Country Legend Merle Haggard Calls Out The Lies Of Fox News

Dec 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

In an interview with Rolling Stone about receiving the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement, outlaw country legend Merle Haggard reflected on meeting President Obama. He blasted “the media,” for making up and spreading lies about Obama, “It was also nice to meet Obama and find him very different from the media makeout. It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President.” It is obvious that Haggard was talking about Fox News.

When asked by Patrick Doyle of Rolling Stone about the highlight of the Kennedy Center Honors Haggard talked about meeting both former President Clinton, and President Obama. Haggard said of Obama, “It was also nice to meet Obama and find him very different from the media makeout. It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he’s doing certain things that he’s not. It’s just a big old political game that I don’t want to be part of. There are people spending their lives putting him down. I’m sure some of it’s true and some of it’s not. I was very surprised to find the man very humble and he had a nice handshake. His wife was very cordial to the guests and especially me. They made a special effort to make me feel welcome. It was not at all the way the media described him to be.”

When asked what is the biggest lie out there about Obama, Haggard answered, “He’s not conceited. He’s very humble about being the President of the United States, especially in comparison to some presidents we’ve had who come across like they don’t need anybody’s help. I think he knows he’s in over his head. Anybody with any sense who takes that job and thinks they can handle it must be an idiot.”

Now where could Merle Haggard have possibly ever gotten the idea that Obama is conceited? The myth of Obama’s arrogance is the favorite personal attack that Fox News uses against this president.

Here is Sean Hannity calling Obama arrogant:

Here is Karl Rove on Hannity also calling Obama arrogant:

Then we have Charles Krauthammer discussing Obama’s arrogance on Special Report with Bret Baier:

We can safely conclude that Merle Haggard either got the idea about Obama’s conceit from watching Fox News, or that the people who Haggard talks to everyday informed him about Obama based on what they had seen on Fox News. Many people have written about Haggard defending Obama, but to me Haggard’s surprise when he met the real Obama demonstrates both the power and the spread of Fox News’ misinformation.

Merle Haggard is a white man in his 70s with a GED. He is the base audience for Fox News. I thought his comments about what Fox News and right wing media are doing to Obama were right on the money. The misinformation and lies that they are spreading about this president on a daily basis is almost criminal. The problem is that Fox News is not only misinforming the 2 million people that tune in every day. They are also misinforming all of the people that the Fox News audience talks to. A mass media misinformation campaign becomes a grass roots campaign as viewers individually spread the inaccurate information and character attacks on Obama via word of mouth.

Merle Haggard by his own admission was a Republican up until 2007, and in a Time interview, he described himself as a born again Christian who turned away from Bush, but is not a liberal. Haggard said, “I supported George W. I’m not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq. I’m a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives.” Haggard supported Hillary Clinton in 2008.

The Fox News message seeps into the entire culture. This is what many on the left don’t understand. When Americans who don’t follow politics hear this misinformation about Obama from friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers, they don’t know any better and they accept the information as truth from a personally trusted source. I wish more people could have the same experience that Haggard did. They need to see the disconnect for themselves between the lies on Fox News and the truth about the President of the United States.

The truly vile part of this attack on Obama is the underlying racial component. Notice that Fox News likes to call the President arrogant and conceited. These terms are euphemisms for uppity. The message from Fox News is that Obama is an arrogant and conceited black man who doesn’t belong in the White House.

The story here isn’t just that Haggard defended Obama, but that we got to see one man’s reaction to being deceived by a right wing media/Fox News message. I have a feeling that Haggard’s anger at being lied to by the right wing media would be echoed by many other Americans if they could be reached with the truth. Countering the attacks and misinformation of Fox News is the challenge that President Obama, his supporters, and every single American who care about truth must face in 2011 and beyond.

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Glenn Beck Claims That Fox News Is Chock Full of Liberals

Nov 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today Glenn Beck and co-host Pat Gray made what could perhaps be labeled as their most fantastic claim yet. They claimed that Fox News is crawling with liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs.”

Here is the audio from Media Matters:

Beck co-host Pat Gray claimed that Fox News is full of liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs. I mean yes. Can you think of any? I mean they come immediately, they spring immediately to mind. This idea, this notion that I have clearly stated in the past that there are no dissenting points of view on Fox, it’s ridiculous. It’s unbelievable. Beck chimed in with, “ Well it doesn’t matter, because look, once they start going down this trail, they’re done.”

What I found most interesting is that Gray used the same argument to defend Fox News that racists use to defend their hiring practices. Compare, Gray’s statement, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs,” to, “Sure we have lots of black people who work for us. In fact, some of them are even managers.”

Wow, who knew that Fox News was just crawling with liberals? I love their liberal shows like….hmmmm, you know, and then there is that other…..wait a minute, there are no liberal shows on Fox News. I guess Beck and company were trying to sell Shep Smith as one of the many liberal hosts on Fox, but I don’t view Shep as liberal. Smith is more like a lonely sane conservative island surrounded by a sea of right wing crazy.

I know that Beck and Gray think that their audience is stupid, and if their audience is a little light in the gray matter their condition can be attributed to spending their days listening to Glenn and Pat, but this claim should be an insult even to the intellectual black hole known as Glenn Beck fans.

The very reason that Fox News is so profitable is because it caters to the audience of the closed-minded. The typical FNC viewer does not want to watch a liberal host or guests. If this was what they wanted, they wouldn’t be watching Fox. (To some degree MSNBC follows the same model, but at least some of their hosts like Rachel Maddow and O’Donnell try to give a fair hearing to the opposing point of view. I won’t even venture to include Fox News/Bill O’Reilly styled Keith Olbermann in this discussion). It is a joke that Beck and Gray would even try to sell FNC as a home for dissenting points of view.

The problem with much of cable news is that there is too little discussion from differing points of view, but at least MSNBC is honest about what it is, while Glenn Beck continues to treat his audience like paste eating three year olds, who he continually urges to take their allowance money and buy his latest endorsed trinket, scam, or book.

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Lady Liberty Weeps as Sarah Palin Labels Obama a Threat to Democracy

I am so serious! Waaa!

I am out of words to describe the hubris of Sarah Palin and her relentless attack on reality and true exceptionalism, something I’m terribly afraid Sarah Palin will never encounter due to her fear of smart people. Palin can’t manager her own Sarah PAC finances without running into trouble with each filing, she drove Alaska into debt and she left Wasilla in 20 million dollars of long term debt but here she is on FNC’s Hannity tonight, telling us about how President Obama is going to ruin our democracy because of what the “feds”, a.k.a the Fed are doing. File this away under “I refudiate your abuse of the English language”.

You get the sense listening to her (oh, god why?) that she has no idea what quantitative easing means, but that she thinks she’s carrying this deception off with her furrowed brow and determinedly serious beehive. Instead of hitting anywhere near her target, Palin leaves the viewer with that uncomfortable feeling you get listening to a child lie to you about their homework. Why, America? Why?

Here’s our late night theatre of the absurd: Sarah Palin discusses economic theory, also too. Video courtesy of Media Matters:

In a typical Palin disjointed rant, she explained why Obama makes her fear for democracy, “I do. I fear for our democracy, because I recognize, and I know you did too Sean, and you tried to sound a warning bell through your commentary, through the campaign as I was nominated for VP, and running with one of my heroes, John McCain, as we were witnessing what the other campaign was actually telling the American people, warning them what they were going to do to America. They warned, Barack Obama did as candidate that he would fundamentally transform America, that he would redistribute somebody’s wealth. He would take it and he would give it to someone else. Those things that do erode our free market, and our freedoms and are disincentives to a strong work ethic and to productivity, and now what we see are some manifestations of what he warned us that he would do in the campaign. We’re seeing that come home to roost now.”

While talking about the Fed, Palin managed to defend communist China’s manipulation of their currency, “We see with the quantitative easing of the Feds that Barack Obama has now come out and supported, as the Fed says we’re going to print more money out of thin air, and we’re going to incur more debt, and we’re going to devalue our dollar, and we’re gonna mess with China’s currency. We’re going to preach to them that they can’t be messing it, but we’ll be messing with our own. All these things that are taking place right now, especially the incurrence of this huge debt, Sean what it is doing is eroding our opportunities, which ultimately erodes our democracy and our freedoms, and we can not succeed this way.”

She rambled on, “There is no way, with the quantitative easing, with this new $600 billion infusion of fake money into our system. That’s not how we get our economy back on the right track. We became the foremost superpower by incentivizing producers, and job creators, and work ethic. Not by punishing work ethic, but that’s exactly what Barack Obama, and those in the White House, and leftists in Congress are doing to our economy, and our job creators. They’re disincentivizing work ethic.”

In case, you are wondering whose work ethic Palin was referring to and wanting to incentivize, it was not the middle class, or small business — oh, no! The job creators that she is so infatuated with are corporate America and the wealthy. Palin’s plan to get the economy going involves deregulation, a slashing of corporate tax rates, and tax cuts for the rich. Yes, Sarah Palin is advocating Ronald Reagan, and later George W. Bush’s failed theory of trickledown economics.

It was great to see that American secessionist/patriot Sarah Palin defend communist China’s right to manipulate their currency and cause a huge trade imbalance with the United States. Since Palin brought up the deficit, she might want to have somebody teach her that if we could get China to stop manipulating their currency, it would help to lower the US deficit, but this is much too advanced a thought for Sarah Palin.
This is what happens when one’s paranoia forces them to turn to a freelance journalist with no formal training in economics and no experience in public finance to advise her about economic policy.

Sycophantic wanton nastiness is all that’s required to be one of Palin’s advisers. Check. This may be why Palin is cheerfully ignorant of the fact that foreign leaders are not upset with Obama because he is ruining democracy, but rather because the Fed’s plan is likely to stimulate exports and cut into imports. Sigh.

As for Palin’s accusations of socialism, the ignorance, it burns. Sarah Palin was very proud of the windfall profits tax she levied on oil companies in Alaska and then happily redistributed to Alaskans. Not only did Palin do this with the already existing Permanent Fund that gave each Alaskan a $2,000.00 check, but she created an additional energy “rebate” of $1,200.00 for every man, woman and child in Alaska.

This was utterly socialist in that she did it to reduce the inequity in society. Palin defended her actions, claiming she wasn’t socialist, because the people of Alaska owned the resources. Palin explained, “We’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.”

Palin is clearly blissfully ignorant that this is the argument for socialism. That’s it: The people own the resources. Are you hitting your head against a brick wall yet?

We must remember that this is the person who told ABC news that were she President, the Department of Law would protect her from the ethics violations charges she claimed forced her to quit as Governor of Alaska. “I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out,” she said.

Not only would this be adding to government bureaucracy (and given the number of ethics complaints filed against Palin, we can certainly not afford to front her legal bill like Alaska did) and expanding the powers of the executive branch, and not only is there no Department of Law in DC….but the Department of Justice’s job is most certainly not to defend our President from the consequences of her grafting ways. The Department of Justice is also not here to defend our President from mean journalists like Katie Couric, nor from evil bloggers, nor from angry Republican ex-allies.

In this interview, Palin also explained why she will not be doing interviews with press like Couric or anyone else whom she doesn’t feel will ask her the right questions or treat her nicely. And President Obama is the threat to democracy? Oh, fourth estate, your toes do burn from the stomping.

In other words, when Palin accuses, she is projecting. Sarah Pain is a socialist, but not the good kind. Palin is the kind of leader who uses socialism to expand her dictator-like powers. She uses populism to hide her graft, mafia like corruption and abuse of power. When Sarah Palin speaks, if you can get past the slimy feeling of having just been insulted and accosted, just know that she has one finger pointed out and four fingers pointed back at herself.

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Jimmy Carter Takes A Stand Against Glenn Beck and Fox News

Nov 21 2010 Published by under Featured News

Former President Jimmy Carter was on CNN’s Reliable Sources today where he took aim at both Fox News and Glenn Beck for what he described as deliberately distorting the news. Carter said,”The talk shows with Glenn Beck and others on Fox News, I think, have deliberately distorted the news.”

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

When asked by Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz about his comments in his recent book critical of the 24 hour news networks’ reliance on dramatization and exaggeration, Carter let loose on both Glenn Beck and Fox News, “The talk shows with Glenn Beck and others on Fox News, I think, have deliberately distorted the news. And it’s become highly competitive. And my Republican friends say that MSNBC might be just as biased on the other side in supporting the Democratic Party, the liberal element. But that’s part of give and take. And I think CNN, more than others, has kind of tried to play the middle to their detriment as far as viewership is concerned and profits are concerned. So, I think that describes maybe more than I — more than my credentials warrant about what I think about — quickly the balance.”

It is interesting that Carter would go on to include MSNBC in the discussion. Many on the left including MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann have decried the false equivalency that was first brought up by Jon Stewart at his Rally to Restore Sanity between MSNBC and Fox News, but President Carter didn’t actually say that he believed that MSNBC distorted the news like Fox does, but that Republicans believe that MSNBC does the same thing that FNC does, which is a very accurate statement.

Republicans do love to lump MSNBC and Fox News together, but beyond the basic format of presenting programming from a partisan perspective, the two networks could not be more different. Fox News operates as not just a Republican information source, but the network institutionally engages in fund raising and political activity for the Republican Party. MSNBC may put liberal hosts on the air, but they have never fund raised for candidates, nor has MSNBC promoted something like the Tea Party Express.

President Carter’s bigger point is dead on. As more Americans limit themselves to news sources that reinforce their partisan biases, whether they be on the left or right, facts become distorted and warped as they are presented through the prism of partisan narrative. The news has gone from being about what is happening in the world to information that is used on both sides to attribute credit or blame for what is happening in the world to an ideology.

When people stop agreeing on facts, it tears away at the fabric of our society. If we can’t be united in agreement and acceptance of fact then the fragmentation that not only plagues our politics will spill out into the nation itself. Glenn Beck and Fox News have found that distorting the news is a very profitable enterprise. They don’t care about the toxic waste their enterprise is leaving behind. They are the foremost intellectual polluters of the American mind, and it is encouraging to see Jimmy Carter call them out.

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A Fox News Fairy Tale: Sarah Palin Will Clean Obama’s Clock in 2012

Nov 20 2010 Published by under Featured News

Yet another example of how Fox News is revving up their Republican campaign machine for Sarah Palin occurred on Hannity last night when Sean Hannity claimed that, “I think Gov. Palin, if they keep up with this radical agenda will clean Obama’s clock.” That’s a nice fairy tale for Sean Hannity to spin, but let’s take a look at what will really happen if Barack Obama meets up with Sarah Palin in 2012.

Here is the video of Hannity courtesy of Media Matters:

Hannity said, “I think Gov. Palin, if they keep up with this radical agenda, will clean Obama’s clock.” When pressed, Hannity couldn’t name a single state that Palin would carry that McCain didn’t in 2008. He chose to back up his argument with that old Republican standard, “It’s a whole different environment. Here is the problem. Barack Obama lost. There was a 20 point swing among Independent voters in this country…At the end of the day, you’re forgetting something. We had the biggest midterm repudiation in 70 years two weeks ago.

Hannity later undercut his support of Palin by claiming that anybody could beat Obama, “It’s going to be very interesting. Here you have a guy that was reading a teleprompter. We find out he’s distant, a little unhinged. He’s ineffective. He doesn’t have the ability to pivot and compromise. He’s tone deaf to the American people. He keeps this up for two more years, any, I could beat him, which says a lot.”

In Fox News fantasy land it is so easy to beat an incumbent president that anyone should be able to do it, even Sarah Palin. I hate to go and spoil a perfectly fine right wing dream sequence with facts, but there is a reason why only four incumbent presidents have lost their reelection bids since 1900. Incumbent presidents are nearly impossible to defeat even when they face a credible challenger, much less the least popular politician in America. Sean Hannity relies on the false assumption that Independents will vote for Sarah Palin in 2012, because Independents swung Republican in 2010. The problem is that fewer Independents voted in 2010 than in 2008.

The bigger problem for Republicans is that Independents hate Sarah Palin. Palin is currently carrying a 53% disapproval rating with Independents. Palin’s terrible poll numbers simply don’t match up with what Hannity is trying to sell. The myth truly crumbles when you realize that Obama’s approval ratings have gone up since he was “repudiated” two weeks ago. Palin has consistently been the poorest performing Republican when polls run their hypothetical 2012 match ups, and she consistently trails Obama by double digits. There is zero evidence that Sarah Palin would do anything other than be convincing trounced by Obama.

Despite employing almost the entire roster of potential 2012 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, minus Mitt Romney, Fox News is increasingly putting their weight behind Sarah Palin. It doesn’t seem to matter that Palin’s track record in national politics is that of a born loser. Palin, Fox News, Hannity, and others have convinced themselves that the 2010 election was about Obama, not jobs and the economy, and that Sarah Palin will lead them to the promise land in 2012.

Sean Hannity was selling a story to the true believers, and snake oil to the gullible. Obama will win reelection and the wide eyed child like viewers of Fox News will tune in every weeknight at 9 PM to hear Sean Hannity spin the tale of how Sarah Palin should have been president.

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TLC Morphs into Fox News While Visiting Sarah Palin’s Alaska

Nov 07 2010 Published by under Featured News

Every tragedy needs its clown and America’s current political nightmare has its clown in Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin, otherwise known as the great pedophile hunter of America, defamed journalist Joe McGinniss by suggesting he was a pedophile when he rented a house next to her house while he was writing a book titled “Sarah Palin’s Year of Living Dangerously”.

Said book was not intended to be nasty, but Palin took care of that by antagonizing Joe until he received the full wrath of her cult, which could only serve to open his eyes to the true nature of Ms Palin. We must remember all of the good work Ms Palin has done on behalf of children the country wide- why she outed David Letterman as a pedophile when he made a joke about her 18 year old daughter (the one who is selling abstinence after having quite a lot of sex outside of marriage, enough to produce at least one live child).

Joe the writer is now suing Sarah the pedophile hunter, or rather, the network promoting Sarah’s public image as a 2012 candidate, TLC, a subsidiary of the Discovery Channel for invasion of privacy and is demanding to be removed from the reality show over due to “unauthorized videotaped images of Mr. McGinniss which were obtained without his knowledge or consent.” Who can miss the irony of “discovery” in this context? Discovery will be had if TLC doesn’t back down after infringing upon Joe’s privacy rights.

And honestly, TLC knows better. It’s procedure to gather releases from anyone captured on video. In public places, notices are put up that you may be seen on such and such TV show if you walk through this area while they are shooting. The technique of blurring out the face of someone caught on tape without having signed a release is only used when the footage is considered necessary to the narrative of the story. That certainly doesn’t apply to a shot with no one else but Joe in it. They obviously chose this and used it intentionally, intending it to represent Joe the writer, the target of Palin’s wrath.

Why would TLC knowingly insert a shot of Joe reading on his deck, except to appease Sarah’s need for vengeance? They had to know Joe could sue. Perhaps they did this to drum up controversy (read: publicity, read: money) over Sarah’s show, which looks to be popular with the fundie Kate plus 8 crowd they’ve been courting, but lacks wide spread appeal. And by wide-spread, I mean people who read things other than Sarah Palin’s books on herself and Sarah Palin’s tweets…. Perhaps I’ve allowed my hopeful vision of America to color her appeal.

How many more people have watched the teaser now that Joe the Writer is suing? Uh huh. That’s right. Welcome to Discovery Channel’s Fox initiation into politics via money.
Once again, Sarah Palin is the clown in the midst of our national tragedy; a tragedy of Americans so dumbed down by reality TV and sensationalism that they often wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them on the head. Instead, they’ll just keep buying what the man is selling – no matter what side of the aisle the man is on, though the man is more often on the Republican side, by simple virtue of the profit at any cost model so carefully protected by the Right.

And so the winds of discontent now focus again on our national clown. The one running for President in 2012 and using a well-paid gig on TLC to rebrand herself as the all-American mom, who “reads” on her back slab and spends adorable time with her children in the Great Outdoors, now also, too, owned and branded by Sarah Palin.

This is Sarah Palin’s Alaska, just like her slush fund was the “Alaska Fund Trust”. Sarah is Alaska. Alaska is America. Love her. Vote for her. And remember, this is “not political”, even though you will never get to ask Palin any questions about her record or her ideas, because she is running the same campaign of personality she has always run. Her “ideas” are irrelevant. This is about how adorable she is and how hot she is and how you really wish your wife was just like her. It’s all so heart-warming, I can smell the apple pie from my kitchen window.

Not enough people are asking TLC and Discovery why they are selling political propaganda in the form of a “reality” TV show about a former governor who is going to run for President. Not only is she being paid for this publicity, but the state of Alaska funded part of this travesty in the form of rebates. Alaska has an incentive program for productions that spend more than $100,000 in “qualified” purchases that starts with a base of 30%, gets an additional 10% for hiring Alaskan crew and there is 4% more you can get for shooting rurally and in a specific season. “Unlike some incentive programs, we do not have salary caps or project caps. We do not require your company to be domiciled in Alaska, nor do we have minimum requirements for principle photography days or Alaska hire.” How convenient!

TLC really made out on this one, even after paying Sarah. Heck, they may have gotten a rebate even on paying Sarah her millions (depending upon the structure of the tax rebate and what qualifies, but it clearly states there is no cap on salaries) which means at the very least that Alaskans paid for part of this show. Nice work for a “small government” conservative grifter, eh? It’s amusing to note that the Governor’s administration put the finishing touches on this legislation right before she quit to pursue fame.

Government assistance, anyone? I would surmise Palin is also, too, taking advantage of this big government perk for her Wasilla Fox News studio.

Yes, that would be tax payer money going to fund political propaganda for a partisan figure running for the highest office in the land. And Discovery is playing stupid, claiming it’s all ok because they will have bloggers of both sides commenting on the show. As if their show is somehow worthy of such commentary (remember, this is only propaganda, no one can ask questions) and as if the office of our Presidency is some Greatest Race slop competition.

Having bloggers of both sides commenting on your propaganda does nothing to dispel the power of the image they’re broadcasting. It shouldn’t be on the air. She shouldn’t be being paid for it.

Sadly, Americans will eat this up as the Real Sarah, seeing as they’ve been happily doped by Reality TV for years now and still haven’t caught on that it is FICTION. It is written in advance. It is shot multiple times. It is edited. Reality would be unedited reality, when people did not know a camera was exposing them to the eyes of America. If you think people “forget” about the cameras as they are primed for their moment in the sun and set dressing ducks in to “fix” reality, you are sadly mistaken.

The only hope for this country is that this show bores the majority of people who are still somewhat tethered to reality and hence not as likely to be drawn in by a sentimentalist’s soap opera starring Herself as Number One Victim.

Reality TV is truly the dregs of the entertainment business; a Republican corporatist’s dream where no one is paid properly (save big names like Palin), the hours are grueling and the end product is crap. Sure, there are some nice folks in reality TV, but you do not meet the “real” so and so by watching their show. You meet the image who met the brand who sold you a book who is coming out with a line of cookware who hosts a TV show…

You meet the money maker for all of the people behind the scenes. You meet the person they want you to meet so you will buy their crap.

Even if TLC is proudly joining the ranks of Fox PAC TV (and it looks like they are), they certainly shouldn’t be using the power of their network to harass another Palin victim. Shame, shame, TLC. I can think of no lower point for the Discovery Channel than this.

Discovery indeed. Please name Sarah Palin in your suit, Joe. There are many questions Americans have and you may be their only hope. Country first, Joe. If not you, then who?

Update: Palin tweeted today, “Will discuss Fed’s quantitative easing plan(print $ out of thin air)tmrrw@ tools trade assn speech;then edit addl “Sarah Palin’s AK”episodes” about 6 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® . This means that Palin has authority over editing, which makes an even stronger case that TLC handed her the reins to create political propaganda for the American TV audience. There is no reality here. Palin can edit out whatever she doesn’t like. And should Joe feel like suing herself directly, this fact proves a direct relationship between Palin and the final product.

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A Lesson for Americans: Reaping the Consequences of Hate

We have all heard the old saying, “You reap what you sow.” This lesson was recently learned by an Arkansas school board district member, Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains. Posting on Facebook, McCance said, in response to a campaign sponsored by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) that people should wear purple to honor suicide victims of anti-gay bullying,

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin.” (sic)

McCance now realizes he went too far.

“I’m reaping what I’ve sown,” he told CNN. “I’ve had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level.”

But it’s not just what McCance said, it’s the underlying beliefs that led to those words he used, and more than that, it’s the underlying beliefs of the people to whom he directed those words: religious bigots.

Now it’s bad enough when somebody wishes ill on somebody else. None of us should do that no matter how much we disapprove of the person or their actions. A favored religion-inspired response is to say “we don’t hate the sinner; we hate the sin” as if that makes everything okay. It doesn’t. And McCance, to his credit, did not fall back on that to explain his own words.

The lesson that must be learned here, by everyone, but especially by Republicans from whom this hate is flowing, is that you do reap what you sow. Actions have consequences. The 2006 election should have taught them that; the 2008 elections should have driven that lesson home: most Americans do not agree with them.

Words spoken have consequences, but all too often people escape those consequences due to political cronyism.

For example, Juan Williams lost his job at NRP but he has a lucrative job with FOX News, which applauds his hate-mongering xenophobia and is now leading a conservative witch-hunt against NPR. And conservative Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of George W. Bush’s disastrous and bloody Iraq strategy, after his misdeeds at the World Bank had, in Paul Krugman’s words, “a chair waiting for him at the American Enterprise Institute,” a conservative think tank.

Sometimes, what is reaped is a reward by those for who hate mongering is a lucrative business. Sadly, that includes at this point in our nation’s history one of our two main political parties, the corporate-funded GOP, and the conservative billionaire-funded Astroturf movement known as the Tea Party. American politics have become all about hatred and xenophobia. With the aftermath of Katrina we learned that what was most important to Republicans was apportioning blame. What we have learned since is that what is most important is identifying the constructed Other and then blaming them.

For purposes of conservative rhetoric, the constructed Other is anything other than a white conservative Christian. This makes target acquisition easy: anyone can be a target, from liberals (Ann Coulter) to progressives (Glenn Beck) to feminists and pagans (Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell) to gays and lesbians (too many to count) to atheists (George H.W. Bush and many others), to immigrants (too many to count), to Muslims (Sharron Angle, Judson Phillips and others), to people who ask questions (Sarah Palin, Joe Miller). All these groups are somehow responsible for destroying the America these conservatives claim once existed and that they want back.

Never mind for a moment that this America never existed. Give it time. They will soon have school books reflecting an ideologically approved revision of history. What is important is that everyone is the enemy, everyone is a potential witch. And it is not only individuals, not even ordinary people like you and me (Lauren Valle, Tony Hopfinger). It is politicians (Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, Keith Ellison, Barack Obama); it is non-profit organizations (ACORN); it is NPR, which had the courage to take a stand against the hate-mongering and xenophobia; It is the government of the United States; it is the Constitution itself.

We have all been identified as the enemy. We have all of us, because we fail to support the conservative vision of an America that never existed, who have been accused of treason and labeled traitors. But you can’t be guilty of treason against something which does not exist.

Sometimes, as in the case of McCance, the guilty party recognizes he went too far. More often than not, when they are called out, they act like they never said it (Bachman, Angle); they are being persecuted unfairly (Palin, Angle, Bachman, O’Donnell, et al) and that they are the victims, just as it is the bullies in school who are the real victims, not the kids they force to commit suicide. You won’t see any of these people apologizing or recognizing consequences.

Others, like McCance, do, however sincere the apology may or may not be. For example there is Wisconsin GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who in a recent radio interview said that gay marriage is to be compared to marrying clocks and dogs.

She has since apologized, saying,

“My comments were meant to relay my concern with redefining marriage. I never intended to sound insensitive, and have the utmost respect for all people. I apologize for my poor choice of words.”

On the other hand, there is Tony Perkins, who says that gay teens commit suicide because they know they are abnormal (and your bigoted words would have nothing to do with them coming to believe that, would it, Tony?).

And there is Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas who has somehow come to the belief (remember, he’s from Texas) that that Republicans “can’t compromise on principle.” What principles are Gohmert speaking of, you ask?

Right Wing Watch reports that,

Gohmert, who recently said that God has ordained Christians to run the country, sounded a similar theme on today’s call. He said God gives the sword to government to punish evil, and urged “true Romans 13-believing Christians” to understand that America’s founders set things up so that the people are the government. “We are given the sword in this country.” He told them that God had blessed American Christians and that they’re expected to use the sword of government and hire (elect) servants (public officials) “to do what we tell them.”

The politics of hate are all around us, fueled by right-wing religious fanatics, our own Taliban, and sad to say, it is us, far less often them, who will reap the consequences of what they have sown. But we too bare responsibility when we go to the polls on November 2. If you don’t want to be a victim, don’t be. Don’t put these people in power. Don’t worry about God doing the right thing for America. YOU do the right thing for America.

15 responses so far

The GOP’s Unconstitutional Remedies

The GOP Wants You!

I think Most Americans have a basic understanding of how our political system is structured and how it works. People run for office for one political party or another, one is elected and the other(s) lose. This is a simple, easy to understand system; it has been in place in this country for better than two centuries and it has worked more or less, for that entire time. I say “more or less” because we cannot forget the Civil War, when one segment of the country – the slave-owning South – did not like how things were going (i.e. the demise of slavery) and decided they didn’t want to play anymore with the other states. They picked up their toys and went home. They called their new country the “Confederate States of America.”

Our president at the time, Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) said, “I don’t think so” and the two sides fought. Six hundred thousand dead Americans later, the South lost. The slaves were freed. The Constitution was updated to reflect this fact. That seemed to have settled the issue. Let the record reflect, Lincoln essentially said, that we are one country and that those men did not die in vain:

It is time to reflect on the meaning of the Constitution, and upon Lincoln’s words. Every state has ratified the Constitution. The Constitution says, and we have agreed, that we are one nation, not a confederation of independent nations as under the Articles of Confederation.  The Civil War bloodily drove this point home: that we are all in this together, one nation undivided, and that we don’t simply up and quit when things don’t go our way. We don’t get to take our toys home. No, we work to change them democratically, through the Constitution. When necessary, we even make amendments to the Constitution, as the Founding Fathers did when they incorporated the Bill of Rights (actually ten amendments) into that document (1791); as the Lincoln-sponsored Thirteenth Amendment (1865) freed the slaves and the Nineteenth (1920) gave women the right to vote.

Amendments are Constitutional remedies; Secession and armed rebellion are not. They are treason.

Increasingly, right wing politicians and pundits have advocated violent opposition to things they don’t like (i.e. liberal governance). New York Times columnist Frank Rich drew a clear and undeniable connection between FOX News’ Glenn Beck and right-wing extremist Byron Williams. These right-wing demagogues have increasingly and chillingly advocated un-Constitutional remedies if things don’t go their way in the upcoming midterm elections.

The lesson of the Civil War seems to be lost on these men and women. Let’s look at a few examples:

We have all the Tenther talk about “states rights,” a conversation that leads quickly to talk about secession, including Texas governor Rick Perry, who said,

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Another governor, Sarah Palin of Alaska, had ties (through her husband) to Alaska-first secessionists. There is Palin’s infamous March 2010 Tweet,

Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.

There is a congressional candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who blithely spoke of “Second Amendment remedies” in case of defeat. In an interview with conservative talk-show host Bill Manders, she said,

Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…

Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

We can now add to the list Stephen Broden, a Texas pastor running for Congress, who says that,

“We have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

The problem is that the Framers didn’t say that. Revolution is not in any amendment; it is not in the Constitution. Yet Broden insists that if a violent uprising “is not the first option,” it is still “on the table.”

No, it’s not. It cannot be.

This treason narrative is all a part – and a result – of the larger Republican “myth of usurpation,” that since their ’08 defeat in the national elections the GOP is a “government in exile” and that President Obama is a “Kenyan Muslim” usurper.

Republicans have somehow been able to convince themselves that their country has been taken away from them and that they want it back. Never mind that it is our country – ours collectively – and that the country they seem to want to “take back” never existed outside of their imaginations. Two centuries of sometimes diametrically opposed forces working together, through contention and compromise and quid pro quo, have brought about this nation. The American Revolution ended British rule; the Constitution created the United States of America, and that creation did not all happen at once. It was a process; the United States is the result of political compromise and evolution, not violent overthrow.

Compromise, the very thing right-wing politics, married to Old Testament standards of religious purity, refuse to do.

Broden, like the other wannabe Che Guevara’s on the right, seems convinced that he has every legal right to overthrow a legally and constitutionally elected government if he doesn’t like it:

“If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary.”

I would invite Pastor Broden to point to the relevant article in the Constitution to justify that claim.

Broden seems – belatedly – to have realized he went too far, and has backed off a bit in his statements since the incident, but these incidents mark a disturbing trend in right-wing politics.

We can add military personnel to this list of politicians. There is Army Lt. Col. Terry Lakin who refuses to deploy overseas because he won’t accept President Obama as his legitimate commander in chief. And Lakin was not the first. Last year, an Army Reserve major first volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, then, according to MSNBC, “filed suit to keep from being deployed, arguing that Obama was not a natural-born citizen.”

Now we have Stealth bomber pilot Major Brian “Jethro” Neal, who, Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action reports, says

“I’m going to have to separate myself from the service of this nation if it’s required in order to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not going to disregard my responsibilities. But if there ever comes a time when there is a priority to be made, a decision to be made, it must always rest in the work of the Lord and the Lord’s army. Because that commission is greater than the one I received from the United States Air Force Academy.”

Bruce Wilson reminds us that the oath sworn by Neal as a member of the U.S. armed forces, promises that he would,

“support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

As Wilson points out,

“Neal’s statement seemed imply that his “commission” in the “Lord’s army” superseded his commission, as an Air Force officer, to defend the Constitution and obey the President and the chain of command. As an elected official, Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sharron Angle has sworn similar oaths, to defend the American Constitution and, by extension, American Democracy. Like Neal, Angle has made statements that suggest she is less than fully committed to Constitutional democracy.”

It seems that not only do Republican candidates show little awareness of the Constitution and what is in it, but they do not think it applies if it does not give them the results they want. President Bush treated our founding document like a list of suggestions he could ignore at will, and that seems to be the continuing trend on the right. But there are constitutional remedies to the Constitution. It is called democracy. Republicans ought to consider trying it. It has worked for this country for a couple of centuries. And those that don’t wish to play along? We have a remedy for them as well: it’s called federal prison.

10 responses so far

Fox Claims Union Members Are Being Bused in At Gunpoint for Stewart/Colbert Rally

Oct 27 2010 Published by under Featured News

The Fox News paranoia over Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity reached Tom Ridge terror alert level red today, as Monica Crowley claimed on Fox Business that, “There are a lot of union members who are actually being bused in at gunpoint by their union leadership.”

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

On Fox Business’ Varney and Company, Monica Crowley did her best to discredit the Stewart/Colbert rally by claiming that union members were being bused in at gunpoint to the rally. She said, “Well, but there are a lot of union members who are actually being bused in at gunpoint by their union leadership.” When Varney countered not at gunpoint, Crowley said, “In some cases yes, at gunpoint.”

Later she tied the Stewart/Colbert rally to Obama’s plot to get young people to vote on Election Day, “Obama has been targeting one group over and over again over the last two months, and that’s the kids. That’s the college students. He’s been all over campuses. He’s had these speeches broadcast nationwide to college campuses. He is targeting the kids, because the kids along with minority groups, African-Americans, Latinos last time were the core constituencies that came out for him last time.”

Host Stuart Varney later tried to correct Crowley that nobody was being bused in at gunpoint, and she took the opportunity to drive the point home one more time by saying, “But we are talking about some unions here, Stuart.” After Varney said again that it was symbolic, Crowley said, “Ok, I’ll concede the point.” This is the typical Fox News model. Crowley spent almost two minutes discrediting the rally and spreading fear about unions, and five seconds at the very end of the segment admitting that it is not true. What messages do think stuck with viewers? People are being forced to attend the Stewart/Colbert rally, and that the rally is designed to help Obama.

After former Fox News employee Major Garrett admitted that the business model of Fox News is based on keeping America divided, it is no surprise that the Fox operation is pushing back so hard at an event that is designed to reject the polarizing extremism that Fox News preaches. In the long term, if Stewart and Colbert have a half a million people attend the rally, and the seed of moderation gets planted, Fox News might find their style of “reporting” rejected.

The media keeps missing the point of this rally. The point is not political. Contrary to what Fox says, this is not an event to help Democrats. The message behind the Rally to Restore Sanity is social. Stewart’s is advocating for the return of civil moderate behavior to our national discourse. Mainstream media is missing the point that much of message of this rally is directed at them. By trying to fit the event into a constructed political narrative, they are reinforcing Jon Stewart’s point about their inability to cover any issue without polarizing it.

No one is getting bused in on Saturday at gunpoint. No one on stage is going to be telling the audience that God is speaking to them, or urging them to take their country back. This event is News Corp’s worst nightmare come to life. Hundreds of thousands of people are gathering in at the historic National Mall to reject the very environment that has allowed Fox News and other media outlets to prosper. Often comedy delivers the most penetrating social commentary. Fox News my demonize Jon Stewart, and distort the purpose of the rally, but they can’t dilute the message that America is suffering from a severe case of extremist fatigue.

55 responses so far

Major Garrett Admits that Fox News Wants to Keep America Divided

Oct 25 2010 Published by under Featured News

Former Fox Newser Major Garrett was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe talking about NPR’s firing of Juan Williams when he said something interesting, “For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we’re different.” Keeping America polarized and divided is good for Fox News’ business.

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters

While talking about the firing of Juan Williams by NPR, Garrett said, “Because of that longstanding relationship with Fox, it was becoming increasingly, I think — and Juan and I had had some conversations about this — that NPR was increasingly unhappy with him, because it was getting blowback from some of its listeners about seeing Juan so often on Fox. That speaks to a problem that neither Fox nor NPR can solve, because neither want to solve it, which is the polarization of American media. For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we’re different. We’re dramatically different; you can see how we’re different. And if you like that difference, you better come over here and you better stay here. That is an embedded part of the marketing that surrounded what happens at the news division at Fox that’s been incredibly successful.”

Later he discussed why Fox News gave Juan Williams a big new contract, “I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the day it happened he got a huge contract at Fox, and Fox planted a flag in the ground saying he’s ours, he’s going to stay ours, and if you are outraged, this is where you need to be. That is an embedded part of Roger Ailes’ DNA.” Keeping America divided through media polarization is FNC’s brand strategy.

According to analysis of BrandIndex data done by Ad Age, Fox News Channel is the top brand among Republicans. Not surprisingly, FNC does not make the Democratic top ten list. Google is tops for Democrats. Some of you may be saying to yourselves wait a minute. Major Garrett was talking about media polarization, not political division. It is a chicken and egg argument whether media polarization fuels political polarization, or political polarization is responsible for media polarization. What is clear is that Fox News is the delivery mechanism for polarization.

In 1996 Fox News was launched during the early stages of America’s great political polarization, which has since deepened into a political ice age. Fox News is the love child of cable news and political polarization. This child has demonstrated an amazing ability to make money for its parents, which is why media polarization is all the rage now. The deadly side effect from all the media polarization in our environment is reinforcing and deepening of political polarization. This is a good thing for Fox News as they need to keep the country divided in order to keep those profits rolling in.

When Barack Obama talks about unifying America, he is threatening the very business model that Fox News is based on. Polarization and division are the heartbeat and lifeblood of Fox News. If America ever became more politically unified, FNC would go out of business. A suspicious and divided nation is good for FNC’s bottom line. Fox News does push the Republican agenda, and they do try to divide the nation, because that is how they make money. It’s not just about ideology and politics at Fox News. It’s also about profits, and when polarization stops being profitable, Fox News will cease to exist.

63 responses so far

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