Nel's New Day

January 2, 2020

To Chuck Todd: Don’t ‘Leave It There’

For over five years, Chris Todd, moderator of Meet the Press, has spread misinformation on the once-respected Sunday MSNBC news show, first about 2016 elections and then after the inauguration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) as Todd failed to push against Kellyanne Conway’s “alternate facts.” Since then, he has gulped down gob swallop and pushed it off on the public, much like Fox network does. Perhaps he has had an epiphany: in a Rollling Stone interview, Todd admitted he’s a failure at his job, and career, by confessing he was “just so absurdly naive” about how far Republican officials would go to spread DDT’s and Vladimir Putin’s lies and disinformation. Seemingly surprised, Todd said:

“[DDT’s] entire life has been spent using misinformation. His entire life. I’ve spent years studying him now on trying to figure out how did this guy even learn politics? Where did he learn? And the more you learn, you realize he learned at the feet of a master of deception in Roy Cohn. So I mean, look, if people want to read my answer to your question, ‘Boy, that Chuck Todd was hopelessly naive.’ Yeah, it looks pretty naive. I think we all made the mistake of not following Toni Morrison’s advice, which is when people tell you who they are, believe them.”

[The “advice” actually came from Maya Angelou.]

As an example of his “naiveté,” Todd said he was “genuinely shocked” when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lied about Ukraine interfering with the 2016 election, the third senator to use Todd’s Sunday program to deliver Putin’s propaganda. On Meet the Press, truth isn’t truth,” a statement Todd permitted DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani to claim without follow-up. NYU media professor described Todd’s acceptance of lies as “strategic blindness”:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Todd’s annual salary for ratings from disinformation is $750,000. In a coverup for buying into GOP propaganda, Todd claimed confusion about the motivations of GOP office holders spreading easily disproved lies:

“I don’t get why so many people are comfortable uttering stuff that they may know will look ridiculous in three or four years.”

Yet Todd has permitted Republicans to pass along the “ridiculous” stuff. Jay Rosen also wrote:

“Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of ‘alternative facts’ on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd. Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.”

Another cover up was Todd’s attempt to change the Rolling Stone’s term “disinformation” to “misinformation,” pretending that U.S. senators are poorly informed instead of deliberately misleading the public through using Russian “disinformation.” Possibly to redeem his shredded reputation, Todd used “misinformation” as the theme for his year-end program. Ignoring the smear tactics of Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt for Communists and any other Republicans, Todd relied on two Democratic presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton, to show that the lying isn’t new. His narrative twice used Clinton’s statement “it depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” to Rudy Giuliani’s saying, “Truth isn’t truth.” He also equated the GOP consistent lying, especially using Russian talking points, to a group of Democrats mistakenly using false evidence about Russian Twitter bots to elect Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race.

Meet the Press supposedly works for a balance between the two major political parties, but under Chuck Todd it became a sounding board for the lies of the far right. When he started this gig, Todd said he couldn’t ask hard questions because guests might not come on the show. His posture was far different from ethical hosts preceding him.

In 2014, soon after he became Meet the Press host, Todd supported the campaign for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during a segment on Morning Joe. In commenting on the refusal of Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell’s Democratic opponent, to answer questions about whether she voted for President Obama, Todd sneered:

“And Kentuckians expect her to cast a tough vote on anything? Is she ever gonna answer a tough question on anything? You wanna be a U.S. senator? If you can’t find a way to stand behind your party’s president … you can disagree with him but you can’t answer a basic question and you come across looking that ridiculous? I think she disqualified herself.”

McConnell used Todd and the word “disqualified” in a campaign video although Todd never specifically explained how Grimes “disqualified herself.” And Todd showed how Republicans should support DDT at any cost to the United States.

Before the same election when he was hosting Meet the Press, Todd praised Iowa’s GOP Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, for refusing to answer questions from any local newspaper boards and for her extreme position on “personhood.” Todd claimed the amendment would protect “unborn human beings.”

Earlier, Todd said that it’s not the media’s responsibility to correct lies, for example about the Affordable Care Act. Todd says that President Obama should have better messaging; on his program, Todd permitted then House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) deliver his “messaging” by accepting Boehner’s lies about the ACA. Todd accepted Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) lies about taxes and couldn’t understand how funding for infrastructure can save people’s lives. Todd also thought that Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) stunt with a snowball as proof against climate change was fun. 

Asked why 62 percent of his guests were white men, Todd said that it was because “you want to put the best, smartest people on.” After a white man killed nine black people in the Charleston (SC) church, Todd’s segment about convicted murderers showed only imprisoned black men. His book, The Stranger, blamed President Obama for income inequality, instability in the Middle East, and partisanship but ignored McConnell’s vow to block everything that Barack Obama did.

While Todd’s wife campaigned for presidential candidate Jim Webb in 2016, Todd asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about the “trustworthiness” of Webb’s opponent Hillary Clinton and claimed that “there’s something just not quite right” about her campaign. In a hatchet job on candidate Sanders, Todd called him “pro-NRA” before saying that the U.S. had enough gun safety laws. Yet Todd let DDT waffle about his creating a controversy about whether Barack Obama was born in the United States. The list goes on about Todd’s agist, bigoted, racist complicity with far-right conspiracists and conspiracy theories.

Todd has not only been “naïve” while on Meet the Press; he was NBC’s political director for the previous seven years with influence over all coverage and supposedly the in-house expert on politics. Four years before DDT was elected, moderately conservatives Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein wrote:

“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

The first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics is “Seek Truth and Report It.” Todd fails on both these points. Todd not only allows smear campaigns against Democrats on his program but also joins in to the attacks. Now Todd says that he was hornswoggled by learning that his GOP guests lie, but where will he go from here? Back to playing dumb to disinformation? Back to allowing lies to keep his salary?  

Republican Jennifer Rubin wrote about “one party operating with an objective that is antagonistic toward any and all facts unfavorable to its leader and the other trying, however imperfectly, to adhere to the old, normal rules of politics in which spin and self-puffery are permissible but out-and-out lies (especially more than 15,000 of them) are not.” Her solutions:

Screen guests and panelists about their disinformation: This solution would result in “howls” because most Republicans couldn’t get on the air, “not of media bias but of a party determined to sublimate truth to power,” with explanations for not allowing Republicans to speak on specific topics is easier in print such as  “Cruz lied, again insisting Ukraine. …”

Stop interviews when guests insist on lying: The host could call a halt and ask guests to correct the record before ending the interviews if guests refuse and explain that the program doesn’t provide “a platform for misinformation.”

Prerecord interviews: This system permits refusal to air propaganda or fact-check in real time what the guests statements—a simple approach for Sunday “news” shows.

“Avoid equating liars with truth tellers and giving ‘equal time’ to fabrications”: This approach is vital with “one party … an echo chamber for Russian propaganda.”

The first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics is “Seek Truth and Report It.” As “news program” host, Todd not only promotes smear campaigns but contributes to them. His standard response to GOP lies is “We’ll have to leave it there.” No, you don’t!

[Note: Three days from now, Todd will likely listen to Republicans praising DDT for starting World War III in the Middle East.]

August 7, 2018

Q-Anon: Prank or Created by the Right-wing

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:45 PM
Tags: , , ,

Anyone watching clips of the Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) campaign rally in Florida last week may have seen the highly visible presence of “Q” cutouts of the U.S. flag on signs, wearing apparel, etc. In less than one week, the new conspiracy group became famous for its wacky—and dangerous—ideas. Supposedly created by an anonymous online persona claiming to be a government insider to expose the “deep state,” Q-Anon has been adopted by DDT supporters who look upon him as a savior from evil forces.

A popular belief is that the person responsible for Q is someone with the Q security clearance required for high-level government information. The blog posts on 4chan began last fall, but DDT’s recent rallies have given traction among the media to something that believers hope is a growing movement. Q seems to have no exact message, but it purports that after all other presidents have conspired with evil groups, including pedophile rings, the military persuaded DDT to campaign for president to stop this involvement. According to Q-Anon, DDT pretends to collude with Russia so that he can hire Robert Mueller and work with him to bring down the evil ones such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and George Soros. The brave supporters of DDT will stop the evildoing insiders of the U.S. government by publishing the “truth.”

Q-Anon followers search for mystical pieces of a puzzle for their proof, for example the lights turning off at a White House meeting when DDT said he had “full faith” in the U.S. intelligence agencies. (Chief of Staff John Kelly had accidentally flipped the switch.) DDT supporters Roseanne Barr and former baseball player Curt Schilling post Q-Anon links on their social media.

Thus far, Q-Anon hasn’t caused the same kind of violence like Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building that killed at least 168 people. Yet the Pizzagate conspiracy myth, still perpetuated by Q-Anon, led a believer to shoot up a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. with an AR-15 in the mistaken belief that Hillary Clinton ran a child trafficking ring out of the back of the place. The conspiracy theory came from the use of “pizza” in John Podesta’s hacked emails that were released before the presidential election. Conspiracy theorists manufactured the idea that the word pizza was code for pedophilia.

Only two known Q-Anon members have thus far been arrested. In June, an Arizona man used an armored vehicle to block a highway near Hoover Dam with the demand, “Release the OIG report.” That government report about Hillary Clinton and the FBI had already been released, but conspiracy theorists maintain that the “deep state” is hiding another report, far more damning. Another Arizona man occupied a cement plant in Tucson for nine days because he believed it was connected to an international child sex-trafficking ring.

DDT has been quiet about Q-Anon, but he has repeatedly propagated such conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s “missing” birth certificate and Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s “mysterious” death. During his campaign, DDT often repeated the false story that Gen. John Pershing maintained control in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century when he “took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood” and shot 49 Muslim rebels. DDT also falsely maintained that Ted Cruz’s father “was with Lee Harvey Oswald” before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and that he “watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the World Trade Center collapsed. Bitter because California heavily voted for Clinton, DDT claimed that over three million undocumented immigrants voted for her and even set up a failed task force to prove his theory.

Conservatives try to erase tragedies that they think might benefit progressive causes by accusing people of being paid actors. Alex Jones made this tactic popular after the shooting at Sandy Hook that killed over a score of small children, and others opposed to gun safety laws used the same false accusation against high school activists after the mass shooting in Parkland (FL). In June, DDT falsely repeated Ann Coulter’s claim that asylum-seekers are child actors coached to say “passwords” to enter the U.S.  He dropped this claim after mass protests against his illegally separating migrant children from adults in their families.

Conspiracy theories receive wide fringe media attention by people like Alex Jones who has now been banned on several outlets because of his hate speech. By legitimizing these conspiracy theories and paranoid peddlers like Jones, DDT gives credibility to Q-Anon. Some of these conspiracy theories:

  • J. Pierpont Morgan sank the Titanic to assassinate Jacob Astor, Isidor Straus, and Benjamin Guggenheim, his supposed rival millionaires. According to the plot, Morgan ensured that the ship had the wrong signal flares and made the decks electromagnetically sealed to trap passengers because he owned the company that built and operated the ship.
  • The Jewish Rothschild dynasty funds an evil global plot through its banking houses in Europe during the 1800s. They plotted to kill Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, bankrolled Adolf Hitler, founded Israel, funded ISIS, and now disturbs with the weather.
  • Violent criminal John McCain (Arizona’s seriously ill GOP senator) must wear an ankle bracelet and be tracked at all times.
  • Tom Hanks has a harem of child sex slaves.
  • The DNC arranged the murder of its employee Seth Rich. Or former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz ordered the MS-13 gang to kill Seth Rich. (Despite the pain that he gave Rich’s family, Sean Hannity pushed the murder conspiracy theory for months until a lawsuit and Fox made him stop.)
  • The CIA put North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in power.
  • John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette faked their own plane crash deaths in 1999 to work undercover with DDT. (According to Q-Anon, JFK Jr. may be Q. Some claim that the Q on the memorial site above is proof.)
  • And many more!

After Q-Anon gained massive media attention, however, the information began to fracture the movement. DDT supporters don’t want to believe that he is working with Mueller so they call Q-Anon “BS” or “frivolous nonsense.” Former Q-Anon supporters who had pushed conspiracy theories are backing away, and 4chan and 8chan suffer from trolling and mocking while believers blame the left. Hacktivist group Anonymous has promised to “wreck” Q-Anon because of its threat of violence. Q-Anon was created for younger people, and the baby boomer supporters have caused an inter-generational disagreement.

Some people claim that Q-Anon is actually a prank by progressives or anarchists to make the far-right look crazy. According to Wu Ming Foundation, a progressive activist Italian collective, Q, a book written under the pseudonym Luther Blissett and published in 1999, has a plot similar to Q-Anon’s premise. Authors described it as a manifesto for activists looking to disrupt society, “an ‘operations manual’ for cultural disruption.” Italian leftists, anarchists, and troublemakers used the name Blissett in the 1990s to stage pranks. The name as been changed to Wu Ming, or No Name.

Conspiracy theories are an attempt to create order out of chaos, and they continue because people want to believe them. Q-Anon followers like the idea that someone is in charge and that DDT is completely in control and actually doing everything right. That belief protects them from feeling like fools. Conspiracists want to believe that horrible things cannot happen and that they alone are special because only they know the truth. Trying to debunk theories only cements them into believers’ minds because these attempts become more conspiracy theories.

I just hope that hacktivist Anonymous succeeds!

September 3, 2016

Media Paints False Picture of Clinton

Hillary Clinton has been the subject of a huge right-wing conspiracy for a quarter century, but it’s her fault. That’s the conclusion of the conservative Washington Post. It’s all because she is secretive, and WaPo claims it started with Clinton’s failed Arkansas real estate investment. Aides blamed President Bill Clinton’s refusal to be transparent about Whitewater on Hillary. Then came a series of other “gates” as the GOP tried to destroy both Hillary and Bill Clinton. Since then, billions of dollars have been spent in the Clinton conspiracy/scandal theories.

Over 40 anti-Hillary books are available just on, including three of the top ten best sellers on the NYT hardcover nonfiction list. Passionate opposition to Clinton finds ulterior motives in every Clinton action. No one has any facts to hate her, but hate her many people do. They just have that “feeling” that she’s untrustworthy.

The myth of Clinton’s low likability ratings comes from both sides of the media that constantly ask why she is not likability. Her favorable rating is actually 41 percent—not as good as President Obama’s current 52 percent but far better than Trump’s 34 percent, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 33 percent, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 16 percent, and the GOP’s overall 34 percent. Yet no asks about the lack of GOP leaders’ favorability.

The media is so anti-Clinton that it refuses to point out that she had a 69-percent favorability when she left her job as Secretary of State, making her the most popular in this position, and topped Gallup’s list of America’s “Most Admired Woman” for the last 14 years in a row and 20 times total. As Sady Doyle pointed out at Quartz, women who “lean in” are described as “aggressive,” “pushy,” and “bitchy.” Women aren’t supposed to ask for promotions. People associate positive leadership attributes with male characteristics and punish women who aim for a male-dominated position—because it makes them unlikable, a characteristic important for women but not men.

Associated Press, long considered conservative, went so far over the edge in partisanship that even other journalists howled in anger. The press agency released a story claiming that “half of the people Hillary Clinton met with as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation donors.” It covered only 154 meetings in two years amidst thousands of Clinton meetings, however, and skipped every meeting with a “government official.” The meetings also resulted in no problematic favors. Most of the stories about the Clinton Foundation eliminate the fact that the Clinton Foundation helps provide medication for more than half of all adults and 75 percent of children impacted by HIV/AIDS worldwide. Yet the GOP is using the AP article as an excuse to investigate Clinton.

Extensive investigations found no proof that there was anything criminal in her emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation—the only foci of incessant lambasting. Media concentrating on the foundation have produced lists of people who both donated to the foundation and were able to see Clinton but no favors that were given any of these people.

RNC chair Reince Priebus asserts that he “knows” that Clinton gave away international secrets in her emails, and people believe him despite his total lack of any proof after multiple investigations. The only reason that the FBI claimed Clinton’s server was “probably” hacked is that servers are usually hacked—a situation occurring with many government servers including the one at the State Department.

The media and GOP treat Clinton in a very special way, for example demanding emails only from her and no one else. Dana Perino, who ranted about Hillary Clinton’s emails, was White House press secretary defending over five million lost emails from the George W.Bush administration in 2007 during a time of multiple scandals include deliberately compromised classified information.

hillary-clinton-laughingOne huge disappointment for Republicans is the FBI release of the interview notes with Clinton about her emails. The report showed that she didn’t delete emails, she didn’t tell her staff to delete emails, and she trusted her legal team to do what the FBI wanted–in short, she told the truth about the emails. It’s unlikely, however, that the media will report this information without twisting it into something negative about Clinton.

Although non-profit organizations are not required to release donors, the Clinton Foundation started making this information public eight years ago when Hillary Clinton ran for president the first time. The George W. Bush Foundation raised $361.8 million between 2010 and 2013  but has no disclosure for donors. The foundation for George H.W. Bush makes less money but still doesn’t release its donors. It was also taking in money during H.W. Bush’s administration, and W. Bush’s foundation was operating while brother Jeb was running for president.

If Republicans were able to find anything wrong with what Clinton had done, they wouldn’t come up with manufactured falsehoods about Clinton’s health or her supposed involvement in the 1993 tragic death of a close friend, Vincent Foster. Each time that one conspiracy fails, the GOP creates another one.

The GOP history of scandal—Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, hostile Senate hearings of Supreme Court nominees Robert H. Bork and Clarence Thomas, etc.—led to more and more resentment from the right, that continued to rapidly move farther right. Then Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) forced out House Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX) on ethics charges in 1990. The House sank deeper into the morass of corruption as Dennis Hastert, now revealed as a serial child abuser, became Speaker in 1999 because of Rep. Robert L. Livingston’s (R-LA) extramarital affairs following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

A conservative organization founded in 1994, Judicial Watch, is one of the most dogged groups to smear the Clintons. Now it has company from Julian Assange at WikiLeaks who is determined to destroy Clinton. Started as a way to make politics more transparent, Assange is using information from Russian hackers to influence the U.S. election as well as endangering people’s lives through providing health and sexual orientation information.

In trying to destroy Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary” and “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” He projects his own corrupt nature onto her but fails to produce any proof of wrong-doing on Clinton’s part. Yet the repetition of these phrases cements them into the susceptible brains of those who desperately want to believe anything negative about Clinton. She also gets blamed for her husband’s actions.

The conspiracy theories were exacerbated by the GOP’s inability to take down President Bill Clinton; the pressure increased after he won a second term and accelerated when Hillary Clinton went into politics herself. When the Clintons accused right-wing organizations of spreading unverified stories that eventually turned up on the mainstream media, conservatives called them paranoid. In a backlash to the conspiracy theory, David Brock started Media Matters in 2004. Although conservatives had far more resources, other media such as Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo were started. And now WaPo agrees that there has been a long-term record of conspiracies against the Clintons.

Imagine a media world that ignores all these conspiracy theories in the same way that the mainstream media skips over the lawsuits against Trump for rape, corruption, racism, etc. Imagine, too, if the media published positive information about Clinton’s accomplishments during the past half century. While the media glows about Trump’s wonderful children—who were reared by their mothers and nannies—it ignores Hillary Clinton’s success as a mother and daughter. While tearing Clinton down, the media rarely points out that she tells the truth almost all the time while Trump lies almost all the time.

More special treatment for Clinton: Trump gets millions of dollars for speaking, but people complain only about Hillary Clinton’s speeches although she donates most of the money to others. Corporations and wealthy people give billions of dollars to politicians to buy their positions, but people complain about the Clinton Foundation that doesn’t financially benefit Hillary Clinton. The NRA buys legislators to prevent universal background checks despite overwhelming support for this program by gun owners and others, but only Hillary Clinton is described as corrupt despite no evidence of inappropriate favors. Trump has financial interests throughout the world and refuses to provide an information about them while he plans to continue these if he’s elected, but Hillary Clinton must divest herself from the Clinton Foundation. Trump refuses to release his tax returns while Hillary has published three decades of personal tax returns and made those for the Clinton Foundation public, but people maintain that Clinton is hiding something.

Trump convinced the GOP to remove any sanctions against Russia for taking Crimea as a favor to his Russian friends. Yet people claim that Trump is honest, and Clinton is cheating. There’s something wrong with this picture that the media paints.

March 25, 2015

Cruz Delights Comedians

Filed under: Presidential campaign — trp2011 @ 10:36 PM
Tags: ,

The moment that all U.S. comedians have been waiting for: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his presidential candidacy for the 2016 election. We knew this was his intent, but no one knew when. Now we have 593 days to watch him and the other 19 (at latest count) GOPers jostle for first place.

randCruz kicked off his campaign on Twitter at midnight, as Larry Wilmore said, the time for “booty calls.” He followed it up on Monday with a speech to a group of Liberty University students, some of them Rand Paul supporters, who had to pay $10 if they didn’t show up. The conservative Christian school was founded by Jerry Falwell, well-known for blaming the 9/11 tragedy on people in the United States. The same day Cruz unveiled his first 30-second video ad, jam-packed stock images of churches, baseball games, cornfields, etc.—probably to appeal to Iowans.

Cruz is famous only for convincing his GOP colleagues to force crises through obstructionist tactics and the demand that Democrats resolve the problems. His campaign website fails to point out that the only Cruz accomplishment since he joined the Senate two years ago was to shut down the government in October 2013. He hoped to find a sympathetic audience on the Fox network, but Megyn Kelly asked him:

“On your time in the Senate — this is what some of your critics point to — they say, yes you led the fight on certain issues, but what have you actually accomplished?”

Although he has seen only three of his 225 bills pass into law, he claimed that he had stopped “bad things from happening.” Kelly explained Cruz’ major problem, “But when you’re the president, you have to bring together coalitions to get things through. You can’t just be somebody who stops things. You have to be somebody who gets things through.”

His actions have caused Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), not always rational himself, to describe Cruz as a “wacko bird” after Cruz participated in a filibuster of incoming CIA Director John O. Brennan over drone policy.


Still behaving like the “wacko bird,” Cruz now claims to be a modern-day Galileo because people who think that the climate is warming are “flat-Earthers.” This follows an earlier claim that “the satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years.” His simplistic approach using skewed perceptions may be convincing to some people who don’t understand the complexity of scientific evidence and the effect of ocean cycles on average global temperatures. His use of “global cooling” in the 1970s uses the same failures. On last Sunday’s Meet the Press, California Gov. Jerry Brown commented on Cruz’ climate denial:

“[Cruz] betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of existing scientific data, it’s shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”

Cruz’ own party is unhappy about his running for the presidency. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that Cruz “over simplifies, he exaggerates and he basically led the Republican Party over the cliff in the fall of 2013. He has shown no qualifications, no legislation being passed, doesn’t provide leadership and he has no real experience. So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.” King was joined by other massive put-downs on the conservative Morning Joe Show.

detail=email  A major question about Cruz’s candidacy is whether he is technically eligible to be U.S. president. He was born in 1970 in Calgary (Canada), and his birth mother is a U.S. citizen. His father was not at that time. According to the law in 1970, he could be a U.S. citizen only if his mother had been “physically present” in the United States or “one of its outlying possessions” for ten years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of fourteen. Although Cruz was born on December 22, 1970, his birth was not registered until nine days later on December 31, leaving an unexplained time gap. Documents missing at this time are the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which would establish the parents’ intention to register the infant as an U.S. citizen while they were living in Canada, and his mother’s own birth certificate.

The problem could be taken care of in the same way that McCain was declared eligible to run for president. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed at a military base there. On April 30, 2008, the Senate passed the following resolution: “Recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen.” Part of the justification was that he was born “on an American military base.” McCain never released his birth certificate so no one knows if he was born on or off the base. McCain’s situation, however, is a non-issue because, as with other people questioned about their eligibility such as Barry Goldwater and George Romney, because he was not elected president. Cruz could try to get a resolution for himself from the Senate—or go to the Supreme Court if his status is legally questioned.

Monday, Cruz announced during his speech that he was going to repeal “Obamacare.” Tuesday, he said that he would be going to the federal exchange to sign up for health care. He lost his healthcare after his wife took an unpaid leave of absence. Basically, Cruz will take advantage of a federal law that has lowered the cost of insurance premiums for all while doing everything he can to keep everyone from having this advantage.

Ted Cruz suffers from the same computer problems as other GOP candidates: is a website stating “SUPPORT PRESIDENT  OBAMA” and “IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!” automatically redirects users to, the federal health insurance exchange. Cruz’ own home page lacked Secure Sockets Layer protections to safeguard sensitive data, fooling users into volunteering this information on an imposter site. Even the protected pages listed as an official alternative web address for Cruz’s campaign. During his coming-out speech at Liberty, students used cellphones to trash Cruz on the anonymous gossip app Yik Yak.

His “wacko statements” get so much attention that many people ignore Cruz’s determination to get the United States into war around the world. He has called for at least six invasions, air strikes, or covert coups d’etat including overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, a supporter of the working class opposing a return of power to the elite. His response to ISIL in Iraq is to “bomb them back to the stone age” and to annihilate them within a couple of months. When Gen. Dempsey disagreed with him, Cruz said that Dempsey doesn’t know what he is talking about. Another way to fight ISIL, according to Cruz, is closing the border with Mexico to stop infiltration. Cruz wants war with Russia by arming Ukrainian fighters, and he proposes stopping all U.S. aid to the Palestine Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

One of Cruz’s slogans is “Time for Truth.” Yet he usually lies. Out of 46 statements fact-checked by Politifact, Cruz had one true statement: “We have a federal government that thinks they have the authority to regulate our toilet seats.” He accused the Democrats of being a threat to the Catholic Church. He had no evidence for his claim that ISIS is “nailing Christians to trees.” When two Democrats joined the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House, Cruz called this a “strong bipartisan majority.” A blatant Cruz lie was that “the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws, almost without exception … have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates.” He promises to eliminate the IRS if he is elected and has claimed that they have 110,000 agents. The  IRS doesn’t even have that many employees, and it has only 14,000 agents.

Cruz spreads conspiracy theories, for example the conservative falsehood that George Soros led a global conspiracy to abolish the game of golf. The candidate also claimed that Communists infiltrated Harvard Law School and that Islamic law threatens the United States. According to Cruz, President Obama wanted immigration reform to fail so that he could campaign on it in 2016. Cruz accused George W.Bush of leading an assault on Texas’ “sovereignty” afer Bush supported a treaty obligation by objecting to the execution of a Mexican national denied help from his consul.

Can Cruz win? Right now he has a four-percent rating Republicans, two points below “no one” and tied with “someone else.” Yet he has strong support from the Tea Party that wants someone who never compromises and never accepts concessions while always insisting on confrontation and viewing all critics as enemies. Cruz glories in opposition from the Republican party and rallies support from the far right-wingers who think that the GOP compromises too much, and he won the Senate over better-financed candidates with Texas GOP establishment support.

For a comedian’s take on Ted Cruz, check out Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. 

October 31, 2013

It’s Halloween–Be Afraid

Halloween came early this year with television showing scary movies for at least three weeks, and the Internet showing a fascination for bizarre costumes. The Catholic Church is reminiscing about exorcisms, and evangelicals oppose Halloween because it represents demons.

The basis of Halloween in 21st-century culture is fear, and evangelical Christians don’t need the television movies to be afraid. Leaders use far-fetched stories to foment this fear among the followers as a method of control. In that way, people vote against their own best interests. That’s why we hear about the conspiracy theory of fluoridated drinking water and brainwashing in public schools.

YouTube is a popular place for all sorts of horror tales such as Sharia law taking over the country. That’s why conservative legislators keep trying to pass laws preventing Islamic law in the United States while they pass oppressive Christian laws. Browsing the Internet, however, reveals new—to me—conspiracy theories, for example the “FEMA camps.

Supposedly the Federal Emergency Management Agency is building “concentration camps.” One visual purporting to be a camp in Wyoming is actually a North Korean detention center with changed headers, photo dates, and annotations. Another so-called camp Camp Grayling, a large National Guard training center in Michigan. The Beech Grove Amtrak facility for repairing railcars filmed 15 years ago is another footage that the wingnuts have used to prove these “camps.”

I had also missed the lizard people who are running the world. It appears that 12 million people believe that certain powerful people, such as George W. Bush and the British royals, are actually part of an alien race of shape-shifting lizard-people. That comes straight from onetime BBC reporter David Icke. Princess Diana confirmed this to one of her close friends, but, of course, she is no longer alive to tell us about it.

Most of the extremist conspiracy theories pass through Glenn Beck’s program, who created his version of Agenda 21, the purported plot to collectivize private property through the benign policy of “encouraging sustainability.” Beck expanded articles in his magazine, The Blaze, from early 2012 into a dystopian science fiction novel that exposes “the global scheme that has the potential to wipe out freedoms of all U.S. citizens.” Stanley Kurtz, another extremist, published an article in the National Review claiming that President Obama “intends to abolish” the suburbs and basing his argument on demographic shifts analyzed by Joel Kotkin.

Maybe the most far-fetched story—and that’s hard to do!—is the fear of the Illuminati. The super-secret society surfaced in Bavaria during the 18th century as an off-shoot of the Free Masons. Then, as now, people believe that the Illuminati are working for world domination through its penetration of governments, finance, science, business, and the entertainment industry. John 1 in the Bible discusses the coming of the Antichrist, who many people think is President Obama. Those fearful of the Illuminati have websites with mysterious symbols such as pyramids on paper money, Washington monuments, and other public places with the belief that knowing about these symbols remove their powers.

Far-right extremist objections to organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, G-20 Economic Group, the World Court, NATO, Council on Foreign Relations, World Council of Churches and various multinational corporations may have come from fear of the Illuminati. Ironically, there are far-right religious sects that believe in “dominionism” in their attempt to take over the religions of the world.

Illuminati conspiracy theories combine the best and worst of all others as they feature everything from demons to aliens. Clones, lost prophecies, invisible RFID chips, secret societies—all these appear in Illuminati stories. Your best video might be here, but Mak Jagger has put together more for your fearful delight.

Why do people believe in these conspiracies? Psychologists who explored the question defined a conspiracy theory as “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal” that is “notoriously resistant to falsification … with new layers of conspiracy being added to rationalize each new piece of disconfirming evidence.”

Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy, [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.” People who believe in one conspiracy find these to be “the default explanation for any given event—a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network known as a monological belief system.” Like potato chips, people can eat just one.

The same people who believe in many conspiracy theories also think authorities are fundamentally deceptive. Their distrust is so strong that they prefer alternative theories. The only requirement for believers is that officials disagree with them. As Alex Jones proclaimed in Conspiracy Rising: “No one is safe, do you understand that? Pure evil is running wild everywhere at the highest levels.”

Polling shows an amazing number of voters believe in these conspiracy theories:

  • 28 percent believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda are conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or a New World Order.
  • 13 percent think that President Obama is the Antichrist.
  • 37 percent think global warming is a hoax.
  • 28 percent of voters think Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11.

And these people pick the lawmakers who run our country! Now I’m afraid.

April 26, 2013

The First Nine Constitutional Amendments, An Easy Lesson

Until the rants of the Tea Party started to take over the media, the U.S. Constitution was looked upon as an important part of our heritage that courts used to determine whether laws fit into the overview of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence. Less than five years ago, people like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declared that everything the liberals do is unconstitutional, and three years ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) required that the entire constitution be read at the beginning of the 112th Congressional session so that all the bills would conform with the Constitution.

Representatives tried to read aloud with varying success–only a few glitches such as leaving out the piece blacks being only three-fifths of a person and skipping part of it because a couple of pages got stuck together. That part guaranteed “to every state in this union a republican form of government.”

They also left out the part written by the infallible Founding Fathers about runaway slaves, that if they escaped to a free state, the Constitution required that they not be freed but rather “delivered up” to their owners. Notable, too, was the omission of how the electoral college works, perhaps because the conservatives plan to get rid of it so that they can elect a GOP president.

Now Jon Stewart has brought to life the first nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution through playing clips of Fox pundits on The Daily Show, pontificating about the recent Boston bombing.

As Stewart said, “Anybody can toss away the lesser known amendments. Only a true patriot can set a course straight for the First.” And Bob Beckel, a host on The Five, did exactly that when he asked that the U.S. “cut off Muslim students from coming to the country for some period of time.” That eviscerates the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, religion, and press as well as the right to assemble and petition the government.

Eric Bolling wanted wiretapping in mosques, attacking the Fourth Amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause.

Fox folks were highly incensed about suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being read his Miranda rights, claiming he should be declared an enemy combatant and “intensely interrogated.”

“In the wake of an assault on our freedom and way of life, we have quickly jettisoned the Sixth Amendment–right to a fair and speedy trial–and the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination,” Stewart said. “What’s next?” Stewart left out the violation of the Seventh Amendment that provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law.

Sean Hannity doesn’t “believe” that waterboarding is torture. “There goes the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment,” Stewart continued. “Any others?”

Actually, yes there were. Ann Coulter said, “I want to know about this wife… I don’t care if she knew about this. She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab.”

To Coulter’s impassioned plea, Stewart responded, “And down goes the Ninth Amendment! Down goes the Ninth Amendment! Ann Coulter doesn’t just want a police state. She wants a fashion police state.” (I had to look up the Ninth Amendment: it protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.”

Thus Stewart showed that Fox wants to ignore seven of the first nine constitutional amendments in the treatment of the 19-year-old suspected of setting off pressure cooker bombs at the Boston marathon. It seems that Fox didn’t address the forced quartering of soldiers—but that’s only in peacetime, and the government seems to have declared the United States permanently at war somewhere.

Stewart asked if there were any constitutional right that Fox wants to keep after the Boston bombing.  “Since we’re just throwing amendments away willy-nilly, what if we wanted to track the weapons that any of these America haters bought, or do a background check?” Stewart said.

Visuals juxtaposed the 3,400 deaths from terrorism in the United States during the past 30 years with the almost one million deaths from guns during the same time. That was followed by a montage of clips from Fox, extolling the virtues of bearing arms in any situation and as many as people might want.

“Yes, it turns out there’s only one amendment in our constitution’s pantheon that is exempt from statistical analysis or emotional freak-out-itude, and it is the Second. So god help us if the Muslims ever decide to form a well regulated militia.”


The written word does not do justice to this segment of The Daily Show. You can find the video here.  Send it to everyone you know, and make it go viral!

GohmertStupidity about the Boston bombing is as rampant in Congress as on Fox. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) accused President Obama of being influenced by Muslim Brotherhood members in his administration. On a radio interview yesterday, he said, “This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.”

Gohmert didn’t think this up on his own. Almost a year ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the government, pointing a finger at top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Her false accusations led to Egyptian protests against the Secretary of State when she went there and the need for Abedin to have police protection because of threats against her life.

At that time, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) condemned Bachmann’s statements, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) described her claims as “pretty dangerous.” Even conservative Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) defended Abedin.

Gohmert, who gets his information from extremist right-wing media media such as World Net Daily, sits on the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Meanwhile the conservatives are busy creating conspiracy theories: the government staged the attack to take over the government; the First Lady is hiding a Saudi student who was the real bomber; the Fox cartoon Family Guy predicted the bombing; the marathon organizers knew about the bombing before the race; the suspects’ uncle worked with the CIA; Facebook pages memorializing the blast were created before it happened; the dead suspect was an FBI informant; he’s not actually dead; and photos of the suspects at the scene of the crime were photoshopped.

Now Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) believe that a nationwide shortage of ammunition has resulted from the Obama administration’s stockpiling. To stop this and create more “transparency and accountability,” they introduced the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability Act, AMMO act for short. Finally, a gun control bill from the conservatives!

These two Congressmen probably got their news from fringe websites like Drudge or Alex Jones’s Infowars. Even, known for its crazy stories, described the idea as “based more on panic than fact.” These are the people who keep our country from moving forward.


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