Dumbfu*ks at Fox News Want to Know: What’s a Bigger Threat to America: Fake News or Russia?

The fair and balanced couch dwellers at Fox and Friends are suddenly very concerned about threats to America. Not the ones posed by hostile foreign adversaries disrupting our elections and hacking our politicians and candidates. Nor the ones saber-rattling about war with a crackpot dictator in North Korea. And certainly not the one that puts the entire planet at risk of becoming uninhabitable.

Fox News Dennis Prager

Nope. What Fox News is worried about is whether what they call “fake news” has surpassed Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an imminent threat to the United States. Bear in mind that the issue that’s throwing Fox News into a tizzy is actually real news reporting of Donald Trump and his crime family’s collusion with Russia. But just the suggestion that Trump is anything less than divinely pure qualifies as fakery to Fox.

In Monday morning’s episode of Fox and Friends, host Steve Doocy introduced a segment with sanctimonious radio talker Dennis Prager. He pretends to be a paragon of virtue and mentor to all of us inferior heathens. Prager tweeted his opinion that the media is America’s preeminent enemy.

And that led to Fox’s featured segment on the subject (video below):

Doocy: What’s a bigger threat to America: Fake news or Russia?

Prager: This may sound odd to you and many of the viewers. I don’t understand why this tweet is controversial. Putin does not threaten Western civilization. Western civilization is a set of ideas and values. When students remove the American flag from their campuses, that’s not Putin. All of the things happening in the West to undo Western civilization have nothing to do with Putin. The only thing I regret about the tweet is that I didn’t write that the universities and the media in the West are a greater threat to Western civilization.

I have to agree with Prager’s first point. It definitely sounds odd. Prager is making some sort of vague differentiation between Western civilization and the government and political institutions that uphold it. His babbling about our ideas and values being separate from Putin’s election tampering is pure gibberish. And yet he thinks that a cloth flag is a more tangible part of what makes America than democracy.

Prager went on to complain that “Half of American millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism. That’s a result of the media and the universities.” It’s also the result of critical thinking and independent analysis. For one thing, socialism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the United States is a working example of a hybrid of the two concepts. Social Security and public education have not hampered the economic success of Ford, Starbucks, or Amazon.

Finally, Prager whined that “The media have gone from news media to opinion media in the guise of news. That is extremely dangerous.” I can’t argue with that. But the irony is that he said it on Fox News – the indisputable champion of blatantly biased pseudo-journalism. Fox News practically invented the modern practice of opinion media. And, in closing, I’ll agree with Prager again. Fox News is extremely dangerous.

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

What Did Fox News Know About Trump, Jr.’s Russia Collusion, and When Did They Join It?

Much to the chagrin of Donald Trump, the media is still tightly focused on the question of his unsavory connections to Russia. The latest news centers around the activities of his son, Don, Jr. The younger Trump’s ill-advised meeting with a Russian lawyer in an attempt to score dirt on Hillary Clinton has created a tsunami of controversy.

Rupert Murdoch Donald Trump

While many observers ponder the legal jeopardy that Trump faces, others are consumed by the stark foolishness of the affair. Capping the series of unfortunate events was the release of the emails detailing the meeting’s agenda. They explicitly state the purpose as an exchange of information from the Russian government to the Trump campaign.

Some of the reporting has noticed the timeline that sheds light on certain activities that previously seemed unrelated. For instance, Donald Trump’s June 7, 2016 announcement that he would soon give a “major” speech about Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminality. That announcement came just four days after his son’s email exchange with the contact that set up the meeting. It was also just two days prior to the meeting itself. Did Trump get a head’s up about some detrimental data on Clinton that was about be acquired?

The meeting took place on June 9. That was also the day that Trump first tweeted about Clinton’s 33,000 emails that were allegedly deleted? He subsequently returned to that talking point frequently, even soliciting the Russians to hack and reveal the emails.

The promised speech took place on June 13, but not on the promised subject. That could be because no useful information was received at Don Jr.’s meeting. That would jibe with his assertion that his source failed to come through. However, it could also be because the information was so highly charged that they decided to roll it out strategically. Which would square with what occurred a few weeks later. It was on July 24 that the first emails that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee were made public. That release via Wikileaks was closely tied to Russian hackers.

However, there is a another event in the same timeline that hasn’t gotten any attention. On July 25, the day after the DNC hacks came out, Donald Trump himself had a significant meeting. On a golf course in Scotland, the then-candidate met privately with Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox News. Up until that time, Trump and Murdoch had a rocky relationship. Trump was bashing Fox News and its star host, Megyn Kelly. But Trump had just virtually secured the nomination and the time for a reconciliation between the two Republicans seemed ripe.

This opens up an entirely new avenue of investigation. Did this meeting include any discussion of the DNC hacks? Did it cover any data that might have been acquired from Don, Jr.’s tryst with the Russian lawyer? Was there any coordination between Trump and Murdoch on the strategy for rolling out damaging info on Clinton? It is clear that Fox News worked feverishly for Trump’s election. They gave him more airtime and positive commentary than any other media organization. But just how closely were they integrated into this scandal? And should we even mention that Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendy Deng, is Vladimir Putin’s current girlfriend?

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

These and other questions still need to be answered. But the proximity of these events is a little more than curious. They could all be coincidental, like all of the connections to Russians by multiple Trump associates. But, seriously, what are the odds?

Fox News Military Analyst To Tucker Carlson: You Sound Like a Nazi Apologist

Donald Trump’s bizarre affinity for Vladimir Putin and Russia has astonished most Washington insiders, outsiders, and well, just patriots. It would be an unprecedented betrayal of loyalties by any citizen, but coming from the President it’s dumbfounding. With an emphasis on the “dumb.” And the problem doesn’t end with just Trump’s Putin worship. Many in the the Republican Party continue to support the President. They range from those too cowardly to speak up about this naked treason, to those who fervently embrace it.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

Those on the right side of American patriotism face a harsh rebuke from the Trump cultists. But there are a few who are still brave enough to call out a traitor when they see one. An example of this was found in an unexpected place Tuesday night. On Fox News, host Tucker Carlson engaged in heated debate on this subject with military analyst Col. Ralph Peters. It went quickly from heated to blazing inferno:

CARLSON: It’s hard to see why — I’m not vouching for Putin’s character, he seems like a shady guy, a strong man for sure. Wouldn’t want to live there.
PETERS: He’s a killer.
CARLSON: Hard to see why he’s a threat to us. How many wars can we fight at once? And how many people can we be in opposition to at once? Why not just accept that people who are bad people share our interest and side with them?
PETERS: You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying, “Hitler hasn’t attacked us.”
CARLSON: I beg your pardon? Slow down. Slow down, Colonel. You cannot compare me to somebody who makes apologies for Hitler. And I don’t think Putin is comparable to Hitler. I think it’s a grotesque overstatement, actually. It’s insane.
PETERS: I think Putin is — fine, you can think it’s insane all you want.
CARLSON: You Just up compared me to a Nazi apologist because I asked a simple question. Which is, – slow down, slow down – which is, why does it contravene American interest to the common cause with a group that’s trying to kill ISIS?
PETERS: Because Vladamir Putin invaded his neighbors, broke the long peace in Europe, he assassinates dissidents and journalists. He bombs women and children on purpose in Syria. He is as bad as Hitler. And I am sorry, if you don’t like the Charles Lindbergh thing, I will retract that. But let’s just say you sound like someone in 1938 saying “What’s Hitler done to us?” Putin is the equivalent of Hitler.

Peters went on to point out correctly that Putin hates America and wants to hurts us. He was outraged that some people, including Carlson, suddenly think Putin’s a good guy and that Russia’s OK. Carlson then complained that if the U.S. can’t have common cause with any country whose leader is “evil,” it takes most of the world off the table. “Most countries,” he said, “are run by really bad people.” That’s a strikingly stupid remark that he never bothered to support.

Throughout the discussion, Carlson did his best to defend the ludicrous notion that Russia should be regarded as an ally. Their alleged cooperation in Syria and the war on terrorism was sufficient reason, according to him, to ignore decades of brutal dictatorship and human rights violations. Peters, however, steadfastly argued that Putin’s international criminality could not be overlooked. While Peters is a staunch, far-right, conservative, he is also an unyielding opponent of Russian tyranny and aggressive ambitions.

No one should mistake Peters for a heroic liberal advocate. He was once briefly suspended by Fox News for calling President Obama a “pussy” on the air. But his honest comparison of Carlson to the fascist sympathizers of the 1930s was a long overdue rebuke of Carlson. His ignorance, smug self-righteousness and perpetually furrowed brow makes Carlson a legitimate target for a smack down. And he sure got one last night by his own guest on his own show.

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

How Desperate is Donald Trump Right Now? He’s Turning to ‘God’ for Help

This week has served up some of the most damning evidence of presidential malfeasance since Donald Trump was elected. He just returned from a catastrophically embarrassing European junket where he was politically and personally isolated. Then his ethically-challenged son confessed to various election-related crimes, including collusion with Russia. Reports from inside the White House paint a picture of panic and bitter internal acrimony.

Donald Trump

How bad is it? On Monday Trump summoned a passel of Christian pastors to the Oval Office to engage in an emergency exorcism. Or maybe it was just a prayer session. Who can tell them apart? As CNN reported it:

“President Donald Trump, who has remained out of public view since returning from Europe late Saturday, welcomed evangelical leaders into the Oval Office on Monday for a prayer session. Photos posted by some of the invitees show the group surrounding Trump and laying their hands on his shoulders as his head is bent in prayer.”

CNN quoted Liberty University’s Pastor Johnnie Moore saying “We similarly prayed for President Obama but it’s different with President Trump.” Presumably the distinction is that they were praying for the welfare of Trump, but for the condemnation of Obama. In fact, in 2010 Moore was part of a radical Christianist plot to remove Obama from office.

In addition to this ritual invocation, right-wing Christo-pundit Pat Robertson just announced a big media get. He interviewed Trump today at the White House for the 700 Club on his Christian Broadcasting Network. It’s one of the only interviews Trump has given in months that wasn’t on Fox News. The interview will air on Thursday, but the tone was already set in the announcement posting:

“President Trump differentiated his administration from Putin’s, saying he’s working for America’s best interests while Putin is fighting for Russia. And Trump thinks Putin would probably have been happier with Hillary Clinton in the White House because he’s building the U.S. military and working to export U.S. energy, which Russia opposes.”

Robertson didn’t mention anything about the recent confession that Don Trump, Jr. had a secret meeting with Russian operatives. Consequently, he didn’t address the admission that Russia was seeking to help Trump by delivering dirt on Clinton. That directly contradicts Trump’s baseless assertion that Vladimir Putin preferred Clinton.

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

It’s not especially surprising that this overtly religious grandstanding is occurring at the most precarious position for Trump to date. And no one should be foolish enough to think it’s because of Trump’s devout faith in God to deliver him from evil. This is a desperate and transparent outreach to the segment of the electorate that is most devoted to him. He is shoring up his cult-like base in advance of tribulations to come. But he’s making a big mistake if he thinks that God, or his self-appointed Earthly shills, can deliver him the salvation he seeks. His sins are against the laws of Man/Woman and the Constitution, not God. And his judges will be his fellow citizens.

Trump Mocked for Partnering with Putin on Cyber Security as ‘Dumbest Idea’ Ever

Donald Trump just returned from his latest Embarrassing America World Tour. And even before deplaning in D.C., he has managed to aggravate his own party for some typically Trumpian idiocy.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

During the highly anticipated meeting with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, Trump reportedly raised the issue of election tampering. However, his approach completely failed to hold Putin to account. Trump tiptoed into the subject by phrasing it as something that concerns the American people. He never asserted that it was of concern to him. And, of course, it wasn’t, judging by his public comments on it. Once at home, Trump felt comfortable to post his latest feelings on Twitter:

Well, then. Since he pressed it twice. I’m pretty sure that’s how professionals in law enforcement handle these things. They ask the suspect twice if he committed the murder, and if he denies it, they let him go. As for Trump’s assertion that he has already given his own opinion, that’s true. He did so again a few days ago when he said:

“I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows for sure.”

That certainly clears things up, doesn’t it? And now that the whole election hacking scandal is wrapped up, we can move on to other pressing matters. For instance, Trump announced that he and Putin have agreed to set up a cyber security operation to prevent future electronic intrusions. Trump tweeted that:

What a grand idea. Let’s collaborate with the guy who ordered the election hacking in the first place on scheme to keep others from doing it. In other words, let’s give the burglar the keys to the front door and the times we will be out walking the dog. Makes perfect sense. In fact, it’s so brilliant that even Trump’s colleagues in the Republican Party had something to say about it.

Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that “Partnering with Putin on a “Cyber Security Unit” is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit.'” Sen. Lindsey Graham said that working with Putin to combat cyber crimes is “pretty close” to “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” And Sen. John McCain snarked that “I’m sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort, since he is doing the hacking.” If that’s how Republicans are responding, needless to say the rest of the nation is at least equally dismayed. For instance, Twitter is afire with sarcastic analogies:

None of this matters to Trump. He’s still obsessed with why Obama allegedly “did nothing” about the Russian hacking that he still thinks is fake news. Trump’s PR offensive is fanning out to the Sunday news programs to spread illogical talking points. His Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, insists that “The President absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin.” Of course not. Trump asserted the same denial before ever talking to Putin. Then his U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said that “Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections” Well, everybody but Trump, who still claims that “Nobody really knows for sure.” Why is his top diplomat contradicting him?

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

This would all be great material for Saturday Night Live if it weren’t so dangerous for America’s future. Trump is now going beyond merely letting Putin off the hook. He’s inviting our enemy into the situation room so he can get a better look at our defenses. It would be generous to say that this only borders on treason. And Trump’s Republican Party appears to be in complete accord with this betrayal. The question is, what will it take for the GOP to stand up for America’s sovereignty? And will they do it before even more serious damage is done?

UPDATE: Trump posted another tweet on this subject:

So Trump spoke with the man who orchestrated the election tampering without making him pay any price for subverting democracy. And now we learn that he wasted much of that time on an idiotic plan to partner with Putin on cyber security that he didn’t even think was possible. This just keeps getting worse.

Trump’s State Department is Granting Hundreds of Visas for Russian Spies

Friday morning Donald Trump met with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. This is either their first meeting or their fifteenth, depending on which statement by Trump you choose to believe. In any case, according to the White House, Trump went into the meeting with no agenda. He told reporters that he was honored to meet Putin. That’s a pretty cavalier attitude toward encountering the man who everyone in the U.S. intelligence community says interfered with our election last year.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Trump obviously doesn’t care about the election hacking issue. He still insists that “nobody knows for sure” that the Russians were responsible. That opinion is not only dangerously misguided, it is an insult to America’s national security professionals. It also conveniently lets the guy who helped him get elected off the hook. However, it is not the only threat to which Trump is exposing the nation. CNN is reporting that Russian spies are pouring into the country courtesy of Trump’s State Department:

“Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.”

Those 35 diplomats were expelled by President Obama in response to the Russian hacking. It was just one of the actions taken despite Trump having said that Obama had done nothing. But now that Trump’s team is in place they are readmitting suspicious characters. These are potential operatives who could ramp up election tampering activities for 2018 and 2020. And American intelligence officials are worried about just that:

“Fueling law enforcement officials’ concern is that the Russians are targeting people in the US who can provide access to classified information, in addition to ongoing efforts to hack the US government for intelligence, according to several of the officials. In some cases, Russian spies have tried to gain employment at places with sensitive information as part of their intelligence-gathering efforts, the sources say. But that hasn’t stopped the State Department from issuing the temporary duty visas.”

Reports coming out of Trump’s meeting with Putin indicate that he was less than eager to hold the Russian’s accountable. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the focus was on moving forward. That must have pleased Putin immensely. I’m sure he’d like to get on with his plans to hack future American elections. And now, thanks to Trump, he’ll have an army of spies in the country to help achieve his goals.

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

FFS: Trump Seeks Cyber Security Alliance with Russia, the Country That Hacked Our Election

Just when you thought Donald Trump couldn’t dig himself further up Putin’s anus, he pulls out an even bigger jackhammer. The President appears oblivious to the fact that he is under investigation for colluding with Russia during the 2016 election. Many of his close associates have been caught with Russian agents in meetings they tried to cover up. Seventeen independent American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia engaged in extensive operations to hack our election to Trump’s benefit.

Trump/Putin

Nevertheless, it has now been learned that Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is proposing a confounding alliance. Tillerson had numerous encounters with Russian government and businesses in his previous position as CEO of Exxon. But this new hook up is hard to believe. According to Newsweek, Tillerson is seeking to partner with Russia on projects “aimed at cybersecurity and cyberespionage.” Newsweek notes that this…

“…seems particularly odd given not only the investigations surrounding President Donald Trump and his former campaign but also the conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia intentionally meddled in last year’s election in order to ascend Trump’s candidacy. [and that] Complicating the matter is Trump’s consistent refusal to declare Russia had meddled in the election and reluctance to say anything negative about Putin or his government.”

Set aside for the moment the absurdity of favoring Russia with such a privileged relationship after their activities last year. Any program that joins the United States and Russia in efforts to combat cyber attacks is wrought with obvious peril. The intelligence sharing would give the Russians access to confidential information that could aid them in future attacks on the U.S. They would undoubtedly be pleased to learn what areas the Americans regard as vulnerable. This would include risks far beyond election tampering. Cyber attacks can also be launched against infrastructure, power grids, commerce, and even military operations.

Additionally, this sort of coalition would make American technology available to our new partners. Procedures aimed at investigating digital intrusions would have to be shared. Likewise, methods of correcting and securing systems that have been compromised would become common knowledge. And that knowledge would be invaluable in plotting new attacks.

These ham-handed efforts to engage with a hostile adversary make no sense at all. Even strictly with regard to appearances, it is utterly unjustifiable. Russia, based on its unacknowledged and unremorseful activities, surely doesn’t deserve this special treatment. If anything, they should be subject to further sanctions and explicitly excluded from cooperation on technology matters.

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

The fact that Trump’s State Department is openly seeking to reward Russia, despite their bad behavior, suggests something ominous. Could it be a payoff for some past or future benefit for Trump? Does Putin have something on the President that he would release without accommodations like this? Are these questions too conspiratorial? Perhaps they are. But what possible incentive would Trump have for endangering the nation by sharing sensitive technology and cyber security plans with an enemy and international cyber criminal? At the very least, these are questions the media should asking.

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.

France’s Macron Shows the Courage to Confront Putin that Donald Trump Will Never Have

Donald Trump returned from his Embarrass America First Tour to find that the scandals he hoped to escape were all waiting for him. He still has a special prosecutor investigating his links to Russia. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is embroiled in an espionage controversy. His immigration ban on Muslims was struck down by another federal court. And his legislative agenda is non-existent.

Trump Macron

The week Trump spent abroad was filled with blunders and a novice’s inability to grasp international affairs. For instance, our apprentice president didn’t know that Israel was in the Middle East. He failed to uphold a decades long commitment to the defense of our NATO allies. And then there was his awkward photo-op with the Pope that looked like something from the new Twin Peaks.

Despite his own hollow bragging that the trip produced significant rewards for the economy and jobs, there was no real evidence of any tangible benefit. Politifact rated Trump’s boasting as “False,” describing it as “little more than puffery or wishful thinking.” What’s more, he alienated most of America’s allies while sucking up to foreign dictators – as usual.

In a particularly jarring encounter, Trump met briefly with France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron. They shared a handshake wherein Macron stared Trump down and turned his tiny knuckles white. But it was after Trump departed that Macron made a much more profound gesture that exposed Trump’s innate weakness.

Macron invited Vladimir Putin to visit the opulent Palace of Versailles. While there they had frank discussions unlike any that Trump would have with his Russian friend/master. Macron raised contentious issues like Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and human rights abuses in Russia and Chechnya. He even directly challenged Putin over Russia’s hacking during the French elections.

When Trump returned to the U.S. he resumed his Twitter addiction with several familiar tweets chastising the media. Like a broken record, Trump railed against them as “fake” without citing any examples of reporting that was untrue. Now contrast that with Macron’s bold confrontation with Putin wherein he slammed the Russian leader’s dishonest media:

“Russia Today and Sputnik have been tools of influence, and they spread untruths about my person and my campaign,” said Macron. “On that point I’m not going to give an inch. Russia Today and Sputnik did not behave like organs of the press and of journalism, but as organs of lying propaganda.”

Had Macron been an American candidate he could have included Fox News. And while Trump forgives Russia’s brazenly false international campaign of slander, Macron comes right out and condemns it. Trump famously begged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, then denied that Russia had anything to do with it. But a real president looked Putin in the eye and told him he wouldn’t stand for such unethical activities.

Having this ability to compare Trump to Macron gives us a rare opportunity to observe what a weasel America’s right-wing has embraced. He’s a coward who talks loudly but carries a big stick that he promptly hands over to our enemies. Anyone who still thinks that Trump is a strong leader is being willfully ignorant. A clear-eyed assessment of Trump in action can only bring a conclusion of fearful frailty in the service of his own selfish interests.

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

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

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

Putin Voted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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