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Hannity Warns Against Surveillance State He Helped Create

By: Hannipocrisy Tuesday December 4, 2012 8:30 pm
police-state

Hannity objects to police state if Democrats are in the White House

Years behind the left and groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Sean Hannity is just now beginning to complain about the the government being too intrusive. Hannity pretended today not to know the government is already collecting our calls and emails, but he was in a snit to hear that Democrats have proposed new telecommunications rules that would require providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and others to retain text messages for two years in case they are needed by law enforcement.

Hannity erroneously suggested this could violate our First Amendment rights (he surely meant the Fourth Amendment) but the idea he would suddenly be alarmed at the invasion of privacy rights is baldly hypocritical because Hannity helped usher in these changes throughout the War on Terror.

From the Patriot Act to the AUMF and hair-trigger invocation of War Powers, our rights have been steadily eroded since President Bush made bold moves to prevent a second terrorist attack on his watch. Hannity cheered these moves along, like a weasel in pom poms. Hannity supported Bush wholeheartedly in December 2005 when we found the NSA was conducting a massive warrantless surveillance operation in direct violation of the FISA law meant to prevent abusive Nixon-style eavesdropping.

Here is stunning video of Hannity going far beyond his tacit everyday support for Bush’s controversial NSA surveillance program by ignoring the issue and suppressing debate or dissent. In the 2006 clip, Hannity actually tells Dick Cheney he is surprised the country is divided over the Patriot Act and the NSA surveillance, asking Cheney if he is as surprised Americans don’t just roll over for it all.

Per Bush’s former press secretary, Hannity was “helpful” as Karl Rove and the Office of Strategic Initiatives sought to dupe the public with color coded terror alerts, false threats of imminent attacks and daily fear mongering for over a decade. Bush’s ham-handed response to 9-11 clearly traded civil liberties for greater security – but reports flooded in of government infiltration of everything from eco-activism groups to senior sewing circles.

Hannity was the PR arm of the Bush administration, “selling” war, terror and fear to the public every single day with provably wrong claims and according to Scott McClellan, undisclosed White House-provided propaganda:

Matthews: So, you wouldn’t use Brit Hume to sell stuff for them, but you’d use some of the night time guys?

McClellan: Yeah, I would separate that out, and certainly I, you know, they’ll say, that’s because they agree with those views in the White House.

[...]

Matthews: Did you see FOX television as a tool when you were in the White House? As a useful avenue to get your message out?

McClellan: I make a distinction between the journalists and the commentators. Certainly there were commentators and other, pundits at FOX News, that were useful to the White House. [...] That was something we at the White House, yes, were doing, getting them talking points and making sure they knew where we were coming from.

Matthews: So you were using these commentators as your spokespeople.

McClellan: Well, certainly.

Notably, Bill O’Reilly, the top “night time guy” at Fox made it a point to insist he had NOT received talking points from the White House, demanding an apology from Scott McClellan. But more notably, Hannity did not.

Suddenly, following the 2012 election, seeking arguments to weaken President Obama, Hannity seems to be taking up the cause of our privacy rights. As Hannity has tried to push the economic collapse of the economy that happened under Bush off onto Obama, we now see Hannity trying to paint Obama as the fearsome Big Brother, rather than Bush’s “Brother” who inherited and embraced the surveillance programs.

Particularly following the abrupt ruin of the career of CIA Director David Petraeus in discovery of embarrassing email correspondence, Hannity seems to just recently have found religion on this – or perhaps a healthy paranoia.

Though it’s never too late to join the bandwagon of citizens who actually understand the US Constitution’s guarantees of individual privacy, it’s lame for Hannity to whimper about this now, now after saying nothing about tens of thousands of improperly issued National Security Letters, illegal surveillance of innocent Muslims in NJ or the Department of Defense illegally spying on Planned Parenthood and peace groups.

Hannity knows we lost important civil liberties long ago. But now facing four more years of Obama, now facing the fact that authorities have every email he (and everyone else) is sending, he is getting a little worried.

Hannity is right that retention of our texts is disturbing – it’s illegal, it’s immoral and wastes taxpayer resources. But where the hell was Hannity when these same companies turned over private phone records to the feds? Where was he when they got retroactive immunity despite widespread outcry? Where was Hannity when NSA whistleblowers went public with the details of the mega-macro-data collection operation called Stellar Wind?

Hannity was nowhere, because he was helping Karl Rove and George Bush strip our privacy rights away under fake threats of terror strikes from Iraq and radical Islamist sleeper cells. But just like on immigration, Hannity has had another post-election loss flip-flop.

 

Hannity’s Years of Lies Hurt Middle Class Taxpayers

By: Hannipocrisy Friday December 9, 2011 2:57 pm

hannityo-matic
Sean Hannity has been for years claiming that tax breaks giving extra-sweet low rates to the rich have been necessary to create jobs. This has brought economic debate in DC to a head, particularly following the failure of the Supercommittee to find any agreement after Republican members insisted on preserving tax breaks for the wealthy.

Obama in a recent speech in Kansas has finally commented on “trickle down”, saying “It doesn’t work. It’s never worked.” So today, Republican leaders in the House and Senate were asked to provide examples of the job-creating millionaires that have been the recipient of government lovin’ for a decade.

The GOP could not point to any. It turns out, the entire program has been a disasterous, debt-exploding lie. In fact, the businesses that have been creating and maintaining jobs in the US have almost all fallen under the threshold for the Bush Tax Cuts. Only 1% of businesses that create jobs have qualified for the Bush cuts, the rest all going to wealthy money-hoarders who never deserved it.

This has been the long term result of listening to or trusting broadcaster Sean Hannity, whose claims are never openly vetted for the public interest, rather are broadcast in a right-wing echo chamber in which the callers and guests all agree with the host and articuate liberal callers are “screened out”.

We provided proof here that showed Hannity was lying about jobs and tax cuts based on 2009 data, but the same conclusion was reached more recently when the Washington Post analyzed a 2011 report issued by the US Treasury. The data consistently showed that 98-99% of business that produce things and create jobs do not qualify for the Bush Tax cuts.

NPR went looking for the millionaire job-creators this week and found no one. Since these cuts have been taking hundreds of billions out of the economy since 2001, it’s added a terrible strain onto states and middle class taxpayer to make up the shortfall. Budgets were cut, firehouses were shuttered, class sizes were increased, hospitals closed, jobs were lost. But because it was based on a lie (these tax cuts are needed because the millionaires make the jobs), it’s time now to be reclaimed with interest and to hold the liars accountable.

Despite being wrong in claiming the US ever needed to invade Iraq, despite being easily proven wrong in his economic claims, Sean Hannity still eludes accountability. Over all these years, his real aim has been to personally save hundreds of thousands via the Bush Tax Cuts while the middle class has struggled – and to steer spending towards war profiteers.

These have been our country’s most important issues, with both the Iraq war and the tax cuts for the rich adding over $1.7 trillion to the debt our children will have to pay, as Hannity’s children inherit tens of millions.

Hannity is still the biggest radio broadcaster in his time slot. But after burning Americans on Iraq and the economy, he really needs to cite data when he makes claims. My suggestion is to go to a format of open debate, using informed, articulate parties from both sides live on the air. This would at last fulfill Hannity’s legal requirement to serve the public interest, which we see over a period of many years, he has not served.

Below, check out a video of Hannity’s show repeatedly lying, baselessly calling #OWS protesters “morons” and “idiots” while incredibly claiming Rupert Murdoch and the Kochs have no involvement in Wall Street! As the fact-checking shows, they have little care about offering any evidence for claims of incredible economic consequence.

Middle Class Caller To Hannity: You Don’t Care About Us

By: Hannipocrisy Tuesday November 29, 2011 8:40 pm

Tues Nov 29, 2011

Today a caller from New Jersey complained to Sean Hannity that he is no longer on the side of the middle class, no longer looking out for firemen, cops, teachers. Hannity said he used to be a middle class person, and that all his friends are middle class people. The caller said he wasn’t buying it because Hannity is so chummy with guys like Donald Trump and Chris Christie.

Hannity maintained he doesn’t hang out with the people he interviews, but that he does often attend events with them. He said that he hangs out at tennis courts with other parents, not Bar-B-Q’s at the Governor’s mansion.

Then Hannity said that the public should rely on rich people buying goods and services to help keep us employed. He asked the caller, who was a fireman married to a teacher, specifically what policy was bugging him. The caller said that this year he and his wife would be seeing more money coming out of his check as part of increased contributions to pensions and health coverage.

Hannity told the caller “welcome to reality”, saying this is how it is in the real world, where private sector workers traditionally contribute more out-of-pocket towards their benefits than state workers.

The caller had his volume squelched and was ultimately hung up on, so Hannity seemed as though he had made the superior argument. But Hannity neglected to mention that Governor Christie had actually carved out special tax breaks for millionaires who threatened to leave the state, enriching top earners as the working class struggle to get by on less.

Hannity basically told the fireman to stop whining about his loss in pay and benefits because the state is catering to the rich so they won’t threaten moving away and so the middle class can be lucky enough to serve them as they spend money.

This is of course, completely disprovable, utter horseshit – the middle class is what spurs real growth in spending, the rich have been hoarding money and both Hannity and Christie are regular attendees of events planned by secretive multibillionaire sugar daddies such as the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation.

Cross-posted from Hannipocrisy Daily Archives.

One Percenter Hannity Again Saying #OWS Hates Jews

By: Hannipocrisy Friday November 11, 2011 9:27 am

Hannity Claims Anti-Semites Constitute Significant Portions of OWS Crowds
Hannity and Joe Lieberman Lie About Extent of OWS Anti-Semitism and Lawlessness
On Wednesday Sean Hannity began an interview with CT Sen. Joe Lieberman describing the Occupy Wall Street movement as “taken over” by rapists, drug dealers, nudists and “tons” of anti-Semites. Hannity’s wording suggests these undesirables set the direction of the movement, influenced others or gained traction which is provably false and was debunked over a week ago point by point by CBS, the NY Times and the ADL.

Hannity ironically bemoans the bias in other media, while he remains our country’s worst offender, replaying audio from a handful of anti-Semitic protesters and lying about their proportions. These flakes were only seen fleetingly at #OWS protests out of tens of thousands in the streets worldwide protesting income disparity, pay-for-play in economic policy and criminal corruption.

Hannity’s other complaints are similarly unfounded. Women won the legal right to go topless in NYC long ago by court ruling. Hannity’s concerns about weed dealers should take him instead to Washington Square Park or The Central Park Bandshell where it’s common and far more prevalent.

Even the rapists preying on OWS protesters have been limited isolated incidents. Worthy of mention perhaps, Hannity and his co-workers at the NY Post falsely described the problem as endemic or widespread, an utter lie designed to shock, sensationalize and smear the victims.

Hannity knows he loses if he talks substantively about economic policy so he wants his audience befuddled with complaints about littering or bongo noise. Many protest signs at OWS have begun to address the media’s propaganda problem, where worker bees like Hannity still support the indefensible policies of the 1% that ruined our economy.

Hannity has been reusing the same audio of anti-Semites at Occupy sites for weeks, deceiving his audience by misrepresenting their numbers, even after his exaggerations were publicly debunked.

Sen. Lieberman piled on too, saying the OWS movement had some justifiable concerns in the beginning, but it was being “destroyed” because of the radical element Hannity describes. This too is a shameless lie – in fact the Occupy movement is growing and spreading. The site Collective Disorder has been quantifying OWS popularity by counting Facebook ‘likes’, which increased about a quarter million more in the last two weeks, now approaching two and a half million.

Marches in NY and CA have topped 10,000 but the global sites’ ongoing 24-7 occupations show the level of personal sacrifice and stamina that sparked change in the Arab Spring unlike any war, sanctions or diplomacy or government policy ever could.

The OccupyWallSt.org website averages 400,000 hits per day, making it one of the web’s most popular destinations, growing along with related sites, net searches and Twitter trends. Media sites from Mother Jones to Breitbart.org have been giving it constant attention for good or for ill.

Hannity Complains About Political Payola That He Is Deeply Involved In

On Monday, convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff visited Hannity’s radio show to confirm what we already knew well – that Congress has been bought and paid for, but that Abramoff personally had aides from over 100 Congressional offices “in his pocket” and doing his bidding.

The exchange was a bit surreal because Hannity is currently being paid by the Heritage Foundation as he skews the news everyday. Hannity showed make-pretend concern as Abramoff explained how donations and perks translated into favorable policies for his clients at the highest levels of our government.

Hannity neatly shifted the discussion from DC to Democrats in particular, and neglected to mention that he has Karl Rove on his show weekly but never brought up his ties to Abramoff. Hannity has also hosted Ralph Reed, John Cornyn, David Vitter, Dennis Hastert and Eric Cantor on his show, as well as Conrad Burns who was a recipient of donations from Hannity’s boss. All of these Hannity’s guests have been tied to Abramoff’s “web of corruption“, yet were given a platform by Hannity and remain undiscussed after Abramoff’s admissions of guilt.

Hannity conveniently forgot that he had supported and defended Jack Abramoff’s corrupt friends-in-high-places throughout the period in question, most notably Tom DeLay, who is currently on bail appealing his three year money-laundering conviction in the same scandal. Hannity wrote the foreword in DeLay’s 2007 book.

Instead, Hannity selectively pivoted to the appearance of impropriety in the Obama administration’s Solyndra scandal, essentially a sweetheart contract awarded to a huge Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser (who progressive media had first reported on even before Solyndra declared bankruptcy).

“I’ve Got Hannity In My Back Pocket”
Don’t forget that during the 2010 senatorial campaign in Virginia, Christine O’Donnell bragged she had Hannity “in her back pocket” and could go on his show anytime to raise money. Interestingly, Hannity mentioned that Abramoff’s book describes Newt Gingrich as “clean”, the one guy that Abramoff couldn’t corrupt, a ringing endorsement of a current presidential candidate coming from a bought-off propagandist and a convicted felon trying to rehab credibility. Gingrich was in fact deeply embroiled in check-kiting scandals and much more.

We know everyone from John Boehner to Bill Clinton has been exposed in donation scandals, but it is immoral and hypocritical of Hannity to project fake outrage over Abramoff’s revelations because his bosses at News Corp have been donating millions to favored candidates even as they have been reporting on elections, supporting their campaigns editorially, helping them raise money from listeners and denying their opponents air time.

Hannity’s talk radio show is the #1 vehicle for promoting Conservative candidates in the country on radio, a valuable “perk”, and a conflict of interest worthy of a probe into the legality of electioneering over public airwaves.

Related: Latest Slander: OWS Anti-Semitism “Rampant”, “Almost All Over the Nation”

Latest Slander: OWS Anti-Semitism “Rampant”, “Almost All Over the Nation”

By: Hannipocrisy Thursday October 27, 2011 8:01 pm

propagandawar

Fox and Newsbusters claim the lack of media coverage of Anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street is due to media bias, while showing even worse bias and utter hypocrisy. Fox, News Corp and others have characterized about three or four anti-Semites seen at protests as somehow representative of the views of a significant number of protesters without a shred of evidence this is the case.

Today News Corp employee Sean Hannity began his show by citing smears published by other News Corp employees, saying the anti-Semitism at Occupy sites had spread “almost all over the nation”.

Fox’s pattern of using it’s own propaganda to pretend stories are “widening” has been exposed before, but it’s back – trying to attack OWS as Hannity cites the NY Post, another News Corp property .

As CBS News explained, incidences of anti-Semitism were hard to find, while Jews were well represented among the protesters, including large Occupy protests in Israel.

What had increased was right wing exploitation of the rarest of incidences. Online, we found a total of five signs documented, one of which was a tiny scrawling on a board and the other three were similar “Google Jews” signs all in the same handwriting. Another video containing audio of one anti-semitic comment and the same few signs were shown in a slickly-produced video complaining about anti-Israel “mobs”. Armed with little more than this, Bill Kristol’s special interest group called on Obama to denounce OWS.

Hannity Flip Flops After Finding Common Ground With #OWS Protesters

By: Hannipocrisy Thursday October 6, 2011 8:15 pm

Hanniflop
Discussing #OccupyWallStreet, Hannity asked an arrested protester Thursday if he opposes Obama allowing access to major campaign bundlers in apparent exchange for a sweetheart federal contract in the Solyndra scandal.

The caller said he did oppose Obama and the “incestuous relationship” between government and their contributors. When donors fund a political campaign, they force the politician to repay the favor. The caller shared an analogy, saying his parents got him his first car, but then forced him to buy groceries with it every week.

Hannity agreed, saying “perfect!” and remarked “you have made the most sense out of any of the protesters we’ve spoken to” (Hannity spent the week playing clips of the least articulate #ows protesters he could find). The caller told Hannity there were many anti-Obama protesters in the crowd, including Republicans.

After finding out the caller was a transgender person, Hannity told him “you seem like a nice guy”.

Hannity later asked “Grim”, a different #ows protester, if she opposed Obama’s apparent pay-for-play in the Solyndra scandal. She admitted both parties and “all politicians” were part of a broken, corrupt system, acknowledging she opposed Obama on the point.

Hearing from another protester that the #ows movement was equally critical of Obama as “corporatist” Republicans, what came next showed a sad side of Hannity’s job – having to contradict yourself in front of the whole world when your boss sends in new talking points.

Stuart Varney Contradicts Hannity With Fiery Anti-Obama Talking Points – So Hannity Agrees
Describing the Obama speech today, Fox’s Stuart Varney brought in some fresh propaganda, saying Obama “associated very closely” with #ows, trying to “co-opt” them and “reach out” and “almost lead them” as he “converted those protesters on Wall Street into his own shock troops”.

Varney also said the protesters were “dissidents”, “clowns”, “ne’er do wells” and “communists”. He wondered out loud if the protesters will “go after” Steve Jobs, a billionaire capitalist.

Hannity stood by in agreement, saying Varney, along with Neil Cavuto, was the most knowledgeable guest he knows on business matters.

Even though he had identified and had just interviewed anti-Obama factions in #ows, Hannity flipflopped on command as Varney connected Obama to the #ows movement. That’s what folks call a “company man” – loyally helping push the bossman’s propaganda, no matter how obvious or false it may be. Hannity tacked on, saying “the abusive practices that got us into this problem” were the Democrat-connected Fannie and Freddie, after he had already agreed the crisis was bipartisan gladhanding.

Hannity must have momentarily forgot who pulls his strings and who provides his political payola.

“Perfect” Callers Pile Attacks On #OWS Protesters
Directly following Varney, a call came in from Annette in Tulsa, claiming to be a mother of a protester who said her daughter went to protests years ago but she didn’t know what she was protesting. The clear-voiced, well-enunciating “midwest mom” said her daughter was going off because it was exciting and “romantic” to go off and protest. She said buses were being provided by unspecified organizers who told the daughter they would bail her out if she was arrested, provide her with materials and talking points.

Annette wanted to plant doubt in listeners minds that #ows is real and grassroots. Hannity agreed, saying “such a good point”, but it was strange a “mom” would call his show, syndicated onto over 425 stations, to embarrass and sneer at her own daughter on the radio for being an ill-informed, gullible pawn of sinister liberals.

Her anecdote also planted a clever inception – she said none of the kids in her daughter’s group ever internalized any of the talking points and all sound like a deer in the headlights as soon as anyone put a camera in their face. So when Hannity listeners hear the inarticulate #ows kids speak, they will assume they are blank-eyed puppets.

The very next caller “Shelby” told Hannity #ows protesters are “unproductive” and they survive on hand outs, noting teacher unions are joining and they just don’t understand that without capitalists to provide jobs, nobody will have jobs. She said we are vilifying the people that are creating the jobs, the people that support a tax code that allows people who don’t work to survive. Hannity agreed, then suddenly got all “homespun”:

Hannity: Such a great point, how old is your daughter?
Shelby: She’s six.
Hannity: Oh wow, that’s such a great age…what does she like to do?
Shelby: She likes to ride her bike.
Hannity: That’s amazing!

Hannity Lying: Small Businesses Not Helped By Bush Tax Cuts

By: Hannipocrisy Friday September 23, 2011 8:20 am

99-taxcuts
Sean Hannity continually says the rich pay an inordinate portion of the overall tax burden, claiming 50% of us pay nothing and .1% of earners pay 20% of the total. If true, it’s only because US wealth disparity has grown, along with unemployment and poverty as rich folks enjoyed steady double digit growth. The Bush cuts have not changed under Obama, so it’s yet another indicator the unfunded cuts were ill-conceived.

Hannity believes the rich are already paying more than their share, but Warren Buffett reminds us that middle class people pay a higher percentage of their income because they don’t pay capital gains rates, they don’t hire accountants and attorneys, they don’t exploit loopholes like offshoring and they don’t hide assets as often as the rich.

This week, a caller who earns $30K per year protested Hannity’s insinuation that the rest of us don’t work hard or pay enough. Hannity then lied to him, saying “I’m in the same boat” not once but twice before backpedaling and acknowledging he used to be one of us but today is exceedingly wealthy, personally pocketing hundreds of thousands extra every year the Bush tax cuts are extended.

The rich pay more of the overall burden because they have more of the wealth and Hannity wouldn’t have it any other way. The Heritage Foundation which pays Hannity to read talking points admits on it’s website “[t]he tax cuts shifted even more of the income tax burden toward the rich.”

Hannity Censors Calls, Denies Airtime

By: Hannipocrisy Wednesday September 21, 2011 7:34 pm

"less hannity, more sanity" by eleanor ryan on flickr

"less hannity, more sanity" by eleanor ryan on flickr

Hannity Says Ahmadinijhad Wants To Wipe “United States Off The Face Of The Earth”
Vexed By Ron Paul Supporter, Hannity Cowers From Substantive Debate, Bullies and Lies

Audio here shows specifically how Hannity operates to shut callers down and hustle them off the air, paint them as crazy and claim they are unreasonable, even if they are making perfect sense.

Hear the caller Joe today suggest that America brought attacks onto itself by interfering in Muslim countries. Hannity interrupts and heckles him, refuses to discuss it on the merits, and forces Joe into a series of yes or no questions that inevitably lead back to his own talking point. No longer a fringe view, GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul is making this a major campaign issue, and had discussed the exact same idea with Hannity in April 2011, saying US troops based in Saudi Arabia caused “blowback” as terror strikes.

Listen to Hannity bully, cut off and talk over Joe when he brings up the large defense contractors. Hannity mocks Joe and reflexively asks “do you think evil exists today?” Joe astutely points out that the US has supported many evil, brutal dictators – including Saddam Hussein. Again, Hannity cuts him off and talks over him, remarking he was “going off in a hundred different directions” when he actually was right on topic, answering Hannity’s question by saying yes, evil exists today but in part, it’s our own leaders!

Hannity then demonstrates Godwin’s Law, saying Ahmadinijhad is equivalent to Hitler. [Note: Hannity uses a mistranslation of the Iranian president's statement, "the Israeli regime will fade from the map" somehow distorting it into "Iran will nuke Israel". This is absurd, as Israel is a nuclear power, Iran would be assuring it's own destruction. Mistranslated on purpose, it has been thoroughly debunked but Hannity still puts stock into this distortion every single day].