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.

REPORT: Chaffetz Is Ditching His Job Spinning in Congress to Do It Professionally on Fox News

Much has been made of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency from the ranks of reality TV game show hosts. And that surely was a dumbfounding development, with an emphasis on dumb. However, it is less often mentioned that Trump is also a former Fox News personality. He had a regular weekly phone-in segment on Fox & Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” Now that he’s in the White House the lines between Fox News and the Republican Party continue to blur. It’s often difficult to tell the players a scorecard.

Jason Chaffetz Fox News

This weekend a new report surfaced that offered an explanation for the sudden retirement announcement of Jason Chaffetz. The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee recently disclosed that he would not be running for reelection. Sources also speculated that he would resign before his current term ended. The only explanation that Chaffetz himself provided was the familiar desire to spend more time with his family.

Now his GOP colleagues are revealing that Chaffetz has confided in them what he intends to do after leaving Washington. According to the Washingtonian:

“Chaffetz has been telling people he’ll take on what one source calls a ‘substantial role’ in on-air talent at Fox News Channel, possibly as early as July. […] ‘Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,’ says one senior House Republican aide.”

What is meant by “substantial role” is unclear, but implies that he will have more to do than guest commentaries. Perhaps he is angling for his own show. That would make him the third Republican politician to host a program on Fox News. Previously Mike Huckabee and John Kasich anchored shows even as they pursued elected offices. Chaffetz would be in the same position as he is expected to run for governor of Utah in the future.

Along with Huckabee and Kasich, Chaffetz would be following a well worn route from GOP politician to Fox News personality. Others include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, and Sarah Palin. The list gets longer when you include party operatives like Karl Rove, John Bolton, and Dana Perino.

And the road runs both ways. The Trump administration has already recruited several people from Fox News. They include Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Jonathan Wachtel. Most recently Trump nominated Fox contributor Scott Brown to be ambassador to New Zealand.

And the rumor mill is churning new speculation that Trump is looking for even more Foxies to adorn his White House. Unhappy with his current communications staff, Trump is said to be interested in hiring producers from his favorite network. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer isn’t safe. Trump insiders are telling the media that he’s souring on Spicey and “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.”

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

The symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the Republican Party is making it difficult to tell where the GOP ends and Fox begins. Is Fox the PR division of the GOP? Or is the GOP the operational unit of Fox News? It hardly matters. The bottom line is that they have effectively merged into a single entity. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is openly backing the Trump administration, and Trump is repaying the favor with nearly exclusive access and free advertising on Twitter. It’s a match made in Hell for America and what remains of its free press and democracy.

Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

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

Trump is Frantically Looking to Hire Fox News People to Staff His Flailing Press Office

The controversy over Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to unfold. And the President insists on making matters worse with comments that are implicit admissions of impeachable offenses. For instance, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he asked Comey if he was a subject of an FBI investigation. He also asked Comey to pledge an oath of loyalty and threatened him with releasing secret tape recordings. All of these could be regarded as ethical breaches sufficient to warrant an impeachment inquiry.

Donald Trump Sean Spicer

While the core story is as disturbing as anything that’s come out of Washington in decades, there are spin-offs that are equally unsettling. Among them are recent reports concerning the toxic status of Trump’s White House Press Office. Sean Spicer and company have been taking a severe beating over their inability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have lost credibility among their peers and, apparently, their bosses as well. On Friday Jeanine Pirro of Fox News asked Trump if Spicer’s job was secure. He pointedly declined to give a straight answer.

Trump is so upset that he actually proposed eliminating the daily press briefings and communicating via Twitter. He also suggested that he might just hold weekly press conferences by himself. An article in the Associated Press noted that Trump “increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson.” While the absence of regular press avails would ordinarily be an unprecedented insult to the public trust, in the case of this White House it hardly matters. Very little of substance, or truth, is derived from their daily get-togethers.

Now there are reports that Trump is sending out feelers to reshape his press operation more to his liking. In the same AP article there was a line that revealed where Trump’s thinking is headed for the near future:

“Trump is mulling expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.”

That should fix everything. When your press office isn’t lying well enough, get yourself some professionals to do it. For the record, Trump has already tapped Fox News for several administration appointments. Former Foxies on the White House payroll currently include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, and Jonathan Wachtel. There has never been an administration that was so packed with people from a major news enterprise. And now that’s going to get even worse.

Among the rumored changes is one that predicts the departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Trump insiders are telling the media that Trump “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.” Guilfoyle was an attorney who is currently a co-host of Fox’s right-wing gab-fest, The Five. She has never been a journalist and has no experience in press relations. That surely won’t bother Trump who regards inexperience as an asset. Trump may also appreciate Guilfoyle’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, who she thought would be a better president than Barack Obama. And if you don’t believe the anonymous sources speculating about Guilfoyle, the story broke two days earlier on Alex Jones’ Infowars. So that should settle it.

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

By bringing in Fox News producers and presenters, the White House press office would take on a new identity as an overtly partisan purveyor of propaganda. So one might ask, what’s the difference? Well, it would also cement Trump’s image as a TV character who relies on the fakery of entertainment values over honest journalism. And it would reinforce the relationship between Trump and Fox, which is already a marriage of political convenience and ideology. But most of all, it would abandon any hope of securing the respect of the American public or the world at large. It would turn the press office into a punchline. And considering that the Trump administration is already a bad joke, they don’t really have that far to go.

Sean Spicer: It’s ‘Literally Impossible’ to Analyze Trump Care’s Costs, But We’ll Vote on it Anyway

Word on the street is that Congress will vote on Donald Trump’s proposal to repeal ObamaCare on Thursday. The Republicans are claiming that they have enough votes for passage, which they’ve claimed, wrongly, before. But what makes this vote so extraordinary is that no one – not Congress, not Trump, no one – knows precisely what this bill will cost, or even what’s in it.

Fibby Spice Sean Spicer

On Wednesday Press Secretary Sean Spicer took questions from reporters about the bill (video below). His confession that the bill’s costs and contents are unknowable make a mockery of the GOP’s legislative process. When asked whether the funding in the bill would be sufficient to cover people with preexisting conditions, Spicer said that:

“There are so many variables that are unknown that to make an analysis of that level of precision seems almost impossible … For someone to know how many people that is, what number of states are going to receive a waiver, ask for it and receive a waiver, is literally impossible at this point. So to do an analysis of any level of factual basis would be literally not possible.”

In one respect, it’s commendable that Spicer was honest enough to admit that he had no idea what the bill’s financial impact would be. However, the fact that neither he, nor the White House, nor Congress could do an analysis, but they still insisted on voting, is the height of political absurdity. Spicer actually “guaranteed” that everyone with preexisting conditions would “be fine.” But by his own admission he has no way of determining whether or not that’s true.

While the White House may be unable to analyze the financial impact of TrumpCare, other more reputable organizations seem capable of doing so. As reported by Talking Points Memo:

“The AARP’s Public Policy Institute wrote Thursday that ‘We project that if states return to pre-ACA high-risk pools in 2019, as proposed, high-risk pool premiums for people with pre-existing conditions could be as high as $25,700 annually.’

“An amendment to the American Health Care Act would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s price protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, if the states establish high-risk pools for those individuals in their place. Critics say those pools make insurance unsustainably expensive for sick people.”

So it isn’t really impossible to analyze TrumpCare after all. It’s just inconvenient. That’s because most independent analyses confirm that it would raise premiums to record highs. The result would be that tens of millions of people who are currently insured would lose their coverage. That’s why the GOP-run Congress is rushing to vote before the Congressional Budget Office can issue a report. And they expect their members to comply and vote as instructed. Despite not knowing what the hell they’re voting on. That, America, is your Republican Congress at work.

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

Trump Hates America, and His Pathetic ‘Leadership’ on Healthcare Is Proof Of It

The failure of TrumpCare is more than a political pratfall by Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It is an object lesson in the pettiness of a vengeful, self-absorbed man who couldn’t care less about the welfare of the American people.

Donald Trump

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump marketed himself as a master negotiator and dealmaker. But when push came to shove Trump couldn’t close the deal on what was the highest priority on his agenda. Instead, the man responsible for six bankruptcies failed yet again. He couldn’t move the ball across the goal line with a majority in both chambers of Congress. But what’s worse is that his reaction betrays a spiteful disregard for the citizens he purports to serve.

In a video posted on the White House website, the President made some brief comments about the TrumpCare debacle. True to form, he blamed Democrats for his own failings and those of his party. Never mind that Democrats could not have blocked passage if Republicans were united – or competent. The truth is that the GOP didn’t want to pass the bill because it was so transparently awful. They knew that their constituents were opposed to it. What legislator in their right mind would vote for a bill that had only seventeen percent approval?

However, the most disturbing part of Trump’s video statement is his virtual giddiness at the prospect of people suffering and Democrats getting blamed. He repeatedly made false assertions that “ObamaCare is exploding” (it’s not). His takeaway on that was a perverse pride in predicting that Americans will suffer:

“I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode. It’s gonna have a very bad year.”

Trump took solace in his estimation that TrumpCare’s demise was “the best thing that could happen.” So he believe’s that ObamaCare will inflict great pain on people, but that that’s a good thing. It’s a position that only a sadist could support. And his reasoning centered on a political analysis wherein Democrats would be held accountable for ObamaCare.

“I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it. One hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican healthcare. This is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have ObamaCare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist. Which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember, this is not our bill, this is their bill.”

Seriously, what reality is Trump living in? Democrats have always “owned” ObamaCare. It didn’t get a single Republican vote. It was drafted and passed by Democrats. It’s nicknamed after a Democratic president fer chrissakes. What’s more, Democrats are proud of the bill. They are anxious to be associated with its historic drop in the uninsured rate. They happily note that it has resulted in the slowest growth of healthcare costs in decades. And the fact that its approval rating in recent polls is at its highest level ever doesn’t hurt.

Republicans had eight years to come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare. They never even bothered. Rather, they held meaningless votes (more than sixty of them) to either repeal or cripple ObamaCare. But they only did that because they knew that Obama would veto anything that reached his desk. Now, with a Republican in the White House, they are cowering in fear of voting for something the country opposes. Even press secretary Sean Spicer called them out before the vote. “You’ve taken a bunch of these free votes when it didn’t matter because you didn’t have a Republican president,” he chided. “Well, this is a live ball now. This is for real.” That obviously didn’t work.

Also in Trump’s video, he tried to make excuses for his failure by rewriting his history on the subject. “I never said repeal [ObamaCare] and replace it within sixty-four days,” he whined. That’s true, he never said “sixty-four days.” But he did say “immediately” and “on my first day in office” and that “it’s gonna be so easy.” That obviously didn’t work either.

Trump’s habit of lying, making excuses, and blaming others is on vivid display here. And his utter lack of leadership is appalling. A real leader would not threaten people with predictions of pain and suffering. He would not find comfort in the hardship of others. A real leader would face reality and then seek to mitigate any harm that he perceived. He would accept the circumstances and try to make best of them, even if it was not what he favored.

For example, if Trump thinks that ObamaCare is going to result in higher premiums, he should advocate greater participation. That would increase the risk pool and keep premiums down. If he’s concerned about insurance companies offering plans, he should help to create incentives for them to do so. He’s already given up on “repeal and replace” so he should be focusing on helping people rather than hovering over them like a vulture anxiously anticipating fresh corpses.

That, however, is not Trump’s style. He is a petulant, vindictive, narcissist who throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. And it doesn’t matter who he hurts. He is as poor a leader as he is a dealmaker. The battle over healthcare has been an instructive experience that lays open the festering flaws in Trump’s character – or more accurately – the lack of it.

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

Press Secretary Spicer Won’t Deny That Trump Planted An Alibi For His Wiretapping Lie

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that he had “Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower.” But he never bothered to provide any evidence of the charge. To the contrary, he cited sources that were either lacking any credibility or didn’t back him up. Nevertheless, he has continued to push the phony story despite being repudiated by both Democrats and Republicans.

Donald Trump Lies

On Wednesday, Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made a public statement asserting that he had received information about surveillance in Trump Tower. He didn’t identify the source of the information, nor who was being surveilled. But he did say that there may have been “incidental” data involving Trump or his team that was picked up. In a follow up on Thursday he was asked if the source of this information was the White house. Nunes gave a meandering response that notably did not include a denial.

Later, during Thursday’s White house press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked to comment on the same matter. That resulted in this peculiar exchange:

Question: Chairman Nunes today refused to definitively rule out that he received the information he announced yesterday on surveillance, that he got that from the White House. So will you rule out that the White House, or anyone in the administration, gave Chairman Nunes that information?

Spicer: I don’t know what he actually briefed the President on, but I don’t know why he would come in to brief the President on something that we gave him. I don’t know that that makes sense. I did not sit in on that briefing. I’m not… It just doesn’t… So I don’t know why he would brief the Speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.

You’ll notice that Spicer danced around the response but never ruled out that the information came from Trump. He merely expressed confusion as to why that would have happened. Of course, the reason is obvious. Trump had a vested interest in Nunes making a public statement that could be twisted into a validation. To date, Trump has still not provided any support for his reckless accusation that Obama wiretapped his phones. Now it appears that two of Trump’s defenders have blatantly refused to deny that the White House concocted their own alibi.

Why would both Nunes and Spicer be so conspicuously reluctant to give a straight forward denial that Trump planted his own story? All they would have to say is “No, the President didn’t do that.” Instead they leave open the possibility that Trump is once again acting as his own PR rep. And that’s something that really doesn’t pass the smell test.

[Update: A new report alleges that Nunes met his “source” at the White House the day before his press conference. This advances the planted alibi theory.]

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

BLACKOUT: This is How Fox News Intentionally Keeps Its Viewers Stupid

There have been innumerable examples of Fox News airing false reports in an effort to misinform their viewers. A recent example just within the past week alleged that President Obama recruited British spies to conduct surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign. Fox’s senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitian, made the claim without any supporting evidence. The network’s news division later refuted the report and put Napolitano on an indefinite leave. But that was after the story had been disseminated worldwide, creating an international incident. Even Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice) cited the fake news during a White House press briefing.

Go Fox Yourself

However, another way of shaping an ignorant electorate is to refrain from covering important events. The choice of what not to cover is just as significant as what to cover. And on Tuesday Fox News demonstrated their determination to deny their audience information that is unarguably newsworthy.

The House Intelligence Committee’s hearings on Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election were broadcast live by most news networks. Testimony by FBI Director James Comey revealed for the first time that the FBI was investigating Trump and his associates. The proceedings were unusually compelling for a congressional hearing. And the proof of that came when Fox News decided to cease coverage of the hearings to host a panel of right-wing talking heads instead.

Fox was the only network that interrupted the live broadcast. And by doing so they deprived their viewers of first hand knowledge of what was happening at the hearings. What’s worse is that they replaced the hearings with conservative pundits providing a blatantly biased analysis. It was a deliberate programming strategy designed to advance the messaging of an embattled White House.

Unfortunately for Fox News, it may not have worked this time. Ratings for the cable news networks show that when Fox cut away from the hearings they lost about 29 percent of their audience. That’s a massive shift by viewers who were obviously disappointed by Fox’s programming decision. What’s more, viewers were plainly following the hearings to other channels. The ratings for CNN and MSNBC both spiked after Fox cut away.

This tells us that the American people are acutely interested in this matter. They want to know more about the potentially treasonous activities of their president. By suppressing that information Fox succeeded only in alienating their audience and further eroding their credibility. Plus, they probably don’t want to send their viewers off to competing networks.

The Trump administration has brought newfound prosperity to liberal programming. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has toppled Fox from its perch atop the ratings hill. She has won her time period for the past two weeks straight. Saturday Night Live, despite Trump’s insulting tweets (or because of them) has seen its best ratings in years. Stephen Colbert’s Late Show is now leading his late night talk show competition.

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

All of this suggests that Americans are hungry for honest reporting. They are tired of Fox’s propaganda and the phony “balance” sought by CNN and other conventional news outlets. They want the press to be skeptical when appropriate and aggressive when necessary. They know there’s something amiss in the Trump White House and they don’t want it papered over. And they are not going to sit still when a network like Fox decides that they don’t need to know what’s really going on. Fox News needs to adjust a new viewer mantra: We have remotes, and we’re prepared to use them.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Doesn’t Mince Words, Tags Trump As A Life-Long Bullsh*tter

The record of Donald Trump’s pathological aversion to the truth is well documented (see the Trump Bullshitopedia). With every day that goes by he introduces a new, self-serving lie. His purpose is generally to vindicate himself from some embarrassing display of ignorance or policy stumble. Either that or to distract from more serious misconduct such as his unsavory connections to Russia, or financial conflicts.

CNN Fareed Zakaria

The media is usually too timid to accurately describe Trump’s falsehoods as lies. Even when the evidence is overwhelming. However, they have been showing some improvement in that area. Friday on CNN’s “Tonight with Don Lemon,” guest Fareed Zakaria launched into a righteous condemnation of Trump, complete with an appropriate profanity:

“I think the president is somewhat indifferent to things that are true or false. He has spent his whole life bullshitting. He has succeeded by bullshitting. He has gotten the presidency by bullshitting. It’s very hard to tell somebody at that point that bullshit doesn’t work, because look at the results, right? But that’s what he does. He sees something, he doesn’t particularly care if it’s true or not, he just puts it out there. And then he puts something else out. And notice again what he did at the press conference. When pushed on it, he doesn’t take responsibility. ‘I wasn’t saying that, I was just quoting somebody else.'”

Indeed. At the joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump was confronted with his preposterous assertion that Obama had wiretapped his phones. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, cited a Fox News report that Obama had been aided by British intelligence as confirmation. It didn’t take long for that story to fall apart, with offended British authorities saying it was “ridiculous.” So Trump backpedaled by trying to blame it all on Fox News.

Zakaria’s larger point, however, is one that is too often overlooked. For most of his adult life Donald Trump has bullshitted his way to success. Or used bullshit to explain away his many failures. He did this with his real estate ventures, his phony university, his retail products, and even his marriages and affairs. He has never demonstrated the honesty or integrity that ought to be associated with leadership. His profile was always one of a huckster or con man, bragging about imaginary achievements. It is refreshing to see someone in the media who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

This was not the first time that Zakaria observed Trump’s predilection for prevarication. Last fall he devoted nearly five minutes on his own program to a segment titled “Trump Is A B.S. Artist.” Zakaria references an academic essay, “On Bullshit,” and draws parallels between that and Trump’s public behavior. It’s a thing of beauty. And here is that segment for your viewing pleasure:

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

Trump Blames Fox News For Wacky Wiretap Conspiracy Theory – And Fox Bites Back

In the brief time that Donald Trump has occupied the White House he has set records for uttering blatant falsehoods. However, none have gone as far over the line as his accusation that President Obama wiretapped his phones. No evidence of this alleged felony was provided by Trump or any agency of law enforcement. Even Republican leaders in Congress have made unequivocal statements denying the existence of any proof for Trump’s reckless charges. Included in that group: David Nunes, the GOP chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House.

Fox News Donald Trump

Consequently, without any hesitation or shame, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer (aka Fibby Spice), launched a wild-eyed rant insisting that Trump was right. At Thursday’s press briefing he recited a litany of alleged “proof,” that utterly failed to back him up. And the references that weren’t irrelevant were mostly just the ramblings of partisan hacks like Sean Hannity. For some reason Trump relies more on Fox News and Alex Jones than the intelligence agencies that work for him.

The issue came up again Friday at a joint press conference with Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Specifically, the allegation floated by Spicer that Obama conspired with British intelligence to conduct his wiretapping adventure. This crackpot theory was introduced by Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News. The British authorities vehemently denied this, calling it “ridiculous.” But Trump refused to retreat, instead choosing to direct the blame to his pals at Fox News (video below):

TRUMP: “We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. So you shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.”

First of all, quoting someone is not saying nothing. Your press secretary used the quote to support your preposterous accusations of imaginary wiretaps. You cannot use that as validation and then claim not have said anything. As for “talking to Fox,” apparently someone took him up that. Fox’s Shepard Smith addressed the controversy and sharply repudiated Trump’s position:

SHEPARD SMITH: “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.”

So according to Fox News Trump’s phony wiretapping fantasy has zero credibility. Also according to Fox News, their senior judicial analyst, Napolitano, has credibility issues of his own. And yet, Fox continues to serve as Trump’s Ministry of Propaganda. When they aren’t shielding him from criticism they’re praising him as the second coming of St. Reagan. It appears that Trump is determined to eventually prove his campaign boast that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any support. And when he does, Fox News will report that a deranged leftist subversive ran in front of Trump’s bullet.

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

Trump Blaming Fox News:

Shepard Smith’s response: