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“CVS, Smokes And Liberal Fascism”: Fox News Turns Up The Stupidity

In Fox News Land, no one does anything in the public interest. It’s just Obama’s commie thugs bullying a corporate giant to do what the president thinks is ‘good for you.’

Bravo, CVS. That’s a bold and even historic move, banning cigarettes. It’s true it isn’t costing the company much—the sticks accounted for just $2 billion of its $123 billion in revenue last year, according to The New York Times. But even so, it’s a decision by an American mega-corporation that was made in… sit down and steady yourself… the public interest! Everyone’s for that, right? Right? Wait, what’s that rumble I hear over the gloaming?…

Why, it’s Fox News! And they aren’t happy. Yes—you read that right. On Fox News, CVS’s decision not to sell an addictive product that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans prematurely every year stinks of a big commie plot. Daytime host Gretchen Carlson said something idiotic Wednesday even by daytime Fox News’s idiotic standards. From Media Matters:

“Is it OK legally… to restrict tobacco availability in a private store like this?” She questioned her guests as to whether they would continue shopping at CVS and observed that, “For people who smoke, you know, they have a right to buy cigarettes. It’s not illegal.”

Is it legal?! Good God. Quintuple bacon cheeseburgers are legal. And yet, some restaurants choose not to offer them! Lawbreakers! Pinkos!

Yes, pinkos, see, because they’re becoming part of, you guessed it, the Obama agenda. That was the worry of Neil Cavuto, who wondered if CVS was “getting scaredy cat” since “with the health-care law and the changes and everything else,” selling tobacco products “didn’t look good.” And to round things out, Dana Perino, who actually used to stand at a podium to convey to the American people the substance of their government’s positions and policies, asked on the show called The Five: “Is this President Obama now saying that corporations are allowed to have values and express them? Because if that’s the case, maybe corporations then don’t have to provide contraceptive care to their employees or their health plans.”

See the thread there? It’s Obama’s fault. A corporation makes a decision of its own volition, on the highly logical grounds that if it purports to be in the health business it shouldn’t also be in the cigarette business, and it’s Obama’s fault. If he weren’t out there making people buy insurance, and if that nettlesome wife of his weren’t forcing all these poor children to grow all that awful kale, if they weren’t trying to make America… healthy (!), CVS never would have done this.

Perino turns up the stupid by dragging in the Hobby Lobby case. Private corporations in the United States can do a lot of things. If that Chick-Fil-A guy wants to close on Sundays to honor Jesus? Fine, let him. But there are things corporations can’t do—there are laws and regulations they have to follow. And they have never claimed a right to the free exercise of their religion. That’s because corporations aren’t people, my friend. They don’t have a religion. They have Catholic and Methodist and Jewish and Hindu and Muslim and Jainist and atheist and all kinds of employees. The idea that a corporation has a religious “value” is preposterous, although with this Supreme Court, admittedly anything is possible.

But that’s a side point. What Fox News is really unhappy about, of course, is what it likes to call “liberal fascism,” as defined by the concept’s savant, Jonah Goldberg. As I slogged my way through Goldberg’s tedious book on the subject a few years back (producing this rather amusing review), I noticed that as he plowed through history, liberal fascism started out as, oh, the Civilian Conservation Corps, which I recall him comparing to the Hitler Youth. After all, both were in the 1930s, both involved kids wearing uniforms, both movements professed the goal of social uplift. One was dedicated to the greater glory of one man; the other to flood control and forest protection—but OK, Jonah, whatever.

Once he got to our time, Goldberg was reduced to arguing that the liberal-fascist tendency was alive and well in Whole Foods. Because Whole Foods purveys salubrious items, wants you to have things that are “good for you,” and that sounded to him suspiciously like things Hillary Clinton wants, and she’s the biggest liberal fascist of all. Or was until Obama. Who is—until he leaves the White House and Hillary moves back in when she’ll take back over.

So now, anything a corporation does that smacks of being in the public interest will reek of liberal fascism and will thus be met with resistance in Ailes-land. Car companies pursuing improved gas mileage, introducing more hybrids? Manufacturers using sustainable materials and processes? Junk-food makers cutting back on the sugar and salt? They’re not trying to do anything good for the world. They can’t be doing that. Normal, good, red-blooded, private-sector Americans don’t do that. There must be a reason, and in Foxland, it’s that these folks are ninnies who are just preemptively kowtowing to the thugs Obama keeps on the payroll to dream up new rules Americans should have to live by.

The silver lining here is that they’re on the losing side of history. One imagines that in due course, Rite Aid will follow, and Walgreens, and Duane Reade, and in a few years’ time cigarettes will be out of all drugstores. And then the convenience stores will start to tumble, and the vast majority of Americas will agree that this is fine. And the Fox News demographic will start aging into the grave, and Gretchen Carlson can go on fuming to a smaller and smaller audience, and the rest of us will be able to say to them, in the words of Stevie Winwood: Light up and leave us alone.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, February 7, 2014

February 8, 2014 Posted by | Fox News, Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Let’s Not Be Terrorized”: Let’s Honor Boston By Returning To Normal

Tragedies amplify the human tendencies toward both selflessness and assholishness. From a distance, watching horrible things happen (and happen, and happen) on TV, it can be much easier to see the assholishness. Yesterday an asshole planted bombs at the Boston Marathon — the Boston Marathon, for chrissakes — and today three people are confirmed dead with many, many more injured, in some cases horrifically.

That horrible situation, though, led to a great deal of examples of how Boston, and much of the U.S., is a pretty damn nice place full of impressive and great people. There was amazing journalism from Boston journalists, and a heroic response from Boston first responders, paramedics, doctors and surgeons. Boston blood banks filled up immediately and the Red Cross and Google both helped people find their loved ones. The Internet and the press even acquitted themselves reasonably well. It was amazing to see, within hours of the attack, eyewitness video from amateurs and professionals. The live stream of WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, was compelling, restrained and informative. Fox News’ Shepard Smith was incredibly composed and also very careful not to speculate irresponsibly. The Boston Globe dropped its pay wall and put its heartbreaking and useful liveblog on the front page.

It wasn’t all good. There was no reason for Neil Cavuto to interview Joe Arpaio, at any point yesterday, and yet that happened. This was a particularly obnoxious reminder that Fox News can only turn off its shtick when a grown-up, like Shepard Smith, is running the show. (Smith returned to anchor coverage later, thankfully.) CNN’s political reporters were similarly unable to break out of their self-created shell of inanity and just react like human beings, with Wolf Blitzer and company fixated on the semantics of the president’s brief statement. The New York Post, always happy to out-ghoul the competition, was running poorly sourced bullshit all day.

That poorly sourced bullshit tends to stick around, too. The “Saudi national” “person of interest,” the New York Post’s “law enforcement source” and the “explosion” at the John F. Kennedy library. These are the random bits of information, usually false, that circulate during disasters and, inevitably, lead to conspiracy theories. This isn’t a brand-new, Internet-created problem. Morsels of misinformation broadcast on TV or the radio in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and even the Kennedy assassination survive forever.

We still know next to nothing about what happened yesterday. The “ball bearings” that doctors are finding in victims might just be shrapnel. It seems now that there weren’t any additional unexploded devices in the area. People should probably be clearer, in the future, about the unreliability of information from emergency services scanners. Now we’ll see if the press jumps on every law enforcement lead and manages to convict innocent people in the court of public opinion, as has happened way too many times in the past following bombings and terroristic violence. Basically, be skeptical of what you see and read over the next few months.

Weirdly and probably inappropriately, I kept thinking yesterday of the 2007 incident in which Boston police closed the trains and the Charles River because a guerrilla marketing firm placed a series of LED ads for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” around the city. It seemed at the time like the height of ridiculous post-9/11 paranoid hysterical overreaction. These were effectively LITE-BRITEs with cute cartoon aliens on them, but because they matched some idiotic police description of the characteristics of IEDs they were treated as a threat. I did not hold back in mocking them. Now, following an actual IED attack on Boston, it’s an embarrassing memory.

But here’s the thing: In terms of “sophistication,” the bombs that went off yesterday could hardly have been any more powerful than the bomb that exploded on Wall Street in 1920, which killed 38 people and injured 143. More people, many more, could die or be confirmed dead in this attack, but right now tornadoes in Mississippi and Missouri last week were just as deadly, and MBTA trains are deadlier. Whoever it turns out did this and whatever their motive, he or they sucked at being a terrorist. That is something that should be made clear, loudly and forcefully, this week. This guy was an embarrassment to terrorists and as a result we will not be terrorized.

Here is what I’m hoping happens, next: I hope Americans as a whole do nothing, besides find and punish the person responsible. As Bruce Schneier says, if we acknowledge that terrorism isn’t an existential threat to the American way of life, or to our freedom, or anything else, we can take reasonable steps to mitigate the threat without freaking out and, say, getting every flight with people who look Middle Eastern grounded, banning backpacks from public spaces or launching any wars. There is no way of stopping dedicated assholes from putting crappy little bombs in trash bins on street corners. Thankfully, it barely ever happens in the United States.

So while I feel a great deal of affection for the city of Boston and its residents today, and while I might be listening to the Modern Lovers and remembering how great the whole Mark Wahlberg arc in “The Departed” is, and while we all have every reason to be incredibly pissed off at the asshole that killed at least one child and hurt so many more innocent people, it is our responsibility to that fine American city to help it get back, as soon as possible, to normal.

Which is why as an American, and a resident of New York, I am most looking forward to when Boston returns to despising us and our stupid city and the goddamn overpaid, ancient Yankees, and we return the sentiment. That will be a return to normalcy and a message that this asshole didn’t accomplish a damn thing. In the first round of the NBA playoffs, beginning this weekend, the Boston Celtics will face the New York Knicks. There will be patriotism and solidarity on display, and certainly a tribute to the victims of yesterday’s attack. That’s understandable. Let’s also hope there is a healthy amount of booing, vulgar heckling and signs referencing Cheerios sneaked into the arena. Let the cops catch the asshole that did this; we have lives to live.

 

By: Alex Pareene, Salon, April 16, 2013

April 17, 2013 Posted by | Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gov Scott Walker Vows Anti-Union Bill To Go Through “One Way Or The Other”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) appeared Friday on Fox News, and explained to Neil Cavuto that a judge’s ruling Thursday that struck down his controversial anti-public employee union law, based on a procedure involved in passing it, would not be a major issue — that the state is appealing the decision, and in any case they could simply re-pass the same law without the procedural defect.

“Governor, what do you do now?” asked Cavuto.

“Well, for us, the clear thing that was — we found out of that ruling is not that the law was not valid, but that the process was used, at least according to the circuit court, was not correct,” said Walker.

“So, either next week when the Supreme Court starts to hear this case, either by the time they’re done in June, or ultimately by the end of June, when we have to have the legislature passing a state budget — one way or the other, either through the Supreme Court or the legislature, these reforms will be put into place, and we’ll ultimately be able to protect middle-class jobs and middle-class taxpayers here in the state of Wisconsin.”

Walker also explained to Cavuto: “the process was not the vote itself, it was the timing of the vote, and how far in advance notice was given. They could take this same vote again, as part of the state budget process, or in separate legislation, and still have the same outcome.”

On Thursday, Dane County (Madison) Judge Maryann Sumi — who had previously blocked Wisconsin’s controversial anti-union law from taking effect, pending litigation — officially ruled that the manner in which the bill was passed violated the state’s Open Meetings law, and that the law itself is therefore not valid.

The matter revolves around a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — and whether it violated the state’s Open-Meetings law by failing to give enough prior notice. Therefore, it is ruling on procedural grounds, rather than on the substance of the bill itself, which was not addressed. And as such, it would be possible to pass the bill again, giving full notice for all the meetings involved.

Two months ago, Sumi blocked the law on these procedural grounds, issuing a temporary restraining order on the grounds the plaintiff, the Dane County District Attorney, had a likelihood of success in his complaint.

The Walker administration then made multiple attempts to disregard the ruling and implement the law anyway, before ultimately backing down in the face of repeated orders.

 

By: Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo, May 27, 2011

May 28, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideology, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gingrich’s Next Two Weeks Of Policy Statements Revealed

Two weeks ago, Newt Gingrich said this is what he would do about Libya, if he were president: “Exercise a no-fly zone this evening”.

Yesterday, here’s what Newt said about Libya, where the United States is exercising a no-fly zone: “I would not have intervened”.

After a full day of people making fun of him, the former House speaker — who masquerades as an intellectual policy wonk but who is actually just a master self-promoter — explained himself in a lengthy Facebook post, Sarah Palin-style, that generally made no sense, Sarah Palin-style.

His position seems to be that he would not have intervened, but once the president said, “Gadhafi must go,” the United States had to intervene, to save face, and that’s when Newt would’ve exercised the no-fly zone, if he were president and had made that statement, which he wouldn’t have done.

Also, Gingrich says, now that we’ve done this we should also do it in the Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Yemen and elsewhere, except we shouldn’t do it at all, anywhere.

We here at the War Room have just received, from the future, the next two weeks of Newt Gingrich’s public statements on Libya, and other assorted matters of national import.

“Meet the Press,” March 27

“What the president needs to do is have Congress vote on the use of ground troops in Libya, immediately.”

Neil Cavuto, March 29

“If I were president I’d unilaterally strike Iran right now instead of wasting our time and resources in Libya.”

Facebook, March 29

“My position on Libya has not changed: What the United States should’ve done is invade with a ground force, after receiving congressional authorization, but only if he hadn’t sought United Nations approval, which would’ve changed everything. Under the current circumstances, with the president already having totally blown it, our best option is a surprise airstrike on Iran.”

Human Events.com, March 31

“This is the single biggest foreign policy disaster I’ve seen since, literally, the Battle of Blandensburg, which I am writing a book about. We should pull out now and refocus on jobs, here at home.”

“Good Morning America,” April 1

“Look, if I was the commander in chief, I wouldn’t rest until we had Gadhafi’s head on a pike outside one of his gaudy palaces.”

Facebook, April 2

“Again, I’m distraught to see America so poorly led during this time of great international turmoil. My position is clear: The United States has a jobs crisis exacerbated by the failed policies of our current president, but after we committed ourselves to removing Gadhafi, we forced ourselves to take literally any action at our disposal to make that a reality, as long as we did it right, because if we aren’t doing it right, which we aren’t, but which I would, we should not do it.

“I also apologize to the hardworking staff at ‘Good Morning America’ for the incident with the chair, but I am growing tired of constantly answering such transparently biased questions about my very simple position on the conflict in Libya.”

“Face the Nation,” April 3

“I support gay marriage.”

“Fox and Friends,” April 6

“Gay people should be thrown in jail, forever, if they try to marry each other.”

Twitter, April 6

“deep respect 4 homosexual americans-vow to serve ALL americans if prez-inmate marriage will strengthen national respect 4 traditional family.”

 

By: Alex Pareene, Salon War Room, March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Foreign Policy, Jobs, Libya, Middle East, Neo-Cons, Newt Gingrich, No Fly Zones, Politics, President Obama, Qaddafi | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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