Fox News Implies That Donald Trump is Just as Batty as Kim Jong-Un. Who Can Argue With That?

On Wednesday Donald Trump laid the foundation for a nuclear confrontation with North Korea. His brimstone laden “fire and fury” speech has brought new and unnecessary tensions to an already shaky relationship. It was an inevitable escalation of craziness from a narcissistic personality with a thirty-three percent approval rating. And of course, it didn’t take long for the media pundits to weigh in with predictably inane debates.

Donald Trump Kim Jong-Un

On Fox News Thursday morning there was a particularly confounding view offered by anchor Jon Scott. He wanted to know whether there was a “double standard among the press” for their criticism of Trump’s overheated rhetoric. He was puzzled as to why Trump was being criticized but “nobody seems to care all that much about the threats coming from Kim Jong-Un.”

Let’s be clear about this. Scott is making the absurd inference that the media should treat Trump’s statements with equal significance as a certified fruitcake. On the surface, I can’t really find any fault with that. Trump is at least as batty as Kim. However, when looked at as an American president vs. Kim, the distinction ought be huge. Under ordinary circumstances the U.S. should be regarded as far more serious and conscientious than raving madmen.

Unfortunately, these are not ordinary times. Hence the critique of the press by Scott, who thinks Trump should be regarded in the same league as Kim. But Scott’s guest, fellow Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, wasn’t having it:

“Well, look, we kind of expect crazy from Kim Jong-Un. As I said, he’s the head of the ‘Hermit Kingdom. He’s a pariah for almost the entire world. So, we don’t expect him to be judged the same standard as the president. […] I certainly hope we’re not judging Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un by the same standards.”

Wallace’s perspective is surely more coherent than Scott’s. But Scott’s is more prevalent on Fox News and throughout the right-wing mediasphere. Even Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said that Trump was using “language that Kim Jong-Un would understand.” When did lowering our communications skills to the level of babbling nutcases become the goal of American diplomacy?

Wallace deserves some credit for batting down Scott’s absurd allegation of a press double standard. But he still managed to live down to Fox’s low standards for misleading reporting. Woven into his remarks was this completely false observation of the fallout from Trump’s “fire and fury” speech:

“I don’t think anybody objects to the idea that the president was tough and sent a very stern message to the North Koreans.”

Oh really? You would have to be ignoring the letter from sixty members of congress fervently objecting to Trump’s war mongering. And you would also have to have missed the objections from Democratic senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein. Not to mention Republican senators John McCain, Dan Sullivan, and Jeff Flake. Trump’s off-the-cuff bluster was widely considered to be inflammatory and counterproductive. And Wallace’s attempt to soft-peddle the backlash only keeps Fox News viewers ill-informed. But then, that’s the mission of Fox News, so Wallace and Scott are just doing their jobs.

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

Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

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

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Wants to Know ‘Why is it Lie After Lie After Lie?’

The saga of Donald Trump, Jr. continues to unfold with more damning evidence surfacing everyday. The meeting that he attended last June was originally said to be about Russian adoption. Then they expanded it to say it might have covered opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Then emails were released showing that the meeting was solicited wholly as a campaign dirt exchange and that the Russian government was involved. Most recently it turns out that an alleged Russian spy was in attendance as well.

Shepard Smith Fox News

This web of deliberate deceit has left mouths agape on both sides of the political aisle. Staunch conservatives like Charles Krauthammer and Ralph Peters have blasted the Trump family’s brazen dishonesty and feeble cover ups. This outrage has even extended to Fox News anchors who are no longer capable of masking their astonished disbelief. An example of this occurred Friday in the following exchange between Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace (video below):

Wallace: “We’ve been told a variety of stories, and who knows if we’ve gotten to the end of the story?

Smith: “We’re still not clean on this, Chris. If there’s nothing there – and that’s what they tell us, they tell us there’s nothing to this and nothing came of it. There’s a nothing burger. It wasn’t even memorable, didn’t write it down. Didn’t tell you about it, because it wasn’t anything so I didn’t even remember it. With a Russian interpreter in the room at Trump Tower? If all of that, why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? […] The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling. And there are still people who are out there who believe we’re are making it up. And one day they’re gonna realize we’re not and look around and go, ‘Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?'”

Wallace: “I don’t know what to say. You know, I think there’s a lot of truth to everything that you’ve said.”

Indeed. The look on Wallace’s face, and delayed reaction was telling in itself. That’s pretty much the only response Wallace could have made. The flimsy obfuscation and diversions by Trump and his media shills is painfully obvious. And yet, they continue to pile on the lies even after they are exposed. The complaints from hacks like Kellyanne Conway, Sean Hannity, etc., fail to do anything but shower them all in shame. Nevertheless, Fox News flunkies like Eric Bolling, Jesse Watters, and the Fox and Friends crew are still spinning furiously. But as the truth slowly leaks out they will be left in a pool of embarrassment and disgrace.

Credit must be given to Smith and Wallace who are demonstrating that they aren’t afraid to acknowledge reality on occasion. If this is done more frequently there may be some hope that brainwashed Fox News viewers will see the light. That’s a lot to hope for. But we have to start somewhere.

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

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.

Watergate’s Carl Bernstein Says Donald Trump Is ‘More Treacherous’ Than Nixon

Fallout from Donald Trump’s brazenly anti-American attack on the press continues to spread. Last Friday he posted a comment on Twitter that has been universally assailed for its hostility to the Constitution and one of its most cherished principles: A free press. He tweeted:

The reaction to this nauseating tweet was immediate and profound revulsion. Needless to say, Democrats have been united in condemning these remarks. And the response from the Twitter community was a flood of disgust, along with examples of heroic journalists under the hashtag #NotTheEnemy.

Carl Bernstein

However, offense was not taken solely by Democrats and liberals. Trump’s Republican colleague, John McCain, noted that “That’s how dictators get started.” His own Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, disagreed with the “enemy” rhetoric. And in an interview with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Chris Wallace of Fox News said that Trump had “crossed the line.” “We don’t have a state-run media in this country,” Wallace told Priebus. “That’s what they have in dictatorships.”

In addition to these stinging rebukes, there was one that might pack an especially painful wallop. Carl Bernstein was half of the renowned pair of journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, that uncovered the Watergate scandal. Their investigative reporting culminated in the resignation of disgraced former president Richard Nixon. The whole story was as intriguing as any spy thriller. Nixon’s crimes included electoral corruption, perjury, pay offs, and cover ups. So it’s pretty significant when Bernstein appears on CNN and says this (video below):

“Trump’s attacks on the American press as ‘enemies of the America people’ is more treacherous than Nixon’s attacks on the press.”

Having been an eyewitness to one of America’s most notorious political scandals, Bernstein has credibility with this issue that is unparalleled. He is plainly disturbed by the language emanating from this president. If Nixon’s crimes warranted impeachment, than what does that say about Trump’s “more treacherous” behavior? Bernstein had more to say about it himself:

“It’s a demagogue’s statement.” […] “We’ve never seen in an American president such open authoritarian moves and rhetoric. This is a terrible time we’re living in.” […] “We are not enemies of the American people. In fact we’re the last resort of the American people to a dictatorial and authoritarian-inclined president.”

Trump’s slander of the media as an “enemy of the American people” is just the latest unhinged swipe he’s taken at the press. His previous assaults were castigated by groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists, who warned that “A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.” Yet he continues to escalate a dangerous dialog that could incite violence against reporters. After all, his rabid followers take very seriously anything that he tells them. And when he tells them that the press is the nation’s enemy, to what lengths might they go to “protect” their country?

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

The American Carnage: Donald Trump’s Bleak Vision Of The Disunited States

Anyone listening to Donald Trump’s inauguration speech must have thought he was talking about a different country. His description of the United States was dripping with the horror of a nightmarish, dystopian society. He actually used the phrase “American Carnage” to illustrate his vision of the state of the nation he’s inheriting from President Obama.

Donald Trump

In order to have such a depressing perspective, Trump needs to severely distort reality. By any objective measure the country is currently in remarkably healthy condition. It recovered from a near depression in 2008, and is now experiencing broad-based prosperity. The economy is firing on all cylinders with a stock market that has tripled in the past eight years. The unemployment rate dropped from a high of 10.1 percent to a historically sound 4.9 percent. Bankruptcies and foreclosures have declined precipitously. More people are covered by health insurance than ever before.

That’s not to say that there aren’t still some stubborn problems that need to be resolved. There will always be room for improvement. But Trump’s speech portrayed the country as a hell hole that was barely livable. Some of the rhetoric he disgorged can only come from an aberrant imagination:

  • “…national effort to rebuild our country…”
  • “…the jobs left, and the factories closed…”
  • “…there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”
  • “…the very sad depletion of our military …”
  • “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities…”
  • “…rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation…”
  • “…the crime and gangs and drugs…”
  • “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
  • “…the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.”
  • “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth.”

Where did Trump get this view of America? Is it something he sees from his 5th Avenue penthouse atop Trump Tower? Did he watch Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and think it was a documentary? Is he just incapable of muting his divisive campaign bluster even after being inaugurated?

And it isn’t just disappointed Democrats who noticed Trump’s downcast oratory. Immediately following the speech, the Fox News panel anchoring their coverage was taken aback. For the most part they wallowed in praise for the POTUS they helped to create, but it wasn’t easy. Brit Hume said that Trump “painted this dark landscape of circumstances in this country.” Chris Wallace observed that “This wasn’t just a transfer of power, but Donald Trump seizing power.” And Tucker Carlson noted, with some satisfaction, that “His election itself is a repudiation of the Obama presidency.” Nevertheless, Trump tweeted a thank you to Fox.

Perhaps the nation expected Trump’s celebration to be something of a downer. They stayed away in droves. The attendance in Washington was estimated to be about 250,000. By comparison, Obama drew 1.8 million in January of 2009 (seven times more). And as obsessed with performance and ratings as Trump is, he surely will not like seeing scenes like this on the Parade route from the Capital to the White House:

As NBC’s Katy Tur noted, entire stands were empty and the crowd noticeably thin. Somehow Trump will declare that the photos and videos were all rigged and that “some said” more millions showed up than ever before. That’s the way he maintains his fictionalized outlook on the world. Everything he does is extraordinary, and anything he criticizes is dreadful.

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

Thus we have Trump lauding his inauguration as spectacular, and denigrating America as carnage. There is surely a psychological diagnosis for such delusions. But for now we leave him and Melania at the first Inaugural Ball dancing to what may be theme of the Trump Era. Frank Sinatra’s narcissistic ballad “My Way” exalts a dying man’s belief in himself. So everybody sing along: “And now, the end is near…”

TRUMP: Russia’s Hacking Was ‘A BIG PROBLEM’ – Before They Were Helping His Campaign

The appalling revelations about Russia’s hacking during the presidential election continue to taint its outcome. Anyone who thinks our democracy is credible under these circumstances is willfully blind. And no one is more dismissive of the truth in this regard than President-Elect Donald Trump.

Trump/Putin

Seventeen intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, agree that Russia engaged in cyber attacks aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Trump. Nevertheless, Trump persists in defending his BFF, Vladimir Putin, and refusing to accept Russia’s obvious guilt. When Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday asked him about Russia’s hacking he responded that “It’s ridiculous. It’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.” As recently as last week he tweeted:

In that comment he not only rejected Russia’s criminal complicity, but lied about the White House response. The Obama administration revealed the facts in October and it was covered prominently in the media. Trump’s position that Russia was not responsible for the hacking remained as strong as ever. Well, maybe not ever. Because in 2014 he appeared on his regular segment on Fox News, “Monday’s with Trump,” along with the Fox & Friends gang. He had a very different opinion then. When asked about hacking by China, Trump made it clear that China was not the only culprit:

“It’s disgraceful what’s going on with China generally. No, I think [FBI Director James Comey] is 100% right, it’s a big problem, and we have that problem also with Russia … doing the same thing.” […]

“This is a different world today. You say things on the Internet, you say things over a computer and people are going to find out what you’re saying it’s very dangerous and very bad in many ways.”

So two years ago Trump considered Russia’s hacking to be a big problem. Today he thinks the notion is ridiculous. What’s changed?

Well, for one thing, Trump wasn’t running for president in 2014 and didn’t have any motivation for distorting the truth. More to the point though, the allegations of Russia’s hacking two years ago was related to commerce and had an adverse personal impact on him. However, this year their hacking was blatantly advantageous to him and damaging to Clinton. If the harm done by the hacking was appropriately considered, the election results would have to be regarded as suspect and set aside pending an investigation. That would nullify, at least temporarily, Trump’s “victory.”

It is clearly in Trump’s favor, therefore, to vindicate Russia and oppose any further inquiry. Consequently, his position now is to waive off the allegations and absolve Russia of any guilt. That’s in stark contrast to his prior position just two years ago. And, as is so often the case with Trump, he will reshape his position to whatever is in his best interest at the time. That’s how he gets away with calls for border walls during the campaign, but settles for fences now. Or promising to repeal ObamaCare, but now claiming to want to preserve its most prominent features. Or bitterly insulting his rivals as dummies, but now embracing and even praising them as brilliant. Even President Obama, who he said was “the worst president in history,” is now his trusted friend and advisor.

That’s what we call a hypocrite, a con-man, a liar. There is literally nothing Trump says that you can take at face value. You always have to look for how it benefits him, and expect to find some contradictions from the past. This is emerging as a hallmark of his presidency and it hasn’t even officially begun yet. Sad.

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

REALITY CHECK: Trump’s Chief of Staff Says ‘Every Single Thing He’s Done Has Been Factual’

Dispatch From Bizarro World: Donald Trump’s incoming Chief of Staff appeared on Fox News Sunday and demonstrated just how far from reality these people have strayed. In an interview with Chris Wallace, Reince Priebus dodged and weaved for twelve minutes, avoiding direct answers to simple questions. For instance, he wavered on whether Trump still doesn’t accept that Russia hacked the election to benefit his campaign. In fact, Priebus implied that the CIA and the FBI might be lying in their assessments. Apparently, like his boss, he puts more trust in Vladimir Putin than in the American intelligence community.

Reince Priebus

However, there was an enlightening exchange toward the end that perfectly epitomizes the alternate reality that Trumpsters inhabit. Wallace wondered whether there was any talk within the Trump camp about “damping down [his] provocative remarks.” Priebus first denied that he says anything provocative. Then he made this stunning declaration:

“I think every single thing he’s done has been factual and has been in line with where 80 percent of the American people are at.”

Seriously? Donald Trump may be the most flagrantly dishonest politician in history. His prodigious lying is well documented (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) In 2015, PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year was “The campaign misstatements of Donald Trump.” They couldn’t even settle on a single lie, they had to designate his entire collection of falsehoods. And Trump’s PolitiFact report card reveals that he lies far more frequently than anyone else they have ever reviewed. He currently has a record 62 “Pants-on-Fire” lies contributing to 69 percent “Mostly False” or worse.

As for being in line with 80 percent of the American people, that’s a number Priebus pulled from – let’s say thin air. Trump didn’t even get 50 percent of the American people to vote for him. And Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin is nearing 3,000,000. Trump now has the lowest favorability of any president-elect.

To say that everything Trump’s done has been factual dumps a new whopper on top of the pile that Trump has already built. But it does reinforce the Trump Doctrine of doubling down on whatever they say, no matter how ludicrous. Trump has still never admitted that there weren’t thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. He still clings to the the nonsense that millions of Clinton votes were illegal. And he continues to insist that America’s corporate taxes are the highest in the world, there are more murders now than in the past 45 years, and that climate change is a hoax. None of those things are true.

Despite his atrocious record on truth-telling, Trump regards himself as a paragon of veracity. Last year he told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News that “I don’t lie. In fact, if anything, I’m so truthful that it gets me in trouble. They say I’m too truthful.” Yeah, right. Obviously everything above negates that delusional self-appraisal.

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

Trump Doesn’t Need Intelligence Briefings Because ‘I’m, Like, A Smart Person’

On Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump confirmed that he is snubbing the intelligence briefings available to him as president-elect. Perhaps a better title would be President-Neglect. And his negligence should send a shiver down the spine of all Americans. This is another affirmation of his arrogance and cavalier approach to the solemn duties of the presidency.

Donald Trump

The reason Trump gave for his presidential truancy is pure Trumpian hubris. With regard to these critical advisories he told Fox’s Chris Wallace that “I get it when I need it.” Which sounds grossly similar to his position on grabbing women’s private parts. He went on to say:

“I don’t have to be told, you know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.”

Like wow. He’s a such a smarty. And even though the national security landscape is constantly changing, once a week is all that this super-genius needs. An hour a week is plenty of time for him to grasp the complexities of international events. Plus, he’s probably getting additional counseling from his pal, Vladimir Putin.

Trump also insisted that daily briefings weren’t necessary because “My generals are being briefed. Mike Pence is being briefed.” So what does that say about them? Apparently they aren’t very smart. They do “have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.” If Trump really believes that the briefings are redundant and, therefore, a waste of his time, why would his VP and others have to suffer through them? But if they are dispensing important information to his aides, then maybe he should be attending himself. He can’t have it both ways.

We have seen our pending Narcissist-in-Chief heralding his superior intellect before. For instance, that time when he was asked who he talks to for advice and he said that “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” And then there was the time he assured us that “All I know is what’s on the internet.” But at least we can take comfort in the fact that he “loves the poorly educated.” By that he must mean President Obama, who he called “the most ignorant president in our history.” Perhaps that’s why Obama has to receive the briefings six days a week. What a dummy.

Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated how pitifully ignorant he is about virtually every issue. Nevertheless, he still manages to have a delusional image of himself as a man of uncommon brilliance. That’s a combustible combination of character flaws. And should he actually make it through the inauguration the country is going to suffer for his boneheaded conceit.

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

Trump’s Refusal To Accept The Results Of The Election Is Not ‘Suspense’ – It’s Treason

The third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is now history and that’s precisely the place it will reside. Never before has a candidate outright refused to respect the will of the voters. However, Trump is not an ordinary candidate. From the outset of his campaign he’s taken every opportunity to express disrespect for American principles and for his opponents. And that was true during the Republican primary as well as the general election.

Donald Trump

There were many times during the debate that Trump embarrassed himself. He blatantly lied about his prior support for countries like Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, to acquire nuclear weapons. He defended Russia against charges that they hacked American citizens and institutions. And he denied insulting the women he’s accused of assaulting even though videotape exists to prove it. Trump even blamed Clinton for his failure to pay federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

But the most disturbing thing Trump said last night was that he was unwilling to accept the results of the election if he loses. His baseless assertion that the system is “rigged” against him is typical of his paranoid, narcissistic approach everything. His specific complaints were a cacophony of incoherence. Beginning with this:

“I’ll look at it at the time. What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen, is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don’t even care. It is so dishonest, and they have poisoned the minds of the voters.”

Even if the media were biased against him, that would not equate to voter fraud or make the election invalid. And he praises the New York Times in the same sentence that he criticizes it. Then he insults voters for allowing their minds to be poisoned, but only if they don’t vote for him. For the record, studies show that Trump received far more favorable coverage in the press than any other candidate.

Trump continued his anti-democratic rant with more blathering that is impossible to translate into human:

“Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote. So let me just give you one other thing. I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I’ll tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s … She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run, and just in that respect I say it’s rigged.”

First of all, the millions of people he’s referring to appear to be names that appear on registration rolls that may not be updated for deaths or relocations. Of course, there is zero evidence that anyone in those circumstances ever voter improperly. But what “serious crime” Trump has in mind is never mentioned. And in any case, he is not the arbiter of who is permitted to run for office. The Constitution doesn’t prohibit even felons from running. He is simply demonstrating his affinity for tyrannical rule. Just as he did when he promised to investigate and incarcerate Clinton if he should become president.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News reminded Trump that his refusal to accept the election results contradicted pretty much everyone in own sphere of influence. Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chair, insisted that the election results should be respected. So did his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, his running mate Mike Pence, and his daughter, Ivanka. Nevertheless, Trump himself veered off to say only that “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?” He still seems to think this a reality TV game show.

For her part, Clinton was appropriately appalled. She interjected to say “let me respond to that because that’s horrifying.” Continuing she said:

“This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks, and it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”

Exactly. That is how an adult behaves in a democracy. It’s a question of valuing the principles and traditions that define a free people. And it isn’t an act of partisanship. When you have people like GOP strategist Steve Schmidt saying Trump’s remarks are “a disqualifying moment,” and Fox analyst Charles Krauthammer calling it “political suicide,” it’s safe to say that party affiliation is not involved.

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

What Trump has done is to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of his gullible followers. He is saying that American elections are untrustworthy and not to be respected. That’s a recipe for chaos and it encourages the most demented malcontents to take matters into their own warped hands. If Donald Trump had an ounce of patriotism he would immediately reverse course and pledge to honor the election. But knowing him that would be way too much to expect.