Debate Prep: Big Coward Donald Trump Takes Shelter In The Fox News Cocoon

Tomorrow’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could have a profound impact on the race going forward. Or it could be an entirely irrelevant sideshow that is forgotten by Wednesday. The press has already decided that Clinton has a more difficult task living up to expectations that the press itself creates. While Trump is expected only to remain upright and avoid drooling or blurting out profanities.

Debate Stage

In advance of the big night, Trump continues to hide from challenging questions. This despite, or due to, some potentially ruinous reports of his dealings with Russian oligarchs and illegal use of funds from his “charitable” foundation. As a result, Trump and his handlers are limiting his exposure to the media. This makes the debate one of the few times that he will face questions from anyone other than Fox News in over four weeks.

Since August 25, Trump has given only three interviews with non-Fox outlets. Contrast that with the thirteen interviews he’s given Fox, including several episodes of Hannity where he consumed the entire hour. Media Matters found that the airtime Hannity alone provided Trump since he became a candidate was worth more than $31 million in free publicity. Hannity even appeared in an ad for Trump, which resulted in a gentle reprimand by his bosses at Fox News.

In addition to his aversion to interviews, Trump has also not held a press conference in nearly two months. During the summer Clinton was hounded by conservatives for not holding a press conference. Now the press is traveling on her plane and it’s Trump who is evading media scrutiny. But no one on the right has any problem with that anymore.

What’s he afraid of? Trump is on Fox News almost daily, but is too scared to be interviewed by anyone outside that safe zone. His fear of media that isn’t expressly adoring raises questions about his ability to face confrontations with foreign leaders or even contentious members of Congress. Will he hide in the Lincoln Bedroom to keep from having to face Angela Merkel or Nancy Pelosi?

Even Fox News has noticed Trump’s cowardice. Last July Howard Kurtz reported that he was “refusing to appear on many television outlets” and that his advisers were “no longer notifying him of every interview request.” So his babysitters are keeping him in the dark and making decisions that deliberately shun his participation? Imagine how horribly that weakness would play out in the Oval Office.

What’s more, by cowering in the Fox bunker Trump limits his exposure to only people who are already supporting him. If he expects to expand his base he won’t do it by preaching only to the Fox choir. Studies show that Fox News viewers are more reliably right-wing voters than any other demographic group, including conservatives, white evangelical Christians, and gun owners. Another study revealed that, of those who cite Fox as their main source for news, 94 percent identified themselves as Republicans.

Anticipating difficulty, Trump has spent the last few weeks working the refs. Which amounts mainly to whining about the unfairness of the process. He complains that the election is rigged, the media is rigged, and the debates are rigged. He has railed against the moderators who he says are biased against him. For the record, the moderator of the first debate is NBC’s Lester Holt who is a registered Republican. The third debate moderator is Chris Wallace of Fox News.

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

Consequently, the potential impact of the debate rests primarily on the opportunity for more voters see Trump outside of Fox. That could be the death knell for his campaign. He’s not an especially endearing figure. However, it’s safe to predict that Fox’s debate analysis will conclude that Trump beat the pantsuit off of Clinton. No matter what actually happened. It’s what their audience expects and what they’re paid to do. As for Little Donnie, he will declare he victory even if he spits up blood and involuntarily flashes a sieg heil salute.

NYT Praises Hillary Clinton’s ‘Intellect, Experience, Toughness And Courage’ In Resounding Endorsement

With the election rapidly approaching (just six more weeks?!), the traditional spate of endorsements is heating up. There has already been one surprise as deep in the heart of Texas, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Hillary Clinton. Backing their first Democrat in 75 years, they said that “there is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot.”

Hillary Clinton

Now the New York Times has revealed their choice for president in a stirring and detailed announcement that begins with this:

“In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway.”

In a tantalizing parenthetical, the editors tease that an upcoming article will explain in detail why they believe that Donald Trump is “the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.” We will all wait for that with baited breath. In the meantime, the Times sought to avoid negative arguments that boosted Clinton only because she isn’t Trump. They purposefully set out to make an affirmative case for Clinton:

“Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena.”

Some other notable observations by the Times’ editorial board include their praise for Clinton as:

“…a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”

“She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship.”

“Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls.”

“Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president.”

That last quote is a fairly transparent slap at Donald Trump. His juvenile behavior, narcissism, tantrums, and name-calling are characteristic of his embarrassing immaturity. Likewise, his refusal to educate himself or assume the other responsibilities of a serious candidate are classic signs of childishness. Not to mention his pathological lying.

Some readers may dismiss the Times’ endorsement as something to be expected from the allegedly liberal newspaper. However, no news outlet has been more critical of Clinton during the course of the campaign. They have feverishly covered stories ranging from Clinton’s email to allegations about the Clinton Foundation. Never mind that all of the efforts of the Times, and every other news enterprise, has failed to find any actual wrongdoing. And the Times has shown blatant bias with headlines that describe Clinton as “dishonest” while softening assertions about Trump as being “creative with the truth.”

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

Furthermore, the Times is Trump’s hometown paper and has provided him with plenty of positive coverage for decades. So this wasn’t a slam dunk by any means. The conclusions in the endorsement are logically laid out and backed up by factual evidence. Clinton is without question the only serious candidate in the race. Her resume is unparalleled in modern politics. And notwithstanding her shortcomings, she is superior to Trump by every conceivable standard. Stay tuned for the Times’ upcoming assessment of Trump. That should be both entertaining and frightening.

Obama Presents Medals For The Arts: Here’s What The Honorees Think Of Donald Trump

This week President Obama paid tribute to a group of distinguished Americans who represent the best of our nation’s culture. At a White House ceremony Obama paid tribute to recipients of the National Medal for the Arts and the Humanities. They come from diverse world’s of theater, literature, music, and other creative occupations. Among the honorees were beloved and revered figures like Mel Brooks and Morgan Freeman. But there is something that several of them share besides a passion to enrich the lives of others.

Obama Brooks

Many of the honorees have distinct ideas about the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. And these intelligent, insightful communicators have not been particularly impressed. Here are some of the opinions articulated in the past by these renowned observers of the human condition.

Actor Morgan Freeman:
“Donald Trump is the Honey Boo Boo of rich people.”
[Note: Freeman is an avid Clinton supporter and narrated the biography video that played at the Democratic convention]

Author Sandra Cisneros:
“Donald Trump is a very frightened man. Anyone who is frightened has to bluster and yell and shout.”

Painter Jack Whitten:
“I thought that Sarah Palin was the ultimate political comic book character until Donald Trump entered the scene.”

Author Ron Chernow:
The Trump campaign disturbed him more than “any other presidential campaign in our history.”

Musician Wynton Marsalis:
“It’s cheap populism. It’s an attempt to get a voter base. They used to scapegoat black people, but now there are so many black people in jail they use Mexicans.”

Singer/Actor Audra McDonald:
So the KKK, Vladmir Putin, and Kim Jong-Un all endorse Trump for president…Are we sure this isn’t an episode of South Park?

Chef Jose Andres:
Trump is “a man whose statements had made him a pariah for the great majority of the Hispanic community.” [Note: Andres is currently in litigation with Trump after pulling his restaurant out of Trump’s new Washington, DC hotel. The dispute arose following Trump’s campaign announcement during which he called Mexicans rapists and criminals]

Actor/Writer/Director Mel Brooks:
“If I were doing a sitcom I’d do it about a powerful idiot like this guy, who’s running a big corporation or a big network and we’d get to see behind the scenes what an idiot he is.”

As a special bonus for attendees of the ceremony, when Mel Brooks rose to accept his medal he smiled graciously and then tried to pants the President. However, setting aside that brief and hilarious departure from decorum, these recipients are themselves a tribute to the spirit and vision of American creativity. Their experience and wisdom is both representative and inspirational. And it is not insignificant that so many people of this stature regard Donald Trump as a national embarrassment. If only there were an award for that.

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

Hillary Clinton Has Some Urgent Questions For Trump About His ‘Bizarre Relationship With Russia’

In the past few weeks there have been some shocking stories about Donald Trump’s connections to foreign politicians and financiers. Especially Russian leader Vladimir Putin and figures associated with Russian mobsters. The media glosses over these alliances, even though they would have doomed the electoral prospects of any other candidate. If Hillary Clinton were linked to such shady characters they might start calling her “crooked.”

Trump Putin

Consequently, it was left To Clinton to raise the issues that the press fails to properly cover. A post on her website enumerates a few of the inquiries that ought to be at the top of every journalist’s agenda. Here is a summary of her concerns:

6 questions every voter should ask about Donald Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia

1. What’s behind Trump’s fascination with Vladimir Putin?
Trump is on record praising dictators from some of the world’s most brutal regimes, from Kim Jong-Un to Saddam Hussein. But his praise for Russia’s president is the most extensive and the most adoring.

2. Why does Trump surround himself with advisers with links to the Kremlin?
Trump’s top adviser and campaign manager Paul Manafort built his political career as a lobbyist for international dictators, rebel groups, and human-rights violators. […] Manafort isn’t the only Trump adviser with a cozy relationship with the Kremlin.

3. Why do Trump’s foreign policy ideas read like a Putin wish list?
Trump’s talk of “America First” isolationism worries our allies, threatening the alliances that have kept America strong and safe.

4. Do Trump’s still-secret tax returns show ties to Russian oligarchs?
Unlike every other major party presidential nominee for the past 40 years, Trump refuses to release a single tax return—you have to ask yourself “what’s he hiding?”

5. Why is Trump encouraging Russia to interfere in our election?
Russia has a known history of interfering in foreign elections, and there’s now extensive evidence that they’re doing just that in the United States.

6. Is Trump’s pro-Russia stance the result of his business ties to Russia? And what is he going to prioritize as president: our national security or his business interests?
Trump has worked to keep his business dealings a secret (as of today, he still refuses to release his tax returns). But reporters at ABC News uncovered a bombshell: Trump has profited from hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian interests.

The affinity Trump shows for hostile foreign dictators is more than a curious quirk of personality. It would pose a dangerous conflict of interest and an overt threat to national security. Question #3 in particular requires further examination. The fact that Trump’s agenda could serve as a to-do list for a Putin lobbyist should not be dismissed. Trump actually went on a Russian controlled TV network and took Putin’s side against America. And Trump’s stubborn unwillingness to be forthcoming about any of this only deepens the mystery.

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

THIS JUST IN: U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.

“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.”

Hillary Goes ‘Between Two Ferns’ And It’s Freakin’ Hilarious (VIDEO)

It’s two weeks after Labor Day, the date generally regarded as the commencement of the campaign season. The conventions are behind us and voters are said to be paying attention to the candidates. So it makes perfect sense that just as people are taking this race seriously, Hillary Clinton would appear on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis (video below).

Hillary Clinton Between Two Ferns

Not generally recognized for her sense of humor, Clinton rises to the occasion and gives Galifianakis every bit as much as he gives her. The segment begins with a question that sets the tone for the remainder of the sketch:

Galifianakis: Critics have questioned some of your decision making recently and by you doing this show I hope it finally lays that to rest.
Clinton: Oh I think it absolutely proves their case, don’t you?

Galifianakis hits on all of the most pressing issues of the campaign. He asks about the historical significance of Hillary being the first “girl” president, not to mention the first white president for many young Americans. He challengers her on the Second Amendment. And he boldly raises the prospect of her losing the Scott Baio vote, something no mainstream journalists have had the courage to address. Galifianakis also explores the intricacies of Hillary’s wardrobe and her famous pantsuits.

Donald Trump is not neglected in this interview. Galifianakis wanted to know what he might wear during the debates. When Hillary speculated that he would probably wear his customary red “power” tie, Galifianakis offered that it might instead be a “white power” tie. He also pressed Clinton on campaign strategy asking:

“When you see how well it works for Donald Trump, do you ever think to yourself ‘Maybe I should be more racist?'”

When the discussion turned to the economy, Galifianakis interrupted for a message from the program’s sponsor. I won’t say who that was, but you might be able to guess. Then he closed with a reference to Clinton’s email “scandal.”

Edgy comedy showcases like this are an effective way to reach the elusive Millennial demographic with which Clinton has struggled. President Obama used it to great effect, including taking a spin between the same two ferns in 2014. Conservatives freaked out whenever Obama appeared on such programs and complained that it was “unpresidential.” That’s a criticism that would sound ludicrous coming from Trump.

However, these outings often humanize a candidate and reveal an ability to laugh at themselves. Clinton has a well enough established reputation for serious policy analysis that she can safely engage in some comic relief. It wouldn’t hurt her to do more of it. Trump, on the other hand, has yet to demonstrate that he grasps the seriousness of the office he seeks. He stubbornly refuses to offer any specifics as to how he would accomplish his outlandish campaign promises. Mexico isn’t paying for a wall that he isn’t going to build anyway. ISIS won’t be defeated overnight. The deficit isn’t going to shrink after his tax cuts for the rich, they are going to balloon by over five trillion dollars. And he isn’t going to end all street crime in America.

Although there is one area in which Trump has succeeded which may obviate the need for him to do shows like this. He is already perceived by most Americans as joke.

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

UPDATE: The co-creators of “Between Two Ferns” spoke to the Washington Post about the Clinton interview. It’s a really interesting bit of background that reveals in part that…

“…she was actually super warm and funny during the making of it. After one of the jokes, she let out a big laugh that put us all at ease. This one, compared with the Obama one, was much more improvisational. We didn’t clear most of the jokes through her people.”

Hannity Appears In Trump Ad, Fox News Brushes Off Flagrant Conflict Of Interest

It may come as a surprise to learn that Fox News has policies governing the ethical behavior of their employees. Over the years the network has brazenly promoted Republican politicians and pundits without regard for either fairness or balance. But the blurry lines they draw were recently crossed by primetime host Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity

Hannity taped a tribute to Donald Trump that appears in a new web ad. Curiously, he is identified only as “Sean Hannity, TV personality.” Not only did they leave out his Fox News affiliation, but they reduced him to the status of Kim Kardashian or Ryan Seacrest. In the clip Hannity unequivocally states his support for Trump and outlines his reasons why.

“One of the reasons I’m supporting Donald Trump this year is number one, he’s going to put originalists on the Supreme Court. People that believe in fidelity to the Constitution, separation of powers, co-equal branches of government. He’s a guy that will vet refugees to keep Americans safe. And of course he’s gonna build that wall. He says he’s gonna have Mexico pay for it. That’s fine, as long as we secure the country and, of course, we don’t want people competing for jobs. He said he will eliminate Obamacare, make us energy-independent, and as somebody who’s been a marksman since I’m 11 years old, protecting our Second Amendment rights are paramount to me.”

This list of right-wing tripe is typical of the propaganda that Fox and Hannity regularly dispense. Nothing in it varies from the conservative politics that dominate the network. What’s unusual is that Hannity delivers his testimonial in an official Trump advertisement. Along with fellow asshats like Ted Nugent, Hannity plants a wet kiss full on the mouth of his hallowed hero. Unfortunately, he failed to get permission from his Fox bosses before contributing his services. That reckless disobedience resulted in Fox News taking swift disciplinary action:

“We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season.”

Well, that ought teach him. While distancing themselves from Hannity’s impropriety, Fox firmly forbade him from further misconduct. And that appears to be the extent of his punishment. He wasn’t suspended. His pay wasn’t docked. There doesn’t even seem to be a demand to remove his segment from Trump’s ad. What’s more, they gave him permission to continue his partisan antics after the election.

This absence of consequences isn’t the least bit peculiar. Why would Fox News punish Hannity for doing in an ad what he does everyday on his program? Hannity has publicly endorsed Trump. His show has hosted Trump more than any other program on television. Tonight, in fact, he’ll be holding his third “town hall” wherein Trump is given the full hour to advance his candidacy. Hannity’s role in these infomercials is mainly to toss Trump softballs that he often answers himself. Or, at least, polishes the frequently moronic answers Trump serves up.

As the election season proceeds, Fox News is frantically escalating their Trump crusade. On the air they are deploying ever more hysterical Trump surrogates. The Fox News website is fully engaged in PR for Trump. Their Twitter feed is brazenly distributing professionally designed pro-Trump memes (see this collection). They couldn’t be more engaged in the campaign without registering as a PAC, which technically they ought to do anyway.

Consequently, Hannity’s pathetic iPhone video contribution to a web ad really doesn’t make much difference. And the only people watching Fox’s disinformation blitz are dimwitted wingnuts who wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. Fox’s incessant choir-preaching didn’t elect John McCain or Mitt Romney, and it isn’t going to elect Donald Trump either.

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

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.

LMFAO: Trump Takes Credit For Sh*t He Didn’t Do (Again) – Twitter Bites Back

From the start of his campaign Donald Trump has attempted to fool people into thinking he has inspired a vigorous political debate. The truth is that he hasn’t had single original thought in fifteen months. That hasn’t stopped him from claiming that no one talked about immigration until he came along. Or that he was the first person ever to condemn terrorism. Likewise, he thinks his exploitation of veterans launched the nation’s concern for them. He even stole the Birther issue which he used to launch his candidacy.

Donald Trump

Today he took credit for something else for which he was an obvious latecomer. In a tweet meant to criticize Hillary Clinton, Trump whined:

“Do people notice Hillary is copying my airplane rallies – she puts the plane behind her like I have been doing from the beginning.”

Wow, that Hillary Clinton is a real jerk. How dare she steal that brilliant idea that Trump conceived with his own tremendous brain. Can’t she come up with ideas of her own? And while we’re at it, let’s condemn these slime buckets who traveled through time to swipe Trump’s strategic breakthrough.

Beginning with this guy:

And then there was Mitt Romney:

That war deserter John McCain:

Mission accomplisher George W. Bush:

The Great Communicator himself, Ronald Reagan:

And I’ll throw in a Naked Gun reference just for fun:

Donald Trump’s narcissism is totally off the scale. He’s the guy who comes late to the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square and takes credit for the ball dropping. His perverse obsession with himself has led him to declare that “My primary consultant is myself.” In the White House Trump would surely continue this blatant conceit, which could have disastrous consequences. In the best case scenario it would just make America the laughingstock of the world.

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

WTF? At Clinton’s Post-Terror Press Avail 3 Out Of 4 Questions Were About Trump

For much of the summer conservatives busied themselves counting the days that elapsed since Hillary Clinton held a press conference. To them it indicated that she had something to hide. The truth was that she was concentrating on local media and one-on-one interviews. She was hardly avoiding the press. However, if she wanted to she had ample reason. Her press conference this morning is a perfect illustration of why Clinton might be justified in dodging these affairs.

Hillary Clinton

Following a weekend of bombings and stabbings attributed to terror-linked suspects, Clinton delivered a statement and took a few question from reporters covering her campaign (video below). She began by offering her support to the communities affected by the attacks. She also expressed concern for the victims and determination to prevail over the perpetrators saying, in part:

“Like all Americans, my thoughts are with those who were wounded, their families and our brave first responders. This threat is real, but so is our resolve. Americans will not cower, we will prevail. We will defend our country and we will defeat the evil, twisted ideology of the terrorists.”

After her remarks, Clinton invited the press to ask questions. You might think this would be a good time to dig deeper into her plans to defeat the enemy. But that would only be true if you considered the enemy to be Donald Trump. Because the press seemed far more interested in him than in ISIS. Here are the four questions Clinton was asked by our intrepid journalists:

First Question:

Unidentified Reporter: The person of interest in this case is an Afghan immigrant, now U.S. citizen. What do you say to voters who may see this as a reason to consider supporting Trump’s approach to terror and immigration?

What do you say to those voters? Who gives a flying flapjack! Voters who are considering Trump’s approach to fighting terrorism are considering an approach that doesn’t exist. And his followers don’t care. In over fifteen months of campaigning he has yet to articulate a coherent policy. Trump’s ISIS “plan” consists of bashing Clinton and President Obama, while boldly declaring from the comfort of his gold-encrusted penthouse that he will bomb the sh*t out of them. Despite the obtuse phrasing of the question, Clinton’s reply was thoughtful, covering law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and immigration reform. All while respecting the civil liberties of American citizens and residents. Voters considering Trump have no interest in such trivialities.

Second Question:

Monica Alba, NBC News: Secretary Clinton, the White House has labeled these lone wolf attacks a top concern and given these weekend’s events, what more specifically should be done and what would you do specifically beyond what President Obama has done? Is the current plan enough?

Remember that question. You won’t hear another like during this event. It actually addressed a substantive issue and Clinton was able to respond in kind.

Third Question:

Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg Politics: Are you concerned that this weekend’s attacks or potential incidents in the coming weeks might be an attempt by ISIS or ISIS sympathizers or, really, any other group, maybe the Russians, to influence the presidential race in some way, And presumably try to drive votes to Donald Trump who, as you said before, widely seen as perhaps being somebody who they would be more willing to — or see as an easier person to be against?

Once again, the question was framed with an eye on how Trump figured into it. The reporter couldn’t simply inquire as to Clinton’s thoughts on the events of the day. Apparently the electoral consequences of terrorism are more important than defeating it. Nevertheless, Clinton soldiered on to provide an answer:

“We know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists, people who number in the maybe tens of thousands, not but tens of millions.” […and…] “we know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists. We’ve heard that from former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who made it a very clear point when he said Donald Trump is being used as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists. We also know from the former head of our Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen, that the kinds of rhetoric and language that Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.”

That business about “giving aid and comfort to our adversaries” was quickly snatched up by the Trump camp. They complained that Clinton was accusing him of treason. However, she was only citing the opinion of a counter-terrorism expert. The rest of her comments were accurate and well documented.

Fourth Question:

Nancy Cordes, CBS News: Secretary Clinton, as you know, Donald Trump has had a lot to say about your record on this issue over the weekend. Here’s one more example. “Under the leadership of Obama and Clinton, Americans have experienced more attacks at home than victories abroad. Time to change the playbook.” What’s your reaction to that characterization?

Cordes was referencing Trump’s tweet this morning. It hardly requires a response since it is so patently absurd. Americans have not experienced any near the number of attacks as the victories abroad. There have only been a handful of domestic terrorist attacks. That doesn’t diminish the tragedy resulting from them, but it’s simply a fact that there have been very few. Conversely, the U.S. has conducted thousands of missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, that have eliminated hundreds of terrorists including many of their top commanders. Clinton made that very point and ridiculed Trump’s “irresponsible, reckless rhetoric.”

Change the playbook? Trump doesn’t have a playbook at all, and we’re not even sure that he can read. Clinton, on the other hand, has laid out detailed plans for dealing with terrorism. She has the support of dozens of national security experts with credentials from both parties. While Trump has been shunned by members of his own party who say he is unqualified, ignorant, and dangerous.

The press showed itself in this candidate avail to be obsessed with horse-race politics to the exclusion of anything else. The issues that needed to be discussed today were the ones relating to the attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota. There were real people with real injuries involved. But the media seemed to be interested in only the political circus generally, and the Trump sideshow in particular. That’s a sad state of journalistic affairs. And it would serve as justification should Clinton want to ditch her press corps for the remainder of the campaign. Unless the media can divest itself of its Trump fetish, they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

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

GOP Politburo Demands All Party Members Submit To Trump – Or Else

At last July’s Republican convention, the party went to great lengths to portray themselves as united behind their nominee. It was an uphill effort considering many of the most prominent members of the party were openly contemptuous of him. Donald Trump had alienated a broad swath of his colleagues. His childish insults, flagrant bigotry, and embarrassing ignorance didn’t sit well with party regulars. Many refused to attend the convention, including the governor of the state that hosted it.

Reince Priebus

During the course of the primary Trump made up disparaging nicknames for his opponents (Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, etc.), belittled John McCain’s heroism, mocked Carly Fiorina’s looks, and maligned other respected Republicans including past presidents. As Trump transitioned into the general election he continued to estrange his peers and discount their usefulness to his campaign. Consequently, former candidates like Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich have refused to endorse him. Many others have announced their support for Hillary Clinton. The list of Republicans who are abandoning their party over Trump grows by the day.

Now the Republican Party has decided to crackdown on these drifters. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee told John Dickerson on Face the Nation (video below) that wayward Republicans “need to get on board.” He made thinly veiled threats that anyone who fails to support Trump could be prohibited from running as a Republican in the future:

“If they’re thinking they’re gonna run again someday, I think we’re gonna evaluate the nomination process and I don’t think it’s gonna be that easy for them. […] If a private entity puts forward a process and has agreement with the participants in that process, and those participants don’t follow through with the promises that they made in that process, what should a private party do about that if those same people come around in four or eight years?”

In other words, fall in line or be cast out as heretics. Dickerson noted that “It sounds like a brush-back pitch,” to which Priebus coyly grinned but did not deny. In fact, Priebus was letting the stragglers know that they could suffer penalties for their independence. In order to be a Republican candidate, he implies, one has to conform to the party’s demands. Of course, Priebus has no legal authority to decide who can run as Republican and who cannot. Anyone who registers as a candidate and meets ballot access requirements can mount a campaign.

The attempt by Priebus to strong arm party members into compliance is unprecedented and unenforceable. But mostly it reveals the shaky foundation of the party’s professed unity. It shows that their candidate is so toxic that they have to employ threats to secure support. The list of anti-Trump Republicans includes many of the party’s most respected leaders. In addition, fifty top GOP national security officials publicly condemned Trump as not qualified to be commander-in-chief. They warned that he would be “the most reckless President in American history.” Most recently former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote a scathing editorial for the Wall Street Journal in which he said that “A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America.”

In this environment it is going to be hard for Priebus to enforce his autocratic ultimatum. Too many free thinking Republicans are horrified that their party has been hijacked by a celebrity ignoramus. They are unwilling to bow down to an unstable, tantrum throwing, narcissistic, wannabe dictator. And no matter how much party apparatchiks like Priebus complain, Trump will never unify the party. To the contrary, his campaign from the start has sought to upend it. On that measure he can claim a somewhat dubious victory.

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