Russia Defends Torture-Loving Trump After Criticism By UN Human Rights Chief

The continuing saga of Donald Trump’s long-simmering romance with Vladimir Putin is heating up. The Associated Press reports that Russia took to defending Trump after some harsh criticism at the United Nations.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

According to the AP, Russia filed a formal complaint last month in response to remarks by Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, was upset by Zeid’s inclusion of Trump in a coterie of known human rights abusers. Zeid had said that:

“In what may be a crucial election for leadership of this country later this year, we have seen a full-frontal attack — disguised as courageous taboo-busting — on some fundamental, hard-won tenets of decency and social cohesion that have come to be accepted by American society. Less than 150 miles away from where I speak, a front-running candidate to be president of this country declared, just a few months ago, his enthusiastic support for torture.”

Indeed, Trump has made his advocacy of torture a key focus of his campaign. Last February he promised that “I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” The U.N. has called for rescinding “any interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, that constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

In criticizing state sponsors of torture Zeid included Trump along with Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage (UKIP), Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, French nationalist Marine Le Pen, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Czech President Milos Zeman.

Given recent revelations about Trump’s affection for the Russians, and vice versa, this should not come as a surprise. Just yesterday he was caught parroting the false claims of a Russian media outlet. He has appeared on Kremlin-controlled cable networks criticizing America and defending Russia. And his financial entanglements with members of the Russian oligarchy and government are well-documented.

The Clinton camp responded with a short but firm statement by senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan:

“This is not only strange — it’s scary. A major-party candidate for the presidency of the United States is being protected by the Kremlin. Wow.”

In addition to the frightening aspects of this, Trump’s campaign has embraced a broad array of pro-Russian policies and praise. He consistently has better things to say about the Russians than he does about America, which he has called a hell hole.” Likewise, he has greater admiration for Russia’s leaders than any of those in the U.S. of either party. The AP addressed all of this saying:

“Trump has praised President Vladimir Putin’s strength and leadership, vowing to improve ties between Washington and Moscow if he defeats Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8. He has questioned whether NATO, an alliance of Western nations formed to counter the Soviet Union, is outdated. He has suggested Russia hasn’t entered Ukraine although it annexed the Crimea region in 2014 and is supporting anti-government rebels in the east. And he urged Moscow to find emails that Clinton deleted from the private server she used while secretary of state.”

There really is only one question that comes to mind after observing all of this evidence. And that is: Whose side is Trump on? His open hostility to so much of what makes America great raises doubts about what the country would look like under his toxic leadership. He rejects the welcoming prose engraved at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. His policies violate domestic and international laws against human rights abuse. The bigotry he espouses is contrary to our nation’s quest for tolerance and equality. And his attraction to authoritarianism ought to chill the spine of every citizen.

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

It is not incidental that the only country in the United Nations that felt compelled to stand up for Donald Trump was Russia. The two share a philosophy and an agenda for international affairs. And who knows what other incentives tie Trump to the Russians, including a vast web of indebtedness.

‘I Never Said I’m A Perfect Person” Says Trump, Except That He Actually Did

The world-class ego, narcissism, and arrogance of Donald Trump have been on public display for decades. He can hardly complete a sentence without exalting himself as the richest, smartest, biggest, and bestest at everything. There is absolutely no trace of humility in the non-stop parade of vainglorious self-promotion that he exudes.

Donald Trump Messiah

In the wake of his deplorable comments bragging about committing sexual assault, Trump’s delusions of grandeur come into even sharper focus. In the very first words in his non-apology apology video Trump makes a play for sympathy by mewling that “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person.” There’s just one problem with that. He has said exactly that both implicitly and explicitly.

In 2011, Republican “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz asked Trump if he had ever asked God for forgiveness. Trump answered “I am not sure that I have […] I don’t think in terms of that.” While that answer fits perfectly with Trump’s signature pompousness, it also reveals why he’s so reluctant to apologize for anything. That includes his blatantly offensive remarks about immigrants, minorities, veterans and women. If he won’t ask God for forgiveness, why the hell would he ask anyone else?

Then last year Trump played his Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free-Card again during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. [Note: Cooper will be moderating the next debate. Will he bring this up?] He was asked to revisit his previous comments and given an opportunity to refine them. He rejected that opportunity and, as usual, he doubled down on his immunity from needing to seek God’s grace.

TRUMP: Well, I like to work where I don’t really have to ask for it. I like to do the right thing where I don’t actually have to ask for forgiveness. Does that make sense to you? You know, where you don’t make such bad things that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I’m trying to lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness. […] Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?

Talk about your Original Spin. There is no other way to interpret an assertion that you never make mistakes than as a claim of perfection. So right there Trump has exposed the lie at the foundation of his apology. Furthermore, he’s effectively saying that a good Christian can avoid seeking forgiveness from God by simply never making any mistakes. Who knew it was that easy? Of course, to do that would require a level of virtue not seen in about two thousand years. And yet he argues that he has achieved this pinnacle of purity. But if you ask the Presbyterian Church, to which Trump claims to belong, they have a completely different interpretation:

“Presbyterians believe the Bible when it says that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Unlike crime, which involves the breaking of human law, sin is a condition of the heart or an expression of that condition where we are estranged from God and fail to trust in God.” […]

“Presbyterians believe God has offered us salvation because of God’s loving nature. It is not a right or a privilege to be earned by being ‘good enough.’ No one of us is good enough on our own — we are all dependent upon God’s goodness and mercy. From the kindest, most devoted churchgoer to the most blatant sinner, we are all saved solely by the grace of God.”

Trump seems to think that forgiveness is something that you request when you have told a lie, cut someone off in traffic, or cheated in golf. His understanding of religion is on the level of a four year old (no offense to four year olds). He has no concept of the tenets of his faith that regards all men and women as sinners. Trump doesn’t seem to think that his own mistakes (of which he has none) rise to the level of sins. That means his three marriages and serial infidelity are wholly virtuous in God’s eyes. His four bankruptcies that left thousands of creditors in the lurch were just divine accounting. His fraudulent Trump University that ripped off hundreds of “students” actually taught them a valuable lesson in dealing with charlatans. And these say nothing of his sins of greed, lust, pride, and his newly revealed admission of sexual assault.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that The Donald doesn’t need the forgiveness of God or anyone else. That’s because he is his own deity with omnipotent powers to solve every problem bigger and better than mere mortals. His followers are likely to grant him the forgiveness he refuses to request. And these are the self-appointed paragons of faith who claim to represent America’s morality. By the way, they’re also the same people who have been calling President Obama the Anti-Christ for seven years.

Wingnuts Spin Trump’s Sexual Assault As OK Because – Oh Look, It’s The Clintons

By now everybody has heard Donald Trump describe how easy it was for him to sexually assault women. His comments were a grotesque and candid display of his real character, or more correctly, lack of it. Following the release of the recordings, Trump attempted to dismiss them with a typical non-apology apology that shifted the blame to others. He released the following statement:

Donald Trump

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

So Trump is apologizing only “IF” someone happened to be offended, but not “FOR” his offensive remarks. It’s an old method of placing responsibility on the poor sap who was foolish enough to listen to him. What’s more, this is not anything like the locker room banter that I’ve ever witnessed. This a confession to criminally aberrant behavior.

However, perhaps the worst part of his dodgy apology is that he couldn’t refrain from using it as an opportunity to smear his political foes. Bill Clinton had nothing to do with this, and Trump’s accusation was arbitrary and utterly unprovable. But that didn’t stop him or his surrogates from leaping feet first into politicizing his boorishness. And most of them employed the same faulty defense. For instance:

Sean Hannity sought to whitewash Trump’s ugliness by first saying that “Nobody’s gonna defend this. You can’t defend – it is wrong, it is inappropriate, it is outrageous. I don’t think anyone’s gonna argue with that.” After which Hannity argued with it for the remainder of his show. Along with his guests, Monica Crowley and Jeanine Pirro, he waived off Trump’s tales of sexual assault and weaved in the affairs of Bill Clinton that have already been worked over in the media for years.

Then there was CNN contributor Scottie Nell Hughes who said that “The words of Donald Trump are bad. But they’re not near as bad as the actions of Hillary Clinton since she’s been in office. There are four soldiers in Benghazi right now, that are not with us right now because of Hillary Clinton’s actions.” Aside from that having been proven untrue by at least four Republican led congressional committees, it has no bearing on Donald Trump.

But no one came close to Trump’s ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who now works for CNN. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer he made the insanely audacious claim that “What we don’t know, and I’m not trying to change the subject here, we don’t have any understanding of what Hillary Clinton has said in those meetings with Wall Street where she was paid for these speeches. She’s never released those transcripts. For all we know, the same things are being said in that regard.”

Let that sink in. Lewandowski is actually implying that Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street executives might have been about how she sexually assaulted people. No wonder they paid her so much. You can’t get porn like that from a former Secretary of State on the cheap. And note also that Lewandowski wasn’t trying to change the subject. It makes you wonder what he thought the subject was. And while your wondering, WTF was Blitzer doing when Lewandowski made that disgusting accusation? He thanked him and went to commercial.

There was one thing that Lewandowski said that actually made sense. In defending Trump he asserted that America isn’t electing a Sunday school teacher, they’re electing a leader. And Trump’s remarks show the nation that “You’ve got a leader who talks tough. He’s been very bold. He speaks from the heart. People understand that. They know Donald Trump.” Indeed, he speaks from the heart. And apparently his heart is poisoned with perversion and hate. And yes, that is the Donald Trump that we know all too well unfortunately.

Finally, Trump himself made a video to take another crack at expressing remorse. This time he admitted that he was wrong and apologized. However, he continued his effort to minimize his grossness and redirect the outrage to his mortal enemies, the Clintons:

“This is nothing but a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. […] I’ve said some foolish things. But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”

Once again, the Clintons have nothing to do with his bad behavior. Additionally, the problem with all of this is not his words. It is, in fact, his actions as he himself describes them. He was not simply spewing profanities, he was talking about things he actually did. His video apologia also contained his “pledge to be a better man tomorrow.” That’s all well and good, but it’s something he should do on his own time, not while residing in the White House.

These are just a few examples of the coordinated spin from Trump and his allies. Clearly they have decided that the way to approach this is to pretend it doesn’t matter and besides the Clintons did it too. That’s a defense worthy of nine year old, which may be the emotional age of Trump.

The video itself was embarrassing. And the proof of that is that after it was aired on Fox News, anchors Gregg Jarrett and Arthel Neville noted that Trump was awkwardly reading the statement and said that it was “almost painful” to watch. They observed that he was clearly reading something that his speechwriters had written for him. And when you’ve lost Fox News…

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

See for yourself:

BUSTED: Trump Used His ‘Charity’ To Pay Off His Own Legal Settlements

This summer has seen a flurry of unscrupulous, if not illegal, revelations about Donald Trump’s “charitable” foundation. Previously it was disclosed that he had used funds designated for charity to make a dubious political contribution (bribe?) to the Florida attorney general. Her office was investigating Trump University at the time, then dropped the case within days of the donation. There was another hundred grand donated to Citizens United just as they were engaging in a battle with the New York attorney general who was investigating Trump. He also spent charity funds on personal items including portraits of himself and sports memorabilia. He also spent charity funds on personal items including portraits of himself and sports memorabilia.

Donald Trump

Now David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post is reporting a new breach of philanthropic ethics. IRS filings by the Trump Foundation show that charitable funds were used to settle Trump’s personal or business debts. That would be a violation of the law under a statute that forbids “self dealing.” Charitable funds must be used for charitable purposes and may not personally benefit the donor. However, Trump diverted more than a quarter of a million dollars that inured solely to his benefit. According to Fahrenthold:

“In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.

“In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

“In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.”

So Trump improperly used foundation funds to pay off his personal legal debts. Even worse, the funds held in his foundation were mostly donated by others. Trump has not made a contribution to his own foundation since 2009. Consequently, Trump’s personal obligations were paid for by money that others had donated to his charity. Those donors probably did not anticipate that their generosity would be utilized for that purpose. Fahrenthold enumerated other smaller incidents, as well as the potential legal consequences:

“If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.”

Trump failed to respond to inquires by the Post. That, along with his persistent refusal to release his tax returns, raises questions about his honesty and transparency. The evidence that Trump has been running his foundation as a personal slush fund is mounting. Not to mention the same accusations have been made about his campaign. Trump the candidate has paid millions of dollars to Trump the businessman for facility rentals and merchandise. Contrast that with the positive reviews of the Clinton Foundation.

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

It may be too soon for the legal questions surrounding these affairs to be answered, but the political answers are clear. Trump is a failed businessman who lacks common ethics. He will con, lie, cheat, and steal in order to enrich himself at the expense of others. Anyone who could support such a man for president can legitimately be called deplorable.

Trump Spends 100K From His ‘Charity’ To Quash Fraud Charges In NY

Last week news surfaced that Donald Trump made an illegal donation to Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi. Just days later she dropped a fraud investigation of his Trump University. The timing of the payoff raised speculation about corruption and bribery. Additionally, the $25,000 gift to Bondi’s political action committee violated laws governing the activities of charitable foundations. Trump was required to pay a $2,500 fine and reimburse his foundation.

Citizens United Trump

Now there is news of fresh corruption on Trump’s part. A new report reveals that the Trump Foundation also paid out $100,000 to a group battling the attorney general of New York. At the time AG Eric Schneiderman was already suing Trump U. for defrauding students of the phony school.

The donation this time is troubling for several reasons. While this gift was not illegal, it reeks of political corruption. Citizens United, the recipient of the 100 G’s, is best known for its role in the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations and the wealthy to contribute unlimited amounts to political causes without disclosure. They also happened to be suing Schneiderman when Trump made his donation. Trump must have seen this as an irresistible opportunity to escalate his attack on the New York AG. He had already been embroiled in very public fight for months. Trump’s anti-Schneiderman blitz included lawsuits, ethics complaints, and Trumpian style Twitter tirades that consisted mainly of insults and smears. And now he was bankrolling another flank in the battle.

There appears to be a clear pattern of Trump using his ostensibly charitable foundation as a vehicle for funneling tax-free dollars into projects that benefit him personally and politically. The gift to Citizens United was made around the same time that they were suing Schneiderman. It was the first time the Trump foundation donated to Citizens United. And it was the largest gift dispensed by his Foundation that year. By comparison, the Police Athletics League got only a quarter of that amount.

Both Trump and Citizens United deny that there was any connection between Trump’s donation and the litigation that Citizens United was pursuing. However, the connections between the two continue to this day. The president of Citizens United is David Bossie who is now Trump’s deputy campaign manager. The lawyer for Citizens United was Donald F. McGahn who is now the chief counsel for the Trump campaign. Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, has produced films with Bossie, including “Hillary, the Movie,” that was at the center of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. And Bossie has taken the helm of the anti-Clinton PAC that was run by Kellyanne Conway until she became Trump’s campaign manager a few weeks ago.

This web of ultra-rightist conspirators deepens the perception of dirty politics that permeates the Trump campaign. And the interweaving of Trump’s personal and political objectives stretches the outer boundaries of ethical behavior. His foundation operates as a virtual slush fund to advance his private interests.

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

Meanwhile, the media obsesses over the Clinton Foundation that has devoted billions of dollars to saving lives around the world. It’s a press fetish that persists despite the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing. Yet somehow they manage to assert some sort of equivalence between the two. That is nothing short of journalistic malpractice that helps Trump prop up his criminal enterprise. And it’s an ethical failure the media needs to correct.

Donald Trump Caught Outright Lying About ‘Donation’ To Florida Attorney General

For several weeks much of the media has been panting breathlessly over minuscule disclosures related to the Clinton Foundation. Never mind that there has not been any finding that Hillary Clinton violated any law or granted any special favors. The so-called “liberal” media has latched onto the story with a fierce determination to find wrongdoing. Meanwhile, another story has been getting short shrift despite actual findings of guilt.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump made a $25,000 donation to a political group called “And Justice For All.” The group was supporting the reelection of Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida. At the time Bondi was investigating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit against Trump University for fraud. Within days of receiving the check, Bondi opted out of the lawsuit. But the stench of corruption doesn’t stop there.

The funds for the donation were drawn from the Trump Foundation, a personal account intended for donations to non-profit charities. It was illegal for such funds to be given to a political campaign. When the IRS questioned Trump’s people about it, they said that the funds went to a charity in Kansas with a similar name. That’s the first lie.

Trump may have thought the matter was put to rest after he paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS. He also reimbursed his Foundation from his private account. Additionally, according to the statute in Florida, Bondi would have to return the funds to the donor. However, there is no record that that was ever done.

Now Trump has responded to questions about the donation. In his typically incoherent rambling he dismissed the entire affair as a mistake:

“I never spoke to her, first of all; she’s a fine person beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoken to her about it. Never. Many of the attorney generals turned that case down because I’ll win that case in court. Many turned that down. I never spoke to her.”

That’s the second lie. Do you get the impression that he wants to convey that he never spoke to her? You’re not alone. The problem is that Bondi disagrees. According to the Associated Press:

“Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates.”

Furthermore, Bondi was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business today and confirmed that she solicited the donation from Trump. With the disclosure that Bondi and Trump did actually talk about the donation, and the fact that the Florida investigation was nixed shortly thereafter, it’s hard not to view this as a bribe. What’s more, Trump has bragged about doing this often in his business affairs:

“When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me,”

This is standard operating procedure for Trump. And it isn’t even the only time he did it with regard to the Trump University fraud. He also appealed to the Texas AG to drop the Trump U. case being considered in that state. After the Texas case was dropped, Trump cut a check to the gubernatorial campaign of then attorney general, now Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.

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

With such clear cut evidence of a crime, you might think the media would give this more than a sideways glance. On Fox News the Bondi story has not been covered at all. And yet, as Media Maters reported, Fox “spent Tuesday obsessing over Hillary Clinton coughing during a rally.” Because that’s what passes for news at Fox. And they certainly wouldn’t want to tell the truth about Trump after investing the last couple of years in his candidacy.

Trump Campaign Linked To Russian Hacking Of DNC, FBI Asked To Investigate

In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention reports that the party’s computer networks were hacked threatened to derail the entire affair. Stolen emails were timed for release in a deliberate attempt to harm the party’s prospective nominee, Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t long before Russian operatives were identified as the likely perpetrators.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

The notion that Russians were attempting to interfere with American elections was not especially significant. The KGB has done this sort of thing before. However, their interest in advancing the campaign of Donald Trump ought to have raised red flags. What would motivate them to go to these lengths to get Trump into the White House? And who else would have an incentive to achieve that goal? There’s an obvious answer to the latter question and it may have been revealed in this article in The Hill:

“The ranking members of four House committees have asked the FBI to investigate whether officials from Donald Trump’s campaign had any role in recent cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”

There are legitimate reasons to suspect that the Trump camp is connected to the hacking of Democratic networks. The Democrats, including House Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings, have genuine concerns that they are asking FBI Directer James Comey to investigate. They want to know whether “connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed” to the cyberattacks. As The Hill article notes:

“The five-page letter lists a number of press reports detailing an apparent relationship between Trump aides and Russia, including foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.”

That’s just the beginning. Trump’s affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin has been well established, along with myriad political and financial connections. He frequently praises Putin’s leadership. And who can forget Trump’s explicit request for the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email? That’s a naked call for foreign adversaries to commit crimes against an American candidate for president.

In addition, Trump has articulated policies that are favorable to the Russians. Most notably his willingness to abandon the NATO Treaty and allow Putin to annex parts of Ukraine and the Baltic states. What’s more, Trump and his associates are deeply intertwined with Russian financiers who hold significant amounts of his debt. Time Magazine recently reported that:

“…as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows.”

The cumulative affect of these facts make it all the more critical that a full investigation is conducted. The integrity of our elections are stake. Republicans will howl, but this is not the sort of partisan hustle that typifies GOP efforts to slander Democrats.

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

The Republican Congress spent eight years twisting the nation’s legislative branch into a private investigative arm of the GOP. They held dozens of hearings on everything from Benghazi to Planned Parenthood. And in every case the only purpose was to harass Democrats and waste taxpayers’ money. Yet for all their trouble they never proved a single misdeed by the Democrats they sought to defame. By contrast, the abundant and sordid details evident here make the Democrats’ request for an investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russian hacks appropriate and necessary.

Fox News War Mongering EXPOSED: Former Exec Confesses ‘My Job Was To Sell The War’ In Iraq

The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.

Fox News

That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”

As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.

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

These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

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

Fox ‘News’ Boss Roger Ailes Is FIRED As His Creation Donald Trump Takes GOP Nomination

Tonight Donald Trump will be making his HUGE speech to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States. It’s ironic, therefore, that the man most responsible for his victory over seventeen other Republican hopefuls just got his ass booted out the door.

Ailes Trump

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News, has accepted a separation agreement that is effective today. It was only three days ago that the strange saga of Ailes was first reported. The unusually rapid progress of events that resulted in Ailes’ surprise termination followed the filing of a lawsuit by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson alleging that Ailes sexually harassed her and then retaliated after she reported prior incidents of harassment and gender discrimination. The suit alleges that Ailes told her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” Shortly after Carslson’s lawsuit hit the press several other women came forward with similar complaints.

Ailes released a statement saying in part, “I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as a consultant in building 21st Century Fox.” Fox sources, however, say that he will not be an official consultant, but will be available to informally advise his old pal Rupert Murdoch, CEO of the Fox News parent corporation 21st Century Fox.

Ailes’ long history of exploiting sex in the workplace has been well documented. The environment at Fox is known for making inappropriate demands on female staff, including wearing revealing clothes and engaging in other provocative behavior on-air. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts.

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

As Donald Trump takes the stage tonight at the Republican National Convention, the propaganda machine that made it possible is undergoing a severe upheaval. There is no clear line of succession in the executive ranks. Rupert Murdoch will be temporarily assuming the role of interim CEO. And as the dust settles it will be Murdoch’s kids who will be calling the shots and filling the vacancies. There are likely to be other shoes dropping in coming weeks, so stay tuned for further developments.