Sean Hannity

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Politics is a fluid business but never have more Americans learned to swim in unfamiliar waters than over the last year when, for instance, evangelicals accommodated their faith to the white-supremacist stylings of a debauched casino dealer and serial groom.

Sean Hannity likewise had an opportunistic apostasy. Judging by his past remarks about Bill Clinton, the Fox opinion-giver hated accused sexual predators until, that is, he met Donald Trump and Julian Assange, and now it is love sweet love.

Hannity, who previously called for Assange’s arrest, just interviewed the leaker, who’s become a darling of the far-right wing of the GOP, currently the overwhelmingly dominant faction. That he conducted the conversation in support of a President-Elect who trashed our POWs and encouraged Russia to hack our campaign is the U.S.A. reaching a degree of next-level nuttiness. 

Trump has only doubled down on his Putin-pumping comments since the election, trashing the D.C. intelligence community and discouraging hearings on the Kremlin’s machinations in regard to our democracy. Someone with a degree of sense must have cornered him, as the soon-to-be Commander-in-Chief has backed off his troubling statements for the moment, but his stance is established, the damage done and the future clear: The President-Elect will continue to attack truth and facts of all kind because nihilism, not clarity, favors him.

The opening of a well-written Politico piece by former CIA analyst Aki Peritz:

We are through the looking glass now.

The next president of the United States is siding with Julian Assange, a man who wears his anti-Americanism proudly and acts like the textbook definition of a Russian asset, over the U.S. intelligence community – thousands of smart, patriotic people who work long hours for middling pay, some risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe.

I was once one of them, and I can only imagine how my former colleagues are feeling now. Never in our history has a U.S. president openly chosen to trust the word of a foreign adversary ahead of his own analysts.

Never, that is, until Donald Trump—who last night began a series of astonishing tweets expressing skepticism about U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia had hacked into Democratic Party institutions.

“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday,” Trump began, “perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” He followed up this morning with some positive vibes about Fox News’ Sean Hannity puff interview with Assange, including this gem: “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”

And he’s gotten support or silence from far too many Republican members of Congress, including New York Rep. Peter King, who suggested last month that “some rogue person behind a desk somewhere” had leaked the CIA’s conclusions to influence the Electoral College.

As Trump himself might say, something’s going on here.•

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Not having a television makes it easier to live outside the idiot broadcast and cable news culture populated by loudmouths like Sean Hannity, who looks like the equipment manager of a lacrosse team that’s been suspended for hazing, and Chuck Fucking Todd, who announced that the President’s administration was “over” when there were still three full years to go. The important work continues apace despite what that sputtering Van Dyke says. The opening of “Obama’s Moonshot Probes the Space Inside Our Skulls,” Anjana Ahuja’s Financial Times piece:

“Every president needs a blockbuster science project to crown his time in the White House. While John Kennedy reached for the stars, Barack Obama decided to reach for the synapses. A year on from his pledge to unravel the secrets of the human brain, researchers are beginning to spell out how they will tackle this challenge.

The breathtaking implications of the research are also becoming clear; within a generation science may acquire the power to predict a person’s future capacities and possibly determine their life chances. The central idea of Mr Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative is to understand how the human brain choreographs all the astonishing feats it pulls off. It is the seat of learning and the organ of memory. It generates our character and identity, and influences our behaviour. It is our brains, more than anything else, that make us who we are today – and shape who we will become.

But that neural versatility acts as a veil. How does the squidgy, three-pound lump between your ears – filled with nerve cells (neurons) firing tiny impulses of electricity across junctions called synapses – accomplish such a wide array of functions? Research grants announced this month shed light on how Mr Obama’s vaunted cerebral exploration will proceed. One avenue will be to catalogue the differences between healthy neurons and diseased ones. This will spur research into neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which cast a shadow over ageing societies.”

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Ted Nugent: Tough guy who loves guns, requested a draft deferment during Vietnam. (Image by Lenny Francioni.)

Ted Nugent: I’ve been 61 years clean and sober, celebrating the American Dream, simply of being the best that you can be.

Decoder: The best I can be is an immature, miserable jackass. I know, not great, right?

Ted Nugent: Everybody I hang with–the ranchers, the farmers, the cops, the teachers, the plumbers…

Decoder: I’d like to establish my working-class bona fides.

Ted Nugent: …everybody I hang with, they got an alarm clock…

Decoder: Or they’d be late for functions. Although some people have an internal alarm clock. It’s kind of spooky.

Ted Nugent: …they put their heart and soul into being the very best that they can be, they want to be an asset to their families, their neighborhoods, they want to be productive members of society.

Decoder: I’m romanticizing people who agree with me on issues, artificially empowering my arguments. Most people have good and bad sides.

Ted Nugent: And then they see an Administration that is spitting on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule.

Decoder: Of course, I may be judging this President with some prejudice since in 2007 I said, “Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun.”

Dr. Martin Luther King: If you own a crossbow, do not quote me. (Image by Dick MeMarsico.)

Ted Nugent: I’m going to quote my hero, Dr. Martin Luther King: “We who engage in non-violent direct action are not the cause of tension but rather bringing to the surface a tension that already exists.”

Decoder: I want to criticize the first African-American President broadly and unfairly, so I’m going to claim Martin Luther King as my hero to preempt any suspicion that I’m motivated by racism. It’s an especially curious move since I’ve been a guest on the pro-white radio program, The Political Cesspool.

Ted Nugent: We, the Tea Partiers, we are the people who are speaking up.

Decoder: We’ve been speaking up ever since an African-American guy got to be President. We were strangely silent about corruption in Washington before then.

Ted Nugent: The government works for us, they’re absolutely out of control. The Tea Party and what you stand for, Sean, and what I stand for is one big “A” word–accountability. That’s our money. At least be honest with us.

Decoder: Except if you’re going to honestly point out that I enjoyed being a 13-year-old boy so much that I stayed there the rest of my life. I can’t handle that kind of honesty.

More Decoders:

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Sarah Palin: Hunted for that fur at Neiman Marcus.

Sean Hannity: Now if protesters actually sat down to read the [Arizona immigration] law they would find that racial profiling is explicitly prohibited.

Decoder: Seems odd then that so many ultraconservatives–Karl Rove among them–think the law is unconstitutional.

Sarah Palin: And shame on the lamestream media again for turning this (Arizona immigration law) into something that it is not.

Decoder: Like when I tried to turn health-care reform into an argument about “death panels.”

Sarah Palin: I wish that our President would stand so strong and proud under one Constitution reminding America that we are all one America. We are all in this together. And instead of dividing, according to demographic or race or gender.

Decoder: I spent most of the Presidential campaign trying to appeal to what I called “the real America,” which was incredibly divisive.

Sarah Palin: We rattle them when we talk to these liberal elites about what it is that most Americans believe in.

Decoder: Oh, and that sounds pretty divisive, too.

Sean Hannity: Equipment manager for the lacrosse team.

Sean Hannity: You know, look, I watched with fascination and almost bewilderment, the attacks on the Tea Party Movement. Look, I’ve experienced a lot of this throughout my career. I — look, I’m on the air four hours a day, I can take it but to attack citizens that are just expressing that they think government is too big, our debt is out of control, and we’re on the wrong path on national security, seems bewildering to me.

Decoder: I am bewildered because I’m ignoring the racist overtones, the violence-laced language and the people comparing Obama to Hitler.

Sarah Palin: Yes, the President is looking for cover to allow him to break yet another campaign promise that he would not increase taxes.

Decoder: Although he actually seems to have stuck to all of his campaign promises so far. And my hero, Ronald Reagan, who explicitly promised “no new taxes,” raised them six times.

Sarah Palin: I’m sick and tired of hearing about Obama and the White House coming out with yet another crisis that has to be fixed by government, sticking it to the people and taking more of what we earn and produce.

Decoder: Middle-class taxes are at near-historic lows.

Sarah Palin: They’re, you know, community organizers. They’ve been spending other people’s money for so long that I think a lot of the free-enterprise principles that so many of us believe in, it’s all foreign to them.

Decoder: I will continue to mock people who help poor communities. I want them to feel a great sense of shame for trying to bring some hope to downtrodden neighborhoods. They deserve abuse from a highly paid celebrity loudmouth like me.

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