Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Banning Reporters He Doesn’t Like From the White House

The legacy that Donald Trump has said he wants to follow him when his presidency is over is that he exposed the “massive dishonesty in the Fake News.” He’s as likely to be remembered for that farcical delusion as for being the first man to walk on the moon. But history will undoubtedly record him as one of the most antagonistic presidents toward the Constitution’s protection of a free press.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

As if to secure that title for posterity, Trump tweeted on Saturday morning what amounts to threat aimed at a news enterprise that he has long despised – The Washington Post. Trump’s festering hatred for the Post stems from his paranoid aversion to any media that has the audacity to tell the truth about him because he knows what that will lead to. He said that…

In that missive Trump achieved an impressively manic Level Four Fury by packing the adjectives “nasty, lightweight, disgusting,” and “fake,” all into one tweet. But worst of all, he proposed that the Post reporters be banned from White House grounds simply for doing their job. That’s typical of Trump’s raging authoritarian tendencies, wherein he believes that he has the right to pick and choose who is allowed to be a journalist.

He’s tried this twice before in recent weeks when he attempted to revoke the White House credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta and Playboy columnist Brian Karem. In both cases Trump lost in court and the journalists’ credentials where restored. This obviously gnaws at Trump who has openly yearned for the sort of tyrannical control of the press that his pal Vladimir Putin enjoys.

What Trump was reacting to was a Washington Post article by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker that accurately described Trump’s wasted summer of embarrassment and failure. The headline read “Trump’s lost summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance.” The article was well sourced throughout and painted a clear picture of…

“…what some Trump advisers and allies characterize as a lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities. […] The two months between Independence Day and Labor Day offered a fresh and vivid portrait of the president as seen by Trump’s critics — incompetent, indecisive, intolerant and ineffective.”

Trump included in his tweet a link to an op-ed by his press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, in the wingnut Washington Examiner. She tried to counter the Post’s article with examples of positive news stories about Trump that she said the Post ignored. The only problem with that was that the Post actually did cover those stories at the time. It’s astonishing that an alleged “press secretary” could write such a poorly researched op-ed, or that anyone would publish it. As for the Post, their executive editor, Marty Baron, defended his reporters and blasted Trump saying that:

“The president’s statement fits into a pattern of seeking to denigrate and intimidate the press. It’s unwarranted and dangerous, and it represents a threat to a free press in this country.”

That’s the Trump Media Doctrine in a nutshell. His paranoia and fragile ego drive him to attack the press with unsubstantiated charges of fakery and the infamous Stalinist rhetoric that “the media is the enemy of the people.” His hostility toward unfettered journalism even extends to friendly media like Fox News who Trump recently lambasted as “not working for us anymore,” and ordered his cult followers to “start looking for a new news outlet.” And on Friday he summoned Fox’s White House correspondent, John Roberts, to the Oval Office for an official spanking because he wasn’t worshipful enough.

So there is no one in the media who is safe. Trump will viciously assault his critics. And he will callously abandon his friends. He demands unwavering loyalty and the pure exaltation of Dear Leader. In order to avoid his wrath you must hate those whom he hates. And you must defend him at all times, no matter how foolish or contrary to American principles. And unfortunately, there are those in both the right-wing media and the Republican Nationalist Party who are all too willing to comply with those political terms of enslavement.

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

Trump Summons Fox News White House Correspondent to Oval Woodshed for a Spanking

There is little in the current news cycle that is less important than Donald Trump’s absurd and pointless lies about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian. For the record, Alabama was ruled out as being at risk two days before Trump issued his warning to residents of that state. But despite the facts that were confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center, Trump has elevated this nonsense to ridiculously atmospheric heights.

Donald Trump

There is a case to be made that Trump’s lying is significant because it might have unnecessarily rattled Alabamians or even shifted resources to areas where they weren’t needed. But more troubling is that it puts Trump’s severe mental instability on display. He could have just said that a mistake was made and this story would have slipped quietly away. Instead he turned his egotistical aversion to ever being challenged up to twelve – that’s twelve pile-on tweets insisting that he was correct, contrary to reality.

The latest of these demented tweets came on Friday morning when he accused the media of being fixated on the story he has been obsessively ranting about. “They went Crazy,” he tweeted, “hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t).” Well, yes he did, and all the evidence affirms it. He went on to whine about not getting an apology that he doesn’t deserve, including for “the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate!” Nevermind that the Mueller probe (aka “witch hunt” in Trump’s cartoon brain) produced abundant evidence of Trump’s illegal activities, and “SpyGate” was a figment of his imagination.

However, the most deplorable action on Trump’s part during this vacuous waste of time occurred on Thursday when, as reported by CNN, Trump ordered the Fox News White House correspondent, John Roberts, to appear before him in his chambers. Trump was very unhappy with the reporting by Roberts and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. This was not the first time that Trump has lashed out at Fox for not being being sufficiently adoring. Just last week he even ordered his cult followers to “start looking for new news outlet.” But this may be the first time that he has reprimanded a Fox reporter in the oval Office.

In an email by Roberts that was provided to CNN, he said that Trump “insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm.” Roberts wrote that Trump was “looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong” when he falsely claimed on Sunday that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian. By that time it was already known that Dorian had turned sharply to the north and east. But that didn’t stop Trump from lobbying Roberts with outdated information and charts. Even in those old projections there was only a 5-10 percent chance of a slight brushing of a sliver of Alabama, while Trump had said that there was 95 percent probability of landfall in Alabama.

CNN also reported that Trump “voiced his displeasure about Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s skeptical reporting about the Alabama map,” and asked Roberts “to hit back at Shepard Smith.” This would be regarded as wholly inappropriate for any president to say to any journalist, but this is Trump and Fox News, so all pretensions to credibility are irrelevant. What Trump was fuming about was Smith’s commentary (video below) on the Alabama non-controversy wherein he said that…

Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable. This week’s edition, the President’s ongoing claim that Alabama was at risk from hurricane Dorian. It wasn’t. Maybe he got some bad info, somebody maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he was confused. We don’t know. But he was wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. Instead the next day, the president blamed the media for his own inaccurate warning and started to rewrite history on the matter. […]

Why would the president of the United States do this? He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is. Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowd. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It’s endless.

Indeed, it does seem to be endless as Trump prolongs this spectacle into the weekend. And along with trying to bully his friends at Fox News, Trump ordered his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, to issue a flagrantly false work of propaganda that backed up Trump’s ever-expanding web of lies. And not surprisingly, Trump’s BFF, Sean Hannity, took to the air to criticize the “psychotic jackasses in the media mob” who he said were misreporting that Trump lied, even though they merely reported the actual events as they occurred.

The only reason this preposterous story persists is that Trump can’t keep his narcissistic mouth shut for thirty seconds. His deranged insistence that he be perceived as right in all matters at all times forces him to defend even the most trivial blather that oozes from his pie hole on an all too frequent basis. And this time he even tried to browbeat a friendly Foxie into complicity with his dishonest drivel. The fact that it didn’t work may be a sign of trouble ahead for Trump. We can only hope.

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

Sean Hannity Defends Trump’s Treason Summit Even While His Fox News Colleagues Bail

Monday morning Donald Trump held hands with his bestie, Vladimir Putin, for the duration of a surreal press conference wherein he repeatedly took Russia’s side on every issue (here are some must see excerpts). It was a festival of betrayal the likes of which have never been seen.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

The reaction to this internationally televised farce was nearly unanimous disgust and, for most Americans, anger and embarrassment. Trump refused to condemn Russia for interfering with our election. He dismissed his own intelligence agencies in favor of Putin’s promises. He kept bringing up debunked conspiracy theories about Democratic computer servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

It was a pitiful sight that marked Trump as the deceitful dotard that he has become known to the world as. And he received the reception that he deserved from most rational observers. Which, of course, leaves out Sean Hannity. On his radio show Monday morning he unleashed an extended rant defending Trump and denigrating his critics. That included some of Hannity’s Fox News colleagues. Hannity said in part:

“These Republicans have been so pathetically weak. They have been so feckless. They have been so visionless.”

And it only got worse from there. Let’s review just who Hannity is referring to, and what they said that rattled Hannity so:

  • Abby Huntsman: No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.
  • Stuart Varney: It was not a very forceful presentation from President Trump with Putin standing right next to him. Not forceful at all.
  • Neil Cavuto: Trump’s performance was disgusting. I’m sorry. This is the only way I feel. It’s not a right or left thing to me. This is wrong. A U.S. president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy…is essentially letting the guy get away with this.
  • Trish Regan: This was clearly not his best performance… He should have defended us! He should have defended his own intelligence community.
  • General Jack Keane: What happened today is stunning and disappointing.
  • Brit Hume: Because Trump is unable to see past himself, he sees the Russia meddling investigation as only about him and the collusion claim, and thus calls it a witch hunt.
  • Shepard Smith: Shameful, disgraceful, treasonous. Three of the descriptions of what Trump did today in Helsinki.
  • John Roberts: There is a growing consensus tonight across this land that the President threw the United States under the bus.

And those are just the folks from Fox News. Republican politicians like John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham weighed in as well. Even the Worm of – I mean the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, distanced himself from the Trump train wreck. It’s no wonder that Trump chose Hannity for his post-summit interview, which was so lame it doesn’t even warrant a review. But it was probably just the sort of tongue bath that would restore Trump’s orange glow.

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

Is Trump More Scared of Putin or CNN? Cadet Bonespurs Cancels Bolton’s Interview on CNN

On Monday Donald Trump is going to sit down with his – Friend? Boss? Russian counterpart? – Vladimir Putin for a meeting that has no agenda or even a stated purpose. The Helsinki tryst comes just a few days after his own Justice Department announced indictments of twelve Russians for interfering with the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump’s only reaction to this was to say that he would “ask” Putin about it. Well, that should put the brutal dictator on notice.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

In advance of this meeting, Trump’s National Security advisor, John Bolton was scheduled to appear on CNN’s State of the Union. But on Saturday SOTU host, Jake Tapper, tweeted that the White House has canceled that booking. So Trump won’t cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin, whose spy network was just indicted for election tampering, but he will cancel a Sunday morning interview with Bolton. Who does this tell you that Trump is more afraid of?

This cancellation comes on the heels of Trump’s anti-free press harangue on Friday when he refused to take a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta, saying that he doesn’t take questions from “fake news” CNN. He then called on John Roberts of Fox News, which he said was a “real network.” Now Trump has, without explanation, pulled his NSA chief from a CNN program.

In a tweet on Saturday morning Trump bragged about his “takedown” of Acosta, as if suppressing the free press was something to be proud of. He also falsely claimed that CNN was “dying in the ratings” (they aren’t), and that they didn’t report on the exchange (they did). What Trump neglected to mention was that Fox’s Roberts later called out Trump and defended the fairness and honesty of NBC and CNN.

Clearly Trump is scared witless. The only question is: Who is he afraid of more? There’s no doubt that Trump is horribly frightened at the prospect of having to answer any questions that aren’t pre-screened, criticism-free, and/or dripping with adoration. That’s why he doesn’t allow interviews with anyone but friendly “reporters” that he knows will not challenge him. And it’s why he snubbed Acosta and canceled Bolton’s interview.

But he’s also obviously fearful of Putin. Which is why he won’t risk offending him by not turning up for their get-together on Monday. People as politically diverse as senators Chuck Schumer and John McCain have been urging Trump to stay away. But Trump, as usual, isn’t listening to good advice. And his State TV affiliate (aka Fox News) is continuing to prove that they are on his side by booking Brother Vlad for an interview immediately following his tete-a-tete with Trump. Where else would Putin go other than the network that his biggest supporter outside of RT (Russian Television)?

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

UPDATE: Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, responded to the Bolton cancellation saying that it was due to a CNN reporter being “disrespectful” to Trump. So they “decided to reprioritize the TV appearances.” For the record, Trump called CNN’s Acosta “fake news.” He replied that CNN is a real network. That’s it. No discernible hint disrespect. But even if there were, she canceled an interview with Jake Tapper for something Acosta did? This whole excuse is bullshit – no disrespect intended.

Trump Says ‘I Don’t Take Questions From CNN,’ Only Real Networks Like – Fox News?

Donald Trump was visiting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Friday when he obliged the media by taking a few question to which he would respond with his customary obfuscation and lies. But in the process he employed one of his familiar tactics of demeaning the press even as he pretends to be accommodating them.

Donald Trump Fox News

Just as Jim Acosta of CNN began to ask a question, Trump interrupted him him saying “No.” and pointing to John Roberts of Fox News. Acosta was not immediately convinced that his opportunity to question the President was over. But Trump made it even more clear saying “CNN is fake news, I don’t take questions from CNN. John Roberts of Fox, let’s go to a real network.”

Roberts had an opportunity to stand up for the integrity and honor of his profession. But instead, he chose to ignore Trump’s malice toward the press and ask if Trump hopes to have a better relationship with Vladimir Putin. That question was a fairly obsequious waste of time that would provide no insight to any current affairs. However, it did successfully help Trump to throw another sucker punch at the media that he despises. And at the same time Trump got to promote the one network that has so obediently acted as his State TV affiliate of the White House.

By maligning the media this way on foreign soil, Trump is ensuring that other foreign dictators will feel encouraged to continue their own crusades against the press, which often include suppression and murder. Trump’s friend Vladimir can attest to that. It’s bad enough when Trump calls the media “the enemy of the American people” during one of his revival meeting style campaign rallies in South Dakota. But to export that hostile rhetoric to other countries only makes his animus toward the free press more dangerous for journalists throughout the world.

Roberts was castigated online by many of his peers for allowing Trump to insult Acosta and just going forward with his own lame question. As a result, he later appeared in a segment on Fox where he finally mustered up the courage to defend CNN, NBC, and his profession:

That would have been a great thing to say when Trump lashed out at Acosta. As it is, it was too little. too late. Especially considering the fact that it isn’t just Trump who is dispensing these attacks. It is also many of Roberts’ colleagues on Fox News. It’s Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy and Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, and few dozen other contributors who make regular appearances. Not to mention most of the GOP caucus in Congress.

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

For Roberts to be taken seriously he would have to call out all of those offenders. He would have to acknowledge that the cries of fake news, dishonesty, and unfairness are just as harmful and inappropriate when they come from a Fox News host as when the come from a desperately lying president. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Roberts, or anyone else at Fox, to be so consistent and honorable. Their mission is the same as it ever was: to defend Dear Leader Trump and to malign his critics. Expect that to continue unabated.

Giuliani Lies to Fox News: The Mueller Probe ‘Is Essentially Over, They’re Just in Denial’

The legal rope that Donald Trump’s defenders in the media cling to might be more accurately described as a thread. They repeatedly claim that that there is no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia and, therefore, the whole investigation should be immediately halted. That’s a fairy tale resolution that might make the Trump Team feel better, but it has no basis in reality.

Rudy Giuliani

First of all, there have already been dozens of indictments and five guilty pleas. That’s hardly the track record of an investigation that isn’t going anywhere. Additionally, whatever evidence there is incriminating Trump directly in unlawful conduct with Russian operatives is tightly held by the special counsel and won’t be revealed until Robert Mueller is ready to take it to the next level. That doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t exist, as the Trumpoids would like to believe.

Now Trump’s TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is making some more of the ignorant statements that have gotten him in so much trouble in the few short weeks he’s been on the case. John Roberts of Fox News is reporting that Giuliani told him that:

“Two weeks ago the special counsel Robert Mueller assured the President’s outside legal team that he would follow DOJ guidelines that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Giuliani says that Mueller doesn’t really have any choice. That he has to follow the findings of a 1999 Clinton era DOJ memo.

“Now that’s not to say that Mueller couldn’t still find some evidence of wrongdoing that Congress could act on. But the President’s legal team doesn’t appear concerned. Giuliani telling Fox News a short time ago, “This case is essentially over. They’re just in denial.”

It’s curious that Giuliani is running to Fox News with this alleged statement by Mueller that is now two weeks old. Whatever the relevance of it, Giuliani is clearly using it now to argue that the probe ought to be shut down. And that’s what the Trump-fluffing, right-wing media is parroting with badly misinterpreted analyses that claim that if the special counsel is saying he can’t indict, that means he doesn’t have any evidence of wrongdoing.

For the record, there is Department of Justice memo that says that “The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.” However, that is merely a legal opinion written at the time and has never been tested in court. What’s more, while this memo may apply to Mueller’s operation, it does not apply to Grand Juries, who could still file indictments. And even Fox’s Roberts correctly noted that Mueller’s investigation could yield evidence of criminal activity that could be taken up by Congress in an impeachment proceeding.

So the giggling wingnuts who think this means the investigation of their Dear Leader is over and he’s been proven to be as pure as the snowflakes who flutter around him are just fooling themselves. They still don’t know what Mueller knows, and they have no idea where this will end. And if they are putting their faith in anything that Giuliani has told Fox News, then seriously – who’s in denial?

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

UPDATE: Now Giuliani is saying that Mueller didn’t tell him that the President can’t be indicted. He now says that an assistant to Mueller said something to that effect to another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, but he’d have to check. Sounds like the story is falling apart.

Republicans Despondent Over ObamaCare Should Be Sending The Supreme Court Fruit Baskets

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is being portrayed in the media as an historic victory for President Obama. And, to be sure, the ruling does affirm the constitutionality of the law and prevents the cancellation of more than six million health insurance policies nationwide.

However, from a political perspective, the big winners are the Republican Party. Chief Justice John Roberts really pulled their butts out of the fire with his decision finding that…

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. […] Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

For the rest of the day, and throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, you will hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth of disingenuous Republicans pretending to be disappointed by the ruling. In fact, they could not be happier. This ruling allows them to run on a platform of repealing what they claim is a disastrous law that curtails all freedoms and sets the course of the nation toward Armageddon.

ObamaCare Supreme Court

Had the Court ruled against the subsidies, millions of Americans would have lost their health insurance, and the the remainder would have been subject to higher premiums as the pool of the insured became smaller and sicker. In that scenario, Republicans would have had to run the gauntlet of enraged voters who were suffering the consequences of the GOP’s greedy self-interest. Most of those voters would have been from red states and the south where the most recipients of subsidies from federal exchanges reside.

As a result of the this ruling, the GOP will still run on a “repeal and replace” campaign, but they won’t have to do it with their own constituents breathing down their necks in disgust. Instead they will lament the corrupt socialists on the Court and promise to deliver something better if they win the White House and Congress in 2016. Never mind that they have made that promise for more than six years but have never produced a viable replacement. To their credit/shame, they have voted more than fifty times to repeal ObamaCare.

On the other hand, Democrats won the legal and logical battle with this ruling. But they lost the opportunity to run against a Republican Party that had stolen the health insurance from millions of Americans. One of the great ironies of democracy is that it is harder to run on your accomplishments than it is to run on your opponents’ failures. So while millions of voters who were rescued from the heartlessness of the GOP by this ruling should be grateful to Democrats for passing the legislation, their gratitude will be harder to translate into votes than if the Court had struck down the bill and they could vote their disapproval of Republicans.

In the final analysis, it is far better that the Court upheld the subsidies because, politics aside, real people’s real lives hang in the balance. For whatever period of time that ObamaCare may have been obstructed by a negative ruling, Americans would have suffered both financially and medically. Indeed, people without access to health care would have become sicker and even died. And those who survived would have lost much of their financial security, including their homes and retirement savings. So if Democrats have to try harder to get their message across, then so be it.

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

In light of that, every time you hear a Republican whining about the awful Supreme Court decision, remember these two things: 1) They are actually ecstatic that it takes them off the hook for all the outraged voters who would have lost their insurance had the decision gone the other way. And 2) Their feigned despair is actually an expression of disappointment that millions of people didn’t get shafted and forced to face poor health and bankruptcy, which is what they were ostensibly rooting for.

Whining On Fox News: Correspondent Sulks When Democratic Candidate Snubs Him

Poor thing. Fox News correspondent John Roberts went into a deep depression after he was rejected as a debate moderator by Democratic Senate candidate Michele Nunn of Georgia. Roberts took his mopey lament to Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News and complained about being shunned by meany Michele saying that…

“For some reason, the Nunn campaign just does not want to talk to Fox News […] They didn’t like the idea that someone from Fox would be moderating that debate, so out I went.”

Fox News Whining

Out he goes, into the cruel, cold world of right-wing hacks who make a career out of bashing Democrats and liberals. Now, “for some reason,” he is reduced to having only Cavuto and the rest of the conservative Fox machine into which his lonely teardrops can fall.

As usual, Fox is demonstrating their rank hypocrisy by criticizing Nunn for requesting another moderator (who turned out to be a local Fox affiliate anchor). But they haven’t been the least bit critical of Joni Ernst, the GOP senate candidate in Iowa, who has refused to grant ANY interviews with Iowa journalists. However, she did go on Fox News.

It’s laughable that Fox would try to extract sympathy for being shunned by a Democrat. They know damn well the reason. They are a brazenly hostile enterprise whose mission from day one was to smear progressive values and those who profess them. Roberts fits squarely into that mold, making him an inappropriate moderator for a fair and balanced debate. And in the same segment with Cavuto he provided evidence of why no one at Fox should preside over any debate when he admitted that Fox is just a communications vehicle for the Republican Party, saying that…

“In states where you’ve got to get independent, Republican votes, doing something with the Fox News Channel is something that they need to do.”

This complaint is even more laughable considering the fact that Republicans are the ones who wrote nixing debate moderators into their campaign handbook. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced last year that the party intended to handpick their debate moderators and would not countenance any whom they regarded as unfriendly. Discussing debate strategy with Fox News (who else?) he said that

“I think 23 debates is ridiculous, but the second thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.”

Somewhere Priebus got the notion that moderators from the press were supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And to that end he led the party to ban CNN and MSNBC from hosting any GOP primary debates. That leaves Fox News as the only cable news network that Priebus considers friendly enough to host his party’s debates.

While Republicans have openly declared that they have implemented a wholesale ban on moderators they don’t like from across the mediascape for the entire primary season, they are sorely miffed at a Democrat who asked to substitute a single moderator at a single a debate. So when Fox asks “Are candidates limiting media access?” you have to wonder why that is so disturbing to them when they don’t care at all if a whole political party does it. It really makes you feel sorry for them, but not in the way they hoped.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts: Koch Brothers = Flag Burning Nazis

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to permit unlimited contributions to political candidates and committees represents a further degradation of democracy as an experiment in self-rule. Along with the Citizen’s United case, this ruling puts more power into the hands of an elite minority of wealthy plutocrats whose only interest is in feathering their own already luxurious nests.

The decision impacts about five hundred people whose political contributions have reached the previous limits. That leaves the rest of the 350 million Americans who don’t have private fortunes to struggle for recognition from politicians who feast off of money. It is incomprehensible that five legally trained justices can plausibly deny the fact that big donors are able to extract favors from congressmen and senators, and that such favoritism corrupts the electoral system.

The reasoning articulated by Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the decision, defies logic. It is evidence that he and his conservative comrades on the Court were more interested in producing a desired result than in interpreting the Constitution. Here is the key argument presented by Roberts:

“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades – despite the profound offense such spectacles cause – it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opinion.”

John Roberts Political Speech

Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook

The problem with this argument is that it confuses the content of political speech with the manner of it. Everyone would agree that content, regardless of its popularity or lack thereof, is protected speech. But this case had nothing whatsoever to do with content. The plaintiff was contesting campaign laws that put limits on the amount of aggregate contributions any individual may make to candidates and/or political action committees. These laws were intended to prevent the sort of manipulation and influence peddling that existed prior to their enactment. The laws in no way prohibit free expression and the plaintiff never alleged that they did so.

The manner, or process, in which speech is made, however, is constitutionally subject to regulation. Everybody knows the legally justified consequences of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. In addition, you cannot slander or libel someone; you cannot claim that your pomegranate smoothie cures liver cancer; you cannot spray-paint your message onto a citizen waiting for a bus; you cannot hack the satellite feed of a television network and broadcast your speech instead of American Idol; and, until this week, you could not spend unlimited sums of money to buy an election and a candidate or candidates.

The statement above by Chief Justice Roberts illustrates the faulty logic of content vs. process. Flag burning is an example of the content of speech. But contribution limits are an example of process. The process can be regulated without ever affecting any content, opinion, or exercise of free expression. Not being able to continue making donations after you have reached a proscribed limit does not prohibit you from continuing to speak. Put up a billboard. Publish an editorial. Call into the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Buy yourself a half hour of primetime television. Your rights are obviously still in effect. But it is perfectly reasonable for legislatures to enact contribution limits that protect the democratic process from being co-opted by wealthy special interests.

The right to donate unlimited sums of cash to a candidate exists nowhere in the Constitution. This court has invented a right on the shaky premise that it is tied to free speech. However, if I can’t stand in front of Donald Trump’s mansion with a bullhorn day and night, I still have other means of expressing myself. The same is true for the Koch brothers if they are not allowed to pour unlimited funds into the bank account of GOP hack who will do their bidding.

However, the irony of Roberts invoking free speech in his decision delivers a rather appropriate juxtaposition of ideas. By trying to conflate process with content, Roberts produced an example that puts extravagant campaign spending in the same category as repugnant behavior like flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades. On that measure, I’m gonna have to agree with him.

OBAMA SCARE: Making A Bullshit Mountain Out Of A Moronic Molehill

Fox News has been engaged in a massive disinformation campaign against the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) for going on three years now. After all that time, and having exhausted the considerable creative resources that came up with twelve “Pants on Fire” lies about the program, Fox’s desperation is showing.

The right-wing’s Fright Offensive over ObamaCare keeps getting more deranged every day. If they aren’t spreading fears of getting victimized by hackers, or the horrors of Americans voting, or the return of the Zombie ACORN, then it’s threats of ObamaCare prisons and gun registries.

News Corpse previously reported the utterly inane allegation that the ObamaCare website contained an invisible contract that granted the government an unfettered right to spy on health insurance consumers. Of course, as any freshman law student could tell you, there is no such thing as an enforceable, invisible contract. The gist of the complaint was that there was language secretly inserted into the website’s source code that could not be seen but nevertheless bound users to an agreement that they have “no reasonable expectation of privacy.” However, this “ghost” language was actually removed with the use of HTML comment tags by the site’s programmers rendering it inoperative.

The mental deficients pushing this notion are getting way too wrapped up in Halloween. Unfortunately, amongst those imbeciles is at least one member of Congress, the dishonorable GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (where else?). In a hearing today investigating the shortcomings of the ObamaCare website implementation, Barton asked representatives of the software contractor about the “hidden” code that he said violated the law. With a flair for both ignorance and panic he yelped “The privacy section on the ObamaCare website says your privacy will be protected. The hidden source code seems to say, ‘just kidding.'” He later added “That’s Obamacare in a nutshell. It says one thing on the surface and says something totally different behind the scenes.”

Wrong! The hidden source code says nothing at all because — it’s hidden, and invisible text has no legal force or effect. In all likelihood, one of the programmers probably copied a block of text from a common privacy policy and then edited out the parts that don’t apply. But Barton compounded his misunderstanding by posting on his Facebook page after the hearing that the so-called hidden waiver “means it is an intentional policy decision of the Obama administration to deceive the American public.” Wrong again!

Not to be left out, Breitbart News editor, John Nolte, wrote a column about the congressional hearing under the headline “Hidden In Obamacare Site: Applicants Surrender Right To Privacy.” In the column he added his own chunk of stupid saying “[T]he fact that you are giving up your right to privacy is hidden in source code. […] The fact that the government is hiding the fact that you are giving up your right to privacy should be a major media scandal. But it won’t be.” BreitBrat John is right about it not being a major media scandal, but only because he’s wrong about everything else he wrote.

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Finally, Fox News weighed in with a report by correspondent John Roberts who said that this is “another step down the rabbit hole of ‘Big Data’ […] As we’ve learned, source code in the web site’s terms and conditions states that users have “no reasonable expectation of privacy.” Roberts hasn’t learned anything at all, nor have his viewers. And apparently none of these grown men in the press or politics has as much technology savvy as a fourteen year old WoW gamer.