MSNBC Reaches HUGE Ratings Milestone as Fox News is dragged Down By Right-Wing Millstone

Donald Trump’s presidency continues to be the victim of an unrelenting cascade of scandalous news. At the same time, ironically, Fox News appears to be the victim of Donald Trump. As the President’s fortune’s sink ever lower, so do the ratings for Fox News. And it’s no coincidence.

Rachel Maddow

This week MSNBC hit a significant milestone. For the first time ever the network topped the weekly primetime ratings in a commanding fashion. For both total viewers and the critical 25-54 year old advertising demographic, MSNBC led all of cable news. This was a broadly based ratings win that stretched beyond the network’s powerhouse, Rachel Maddow. All In with Chris Hayes, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams all won their time periods.

Simultaneously, Fox News descended to lows that it hasn’t seen in seventeen years. They came in third in the demo in primetime behind both MSNBC and CNN. This is fairly conclusive evidence that the media landscape is shifting in the Era of Trump. MSNBC’s primetime lineup has proven to be popular as the nation seeks in-depth coverage of Trump’s floundering White House. Viewers appreciate the perspective and analysis of clear-eyed anchors and guests.

The problem for Fox News is that their entire business model works against them in this environment. The editorial practice on Fox is to hype anything and everything that reflects negatively on Democrats and liberals. Conversely, they avoid or underplay any news that harms their benefactors on the right. Since almost all of the news these days is horrible for Republicans, Fox News is trapped in a vortex of right-wing happy-talk. And worse, they are ideologically precluded from reporting what viewers are most interested in.

Every day there seems to another bombshell story related to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russian operatives. These are among the most compelling stories of any news cycle. The American people want to know whether the President engaged in potentially impeachable conduct. They want to know if he’s in cahoots with foreign enemies. In addition, there are numerous other topics that cast the administration in a bad light. They include: the much despised Republican proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare; Trump’s tax reform that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us; the foreign and military affairs wherein Trump exposes his profound ignorance; the financial conflicts of interest by the President and his family; and the many episodes of embarrassing and/or unlawful behavior by his advisers and associates.

But Fox News won’t cover any of that. At least not in any detail. So if news consumers want to know what’s going on they have to switch away from Fox. And they are doing so in droves. MSNBC is clearly the biggest beneficiary of this. While viewers know there’s an editorial slant during the network’s primetime, they appreciate the exhaustive research and factual basis. Particularly with breakout star Rachel Maddow. CNN has also grown their ratings, but their obsession with phony balance and artificially combative debate limits their upside.

Fox is likely to continue its downward spiral. And not just because of their reporting embargo on actual breaking news. In the past year they have lost their CEO, Roger Ailes, and biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, to sex scandals. They also lost Bill Shine, the executive who replaced Ailes. They are under investigation by the New York Attorney General for financial securities violations. Among their on-air personalities they saw the departures of Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Andrea Tantaros, and Julie Roginsky. And their only African-American anchor, Kelly Wright, is a plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit along with twelve others. The list of litigants against Fox for racial and gender discrimination continues to grow.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is enjoying record audience growth. Maddow and her primetime colleagues are doing what was once considered unthinkable. They are beating Fox News. Recent reports that suggested that MSNBC might not renew the contract of Lawrence O’Donnell launched a massive outcry that may have forced the network to the negotiating table.

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

The trends are decidedly in MSNBC’s favor. They have the content and the public on their side. While Fox News is struggling without leadership, star power, or news that appeals to their glassy-eyed disciples. We can expect the fates of Fox and Trump to continue to slide in sync with one another. And as they both alienate TV viewers, the nation, and the world, their influence will decline to match their dishonest and loathsome reputations.

CNN Anchor Wickedly Mocks Guest Who Said Trump Was ‘Presidential’ for Not Sounding Like a Drunk

America’s national embarrassment (aka Donald Trump) continues to be scored on a standard that is starkly different than any president that preceded him. The fact that he is universally regarded as ignorant and incompetent may be helping his media coverage. Trump has a tendency to veer off into personal invective and delusional accounts of well documented events. His erratic and ego-laden rants and tweets have set an uncommonly low bar for criticism.

Donald Trump

Consequently, we’re subjected to a president who is lauded as “presidential” simply by failing to cross his eyes or drool. This happens over and over again as the media repeatedly demonstrates its severely short-term memory. Trump can behave like a choleric, tantrum-throwing infant for weeks on end. He’ll hurl insults and lies without the slightest hint of shame. Then he’ll manage to read off a Teleprompter for half an hour and the press will go wild with acclaim.

This pattern has revealed itself several times in the four months Trump has been in office. It generally occurs following tightly staged affairs such as his inauguration speech or his address to Congress. Sometimes he can suppress his true obnoxious self long enough get through a joint press conference with a foreign leader. But the press reaction is all too predictable. They declare that Trump has finally proven that he has the mettle to hold his office. Never mind everything else he’s said and done throughout his campaign and White House residency.

The latest example of this cognitive collapse occurred Sunday night on CNN. Bob Schieffer, the former host of Face the Nation, was interviewed by CNN’s John Berman. The subject was Trump’s speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a stodgy collection of warmed over platitudes and talking points. But Trump recited the words on his Teleprompter screen without baring his teeth or convulsing. Therefore, when Schieffer was asked for his appraisal of Trump’s performance he said:

“Today, you saw a very different President Trump. He actually sounded presidential. You may agree or disagree with what he said, but he sounded like a president. He laid out his vision. He called for help from those in the Muslim world. It was a much different kind of presentation.” […]

“I think there would be very few people who would disagree with me when I say that he helped himself today. Because he didn’t sound like the guy at the end of the bar popping off. He sounded like someone who actually thought about what he was gonna say before he said it.”

You have to wonder whether Schieffer thought about what he was gonna say before he said it. There are likely very many people who would disagree with the assertion that Trump helped himself. More to the point. there are certainly many people who don’t think that avoiding sounding like a drunken souse is equivalent to sounding presidential. Berman appropriately challenged Schieffer to explain whether he was “normalizing” Trump’s malignant immaturity. “You’re saying,” Berman bagan, “that because he met this very low bar for not sounding foolish, he was in fact presidential.”

Exactly. That’s how many in the media grade Trump. But since when was “not sounding foolish” the only prerequisite for being considered presidential? It may be the best that anyone can expect from Trump, but it should not be established as the new criteria. Honest journalists need to compare Trump to historical standards for the job, not his own worst failures.

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

Donald Trump’s $110B Weapons Deal w/Saudi Arabia Brings Windfall for Ivanka Aligned Foundation

Donald Trump is currently on the first foreign trip of his presidency. The White House is portraying it as an effort to advance global cooperation and peace. His itinerary begins in Saudi Arabia, a nation with a dismal record on human rights and terrorism.

Ivanka Trump

The featured accomplishment of the trip so far is the signing of an agreement to sell $110 billion dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia. That deal has raised concerns among foreign policy experts. They worry that the weapons could be used to further Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen. Those missions have resulted in untold numbers of civilian casualties. In addition, there is concern that some of the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. President Obama had withheld certain categories of arms from Saudi Arabia for that reason, but Trump is permitting their sale.

Not mentioned in the Trump PR blitz is a “coincidental” financial arrangement that involves the President’s senior advisor – and daughter. Last month Ivanka Trump announced that she was working with the World Bank to start a “massive fund” to boost female entrepreneurship. The ethical dilemmas surrounding such a venture were immediately apparent. Ivanks’a role in the White House, and influence with her president father, are hard to dismiss. Consequently, the news today from the Wall Street Journal is somewhat more than troubling:

“The World Bank plans to announce Sunday at an event with Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and senior White House adviser, that Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have pledged $100 million collectively toward a fund for women who own or want to start businesses, according to people familiar with the announcement.”

The advancement of women’s rights in business is unarguably an admirable pursuit. However, it is curious that Saudi Arabia is Ivanka’s premiere partner. The Kingdom is not known for its fair treatment of women. Their rights are severely curtailed, including being prohibited from independently obtaining a passport or driving a car.

Ivanka is travelling with the President this week and attending various meetings. She was at the signing of the arms deal before Sunday’s event announcing the donation. The converging optics of these two affairs are disquieting. There is an implied relationship between the donation and the arms deal. While there is no direct evidence of any quid pro quo, the perception of impropriety is inescapable. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, promoted it on Twitter

This is especially notable considering how Trump castigated Hillary Clinton for far less during the 2016 election. He called the Clinton Foundation a “criminal enterprise.” Trump also raised the subject at a debate (video below), demanding that Clinton return donations made by Saudi Arabia. He posted this on Facebook last June:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

This is the same Saudi Arabia that Trump is now effusively praising as a “magnificent Kingdom.” It’s the same country with which he just signed a “tremendous” deal to supply billions of dollars of modern weaponry. And it’s the same country that is now giving the Ivanka aligned foundation $100,000,000.00. Does that mean Ivanka is running a criminal enterprise? Is that pay-to-play? Will Trump ever acknowledge the hypocrisy? Will the media address it? Stay tuned.

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

Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage ObamaCare Now Include Bribing Health Insurance Companies

Donald Trump made repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) a key plank in his campaign platform. It became the first legislative project of his administration. But after four months of his presidency he has failed to deliver on his promises. Consequently, he is seeking other routes to force his anti-healthcare policies onto a nation that wants to keep and improve ObamaCare.

Donald Trump

Trump has repeatedly claimed that ObamaCare is dead. It isn’t. However, Trump is doing everything in his power to murder it. Just his false characterizations of it being in a “death spiral” makes insurance carriers nervous and unwilling to expose themselves to that artificially created risk.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Trump has approached health insurance providers with an offer to put more money in their pockets. The proposal involves the funds paid by the government for the premium subsidies that make health insurance affordable for low-income Americans. These are called “cost-sharing reductions,” or CSRs. Trump has been threatening to cut off this funding in his quest to cripple ObamaCare. But his offer comes with a caveat. In exchange for continuing the CSRs, the providers must support his wildly unpopular bill to kill ObamaCare. That’s the bill that recently passed in the House of Representatives. The Senate is not expected to take it up. So offering to retain the CSRs in exchange for political support amounts to a bribe.

What’s more, Trump is effectively admitting that he is lying about ObamaCare being dead. His threat to ax CSRs undercuts the claim that insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. The Times notes that the more likely cause of chaos in the industry is Trump himself:

“Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic healthcare issues.

“At the same time, state insurance regulators — both Democrat and Republican — have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year. […]

“Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.”

Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma, made the politically motivated bribe in a recent meeting with providers. According to the Times she told them that Trump “would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” But the providers were less than receptive. In fact, they later signed on to a letter sent to the Senate spelling out their concerns. The signatories include a broad array on health industry players. They include: America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Benefits Council, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The preamble to their letter says that:

“[W]e are writing again to you as leaders in Congress to express our serious concerns about the continued uncertainty around funding for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. There now is clear evidence that this uncertainty is undermining the individual insurance market for 2018 and stands to negatively impact millions of people.”

In addition to using the CSRs to bribe insurance companies, Trump has used them to blackmail Congress. Politico reports that he is employing a tactic aimed at forcing Democrats to negotiate. Even though “Many advisers oppose the move because they worry it would backfire politically if people lose their insurance or see huge premium spikes and blame the White House.”

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

In any case, it’s a cynical move where the potential victims are not members of Congress, but average Americans. Trump is holding a virtual gun to the heads of citizens and telling Congress he’ll shoot if they don’t pass his bill. Between that threat and his bribery of insurance carriers, Trump’s proving that he couldn’t care less about the American people. They are merely hostages in his quest to give the wealthy tens of thousands of dollars in tax cuts. And if 24 million people lose their health insurance, that isn’t his problem.

UPDATE 5/22/17: Democrats in Congress are requesting information and documents pertaining to this attempted bribe/hostage taking by the Trump administration.

Preparing to Deal with a Child: That’s How Host Nations View Trump’s Upcoming Visit

Friday morning Donald Trump will embark on his first trip oversees as president. He might regard his departure as a flight from the turmoil he’s created at home. A special prosecutor was just named to investigate his connections to Russia and potential charges of obstruction of justice due to his interference with, and firing of, FBI Director James Comey. Add that to a failing agenda including efforts to repeal ObamaCare, curtail immigration, tax reform, and more. This trip must seem like a vacation to Trump and his exhausted inner circle.

Donald Trump

Unfortunately for him, rest and relaxation are not in the cards. Although, lacking stamina, Trump did reportedly try to pare down his schedule. According to the New York Times he asked to shorten the itinerary from nine days to five. The Times also reported that he “expressed dread” about the trip. More to the point, the upcoming encounters with world leaders present fresh opportunities for Trump to embarrass himself and the nation. He has a disquieting habit of insulting America’s allies and embracing its foes.

From the perspective of the countries that Trump will be visiting, his hosts have a complicated task. They must find a way to be hospitable without being condescending. Given Trump’s painfully ignorant grasp of world affairs and history, that’s a tall order. Consequently, they are making special preparations:

“After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged. Keep it short – no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama.

“Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.”

These are tactics aimed at accommodating Trump’s ego and incompetence. They recognize that he needs constant reassurance and flattery. Likewise, they are aware of his preference for “short presentations and lots of visual aids.” But one source summed up the preparations for Trump’s visit with a particularly apt analogy:

“‘It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump. It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child. Someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing. They’re freaking out.'”

It’s more than ridiculous. It’s unbearable that this man is representing the United States in a manner that actually invites ridicule. The world isn’t taking us seriously and are openly mocking us with these preparatory plans. Ironically, Trump told Time Magazine last week that “we were being laughed at by the world.” Then he added “They’re not laughing anymore.” Obviously he isn’t listening very closely. And if he were listening to the American people he would hear distinct whimpering.

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

Disgraced, Lying, Sexual Predator (and Former Fox News CEO) Roger Ailes is Dead at 77

The conservative media world is mourning the death of its patron saint, Roger Ailes. The founder and former CEO of Fox News passed away on Thursday just as his latest project, the Donald Trump presidency, was entering intensive care.

Roger Ailes Outnumberd

Ailes will surely be remembered for having built a television network that relied on glitz and glamour to dress up its partisan propaganda as ultra-biased fake news. But he will also be remembered for dividing the nation into hostile political camps by transforming his right-leaning viewers into an army of misinformed, pseudo-patriotic zealots.

Ironically, Ailes’ professional end came as a result of a string of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. The channel that self-branded as the TV home of family values was, in reality, a broken home that created much suffering and personal loss. Fox News embodied a culture of misogyny that bore deep into its ranks. Following Ailes out the door were its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, and his own successor, Bill Shine. But that wasn’t until after the damage was done. Female on-air personalities like Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Dhue, Andrea Tantaros, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Julie Roginsky, had all walked out under duress.

Fox News is now struggling to maintain its status as the top cable news network. In recent weeks it has been losing to both MSNBC and CNN in the critical advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. That is partly due to the unpopularity of its primary benefactor, Donald Trump. American news consumers are switching to networks where they can get more honest accounts of Trump’s corruption and incompetence.

There is a poignant melodramatic quality to the fact that Ailes died less than a year after his termination from Fox News. It’s as if he only lived to spread Republican dogma and smear liberals. When he lost the platform to do that, he gave up.

His Fox News family was understandably torn up by the news. There were tears on almost every program from Fox and Friends to Shepard Smith’s afternoon broadcast. But perhaps the eulogy that best expressed to deranged Fox mindset was delivered by Ainsley Earhardt whose tribute asserted that:

“Many people out there would say that he saved this country by starting the Fox News channel.”

Well, if you say so. This is not the day to point out how utterly delusional that is.

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

Greatest Witch Hunt in History? Trump Contradicts His Own Statement on Russia Special Counsel

On Wednesday the precarious fate of Donald Trump’s presidency took a turn for the worse. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the President’s connections with Russia. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was tapped for the job. The scope of his inquiry will likely encompass Trump’s campaign and short residency in the White House.

Donald Trump

It’s only been a few hours since this news broke, but that’s all it took for Trump to demonstrate a troubling incoherence on the subject. The first response from the administration was a formal written statement that had an atypical restraint and decorum. It said:

“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”

Not surprisingly, that composure didn’t last long. Thursday morning Trump must have regained control of his phone and let loose another of his patented Twitter tantrums:

The original White House statement itself was likely written by staff. It lacked Trump’s familiar voice that is generally infused with rage and ego. Nor did it directly address the numerous legal breaches that are expected to comprise the core of the investigation. But it did misstate what was already known about his potential collusion with Russia. And the pretense of Trump looking forward to any of this is manifestly absurd. What’s more, it’s peculiar that Trump is accusing Rosenstein of conducting a witch hunt just a couple of months after appointing him to his current post.

However, Trump’s tweets were much more recognizably consistent with the bitter tone for which he is infamous. He lashes out at any criticism as being a deliberately hostile attack on him. And it isn’t just an unwarranted attack, it’s the worst ever. This charge comes the day after Trump told the graduating class at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that “No politician in history … has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

Needless to say, there have been scores of politicians who have suffered more than Trump. They begin with Abraham Lincoln and continue through to Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. And in Trump’s case, at least he was deserving of the treatment he has been receiving. Ironically, his second tweet was an example of two other politicians who were victims of far worse witch hunts. Hillary Clinton underwent repeated and relentless congressional inquiries into her emails and Benghazi. Yet the Republican led inquisition never produced any evidence of wrongdoing. President Obama was accused of being ineligible of office due to ludicrous assertions that he wasn’t born in the U.S. Trump himself led that witch hunt.

Somebody really needs to check on the President. He might be having a stroke. His tweets flagrantly contradict the official White House response to the special counsel appointment. They indicate that he is not actually looking forward to a “thorough investigation.” Neither does he seem particularly confidant that he will be cleared of the potentially impeachable charges. To the contrary, they suggest the fear of a guilty man who maligns the pursuit of justice. And in desperation he points accusing fingers at others to take attention away from himself. But to be fair, he does have good reason to be worried.

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

Deputy Attorney General Suddenly Names Special Counsel In Trump-Russia Scandal

The drama surrounding Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia just a took a significant turn. According to NBC News (video below), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Trump/Russia investigation. Rosenstein has named former FBI director Robert Mueller, a George W. Bush appointee who also served under Obama, to the role.

Robert Mueller Special Counsel Trump

This development comes shortly after Rosenstein had said there wasn’t a need for such a counsel. But that was before the recent revelations that Trump had disclosed classified information to Russian officials. Also, recently revealed were former FBI Director James Comey’s notes that told of Trump’s attempts to get him to end the inquiry of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The notice from Rosenstein says that:

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.” […]

“Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

ABC News reports that:

“Mueller will have 60 days to put together a budget for resources to conduct the investigation and that budget must be approved by Rosenstein. Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously recused himself from all matters related to the presidential campaign. […]

“As special counsel, Mueller can be expected to have the full powers and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States attorney. These powers include the ability to take matters before a grand jury, issue subpoenas and assign federal agents to the case.”

It’s too soon to assess whether this investigation will be a comprehensive one that holds all involved parties accountable. But it’s a good sign that it is being taken out of the hands of compromised people in the Justice Department. This is a breaking story and more will be reported as it becomes known.

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

Trump Uses Coast Guard Commencement Speech to Whine About How Bad He is Treated

With his presidency circling around him (and down the drain), Donald Trump ventured out to New London, Connecticut, to deliver a commencement speech at the United States Coast Guard Academy. It was the sort of predictably friendly audience that the President craves to feed his insatiable ego. Which must be why he was unable to pass up the opportunity to whine about how much it sucks to be him.

Donald Trump

In the course of spreading around some hollow platitudes and thanking those who supported him, Trump found time to lash out at his perceived enemies:

“I want to take this opportunity to give you some advice. Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine.

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately. Especially by the media. No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”

Poor Donnie. He’s had it so bad. Born into wealth and handed everything he ever wanted without having to lift a finger. And now, as President of the United States of America, he feels that he is put upon by forces more powerful than he. Trump doesn’t have the vaguest notion that he is responsible for every hardship he’s suffering. It’s his arrogance and pitiful ignorance that has delivered him to the dregs in which he is now mired.

As for being treated worse than any president in history – is he out of his paranoia-infested mind? He personally led the assault on Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president, with accusations of being ineligible for office because he wasn’t born in the U.S. He cast doubt on Obama’s intellect, ethics, and patriotism. He even accused Obama of being a terrorist sympathizer and the founder of ISIS.

The rest of the Republican Party was no better. They obstructed everything Obama tried to do. From day one they decreed that their top goal was to make him a one-term president. And they denied him his constitutional duty to appoint a Supreme Court justice, something that was never done to any previous president.

And Obama is only one example of a president who was treated worse than Trump. Bill Clinton was impeached over a personal sexual affair. And does really Trump think he was treated worse than John F. Kennedy? Abraham Lincoln had travel incognito to avoid to assassins before one was successful. And it’s worth noting that to the extent that Trump is treated badly, it is well deserved. He’s treated precisely the way an ignorant, corrupt, racist, pathological liar, should be treated.

There’s one thing we know with “great surety.” Donald Trump is suffering from malignant narcissism. One of the prominent symptoms is his relentless whining. Although that’s something that he actually considers an asset. In an interview in August of 2015, Trump was asked about his tendency to whine. His response was to brag about it and declare that:

“I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine, because I want to win. I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

Oh. So that’s his secret. Has he gotten tired of winning yet?

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

DAMAGE CONTROL? Putin Offers Transcript of Trump’s Meeting with Russians to Rescue His Puppet

With each passing day the precarious status of Donald Trump’s presidency becomes ever more wobbly. The latest controversy involves disquieting allegations that Trump disclosed top secret intelligence information to Russian officials visiting the White House. Since this story first broke, the President and his shills have offered varying responses. They began with outright denials. Then, undercutting his own staff, Trump tweeted that it was true, but legal. The record to date is one of diversion and obfuscation.

Putin Voted

Enter Vladimir Putin. The man credited with putting Trump in the White House has come to the rescue of his most valuable asset. Speaking at a news conference in Sochi, Putin criticized the turmoil surrounding Trump. He asserted that “[T]he United States has been developing political schizophrenia.” It’s hard to argue with that. However, Putin’s solution to the problem only exacerbates it. Talking Points Memo is reporting that:

“Russia President Vladimir Putin offered Wednesday to turn over to Congress records of President Donald Trump’s discussions with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information. His offer added a bizarre twist to the furor over Trump’s intelligence disclosures. […] Putin told a news conference that he would be willing to turn over notes of Trump’s meeting with the Russian diplomats if the White House agreed.”

“Bizarre” only begins to describe this. First of all. it’s significant that Putin has a record of the White House encounter that he’s willing to make public (if the White House agrees). Particularly because the President has made no such claim or offer. In fact, only Russia’s press were permitted into the meeting. The U.S. media was explicitly excluded. Furthermore, what makes Putin (or anyone) think that his transcript would be considered a credible account of what occurred? He has an obvious vested interest in concealing any transfer of intelligence data he acquires from Trump. His own spy network would benefit from the data more if his foes in Israel, Syria, and elsewhere were in the dark.

Putin’s offer can serve as much more than a life preserver for the floundering American president. It can also be exploited by conservative media to protect Trump from further criticism. That would fit with Russia’s known efforts to plant stories in the press that advance their foreign policy goals. Russia has been determined to be the source of thousands of self-serving fake news articles. This could just be the latest part of that ongoing propaganda effort.

From press reports it’s unclear exactly what sort of documentation Putin has. According to NPR he used the Russian word “zapis” which can be translated as either a written record or a recording. That opens speculation as to whether the Russian diplomats brought surveillance equipment into the Oval Office. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell had an opportunity to address that with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday morning. His response was somewhat unnerving:

Really? How hard would it be to sweep the Oval Office for listening devices? And shouldn’t he be a little worried about the prospect that Russia could bug the White House and he wouldn’t know? This is just further evidence that Team Trump is dangerously inexperienced and incompetent. And that’s the best case scenario. The worst case is that Trump isn’t worried about Russian listening devices because he is the listening device. If he’s telling our secrets to the Russians himself, then why would would they need to plant a bug?

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