Donald Trump Dines With Fox News Boss: Just Two Billionaire Plutocrats Chewing The Fat?

While in Scotland pimping his golf course and making idiotic statements about the United Kingdom quitting the European Union (#Brexit), Donald Trump set aside time to meet with the patriarch of the Fox News empire, Rupert Murdoch, for dinner. The dinner date was reported by Katy Tur of NBC in deliciously snarky tweet: “His eyes twinkling and a smile cracking his lips, Trump slowly mouthed the word Ruu-Pert when he told me he was dining with @rupertmurdoch.” (Cue the violins).

Donald Trump

Under other circumstances this might be just another opportunity for a couple of wealthy elitists to chow down and laugh at the tribulations of the little people. But, make no mistake, what happened here is unprecedented and ominous. The extraordinary nature of this high society supper becomes apparent by asking a couple of simple questions: 1) What other presidential candidate has Murdoch met with during this campaign? (None). And 2) What other media mogul has dined with any presidential candidate during this campaign? (None).

It is unseemly for anyone in the news business to have such cozy relations with candidates for high office. And it is particularly sleazy when those relations are blatantly one-sided. The “journalists” who work for Murdoch are keenly aware that their boss is signaling his preferences and that can have a chilling effect on how their reporting is conducted. Fox News is already heavily slanted with a starkly pro-Trump, anti-Clinton bias. By making such a public display of partisanship, Murdoch is making matters worse by dropping the full weight of his authority onto the weak-willed minions he employees.

Murdoch’s opinion of Trump has not always been so positive. Last year Murdoch tweeted this question that is still relevant today: “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?” Without ever answering that question, Murdoch let it be known that he is supporting Trump anyway. And he must have struggled mightily with that endorsement considering how fiercely Trump has maligned Fox News over the course of his campaign.

For example, Trump has burned just about everyone on the network. He said of Megyn Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network. And for good measure, Trump took a swipe at the Fox family’s newspaper saying that the writers at the Wall Street Journal are also “dummies.”

I can’t argue with much of that, but then I’m not coming out in support of someone who has been so disparaging toward my most cherished business enterprise. Murdoch either has the forgiveness of a saint (unlikely), or he is so obsessed with defeating his good friend Hillary Clinton that he is willing to ignore these childish tantrums and embrace Trump, warts and all. There is one other intriguing possibility: Trump has some damaging information on Murdoch, Roger Ailes, or Fox News generally, and is blackmailing them. That would explain a lot.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In any case, it remains inappropriate for a media mogul Big Cheese to be feasting with The Big Cheeto. Their secret conversation is of far greater concern than anything that might have been said by Clinton in a speech to Wall Street. The potential for coordinating a media strategy between Fox News and the Trump campaign should make every American suspicious – and not a little nervous.

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Chickenhawk Republican Climate Deniers Just Killed Critical Military Funding

The Republican Party has distinguished itself for its shameless, knee-jerk opposition to anything with even a faint fragrance of liberalism. Their robotic rejection of any policy proposed by President Obama, or any other Democrat, is evidence of their acute aversion to critical thinking – or thinking period. And now they may have demonstrated that their assholiness even extends to weakening America’s national security.

Chickenhawk GOP

The Pentagon has long regarded Climate Change as a credible risk factor for international affairs. It is predicted that it will cause more severe natural disasters like hurricanes and drought, and multiplying refugee crises. All of this will profoundly increase the sort global tensions and conflict for which the United States must be prepared.

In response to these risks the Pentagon implemented a strategy (Department of Defense Directive 4715.21) for dealing with the consequences of a warming world. It was a fairly innocuous plan that mainly called for assigning specific people the responsibility of insuring that necessary measures were being taken to address potential problems. But even that plan was too much for the anti-science GOP, as reported by Politico:

“Last week, however, House Republicans voted to block it. By a 216-205 vote Thursday, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the department from spending money to put its new plan into effect. Not a single Democrat voted for the amendment, which was attached to the defense spending bill.”

The amendment was authored by Colorado Republican Ken Buck, who has no experience in either science or the military. His ignorance on the subject led to a defense of his amendment that makes little sense:

“The military, the intelligence community [and] the domestic national security agencies should be focused on ISIS and not on climate change. The fact that the president wants to push a radical green energy agenda should not diminish our ability to counter terrorism. […] The president has talked about an increase in the climate temperature on the planet. It is a fraction of a degree every year. How that is a current threat to us is beyond me.”

Indeed, this entire subject is beyond Rep. Buck. Apparently he thinks that the Defense Department, with 3.1 million employees and a budget of more $600 billion is incapable of concentrating on more than one thing at a time. Buck also believes that being prepared to respond to future military threats is part of a “radical green agenda.” His absurd position suggests that the U.S. should also drop any projects related to Russia, North Korea, NATO, cyber-warfare, or anything else not directly concerning ISIS.

Republican fear mongers, and their PR division at Fox News, are heavily invested in fighting a narrowly defined war on “radical Islamic terrorism” that mainly consists of reciting those three magic words and watching the bad guys dissolve into the ether. They have no affirmative suggestions for achieving victory, but they are overflowing with pointless criticisms. They mock those, including President Obama, who correctly assert that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than Climate Change.”

Conservatives who dispute the looming danger of a world with declining resources like water and arable land dismiss the warnings of 97 percent of the scientists who study the matter. They believe the whole crisis is a hoax that was invented to enrich greedy professors or, as Donald Trump laughably claimed, by the Chinese. However, the issue was laid out in stark detail by a Republican administration with an icon of modern conservative national security taking the lead:

“In 2003, under Donald Rumsfeld, former President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, the Pentagon published a report titled ‘An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.’ Commissioned by Andrew Marshall, who is sometimes jokingly referred to within the Pentagon as Yoda — and who was a favorite of Rumsfeld’s — the report warned that threats to global stability posed by rapid warming vastly eclipse that of terrorism.”

And Rumsfeld is not alone among security professionals in warning about Climate Change. The Politico article quotes several, with decades of military experience, who regard Buck’s amendment as foolish and more costly in the long run. In fact, four of the past Secretaries of Defense (Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and Rumsfeld) all subscribed to the policy that Climate Change is one of America’s top strategic risks. And three of the four are Republicans. Those are the people Ken Buck and his fellow Republicans are overruling with this ill-considered budget cut.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So why would the GOP advance this nonsense that is contrary to the non-partisan opinions of most experts? Because conservatives don’t really care about national security. What they want is to terrify people by focusing on the immediacy and bloodshed of incidents like the recent massacre in Orlando. Which is, ironically, the same thing the terrorists want. And that purely political, self-serving objective overrides any genuine interest in the welfare of the American people or the world.


Fox News Host Uses #Brexit Vote To Call For A New Civil War In The U.S.

The pseudo-patriots at Fox News are constantly waving the Stars and Stripes as they espouse a philosophy of American Exceptionalism (aka American Supremacy). They consider themselves to be the palace guards of a near fetishistic nationalism. They pounce on President Obama for any slight that their imaginations perceive and berate those they feel have not been sufficiently deferential to their brand of jingoism.

Fox News

For some reason, however, when it comes to honoring the unity of the United States, Fox News is often less than loyal to the country. Yesterday’s vote in the United Kingdom on whether to remain in the European Union has brought out some of that anti-American fervor that is always just slightly below the surface of the Tea Party StormTrumpers at Fox News. Todd Starnes, host of Fox Radio’s News & Commentary program, was so exhilarated by the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU that he rushed to tweet his response to Brexit saying, “Hey Texas — did you see what the British just did? #freedom.”

The unmistakable message of that tweet was that Texas ought to follow in the U.K.’s footsteps and secede from the U.S. It’s a message that isn’t particularly original. There has been a Texas secession movement (now being called Texit) going on for many years, led by groups like The Republic of Texas and the Texas Nationalist Movement. Former Governor Rick Perry was not averse to hinting at the idea while he was in office and running for president. But being advocated by a the host of a major “news” network is a new wrinkle.

Given a shallow analysis, one could find some compelling reasons to let Texas go, including the immediate loss of millions of right-wing crackpots and two wingnut senators. Governing the remaining forty-nine states would become noticeably easier without the largest red state mucking things up. Republicans would lose their largest source of electoral college votes.

But with closer scrutiny you would also have to be concerned about the millions of other rational, progressive Texans who would suffer undeservedly. What’s more, the conservative utopia about which the secessionists fantasize would not likely be forthcoming. For the past several years the population of the state has been trending more liberal with a growing community of Latino citizens. That’s probably not the demographic profile that the mostly white secessionists have in mind.

What Fox News and these anti-patriots fail to grasp is that there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for secession. About a hundred and fifty years ago some southern states, including Texas, had sought to set up their own government separate from the United States. That turned out badly for them, and it wasn’t so great for anyone else either. It was the bloodiest war in the nation’s history. How Texas would achieve a separation today is not explained by the proponents.

For a Fox News host to advocate for what would be another bloody civil war is beyond irresponsible. It is insane. It’s the advocacy of once again pitting Americans against one another with no hope for successfully attaining their goal. It would result in untold fatalities and economic catastrophe as demonstrated by the response of the world’s financial markets today. Clearly there is very little optimism about the prospects for England’s future by those who are most affected by it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Just the suggestion of pursuing Texit inflames the same sort of bigotry and division that has fueled the campaign of Donald Trump who, after an embarrassing moment when he revealed that he didn’t know what Brexit is, he came out in favor of it. He literally announced his support for one of the most consequential events in history just moments after saying “I don’t think anybody should listen to me because I haven’t really focused on it very much.” And that pretty much sums up the low level of thought that has gone into the issue by Trump and his ilk. It’s an embrace of ignorance that is both mind boggling and frightening. And it is being furthered by irresponsible propagandists on Fox News.


WTF Are They Thinking? CNN’s New Hire Is Trump’s Ex-Manager And Press Abuser

Donald Trump has been boasting about his ability to create jobs despite never having explained exactly how he would do so. Well, now it appears he may have created one at CNN for the campaign manager that he fired just a few days ago.

CNN

Corey Lewandowski was escorted out of Trump Tower by security guards when the campaign decided that his services were no longer needed. He was criticized for the campaign’s negative and hostile tone, for failing to raise money, for not building a campaign infrastructure, and for infighting between various factions within the Trump camp. Recent polls showing Trump losing to Hillary Clinton also weighed on Lewandowski’s shoulders as he battled with the Trump kids and strategist Paul Manafort for control of the campaign.

Now CNN has rewarded Lewandowski with a job and a paycheck as a political commentator for the network. It’s not as if CNN didn’t already have a stable of partisan Trump sycophants on the air every day. Jeffery Lord, Scottie Nell Hughes, Kayleigh McEnany, among others have been shilling for Trump on CNN for months. And that’s in addition to the frequent appearances by Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and Trump himself.

There are few, if any, examples of a news network scooping up a high-level campaign operative in the midst of an election, particularly one with the resume of Lewandowski. This is the first campaign that Lewandowski has ever managed, if you want to call it that. None of the traditional trappings of a campaign were evident in his work. He maintained a tiny staff of insiders and relied on free media for attention. He presided over a candidate who avoided substantive debate while resorting to childish insults and name-calling to bring down his opponents.

Lewandowski also had a terrible relationship with the press. While Trump was calling them sleazy and scum, and fantasizing about killing them them, Lewandowski was herding them into pens like cattle and threatening them if they were disobedient. He revoked the press credentials of people or organizations he didn’t like, including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision, the Des Moines Register, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Lewandowski was the subject of an unprecedented meeting between the television news networks (including CNN) to address what they considered “harsh and restrictive behavior.” In one case Lewandowski told another campaign staffer “Hey: Tell Noah [Gray of CNN], get back in the pen or he’s f—ing blacklisted.”

And then there was the incident when Lewandowski was alleged to have physically assaulted a reporter from the conservative Breitbart News website. Michelle Fields claimed that Lewandowski had grabbed her by the arm and nearly threw her to the ground. He was briefly under indictment for the assault, but the authorities decided not to prosecute.

This is the caliber of man that CNN has just chosen to provide analysis of the election. He is overtly hostile to the press of which he is now becoming a part. His peers in the business are both stunned and outraged that CNN would grant this cretin one of a very few on-air positions available.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

What’s worse, it is well known that Donald Trump requires his people to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prohibits them from saying anything negative about Trump, his businesses, or his family. So how can CNN justify hiring a commentator who is contractually bound to bite his tongue if anything unflattering to Trump occurs during the campaign? He’s a commentator who can’t comment. What does that say about a free press at CNN?

Update: The backlash is growing as a “near revolt” at CNN is reportedly under way:

“CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,” said a TV insider, who described many in the newsroom as “livid.” “Female reporters and producers especially .?.?. They are organizing and considering publicly demanding” that Lewandowski be let go.


MUZZLED: House Republicans Kill Live Camera Feed Of Democratic Gun Reform Sit-In

Democratic congress members of the House of Representatives launched an unprecedented protest in the chamber by staging a sit-in. The purpose of the protest is to force Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership into scheduling a vote on gun safety reforms (video here).

CSPAN Blackout

Shortly after the protest began, the Republicans who control the House called a recess saying that the House is not in order, and then shut off the chamber’s cameras to prevent the American people from seeing their representatives actually doing something worthwhile and in agreement with the majority of the people. It is a brazen act of censorship intended to make the courageous demonstration disappear and to help the GOP in their efforts to kill reform at the behest of their NRA masters.

By taking the unprecedented step of shutting off the cameras, CSPAN went dark. They later had to resort to broadcasting video from mobile phones in the chamber, which continues as of the writing of this article. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Rep. John Yarmouth just tweeted that “The Sgt at Arms is asking us to stop taking photos and video from House floor. Republicans should turn the cameras back on.”

These GOP authoritarian tactics are nothing less than government suppression of free speech. This is the people’s house, not the private broadcast facility of the Republican Party. And despite the GOP’s tyrannical usurpation of power, Democrats are united in persisting with this protest. Participants include party leaders like John Lewis and Nancy Pelosi, and they have promised that everyone who wants to speak will be able to.

Republicans will have to shut down the building and evacuate everyone if they hope to end this. Which I wouldn’t put past them. Two years ago the GOP held a hearing on the alleged IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the committee, delivered a five minute opening statement, asked a few leading questions, then gaveled the hearing adjourned without allowing anyone else to speak. The ranking Democratic member, Elijah Cummings, objected to the adjournment, but Issa cut off his microphone and stomped out of the room. Cummings continued without the mic calling Issa’s conduct “absolutely un-American.”

This is pretty much what we can expect from the Republican Party if it is allowed to remain in control of Congress, or worse gain the White House with a victory by Donald Trump (who has revoked the press credentials of several media organizations and whose camp has advocated revoking the broadcast license of CNN). Democrats have to be united in voting out Republicans in every jurisdiction if the nation hopes to preserve its constitutional freedoms.


WARNING: Donald Trump #Scampaign is Using Your Money To Line His Own Pockets

Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president he has bragged about his alleged self-financing of his campaign. That was never actually true since he has been soliciting donations from the start and the funds from his own accounts were loans for which he could repay himself from his campaign treasury. But now ABC News is reporting that Trump’s deceit is much worse than merely misleading donors about the source of his funding.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been using his campaign as a marketing scheme to enrich himself and his eponymous business enterprises. By using Trump properties and products for campaign goods and services Trump has funneled more than six million dollars back into his own pocket. The services include transportation provided by his famous Trump jet ($3.7 million), office space at his Trump Tower in Manhattan ($915,000), rent and catering at his Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida ($423,000), dining at Trump restaurants ($135,000), end even purchases of Trump branded water and wine.

If anyone is thinking that this is just good business and a normal practice in politics, you could not be further from the truth. Other wealthy candidates with far-flung business interests made certain that their personal finances were not intermingled with their campaigns. Examples provided by ABC include these fellow billionaires:

“Trump isn’t the first high-profile politician to run a campaign while managing large corporate assets. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both ran companies bearing their name.”

Both took great care to carefully separate their businesses and their campaigns, their former aides said, citing the complex maze of campaign finance regulations about using corporate resources.”

What this means for Trump’s prospective donors is that they will effectively be paying the tab for Trump to buy his own products and rent his own office space. His campaign is acting as a sort of shell company through which Trump can funnel money to his other businesses. Small donors would have to wonder whether that is a worthy investment of their limited funds. Large donors ought to be even more skeptical of giving thousands of dollars to Trump’s for-profit businesses.

This is particularly troublesome for donors when they consider Trump isn’t spending his campaign funds in a manner that would advance his candidacy. Recent campaign filings show that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spent about $20 million on advertising in key swing states compared to Trump’s total spending of zero dollars. Additionally, Clinton currently has about $42 million of cash on hand, while Trump is comparatively broke with only $1.3 million. He says that all he needs to do is write a check, but while we’re waiting for that to happen he is still hitting up the usual suspects in the GOP millionaires club.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Given Trump’s peculiar approach to campaign spending, and his predilection for feathering his own gold-encrusted nest, donors will likely think twice before throwing cash at The Donald. And his rapidly deteriorating relationship with the Republican National Committee (RNC) only exacerbates the problem. Why should RNC donors dig into their wallets when Trump keeps insulting them and threatening to go it alone? The only parties who are helped by any of this are the #NeverTrump activists who still hope to keep him from becoming the Party’s nominee.

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Donald Trump’s Plan To Arm Drunken Bar Patrons Is Even Too Sick for The NRA

Within hours of the horrific massacre in Orlando, Florida, Donald Trump was congratulating himself and seeking political advantage from the suffering of others. He spent the next few days lambasting President Obama for not saying ‘radical Islamic terrorism,” a right-wing mantra that is at best a trivial distraction that has no effect whatsoever on counter-terrorism activities. [See The Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine]

Donald Trump

Yesterday Donald Trump escalated his grandstanding by repeating an ignorant trope about how different the outcome would have been if the patrons of the Pulse nightclub had themselves been armed. Every expert on public safety has repudiated that notion as being either ineffective or increasing the risk. But in this specific circumstance it would be so ridiculous that even the NRA distanced itself from Trump’s remarks. The NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, told CBS’s Face the Nation that “I don’t think we should have firearms where people are drinking.” And Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA, said that “no one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms.” Well, not on one. Some states are passing laws explicitly permitting it.

Still, for most sane folks the prospect of arming patrons of a crowded establishment where alcohol is being served is inviting tragedy even without any terrorists showing up. It would lead to common arguments having deadly results, as well as increasing the odds of lethal accidents. Trump’s phony machismo is just further evidence of how shallow he thinks through issues that can have profoundly disturbing consequences.

As a result of his quick-draw mouthing off, and the NRA’s equally quick disapproval, Trump tried to walk back his statement in a tweet (of course) falsely asserting that “When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.” The dishonesty of that lame qualification is easily observed by revisiting his original comment:

“If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac — if some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or to their ankle, and this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting, and one of the people in the room happened to have it, and goes boom — boom — you know what? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks. That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight. So don’t let them take your guns away.”

What’s obvious about that statement is that Trump was referring to the bar’s patrons. The security guard in the club was, in fact, armed. Trump was talking specifically about “those wonderful people” and then he warned his rally audience, who were not security professionals, to resist letting anyone “take your guns away.” Never mind that no one is trying to take guns away from responsible, law-abiding citizens. Trump was clearly recommending that everyone, including bar patrons, strap on loaded weapons and prepare for a night out Wild West style. And it’s not the first time he has pitched this idiocy.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This whole affair is textbook Trump: Exploit the fear and bigotry of your followers by saying something stupid and indefensible. Then refuse to apologize, or even acknowledge the asinine nature of your statement, and lie about what you allegedly meant. It’s the strategy of an egocentric authoritarian who knows he can get away with anything because his glassy-eyed disciples won’t hold him to account and the media is too obsessed with ratings to do its job. Hopefully that situation will correct itself as the election season proceeds.


Watch In Disbelief As ABC News Paints Homophobe Donald Trump As Pro-Gay

The debate over the causes of the Orlando massacre last week have run the gamut from radical Islamic terrorism, to the availability of military-style assault weapons, to violent homophobic extremism. The reality from the available facts is that there are elements of all three contributing to the madness of the shooter. But the media isn’t helping matters when they introduce absurdities into their analysis that blatantly contradict the truth.

Donald Trump

Yesterday on ABC News (video below), their Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl, promoted Donald Trump’s delusional pronouncement that “LGBT is starting to like Donald Trump very much lately. I will tell you.” Neither Trump nor Karl offered any evidence of that, and polling shows that Trump has a dismal favorability rating with LGBT people of only 18 percent. By contrast, Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by 54 percent of the LGBT community.

Nevertheless, Karl continued to hype Trump’s stumping on the issue by running clips of Trump criticizing Clinton for accepting donations to the charitable Clinton Foundation from Saudi Arabia or other countries with poor records on human rights for gays and women. But both Trump and Karl neglected to put that claim in context by disclosing that Trump has many business relationships with people and businesses in the same countries that are not charitable in the least, but from which he will personally profit.

Karl closes the segment with a conclusion that can only be described as deranged. He said that…

“When it comes to gay rights, it’s Hillary Clinton who supports gay marriage, not Donald Trump. But even so, there is little doubt, David, that Trump is the most pro gay rights Republican presidential candidate that we have ever seen.”

WTF? Donald Trump cannot be portrayed as pro-gay rights by any stretch of the imagination. He has a long history of insulting remarks and hostile positions aimed at the LGBT community. He has publicly committed to appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn marriage equality. He has promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which codifies discrimination against gays in commerce, employment, and housing. He meets with, and panders to, anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council. His solicitous embrace of anti-gay, evangelical extremists has been a core strategy of his campaign.

Karl might have been on firmer ground if he had merely suggested that Trump was less anti-gay than other Republicans who blame them for natural disasters and advocate stoning them to death. But only slightly firmer since many of Trump’s friends and allies (i.e. Jerry Falwell, Jr., Tony Perkins, and Alex Jones) proudly hold those views. But to put the words “pro” and “gay” in the same sentence as “Donald Trump” is a deliberate bastardization of the political reality that defines him. It is also a breach of journalistic principles that require adherence to honest representations of news events and figures.

Donald Trump’s cynical play for support from people whom he openly seeks to harm is a sinkhole of lies that no one should be so naive as to fall into. And it’s particularly reprehensible that he is using the tragedy in Orlando to fish for votes among people still in shock over what happened. Karl’s reporting on Trump only makes things worse by his failure to live up to his professional obligation to inform the public with facts and reason and coherent analysis. Karl failed miserably on all three counts.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


Twidiots: Donald Trump And Sarah Palin Vie For Stupidest Tweet Of The Day

In the midst of a campaign season that has seen some startlingly ignorant remarks by the most fact-challenged assembly of Republican candidates and pundits, two of the party’s most laughable dolts are challenging each other for pinhead primacy. The face-off between Donald Trump and Sarah Palin may prove to be an epic contest by the legends of loony.

Trump/Palin Tweets

In one corner we have Donald Trump. The recognized leader in marathon lying, his versatility also makes him a contender for Stupidest Tweet.

In his relentless efforts to congratulate himself Trump posted a tweet giving thanks for the results of a poll that actually showed him losing to Hillary Clinton 49-51. As if that weren’t bad enough, what makes this particularly notable as epically dimwitted is that the poll is from the ultra-rightist TV network One America News (OAN) and was conducted by a blatantly biased pollster, Gravis Marketing. So even when his polls are conservatively skewed he’s losing, but in his ego-driven obliviousness he still finds it worthy of celebration.

Trump is drawn to polls that have no credible reputation and whose results are obviously bogus. In the past he has linked to polls that showed him leading with Latinos, with African-Americans, and with a higher favorability than Clinton in New York. But in this latest non-credible tweet he isn’t even leading. Polls that conduct accurate surveys of public opinion are giving Trump his worst numbers to date, including one that shows him with an unfavorable rating of 70 percent, the worst ever recorded by that poll.

In the other corner we have Sarah Palin, the word salad queen who thinks Africa is a country and whose “death panel” fantasy was PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2009.

Palin’s entry in the Stupidest Tweet contest has a high degree of difficulty considering she is tackling head on the alleged stupidity of President Obama. Her tweet says that “OBAMA IS A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID.” And right off the bat, she demonstrated her own lack of mental acuity by posting a broken link that led to a missing Facebook page. Undaunted, I navigated to her commentary on Facebook and found a screed lambasting the President for “Exploiting a sick, evil, ideological-driven attack on Americans to further your twisted anti-Second Amendment mission.”

Palin was outraged that Obama had the audacity to address the dangers of terrorists having easy access to assault weapons shortly after a terrorist killed 49 people and wounded 53 more with an assault weapon. She accused him of insinuating that the Orlando shooter represented all gun owners, which he never did. Then she demanded of him to “Forget your asinine gun control, do your job and engage in Islamic terrorist control.” Apparently she is unaware the Obama has been fully engaged in the fight against terrorism and has achieved significant progress while she and her ilk have done nothing but complain that he doesn’t say the three magic words, “radical Islamic terrorism” (as if that would change anything).

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This Battle of the Lame-Brained promises to be an exciting spectacle as the election proceeds toward its November conclusion. And these demonstrations of Olympian idiocy will surely not be the last contenders. We have two worthy combatants who are determined to set new records for dumbf*ckery. So stay tuned for much more to come.


Fox News ‘Psycho’ Analyst Tells Real Doctors To ‘Shut Up’ About Gun Violence

The tragedy in Orlando last week has once again provoked the debate over access to assault weapons and the ease with which such destructive arms are attained by sick people with intent to do harm. It’s a fairly one-sided debate since the majority of Americans are in favor of common sense reforms such as universal background checks, prohibiting suspected terrorists from buying guns, and banning assault weapons.

Fox News

But leave it to Fox News to take the side of the NRA extremists who oppose any effort to make our country safer. With the exception of a couple of surprising and out of character commentaries by Bill O’Reilly and Gretchen Carlson, the consensus opinion of Fox News anchors and contributors is that guns should not even be included in the discussion about how to respond to mass murders by guns.

On Fox & Friends, for instance, the Curvy Couch Potatoes called in a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team to offer his “professional” opinion on the matter. Psychologist Keith Ablow is a blatantly political mouthpiece for right-wing propaganda and a confirmed Obama hater who long ago abandoned any credibility as a medical advisor. At the outset of the interview he was asked by co-host Brain Kilmeade whether gun violence is a disease or advancing a political agenda by the government. Ablow responded saying that…

“Of course gun violence isn’t a disease. This is part of the progressive agenda, alive and well at the AMA, the American Medical Association.”

Ablow went on to accuse the AMA of having a desire to “look into the problem of uncontrolled gun ownership.” Presumably, therefore, he is in favor of uncontrolled gun ownership, a position he shares with the world’s terrorists. In support of his argument he rattled off a stream of unrelated statistics about various causes of death in Argentina and Sweden that in no way addressed the very real and continuing problem in the United States. Then he lectured the AMA and the American Psychiatric Association on the need to “rebuild our mental healthcare system,” as if that was a novel idea that they hadn’t though of, or been working on for decades in spite of the opposition from conservatives like Ablow.

Ablow and Kilmeade also felt that it was important to note that homicides by guns were not among the top twenty causes of death in the U.S. That’s correct because health issues like heart attacks and cancer dominate the top ranks of fatalities. But their argument appears to suggest that the thousands of preventable deaths by gun violence are therefore irrelevant and unworthy of discussion. It’s a position that callously dishonors the victims and their families.

Perhaps the most striking part of Ablow’s remarks is that he touches on a cogent thought momentarily, but lets it fade off into his knee-jerk gun fetishism without acknowledging it’s importance. He said that…

“There are reasons for homicide and nobody knows how many of those acts would have taken place without guns.”

Exactly. The fact that nobody knows the answers to many of the questions surrounding the epidemic of gun violence in America is precisely the reason that organizations like the AMA and Centers for Disease Control should be studying the subject. However, Republicans in Congress, at the behest of the NRA, passed legislation that prohibits such studies. Ablow called the attempt to link guns to violence “foolishness,” but what’s more foolish than literally legislating away the quest for knowledge?

As usual, Ablow squeezed in a slap at President Obama by complaining that the AMA “are the people who championed Obamacare” (which, of course, has resulted in more Americans having access to affordable health care than ever before). He ranted that liberals have an agenda “to eat away at gun rights with medical research.” And after this brazenly political screed, Ablow had the audacity to demean those who advocate for more knowledge and greater safety by saying “that’s being political. So stop it. Call yourself the American Political Association and shut up.”

Shut up? That’s the advice of the “doctor” on whom Fox News relies for their “fair and balanced” discourse on matters of national importance? That’s how a “news” network approaches a debate on how to deal with serious and deadly issues? Fox News is doing what they always do with controversial issues. They consult a hardcore partisan to push their right-wing message without regard for the truth or the welfare of the nation.

Here’s a Primer on Keith Ablow:

For the record, Keith Ablow has been dispensing ludicrous psychological diagnoses for years. Some of his past adventures in malpractice include his charges that President Obama was waging psychological warfare on the American people, that Newt Gingrich was honorable for being unfaithful to multiple wives, accused Obama of wanting Ebola to spread in America, and my personal favorite, he actually praised the Unabomber’s sociopathic philosophy. These are a few of the reasons that may have contributed to his abrupt separation from the American Psychiatric Association. But who needs those medical establishment elitists when you have Fox News?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.