Roger Ailes can now be called Roger Dead

Roger Ailes was the founding President of FOX News, which was a creation of Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation. For all practical intents and purposes, FOX News was the American conservative version of Pravda: a news source which had the effect of propagating right-wing politics at the expense of objective reporting. Last year, as a result of a series of sexual harassment accusations by women associated with the network, Ailes resigned as FOX News President. And now he has died.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Tabbi, already known as a dedicated enemy of corruption and hypocrisy in our governments, wasted no time going after Ailes.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-roger-ailes-was-one-of-the-worst-americans-ever-w483013

Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever

Fox News founder made this the hate-filled, moronic country it is today

By

Roger Ailes

On the Internet today you will find thousands, perhaps even millions, of people gloating about the death of elephantine Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The happy face emojis are getting a workout on Twitter, which is also bursting with biting one-liners.

When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.”

Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people most responsible for modern America’s vicious and bloodthirsty character.

We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.

Ailes was the Christopher Columbus of hate. When the former daytime TV executive and political strategist looked across the American continent, he saw money laying around in giant piles. He knew all that was needed to pick it up was a) the total abandonment of any sense of decency or civic duty in the news business, and b) the factory-like production of news stories that spoke to Americans’ worst fantasies about each other.

Like many con artists, he reflexively targeted the elderly – “I created a TV network for people from 55 to dead,” he told Joan Walsh – where he saw billions could be made mining terrifying storylines about the collapse of the simpler America such viewers remembered, correctly or (more often) incorrectly, from their childhoods.

In this sense, his Fox News broadcasts were just extended versions of the old “ring around the collar” ad – scare stories about contagion. Wisk was pitched as the cure for sweat stains creeping onto your crisp white collar; Fox was sold as the cure for atheists, feminists, terrorists and minorities crawling over your white picket fence.

Ailes launched Fox in 1996 with a confused, often amateurish slate of dumb programs cranked out by cut-rate and often very young staffers. The channel was initially most famous for its overt shallowness (“More News in Less Time” was one of its early slogans) and its Monty Python-style bloopers. But the main formula was always the political scare story, and Fox quickly learned to mix traditional sensationalist tropes like tabloid crime reporting with demonization of liberal villains like the Clintons.

Hillary Clinton in particular was a godsend for Fox. The first lady’s mocking comments about refusing to stay home and bake cookies – to say nothing of the “I’m not sitting here, some little woman, saying ‘Stand By Her Man’ like Tammy Wynette” quote – were daggers to the hearts of graying middle Americans everywhere. What’s the matter, Ailes’ audiences wondered, with Tammy Wynette?

So they tuned into Fox, which made ripping Hillary and other such overeducated, cosmopolitan, family-values-hating Satans a core part of its programming.

But invective, like drugs or tobacco or any other addictive property, is a product of diminishing returns. You have to continually up the ante to get people coming back. So Ailes and Fox over the years graduated from simply hammering Democratic politicians to making increasingly outlandish claims about an ever-expanding list of enemies.

Soon the villains weren’t just in Washington, but under every rock, behind every corner. Immigrants were spilling over the borders. Grades were being denuded in schools by liberal teachers. Marriage was being expanded to gays today, perhaps animals tomorrow. ACORN was secretly rigging vote totals.

Hollywood, a lost paradise Middle America remembered as a place where smooth-talking guys and gals smoked cigarettes, gazed into each others’ eyes and glorified small-town life and the military, now became a sandbox for over-opinionated brats like Sean Penn, Matt Damon and Brangelina who used their fame to pal around with socialist dictators and lecture churchy old folks about their ignorance.

The Fox response was to hire an endless succession of blow-dried, shrieking dingbats like Laura Ingraham, author of Shut Up and Sing, who filled the daytime hours with rants about every conceivable cultural change being the product of an ongoing anti-American conspiracy. Ingraham even derided muffin tops as evidence of America’s decaying values.

Ailes picked at all these scabs, and then when he ran out of real storylines to mine he invented some that didn’t even exist. His Fox was instrumental in helping Donald Trump push the birther phenomenon into being, and elevated the practically nonexistent New Black Panthers to ISIS status, warning Republicans that these would-be multitudinous urban troublemakers were planning on bringing guns to the GOP convention.

The presidency of Donald Trump wouldn’t have been possible had not Ailes raised a generation of viewers on these paranoid storylines. But the damage Ailes did wasn’t limited to hardening and radicalizing conservative audiences.

Ailes grew out of the entertainment world – his first experience was in daytime variety TV via The Mike Douglas Show – but he later advised a series of Republican campaigns, from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush to Trump.

So when he created Fox, he merged his expertise from those two worlds, mixing entertainment and political stagecraft.

The effect was to politicize the media, a characteristic of banana republics everywhere. When Ailes decided to cordon off Republican audiences and craft news programming targeted specifically to them, he began the process of atomizing the entire media landscape into political fiefdoms – Fox for the right, MSNBC for the left, etc.

Ailes trained Americans to shop for the news as a commodity. Not just on the right but across the political spectrum now, Americans have learned to view the news as a consumer product.

What most of us are buying when we tune in to this or that channel or read this or that newspaper is a reassuring take on the changes in the world that most frighten us. We buy the version of the world that pleases us and live in little bubbles where we get to nurse resentments all day long and no one ever tells us we’re wrong about anything. Ailes invented those bubbles.

Moreover, Ailes built a financial empire waving images of the Clintons and the Obamas in front of scared conservatives. It’s no surprise that a range of media companies are now raking in fortunes waving images of Donald Trump in front of terrified Democrats.

It’s not that Trump isn’t or shouldn’t be frightening. But it’s conspicuous that our media landscape is now a perfect Ailes-ian dystopia, cleaved into camps of captive audiences geeked up on terror and disgust. The more scared and hate-filled we are, the more advertising dollars come pouring in, on both sides.

Trump in many ways was a perfect Ailes product, merging as he did the properties of entertainment and news in a sociopathic programming package that, as CBS chief Les Moonves pointed out, was terrible for the country, but great for the bottom line.

And when Ailes died this morning, he left behind an America perfectly in his image, frightened out of its mind and pouring its money hand over fist into television companies, who are gleefully selling the unraveling of our political system as an entertainment product.

The extent to which we hate and fear each other now – that’s not any one person’s fault. But no one person was more at fault than Roger Ailes. He never had a soul to sell, so he sold ours. It may take 50 years or a century for us to recover. Even dictators rarely have that kind of impact. Enjoy the next life, you monster.

You could argue that Ailes never murdered anyone, so how could be have been so terrible? But his conservative political views which FOX News relentlessly promoted killed many thousands of Iraqis in a war that America clearly started and the opposition to gun control enabled the deaths of many Americans due to gun violence over many years.

Ailes’ conservatism must have included sexism, explaining why women would attack him as a harasser of them.

Ironically, this longing of older people for a society like the one they grew up in strikes me as immature, but Ailes and his gang of propaganda ministers fanned the flames of this nonsense, making the process of making America a more inclusive and tolerant society that much longer and more painful than it needed to be.

I remember when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. FOX News responded to this in at least two ways:

  1. It canceled the show “Hannity and Colmes” in which the conservative Shawn Hannity and the liberal Alan Colmes debated each other in every episode, and replaced it with “Hannity” in which the host’s conservative opinions would no longer be challenged.
  2. It hired Glenn Beck, who then became notorious for being an attack dog against Obama, even stooping to telling outright lies about the President.

So much for being “fair and balanced”!

In any case, what goes around comes around. May the hatred that Roger Ailes stirred up constantly through FOX News follow him forever!

Tim LaHaye is no more

Read this news story:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/left-behind-co-author-tim-lahaye-leading-voice-evangelicalism-dies-n616481

‘Left Behind’ Co-Author Tim LaHaye, Leading Voice of Evangelicalism, Dies

Tim LaHaye, an intellectual and popular leader of the evangelical movement whose 16 “Left Behind” novels sold tens of millions of copies, died Monday at age 90 in San Diego following a stroke last week, his ministry and his family said.

The “Left Behind” novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, were enormously popular, crashing mainstream best-seller lists in the 1990s and the 2000s, which until then had been all but unheard of for Christian-themed fiction.

The books, which were based heavily on the Book of Revelation, chronicled the struggles of the unfortunate people “left behind” on Earth after the Second Coming of Jesus and the “Rapture” of believers into Heaven, introducing the frankly apocalyptic theology to a much wider audience.

“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don’t expect to be filled until I see him again,” Jenkins said in a statement Monday.

But the books were only part of the reason the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College named LaHaye the most influential leader in evangelical Christianity in 2001 — ahead of Billy Graham, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.

Falwell, who died in 2007, credited LaHaye with having inspired him to found the Moral Majority in 1979. And in a 2005 interview with Time magazine, Falwell called LaHaye and Jenkins’ “Left Behind” books the most influential Christian body of literature of the 20th century — behind only the Bible itself.

LaHaye also founded San Diego Christian College, 12 Christian secondary schools and the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy at Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.

Among the first departments at San Diego Christian College was the Institute for Creation Research, which branched out as an influential young-Earth creationist research organization in 1972.

In 2005, Time enshrined LaHaye and his wife of almost 70 years, Beverly LaHaye — an evangelical leader in her own right as founder and chairwoman of the powerful conservative political group Concerned Women of America — as “The Christian Power Couple.”

Combined, their books and their radio and TV shows reached hundreds of millions of conservative Christians around the world for more than a quarter-century — and drew sharp criticism from liberal organizations and fellow pastors on the more progressive side of the Christian spectrum.

In 2009, LaHaye famously called President Barack Obama a socialist whose rise to power was possibly a signal of the approach of the End Times.

In an essay Monday in Christianity Today, Jenkins acknowledged that LaHaye was often called “opinionated, polemic, a right-wing conservative fundamentalist — and some will even accuse him of homophobia.”

But “the Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins wrote. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing.

“If Tim was missing from the table at a book signing or the green room of a network television show, he could usually be found in a corner praying with someone he’d just met — from a reader to a bookstore clerk to a TV network anchorman.”

LaHaye’s ministry said that in addition to his wife, he is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

I first heard about Tim LaHaye when I was still a thoroughly brainwashed Southern Baptist and I had the misfortune to pick up and read his book “The Battle for the Mind”, a right-wing extremist diatribe that demonized secular Humanism as a corrupter of  American society. I wasn’t until I attended college and deconverted from Christianity that I realized the truth. I came to see that Humanists were to LaHaye what Jews were to Adolph Hitler and his Nazis; they were scapegoats that Christian bigots could focus their hatred on instead of the spiritual love that Jesus actually taught about.

As for that series of “Left Behind” novels LaHaye co-wrote with Mr. Jenkins, the entire premise behind those books was an outright lie, as I already showed in this blog entry:

Why the Rapture is a bogus concept

And that is why I prefer to call that fraud Tim LaHELL. He was just like Hal Lindsey, another self-styled expert on Bible prophecy no one should take seriously!

 

Another Creationist bigot goes to hell!

At least if there is a hell, there should be a place in it for frauds like this guy:

http://ncse.com/news/2013/03/duane-t-gish-dies-0014753

Duane T. Gish dies

  • March 6th, 2013

The young-earth creationist Duane T. Gish died on March 5, 2013, at the age of 92, according to Answers in Genesis’s obituary. Born on February 17, 1921, in White City, Kansas, he served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater of Operations, attaining the rank of captain. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949, and then a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1953. After a stint as a postdoctoral fellow and then assistant professor of biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, he returned as a researcher to the University of California, Berkeley, from 1956 to 1960, before joining the Upjohn Company as a researcher from 1960 to 1971. In 1971, he became the vice president of the Institute for Creation Research, founded in 1970 by Henry Morris. In 2005, Gish retired, becoming the ICR’s Senior Vice President Emeritus. A prolific writer, his most famous book was Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (Master Books, 1973), entitled in later editions Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (Master Books, 1985) and Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (Master Books, 1995). His most recent book was Letter to a Theistic Evolutionist (ICON, 2012).

But Gish was famous, or notorious, principally on account of his debates with scientists, including such opponents as George Bakken, Kenneth R. Miller, Massimo Pigliucci, Kenneth Saladin, Michael Shermer, and William Thwaites. “If the mild-mannered professorial Morris was the Darwin of the creationist movement,” wrote Ronald L. Numbers in The Creationists (2006), “then the bumptious Gish was its T. H. Huxley.” Gish boasted of having engaged in over three hundred debates. He was certainly a lively debater, whose style involved a rapid delivery of arguments on widely varying topics; his debate style was dubbed the “Gish Gallop” by NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott in 1994. But scientists quickly concluded — in the words of Karl Fezer, writing (PDF) in 1993 — that “Gish will say, with rhetorical flourish and dramatic emphasis, whatever he thinks will serve to maintain, in the minds of his uncritical followers, his image as a knowledgeable ‘creation scientist.’ An essential component is to lard his remarks with technical detail; whether that detail is accurate or relevant or based on unambiguous evidence is of no concern. When confronted with evidence of his own error, he resorts to diversionary tactics and outright denial.”

Creationism, especially the Bible based kind, never had any legitimacy. To understand why, just read this.

The Tragedy of Rodney King

First, read this:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/rodney-king-dead-swimming-pool-160339712.html

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police in 1991 sparked the L.A. riots, was found dead at his California home on Sunday. He was 47.

Police said King’s fiancée discovered him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their Rialto, Calif., home, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.

Police responded to a call at 5:25 a.m., pulled King out of the pool and attempted CPR, but could not revive him.

King’s representative Suzanne Wickman confirmed to his death to KABC-TV. According to TMZ, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, told friends King spent the bulk of Saturday drinking and “smoked marijuana at some point,” before she went to went to bed at 2:00 a.m.

The cause of death is unknown, but police are investigating it as a drowning. Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN there were no preliminary signs of foul play.

King was beaten by four white LAPD officers following a DUI stop on March 3, 1991. Footage captured by an amateur videographer showed the officers hitting King 56 times with wooden batons.

“I just got lucky that night to have the cameras on me,” King said in April, marking the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots. “When I saw the tape, I was so happy that it was on tape and then looking at it, it was like I was in another body. I felt like I had died in that one, and was just watching it.”

The four officers–Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon–were acquitted of criminal charges, sparking the riots that left 55 people dead. (Koon and Powell were later found guilty of federal civil rights charges and sentenced to 30 months in prison.)

In hindsight, it appears that Rodney King was an example of a soul who could not be saved and was doomed to pass away prematurely due to his own failures instead of being able to live a full life. Even so, he had a few good qualities that society should have done a lot more to nurture, instead of treating him like he was disposable.

There was simply no excuse whatsoever for the beating King received from the cops; they were clearly out of control and lawbreakers themselves. So why were they acquitted at the first trial? One reason was because the jury was all white, a racist practice that was all too common in the South, where blacks would be sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, while guilty whites would be exonerated.

Another issue was the misperception that it is better to have a few corrupt and abusive cops on the beat than too few cops to keep order in society. That is simply wrong; I think I’d rather have no cops at all than ANY cops that are themselves criminals and never held accountable for their misdeeds because such corruption can feed on itself to ruin a whole society from within. The riots that broke out resulted from people seeing lawlessness among the cops and in that courtroom and thus thinking, “If they will not uphold the law and promote justice, why should we?!” No, I do not blame them at all!

Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Stacey Koon, if they are still alive, should never work for any police force ever again, nor should any cop caught being so abusive. And no jury involved in a case involving a black person and white people should be of one racial makeup!

Andrew Breitbart is Dead

Conservative media activist and trickster Andrew Breitbart died today at the age of 43. As far as I’m concerned,  that was simply justice after all the contemptible lies he told using media manipulation to advance his right-wing agenda, which I see as itself dishonorable. He was even responsible for the unjustified downfall of ACORN shortly after Barack Obama became President, which ACORN had helped get elected.

I think we need to do what we can to either reestablish ACORN or replace it with a simular organization. I only regret that Breitbart will not live to see that happen. But there are plenty of other Republican bigots out there we can seek to punish! Their day of reckoning will come if we just have enough backbone to go after them and make them pay!

Osama Bin Ladin is no more.

After nearly ten years of hysteria over what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 (9-11), we finally killed the terrorist leader who was behind it. Some thoughts on that:

  1. We were fighting a war on Al-Quida, which is not a nation state. Wars normally end when an enemy nation’s capital is conquered and its leadership is captured or killed. But Al-Quida has no capital and anyone could rise to be its leader in the future. Even Bin Ladin’s death will not end the War on Terrorism; it will only end when the American people stand up and DEMAND that their government end it. That should start happening NOW!
  2. Bush Jr could have gotten Bin Ladin six or seven years earlier if he had not diverted resources from the campaigns in Afghanistan to fighting Iraq over claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that turned out to be total falsehoods.
  3. Indeed, the simple fact that the dictatorships of both Tunisia and Egypt were brought down by popular revolts means that attempts to overthrow a government from the outside is illegitimate if that government is not even at war with other states. The Iraq War that started in 2003 was a criminal act of  aggression by the United States. If any other nation had pulled such a stunt against a weaker rival, it would have been seen from the start as opportunistic imperialism. Why should America be given a free pass to be so hypocritical?
  4. We still have dozens of prisoners at Gitmo. Those that have not been charged with any crimes should be released immediately and sent back to their home countries. There is no excuse for holding such people without scheduling trials for them all. That is simply not the American way.