities and relies on a single, and decidedly partial, source. No wonder she was fired by CBS, but found work at the Heritage rag. Attkisson writes that…

“As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to ‘separate’ damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.”

There were a couple of notable omissions by Fox News that even Attkisson’s blatantly biased article included. First of all, Alec Gerlach, a State Department spokesman, said that “The range of sources that the ARB’s investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information.” In other words, no documents could have been separated out and withheld because they would have been available elsewhere. Secondly, Attkisson’s sole source, Raymond Maxwell, was not someone who could be plausibly described as neutral. He was a deputy assistant secretary who had responsibility for North Africa. The New York Times reported in December of 2012 that he was one of…

“…four State Department officials [who] were removed from their posts on Wednesday after an independent panel criticized the ‘grossly inadequate’ security at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that was attacked on Sept. 11, leading to the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.”

Maxwell was a disgruntled employee who had filed grievances with the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau and the American Foreign Service Association. Whether or not his allegations are true, he cannot be regarded as impartial due to his obvious personnel entanglement. However, the ARB’s investigation does contain a certain measure of credibility because it was headed by Thomas Pickering, a veteran diplomat who served in the Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations, and Admiral Michael Mullen (Ret), a Navy vet who was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by George W. Bush. These are not Clinton partisans hired to whitewash her record as Secretary of State.

The emergence of this phony bombshell on the eve of the Benghazi committee’s debut is an extraordinary coincidence. And its presentation on Fox News that left out critical details is likewise a convenient happenstance. If nothing else it allowed anchor Shawn to conclude with a smarmy “Some wonder if this could be a smoking gun of a potential cover-up.” So the bombshell is also a smoking gun, and it’s all part of a cover-up. At least to a mysterious “some” who are wondering. This masterpiece of fiction has blockbuster written all over it.

The Next CNN Debate: Affirming Their Mutation Into A Fox News Clone

The evidence that CNN is aggressively seeking to out-Fox Fox News is rapidly accumulating. Just last week I enumerated many examples of CNN adopting Fox’s notoriously biased, wingnut perspective. (See The Foxification Of CNN). Included in that list was their decision to partner with a corrupt Tea Party group to host a Republican presidential primary debate. That was just a foreshadowing of what was yet to come.

Today CNN has announced a new GOP debate on November 15, that will focus on foreign policy and national defense. Their partners for this affair are the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, two of the most far-right, extremist conservative thinks tanks in Washington.

The Heritage Foundation is backed by uber-rigtists like energy magnate Charles Koch and media maven Richard Mellon Scaife. A couple of their recent policy papers include Robert Rector’s terminally flawed study that claims there is no poverty in America because the poor own appliances, and Hans von Spakovsky’s advocacy of voter suppression.

The American Enterprise Institute is a champion of big-business that boasts affiliations with Dick Cheney (and his daughter Lynne), Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton. They also receive funding from the Scaife family as well as corporations like Philip Morris and ExxonMobil. Amongst their notable endeavors was a campaign to discredit Global Warming studies by offering scientists and economists $10,000 each to refute them, and issuing policy papers that assert that middle class homeowners were to blame for the 2008 economic collapse, not Wall Street and bankers.

For CNN to align themselves with these overtly partisan players reveals their utter lack of journalistic independence or integrity. This was a deliberate choice to skew their coverage of political affairs to the far-right. They cannot possibly engage or challenge the debate participants by limiting their ideological exposure to only representatives of conservative doctrine. Imagine how much more enlightening the debate would be if the hosts included the Center for American Progress or the Institute for Policy Studies.

But just as CNN chose the Tea Party over the Progressive Caucus or MoveOn, they have chosen, once again, to lean hard to the right at the expense of illuminating their viewers and providing a public service, which ought to be the core mandate of a responsible media enterprise.

This is the sort of news that should put a nail in the heart of the myth that the media is liberal. Yesterday the Pew Research Center published a study that proved, contrary to right-wing protestations, that the media has not been “in the tank” for Barack Obama. The study showed that, in fact, news coverage of Obama was far less positive than for any of his potential Republican opponents.

Pew Study

Also yesterday, an executive with the Fox Business Network sent a memo to his staff advising them not to copy Fox News because “If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.” If Fox itself recognizes the foolishness of such ideological plagiarism, what the hell is wrong with CNN?

Rupert Murdoch’s Organization Wants Another 9/11

The faux patriots at Fox Nation are continuing to make a habit of exploiting the image of 9/11 and contriving false and negative associations with Democrats. This time Rupert Murdoch and Co. have outdone themselves by accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and other targets.

It takes a pretty hefty portion of chutzpah for the Fox Nationalists to sell this falsehood. Particularly in light of how brazenly they themselves have been politicizing 9/11:

In this latest episode, Fox Nation links to an article at RedState, the blog of the uber-rightist magazine, Human Events. The RedState column credits the equally right-wing Heritage Foundation for discovering what they characterize as a despicable act of political exploitation.

What these stalwart detectives found was a notice on the website of Organizing for America (OFA), the Democratic National Committee’s social networking site for Democratic activists. Note: This is NOT a site that is affiliated with the White House or the President.

The offending notice was posted by a user seeking participants for a health care reform event. The notice itself could reasonably be regarded as offensive and inappropriate, but no more so than what Fox Nation has published itself.

The content of the notice said (click to enlarge):

“Sep 11, is Patriot Day, designated in memory of the nearly three thousand who died in the 9/11 attacks.

“All 50 States are coordinating in this – as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.”

I can’t say that I disagree with the assessment of Fox News, but the reference to right-wing domestic terrorists was unnecessarily contentious. However, the response by Heritage/RedState/Fox Nation is ludicrous beyond imagination.

First of all, the OFA web site is a user driven site. That means that anyone can post comments, blogs and even announcements of upcoming events, as is the case here. So those responsible for the site’s administration (the DNC) cannot be blamed for inappropriate material that they did not produce or authorize. The site’s administrator did become aware of the posting and promptly removed it. Now you would think that the martinets of manners at RedState would be assuaged, even encouraged, by this behavior, but no. They quickly leaped to a new accusation that the web site had “scrubbed” the embarrassing content. How can OFA win? If they leave the posting up, they are guilty of denigrating the memory of 9/11. If they take it down, they are alleged to be hiding something.

Remember, this is the same organization that permitted Michael Scheuer to appear with Glenn Beck and openly root for another terrorist attack on America:

“…the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.”

So, does Murdoch’s organization want another 9/11? That sounds much more plausible than the assertion that Obama’s organization is politicizing 9/11. This is nothing more than the routine disingenuous outrage from people who only know how to stir up mischief, even when none occurs. And for the Fox Nationalists to raise the ante by publishing gut wrenching photos of the 9/11 attack, with a completely dishonest headline, is the height of cynical and grotesque politicization. Especially after all of the examples above of obvious and intentional politicization on the part of Fox.

But don’t get comfortable yet. Fox News has been running promos today for tonight’s O’Reilly Factor that promise to blow the lid off of this fake scandal. So this nonsense is going from a bunch of ignorant think tankers and bloggers, to the number one cable news program in America.

Seriously…Is this all they’ve got?

Dishonesty In Politics And In Media by Bill O’Reilly

No one can compound stupidity like The Fester, Bill O’Reilly. Last week he assailed John Edwards for his remarks about homeless veterans. O’Reilly, without making any attempt to ascertain the facts, claimed that Edwards “had no clue” and that, if there were any homeless vets, there weren’t very many.

The proof of the veteran’s plight was so easily attainable that O’Reilly had to concede that the problem did indeed exist. But being O’Reilly, that didn’t mean conceding that he was wrong or apologizing. To the contrary, after embarrassing himself with comments that he admits are immature, he demanded an apology from Edwards, the guy whos was right in the first place. His reasoning was based on an element of the debate that he had to invent.

O’Reilly: “Certainly there are homeless veterans, but it’s not because of the economy. It’s mostly because of addiction and mental illness, something politicians can do little about.”

However, Edwards never claimed that the economy was to blame. He only raised the issue of homeless vets to bring attention to the situation and to assert that America can do better. He was looking for solutions, not blame. But even O’Reilly’s made-up excuse exposes his dishonesty and/or stupidity. First of all, if government can do so little about addiction and mental illness, why do they invest so much in programs for precisely that? Secondly, according to experts, mental illness is only one of the contributors to homelessness:

“Mental illness, financial troubles and difficulty in finding affordable housing are generally accepted as the three primary causes of homelessness among veterans, and in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, the first has raised particular concern.

Iraq veterans are less likely to have substance abuse problems but more likely to suffer mental illness, particularly post-traumatic stress, according to the Veterans Administration. And that stress by itself can trigger substance abuse. “

So O’Reilly was wrong about the problem’s severity, he was wrong about Edwards’ positions, and he was wrong about the causes. And sadly, O’Reilly seems only to be concerned about veterans if they are having financial difficulties. If the problem is psychological or drug related, then to Hell with them. But even on the financial front O’Reilly can’t help but deceive and distort. He claims that amongst those living below the poverty line…

“Ninety-seven percent have a color TV, 78 percent a DVD player, 80 percent an air conditioner, 73 percent a car or truck, 63 percent cable or satellite TV, and 43 percent of poor households in the USA own the home they are living in.”

That nonsense was lifted from the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector who for years has been peddling the notion that America’s poor are living large on the taxpayer’s dime. O’Reilly and Rector are using faulty analysis and outright falsehoods to attempt to reincarnate Ronald Reagan’s fictional welfare queens. On August 27, 2007 Rector wrote an article that included the statistics above and arrived at this conclusion:

“Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.”

Rector has been shoveling this garbage for some time and he even plagiarizes himself because the exact same paragraph appears in a nearly identical article he wrote for the Heritage Foundation three years earlier on September 15, 2004. But Rector has bigger problems than self-plagiarism or propagandistic redundancy. His analysis must be purposely deceitful, as it is so far off from even the sources he cites. The tip off was the 97% of the poor who supposedly have a color TV. In fact, that is the percentage of ALL Americans with a TV (does anyone have a black and white TV?).

The statement that “the typical American defined as poor by the government has…” all of the items Rector lists is profoundly ignorant. The survey says only that these items are owned in these percentages, not that all of the poor own all of the items. So some may have a car, and others may have an air conditioner, etc.

The actual stats, according to the Department of Energy study Rector himself footnoted, are 40% have a color TV, 32% a VCR/DVD player, 27% an air conditioner, 27% a car or truck, 26 percent cable or satellite TV, and 13% own their home. That’s a long ways from the lies O’Reilly and Rector are spewing.

On some level though, you have to admire O’Reilly for having the audacity to be so monumentally wrong and still maintain his air of pompous superiority. His ability to acknowledge that Edwards was right but that he, O’Reilly, wasn’t wrong is classically egomaniacal. And using this occasion to expand on his lies about homeless vets and the poor overall perfectly embodies the meaning of the title of his screed: Dishonesty In Politics And In Media by Bill O’Reilly.