Trump’s Perverse Impeachment Defense: He Should Not Be Impeached Even If He’s Guilty

The Senate trial of Donald Trump’s Articles of Impeachment is set to begin on Tuesday. In advance of that, the Democrats released a 111 page brief on how they intend to prosecute the case against Trump. It’s a detailed and comprehensive outline of the high crimes and misdemeanors that justify Trump’s conviction and removal from office.

Donald Trump, Constitution

On the other side of the aisle, Trump’s motley crew of Fox News lawyers released a shallow and lie-riddled response that hardly touches on the specific allegations against Trump. In fact, Trump’s official answer to the Articles of Impeachment is an emotional seven page rant that repetitiously makes a single point: that “the Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid” because they “fail to allege any crime or violation of the law.” It further states that it is “a lawless process that violated basic due process,” and that its consideration would be “subverting the will of the American people.”

Every bit of that is utterly false and has no legal basis as a defense. The charge that there is no crime alleged is false because Trump’s efforts to coerce the Ukrainian president into aiding his scheme to smear Joe Biden is, in fact, a crime. So is withholding military aid allocated by Congress and signed by the President. So is ignoring Congressional subpoenas for documents and ordering his subordinates not to cooperate. But even if those weren’t crimes, it wouldn’t matter because the Constitution doesn’t require violations of criminal statutes. For one thing, there weren’t any criminal statutes at the time the Constitution was written.

As for due process, that is a right granted in courts of law conducting criminal prosecutions. Due process doesn’t apply here because impeachment is a political process conducted in the Congress. Even so, Trump was permitted to present his witnesses and defense, but he declined to do so. He even refused after complaining about not having such an opportunity. And he’s still refusing to allow witnesses and documents that he says are exculpatory.

The claim that impeachment “subverts” the will of the people is bizarre on its face. Was it subverting the will of the people when Clinton was impeached? How could any impeachment – which is, of course, in the Constitution – be pursued without the prospect of removing an elected president? To suggest, as Trump’s response does, that impeachment is “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President,” is to assert that the Framers were out of their minds for including impeachment in the Constitution in the first place. They obviously didn’t include it with the intention that it never be used because it might result in a president being removed from office. And Trump probably shouldn’t raise the issue of “the will of the people” to “freely choose their President,” when he lost the election by 3,000,000 votes. If the will of the people were being respected, Hillary Clinton would be president.

To bolster his argument that impeachment is invalid, Trump assigned the newest member of Fox News legal team, Alan Dershowitz, the task of presenting his case to the media. Dershowitz was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos where he offered up this preposterous legal theory:

Stephanopoulos: Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact?
Dershowitz: That’s right.

The foundation of Dershowitz’s argument is that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not meet the criteria for impeachment under the Constitution. So he isn’t arguing that Trump isn’t guilty of abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, only that, in his view, the Constitution allows him to do so.

Think about that. Dershowitz, as well as Trump’s defenders in Congress and the press, believe that a president may abuse power and obstruct Congress without ever having to worry about being held accountable. They can collude with adversarial foreign governments to interfere with an election. They can publish stolen emails and other private documents to smear their opponents. They can withhold critical funds in order to coerce foreign leaders to do their bidding on personal matters. And they can refuse to disclose such behaviors, and even lie about them to the American people.

That’s the crazy vision that Trump and the Republican Party are offering to the nation. That’s their depraved interpretation of the Constitution. And that’s the legal basis for which they believe Trump should be exonerated. They know that they cannot defend Trump as innocent, so they’re embracing his guilt as acceptable. That’s how far Trump and the GOP have fallen.

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

BONUS ADDITION: Dershowitz is flagrantly contradicting himself on the question of whether a crime is a necessary criteria for impeachment. In an interview with CNN’s Larry King in 1998, Dershowitz said that impeachment “certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.” So there’s that. Democrats should play video of that during the Senate trial immediately after Dershowitz’s statement.

Sean Hannity and Fox News are Up to Their Hair Plugs in the Lev Parnas Affair

With each new day there are new and damning revelations affirming Donald Trump’s criminal behavior related to Ukraine and efforts to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden and subvert the 2020 election. The latest bombshells come from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whose nefarious activities include extorting Ukrainian President Zelensky and surveilling former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Parnas was interviewed on MSNBC Wednesday by Rachel Maddow in a wide ranging discussion that made it clear that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” and was lying about his feigned ignorance of Parnas and his mission. But the evidence of Trump’s guilt is abundant. Also interesting is the evidence of Hannity’s guilt, and that of Fox News.

Proof is emerging of Hannity’s relationship with the Giuliani Crew. Hannity himself is in bed with Parnas. They have had communications that resulted in Hannity tweeting about bogus allegations of Ukrainian interference in the U.S. election to help Hillary Clinton. That tweet was deleted, but remains archived. Trump, however, didn’t delete his subsequent tweet promoting Hannity’s story on the subject that same night. Likewise, The Giuliani Crew also communicated with Don Trump Jr, who posted a tweet attacking Yovanovich. So their is an unbroken chain of propaganda circling around between Trump, Giuliani, his Ukraine mob, Fox News, and back to Trump and his crime family.

What’s more, Parnas had much to share about the complicity of Fox News in Trump’s plot to coerce Zelensky into helping him smear Biden. The Giuliani team worked with right-wing author John Solomon to disseminate their lies. At the time Solomon worked for The Hill, but is now employed by Fox News. So naturally Hannity unleashed a furious assault on Parnas and the network that hosted him. Hannity’s rage was so intense that he lapsed into the sort of incoherent outbursts you might hear from a paranoid schizophrenic on a street corner shouting at passing cars (video below). He began…

“Yesterday, last-ditch effort, Hail Mary, smear job, yup the congenital liar attached new documents to the articles of impeachment. Including so-called evidence from a former Giuliani contact. Oh by the way on conspiracy TV. The guy is facing federal charges from the Southern District of New York. You don’t really want to mess with those people.”

Did you follow that? Apparently Hannity is upset that new incriminating evidence about Trump has come out. But he can’t rebut any of it, so he unloads a barrage of nasty adjectives. He glosses over the fact that Parnas is working with Trump’s lawyer, but hones in on his having been indicted. And while Hannity is adamant that that’s a problem for Parnas, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for other Trump comrades who are under indictment or already convicted, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his national security adviser Michael Flynn, his personal attorney Michael Cohen, and his fixer Roger Stone. Hannity continued…

“So [Parnas] goes right to state-run MSDNC conspiracy channel media. Keep in mind when people like him, trying to stay out of jail, think about this, how many times have we heard from the liberals ‘oh you can’t waterboard, or use enhanced interrogation because people will say anything, they’ll lie to make it end.’ Well people trying to stay out of jail, in my humble opinion, they’ll say anything.”

Now Hannity thinks that MSNBC is “state-run” media. You have to wonder what state Hannity thinks that it’s being run out of. It must be the “Deep State.” And it’s cute that Hannity is trying to connect an indicted defendant giving testimony to waterboarding. No one has tortured Parnas. He is simply doing what many defendants do when faced with prosecution. He’s turning state’s evidence. That’s a voluntary action to secure a lighter sentence. And it does not have the pitfalls of torture, where victims will indeed say anything to make it stop. A defendant providing testimony must tell the truth or any agreement made with prosecutors is null and void.

However, Hannity’s description of defendants saying anything to stay out of jail actually fits Trump much better. After all, he is known to be a pathological liar anyway. And he doesn’t have any agreement with prosecutors to worry about voiding. He’s lying through his capped teeth to avoid prison. And he clearly doesn’t care what he says, or how ludicrous the lie, if he thinks it will either deflect from his guilt or help him to evade accountability. The whole lot of them are neck deep in criminal behavior. And if more disclosures like those Parnas is serving up come to pass, they are all going to be sharing a cell block.

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

Trump Fluffs Lou Dobbs of Fox News for Feeding His Mad Lust for Flattery

Wednesday morning was buzzing with historic news and revelations of scandal. and none of it was good news for Donald Trump. Most prominently was the House of Representatives voting to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. And none too soon. The American people’s desire to see Trump removed from office is growing. But there was also new reporting tying Trump to the nefarious activities of Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, and the troubling surveillance of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Fox News, Lou Dobbs

Trump has been actively employing petty tactics he picked up while hosting his reality TV game show. He’s been counter-programming events that he fears will reflect poorly on him. So on Tuesday evening he held another of his cult rallies to coincide with the Democratic primary debate in Iowa. And on Wednesday he scheduled a signing ceremony for what is being called “Phase One” of a trade deal with China. Never mind that no one has seen the contents of the alleged deal. Trump was only concerned with trying to steal attention away from the impeachment vote in the House. He failed at both of these cynical ploys.

Trump’s flagrantly manipulative signing ceremony was a wholly vacant waste of time that produced nothing newsworthy. Trump spent a full half hour thanking the shameless toadies in the room, including members of his Cabinet and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It was a such a painfully boring presentation that even Fox News cut away from it. Which is a shame, because had they stayed tuned they would have seen Trump planting a big fat wet kiss on Fox host Lou Dobbs (video below):

“A man who always liked me, because he’s smart, so smart. The great Lou Dobbs. You know, at first he said, ‘He’s the best since Reagan.’ Then he got to know me more and more and he said, ‘He’s even better than Reagan.’ […] He said ‘He’s the greatest of them all.’ I said ‘Does that include Washington and Lincoln?’ And he said ‘Yes.'”

Isn’t that sweet? Trump recites some nauseatingly worshipful praise about himself that he attributes to one of his biggest fans on the network that serves as his Ministry pf Propaganda. Dobbs surely has a deep infatuation with Trump and an opinion that is shared by almost nobody outside of State TV. In fact, historians ranked Trump dead last out of all forty-five presidents. Lincoln and Washington came in first and second respectively. Trump nemesis Barack Obama placed eighth. And even Bill Clinton, who was also impeached, was respectable at thirteen.

Trump also landed at the bottom of the heap in a ranking based on Gallup approval polls going back to 1937. He has never managed to hit 50% (his highest mark was only 46%). Both Obama and Clinton top out much higher, at 69% and 73% respectively. So Trump is the least popular president in history according to both historians and the American people.

Yet Dobbs – and Trump himself – have much more positive opinions that must be based on their mutual admiration society. Trump has long been enamored of Dobbs, whose advice he often seeks on official government policies. In the new book, A Very Stable Genius,” there is a revealing illustration of Trump’s dependence on Dobbs, particularly on matters involving immigration:

“The president would routinely call [former Homeland Security director Kirstjen] Nielsen to say a version of ‘Did you see Lou Dobbs? You’re totally f*cking embarrassing me. This is my issue!’… Sometimes, Trump would refer to one of Dobbs’s proposals and say, ‘Kirstjen, just do it. Just do it.’ ‘But we can’t do it,’ Nielsen would explain, usually because whatever Dobbs had uttered on TV was against the law.”

That’s how far into the abyss of ignorance Trump has driven this country. He relies on a “shadow cabinet” of Fox News flunkies like Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others, including legal hacks like Alan Dershowitz and Mark levin. So if you wondered how things got so bad, you now know that you can blame it on both Trump and Fox News. There isn’t much we can do about Fox, but we can get rid of Trump this coming November, if we work for it.

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

After Years of Backing Trump’s Denials, Fox News Asks If America is ‘Ready for Russia’ in 2020

New reporting has confirmed that “Russian hackers targeted the Ukrainian gas company [Burisma] that’s a major focus of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.” The significance of this cannot be overstated. Recall that candidate Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails before the 2016 election. And now we learn that Russia has hacked the company connected to his extortion of Ukraine to probe the Bidens prior to the 2020 election. This isn’t suspicious at all, is it?

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Throughout the campaign and into his presidency, Trump sought to defend Russia from charges that it was involved in the hacking of Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. He tried to shift blame to everyone form China to “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” Trump even took the word of Vladimir Putin over that of the United States intelligence community that unanimously agreed that Russia was behind the hacking and the release of the stolen data. Asked point blank if he thought Russia was involved, Trump replied “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Naturally, Fox News has been taking Trump’s side in this mission to absolve Russia of any guilt and to deceive the American people. They backed up Trump’s denials at every turn and embraced his absurd call for a partnership with Russia on cyber-security matters. And they continue to do so to this day. On Tuesday morning’s episode of Outnumbered on Fox News, co-host Dagen McDowell rehashed the debunked theory that there were other perpetrators in the hacking, saying that “It’s Russia over here, but what about everything else that’s going on, whether it’s compromising our election or compromising our data security?” That led to this exchange (video below):

Harris Faulkner: I just hope we’re ready for the next election.
Jessica Tarlov: Well, it doesn’t sound like we are.
Brian Kilmeade: I think we are.
Tarlov: Really? But there are election security bills sitting on [Mitch] McConnell’s desk that he won’t touch.
Kilmeade: I do believe we’re ready. And I believe the Russians are gonna learn that we’re going to blink the lights on that country should they try it. I think that’s the best offense. The best defense is a great offense.
Tarlov: Can you call McConnell and tell him to pass some of those election security bills?
Kilmeade: It’s already done.

Kilmeade’s confidence in America’s readiness is peculiar considering that virtually nothing has been done an a national scale to secure our election systems. His assertion that Russia would be punished for any bad behavior has no factual basis, especially since Trump has let them off the hook for their prior transgressions. In fact, Trump still seems to be inviting foreign governments to interfere in our elections, as we’ve seen with Ukraine.

If a great offense is the best defense, then the U.S. is in big trouble. We have no offense whatsoever. And our captain has not said a single word about the new report of Russians hacking Burisma. Finally, Kilmeade’s off-hand response to a request to prod McConnell into action that “It’s already done,” doesn’t even make sense. What’s been done, by whom? Certainly McConnell isn’t going forward with any election security measures.

Let’s face it, Trump doesn’t want anything to be done about election security or Russia’s interference in our elections. Even if he isn’t colluding with Russia, he knows that their efforts benefit him and wants them to continue. That’s what special counsel Robert Mueller was referring to when he said that Trump had welcomed and encouraged Russia in the 2016 election.

It looks very much like the same thing is happening now. And it could have the same effect if nothing is done about it. Congress needs to act quickly and decisively to insure that our democracy isn’t subverted again. The American people need to let Congress know that we expect nothing less from them. And the media must not allow itself to be used again by foreign adversaries to disseminate their propaganda and choose our next president.

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

Trump’s Press ‘Slackretary’ Runs to Fox News to Slander Democrats as Terrorist Supporters

Stephanie Grisham was appointed as Donald Trump’s third press secretary in as many years on July 1, 2019. In those six months she has not held a single press briefing. However, the slacker press shill has appeared repeatedly on Fox News and a couple of other Trump-fluffing media outlets like Sinclair. So Grisham is pocketing $179,000 a year to disseminate propaganda on shamelessly biased TV networks.

Stephanie Grisham, Fox News

On Monday morning Grisham made another stop at Fox News to polish the lies of her boss. The entire segment was typically repugnant and riddled with lies (video below), but this time she managed to advance some of the most nauseating attacks on the vast majority of Americans, and specifically those who are members of the nation’s largest political party, the Democrats. Grisham responded to a question from Fox’s Harris Faulkner about Trump’s retweeting of a blatantly bigoted meme that was intended to portray House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as terrorist enemies of the state:

Faulkner: Why would the President even take the time to retweet something like this?
Grisham: I think the president is making clear that Democrats are parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill Americans. I think the President was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries, and leadership of countries, that want to kill Americans.

This is the sort of toxic rhetoric that has become the hallmark of Trump’s debasing of the presidency. If challenged, Grisham would not be able to cite a single instance of any Democrat, much less Pelosi and Schumer, “parroting Iranian talking points” or being “on the side of countries…that want to kill Americans.” But Grisham was not challenged by Faulkner. Her despicable words were in line with the mission of Fox News to exalt Trump and disparage his critics.

Grisham has not been alone in hurling these sort of grotesque obscenities. Many other Republican cretins have gone down this same path of division and hatred. And naturally, Trump is the leader of this parade of the pathetically putrid. He retweeted five other expressions of a similarly vile nature, asserting that Democrats were supporters of terrorists. That’s a bizarre accusation coming from Trump, and not just because it’s so grossly untrue. But Trump is the one who has cuddled up to murderous tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Mohammed bin Salman, and he famously fell in love with Kim Jong Um. And not to be outdone by the Twitter brigades he retweeted, Trump composed his own tweet that accused Democrats of having an affinity for Iranian General Qasem Soleimani:

This march toward an ever more loathsome and hateful brand of politics has been in the making since Trump announced his candidacy. He believes that behaving like a severely disturbed child who’s been possessed by demons is an appropriate way to conduct government business. It’s why he continually maligns anyone who isn’t sufficiently worshipful. And, as is evident in his press secretary and his sycophants in Congress and the press, his sociopathy has infected all those around him. It’s a downward spiral that is observable in all those who still seek his favor by emulating the disgusting lack of morality that is his trademark.

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

Fox News Host and Trump-Fluffer Wants the U.S. to Be More Like the Terrorists

The White House narrative on Iran is falling apart. Donald Trump claims that he ordered the assassination of Qasem Soleimani due to intelligence that indicated he represented an “imminent threat” to the U.S. But reports from the Pentagon do not confirm the charge and officials say that any evidence is “razor thin.”

Donald Trump

Meanwhile, when asked to substantiate the allegation, Trump’s press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said that she couldn’t. She merely repeated the baseless speculation that American lives were saved. She also complained that people wouldn’t simply trust Trump and take his word about the whole affair. That, of course, is the wholly warranted result of his having lied non-stop throughout his presidency. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also failed when asked to provide confirmation that Iran was plotting attacks on the U.S. In fact, he resorted to a completely different “justification” that relied solely on past events.

Now the propagandists of Trump World are trying to spin his threat to destroy cultural sites as appropriate and lawful military targeting. Never mind that it is an explicit violation of both U.S. and international law. On Fox News Tuesday morning, Pete Hegseth of Fox and Friends sought to demonize rational Trump critics as treasonous saying that “I think with friends like these Democrats, who needs the Iranians” (video below). He went on to complain that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “out of her mind” for tweeting correctly that Trump had proposed committing war crimes. And then he unleashed this grotesque commentary:

“I don’t care about Iranian cultural sites, and I’ll tell you why. If they could, if Iran could, if you understand the Islamic Republic of Iran, of Islamists, if the could, if they had the power, they would destroy every single one of our cultural sites and build a mosque on top of it.”

This is a bizarre argument even if you ignore his stuttering introduction. Hegseth is saying that it’s acceptable to behave like terrorists because terrorists behave that way. He is, in effect, advocating that the U.S. adopt the tactics of terrorists. What’s next? Would Hegseth approve of Americans beheading prisoners of war? Would he favor sending suicide bombers into the lobbies of hotels where Muslims were guests? Would he support flying planes into skyscrapers in Tehran? After all, the terrorists do that, so why shouldn’t we?

The question is, did that disgusting illogic come from Trump, or did Hegseth plant it in Trump’s befuddled head? Because the President said pretty much the same thing on Monday:

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

This is representative of Trump’s total absence of morality. He and his cult followers believe that they can commit any crime they like with impunity. And they will also tell any lie to support their atrocities. For instance, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Monday that Democrats were “mourning the loss” of Soleimani. She was challenged repeatedly to provide a single example of that reckless and hateful assertion, but went into hiding rather than respond.

This tendency to endorse such repugnant acts shows how far Trump and his regime have diverged from any semblance of civil society. It marks them as aspiring terrorists themselves because, if they approve of these tactics, what separates them from the heathens they pretend to oppose? They believe that any act, no matter how heinous, is justified if your enemy would do it. But the American people, whose principles are in tact, would surely disagree and admonish Trump that “It doesn’t work that way.”

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

HEY FOX NEWS: Opposing Trump’s Derangement Is Not Support for Iran’s Terrorism

The debate over Donald Trump’s order to assassinate a top Iranian military commander is beginning to take on the familiar tones of the Bush administration’s dishonest and unlawful invasion of Iraq nearly twenty years ago. Following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani there has arisen a cry from the Trump camp for an unquestioning embrace of the mission that still has not been justified or defined.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq was rooted in deliberate falsehoods about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. His national security team would not provide any proof of the claim, but insisted that the American people get on board and support the President on blind trust. Bush famously admonished rational skeptics that “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

This is precisely how the Trump administration is framing its assault on Soleimani and his subsequent threats against Iran. Those threats include outright declarations of Trump’s intention to commit war crimes by targeting “cultural sites” with “disproportionate” force. And Trump is getting plenty of help from his State TV Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News. The memo must have gone out over the weekend to portray all of Trump’s critics as unpatriotic and supporters of Iranian terrorism.

That, of course, could not be farther from the truth. It is not only possible, but necessary for free thinkers to raise questions about Trump’s actions. After all, he has refused to provide any evidence of his implausible contention that Iran was plotting attacks on the United States. And his resume of flagrant lying about all things great and small make him wholly unbelievable as a source for anything more significant than the weather (and he has blatantly lied about that as well).

That, however, isn’t what you’ll from Fox as their sycophantic shills campaign to canonize the Liar-in-Chief. It was evident early on with Trump’s favorite morning program, Fox and Friends, where co-host Ainsley Earhardt engaged in friendly banter with co-host Steve Doocy and squealed giddily that…

Earhardt: I find it so interesting that people are critical of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s decisions, our general’s decisions.
Doocy: They want details.
Earhardt: Well, they can’t have it. They can’t have it. Everything can’t be made public.

That’s an astonishing commentary from the folks who have been lambasting the intelligence community as dishonest and corrupt and anti-Trump “Deep State” traitors, for the past three years. Nor have they been especially respectful of generals, three of whom Trump has fired from senior White House posts, while maligning them fools and insisting that he knows more than all of them.

Earhardt is also arguing that Trump should be permitted to withhold the intelligence that would justify his actions. That’s a bizarre position from someone supposedly in the “news” business whose job is to investigate and report on the government and the politicians who occupy it. Not that there have ever been any actual reporters on Fox News. They are there for one purpose only: to advance the propaganda of the Trump administration and, more broadly, the conservative agenda.

The notion that the media should accept and defend Trump’s secrecy was further articulated later in the day on Fox by commentator Katie Pavlich. During a debate with Democratic consultant Richard Fowler, who argued that the American people should be shown the intelligence that informed Trump’s decision, Pavlich shot back, “You’re not entitled to seeing it because people like you don’t believe in intelligence.”

Once again, this is coming from someone who has been a staunch critic of the intelligence community for years. And she’s directing this thinly veiled personal insult at “people like” Fowler, whose support for America’s intelligence agencies is well documented. What’s more, it’s absurd to suggest that disagreeing with Trump is also disagreeing with the intelligence community. There is absolutely zero evidence that intelligence was the basis for anything that Trump has done. If it was, there is surely some portion of it that he could make public.

The gist of the Fox News position is that anyone who doesn’t devotedly follow Trump and blindly believe whatever he says without question, is unpatriotic. They contend that requiring Trump to explain himself and his decisions is tantamount to sacrilege. They fail to comprehend that true patriotism requires politicians to continually justify themselves, particularly if they are known to be pathological liars.

Americans are not supposed to be regarded as, or treated like, sheep led by aspiring dictators who cannot be challenged or questioned. But according to the Fox Doctrine, Trump must be worshiped as a prophet sent by God to lead the nation into a dystopian future. That’s not how America works. Even if Trump’s lackeys appear on Fox and accuse his critics of “hero worship” of Soleimani, simply because they won’t submit to Trump’s holy version of reality. Which is what Kellyanne Conway did this morning:

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

Trump-Fluffing Fox News ‘Judge’ is Profoundly Ignorant of Impeachment and the Constitution

Donald Trump is giving the world a close-up look at what happens when a reality TV game show host is foolishly put in charge of a government that he is wholly unprepared to manage. Apparently being a pathological liar, and sleazy wannabe playboy, who ran bankrupt casinos and fraudulent charities was not particularly good experience for leading a nation.

Donald Trump, Jeanine Pirro

Among the hallmarks of Trump’s tenure is his narrow-sighted attachment to television shills who lavished him with undo praise and adoration. That resulted in numerous people from Fox News getting jobs in the Trump White House. In addition, Trump assembled his favorite Fox News hosts into a “shadow” cabinet from which he received – and often took – advice on anything from foreign affairs to healthcare to economics and more.

One of Trump’s frequent legal advisers is Fox’s “Judge” Jeanine Pirro, a disgraced jurist (with a felon spouse) and a failed politician who landed a gig at State TV where she regularly delivers bizarre exaltations of Dear Leader. On Saturday night Pirro launched into a preposterous argument opposing Trump’s impeachment. As she commonly does, she employed legal arguments that exist nowhere in jurisprudence and make no sense whatsoever.

Pirro attempted to address House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay transmittal of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until GOP leader Mitch McConnell sets procedures that allow for a fair hearing with witnesses and document production. Pirro ranted that (video below)

“I’ll tell you what I would do. I would tell Mitch McConnell that he ought to automatically dismiss it. There’s got to be a default. There’s got to be — if you’re entitled to a speedy trial, if you’re entitled to be able to — if there’s a statute of limitations, it’s passed. This thing — there should be a default judgment, overdone for non-prosecution. What is McConnell waiting for?”

Pirro must have received her law degree from Trump University. She doesn’t seem to realize that impeaching the president is not the same as a criminal prosecution. There is no provision for a speedy trial. There is no statute of limitations. If there were it certainly wouldn’t be applicable after only one month. What’s more, there no such thing as a default judgment with regard to impeachment. And there is no such thing as “overdone for non-prosecution.” with regard to anything in the law. Pirro is just making things up that she thinks sound lawyerly.

This is what happens when you rely on television “lawyers” for legal advice. Trump’s actual legal team is comprised of people he saw praising him on Fox News: Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. And he often cites Gregg Jarrett and Mark Levin, as legal “experts,” despite the fact that they are professional Fox News flunkies who don’t do any legal work at all.

This embarrassingly shallow pool of intellect is representative of the whole Trump administration. Most of the people on his staff, and members of his cabinet, are people he recruited after seeing them on Fox. It’s one of the reasons the country is now on the verge of war with Iran. Trump’s judgment is abysmal to begin with. And it just makes matters worse that he is making incompetent and self-serving decisions on the basis of terrible advice from unqualified, bootlicking advisers. What could go wrong?

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

Trump-Fluffers at Fox News Begin War Mongering Before Soleimani’s Body is Cold

On the second day of the new year Donald Trump launched a new conflict in the Middle East, this time with the region’s largest military, Iran. Contrary to his frequent promises to withdraw the United States from the Middle East, Trump’s assault is likely to result in another prolonged war that will be costly in both lives and dollars.

Donald Trump

No American will mourn the demise of General Qasem Soleimani. He was the leading purveyor of Iran’s international terrorism and was responsible for hundreds fatalities among both Americans and civilians in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. But the mission to assassinate Iran’s second highest military leader in Iraq was nevertheless a provocative act that could lead to further unnecessary tragedies for the U.S. and the region.

This is particularly apparent since Trump has no coherent strategy, policy, or end game. He failed to consult members of Congress as the law requires and, therefore, had no legal authorization for the attack. And in a flurry of syrupy, worshipful retweets, Trump included one by disgraced pundit Dinesh D’Souza that shamefully implied that had Trump told Congress they would have told Iran. To date, the only one who has disclosed state secrets to hostile foreign nations is Trump when he speaks to Putin.

In fact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that he discussed this attack with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in advance. So Trump informed Russia, but not Congress. It’s also notable that, by targeting an individual, as opposed to military assets, Trump possibly violated international laws against assassination.

Trump’s initial justification for the attack is that it was executed in order to prevent imminent future attacks on Americans. However, he provided no evidence of any such threat. It sounds very much like the false assertions of the Bush administration alleging nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Also familiar is the statement by Pompeo, who baselessly claimed that “We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq, but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom.” That recalls Dick Cheney’s preposterous assertion that “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators [in Iraq].”

Immediately following Trump’s attack, Fox News predictably leaped to his defense with a vigor that can only be described as gleeful. Although he was on vacation, Sean Hannity called into his own program to insist that Iran had “put American lives in jeopardy and the president very quickly acted,” and that it was “a huge victory and total leadership by the president.” But Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends was representative of the Fox position when he rebutted Geraldo Rivera’s criticism of the attack by gloating that “I will cheer this on. I am elated.”

Make no mistake. This is the host of a popular Fox News program expressing his elation about a potential war that would result in untold casualties of Americans for a purpose that no one in the Trump administration has been able to define.

If you’re looking for a plausible reason for why Trump would take this action at this time, look no further than the news that broke earlier the same day. The release of newly unredacted emails from Trump’s national security personnel that state unequivocally that Trump knew his withholding of military aid to Ukraine was illegal. The discovery of this provides additional urgency for the Senate to agree to call witnesses and to introduce documents when it takes up Trump’s impeachment.

Trump knows this, and it escalates his fear that impeachment could result in his removal from office. So in order to deflect from the growing political peril he is enduring, Trump appears to have taken the course of action that he once falsely accused President Obama of considering: Start a war with Iran:

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

Fox News Hack Defends Trump for Making 2019 the ‘Darkest Year Yet for Journalists’

After three years of bootlicking fealty to Donald Trump, there are very few people who would dispute that Fox News is serving as the Ministry of Propaganda for the Trump regime. There has never been a “news” organization more tightly aligned with a political leader and party than Fox News. They even regularly exchange personnel who seamlessly work for both the network and the White House. Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and others are card-carrying members of Trump’s “Shadow Cabinet.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Other than Fox News, Trump has been relentlessly hostile to the press from the beginning of his presidency. He routinely refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” and dismisses any less than adoring coverage as “fake news.” Michael M. Grynbaum of the New York times took note of this in a year-end column that accurately described 2019 as the darkest year yet for journalists He elaborated…

“On Twitter, President Trump deployed the phrase ‘fake news’ 273 times this year — 50 percent more often than he did in 2018. He demanded ‘retribution’ over a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch, declared that Washington Post reporters ‘shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,’ and accused The New York Times of ‘Treason.’ […]

Mr. Trump’s vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion of the free press, the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump’s cry of ‘fake news.'”

Trump has terminated the daily press briefings that were a decades-long part of White House operations. He replaced them with his “Chopper Talk” harangues on the lawn of the White House where he’ll berate reporters and lie unashamedly while dodging their questions. And his constant assaults on the press creates an environment of imminent risk to the lives of reporters. Trump even whined to Vladimir Putin that he would like to “get rid of them,” expressing his envy of Putin’s ability to assassinate journalists who offend him. That’s the sort of loathsome rhetoric that caused the Committee to Protect Journalists to issue a long and detailed condemnation of Trump as “an unprecedented threat,” and went on to say…

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. […] A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.”

In response to the article in the New York Times (a frequent victim of Trump’s attacks), right-wing media hack Joe Concha appeared on Fox News to defend Trump’s malicious behavior (video below). However, he proffered a badly mangled argument that Trump was justified in criticizing the press because they were so critical of him. The problem with that is that no one was suggesting that Trump couldn’t offer his own criticisms. But there is a difference between pointing out what he believes are inaccuracies, and accusing reporters of treason.

Likewise, Concha argued that Trump couldn’t be considered a threat to journalists because he speaks to them directly from time to time. Once again, that doesn’t excuse what he’s actually saying in those encounters. If you threaten reporters with cancellation of their credentials, or with prosecution and imprisonment, you cannot simultaneously claim you’re not a threat because you spoke to them.

Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy eagerly agreed with Concha’s premise, saying that Trump often approaches reporters at Mar-A-Lago and takes questions. What Doocy didn’t acknowledge is that those avails are always designed to give Trump the advantage. He takes only the questions he wants, and pretends he didn’t hear the others. And if his answers are insufficient, or totally irrelevant, he refuses follow-ups or any effort to clarify.

The problem with what Concha and Doocy are saying is that they regard Trump’s insults and threats as legitimate critiques of the media. They ignore Trump’s menacing outbursts that cast journalists as criminals and traitors. And they don’t seem to comprehend that labeling everything you disagree agree with as “Fake” isn’t a coherent rebuttal. It’s a flagrant attempt to demean an honorable profession, and the only one protected by the Constitution.

Trump’s purpose is to destroy the public’s confidence in the only institution they can rely on to keep them informed and hold the powerful accountable. In this way Trump hopes to get away with his criminal, amoral, and disloyal, activities. And Joe Concha and Fox News are right there to back him up.

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