Trump-Fluffer Hannity Implies CIA Hacked Democrats and Blamed It on the Russians

The role of Fox News during the presidency of Donald Trump is essentially the same as Pravda’s in Russia. It is as close to state-run television news as we get in the United States. The network will almost always support Trump and defend him from any and all criticism. And the most fawning Trump flunky at Fox is, without a doubt, Sean Hannity.

Trump Hannity

During the campaign, Hannity hosted Trump on his program more than any other candidate. And Trump appeared on his show more than any other show on TV. Hannity even publicly endorsed Trump in the midst of the campaign. So no one should be surprised that he is still licking Trump’s Ferragamos. But this week he went even further. Hannity is now joining the President’s pro-Putin fan club and opposing America’s intelligence community.

Analysis of all available data about the hacking of Democrats has produced near unanimous agreement that Russia was the culprit. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies agree with that assessment. And the ever-growing number of connections between Trump and his inner circle are cause for concern. Unless, that is, if you’re Sean Hannity.

On his radio show last week Hannity floated an absurd and utterly unsupported allegation acquitting Putin’s gang of any wrongdoing. He asserted that the CIA “uses stolen malware to attribute cyberattacks to nations like Russia.” Hannity said that this was revealed in documents from WikiLeaks, but that isn’t true. It was merely part of a press release that WikiLeaks put out, but was not supported by the actual documents. Then Hannity continued this line of nonsense on his Fox News program (video below). His guest, Lt. Col Tony Shaffer (ret), said that it was the CIA that hacked the Democrats. Despite having said the very same thing himself on the radio earlier that day, Hannity pretended to be surprised. In the following exchange with Shaffer he wondered:

Hannity: You’re telling me this whole Russian story – that the media’s been running with for months and months and months – that it was our people that did it and they just put the fingerprints of the Russians on it?
Shaffer: That’s right. I don’t have proof of it, but I’m telling you this is what I’ve heard.

The notable part of this charade is that Shaffer openly admits that he has no proof. But that doesn’t stop Hannity from participating in spreading this crackpot conspiracy theory. In order to believe his ramblings you would have to dismiss the findings of the entire intelligence community. Plus, you would have to dismiss them in favor of unfounded opinions based on Russian denials. It hardly seems patriotic to side with a hostile foreign adversary over American national security professionals.

In addition, you’d have to ignore all of the connections already proven between the Russians and Trump’s “brain” trust. They include Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, J.D. Gordon, and Roger Stone. What are the odds that a single candidate – now president – would have so many associates tied to communications with our Russian foes? This can’t be written off as coincidence.

Nevertheless, Hannity struggles vainly to absolve Russia of any complicity with the hacking. Instead, he places the blame squarely on his fellow Americans. It’s unclear why Hannity thinks that’s a better scenario. His theory asserts that it was the CIA that hacked Democrats in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He believes that Trump’s victory was assisted by rogue and treasonous spooks. And this is better how? At least he seems to be accepting that Trump is an illegitimate president who won as the result of unlawful interference. Except that in his blind haste to exonerate Putin, he doesn’t appear to know that he believes that.

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

YOU’RE FIRED: Trump Sacks U.S. Attorney Probing Fox News For Hiding Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

On Friday the White House announced that it was asking forty-six U.S. Attorneys to submit their resignations. They were further instructed to clear out their desks by the end of the day. Replacing staff at the Department of Justice is a routine part of most administration transitions. However, it is rarely done so ham-handedly without prior notice or opportunity to orient the replacements.

Preet Bharara Donald Trump

By acting so impetuously, Donald Trump is leaving numerous in-progress investigations without leadership or direction. They include cases involving terrorism, drug trafficking, civil rights abuses, and more. There is no reason to rush these lawyers out the door. Most are career attorneys who have served during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

One possible explanation for Trump’s hastiness could be something he saw the night before on Fox News. Sean Hannity demanded that anyone affiliated with the Obama administration be summarily dismissed ASAP. What he was advocating was nothing short of the purges conducted by old-school tyrannical regimes. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that Trump carried out the ideological cleansing the next day. But there is abundant evidence that Trump responds obediently to things he sees on Fox News.

Which makes the case of fired attorney Preet Bharara especially troubling. Bharara is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In that jurisdiction he has had responsibility for high profile prosecutions of organized crime, Wall Street corruption, and political malfeasance. He has a reputation for being thorough and non-partisan. He was even personally asked to remain by President-Elect Trump last November, which he agree to do.

What makes Bharara’s dismissal so controversial is that one of the cases he is currently investigating involves Fox News. Last month the New York Daily News reported that:

“The feds are conducting an ‘ongoing criminal investigation’ of Fox News Channel and whether Rupert Murdoch’s company hid from investors the payments it made to employees who alleged they were sexually harassed, an attorney alleged in court Wednesday.” […]

[Attorney Judd Burstein, representing former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros] “said Fox News’ payouts to female employees claiming sexual harassment are not disclosed in Fox’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which could be a violation of federal securities law.”

The ever-increasing number of former female Fox News staffers alleging sexual harassment is not just a moral atrocity. It also threatens to cost the network millions of dollars and loss of prestige. The current rash of scandals began with Gretchen Carlson and quickly spread to others including Andrea Tantaros, Juliet Huddy, and even Megyn Kelly. As such it’s pertinent to any analysis of the company’s fiscal health and they have a responsibility to inform investors. Fox News already lost its founder and CEO. Roger Ailes, as a result of the scandal.

To say the least, it is unseemly for Trump to shove Bharara out the door while he is working on such a sensitive case. Fox News is Trump’s most devoted media cheerleader, thus Trump has an incentive to shield them from legal jeopardy. And for this act of presidential protection to take place immediately after a plea from Hannity – Fox’s most adoring Trump fluffer – just compounds the inappropriateness.

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

Bharara, as a matter of principle, refused to cooperate with the Trump purge. CNN reported that he would not comply with the request for a resignation. In effect, he dared Trump to fire him. And given Trump’s penchant for petty vengeance, that is exactly what Trump did. This opens the door for a replacement who Trump is already considering. Marc Mukasey is a lawyer who counts among his clients Fox’s ex-CEO Roger Ailes. Were he to assume the position, it is unlikely that the case against Fox News would proceed. This is how Trump drains the swamp.

BRILLIANT: The ‘No TRUMP Act’ Was Just Introduced in Congress in Response to Presidential Corruption

Much has been written about the flagrant conflicts of interest inherent in Donald Trump’s presidency. He is a walking violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. The purpose of that clause is to prohibit the president from receiving cash or gifts from foreign persons or governments. Nevertheless, Trump stubbornly refuses to divest himself from his far flung business empire. Already there is evidence of foreign interests deliberately booking his hotels and resorts in order to curry favor with him. Even worse, some reports indicate that the Trump Organization is applying political pressure to do so.

Donald Trump

In addition to the windfall from big-spending foreigners, Trump is also profiting from domestic business transactions since becoming president. ThinkProgress reports that it costs taxpayers $3 million dollars each time Trump visits his luxury Palm Beach resort, Mar-A-Lago. And that’s not all:

“In order to have constant access to the commander-in-chief, the military is forced to rent space in Trump Tower at a taxpayer cost estimated to be $1.5 million annually, with the money lining the Trump family’s pockets. Relocating the executive branch to Mar-a-Lago each weekend raises the profile of the club and encourages people to pay for the access a $200,000 membership provides.”

Additional security expenses are incurred by the First Lady, Melania, spending virtually all of her time at Trump Tower. The Secret Service has taken up residence in the floor below Trump’s penthouse, for which the American people are paying. These and other expenses, including those incurred by the Trump kids, put money directly into the family’s bank account.

Seeking to address this lucrative scam, an Oregon congressman has come up with a brilliant solution. It’s a creative piece of legislation that would put an end to the Trump clan’s profiteering. USA Today provides the details:

“The ‘No Taxpayer Revenue Used to Monetize the Presidency’ Act, otherwise known as the ‘No TRUMP’ Act. The bill, introduced Thursday by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for events, overnight stays, food or other expenses at hotels owned or operated by a president or his relatives.”

Blumenauer’s acronym is work of comic genius. However, the bill itself makes sense and would apply to any president. There are good reasons to deny presidents the ability to use the office for personal gain. By introducing a profit motive it becomes impossible to tell whether the president is acting in the best interests of the nation or himself. And that’s especially true with a notorious con artist like Trump.

Republicans spent a good deal of time complaining about how often President Obama played golf or took vacations. Never mind that it was less than most of his predecessors. And Trump has already spent almost as much in a month as Obama did in a year. Trump himself whined about the cost of Obama’s use of Air Force One:

The absurdity of that is apparent. The President must travel in a secure environment and be prepared to deal with any potential crisis. But the No TRUMP Act doesn’t stop The Donald from traveling or fulfilling his duties. He can simply choose to stay at a hotel that he doesn’t own. And any money that he receives from government use of his properties should be transferred to the U.S. Treasury. He has said he will do that for money received from foreigners, but there has been no proof yet that he is doing so. The No TRUMP Act would make it a legal requirement.

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

Paul Ryan’s Health Insurance Seminar Proves One Thing: He Has No Friggin’ Idea How Insurance Works

Thursday morning Republicans rolled out a presentation of their long-awaited alternative to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It came in the form of a lecture by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He stood before the class and gave a PowerPoint aided speech that supposedly spelled out everything you might need to know about the GOP plan.

Paul Ryan

There was just one problem. Well actually, way more than one. But in the broadest terms the single most problematic part of Ryan’s lecture was that it made no sense whatsoever. It failed to address how it would cover everyone who is presently covered. There were no financing specifics to explain how it would be funded. But the most prominent flaw in his presentation was that it revealed that he has no idea what insurance is. Nor does he have any notion of how it works. Ryan summed up his criticism of ObamaCare saying that:

“The whole idea of Obamacare is … the people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick. It’s not working, and that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”

Let that sink in. What Ryan is saying is not that ObamaCare doesn’t work, but that the whole concept of insurance doesn’t work. Every insurance product, whether it’s for healthcare or auto accidents, operates on the same principle. Many people pay into a pool that is used to cover the costs of the unfortunates who suffer a loss. Insurance depends on the fact that most policy holders will not have a claim (i.e. healthy people). Therefore, their premiums pay for folks who do have claims (i.e. the sick or injured).

Paul Ryan doesn’t seem to grasp that concept. To demonstrate the depth of his confusion, he offered a little example:

[Video below, starts at 14:30]: “Take a small business that has forty employees. Let’s say that four people in that business get cancer. Well, under that business, that business has to pay for all those cancer patients, all those cancer treatments. So the other thirty-six people in that forty person pool get hit with much, much higher premiums to pay for the four that got cancer. That’s how the insurance works today. And that is one of the reasons why this thing is going bankrupt.

“Here’s our solution. Let’s just make sure we cover the people who have preexisting conditions. Make sure reinsurance or risk pools kick in for those four people in that small business that get cancer. Subsidize that coverage and what you do by doing that is you dramatically lower and stabilize the price of insurance for everybody else.”

Let’s break that down. Ryan says that the practice of insuring people by having many people contribute to a risk pool is going bankrupt. He might want to run that by the multi-billion dollar, highly profitable insurance corporations for confirmation. Then he proposes that only the sick people get federally subsidized insurance. That leaves the population of healthy people with lower premiums. That’s actually true. And it makes the insurance companies wealthier because they are only covering people who don’t need any coverage.

But Ryan doesn’t say where the government would get the money to pay for the cancer patients in his scenario. Ordinarily those funds would come from the healthy people that he just removed from the picture.

So one of three things would happen. Either the government would have to bear the total cost of healthcare for America’s sickest population and incur massive debts. Or everyone would have to be taxed to finance the coverage for those patients. Or the sick people would just die. Ironically, there is a germ of a real solution in there. Universal healthcare would provide all Americans with coverage and spread the costs so broadly across the populace that the premiums would be easily manageable.

But that’s not what Ryan and company are proposing. They want to give all the healthy people cheap insurance and burden the sick with unpayable bills. That’s the solution that is being advanced by Republicans in Congress and has already been endorsed by President Trump. If you have the intestinal fortitude, you can watch the entire presentation by Ryan and see if it makes any sense to you. If not, stay away because intestinal maladies are not covered in the GOP plan.

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

Fox News Is Becoming The Propaganda Ministry Of The Trump Administration

The relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News goes back years. Long before he was running for president he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” It served as the launching pad for his eventual campaign and a platform from which he could attack President Obama. In addition to that free political infomercial time, Trump was close friends with Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Roger Ailes.

Donald Trump Fox News

This parasitic partnership served both the ego of Trump and the greed of Fox. Consequently, it’s not especially surprising that it would continue into his presidency. However no one could have predicted the depths it would reach. From the outset of the nascent Trump administration, he has used the right-wing network as a virtual farm team. The only other comparably rich pool of potential White House recruits was Goldman Sachs. This week two new Foxies became the beneficiaries of Trump’s job creation program.

Heather Nauert was most recently a co-host and news presenter on Fox and Friends. Now she has been tapped as spokeswoman for the State Department. This is her first government job.

Following her to Trumpville is Fox contributor Richard Grennell. He served as Director of Communications for the U.S. representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2008 before signing on at Fox. That means he was the key spokesman throughout the Iraq war debacle. Now Trump is nominating him to be the ambassador to NATO. What’s peculiar about this is that Trump has repeatedly criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq that it was Grennell’s job to defend. And now Trump wants to put him at NATO, an organization Trump said was outdated.

These two Foxugees are joining three former colleagues already on Team Trump. K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, and Sebastian Gorka. There would have been four but Monica Crowley withdrew from the National Security Council after being exposed as a plagiarist. She’s back at Fox now. Appearing on Hannity Tuesday night she whined that she had been the victim of “a straight up political hit job.” She also said that her publisher backed her up but, in fact, they halted all sales of her book.

Still more Fox personnel have been considered for administration roles. Trump appears to be building a de facto Ministry of Propaganda out of the White House. All of the elements are falling into place. He’s assembled a cast of characters that has experience in developing fiction and defending the indefensible. Now on the inside they can be counted on to continue showering him with praise and deflecting criticism.

On the other side of this partnership, Fox News is well positioned to take advantage of their unique circumstance. They can expect to be excluded from Trump’s tirades against “fake news.” More importantly, the network’s corporate parent can count on Trump to shepherd through regulations that benefit the company. Fox would love to have the FCC relax TV station ownership caps so they can monopolize markets by buying up more stations. Also high among the priorities of Fox’s CEO Rupert Murdoch, is scuttling the merger of competitors AT&T and TimeWarner. That’s actually a good idea, but not for the selfish reasons Murdoch harbors.

Finally, how can Fox News fairly cover an administration that’s lousy with its own former employees? This presents a conflict that is unprecedented. Those involved are closely associated with one another, and they likely expect to return to Fox after their government service. So neither will want to antagonize the other for fear of hampering future opportunities.

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

Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” is being kept by draining it right into the White House. The stench of corruption stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia now has a media machine to mask the odor. It’s the sort of thing that one observes in the regimes of dictators. There has never been anything similar in the United States. It’s up to what’s left of the independent press to make sure it doesn’t take hold. So we may be in big trouble.

After Watching Fox News, Trump Blames Obama For Gitmo Terrorists Released By Bush

As President of the United States, Donald Trump continues to ignore the resources available to him in that position. There’s a vast intelligence bureaucracy as well as agencies that collect data on virtually anything he might need to know. Nevertheless, he still prefers to rely on dubious sources like talk radio and cable news.

Donald Trump

Trump’s favorite goto source for iffy information is, of course, Fox News. He has demonstrated a pattern of posting tweets shortly after seeing something on Fox. It is never independently verified, and is often blatantly false.

The latest example of this aberrant behavior occurred Tuesday morning. As is his routine, Trump awoke early, grabbed the remote, and turned on Fox & Friends. The “curvy couch” potatoes were discussing a news story about a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was killed by an airstrike in Yemen. Then they went on to point out that “at least 122 former Gitmo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism.”

In this rare incident, the Foxies actually got the story right. A former Gitmo detainee was killed and there were 122 others who are believed to have returned to the battlefield. So far, so good. Now let’s see what Trump has to say about what he just saw on Fox:

Notice the editorial addition that Trump added to the story: “released by the Obama Administration.” That is demonstrably false. The office of the Director of National Intelligence, which now reports to Trump, tells a different story. Of the 122 former detainees who have re=engaged, 113 were released during the administration of George W. Bush. Only nine were released during the Obama administration. The total numbers of those released were 532 for Bush (21.2% re-engaged), and 161 for Obama (5.6% re-engaged).

So the knee-jerk rightists who blame President Obama for every evil on the planet are wrong again. Obama actually released far fewer detainees, and a much smaller percentage of them resumed fighting. Trump’s criticism of Obama’s “terrible decision” is just another in a long line of falsehoods. And for some reason, Trump is still determined to ignore his own intelligence experts. With all of the resources at the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, Pentagon, etc., Trump still leans on Fox News. Then he adds his own totally made up nonsense.

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

This is an administration that is pathologically obsessed with lying. The media should remind everyone of this each time they cover anything that Trump says. He is simply too unreliable to take seriously. How can the press pretend otherwise? And how can anyone in Congress have any confidence in his words? Worst of all, how can any other country believe the American president when he lies so brazenly to his own people?

Rachel Maddow’s Trump Coverage Has Rocketed Her To The Top 10 Of TV Ratings

There have been numerous polls that show Donald Trump sinking to historic lows in approval. He currently resides at a pitiful 43 percent. That puts him at the bottom of the past nine presidents (going back more than sixty years) at this point in their terms. And that makes him the most unpopular new president in as long as this poll has been done.

Rachel Maddow

Likewise, majorities of the public are generally not in favor of his policies. He is trailing on the issues he has pushed the hardest for. Voters oppose him on ObamaCare, the border wall, and immigration. The media that he hates so fiercely is held in higher esteem than he is. And half of the electorate is already in favor of impeaching him. Can it get any worse than this?

Well, another measure of popularity is the ratings of television programs that feature news about politics. On that scale Trump is also in trouble. While Fox News remains the top rated cable news network, it is growing at a slower rate than its competitors. And one program particularly stands out. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC is reaching new heights since election day. Maddow was recently featured in an interview with The Wrap who noted that:

“MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ has been on a roll, posting her best ratings month ever in February and nearly doubling her viewership. Her secret is simple. Maddow said she covers President Donald Trump’s White House in a very old-fashioned Hollywood way.

“‘We developed sort of an informal, internal mantra… which is that we basically cover them as if they are a silent movie,’ Maddow told TheWrap. ‘I stopped covering the Twitter feed and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.’

“It’s working. In February, Maddow racked up MSNBC’s largest total viewer audience ever in the 9 p.m. ET timeslot and the best performance among the key news demo of adults age 25-54 since November 2012. After the February victory, Maddow has now beaten CNN’s regularly scheduled programming for 45 straight months.”

This sort of performance spike does not happen in a vacuum. People are gravitating to news that is informative and entertaining. There is clearly an audience that isn’t interested in Fox’s Pravda-like impression of state-run propaganda. Nor are they drawn to the phony “balance” that CNN aims for.

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

The television audience is reflecting the electorate by rewarding programming that takes on the flagrant lies of a delusional administration. Throughout the television schedule there is evidence of a Trump effect. Stephen Colbert has jumped into the late-night top spot due to his renewed focus on Trump. Saturday Night Live is hitting heights they haven’t seen in years. Sure, there may be some confirmation bias in this, but even that is instructive. There is obviously a significant number of people looking for confirmation of reality. And that’s something they aren’t getting from Trump & Company.

Fox News Hideously Twists Loretta Lynch’s Inspiring Message As Calling For ‘Blood and Death’

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch broke many barriers during her tenure as head of the Justice Department. Not the least of which was being the first African American woman to hold the position. She has been a committed advocate of civil rights for decades. And she has always supported peaceful, legal efforts to advance the cause.

Loretta lynch

That makes the recent headlines in the right-wing media all the more troubling. Lynch recorded a video message (posted below) upon leaving the Justice Department when President Obama’s term as president expired. It is an inspiring appeal to all Americans to continue the struggle for equal justice under the law. The brief statement serves as a reminder that the fight for equality has “never been easy.” Here are her remarks in full:

“I know that this is a time of great fear and uncertainty for so many people. I know it’s a time of concern for people who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on, even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult. But I remind you that this has never been easy.

“We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our founding fathers. And it has been people, individuals, who have banded together. Ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference.”

“They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.”

It seems hard to believe that anyone could find fault in that positive message that exalts American values. But conservative bigots and their media outlets would not be deterred from doing just that.

The ultra-rightist, conspiracy theory website, WorldNetDaily, took the lead with an article that heinously misrepresented Lynch. They maliciously turned her words into a call for blood and death. WND clipped the part where Lynch honored those who sacrificed so much to bring about equality and gave it a new and hateful meaning. They headlined their story “Loretta Lynch: Need more marching, blood, death on streets.”

Obviously Lynch was not advocating for more blood and death. That’s an interpretation that can only be made by a blindly partisan and deliberately dishonest bigot. She was saluting heroes from the past who advanced the cause of liberty. People like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, whose mission was always one of peaceful protest. The violence came from the opponents of equal rights for all.

After WND published their hit piece it circulated throughout the right-wing echo chamber. Most prominently, it was featured on the Fox News community website (and lie factory), Fox Nation, with the same headline. And it didn’t stop there. The wingnut network embraced this slanderous theme. It was also published on a variety of right-wing sites including Alex Jones’ Infowars, the Gateway Pundit, and the Drudge Report.

This is how the alt-right, white supremacists distribute their hate-speech. And it isn’t a coincidence that all of these outlets are on Donald Trump’s favorites list. His presidency has emboldened the worst elements of our national character. When Klan groups openly celebrate the election of Trump, someone they regard as one of their own, it should set off alarms. But Trump’s tepid response to his most fervent and vile followers continues to serve as encouragement to the racist right. And the smears against Lynch are just the latest examples of how committed bigots will distort reality to further their mission of hate.

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

Former GOP Intel Committee Chair: Vladimir Putin Should Be Feeling Pretty Good Right About Now

The fallout from Donald Trump’s reckless and paranoid accusations that President Obama had wiretapped him continues to spread like wildfire. Ever since he tweeted these delusions, criticism has poured out from across the political spectrum. Voices as diverse as Republican senator Ben Sasse and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi have called for investigations of these charges. One intelligence expert speculates that Trump is “getting buggy because he knows that he’s caught.”

CNN Mike Rogers

Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union a panel discussed the wiretap allegations with near universal disapproval. Most notable were the remarks of Mike Rogers (video below). Rogers is a Republican who chaired the House Intelligence Committee. Prior to his congressional service he was a special agent for the FBI and Army veteran. His experience and conservative credentials are unimpeachable. Which makes his comments on the wiretapping controversy particularly significant. When asked what might have motivated Trump to post his accusatory tweets, Rogers replied:

“I don’t understand why he did this. They just put another quarter in the conspiracy parking meter. They’ve extended this story for a week, two weeks? Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

“Two things. One: This should have been held, if he had that belief, and if he believed there had been some inappropriate behavior on behalf of the Justice Department doing this, then there are internal investigative mechanisms he should have used and called for. Making this a big public fight like this, I just think is wrong.”

Indeed. It is wrong both legally and politically. As knowledgeable people in the field have affirmed, it is not even within the powers of the president to do what Trump charged. Only a law enforcement entity can request a surveillance warrant, and even they would need approval from the FISA court. But what Rogers said next should send shockwaves through Trump’s White House and the Republican Party:

“As a matter of fact, the only winner in this whole thing has been Vladimir Putin. I mean, the Democrats are saying that he stole an election. And the President of the United States is saying ‘Don’t worry about it. He’s a pretty good guy.’ If I were Vladimir Putin I’d be feeling pretty good right about now.”

No kidding. Putin has managed to tamper with the electoral process of his biggest international rival. He has elevated his hand-picked candidate to the presidency of the United States. Now his pawn in Washington is implementing policies that Russia has long dreamed of. These include weakening the European Union, threatening the stability of NATO, and inserting wedges that separate America from allies such as Australia, Germany, and Japan.

And all the while, Trump continues to praise Putin. Trump has criticized Meryl Streep and Nordtrom’s more than Russia. But Streep and other Trump targets have not invaded Ukraine or murdered political rivals. At least that we know of. Perhaps disclosure of those atrocities are forthcoming in Trump’s future tweets.

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

Now Can We Declare Trump Insane And Remove Him From Office? (Tweetstorm On Wiretaps)

The reasons to impeach Donald Trump, or otherwise remove him from office, continue to mount. His conflicts of interest, financial corruption, sexual predatory behavior, associations with mobsters, and on and on. And this is the guy that the media swoons over for his allegedly newfound “presidential” demeanor? The most troubling of his growing collection of scandals is the unsavory relationship he and his administration have with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump

However, on Saturday morning Trump revealed another reason to remove him from the presidency. He is STRAIGHT UP BONKERS! Note this latest torrent of deranged tweets:

As usual, Trump provided no evidence that these paranoid accusations have any truth to them. They appear to be a wild excursion into a hallucinatory nightmare that only he can experience. His determination to find villains plotting his demise is taking over his already hampered mental state. Professionals in the psychiatric field have warned of his “malignant narcissism” and other dangerous lapses of cognitive ability. Since his election, legislators from both sides of the aisle have drafted bills to mandate a White House psychiatrist.

Trump’s descent into ever deeper madness seems to be reaching a pinnacle. These tweets cover a lot of maniacal territory. For instance, he is accusing Obama of something that a president has no power to do. Only a law enforcement entity such as the FBI can request surveillance warrants. And in these circumstances even they would need permission from the FISA court to proceed. This isn’t new information either, as Trump insinuated.

His reference to McCarthyism demonstrates that he has no idea what that is. Obama did not make any baseless allegations of treasonous affiliations. Trump didn’t even assert that. To him McCarthyism is just an epithet to toss around recklessly to malign his perceived enemies. The Watergate reference is a bit more on track, except that in that affair Nixon tapped his own phones.

While Trump offered no support for his bizarre claims, the Guardian speculates that he got his info from ultra-rightist radio host, Mark Levin. On his Thursday night show Levin talked about the alleged steps Obama took to undermine Trump’s campaign. That unsubstantiated lunacy was later picked up by Breitbart News, the wingnut hack factory formerly run by Trump’s chief White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.

This is reminiscent of Trump’s frequent use of unverified lunacies from right-wing media that show up on his Twitter feed within minutes of them airing on Fox News. The President resides in a hermetically sealed bubble of far-right conspiracy theories and fake news. He regurgitates what he see and reads from dubious sources as fact and doesn’t even bother to cite those sources. Bloomberg News recently documented the extent to which Trump relies on Fox News, and vice versa.

The most puzzling part of this is trying to come up with a motivation for making these accusations now. Generally Trump’s intentions are easily discerned as distractions from some other abhorrent activity on his part. However, all this does is to remind people of his nefarious connections to Russia. Congressman Ted Lieu noted this in a candid and colorful tweet on the subject:

All of this points to a deteriorating mental state on the part of our President. This is the man who controls the nuclear codes. Yet he is easily influenced by the likes of Mark Levin, Alex Jones, and his own top aide, Bannon. The circumstances developing in the White House are exactly why the nation ratified the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Section four of the Amendment provides guidance in the event that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
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If there were ever a situation in which that argument could be made, it is now. And it isn’t just because of these recent tweets. Trump’s entire history in public life is symptomatic of psychological disorder. His pathological lying, his relentless egotism, his multiple marriages and public affairs, his faulty, and often imaginary, recollections, and his childish outbursts and insults, all suggest deep emotional abnormality. It’s long past time that he be evaluated and directed to somewhere that he get the help he obviously needs. And in the process, protect the country from further harm.