FFS: Trump Seeks Cyber Security Alliance with Russia, the Country That Hacked Our Election

Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn’t dig himself further up Putin’s anus, he pulls out an even bigger jackhammer. The President appears oblivious to the fact that he is under investigation for colluding with Russia during the 2016 election. Many of his close associates have been caught with Russian agents in meetings they tried to cover up. Seventeen independent American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia engaged in extensive operations to hack our election to Trump’s benefit.

Trump/Putin

Nevertheless, it has now been learned that Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is proposing a confounding alliance. Tillerson had numerous encounters with Russian government and businesses in his previous position as CEO of Exxon. But this new hook up is hard to believe. According to Newsweek, Tillerson is seeking to partner with Russia on projects “aimed at cybersecurity and cyberespionage.” Newsweek notes that this…

“…seems particularly odd given not only the investigations surrounding President Donald Trump and his former campaign but also the conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia intentionally meddled in last year’s election in order to ascend Trump’s candidacy. [and that] Complicating the matter is Trump’s consistent refusal to declare Russia had meddled in the election and reluctance to say anything negative about Putin or his government.”

Set aside for the moment the absurdity of favoring Russia with such a privileged relationship after their activities last year. Any program that joins the United States and Russia in efforts to combat cyber attacks is wrought with obvious peril. The intelligence sharing would give the Russians access to confidential information that could aid them in future attacks on the U.S. They would undoubtedly be pleased to learn what areas the Americans regard as vulnerable. This would include risks far beyond election tampering. Cyber attacks can also be launched against infrastructure, power grids, commerce, and even military operations.

Additionally, this sort of coalition would make American technology available to our new partners. Procedures aimed at investigating digital intrusions would have to be shared. Likewise, methods of correcting and securing systems that have been compromised would become common knowledge. And that knowledge would be invaluable in plotting new attacks.

These ham-handed efforts to engage with a hostile adversary make no sense at all. Even strictly with regard to appearances, it is utterly unjustifiable. Russia, based on its unacknowledged and unremorseful activities, surely doesn’t deserve this special treatment. If anything, they should be subject to further sanctions and explicitly excluded from cooperation on technology matters.

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

The fact that Trump’s State Department is openly seeking to reward Russia, despite their bad behavior, suggests something ominous. Could it be a payoff for some past or future benefit for Trump? Does Putin have something on the President that he would release without accommodations like this? Are these questions too conspiratorial? Perhaps they are. But what possible incentive would Trump have for endangering the nation by sharing sensitive technology and cyber security plans with an enemy and international cyber criminal? At the very least, these are questions the media should asking.

Trump White House Sinks Into a Bunker Mentality to Avoid Answering Questions from the Press

There’s a lot going on in Washington these days. Perhaps more of a serious nature than at any time in modern history. Donald Trump has demonstrated ineptitude across a broad array of issues and responsibilities. He’s under investigation for obstruction of justice and unsavory connections to Russia as they sought to interfere with the election. Add to that the President’s improper financial dealings that may violate the Constitution. Then throw in the floundering Republican agenda to repeal ObamaCare, reform taxes, build walls, and defeat ISIS. What you have is a super-heated goulash of White House controversies boiling over.

Trump Bunker

All of these matters are of critical importance to the American people. And the institution that keeps the public informed is the press corps whose freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment. That makes this a bad time for the White House to build a wall between the President and the people. But that’s exactly what Trump’s White House is doing. In a bold move to silence the media, the White House Press Office has cut back on briefings. And when they hold them, they are prohibiting the use of cameras or recording devices. On Monday, CNN’s Jim Acosta expressed some of his frustration on the air (video below):

“The White House press secretary is getting to a point where he’s just kinda useless. If he can’t come out and answer the questions, and their not gonna do this on camera or on audio, why are we even having these briefings or gaggles in the first place?”

Acosta went on to lament the “stonewalling” by the White House that has refused to answer questions even after promising to do so. Left dangling are queries into whether the President has secret Oval Office tapes, and if he believes in climate change. And so much more:

“I don’t know what world we’re living in. We’re standing at the White House and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won’t answer these questions on camera or let us record the audio. I don’t know why everybody is going along with this. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“And it just feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions. He hasn’t had a full blown press conference since February.”

That’s four months of cowering the bunker for the embattled and frightened President. Concluding that the briefings conducted in this manner were “pointless,” Acosta reiterated his surprise that the press corps goes along with the administration’s tactics. He complained that “this isn’t how we do things in this country.” But Acosta may not have factored in how this country does things under a wannabe tyrant like Donald Trump. He did however note in a tweet that:

To make matters worse, Trump’s press team may be looking to shake things up. According to Politico they have interviewed Laura Ingraham as a replacement for Sean Spicer as press secretary. That would put a Fox News contributor in front of a press corps that is already being lied to on a daily basis. This must be what they call “winning.”

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

Trump Brags About Having Higher Approval Ratings than Obama – In His Warped Imagination

Donald Trump is reportedly holed up at Camp David this weekend. It’s the first time that he’s visited the official presidential retreat since taking office. He prefers to stay at his own luxury golf resorts where taxpayers have to shell out for his lodging. Taxpayers also foot the bill for the dozens of staff and security personnel who accompany him.

Obama Trump

But while at Camp David, Trump still found time for exalting himself on Twitter. He boasted about how well his agenda is doing, despite a record of profound failure. All of his most prominent campaign promises have gone unfulfilled. He has been unable to repeal ObamaCare. There is no hint of a wall along the southern border. Tax reform hasn’t even begun. Terrorism is just as big a problem as ever. His attempts to implement a ban on immigration were repeatedly struck down by federal courts.

The most peculiar tweet of this Sunday morning TwitFit is one that sought to pump up his ego. Yeah, I know that applies to most of his tweets. But this one was more flagrant than most:

First of all, no one regards Rasmussen as an especially reliable survey outfit. They are brazenly biased toward Republicans and conservatives. And their accuracy lies closer to the bottom of the pack. What success they have is only because they often rejigger their findings at the end of a campaign to be more in line with other polls. That improves their averages, but is wholly dishonest. FiveThirtyEight gives them only a C+ rating. Their survey method employs automated phone calls to landlines. Most polling services regard operator-assisted calls as more reliable. And capturing the opinions of cell phone users is a requirement for accurate results.

That said, Trump’s assertion that his fifty percent approval rating is higher than President Obama’s is just plain false. According to Rasmussen’s website, Obama had an approval rating of fifty-five percent at this point in his presidency. During his first five months, Obama got as high as sixty-three percent, and never dropped below fifty-three. Trump, on the other hand, has marked record lows for a president in his first five months. This new personal high of fifty percent comes after an unlikely and unexplained seven point leap in two days.

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

Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that Trump outright lied about beating Obama’s numbers. And also the fact that Rasmussen is overtly biased. The spectacle of Trump getting excited about an approval rating that leaves half the country dissatisfied is kind of pathetic. What’s more, Rasmussen breaks down his numbers to reveal that only thirty-one percent “strongly approve” of Trump while forty-two percent “strongly disapprove” (a net negative index of -11%). Yet this is something that Trump thinks is cause for celebration. That’s the sign of a desperate and delusional man.

Trump’s Lawyer Repeatedly Contradicts President’s Claim that He’s Under Investigation

Donald Trump and his administration are not known for their ability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have a history of wildly contradictory statements and absurd deflections from reality. So it isn’t surprising that Trump’s new lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has continued that tradition. He made several appearances on the Sunday morning news shows that did nothing but contribute to the confusion surrounding the investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice.

Sekulow Trump CNN

On all of these programs the discussion was related to a story in the Washington Post saying Trump is under investigation. The Post reported that on the basis of five (count ’em, five) sources who requested anonymity. Of course, Trump has previously railed against the use of anonymous sources despite using them himself when it suits him. However, professional journalists have relied on such sources with great accuracy for as long as there has been journalism.

Trump’s response to the story was expressed in a tweet that apparently confirmed the Post’s account:

That’s simple enough. The President is explicitly agreeing with the Post that he is being investigated. And the investigation concerns, in part, the events leading to the termination of former FBI Director, James Comey. He’s also blaming it on someone at the Justice Department who told him to do it. Never mind that he told NBC’s Lester Holt it was his decision alone. A decision that he made before consulting the DOJ. The bottom line is that everyone is on the same page with regard to the existence of an investigation. Right?

Wrong. Mr. Sekulow, Trump’s attorney, objects. On each of his Sunday interviews he blatantly contradicted his client. He repeated that the President is not now, nor has he ever been, under investigation. But his attempts to support that argument were ludicrous. Let’s begin with the most friendly forum for Trump’s representative, Fox News. Chris Wallace noted that Sekulow himself said that Trump is being investigated.

Sekulow: [Trump] is being investigated for taking the action that the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, recommended him to take by the agency that recommended the termination.
Wallace: First of all, you’ve now stated that he is being investigated after saying that he …
Sekulow: No.
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received, nor are we aware of any investigation of the President of the United States.

Wallace deserves some credit for not letting Sekulow get away with contradicting both himself and Trump. But Sekulow’s attempt at crystal clarity just dodges the substance of his own prior remarks. So let’s move on to Meet the Press with Chuck Todd:

Todd: Let me begin with getting some clarification here. The President tweeted this week “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director.” When did the President become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel?
Sekulow: The President is not under investigation by the special counsel. The tweet from the President was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to the Washington Post about a potential investigation of the President.

Sekulow’s reply doesn’t begin to answer the question. In fact, it makes no sense. How does Trump’s alleged response being aimed at the Post’s story change the meaning of it? That question comes up again when Sekulow appears on CNN’s State of the Nation with Jake Tapper (video below):

Tapper: The President said “I am being investigated” in a tweet and people take his word on that. But you’re his attorney. You’re saying that when the President said that he was not accurate.
Sekulow: No. The President was – It was 141 (sic) characters. There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know. And the President has very effective utilization of social media. So here’s what we have. The President issued that tweet, that social media statement based on a fake report, a report with no documented sources from the Washington Post. […] The President’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there. But the Washington Post statement came out that morning. There should be no confusion. The President is not under investigation.

Now Sekulow is asserting that the Post’s story is fake. Of course, he doesn’t provide any evidence to substantiate that allegation. As a lawyer he should know better. But even that reckless remark doesn’t explain why Trump said that he is being investigated. Sekulow tried to bolster his defense by asserting that Twitter’s character limit is what prevented Trump from being clear. But Trump’s tweet contained only 111 characters. So he had twenty-nine to spare. And according to Sekulow, “the President has very effective utilization of social media.” So he could easily have added “WaPo Says,” or even “the fake news WaPo says.” So there was no impediment by Twitter on Trump making an accurate statement.

At this point it should be noted that Sekulow is not telling the truth about whether Trump is under investigation. All he can say honestly is that he isn’t aware of any investigation. He cannot say that there isn’t one. Wallace called him that and he agreed. Nevertheless, he repeated the same falsehood on the other programs. It’s a propaganda tactic aimed at convincing people that Trump is pure as the driven snow. But his execution is so inept that he just winds up muddying the waters and making his client look guilty. Which I suppose is a professional hazard for lawyers with guilty clients.

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

Good Grief: Now an Angry and Frightened Trump is ‘Yelling at Television Sets in the White House’

The walls are closing in around Donald Trump. At least that’s the way he must be feeling as the investigations into his criminal misconduct proceed. Every day seems to produce another incriminating discovery. And the scope of the investigation grows to encompass more associates and more disturbing improprieties. Everything from his his unsavory Russian connections to his financial conflicts and constitutional breaches are being scrutinized.

Donald Trump

Trump and his handlers have been struggling to change the narrative from the administration’s collapse to one phony agenda item or another. But traveling overseas didn’t do it. Nor did “Infrastructure Week” or “Apprentice Week.” And his big announcement that he was turning back the clock on America’s relations with Cuba fell flat as well. Even the tragic news that a lunatic shot at a group of Republicans practicing for a charity baseball game didn’t take the nation’s attention away from Trump’s scandals for very long.

So this may be a good time to check into the mental state of our President, which has been questionable for some time. His incoherent outbursts and self-destructive tweets paint a picture of a troubled mind. And when the Associated Press sought answers from within the Trump circle, what they found should be of concern to all Americans.

“Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit — and potentially end — his presidency.”

It isn’t difficult to imagine Trump yelling at the TV. It fits his psychological profile. Anyone – or thing – that he perceives to be less than adoring is an enemy deserving of his wrath. It doesn’t matter if it was once a close ally. Trump will turn on you in a hot flash if you don’t maintain a posture of unwavering idolatry. That’s particularly noticeable with regard to his relationship with television. It is what thrust him into the public eye with his Apprentice program. And it’s what focused so intently on him throughout his campaign. But now, with news reports disclosing his malfeasance in office, TV is persona non grata (except for Fox News). He’s abandoning his bestest friend.

The frustration and anger that Trump is displaying is evident in his tweets and other communications. To have it affirmed by insiders speaking anonymously just underscores how frustrated they are as well:

“Aides have counseled the president to stay off Twitter and focus on other aspects of his job. […] Yet Trump’s angry tweets on Friday underscored the near-impossible challenge his advisers and legal team have in trying to get him to avoid weighing in on an active probe.”

Trump’s temperament has always been one of the most worrisome concerns about his holding office. And pretty much everything that’s happened since he was inaugurated is confirmation that those worries were justified. He has praised America’s enemies and alienated our allies. His tantrums over Hillary Clinton and the election last year are never-ending. And the fact that he would appear on television and effectively confess to obstruction of justice with regard to firing James Comey is more than enough proof that he is unfit to serve. Now the question is, will his Republican colleagues choose to put country over party in order to save the nation?

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

Pro-Trump Crackpot Gets Booed Off Stage After Interrupting Shakespeare in the Park (VIDEO)

New York’s Public Theater has been providing free performances of Shakespeare in Central Park for more than sixty years. It’s a non-profit, public service that contributes to the cultural advancement of the community and is available to everyone. It is generally not the scene of political controversy, however, last week became a rare exception.

Shakespeare Protester

The theater group staged a stylized performance of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Taking creative license, they cast Caesar as a Donald Trump lookalike. Consequently, when the scene in the play that depicts Caesar’s assassination came, the character was brutally stabbed to death. Unable to distinguish between reality and fiction, conservatives went into a frenzy asserting that the play was advocating Trump’s assassination. It didn’t take long before the alt-right media was accusing all liberals of being violent and bloodthirsty.

Friday night the performance suffered further attacks when a pro-Trump extremist blogger leaped onto the stage. She began screaming feverishly about alleged “political violence against the right.” Ironically, Laura Loomer writes for a website called TheRebel, a name that implies militant violence.

The interruption was clearly not appreciated by the audience. They immediately burst into a chorus of boos as the cast surrounded Loomer and waited for security to escort her from the stage. And as she was led away the audience cheered and applauded. Surprisingly, Loomer posted video of this embarrassment as if she were proud of it.

following the incident, Loomer had her accomplices video her arrest. Of course, she regarded this as a travesty of justice since all she was doing was defending her Dear Leader, Donald Trump. But her harangue drifted into some peculiar, paranoid territory:

“I really think that the left wants there to be another civil war in this country because they’re so polarizing and they’re so violent. They’re so disgusting. They lack morals. And they really want there to be an assassination so there’s not only a full blown race war, but they want there to be political wars.”

How she concludes that this play makes any statement related to race wars is a mystery only her psychologist can resolve. Perhaps it’s an admission that any criticism of Trump would be countered by his devoted racist supporters. But the hypocrisy is glaringly evident. She attacks the left as polarizing mere seconds before insulting them as disgusting and devoid of morals. That isn’t polarizing at all, is it?

Loomer tries to portray herself as an investigative journalist. But her resume betrays that as absurd. She got her start working for the disgraced and irrelevant confessed criminal, James O’Keefe. For a brief period of time O’Keefe made headlines by producing widely debunked, and deceptively edited, videos intended to slander Democrats. Now his reputation is so toxic that even Fox News won’t publish his nonsense anymore.

So it’s easy to see where Loomer got her idea that interrupting a play with incoherent hollering would be a reasonable act of protest. The only thing she achieved was attracting praise from the alt-right true believers who already worship this sort of idiocy. Disreputable folks like Mike Cernovich, Dinesh D’Souza?, and Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) rushed to her defense. Alex Jones of Infowars tweeted that she was a “patriot.” And Laura Ingraham of Fox News had this say:

First of all, President Obama was the target of innumerable attacks that included stabbing, lynching, and other forms of assassination. The right finds it convenient to forget about that. But Ingraham’s remarks about how liberals would behave in circumstances similar to this one are painfully ignorant. In 2012, the same play was staged with an Obama character in the role of Caesar. There were no protests or juvenile interruptions of the performance.

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

Hypocrisy is no stranger to the right. When Tea Party activists stormed congressional town halls, conservatives hailed them as heroes. When liberals did the same thing earlier this year, the same conservatives condemned them as subversives. When liberals protest speeches on college campuses by white supremacists they are accused of being against free speech. But when Trump and his cohorts advocate government control of the media, the right cheers and agrees. So if you’re looking the differences between left and right responses to expressions of political viewpoints, you need look no further than people like Laura Loomer and the censorious president she idolizes.

Death Spiral? Trump’s Support From REPUBLICANS Craters as His Presidency Flatlines

The political anchor that is Donald Trump continues to sink ever deeper. The latest poll by the Associated Press shows him with a flaccid approval rating of only thirty-five percent. His disapproval (64%) matches the nation’s distaste for his policies. On his handling of healthcare, sixty-six percent disapprove. Sixty-four percent of Americans object to his withdrawal from the Paris Accords on climate change.

Donald Trump

However, the bad news for Trump is far worse than than what is revealed by that already dismal poll. Gallup just updated their tracking poll of Trump’s popularity (or lack thereof) by party affiliation. The President’s historically depressed job ratings have been routinely dismissed by him and his cohorts. They have relied on their base to provide a cult-like bottom of devotion. But Gallup’s numbers just put an end to that self-deception:

“Republicans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. took a hit since last month. Forty-one percent of Republicans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., down 17 percentage points since May.”

When four-in-ten of your most faithful fans are dissatisfied with your performance, you have achieved an epic level of failure. And the precipitous seventeen point collapse ought to be especially worrisome. The time span during which these numbers plunged were notable for several initiatives that Trump regarded as potentially positive. He took his first trip overseas. He announced his position on an international agreement on climate change. The stalled effort to repeal ObamaCare was restarted in the Senate. A tax reform agenda was outlined. But none of these issues moved the needle in favor of Trump.

Of course, at the same time the investigation into the Russia intrigue that has consumed his administration grew more precarious. Additional facts were revealed and more people were implicated. There were congressional hearings that featured former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Most recently, reports (and Trump) affirmed that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice. Surely these events are weighing on his approval ratings.

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

Other presidents have suffered through periods of low voter satisfaction. What makes Trump’s dilemma unique is that his own party is abandoning him like rats from a sinking ship of state. It is unlikely that Trump will find many Democrats or independents to buttress his decline. So if he can’t bring back Republicans he is doomed to a continuing free fall. When elected GOP representatives conclude that their constituents are hopelessly repulsed by Trump, they will be less likely to back him up. And at some point they will decide that defending Trump, even against impeachment, exposes them to more risk than benefit.

Sean Hannity’s ‘Deep State’ Derangement Put’s Him at the Front of Conspiracy Crackpot Parade

The shooting in Virginia on Wednesday has renewed the debate over civility in public discourse. Predictably, Republicans exploited the opportunity to blame Democrats and liberals for the violence directed at their colleagues – this time. Even their pleas for consideration and respect are peppered with partisan attacks.

Sean Hannity Fox News

A perfect example occurred Thursday morning on Fox and Friends. Conservative agitator Michelle Malkin spent over eight minutes with her Fox News pals pretending to seek comity while throwing jabs at “the extreme left.” At one point, the on-screen graphic read “Violent Threats Sent To GOP Lawmakers.” The tone of the whole segment reflected that bias. At no time did they mention the recent threats against Democrats. Two Democratic candidates actually had to withdraw from their races due to death threats from right-wingers. And then there was the Republican candidate who literally assaulted a reporter who was just doing his job. That candidate, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, won his race, and is now a U.S. congressman.

Sadly, the heated rhetoric that engulfs today’s political scene is viewed by some as an opportunity. Donald Trump notably abused his opponents whether Republican or Democrat. He fantasized about punching critics in the face. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who beat up protesters at his rallies. No wonder that, as president, he continues to associate with drooling barbarians like Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and Ted Nugent.

Perhaps those relationships are what is eating at Sean Hannity. He was the most vocal and devoted Trump-fluffer at Fox News during the campaign. His program featured Trump more than any other on television. And he literally endorsed Trump prior to the election, breaching every ethical standard for a news network. However, his access seems to have been curtailed. Trump hasn’t granted him an interview in over five months. In the meantime, fringe characters from Breitbart News and Infowars got passes to White House Press briefings.

This festering jealously might be inspiring Hannity to venture further out onto the crazy cliff’s edge. That seems to be the best way to get Trump’s enfeebled attention. So Hannity abandoned fear (and reason) on Wednesday night’s program to rant about the frightful “Deep State” that is plotting to destroy Trump (video below). The segment dwells on Hannity’s objection to reports that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice. Some choice excerpts follow:

“Tonight, and over the next few days, when the media predictably is gonna breathlessly and hyperventilate all kinds of reports and brand new black helicopters and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories to you the American people as they lie again, remember they have zero credibility left.”

Amazingly, he said that all in one breath. However, surveys show that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump. And credible news outlets document their stories, unlike what Hannity is doing in this tirade. He continues to deny the reports that Trump is under investigation:

“It’s only a matter of time before this too will be debunked like everything else they’ve reported in pretty much the last eleven months.”

So Hannity is asserting that for the past year “everything” that’s been reported by the media has been debunked. That’s some pretty spicy nutball delusion. Then he launches into what he says are the real crimes. He accuses James Comey and Robert Mueller of conspiring to undermine the President, despite the fact that they are both lifelong Republicans. And naturally, the biggest criminal of all is Hillary Clinton.

“We know Hillary Clinton committed felonies with her email private server scandal. If Democrats wanna talk about collusion, great. Let’s talk about it and take a look at collusion with Vladimir Putin. Uranium One. Twenty percent of the foundational material to make nuclear weapons, while serving as Secretary of State. She signed off on a waiver giving twenty percent of that uranium to Putin, to the Russians. All while people involved in that deal were funneling millions of dollars back to the Clinton Foundation.”

And all of that is total bull crap. Clinton did not sign any such waiver. There was a deal for Russia to acquire certain facilities (not actual uranium) that required the unanimous approval of nine separate government agencies. The State Department alone could not approve the deal. And the donations to the Clinton Foundation all occurred before Clinton was even nominated for the cabinet post. All of this information is publicly available and Hannity has known about it for years. Nevertheless, he persists in spewing information that he knows is false. It’s all part of his “Deep State” saga aimed at convincing his dim-witted audience that a covert, pseudo-government is working behind the scenes to destroy Trump.

Hannity closes with a call to arrest and jail the anonymous sources who talk to the media. He asserts that they are guilty of disseminating classified data. What’s peculiar about that charge is that he also claims the information they provided is false. But he can’t have it both ways. If the data is false, then nothing classified was revealed, no laws were broken, and no arrests are warranted. If the data is true, then Hannity has to concede that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice which Hannity rejects as fake news.

By spinning so furiously that his brain is scrambled, Hannity hopes to return to the high place he held with Trump prior to the election. He appears to think that he has to compete with the likes of Jones and Savage for the President’s affections. And he is probably right. Trump’s choice of friends and advisers is driven by their Insanity Quotient. The question is, can Fox News continue to allow a lying conspiracy kook to host a primetime program on their network? Well, why not? He’s been there for twenty years.

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

Fox News Succumbing to Reality? Network Ditches Their ‘Fair and Balanced’ Slogan

The past year has seen some profound changes in the conservative world. And it’s not just the election of Donald Trump. Although that was a tectonic shift that put a novice political enigma with no discernible principles at the helm of the GOP (Greedy One Percent). And as if that wasn’t earth-shattering enough, the party of family values fell in line behind an adulterous, irreligious, walking contradiction machine. Somehow Republicans were able to embrace a narcissistic, wannabe dictator who spent years insulting them.

Fox News

In the right-wing mediaverse, Fox News has also undergone an upheaval. They lost their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, and their biggest Star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. The same improprieties resulted in several other notable Foxies leaving the hen house. They include Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, and Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. While Rupert Murdoch is still the lord master of Fox, it’s his kids who are the operational managers now.

As if to finish off the old era of Fox News, it was just revealed that they are abandoning their long-time slogan, “fair and balanced.” Of course, they never lived up to that or even tried. It was just a marketing scheme to disparage all other news networks as being hopelessly biased. Fox used it to corral their disciples into the cult, where only the cult leader is to be believed. Veteran Fox-watcher, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine had the scoop:

“As Fox News moves further into the post–Roger Ailes era, the network is shedding one of its most iconic elements. According to network executives, Fox News has abandoned the marketing slogan ‘Fair & Balanced.’ The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.'”

Cutting ties to disgraced former management is a generally a good idea. Ailes, who died last month, has become a figurative leper. Even the Ohio University scholarship in his name was discontinued. The same embarrassment of association occurs with the ousted Bill O’Reilly. Megyn Kelly, who resigned to take a new job with NBC, is already showing signs of weakness. Her Sunday night program debuted to meager ratings. And it got worse from there. The second episode dropped by forty-two percent and a 60 Minutes rerun beat it with twice as many viewers. Now there are advertiser boycotts stemming from her decision to interview conspiracy theory kingpin, Alex Jones.

Perhaps the funniest part of this decision to drop the “fair and balanced” lie is that they are replacing it with another lie. The new slogan is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” Neither of those assertions are true. For the past few months MSNBC has been beating Fox in primetime with the most valued viewer demographic. Rachel Maddow is leading the way, often placing as the highest rated program on all of cable news. And as for “trusted,” Fox News isn’t even in the top twenty according to a survey by Pew Research. It falls well behind all three broadcast networks, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

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

So Fox is continuing in their tradition of deceiving their audience with blatant falsehoods. And regardless of what their slogan is, we can depend on them to be true to their mission of lying. Despite all of the changes taking place at Fox, what is not changing is their intention to serve the propaganda of the right generally, and to always exalt Trump in particular. Some things will never change.

Trump, Jr and Other Republicans are Already Blaming Democrats for Scalise Shooting

Wednesday morning a deranged man opened fire on a group of Republicans practicing for a charity baseball event. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but several people were wounded including the GOP House Whip, Steve Scalise. Capital Police returned fire and killed the gunman. This is a horrific act of violence for which there is no excuse, and members of both parties have come together to condemn it. For the most part.

Donald Trump, Jr

Sadly, there are some on the right who leaped to the opportunity to take political advantage of this tragedy. And at the top of the list is the eldest son of Donald Trump, Don, Jr. The Trump scion retweeted conservative pundit Harlan Hill who posted this offensive and false sentiment: “Events like today are EXACTLY why we took issue with NY elites glorifying the assassination of our President.”

Trump and Hill are referencing a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where the title character was made up to resemble Trump. But they are woefully ignorant of the content of the play which concludes that political violence is abhorrent and counterproductive. What’s more, they never had any complaints when the same play was staged with President Obama in the role of Caesar.

More to the point, Trump, Jr. is demonstrating a callous disrespect for the victims and their families by rushing to politicize this shooting. It exposes his obsession with partisan antics aimed at disparaging Democrats. And he isn’t alone. Other Republicans have also dived into the scummy end of the pool. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) called it a “political rhetorical terrorist attack.” Fringe wingnut radio talker Michael Savage tweeted “I warned America the Dems constant drumbeat of hatred would lead to violence!” Alex Jones’ InfoWars deemed it “media-inspired terror attacks.” That’s notably different than his take on the Sandy Hook murder of twenty children as a hoax staged with actors.

Conservative websites like the Drudge Report and Breitbart News joined in the pile on against Democrats and liberals. Never mind that every Democrat who has spoken out about this has unconditionally condemned it. And then there’s GOP congressman Chris Collins (R-NY), who assigned the blame solely to Democrats for rhetoric that he said “fuels the fires.” He continued:

“I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric. The rhetoric has been outrageous. The finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. […] Maybe this is a wake-up call. I’m not saying it will be. But let’s hope we could disagree on a more polite, conversational basis.”

So Collins’ idea of being more polite is to accuse Democrats – and only Democrats – of inciting violence. And his solution to finger-pointing is finger-pointing. Just for the record, Republicans have been notoriously hostile toward Democrats for decades. And that has only worsened during the Era of Trump, who famously suggested “2nd Amendment solutions” to handle Hillary Clinton. And who can forget the images of Obama being lynched that were circulated endlessly by right-wing trolls. In many cases they were further disseminated by GOP officials.

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

Republicans are right to admonish anyone who glorifies violence against political adversaries. They’re right to condemn such violence when it occurs. But they are just bending the arc of hypocrisy to the breaking point when they assert that they are not at least as guilty of hostile partisan rhetoric. And they need to extend their outrage to abortion clinic bombings, assaults on Muslims, LGBTQ people, women, African Americans, Latinos, etc. Then they can start to consider lecturing Democrats on civility.