Hanoi Huckabee And Hanoi Hannity

In 1972, actress Jane Fonda, at the height of her youthful popularity, went to North Vietnam, against whom we were still warring, and toured the country for two weeks. While there, she denounced U.S. military policy and did something she later said “was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done.” That something was posing for pictures on an anti-aircraft gun outside of Hanoi. “I will go to my grave regretting that,” she said in 2005, adding,

The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda’s daughter—just a woman—sitting on a enemy aircraft gun, was a betrayal. It was like I was thumbing my nose at the military. And at the country that gave me privilege. It was the largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine. I don’t thumb my nose at this country. I care deeply about American soldiers.

Fonda did not apologize, though, for being photographed with seven American POWs and for making broadcasts for Radio Hanoi:

Our government was lying to us, and men were dying because of it. And I felt that I had to do anything that I could to expose the lies, and help end the war. That was my goal.

Obviously her trip to Hanoi earned her the lasting ire of many veterans, who would refer to her as “Hanoi Jane” forevermore. Many still consider her a traitor and many lies have grown up and multiplied around that trip in 1972, including a vicious lie, still circulating on the dark side of the Internet, that some POWs passed to her notes to take back home that she allegedly turned over to the North Vietnamese, who then supposedly beat to death some of those POWs.

Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam also made her a legend in the conservative movement, if only as a poster child for all that was wrong with liberals and leftists, all that was wrong with radicals who did not necessarily embrace the idea that if America was doing it, it must be right. Many conservatives over the years have used Fonda as an example of someone who portrays their own country as the “enemy,” and who is either unpatriotic or treasonous for doing so.

Now we come to Mike Huckabee. By now you have heard him say the following, uttered this past weekend at a gathering of Obama-hating right-wing extremists called the New Hampshire Freedom Summit:

Freedom of speech in this country, that for which the men grabbed their muskets off the mantel, did never mean that we’re to have fewer voices, but more voices…My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States…

Especially in context, those remarks should offend and outrage any American, whether you like Barack Obama or not. I don’t think that Jane Fonda ever said anything as offensive or outrageous as comparing the United States unfavorably with a despotic shit hole like North Korea.

But before he said those offensive and outrageous things, Huckabee said something that I find even more outrageous. Read the following demagogic commentary the law-and-order-loving Huckabee gave on the dangerous drama going on in Nevada—where a delusional rancher has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal government land for twenty years and who says he doesn’t “recognize [the] United States Government as even existing” and who is essentially leading a group of crazed people with guns who are willing to kill federal authorities trying to enforce the law:

There is something incredibly wrong when a government believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eating is so an egregious affront to the government to the United States that we would literally put a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him over it. [Interrupted by applause.] Here’s what I’d have to ask: Is this government more interested in some cows eating grass in Nevada than they are as to why Brian Terry was murdered with guns that our government provided drug dealers in Mexico? [More applause.] Somebody help me understand that? Is this government more concerned about a few hundred head of cattle grazing on some land than they are as to why four Americans were murdered in Benghazi? And nobody answered the phone at three o’clock in the morning! [More thunderous applause.] The threats and affronts to our liberty today are so incredibly frightening…

Let’s take a moment to reflect on what Mike Huckabee is saying here. Besides his attempt to appeal to the worst elements of the Republican base—those who think Barack Obama and Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton are essentially murderers or complicit in murder—he is essentially saying that the government should ignore a freeloading lawbreaker in Nevada, a freeloading lawbreaker who has become a folk hero on the right, because that lawbreaking rancher’s crimes aren’t worth enforcing the law. When Huckabee made those remarks he knew that right-wing groups, including Americans for Prosperity, had been championing rancher Cliven Bundy’s cause to the point that reactionary militia members from all over the country were on the scene in Nevada with their guns in order to provide an “armed response” to what the Bureau of Land Management was trying to do. Huckabee knew that. And yet he ignored all that and focused on Fast and Furious and Benghazi. I remind you that besides being a former governor, the man is a bleeping Baptist minister, for God’s sake.

Now enter Sean Hannity. After the Bureau of Land Management decided to wisely back down and not get into a shootout with hysterical reactionaries at this time, Hannity offered the Bundy family yet another opportunity to make their case against the federal government’s authority over the land in Nevada, the land that the Bundys had been profiting from by grazing their cattle on it for free (some dare call that welfare). I will provide you with part of the transcript of that disgusting Fox “News” segment, a transcript that appeared on Fox Nation under the headline:

Cliven Bundy on Harry Reid: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Any Hope for Him, He Needs to Be Kicked Out of Office’

HANNITY: This is a “FOX News Alert.” The federal government has caved to public pressure in the battle against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over cattle grazing rights. Now, in just a moment, Cliven, his two sons will join us for their first exclusive interview since the siege ended.

But first, the government surrendered this weekend after tensions escalated in the week-long standoff between Bundy family, supporters, and of course, federal agents. Now, the Bureau of Land Management released the 400 cattle that it seized from Bundy and removed its heavily-armed agents from the ranch.

Get that? The federal government “caved” and “surrendered.” Hannity was siding with the armed resistance. He was siding with the lawbreakers who believe the federal government is their enemy. And it was as if Hannity and Friends were cheering for a different outcome, one with, say, blood and death. Hannity even went so far as to claim that Democrats were involved:

HANNITY: …From my perspective, as somebody that follows politics very, very closely, I think that they — I think the politicians were watching this, Democrats in particular, and that they knew if something bad happened here, and they were the ones ratcheting this up – – I mean, we have rapist and murderers and bank robbers and pedophiles out there, and they’ve 200 agents, you know, surrounding your ranch because your cows are eating grass on land that they don’t even want or need and that you’re arguing isn’t even theirs.

So they realized, I think, at some point, politically, that this was going to backfire on them. So I think this was done for political reasons.

As outrageous as Hannity’s promotion of these right-wing extremists was, as outrageous as his claim that Democrats, presumably in Washington, surrendered to gun-toting lawbreakers in Nevada to avoid bad publicity, there was another outrageous thing that happened on his show. Cliven Bundy, the man at the center of this right-wing sanctioned freeloading and lawbreaking, had the following exchange with the Fox host:

HANNITY: Well, let me ask you, because Harry Reid just spoke earlier tonight and he said that, well, it’s not over. He said, quote, “We can’t have American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

What is your response to Harry Reid?

CLIVEN BUNDY: I don’t have a response for Harry Reid, but I have a response for every sheriff across the United States, every county sheriff across the United States. Disarm the federal bureaucrats. Take the federal United States bureaucrats’ guns away. That’s my message today.

What? “Disarm the federal bureaucrats?” Take their guns away? Sheriffs are suppose to walk up to federal agents and take away their weapons? Huh?bundy ranch sniper

Now, one would expect that Sean Hannity, who thinks people here without citizenship are lawbreakers who should pay fines and not get federal subsidies and should be forced to learn English and suffer other penalties for not being legal Americans like him, one would expect him to tell Cliven Bundy that he was out of his mind for thinking that sheriffs could and should disarm federal officials. One would expect Hannity, who refers to President Obama as lawless, to tell the disturbed rancher that this is a nation of laws and that no law gives a sheriff the right to take a gun away from a federal official who is authorized to possess it, and certainly no law gives people the right to get into a gun battle with government agents carrying out their official duties. But no. Our law-loving conservative host responded with this:

HANNITY: You said that to the sheriff, Cliven. You said to disarm the Park Service, meaning the Bureau of Land Management. I mean, there were, what, 200 people surrounding your ranch and there were snipers and — I mean, it was really a precarious situation there all weekend up until this got resolved, right?

CLIVEN BUNDY: Yes. And if the county sheriff had have taken away the weapons from the BLM, those pickets (ph) would not have to march before these guns. And that was — that’s a terrible thing to put American people in that situation, and — but they did.

And we didn’t have a county sheriff. We didn’t have a state government. And we the people marched, and the BLM backed down. Now, they backed down — let me tell you how they backed down. They backed down. They run. They got on the freeway and went to Mesquite and grabbed their stuff and moved out of the state. Now, the state — towards the state of Utah. Utah County sheriff’s finished this job that Gillespie didn’t do, take the guns away from these federal bureaucrats.

HANNITY: Is your contention that this is state land and that they have no authority or business being there?

CLIVEN BUNDY: They have no authority.

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you about…

“All right.” That’s it. No lecture to Mr. Bundy about the need to obey the laws. No admonition that he and his family were putting government officials in danger. No scolding him for picking and choosing which laws he would like to obey. No moral sermon about how awful it is for the Bundy family to be part of Mitt Romney’s 47% who are mooching off the federal government. No, none of that. In fact, Bundy later spoke again of disarming the enemy, the federal officials trying to enforce the law:

CLIVEN BUNDY: …They might have took over our Clark County sheriff, but they never took over we the people, the sovereign people of this nation. We’re standing and we’re going to stand until we take the guns away from those bureaucracies, and then we’ll start making America great one more time.

To that, I swear to God, our Constitution-loving, Obama-is-a-lawbreaking-radical-who-pals-around-with-terrorists Fox celebrity said:

HANNITY: Did you lose many cows? I understand that some of your cows died.

It’s all about the cows.

Conservatives, those who tacitly defend or openly promote what the Bundy family and their gun-packing fellow travelers are doing in Nevada, at the very least owe Jane Fonda an apology.

In the mean time, if you want a look at real stupidity and lawlessness and mob mentality, I suggest you watch the following video in its entirety (beware: the reactionaries call federal officials some vile and profane names), a video recorded by someone who is proud of what happened in Nevada:

bundy headlines

Why Liberals Should Thank Bill O’Reilly

You gotta love it. First President Obama tells the truth about Fox “News” and then Hillary Clinton follows it up. Now, when CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, and CBS News start telling the truth about Fox, then we will be getting somewhere.

In any case, Bill O’Reilly’s interruption-plagued ObamaCare-Benghazi-IRS interview (come on, what did you expect? Billo has to eat, ya know) with Obama ended with this:

I think — I — you know, I know you think maybe we haven’t been fair, but I think your heart is in the right place.

That moment of lucidity, I knew at the time, would get Billo in trouble. One commenter on the Fox “News” site said what a lot of right-wingers were thinking:

oreilly interview

“I’m DONE with you Bill!” When they start shouting, look out!

What you should know is that, as incredible as it sounds to liberal ears, Fox “News” is now seen by many right-wingers as part of the problem. Yes, Fox isn’t conservative enough! Over at Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze,” we find this comment attached to an article on O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama:

oreilly interview

O’Reilly and Huckabee traitors? Yikes. But look at his one:

oreilly interview

Nice folks, no? But what I really want you to see is this comment:

oreilly interview

When Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Karl Rove aren’t conservative enough for you, then the political dementia on the far right is worse than we thought. And speaking of dementia, try this:

blaze

It seems that Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity, who apparently have been feuding (who knew?), are now teaming up for a kind of mischief they apparently can’t accomplish as free agents. The article reports:

Beck said he, Levin and Hannity all have a different skill set, all of which are important to bring the country together and focus on real solutions.

Yes. These guys think their brand of right-wingery will “bring the country together.”

Hey, don’t laugh. Beck is serious:

“Something big is happening. Something good is really happening,” Beck concluded. “Well, I mean, unless you’re a progressive then I don’t think you’re going to like this. It’s not good news for you.”

Oh, yes it is, Glenn! It is always good news for progressives when the reactionaries are fighting so fiercely among themselves, and if Beck and Levin and Hannity want to join forces to give their extremist followers more power to attack the Republican establishment, I say, bravo!

And they aren’t the only ones bashing the establishment. Just this afternoon, I received an email from a Tea Party group that was asking for dough. After bashing unions (“who are working diligently to pervert our system of government”), the appeal continued in bold letters:

For too long we have allowed the political establishment of both parties to drive our country into the ground. Today is the day that we stop the political elite and return America to greatness. 

Yes, Democrats and Republicans are just one big elite group working together to destroy the country! Of course!

Today on his show, Rush Limbaugh, the king of the talk radio dung heap, himself spent a lot of time attacking the Republican establishment. He has a theory about what they are up to, and it goes something like this:

By pushing immigration reform (“amnesty”), Republicans are blowing their chances of winning the upcoming election “in a landslide.” Oh, sure Republicans want to win in 2014, but they want to do it without the Tea Party. Why? Because if the Tea Party delivers another landslide election to the Republicans like it did in 2010, then the Republican establishment is in deeper trouble when it comes time to nominate their presidential candidate in 2016. Teapartiers would demand that the GOP candidate come from their ranks. That is why the establishment is trying to get rid of Tea Party influence in the House and get immigration reform passed, Limbaugh said. They want to marginalize teapartiers, eke out a victory this year, and then get their establishment guy ordained as the party’s front man against Hillary.

I know, I know. It’s nuts. But it helps our side when these folks get this way. And I personally want to think Bill O’Reilly and Fox “News” for playing their part in the chaos.

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limbaugh and immigration

Sometimes Liberals Overreact Too, And Miss The Real Problem

So, I tune in to HuffPo today and on its famously sensationalistic front page I find this:

richard cohen headerWow! I thought. Who the heck did that at The Washington Post? So, I clicked on the link and found this headline:

Richard Cohen Writes Yet Another Racist Column

Dammit, Richard! Can’t you behave? Didn’t you learn anything the last time, and the time before that? Liberals are very sensitive about such things and you should know better.

Because I don’t often read Cohen’s columns, I thought I would at least pay him the courtesy of reading his “racist column,” before I pronounced him a racist. That’s fair, isn’t it? I mean, even though the mothership of left-leaning news and opinion aggregators has pronounced him a bad guy, I want to be fair and see why that is. I’m funny that way.

It took me only one sentence to find out how HuffPo missed the boat on Cohen’s column. The most offensive thing in the piece had to be the parenthetical in the opening sentence:

The day after Chris Christie, the cuddly moderate conservative, won a landslide reelection as the Republican governor of Democratic New Jersey, I took the Internet Express out to Iowa, surveying its various newspapers, blogs and such to see how he might do in the GOP caucuses, won last time by Rick Santorum, neither cuddly nor moderate.

Chris Christie is a “cuddly moderate conservative”? Are you kidding me? Can you see how awesomely awful that description is? There’s not really much of anything cuddly or moderate about Christie’s ideology, as we have previously discussed on this blog, but compared to a non-cuddly and non-moderate nut like Rick Santorum, he looks that way to some observers. I sort of understand the reason for that spasm of false relativity among straight news reporters—they like the guy a lot—but for left-leaning columnists, calling Christie a moderate conservative represents an unacceptably distorted view of the landscape.

Just because the right-wing of the Republican Party is moving further and further into both absurdity and obscurity, doesn’t mean that rigid conservatives like Chris Christie get to be called “moderate.” I’ve also recently heard people refer to Ronald Reagan as a moderate conservative, a description that is also false. Trust The Erstwhile Conservative on this one, richard cohenbut as one of the Gipper’s biggest fans in the old days, I didn’t cheer him on because he was a moderate. Just the opposite. Even though he had to, of necessity, make deals with Democrats, he remained a die-hard conservative at heart. So, it’s just plain wrong to put the word moderate in the same sentence as either Reagan or Christie. And the editors of HuffPo, if they wanted to go after Cohen, should have criticized that gaffe.

But nope, the focus of the sensational headlines was Cohen’s alleged racism. Well, let’s take a look at the offending passage, cited in the HuffPo story (and, by now, widely excerpted and criticized all over the leftish sites):

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

These comments were labeled “incendiary” by HuffPo. Huh? Incendiary? Hardly. The worst thing about this paragraph, when it is read in the context of the entire column, is that he definitively, without any qualification, says, “Today’s GOP is not racist.” We know for a fact that some fraction of the GOP is racist, although no one thinks the entire party is. But that’s not the point. Some liberals, as far as I can tell, are calling Cohen a racist mostly because of his use of the phrase, “People with conventional views,” which, they say, is wrong because conventional views on interracial marriage have changed. The HuffPo piece cites a Gallup poll showing 87 percent approval for such marriages (30 years ago it was at 43 percent; 50 years ago it was less than 10 percent).

Now, I don’t see how misusing the term “conventional” makes one a racist, and even a cursory reading of the column should have made it clear to anyone that Cohen is attacking the Tea Party and its anachronistic views: “If this is the future of the GOP, then it’s in the past.” And Cohen ends his piece with some advice to Chris Christie about not becoming a Tea Party guy who could win the rabidly conservative Iowa caucuses because then the “Joisey” governor would become “anathema to the rest of us.”

There wasn’t a damn thing racist about Cohen’s column. Essentially he is discussing what I have often labeled “white cultural angst,” the feeling among conservative Christian palefaces that they are losing their traditional stranglehold on the country. When Cohen says these folks don’t much recognize the country these days, he’s right about that and he’s not a racist for saying so.

But even though there was no racism in the column, there was something very offensive about it, at least for anyone who has looked at Christie’s conservatism objectively, without comparing it to the worst elements of his party. The offense is in assuming that a President Christie would hold policy positions that would be all that different from your average teapartier. Besides Christie’s record, as evidence for my claim I submit to you the following famous quote uttered in 2011 at that annual gathering of wingnuts known as the Conservative Political Action Conference:

If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.

That wasn’t some milquetoast moderate who said that. It was the female version of Rush Limbaugh, the mean-spirited, liberal-hating Ann Coulter. She later told Fox, her home away from home, “I don’t care if [Chris Christie] wants to run, his country needs him, it appears.”

That was in 2011. Now, I admit that it is hard to take Ann Coulter seriously as a pundit, but many right-wingers love her, which is why they have made her wealthy by buying her books, and why Fox frequently books her as a guest on TV and radio. Thus, she makes noise in the right’s echo chamber that some hear as music, even if it’s mostly chin music. In any case, Coulter’s love for Christie wasn’t just a whim in 2011. In May of this year—this year, after the 2012 Christie-Obama love fest that pissed off nearly every teapartier in the country—she had this exchange with Sean Hannity on the radio:

COULTER: I’ve told you before: I have eyes only for Chris Christie.

HANNITY: Your buddy Chris Christie is out there sucking up to Obama this week. Don’t defend him.

COULTER: There seems to be a concerted movement by both liberals and conservatives to lie about Christie and make him seem more liberal than he really is.

Ann Coulter may be a lot of things, a lot of unseemly things, but she knows that Chris Christie, should he get elected president, would favor the kind of conservatism that Ted Cruz would love, especially if Christie governed with a Republican House and Senate. Oh, I know that lately she has fallen out of love with the New Jersey governor (she tweeted in June, “@GovChristie’s dead to me”) and withdrawn her support, but to further prove my point, look who she supports now:

coulter on cruz

Case closed. If Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are both suitable candidates for a liberal-hater like Ann Coulter, then obviously there are no significant ideological differences between them. And if Richard Cohen deserves any criticism from the left for his recent column, it is for assuming Chris Christie is some kind of moderate conservative we can all live with.

Because a lot of folks would find it very hard to live under President Christie and a Tea Party-dominated House and Senate.

Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo

Here is a headline from The Washington Post:

Poll: Major damage to GOP after shutdown, and broad dissatisfaction with government

The elements in this headline, the damage and the dissatisfaction, point to two things, two important things, that every American should understand about the conservative movement, as it is now constituted, in our country:

1) Conservatives have designed their own parallel universe, one in which facts like “Major damage to GOP after shutdown” can’t exist.

I think it is fair to say that Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity represent very well the core constituency of the conservative movement, don’t you? Well, here is what Sean Hannity said to Ann Coulter on Monday night:

All those people that were doomin’ and gloomin’ Repubicans for the shutdown were wrong.

And the classless Coulter said:

The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully. I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican party as the anti-Obamacare party.

So, it’s that easy. There was no damage done to the Republican Party. Poll? Poll smoll.

2) Creating “broad dissatisfaction with government” is the entire mission of the conservative movement.

In their parallel universe, conservatives rejoice over the second finding in that poll. They want people to be dissatisfied with government because they believe government is, as Ronald Reagan famously said, “the problem.”

One would have thought that anti-government, laissez-faire conservatism could never have come back after the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression. It should have been dead forever. But it wasn’t. It came back in 1964 after its adherents forcefully took over the Republican Party, a feat that resulted in the shellacking of their uber-conservative candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the presidential election that year. The movement should have been permanently dead after that. But it wasn’t. As Thomas Frank wrote in The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation:

The conservatism that made such a huge comeback in the seventies and eighties was a mutation specifically adapted to survive a disaster of the 1929 variety. By which I do not mean that conservatism abandoned laissez-faire, its raison d’être, but that from now on it would present itself to the world as a form of opposition to the established order…It would wallow in preposterous theories about the secret treason of the ruling liberals and encourage the darkest imaginable interpretation of the government’s every deed…

Even as he presided over that hated federal government, Ronaldus Magnus, the tutelary deity of movement conservatism, said at a news conference in 1986:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

So, you can see why that headline in The Washington Post doesn’t bother zealous conservatives one bit. They deny the first fact, that much damage has been done to the Republican Party, and fully embrace the second.

Posted below is the conversation between Hannity and Coulter I referenced, in case you make a healthful habit out of not watching these folks live. But I think you should watch this five-minute segment because it tells you so much about why these people do what they do. Not only will you hear them denying reality and inventing their own, you will hear Sean Hannity repeating the lie about Consumer Reports, claiming that it is “telling people to stay away” from the ObamaCare website. That lie became so widespread—it even found its way into “straight” reporting—that Consumer Reports published an article titled,

Obamacare opponents have misrepresented Consumer Reports’ position

HealthCare.gov problems do not negate benefits of new health law

So, with that in mind, hear the echoes in the chamber:

Woodward On Hannity–UPDATED

It was bad enough that Bob Woodward, once an esteemed reporter, told a falsehood about President Obama (which everyone but the right-wing now clearly sees was a falsehood). It was even worse that he then strongly implied that someone in the White House threatened him (which, now that we can see the email in question, we know was not true).

But Thursday night Woodward made it all completely intolerable by going on Sean Hannity’s show, once again. Hannity, a man who never misses an opportunity to slander President Obama, or pour gasoline on the fire of Obama-hate that rages throughout the wing-nut right, or feed the white-man angst so prevalent in our politics, was up to the task of sullying, just by being himself, the reputation of a once-proud reporter.

On Hannity’s show, Woodward continued his claim that he was a victim of an intimidation play, by a man, Gene Sperling, who by all accounts couldn’t intimidate Pee Wee Herman. But never mind. Woodward, now a fool, was very comfortable—smiling and laughing—in the presence of one of the most despicable personalities in the history of Milky Way broadcasting.

To give you an example of the kind of shtick Hannity gets paid to do every night, and to show why any journalist with Woodward’s reputation should avoid him at all costs, I give you this: Just before the first commercial break, Woodward sat and listened to Hannity tell viewers that Ann Coulter—humanity screeching across a chalkboard—was coming on the program to help him “expose the countless other examples of how the Obama White House has obstructed the freedom of the press for more than four long years.”

Then, Hannity told viewers that his feud with congressman Keith Ellison—the first Muslim elected to Congress—was still ongoing and that he was “going to investigate his radical background,” blah, blah, blah.

I waited with some anticipation, maybe hope, that when Hannity came back from the commercial break Woodward would tell him that his appearance on Hannity’s show was all a big mistake and that he did not know what he was thinking and that, yes, Sean Hannity was certifiably nuts.

Ah, but that didn’t happen. Woodward was all smiles when Hannity came back, especially after Hannity flattered him, telling the journalist, who had earlier noted his advancing age, that he didn’t look “a day over fifty.” How sweet. How perverse.

Woodward went on to equate Fox “News” and MSNBC (“a lot of people who support Obama who just believe he can do no wrong”), a notion that is as false as his claim that Gene Sperling threatened him. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing, comparable to what Fox does every hour, every day, every week. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I get calls and emails from people telling me I’m insane to come on your show,” he told Hannity. Those weren’t just people, Bob. Those were your friends, who were trying to save you from yourself, from perhaps your advancing age. At one point, Woodward seemed to praise Hannity’s, uh, journalistic reflexes (“you dig into things”). Oh, my.

It’s one of those times where you had to see it to believe it: a man who has had a mostly sterling career in journalism laying his credibility, his integrity, on the altar of a man who makes a titmouse look like an intellectual giant.

It was sad is what it was.

______________________________

UPDATE: On Friday’s Morning Joe, Woodward once again claimed that he did not say Sperling’s email contained a threat, that others interpreted it that way. He refused to admit that he in any way suggested or implied that he was threatened. He had nothing but good things to say about Gene Sperling.

Yet both CNN and Politico, after interviewing Woodward—before the actual email in question was released—reported Woodward’s comments as suggesting he was threatened. If you watch his appearance on CNN, you can see for yourself that he wanted everyone to draw the conclusion that an attempt was made by the White House to intimidate him, something he reiterated on Sean Hannity’s show.

Woodward also continued to defend the falsehood he has been promoting, that the deal in 2011, which produced the sequester, essentially took revenue increases off the table and that President Obama was “moving the goal posts” by insisting on those increases now. Yet on Morning Joe this morning, the only one who attempted to hold Woodward accountable for his false reporting was David Axelrod. Joe Scarborough and company were in defensive mode on behalf of Woodward. That is how tribal Washington works.

Now we know that Gene Sperling’s suggestion to Woodward, that he would regret his false reporting, was prophetic.

Senator Rand Paul’s Blueprint For Debt-Ceiling Turmoil

Yesterday morning I wrote a depressing post largely about the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling. I said,

I believe that there is a contingent of Republicans in both the House and Senate who believe the thing to do to fix the country is to ruin it first.

Oh, I know some of you thought that was a bit of hyperbole, a little overstatement for effect. Oh, yeah? Last night, on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox, I watched this exchange between a very strange Sean Hannity and a very strange but also dangerously strange, Senator Rand Paul:

HANNITY: Where do we go with the debt ceiling? Are Republicans gonna take the stand, that I don’t see any Democrats taking, are they gonna be willing to shut the government down, really take a stand and demand that Washington be responsible?

PAUL: There is a way to do it without scaring the markets, and we tried to do this last time and we’re gonna try again. And what we do is we need to pass legislation that says, “the tax revenue that comes in will go to pay for the interest on the debt, pay for Social Security, pay for the soldiers’ salaries,” but it won’t fund all of government. So we will continue to pay our bills, but we may be able to extend that deadline then, the longer we extend it the more pressure we would put on the President to say he would come to the table with us and help us fix entitlements.

But the only way he’ll ever do it is if we actually go through the deadline but give him instructions that he takes tax receipts and he doesn’t default on the debt. Then we wouldn’t scare the markets, and I think then we would increase our leverage with every day we went beyond the deadline.

If that kind of ejaculatory talk doesn’t scare people—talk that comes through the lips of a United States Senator for God’s sake—if it doesn’t scare “the markets,” then the country is in a very bad way.

But besides trying to get your head around the fact that a sitting U.S. Senator would be willing to play such games with the fiscal fate of the country, think about how delusional is the Republican senator from Kentucky. His plan to force the president—excuse me, “give him instructions” was the language Paul used—involves an act of Congress. Paul said, “what we do is we need to pass legislation,” and presumably, unless Paul has yet another plan to suspend the Constitution, any legislation passed (forget that the scheme would not get through the Democrat-controlled Senate) must be signed by the President to become law.

Now, surely even Sean Hannity is sharp enough to figure out that the President, even if the 55 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus were hypnotized and voted for Rand’s plan, would not sign such a bill, right? Surely, Hannity was ready to challenge Senator Paul on his ridiculous scheme, right?

Come on, you know better than that. Hannity was himself ready to ejaculate at the prospect of such a thing:

HANNITY: But for that to happen, Senator, that means every Republican in the House and every Republican senator is going to need to be united—and I would argue to save the country…so, will the Republicans go through with it?

PAUL: Well, there are going to be repercussions if we don’t do anything, and I hope we will wake up and come to our senses and do something. I for one will stand firm. I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we get a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution because so far I’ve seen no objective evidence to trust these people. They blow through all of their caps; they set spending limits, but they go beyond them. They are not trustworthy with money or very good with it, so we shouldn’t give ’em more money. We should cut spending and make government smaller.

HANNITY: Alright. Well, Senator, I’m with you. Hold strong. If we’re gonna save America, save this country, and stop robbing from our kids, that’s the only way to do it, so, we’re gonna need people that our leaders like yourself, so keep up the good work.

PAUL: Absolutely.

Ejaculations complete. In order to save America, we have to ruin it first.

What Rand Paul did was reveal the thoughtlessness and recklessness behind the Republican’s debt-ceiling threat, not to mention the utter disregard for the nation’s well-being behind their threat to shut down the government.

Paul also revealed how dishonest a man he is. He first said the exercise of shutting down parts of the government were meant to put “pressure” on President Obama so that,

 he would come to the table with us and help us fix entitlements.

Isn’t that nice? These caring Republicans just want to “fix” Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, that’s all. They care about these things deeply, as their vote two years ago on Paul Ryan’s kill-Medicare-as-we-know-it-and-cut-the-hell-out-of-Medicaid budget demonstrated. To the extent this whole thing is even about these so-called entitlements, what Republicans want, of course, is for Democrats to get in bed with them and undertake a bipartisan screwing of the beneficiaries of these programs.

But fixing entitlements is not what this is really about for people like Rand Paul. And he said so himself, not only by revealing that he would not vote to raise the debt limit without a balanced budget amendment—which he knows is not going to happen—but also by revealing, perhaps in a spasm of passion as he reached his climax with Hannity, his real purpose:

We should cut spending and make government smaller.

That’s it, you see. Making government smaller, a lot smaller, is the real goal here. That’s what all the fuss is about. That’s what Rand Paul’s and other Republicans’ call for a balanced budget amendment really means. They would simply slash government spending in order to balance it with the pint-sized revenues that Republicans are willing to accept.

Rand Paul knows that any real reform of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid would not make “government smaller.” Genuine reforms would only slow the growth of the programs. They and government would still, of necessity, get bigger, as the boomer population ages and as ObamaCare insures more poor Americans.

What Senator Paul and Sean Hannity together demonstrated was just how unhinged right-wingers are, as they stroke each other on television for their own pleasure and for the pleasure of other radicals who have become the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Fox Gets Thwacked

In what can only be considered one of the sweetest dope slaps Fox “News” has ever received in real time on its own air, I present to you the appearance of Thomas Ricks, who today set the record straight on Fox’s hyper-partisan coverage of the tragedy in Benghazi.

Although Ricks is no Sean Hannity, he is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who has spent considerable time covering military conflicts around the world and reporting on defense issues. He has also written several books, including books on the Iraq war. And he apparently knows a little about professional wrestling, as he executes a perfect spinning headlock elbow drop on a Fox host:

Why Trayvon Martin Hit George Zimmerman, In Zimmerman’s Own Words

I don’t know what was worse, George Zimmerman picking Sean Hannity and Fox for his one and only television interview, his lawyer allowing him to do it, or Sean Hannity pretending this was a real interview and not merely an extension of Zimmerman’s legal defense, which, by the way, he appeared to have actually harmed (read the whole thing and you will see).

In any case, despite Hannity’s embarrassing performance, it is fairly easy to see why Trayvon Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman. After calling police and then pursuing Martin (Zimmerman initially said he wasn’t following him and said he only moved “approximately 100 feet” from his car, but even from this interview it is clear he was following him—he eventually tells Hannity he doesn’t regret doing so and then contradicts himself later), Zimmerman made it sound like Martin just materialized right before his eyes and he revealed just why Martin felt the need to punch him:

HANNITY: OK. And so at that point, Trayvon is — all of a sudden you turned around and there he was?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: What happened next?

ZIMMERMAN: He asked me what my problem was.

HANNITY: Expletive problem?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir. And I was wearing a rain jacket, and I had put my cell phone in my jacket pocket, as opposed to my jeans pocket where I normally keep it. And I immediately went to grab my phone to this time call 911 instead of a non-emergency, and when I reached into my pants pocket — because that’s where I keep it out of habit — it wasn’t there, and I was shocked. I looked up and he punched me and broke my nose.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

HANNITY: So he said to you, you have expletive, you have a problem. Those are the exact words used. You remember it?

ZIMMERMAN: “Do you have a problem? What’s your problem?”

HANNITY: What’s your problem.

And you said to him, “I don’t have a problem.”

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: You reached for your phone?

ZIMMERMAN: I reached for it as I was saying, “No, I don’t have a problem.”

HANNITY: And at that point you just got hit?

ZIMMERMAN: He was already within arm’s length from me.

Now imagine Trayvon Martin’s mental state through all this. At one moment he was walking in a place where he clearly belonged, minding his own business, and the next moment this big guy starts following him. At some point, Martin asks this big man what his problem is, which causes the big man to reach into his pocket.

I can only tell you what my reaction would be at that point: I would have done the same thing Trayvon Martin apparently did. I wouldn’t wait to see if it were a gun Zimmerman was reaching for. I would have hit him square in the face and I would quite likely have attempted to disable him in some way. In that sense, it is Trayvon Martin who deserves the benefit of the stand your ground law in Florida, not Zimmerman.

So, it is clear to me from Zimmerman’s own mouth that at the very least he deserves blame for escalating what should have been a non-event into the death of a teenager, if not a conviction for second-degree murder. And it is also clear to me that any normal person would at least have second thoughts about his role in this tragedy. But, incredibly and bizarrely and outrageously, Zimmerman doesn’t:

HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?

ZIMMERMAN: I feel it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it —

HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

God’s plan? Not for him to second guess his own actions? Even those of you out there who think what Zimmerman did was perfectly okay have to concede that a brain that could utter the words above, given what happened to Trayvon Martin, is a sick brain, one in need of some serious rehabilitation.

Now, it is true that later in the interview, after much time had passed, Zimmerman was obviously told by someone, either Hannity or his ought-to-be-fired attorney who was present, that his answer above would not play well with the public or with a potential jury:

HANNITY: I asked you if you wanted to — if you could speak to Trayvon Martin’s family. I asked you if you could speak to even the American public, there’s so many people that have so many opinions that vary so much. You know, if you wanted to look into that camera and tell the American public something about George Zimmerman and about — this case with Trayvon Martin that has gotten such media attention, what would you want to tell them?

ZIMMERMAN: First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Stanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.

I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.

Go back and look at Hannity’s original question. It was clear what he was asking and it remains clear that Zimmerman still doesn’t get it. In his revised answer he states,

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life.

To anyone, even the most ardent Zimmerman supporter, there was plenty he could have done that night to avoid what happened. And the fact that he, and his legion of mostly right-wing supporters including Sean Hannity, won’t simply come out and admit that obvious if disturbing fact, tells us much about the state of their minds and their level of decency as human beings.

“Of Course I Want To Sell Books!”

Obama-hate is a lucrative business, let’s face it. Lots of conservatives make money off the President, and if he didn’t exist, they would have to invent him in order to keep the money rolling in.

I want you to do me a favor and watch the following three segments, which in 20 minutes will make you an expert on the phenomenon of Obama-hate.  In fact, if you watch all three, you can then claim to hold a PhD in Obamanation, the gut-wrenching pathological loathsomeness afflicting conservatives everywhere, and you will be able to speak authoritatively about an execration epidemic that has not only infected the minds of millions, but has made the infectors millions.

The lessons I present below involve two prominent Obama-haters, David Limbaugh—yes, Rush’s brother, who proves that Obama-hate has a genetic component—and Sean Hannity—who proves you don’t have to have a brain to hate—who managed, in the course you are about to see, to rhetorically masturbate each other to the point of ideological orgasm.

Permit me to put it crudely:  the real point of spewing their Obama-is-a-narcissist-who-hates-America jism is to spread their seed to receptive takers, those who are willing to pay for having this stuff smeared all over their willing minds.

The course:

Congratulations! You now have your degree! And not a drop on ya!

Sick stuff? Yes, I know. That is the point.

No Brag, Just Fact

Just to show you how the brains of Obama-haters get all tied up in knots when they are forced to utter one syllable of praise for our president, here’s a comment Sean Hannity made yesterday as part of his attack on Obama for making a “political” and “spiking the football” trip to Afghanistan on Dead bin Laden Day:

So, we got the one-year anniversary of the killing of bin Laden and I, I, I do give Obama some credit. He made a pretty gutsy decision. Although I don’t really see it as that gutsy because I think any president would have done it.

Yep, any president would have done it because all presidents are equally “gutsy” or, uh, not.

Gotta appreciate the mind that hatched that piece of dazzling commentary.

Speaking of Obama’s Dead bin Laden Day celebration, how can Americans of all stripes not admire the give-’em-the-finger attitude of President Obama, who traveled to Afghanistan—where a breathing Osama bin Laden first met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and heard about and then later approved his plan to train pilots to crash planes into American buildings—to sort of rub it in a little bit.

Now, that’s proper American chutzpah.

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