FACT CHECK: Trump Tells Fox News that Mueller’s Staffers are ‘All Clinton Supporters’

The constant stream of falsehoods that emanate from Donald Trump has made no sign of slowing down. This weekend Trump, who has not had a TV interview in over a month, gave two to Fox News. And not surprisingly, he provided some new nuggets of dishonesty to the pile he has amassed since becoming president.

Donald Trump

In an interview with Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends, the Fox News host unleashed a barrage of brutal softballs at the President. She prefaced her inquiries with flattering language about how smart he was for pretending to have tapes of himself and James Comey (which is potentially unlawful witness tampering). And she comforted him with partisan assertions that “Democrats are in denial.” But Earhardt laid it on extra thick when the issue of Trump’s collusion with Russia came up:

“Robert Mueller, do you think he should recuse himself? He is good friends with James Comey. He’s hired some attorneys that were part of Hillary Clinton’s foundation and have given money to President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Should he recuse himself?”

Could Earhardt have composed a more fawning, servile, obsequious question? She must be so doubtful that he could come up with a coherent response, she provided one for him. Trump eagerly embraced the leading question and blindly agreed that Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey.” Then he whined that “there has been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that.” Everybody? Well, that’s if you don’t count dozens of legal experts, intelligence professionals, and investigators currently researching the matter. But then he went even further over the edge:

“I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you wanna know the truth.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. But not in the way Trump thinks. PolitiFact reviewed his remarks and found them top be “Mostly False.” As it turns out, only three of the eight attorneys hired by Mueller were Clinton supporters. And any associations that any of them had were incidental and fully permissible under the “Rules of Professional Responsibility.” That assessment, by the way, came from Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Jeff Seesion’s Justice Department. And it was consistent with the summary ruling by PolitiFact:

“Three of the eight available Mueller hires made campaign contributions to Clinton, which undermines Trump’s statement that all are Clinton supporters. Furthermore, none of them have worked for Clinton directly. Two represented either the Clinton Foundation or an aide, never her, and working for WilmerHale, which has also represented key members of Trump’s White House.”

So Trump’s allegations (and that of many of his media surrogates) that the investigation is biased politically and motivated against him, is a bald-faced lie. If only that were an isolated incident in this presidency. Unfortunately it is the rule, rather than the exception. And anyone who takes Trump at his word is shamelessly begging to be made a fool of and deliberately deceived.

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

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

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

Sean Hannity Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Slacker President: Donald Trump Isn’t Doing His Job, But Sure Likes Whining and Blaming Others

For all of his rancid bluster during the campaign, Donald Trump has proven to be one of the laziest presidents in modern times. Trump demeaned Hillary Clinton as lacking stamina, but on his recent nine day trip overseas he was tuckered out after the second day. And the absence of any signs of productivity are dreadfully – and dangerously – apparent.

Donald Trump

Trump spent Monday morning consumed by one of his favorite pastimes: bloviating on Twitter. But he wasn’t content with insulting our British allies and admitting his executive order on immigration was a ban. He also had to lash out at Democrats in Congress for not confirming his diplomatic nominees:

There is so much wrong with that tweet that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, Democrats aren’t obstructing anything. In fact, they can’t. Ambassadors can be confirmed with fifty-one votes, so Republicans don’t need any Democrats. And it’s the GOP that is in control of the Senate calendar. They can schedule hearings and votes whenever they want.

However, the main problem is that Trump isn’t submitting nominees for confirmation. Of 559 key positions needing confirmation, thirty-nine have received it and seventy-eight are pending. But there are 442 posts for which Trump has not put forth a nominee at all. So obviously it’s the Democrats’ fault. And what does Fox and Friends have to do with any of this? Is that just a free ad?

At the beginning of his term, Trump created a boatload of unnecessary vacancies. He summarily dismissed ambassadors and U.S. Attorneys held over from the Obama administration. Even if they were career bureaucrats unaffiliated with party politics. He also fired James Comey, the FBI director and still has not named a replacement. Candidates from across government and the Pentagon are rejecting offers to serve this president. They are either repulsed by his insistence on a loyalty oath, or they are afraid of ruining their careers and reputations by being associated with him.

Given the difficulty he’s facing in assembling his administration, you might think he’d dedicate himself to fulfilling his duties. To the contrary, when he isn’t consumed with Twitter tirades he’s on the golf course. His two dozen golfing excursions in only a dozen weeks have surpassed any of his predecessors. And that’s despite his campaign promise that, if elected “I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

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

It’s that sort of hypocrisy that defines the Trump presidency. But more troubling is that he has demonstrated an aversion to doing any of the hard work required to run the country. And in these volatile times that can expose the U.S. – and the world – to unnecessary peril. Which, of course, he would blame on someone else.

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.

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.

Trump, Still Obsessed With Clinton, Posts Hysterically Stupid Tweet Seeking An Apology

Another morning, another tweetstorm. On Monday Donald Trump took time away from his golf game to unleash a new round of deranged outbursts on Twitter. The president, whose attention span barely reaches 140 characters, continues venting via tweet rather than doing any actual work.

Donald Trump

Trump’s latest social media spew included a shout out to Fox News, which must be a contractual obligation. Another tweet featured a routine diversionary tactic to hype a phony surveillance story as a distraction from the Russia scandal. But perhaps the most comical tweet of the morning was this:

The first laughably absurd observation about this drivel is that Hillary Clinton never received any “answers” to the debate. What Trump is ineptly attempting to reference is the allegation that Donna Brazile passed along some topics that would be discussed by audience members in a debate with Bernie Sanders. Of course, topics are not answers, which Clinton would have had to come up with herself. That’s a mental process with which Trump is obviously unfamiliar.

More importantly, Trump’s passive aggressive-request for an apology stretches the limits of hypocrisy. After all, did he ever apologize for calling Clinton crooked? Or for five years of birtherism, insisting that President Obama was Kenyan? Or for asking Russia to illegally hack Clinton’s emails? And even worse, colluding with Russia to steal the election? Did he ever apologize for mocking a disabled reporter? Or for maligning Sen. McCain’s service in Vietnam? Or for ripping off donations intended for veterans? And what about apologizing to Mexican immigrants for saying they are criminals and rapists? Has he ever apologized for insulting Carly Fiorina’s face? Or saying that small-chested women could never be a ten? Or for grabbing women by the pussy?

This list only brushes the tip of Trump’s offensive behaviors. And it doesn’t even begin to address the offensive policies he has proposed. For instance, his now failed effort to repeal ObamaCare, which would have thrown millions off of their health insurance plans. Or his inane border wall. Or tax reform that transfers America’s wealth from the poor and middle-class to the wealthy. Then there’s his determination to defund Planned Parenthood. And his phantom strategy to defeat ISIS, much of which constitutes war crimes.

Finally, will he ever apologize for demonizing the Constitution’s guarantee of a free press? For his relentless smears of reporters as liars, sleazy, and horrible people? For revoking press credentials of media critics? Or for proposing to alter libel laws so he can file frivolous lawsuits? Or for calling the media “the enemy of the people,” echoing the rhetoric of fascist regimes? Trump’s use of the phrase “fake news” is a bastardization of the term. In his ignorance, he applies it to any reporting that he doesn’t like.

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

Trump has called his reliance on Twitter his own form of media.” Another term for that when managed by the head of state is “state-run media.” The press is not supposed to be a mouthpiece for the president. That may be how it’s done in the dictatorship of his pal Vladimir Putin, but not in America. And most of the country is still wondering when Trump will stop his idiotic tweeting and start pretending he can govern. Or maybe they’re just glad that he’s so distracted by his swollen ego that he isn’t causing more harm by actually trying to do his job. That would only give more for which to apologize.

Desperate Trump Tweets Threat To Investigate Debunked Clinton/Russia Uranium Deal

The walls are losing in around Donald Trump. Allegations concerning his unsavory connections to Vladimir Putin and Russia continue to accumulate. His closest associates are being investigated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. The 2016 election was tainted by revelations of meetings between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. And the Justice Department has already certified that Russia interfered with the election in an effort to harm Hillary Clinton and Boost Trump. The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign’s complicity.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

In the heat of all that, Congress is under fire for failing to hold independent hearings on the mounting scandals involving Trump and Russia. GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has himself been implicated in shady behavior. He reportedly met with a secret “source” at the White House prior to holding a press conference last week. At the presser Nunes released information intended to help the President evade further scrutiny. Then Nunes returned to the White House to brief Trump without ever sharing his information with the committee.

In the midst of this, Trump has now engaged in a pitifully obvious attempt at diversion. He posted the following tweets Monday evening:

Under the circumstances, asking the Intelligence Committee to investigate the Clinton’s is a transparent act of desperation. Especially since the Committee under Nunes’ control has zero credibility. In addition, the matters Trump cited have all been investigated by numerous legal and congressional entities. There was no wrongdoing found by the Clinton’s or President Obama. PolitiFact summed up the findings in a comprehensive analysis last year after a prior accusation by Trump. They rated Trump’s accusations “Mostly False” and said in part:

Russia’s nuclear energy agency, which also builds nuclear weapons, bought a controlling stake in Uranium One. The company has mines, mills and tracts of land in Wyoming, Utah and other U.S. states equal to about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity.

So, to be clear, the 20 percent is capacity, not uranium that has been produced.

Given that Russia doesn’t have the licenses to export uranium outside the United States, it was likely more interested in Uranium One’s assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer, our colleagues said. […]

The State Department did approve the Uranium One deal, but it didn’t act unilaterally. It was one of nine U.S. government agencies, plus independent federal and state nuclear regulators, that had to sign off on the deal.

And as FactCheck.org noted in a related fact check, while any of the nine agencies could have objected to the deal, only President Barack Obama had the power to veto it.

So there was nothing untoward about the deal in the first place, and Clinton didn’t have the power to approve or reject it anyway. Consequently, Trump’s only motivation could be to divert attention away from his potentially treasonous activities. It’s a pathetic scheme that is so clumsy it can’t possibly work. And that is the most damning proof of his desperation and fear. Stunts like this are only likely to exacerbate his situation.

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

So keep tweeting, Mr. President. Your outbursts merely serve to dig you in deeper. They certainly won’t have any effect on the law enforcement professionals examining your activities during and following the campaign. And as the evidence continues to expose your malfeasance you will lose even more support from your fellow Republicans in Congress. You know, the ones you just insulted because they didn’t buy into your phony healthcare scam.

UH-OH: DOJ Inspector General To Probe FBI’s ‘Improper’ Handling Of Clinton Investigation

When reviewing the most consequential events of the 2016 presidential election, one strikingly inappropriate action comes immediately to mind. Less than two weeks before the nation voted, FBI Directer James Comey violated a long-held principle of law enforcement. He released confidential and unsubstantiated data concerning an in-progress investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Comey Trump

Comey’s action gave Donald Trump’s campaign a jet-propelled boost at a time when it needed it most. And it left little time for Clinton’s campaign to respond or recover from the political harm. As it turned out, there was nothing of significance in the additional analysis that Comey initiated, but the damage was done.

Thursday morning the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Justice announced that it will be reviewing these events. Requests from member of Congress, outside organizations, and members of the public, spurred the IG to commence this review. According to the Huffington Post, the review will address several specific topics, including:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
  • Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
  • Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information;
  • Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.

These are the most salient issues that desperately need to be resolved. Comey’s behavior was suspiciously beneficial to one political candidate, and this investigation should explore any and all motivations. The IG’s review is being careful not to engage in further partisanship. Consequently, it’s also examining allegations that an assistant AG improperly disclosed non-public information to Clinton’s campaign.

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

It remains to be seen what conclusions will be drawn when the review is complete. There could be consequences for Comey, or it could be swept under the FBI’s rug. Timing will also be critical. If this stretches too long into the Trump administration, and his anticipated purges at the DOJ are effected, then nothing of significance will result. Trump’s people will surely protect him and his allies in the FBI, including Comey. So stay tuned as this developing story continues to unfold.

New Poll Reveals The Eight CRAZIEST Things Trump Voters Actually Believe

The nastiness and ignorance that epitomized the campaign of Donald Trump has proven to be stubbornly enduring. Now, as 2016 wraps up, the effect it had on his followers is brought into focus by the results of a new poll. The Economist/YouGov survey (pdf) addressed many of the pressing issues that face the nation. It’s a revealing exploration into the mindset of the electorate. However, the most fascinating (and frightful) revelations are those relating to Trump voters.

Donald Trump Voter

Below are some of the more worrisome responses. Let’s start off with what ought to be the most clear cut inquiry by the pollsters:

Is the country better off now than it was eight years ago?

Most Americans recall that eight years ago the nation was descending into an economic abyss. The stock market dropped 46 percent. Unemployment shot up to 10.1 percent. Home foreclosures hit record figures. And total household wealth declined by more than $19 trillion.

Yet somehow a whopping 60 percent of Trump voters responded to this question saying that the country was better off eight years ago than today. Another 19 percent say there is no difference. That’s after stocks climbed back from about 7,000 to nearly 20,000. And unemployment dropped to 4.9 percent. The auto industry that was on the brink of collapse is reporting record profits. And the delusions of the Trumpsters are unique to their breed. Only 21 percent of Democrats thought 2009 was a better year.

Do you think that the proportion of persons without insurance has increased or decreased over the past five years?

This is another question where the answer is an unambiguous fact. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), the rate of the uninsured dropped to its lowest levels in history. It now stands at about 10 percent as more than 20 million people got insurance through ObamaCare.

Nevertheless, only 26 percent of Trump voters correctly said that persons without insurance decreased. And once again, Democrats demonstrated greater knowledge with 49 percent answering correctly.

On the subject of climate change do you think: (A) The world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity; (B) The world’s climate is changing but NOT because of human activity; (C) The world’s climate is NOT changing.

While conservatives fiercely deny reality on this question, 97 percent of scientists who study climate agree that “A” is the correct answer.

That doesn’t stop Trump voters from dismissing the science. Only 36 percent of them chose “A” as their answer. That compares to 79 percent of Democrats doing so.

Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the U.S. never found?

Many people may have forgotten that prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq there was an international team of nuclear experts investigating and monitoring Iraq. They never found any trace of WMDs. Neither were any found after the invasion.

Of course Trump voters are not constrained by facts. Consequently, 68 percent of them said that it was definitely/probably true that Saddam had WMDs. By contrast, the definitely/probably true respondents among Democrats were only 10 and 32 percent respectively.

Was President Obama born in Kenya?

Why is this still a question? Even Trump stated in a press conference that he now believes that Obama was born in the U.S., period.

Still, Trump’s loyal followers are unmoved. A majority of 52 percent continue to say that Obama is definitely/probably a native Kenyan. Democrats aren’t perfect on this question, yet they’re still far better informed than the Trumpsters. Their definitely/probably born in Kenya numbers are only 7 and 13 percent.

Did Russia hack the email of Democrats in order to increase the chance that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election.

Seventeen American intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the CIA answer this question with a resounding “YES!” President Obama just slammed Russia with sanctions and diplomatic expulsions in retaliation for their interference in our democracy.

However, Trump voters are as defensive about Vladimir Putin as Trump himself. Eighty percent say the charges against Russia are definitely/probably NOT true. And by now you won’t be surprised to learn that the same figures for Democrats are a measly 9/16 percent respectively.

Were millions of illegal votes cast in the election?

This question was motivated by Trump’s tweeted assertion that he would have won the popular vote but for millions of illegal votes cast for Clinton. He never bothered to provide and documentation for his claim. And every expert that reviewed it found it to be false or unsupported by any facts.

OK, guest what? Sixty-two percent of Trump voters say the claim is definitely/probably true. Sixty-four of Democrats say the opposite.

Did Leaked email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign contain code words for pedophilia, human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse – what some people refer to as ’Pizzagate’?

This was one of the more prominent examples of fake news that made the headlines in the past few weeks. It was never given credibility by any legitimate news source. It simply spread like a virus via Facebook and Twitter infecting the dimwitted, right-wing cult fetishists. Eventually, it led to a near tragedy as one of the believers showed up at the pizzeria with an assault weapon.

And yet, 46 percent of Trump voters said that this ludicrous fiction was definitely/probably true. That compared to 76 percent of Democrats saying, essentially, “WTF?”

In conclusion:

It is incomprehensible that so many Americans can be so plainly and dangerously ill-informed. It doesn’t bode well for 2017 and beyond as the Trump administration begins to put its imprimatur on the country. But this epidemic of ignorance was not accidental. It was a deliberate act of disinformation by Trump and the Republican Party. And the media bears its share of responsibility for putting ratings and profit before journalistic ethics.

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

The only hope is for those who have not been deceived to relentlessly correct the record. They need to use facts, and reason, and shame, if necessary, to distribute the truth. It’s a difficult task to pitch reality to weak-willed, faith-based, zealots for whom facts hold no appeal. But failing to try is a far worse alternative. Be strong. Be persistent. Resist!

Trump Romances Billionaire Investor In The ‘Failing’ New York Times – Who’s From Mexico!

It’s becoming more obvious every day that Donald Trump has no core principles. His moral code is strictly set to advancing whatever is in his best interest at the moment. That explains his frequent flip-flops on issues and fluid allegiances with associates. The velocity with which he can change positions is blinding. Take for example his stance on the Electoral College.

Donald Trump

Now the Washington Post is reporting that Trump dined with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. The news that Trump is hobnobbing with yet another billionaire isn’t exactly groundbreaking. He has already stuffed his cabinet with more of them than any of his predecessors. They seem to be the only people with whom he has any relationship.

What’s notable about this tryst is that Trump hasn’t been particularly fond of Slim, his homeland, or his business portfolio. You have to wonder what Trump’s after in inviting such a bitter foe to his luxury Mar-A-Lago resort. Trump viciously castigated Slim during the campaign, primarily for his investment in the New York Times. He said this at a rally in North Carolina on October 14:

“No paper is more corrupt than the failing ‘New York Times.’ The good news, it is failing, it won’t be around too much longer. But they are really, really bad people. The largest shareholder in the Times is Carlos Slim. Now Carlos Slim as you know comes from Mexico. He’s given many millions of dollars to the Clinton and their initiative. So Carlos Slim, largest donor of the paper, from Mexico. Reporters at the New York Times, they’re not journalists. They’re corporate lobbyists for Carlos Slim and for Hillary Clinton.”

First of all, Slim is indeed a large shareholder in the Times, but Trump is telling only part of the story. Slim’s 17 percent of the publicly traded Class A shares does not give him any clout. The vast majority of the company is owned by the Sulzberger family, including the privately held Class B shares. Additionally, Slim has no representation on the company’s board of directors. So Trump’s inference of influence by Slim is entirely a product of his warped imagination.

Secondly, the fact that Trump had to mention Slim’s Mexican heritage twice reveals the deep roots of his bigotry. He doesn’t say why it’s important, he just makes sure his audience is well aware of it.

Thirdly, Trump points out that Slim has donated to the Clinton Foundation. However, he doesn’t bother to mention that he gave $100,000 to the Foundation himself. If he’s implying that Slim was seeking some sort of benefit for his donation, then what was Trump seeking?

Finally, Trump makes a leap of illogic to assert that the reporters for the Times are somehow beholden to the Clintons. There is nothing to indicate that the Times’ reporters are in any way influenced by Slim or donations to the Clinton Foundation. This is the sort of dishonest innuendo that Trump has disgorged throughout his campaign.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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So now Trump is dining with Slim and praising him as “a wonderful man” Never mind that his website still says this about him:

“The New York Times strings are being pulled by Mexico’s Carlos Slim, a billionaire who benefits from NAFTA and supports Hillary Clinton’s open border policies.”

If any of Trump’s speculative accusations were to be taken seriously, then you would also have to apply them to his reasons for meeting with Slim now. Is Trump a shill for Slim and the Clinton Foundation? Or is he just an opportunistic con man who is out for anything he can get for himself? You don’t have to answer that.