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

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

Trump Putin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Goes On Russian TV – Takes Putin’s Side Against America (VIDEO)

At Wednesday’s Commander-in-Chief forum on NBC, Donald Trump once again expressed his admiration Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He told anchor Matt Lauer that “He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.” Trump’s view seems to be rooted in his innate narcissism. He also told Lauer that “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”

Trump/Putin

True to form, Trump appeared on RT (the state-owned Russian Television network) praising his pal Vladimir Putin. He was interviewed by Larry King on RT’s PolitiKing. Among the subjects discussed were Trump’s contempt for the American media that he said was “unbelievably dishonest.” As opposed to Russian media? Consequently, he goes on Russian TV to bad mouth the President and his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The most striking part of the interview was the segment where King asked Trump about the charges that the Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other attempts to disrupt U.S. elections. Here is how Trump responded:

King: Putin recently said that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was a public service. Do you agree?

Trump: I don’t have any opinion on it. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know who hacked. I’m not sure who, I mean, you tell me. Who hacked? Who did the hacking? But I have absolutely no opinion on that. I don’t know. I haven’t heard that statement.

First of all, Trump is flat-out lying about not having heard about this. He previously addressed the subject at his rallies and press conferences. In one instance he acknowledged reports of Russian involvement and then literally asked them to do more of it. He promised that they would be rewarded if they hacked into Clinton’s emails. What’s more, Trump himself has been implicated in Russia’s hacking operations.

More to the point, Trump’s insistence that he has no opinion about a foreign adversary illegally breaching the security of American political organizations is astonishing. He repeatedly expressed his skepticism about who did the hacking. Even though U.S. intelligence has concluded that it was most likely the Russians. That is giving cover to Putin and his KGB hacking squad. And King didn’t ask him who hacked. He asked if he agreed with Putin that the hacking was a public service. So Trump has no opinion about Russians stealing private communications from Americans and publishing them.

But that wasn’t all. The interview continued with Trump essentially forgiving the Russians for trying to interfere with American elections:

King: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies reportedly are investigating whether Russia launched a covert operation to disrupt the 2016 election. What do you make of that?

Trump: I don’t know. I mean I’ve been reading about it. I think it’s probably unlikely. I think maybe, maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely. But you know, who knows? I hope that if they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.

Again, Trump is pleading ignorance (which, for him, is a believable excuse). But his effort to absolve Putin & Company is further evidence of his affinity for the Russians. He doesn’t explain how he arrived at the conclusion that “it’s probably unlikely.” However, to do so he is taking the side of the Russians against American intelligence agencies. Even worse, he attempts to shift the blame to Democrats without any foundation whatsoever. Someone should ask Trump why Democrats would hack themselves.

Subsequent to Trump’s RT interview, his spokesman sought to gloss over his comments telling CNN that he thought he was doing a podcast for Larry King and that “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” So what? While making these unpatriotic comments on RT is rich with irony, they would be just as abhorrent on King’s podcast. And how could Trump and his handlers not know where this interview would be aired? That’s just another indication of his incompetence and unfitness for the presidency. [UPDATE: Contradicting the Trump camp, the producers of Larry King’s program released a statement saying that “Mr. Trump was always booked on ‘PoliticKING with Larry King'”]

On a tangential matter, the interview ended abruptly when King brought up the subject of immigration:

King: Let’s get something clear, cause I’ve known you a long time. On this immigration, what are your feelings about Mexican immigrants. What are your gut – what do feel about this?
Trump: [Silence]
King: Don are you there? … I don’t know what happened there. We did not lose the connection.

Curious. Let’s just leave that to stand on its own. Although the Democrats probably had something to do with it.

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

[Note: Trump on hacking starts about 8:50]

Trump Campaign Linked To Russian Hacking Of DNC, FBI Asked To Investigate

In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention reports that the party’s computer networks were hacked threatened to derail the entire affair. Stolen emails were timed for release in a deliberate attempt to harm the party’s prospective nominee, Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t long before Russian operatives were identified as the likely perpetrators.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

The notion that Russians were attempting to interfere with American elections was not especially significant. The KGB has done this sort of thing before. However, their interest in advancing the campaign of Donald Trump ought to have raised red flags. What would motivate them to go to these lengths to get Trump into the White House? And who else would have an incentive to achieve that goal? There’s an obvious answer to the latter question and it may have been revealed in this article in The Hill:

“The ranking members of four House committees have asked the FBI to investigate whether officials from Donald Trump’s campaign had any role in recent cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”

There are legitimate reasons to suspect that the Trump camp is connected to the hacking of Democratic networks. The Democrats, including House Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings, have genuine concerns that they are asking FBI Directer James Comey to investigate. They want to know whether “connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed” to the cyberattacks. As The Hill article notes:

“The five-page letter lists a number of press reports detailing an apparent relationship between Trump aides and Russia, including foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.”

That’s just the beginning. Trump’s affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin has been well established, along with myriad political and financial connections. He frequently praises Putin’s leadership. And who can forget Trump’s explicit request for the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email? That’s a naked call for foreign adversaries to commit crimes against an American candidate for president.

In addition, Trump has articulated policies that are favorable to the Russians. Most notably his willingness to abandon the NATO Treaty and allow Putin to annex parts of Ukraine and the Baltic states. What’s more, Trump and his associates are deeply intertwined with Russian financiers who hold significant amounts of his debt. Time Magazine recently reported that:

“…as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows.”

The cumulative affect of these facts make it all the more critical that a full investigation is conducted. The integrity of our elections are stake. Republicans will howl, but this is not the sort of partisan hustle that typifies GOP efforts to slander Democrats.

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

The Republican Congress spent eight years twisting the nation’s legislative branch into a private investigative arm of the GOP. They held dozens of hearings on everything from Benghazi to Planned Parenthood. And in every case the only purpose was to harass Democrats and waste taxpayers’ money. Yet for all their trouble they never proved a single misdeed by the Democrats they sought to defame. By contrast, the abundant and sordid details evident here make the Democrats’ request for an investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russian hacks appropriate and necessary.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

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

GOP Debate Lowlights Featuring Donald Trump’s ‘Sarah Palin Moment’

Fox Business Network is patting itself on the back for pulling off the most boring primary debate to date (transcript). They led the candidates through what amounted to a two hour Republican infomercial. The moderators were so detached that when Donald Trump flew off on a tangent about China in response to a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, they failed to inform him that China was not a party to the deal. Rand Paul stepped in to correct the record, but they never followed up to get a straight answer from Trump.

And speaking of Donald Trump, he contributed some of the most hair-brained comments of the evening. Most notably, Trump may have delivered what will become his “Sarah Palin Moment.” He was asked what he would do in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Trump said “I got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes.” That’s about as delusional as Palin’s belief that her geographical proximity to Russia gave her insight into the region’s labyrinthine complexities.

The Republican Foreign Policy Dream Team:
Donald Trump Sarah Palin

Furthermore, Trump never actually met Putin who taped his 60 Minutes segment in Moscow. Trump was interviewed in his Manhattan penthouse. So what he meant by being “stablemates” is incomprehensible. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was being deliberately misleading.

In addition to his fudging a close relationship with Putin, Trump came out against raising the minimum wage because he thinks that people “have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” He continued saying that if wages were higher it would make the U.S. less competitive. In other words, he expects American labor to compete with the slave-wage earners of China and other nations that abuse their working class. That should make a good campaign bumper sticker.

But a Trump rant wouldn’t be complete without his descending into rancid bigotry. And Trump didn’t disappoint. While answering a question about his utterly ludicrous proposal to round up and deport eleven million undocumented residents, Trump sought to validate his approach by comparing it to a program implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. And as if to put a sunny disposition on the controversial program, Trump introduced the comparison with a reminder of Eisenhower’s chummy campaign slogan, “I like Ike.” What Trump left out is that Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback (yes, that was what it was called) resulted in dozens of fatalities and a taint of racism. Approximately 1.2 million people were deported to rural areas of Mexico with none of their possessions or other resources necessary to survive. Trump is calling for ten times as many deportations and still won’t explain how he will do it.

Now we don’t want to pick on Trump exclusively. Ben Carson also indicated his opposition to raising the minimum wage saying that “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Once again, Carson is pulling data out of a human body part far removed from area that he generally operated on. There is ample evidence that raising the minimum wage has no negative impact whatsoever on job creation. But not satisfied with merely misstating reality, Carson went on to actually call for lowering the minimum wage for some workers.

Marco Rubio weighed in on the matter of wages and education. Apparently he is not too anxious to encourage Americans to seek higher education. Consequently, he advocated for vocational training as opposed to college. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with vocational schools, which may be superior alternatives for some students. But Rubio reduced the argument to “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” However, Rubio’s argument is not based in reality. The median salary for philosophy professors is almost $64,000. The median salary for welders is about $37,400. And philosophy majors (who often go into many other lines of work where an understanding of people and society is required) command higher average salaries throughout their careers. We need both welders and philosophers, but no one should be persuaded based on dishonest applause lines from self-serving politicians.

Rand Paul’s breakout moment in the debate came during a discussion on income inequality when he said that “If you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.” Not surprisingly, this is another Republican distortion of the truth. Of the ten states with the worst income inequality gaps, six are run by Republicans. Do these people ever get tired of being wrong?

Apparently not. Because Carly Fiorina joined the parade in a rant against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She inexplicably said that “We’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.” What Fiorina considers a “vast bureaucracy” is a relatively small agency with fewer than 1,000 employees. For comparison, the IRS has about 90,000. What’s more, it has the same measure of congressional oversight of almost every other federal agency. It’s director must be confirmed by the Senate, and it is subject to budgetary constraints imposed by Congress. Finally, you’ll have to ask her what she finds so offensive about uncovering fraud and protecting America’s consumers.

To give credit where it’s due, there some questions that where genuinely probing and worthwhile. Sadly, not one of them got a direct answer. The candidates exercised the old debate strategy of not answering the question you are asked, but the question you wish you were asked. And the moderators did nothing in the way of follow ups to attempt to get a responsive answer. Here are three outstanding, and unanswered, questions:

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal: Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you’ll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?

Maria Bartiromo, Fox Business: [Hillary Clinton] was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight. Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?

Baker: Income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

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

This debate was a peculiar creature from the start. The Fox Business Network has program ratings so low that Nielsen doesn’t even publish them. The only explanation is that it was a gift from the Republican Party to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox News family. As it turns out, it was a generous gift in that the debate drew a record number of viewers (13,500,000) for the tiny network. Although it was still the smallest audience of any of the debates held so far this election cycle. The next debates are scheduled for November 14 (Democrats on CBS) and December 15 (GOP on CNN).

Donald Trump Shares His Special Bond With Vladimir Putin: Hatred For Obama – Plus Other Assorted Idiocies

The growing contingent of Republicans and pundits who think that Donald Trump is a Democratic plant dispatched to embarrass the GOP and clear a path for Hillary Clinton to the White House is getting harder to dismiss. The combination of Trump’s bombast and ignorance is just too much to be believable. Here are a couple of eruptions that popped up this weekend.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Trump posted a tweet bragging that he is already having an effect on foreign relations, particularly with respect to his confidence that he would have a great relationship with Russian oligarch, Vladimir Putin. The tweet said that “Russia and the world has already started to respect us again!” It also included a link to an article titled Putin loves Donald Trump that supported that assertion. The article outlined the fondness that Putin has for Trump, and vice versa, citing sources that were friendly to the Kremlin. In fact, the primary source was described as a “Kremlin mouthpiece […] a propagandist arm of the Putin government machine.” And Trump was quoted saying…

“I think that I would at the same time get along very well with him. He does not like Obama at all. He doesn’t respect Obama at all. And I’m sure that Obama doesn’t like him very much,” Trump added. “But I think that I would probably get along with him very well.”

So the special bond that Trump and Putin share (along with most of the GOP) is hatred of the man that Americans elected twice to be their president. Isn’t that romantic (and patriotic)? Although it’s no wonder that Trump would fall hard for Putin. They are both wealthy narcissists – megalomaniacs with aspirations of world domination. And many other GOP figures, including Ben Carson, have fallen for Putin.

Also on Sunday, Trump was interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News and failed to answer any question directly, as usual. However, in one of his bumbling dodges he managed to demonstrate, again, how woefully ignorant he is about pretty much everything. Wallace attempted to get Trump to clarify his recent comments implying that George W. Bush was responsible for the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. [For the record, Al Qaeda was responsible, but Bush did fail to heed warnings from Richard Clarke, his counter-terrorism coordinator for the National Security Council, as well as the Presidential Daily Briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.”] Instead, Trump diverted to a preposterous explanation for why 9/11 would not even have happened if were president:

“Well, I would have been much different, I must tell you. Somebody said, well, it wouldn’t have been any different. Well, it would have been. I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those families would have – I doubt that those people would have been in the country. So there’s a good chance that those people would not have been in our country.”

That’s all well and good, except for on little thing: None of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country illegally. Every single one of them entered with legal visas. The fact that Trump doesn’t know this, but still uses the issue to advance his xenophobic campaign against immigrants, while pretending that he could have prevented a catastrophe about which he doesn’t even know the facts, is more proof that he couldn’t win a race for village idiot.

In addition to these moments of moron, crybaby Trump also whined about needing Secret Service protection due to all the bad guys out to get him. But just two weeks ago he was bragging that he is an armed mofo and that if “Somebody attacks me, oh they’re gonna be shocked.” He also whined about the length of an upcoming debate, threatening to take his ball and go home. If he can’t answer some questions for three hours how can he take on ISIS?. He also called Bernie Sanders a communist, proving that he doesn’t know what the word means. And, finally, he bashed the Wall Street Journal after being told about some criticism that they published. He said that…

“The Wall street Journal was bought for $5 billion. It’s now worth $500 million. They don’t have to tell me what to do. The Wall Street Journal has been wrong so many different times about so many different things.”

The thing is, he said that to Chris Wallace of Fox News, which is owned by the same media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Journal. And Wallace didn’t say a word about that connection.

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

And finally (for real this time), the news that Saturday Night Live has invited Trump to host the program has been receiving well-deserved criticism. It is unprecedented for the program to allow an active candidate for president to host the show. Hillary Clinton was given only a brief guest appearance. And the invitation came after NBC had broken business ties with Trump due to his “derogatory statements” about immigrants, which NBC said was contrary to their values. What’s more, Latino groups are appalled that the show would allow an overtly racist hate monger like Trump to appear as host, despite the fact that there are zero Latinos in the current SNL cast, and only two in the whole forty-one year history of the program. There is a petition to urge NBC to rescind the invitation here.

Myth vs. Reality: Reagan vs. Obama On Planes Being Shot Down

The compulsion of right-wing politicians and pundits to reflexively denigrate President Obama is once again outstripping their devotion to country or respect for the truth. It is uncanny how predictable it is that conservative blowhards will leap at the opportunity to bash the President, even as events of critical significance to our national security are still unfolding.

Reagan vs. Obama

That is the case as information continues to be uncovered concerning the shooting down of Malaysian flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Some of the more obscenely irresponsible comments come from the usual suspects, such as…

John McCain: I don’t understand this president … this is what we used to call in the military AWOL. There’s a direct loss of American lives here.
Rush Limbaugh: I don’t want appear to be callous here, folks, but you talk about an opportunity to abandon the Obama news at the border?
Todd Starnes: Obama won’t comment on Malaysian jetliner crash until he’s had a chance to read tomorrow’s paper.

On Fox News there has been a specific effort to compare the response of President Obama to that of President Reagan following the shooting down of a Korean jet on September 1, 1983. Of course the Fox position is that St. Reagan acted quickly and boldly to assert America’s outrage and leadership. However, an examination of the facts present a very different picture.

The gist of the criticism hurled at Obama was that his reaction was too timid, too slow, and tainted by his decision to keep his previous obligations with meetings on his schedule. The evidence provided to illustrate the differences between Obama and Reagan was a video of an Oval Office address by Reagan regarding the Korean jet disaster.

The first notable fact that was undisclosed by the right-wing nags is that Reagan’s Oval Office address came five days after the Korean jet was shot down. The Malaysian jet was downed only yesterday but, according to his critics, that is still too long for Obama to have waited to comment. As for the video itself, the depth of Reagan’s outrage extended to his declaration that the attack was a “crime against humanity [that] must never be forgotten” and that the Russians “owe the world an apology.” That’s telling ’em, Gipper. Make them say they are sorry.

Compare that to Obama’s initial remarks that stated that the attack was “An outrage of unspeakable proportions,” and included a challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a decision whether to continue to support violent separatists.

Obama: Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation. […] We have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path. Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.

There you have it. Obama laid the blame squarely at Putin’s feet and reiterated his demand that Russia take concrete steps to deescalate. Additionally, Obama called for an immediate cease-fire and an end to Russia’s provision of weapons and training to the separatists. It is an unarguably more aggressive first-response than Reagan’s, but he didn’t ask Putin to apologize so he must be weak.

Fox News and other conservative outlets have also been criticizing Obama for not canceling a couple of previously scheduled fundraising events. But there are some very good reasons for not doing so. First of all, the United States president should not be seen as being so easy to manipulate that an isolated terrorist act, not directed at the U.S., can force him to alter his plans. We are not, and must not be, at the mercy of the terrorists. Secondly, the President made an obligation to the people that organized and attended the events and he should honor that unless his presence would prevent him from taking necessary actions elsewhere, which was not the case.

Furthermore, those making the Obama/Reagan comparison also failed to note that Reagan himself jaunted off to fundraising events shortly following the Korean jet attack. On September 14 he helped raise funds for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. On September 20 he helped fill the coffers of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. On September 27 it was a dinner for the Republican Majority Fund. Apparently it’s OK for St. Ronnie to engage in financial glad-handing after an international incident, but not a malingerer like Obama. For the record, less than a month after Reagan’s tour of GOP fundraisers, terrorists blew up the military barracks in Beirut killing 250 Marines. Can we say he was really on the job? Maybe Darrell Issa should open an investigation into that.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

Perhaps the most peculiar change in the right-wing media due to the Malaysian jet attack is that it has soured the right on their former hero, Vladimir Putin. For months pundits at Fox News and elsewhere were singing the praises of Putin as the model of strength, leadership, and Christian purity. Folks like Ben Carson and Sarah Palin expressed their glowing admiration. There was even a featured article on Fox News that asserted that “Putin Is The One Who Really Deserves That Nobel Peace Prize.”

At this point it’s hard to tell who the right admires more: Reagan or Putin. But it’s clear that they have a visceral hatred for our current president. You know, the one who is charged with leading the nation right now, and for whom patriotism would ordinarily compel conservatives to support in troubled times. But for some reason, right-wingers have chosen to disparage their president at every turn and before they even have facts to form a credible opinion. Not that they ever cared about facts. For them it’s shoot first and ignore the facts later. God Bless America.

St. Vladimir: The Putin Worship Continues On Fox News

The old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has been taken to heart by Fox News and much of the Republican Party. That is the only explanation for the ongoing love affair that is playing out on Fox News for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Given an opportunity to compare Putin with President Obama, Fox News invariably comes out on Putin’s side.

St. Vladimir

The latest example of this is Fox News host Jenna Lee who interviewed the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger yesterday. The segment focused on how Putin is teaching the west a lesson that “fatigue isn’t an option,” a reference to the observation that Americans, after more than a decade of war, are tired of it and reluctant to commence a new confrontation over Crimea. In the course of the discussion Lee presented a scenario that favorably juxtaposed Putin to Obama and other American leaders:

“[Putin] had people openly weeping in the crowd. I don’t remember a time when any of us have been moved to weep based on a speech about America. That actually alarms me.”

Really? Because Fox News was one of the most ardent critics of Obama’s impact on his audience. They frequently characterized him as Messianic and looped video of supporters crying, and even fainting, during his speeches. They called him a “celebrity” president and insulted voters as having been swayed by his soaring rhetoric and appeal to emotion, rather than the substance of issues and policies.

Perhaps when Lee says that she can’t remember “any of us” being moved to weep, the “us” she is referring to is Fox News personnel. Certainly the only weeping Obama has ever induced from them is when he defeated Republican opponents at the ballot box – twice. Obama’s passionate oration is often belittled on Fox as theatrics, but the drama produced by Putin is seen by Foxies as powerful and patriotic. They are dripping with admiration for the Russian strongman and lament that Obama doesn’t emulate his persona and tactics. Of course, if he were to do so, Fox would turn and pounce on him for sounding like a tyrant.

Just this morning Fox strategic analyst Ralph Peters called Putin “gifted” and said that “He is a dynamic, powerful leader with a clear vision of what he wants and the west is leaderless.” Sarah Palin’s schoolgirl crush causes her to see Putin as “one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.” Sean Hannity was “humiliated for my country” after seeing photos of a shirtless Putin doing a butterfly stroke next to a picture of Obama riding a bike (which was a manly pastime when George W. Bush did it).

The infatuation that Fox has for Putin is palpable. But it is also opportunistic. They only admire him so long as they can convert their idolatry of Putin into disparagement of Obama. They tried the same thing with conflicts involving Syria and Iran, but after the administration’s success in forcing both countries to retreat from their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Fox News likewise retreated. And if Putin fails to achieve his goals in Ukraine, look for Fox to forsake their besainted one. But don’t expect them to give any credit to Obama. That would be sacrilege.

War Lusters: Why Are Tea-Publicans So Obsessed With War In Ukraine?

For the past few months (years?), the Republican Party has been fixated on a single issue that crowded out any other topic of political conversation. Terrorism, taxes, climate change, abortion, the economy – you name it – was ultimately shoved aside in favor of bashing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Health care has dominated the news coverage on Fox News on virtually every program. That is, until Vladimir Putin sent his troops into the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

This begs the question: What is it about this matter that supersedes the GOP obsession with ObamaCare? Why is the conflict between a couple of former Soviet states such a powerful draw for America’s Tea Party extremists? After all, not too long ago, Crimea was, in fact, a part of Russia. It was just in 1954 that the Soviet Russian Republic ceded control of Crimea to the Soviet Ukraine Republic via a “Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” that stated it was…

“…transferring Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic, taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic ties between Crimea Province and the Ukraine Republic, and approving the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukraine Republic Supreme Soviet on the transfer of Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic.”

This is not unlike the transfer of authority for Ellis Island from New York to New Jersey by the Supreme Court. The Soviet leadership certainly did not anticipate that their country would break up and the newly independent Ukraine would scamper off with Crimea. Sixty years later, Crimea is still a predominately Russian community. Seventy-five percent of its population is ethnic Russian. And while the referendum vote last Sunday was rampant with obvious fraud, it is unarguable that a majority of the Crimean residents still associate themselves with Russia. The map below illustrates how segregated the population is. In the blue areas the residents speak Ukrainian. In the red area, virtually all of Crimea, they speak Russian.

Republican War Lust

If there were ever a regional conflict that the United States had little business poking its massive proboscis into, it is this one. It’s fine to take sides rhetorically and even to organize a coalition of nations to advocate on behalf of sovereignty and independence, but rattling the sabers of war over a regional matter that is of no national interest to the U.S. is irresponsible and dangerous. Repeating the mistakes of the previous administration will only cost more American lives without securing anything of value for the loss.

Ron Paul, in a disagreement with his senator son Rand, asked the key question saying “Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?” That question has yet to be answered by the likes of John McCain, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, or any of the squawking heads on Fox News like John Bolton, who take a morbid glee in castigating President Obama as weak and ineffectual because he hasn’t launched World War III yet.

The hypocrites who assert that Obama’s foreign policy is responsible for inviting Putin’s aggression fail to recognize that Putin has never looked to the U.S. for permission to embark on his military misadventures. If that were true, those conservative critics would need to explain what it was about George W. Bush’s foreign policy that invited Putin to invade Georgia. Was he also weak and ineffectual, even after invading and overthrowing the governments of two nations (including Iraq, never did anything to threaten the U.S.)?

So what could possibly be the incentive for so many conservative politicians and pundits to so adamantly excoriate the President and advance the cause of war? The first thing to consider is that Obama’s critics live for chastising him, whether he deserves it or not. They frequently scold him even when he is promoting their ideas. Which is the case with ObamaCare, which was originally a conservative initiative developed by the Heritage Foundation and adopted by folks like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

More importantly, there is a thread of Apocalyptic fervor that runs through the ranks of the right. They have an intensity that is rooted in deep faith and a conviction in infallibility that stems from the same source. They believe that, with God’s help, they will overcome any adversity and that the deadly consequences are not worthy of consideration. And even if they fail, it would be God’s will and that they would be Raptured into Heaven ahead of the Armageddon they so enthusiastically await (and some seek to provoke).

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Consequently, military conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia over a border dispute that has no significance for the U.S. becomes an acceptable option. Diplomacy is the Devil’s way and must be rejected at the outset. The military response is always the first one considered by these dedicated Rapturists. And why not? They won’t be around to suffer anyway.

This is an argument that has no basis in reality and for which there is no rebuttal. You simply can’t convince someone who believes that he is the Lord’s messenger that the voice he hears is coming from his own dementia – or from a Fox News chicken-hawk.

Guess What The Fox News “Psycho” Analyst Found Inside The Mind Of Vladimir Putin

The Fox News Medical “A” Team’s resident psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, has a long history of going “inside the mind” of pretty much anyone who is in the news (and especially President Obama). I recently compiled a list of 35 articles in which Ablow entered the minds of unsuspecting victims of his quackery. What they all share in common is a deep disregard for medical ethics and a penchant for sensationalism, wild conjecture, and deranged diagnoses – such as his affection for the Unabomber. [Here is the News Corpse file on Ablow’s vast crackpottery]

Keith Ablow

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With the Russian foray into Crimea, the rank opportunist in Ablow has marched himself straight into the mind of Vladimir Putin. And you’ll never guess who he found there. After rattling around for a bit to make some baseless assumptions, Ablow discovered that President Obama had established occupancy and become the key factor in everything that Putin does. In fact, Ablow’s excursion into Putin’s mind is really just an excuse to foster ludicrous hypotheses about Obama’s psychological state. Ablow begins his inane adventure by saying…

“I believe Putin’s psychology is being directly fueled by that of President Barack Obama. Obama being Obama helps Putin be Putin.”

Isn’t that simple? Putin isn’t an autocratic dictator with a compulsion for power and influence. He’s just a vessel into which Obama pours his omnipotence. Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine – he might not even have existed – but for Obama. But despite the fullness of Obama’s ability to fuel Putin’s emptiness, Obama is still Putin’s lesser who is motivated by a desire to weaken America, the nation he rose from simple beginnings to lead. Ablow says that…

“Putin apparently believes he was placed on this planet to be the most powerful person he can be, to assert his religious and social beliefs unsparingly and to help reestablish his Russia as the dominant power in the world. Barack Obama apparently believes he was placed on this earth to be the most powerful person he can be, in order to restrain America in the expression of its power.”

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The interracial child of a single mother struggles his whole life to achieve lofty goals that most people believed to be unattainable just so he could rip it all apart once he arrived. It’s a theory so brilliant that only Ablow himself can understand it as anything other than idiocy.

Ablow goes on to assert that Obama thinks that “national (American) character is a bad thing,” and that Obama is only interested in “in disempowering the United States.” But it isn’t just America as a nation that Obama is determined to destroy, it is every individual in the nation, whose autonomous freedom Obama has set out to eviscerate. And naturally, Putin’s superior observational capability is further praised by Ablow who said…

“I do not believe that Vladimir Putin would miss the fact that Barack Obama has imperiled the notion of individual autonomy (by seeking to disarm Americans, by seeking to make Americans dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps and by making it officially impossible to choose how to spend your own money, via the Affordable Care Act).”

Somehow, in this article purporting to be an examination of Putin’s mind, Ablow has managed to turn it into a parade of nearly every negative talking point about Obama on the Republican Party’s hit list: guns, unemployment, food stamps, health care. If he had thrown in Benghazi, and taxing the rich, he would have completed the set. But he wasn’t finished. He still had to concoct a conclusion that would denigrate the President as being more harmful to America than Putin or its other foes. And this is what he came up with:

“If Crimea becomes part of Russia or all of Ukraine does, it will be in no small measure due to the psychology of Vladimir Putin, and, in equal measure, due to the psychology of Barack Obama.”

There you have it: Keith Ablow’s excursion into the mind of Vladimir Putin – where the mind of Barack Obama rules. It still isn’t clear how a weak and vacillating Obama in mom jeans can overpower the mental superiority of a masculine and virile leader like Putin (Ablow and his right-wing comrades truly love Vlad), but Ablow’s analyses were never intended to make sense. His sole purpose is to attack the President, and it hardly matters if the attack is coherent. His audience is infected with an inability to grasp reason or logic, and they are overtly hostile to facts. And with psychiatric advice from wankers like Ablow, don’t expect them to get any better.