In Defense Of The Pre-9/11 Mindset: 2020 Edition

[On September 11, 2006, I wrote an essay about how the American perception of its place in the world supposedly shifted after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I reprint it here today because much of it is still true. And in the midst of a historic election, Donald Trump has made fear his brand. He is exploiting the horror of another catastrophe, the coronavirus pandemic, to advance his selfish political interests.

While 9/11 is nearly twenty years in the past, there is a nightmare that we are all living through now that has already taken as many lives as 64 9/11’s due to Trump’s negligence, incompetence, and even deliberate and dishonest malfeasance. It, therefore, seems like an appropriate time to revisit these thoughts]

9/11

In September of 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney, in a sinister demonization of Democrats, warned that…

“if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again, and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and it will fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact, these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we’re not really at war.”

The Pre-9/11 Mindset is much maligned as mindsets go. Disdain is heaped upon it as if it were a discarded hypothesis. There is now a stigma associated with a worldview that was perfectly acceptable 24 hours prior. And a cadre of power hungry fear merchants is restlessly hawking the notion that everything we thought we knew has withered into irrelevance. The Post-9/11ers propose that an imaginary line has been drawn that illuminates the moral and intellectual differences between those who stand on one side or the other. So what exactly does it mean to be 9/10ish?

I remember clearly what was on my mind. I was still upset that a pretend cowboy, whose intellectual marbles rattled around vacantly in his 2 gallon hat, had gotten away with stealing an election. I was recalling, with renewed appreciation, an era of domestic surplus and international cooperation. Or as The Onion headline put it when Bush was first elected, “Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.”

9/11 was undoubtedly an unwelcome milestone in American history. But the idea that everything changed on that day is shallow and puerile. The history of human civilization reveals that we simply do not change that much from one century to the next. And the events that actually do precipitate change are rarely the ones we presume them to be. There was terrorism before 9/11. There were birthdays and funerals and parking tickets and snow cones and life’s everyday extraordinary spectrum of pleasure no matter how painful.

What changed was that a nation that was once perceived to be inviolable and courageous was now seen as vulnerable and afraid. Like a child lost in a crowd, America was searching for a guardian, but what we got was no angel. As President Bush took to the mound of rubble for his megaphone moment, he was not alone. He was accompanied by a media that sought to construct a hero where none stood. I must admit that it was an ambitious undertaking considering the weakness of the raw material. They took an inarticulate, persistently mediocre, dynastic runt, who on September tenth was considered by many to be Crawford’s lost idiot, and transformed him into a statesman overnight. The enormity of this achievement underscores the power of the media.

My Pre-9/11 Mindset was thrust into fear on that transitory day because I knew that the imbecile we were stuck with in the White House was incapable of reacting appropriately to the threat. I remember vainly trying to persuade previously reasonable people that if they thought Bush was a moron the day before, there was nothing in his breakfast that infused him with wisdom on that sad morning.

What transpired since has, regrettably, proven me right. We toppled the Taliban but let the 9/11 commander escape. Now the remnants of the Taliban are rising again and creating havoc in an unprepared and unstable Afghanistan. We were misled into an unrelated conflagration in Iraq via fear and deception. Now tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been liberated – liberated from the confines of their physical bodies. It’s too bad that these liberated corpses will be unable to march in the parades celebrating their liberation. A world that had nothing but sympathy for us after 9/11, is now repulsed by our arrogance. At home we are paying for our adventures by burdening the next few generations with a record debt. And we pay a much greater price in the cost of lost liberties, courtesy of a despotic cabal in Washington that has more trust in fear than it does in our Constitution.

The historical revisionists that cast the Pre-9/11 Mindset as a pejorative are blind to its inherent virtue. The Pre-9/11 Mindset honors civil liberties and human rights. It recognizes real threats and inspires the courage to face them. It demands responsibility and accountability from those who manage our public affairs. It condemns preemptive warfare and torture. The Pre-9/11 Mindset is not consumed with fear, division, and domination. It is rooted in reality with its branches facing the sunrise.

The Pre-9/11 Mindset is superior in every aspect to the Post-9/11 apocalyptic nightmare that has been thrust upon us. Its adoption is, in fact, our best hope for crawling out from under the shroud that drapes our national psyche. Vice President Cheney also said that…

“Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.”

If that’s true, then the terrorists must have perceived the weakness of the Bush administration and considered it an invitation to launch their attack. How do you suppose they perceive us now? They’ve seen the passage of the Patriot Act that limits long-held freedoms. They’ve seen our government listening in on our phone calls and monitoring our financial transactions. They see us lining up at airport terminals shoeless and forced to surrender our shampoo and Evian water. They see us mourning the loss of our sons and daughters who are not even engaged in battle with the 9/11 perpetrators. They see us as fearful and submissive. Is this not emboldening the terrorists for whom this perception of weakness will be seen as yet another invitation to attack?

Yes, I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset and it is not a yearning for a simpler bygone era of harmony. You could hardly call the maiden year of this century simple or harmonious. I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I’ve had it all along; all through the Post-9/11 defeatism and scare-mongering; through the war posturing and false bravado; through the sordid attempts to divide Americans and vilify dissenters; through the bigotry and arrogance of those who believe that their way is the right way and the world will concur as soon as we’re done beating it into them. I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I have not let the Post-9/11 Mindset infect my spirit with its yearning for a bygone era that more closely resembles the Dark Ages than the Renaissance.

Pre-9/11 Mindset Post-9/11 Mindset
Enduring Peace Perpetual War
Prosperity Poverty and Debt
Civil Rights The Patriot Act
Human rights Torture
Accountability Corruption
Reality Fear

I have a Pre-9/11 Mindset because I have a mind, and I use it. America has a decision to make in less than two months. Let’s hope we make the right one and elect a president who will console us, inspire us, and unite us. We need healing, honesty, and competence now more than ever. And we must not allow Trump to have another four years to shred our Constitution and drive us apart. COVID-19 is Trump’s 9/11. Never forget.

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.

Wannabe Dictator Trump Improperly Withheld the Baghdadi Mission From Congress

The demise of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is something that ought to bring relief to all Americans, and others around the world, who abhor the hatred and terrorism that he represented. This news should have been an opportunity for Donald Trump to unite the nation in appreciation of the courageous work of our military and intelligence personnel. But Trump being Trump makes all acts of decency dirty.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

On Saturday night Trump posted a cryptic tweet that said only that “Something very big has just happened!” It wasn’t long before the meaning of his tweet was all over the media. But the cheesy manner in which he tried to create some kind of cliffhanger plot device is reminiscent of his years as a Reality TV game show host.

In his press conference on Sunday morning Trump announced what everyone already knew. Baghdadi died during a raid by U.S. forces on his compound in Syria. He detonated a suicide vest as American soldiers were closing in on him. This could have been a story of success and courage for the nation, but Trump’s announcement was littered with revelations that were disturbing and self-serving. Especially his admission that he withheld the details of the mission from the congressional “Gang of Eight” who are traditionally informed of these affairs.

Reporter: Did you notify the congressional leaders about this, Pelosi, McConnell…
Trump: We notified some. Others are being notified now as I speak. We were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before. There’s no country in the world that leaks like we do. And Washington is a leaking machine.

I told my people that we will not notify them until our great people are out. Not just in, but out. I don’t want have them greeted with fire power like you wouldn’t believe. So we were able to get in. It was top secret. It was kept. There were no leaks. Nothing. The only people that knew were the few people that I dealt with.

Make no mistake, what Trump is saying with this statement is that he doesn’t trust House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who is second in line for the presidency), and the leaders of the congressional committees with jurisdiction, to respect the confidentiality of military operations that put our troops and others in harm’s way. Trump made a unilateral decision to shut out the people’s representatives and appoint himself the de facto King of America.

This is a stunning abuse of power that improperly conceals information from people who require it to fulfill their constitutional duties. It also displays flagrant contempt for Congress and democracy. And while Trump felt he could not trust his American co-equal partners in leadership, he did reveal these secrets to people in Russia, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. This tells you something about where Trump’s loyalties lie.

But Trump wasn’t through embarrassing himself and America in this press conference. He went on to lie about the oil in Syria, which does not exist in “massive amounts” as he said. And his stated intention to take that oil is not only unlawful, it reduces the United States military to mercenaries in pursuit of the wealth of other nations’ natural resources.

Trump also managed to slip in a promotion for his ghostwritten books. He singled out one in particular that he said predicted the emergence of Osama bin Laden. Trump said that no one ever heard of bin Laden at the time, which is as ignorant a lie as he has ever told. Not only was he well known to intelligence and terrorism professionals, he had already struck in the U.S., and was the target of operations aimed at terminating him and his organization.

Finally, Trump is apparently incapable of speaking for more than three minutes without maligning his perceived enemies and critics. So naturally he took a swipe a President Obama, saying that…

“When we use our intelligence correctly, what we can do is incredible. When we waste our time with intelligence that hurts our country, because we had poor leadership at the top, that’s not good.”

In that noxious commentary, Trump not only insulted another American president, but also the entire intelligence community. He was exploiting the Baghdadi news conference to attack the investigations of his own unsavory connections to Russia and malign the probe into foreign interference in the 2016 election. He was unambiguously punching back at the impeachment inquiry currently in progress. And for him to choose this moment to pursue that wholly personal obsession poisons whatever unity and pride the nation might otherwise have enjoyed.

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

Trump is Silent About a Real Domestic Terrorist’s Plot to Kill Democrats and Journalists

Early Wednesday morning Donald Trump posted another tweetstorm that ranted incoherently about the media being “the enemy of the people” and wishing for them to “go bust,” putting thousands of Americans out of work and leaving only State TV outlets like Fox News to provide their lies to the nation. It was the sort of reckless tirade that can (and has) lead to bloodshed.

Trump Charlotsville

Later in the day came news that just such an unthinkable act of mass murder was foiled by law enforcement officers of the FBI and the Coast Guard. According to NBC News:

“A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant working in the nation’s capital lived a secret life as a “domestic terrorist” who aspired to mass murder and compiled a target list of prominent politicians and journalists, federal prosecutors allege in court papers.”

The suspect, Christopher Paul Hasson, was arrested on drug and gun charges, but prosecutors said that he was intent on committing a killing spree against journalists and Democratic politicians. He described himself as a “white nationalist” and searched for pro-Russian and neo-Nazi literature online. The report went on to provide details of Hasson’s proposed victims:

“Prosecutors say the list included designations they believe referred to Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and House Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar and Sheila Jackson. Also on it was former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“Media figures on the list included [Joe] Scarborough, MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ari Melber, and CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.”

This is the sort of deadly, crackpot white nationalism that comes from watching too much Fox News and listening Trump’s deranged sermons at his cult rallies. Hasson is without a doubt a domestic terrorist with a determination to carry out the most hostile version of the dystopia advocated by Trump. But Trump has said nothing about his plot or arrest. However, Trump did post a tweet announcing that he gave an order to prohibit Hoda Muthana from reentering the U.S.

Muthana is an American citizen who traveled to Syria allegedly to join ISIS. She now regrets her decision and expresses remorse for her “naive, angry, and arrogant” behavior. Whatever you may think of her, or her desire to return to her family and birthplace, Trump’s participation in the matter is absurd. This is a decision that is generally made way below the presidency. So the only imaginable purpose for Trump’s involvement is the publicity.

Nevertheless, Trump doesn’t seem the least bit interested in publicizing the arrest of a straight-up domestic terrorist whose views are aligned with his own. And he doesn’t seem to think that it might be useful to condemn such actions in order to deter others like Hasson from concocting their own plots. Trump’s banning of Muthana will have negligible impact on anything. But his silence on Hasson will be viewed as greenlighting the revolution that his Deplorables dream about.

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

Senile or Surrender? Trump’s Rambling Tweets Don’t Mention Border Wall Funds to End Shutdown

There has been considerable speculation for the past couple of years about whether Donald Trump is mentally stable or capable of performing his duties as president. His psychological condition has been questioned by mental health professionals and politicians from across the ideological spectrum. And now as the U.S. government is being shutdown over funding for Trump’s vanity border wall, those questions are getting harder to ignore.

Donald Trump

In a series of tweets on Saturday morning, the President predictably ranted about the shutdown that he previously took pride in creating. Even after saying on national television that he would take full responsibility for it, Trump tried to blame the Democrats who had already agreed to a Continuing Resolution with senate Republicans. It was only after wingnut rightist media cranks like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends complained that Trump reversed course and reneged on his word to sign the CR. But his morning’s tweetfest might be revealing some weakness in his resolve:

Setting aside the obvious lie that Trump is “working hard,” it’s notable how he is now tying the debate to only “Border Security.” Didn’t he leave something out there? Trump didn’t mention his wall in that tweet or the others that followed. And border security (minus the wall) has always been a part of the Democratic platform. Of course his omission may just be due to his inability to concentrate on anything for more than half a minute, unless it’s a mirror. But it might also be an indication that he recognizes that Democrats are not going to pacify his ego and allocate funds for a useless wall.

Trump later tweeted that he would having a big lunch with a bunch of people to discuss the matter. It’s comforting to know that he will be well fed while tens of thousands of Americans will not be getting paid this holiday season.

In addition to the border wall issue, Trump also tweeted about his intention to retreat from Syria. His remarks were especially reckless and dangerous:

First of all, ISIS is far from defeated. Estimates by his own administration say there are 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria. On Friday his press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Trump had destroyed 99.9 percent of ISIS in Syria. If you do the math, that would mean that they started out with thirty million – which is patently absurd because that’s almost twice the total population of Syria.

However, Trump’s remarks that Turkey “should be able to easily take care of whatever remains,” are even more troubling. He’s right if what he means is that Turkey will take care of (i.e. slaughter) our allies, the Kurds, as soon as we leave. And he doesn’t bother to mention the fact that our retreat will leave the country to Russia and Iran for the foreseeable future. Vladimir Putin even praised Trump’s decision to run away. And it’s among the reasons that Defense Secretary Mattis resigned in protest, along with the U.S. special envoy to the coalition to defeat ISIS.

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

So as usual, Donald Trump is doing everything he can to please our enemies (especially Russia), while working overtime to harm our allies. And his efforts on the domestic front are even worse as he shuts down the government for Christmas and shows no sensitivity for the plight of fellow citizens. With every day Trump demonstrates that he is working against the American people (who don’t want the wall), and solely on his own behalf. Including even more instances of obstruction of justice to escape accountability for his many criminal activities. It’s long past time for him to go.

Conspiracy-Theorist-in-Chief: Trump Floats Fake MAGABomber ‘Stuff’ as Politically Motivated

Friday morning there was good news out of Florida regarding the MAGABomber. Authorities have confirmed that a suspect, Cesar Sayoc, Jr, is in now custody. He is described as a Florida resident with ties to New York and a criminal past. And while that sounds a little like Donald Trump, it’s actually just a like-minded supporter with pro-trump, anti-media stickers plastered over most of his van. Now who would ever have guessed that?

MAGABomber, Donald Trump

Meanwhile, Trump himself spent the morning whining profusely about the sorry state of America and how everyone in it is out to get him. His latest tweetstorm is a prime example of the narcissism fueled state of rage that he is in virtually all the time. He began with this bit of crybaby bawling:

Apparently Trump is furious that the media can criticize the President “at will.” They didn’t even have to get official permission from the White House. What do they think this is? A democratic republic with a free press, or something? And the only reason that anyone blames him for the “current spate of bombs” is because he’s demonstrably responsible. Trump’s relentless and reckless attacks on his political opponents and the press have created an atmosphere that emboldens fringe characters like Sayoc. Trump complains that he is called “unpresidential” for criticisms. But the reality is that his criticisms are overtly hostile and explicitly advocate violence.

The next tweet shows just how unhinged Trump has become with regard to how the media has been reporting this domestic terrorism. Trump believes that it’s all about him and a plot to damage his presidency and the Republican prospects in the midterm election:

Trump leads off by gaslighting the nation with phony assessments of the state of the Republican campaign. If anything, the early voting is benefiting Democrats, as is the massive fundraising advantages that Democrats are enjoying. So Trump resorts to belittling the domestic terrorism by his supporter as “this ‘Bomb’ stuff.” It’s downright sickening that Trump’s reaction to mail bombs being sent to prominent Americans is to whine about the political ramifications, rather than the threat to human lives.

Furthermore, Trump’s complaint about a news story distracting from the election is absurd and hypocritical. He’s been demagoguing about the Central American refugees for weeks now, in an effort to influence his base of cult voters. Never mind that they are not expected to reach the U.S. border until at least a month after the election. By the way, the news is still talking about politics. Even Fox News.

Finally, Trump posted a laughably conspiratorial tweet about Twitter removing his followers and making it harder for new ones to join:

This is the sort of brilliant, expert analysis you might expect from Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, or Diamond & Silk. Which is almost certainly where he got it. And it isn’t the first time that Trump has ranted – with zero evidence – that he and other rightists were the victims of social media bias. He has even promised to stomp the boot of government down on Twitter, Google, etc., if they didn’t bend to his will.

Trump’s claim that the number of his Twitter followers has declined from a “Rocket Ship” to a “Blimp” is not supported by any documentation. Like almost everything else he says, it’s backed up by his big fat assumptions based on nothing but an overactive imagination. If anything, any declines are more likely attributable to the fact that more than half of his followers are fake (and probably Russian).

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

Throughout all of this blathering idiocy, Trump is failing any test of leadership by focusing the country on unity and a determination to make our politics more civil and our people safer. He hasn’t even reached out to the victims in this matter, which include two former presidents. He only sees these things in terms of how they affect him personally. But that’s been his modus operandi since even before he was President. So don’t expect him change or “pivot” to acting presidential. Any who still thinks that’s a possibility is terminally naive.

Surprised? Donald Trump is 100% Responsible for the Bombs Sent to the Clintons, Obamas and CNN

The news on Wednesday morning is the sort of thing you might expect from a third world country or a war torn region like Afghanistan. Suspicious packages have now been found targeting George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas and CNN. It’s a concerted attempt to sow fear in order to influence political behavior. That is the textbook definition of terrorism.

Trump Charlotsville

With this sustained and persistent attack there will be much analysis and speculation as to the perpetrators and their reasons. But there is one cause that is unmistakable to anyone who has been paying attention. Donald Trump has been the source of constant hate speech of the most extreme nature. He repeatedly maligns the media as “the enemy of the people.” And he characterizes his political opponents as not merely Americans with whom he disagrees, but as mortal foes who aim to “destroy” the country. He even did that today in a tweet attacking Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia. But that’s just the latest example. Here are a few more:

Let that sink in. Trump is asserting that his “very dangerous & sick” enemies in the media and the Democratic Party are going to cause war. How hard is it is to project from that the sort of violence that we’re witnessing today? Trump casts Democrats as arsonists. He celebrates a GOP congressman who body slammed a reporter. He refuses to condemn the brutal murder of a Washington Post reporter by his Saudi Arabian pals. He idolizes murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un. And he has recently taken to calling Democrats a “mob” – nine times in just the past week.

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

What the hell does he expect? He is inflaming a glassy-eyed cult following that worships him and guns. He just proudly proclaimed that he is a “nationalist,” a term that he acknowledged he is “not supposed to use.” That’s because it is associate with racism and the blind loyalty demanded by Hitler’s regime. But Trump doesn’t care about any of that. Or more accurately, he deeply cares about putting forward the philosophies of the fascists and racists that he has been representing since he first occupied the White House. So anyone who didn’t anticipate these events – including his accomplices at Fox News – as the inevitable result of Trump’s purposefully bloodthirsty and bellicose bombast, are terminally naive and equally responsible.

UPDATE: Add to the list of targets John Brennan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Eric Holder.

Is Trump ‘Complicit’ in Terrorist Threat By Supporter to ‘Gun Down’ CNN Employees?

Two days ago Donald Trump released a campaign ad that made a remarkable and nauseating accusation. The ad was rife with racist rhetoric and insults aimed at his political foes. The most disturbing part was where it charged that “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” That is not only flaming bigotry, but it also demonstrates a totalitarian warning to anyone who might stand in the way of the Bully-in-Chief.

Trump Charlotsville

The ominous tones of that ad are reflected in the news that a terrorist threat has just been made against CNN employees. A caller to the CNN office in Atlanta made overtly terroristic threats that were filled with profanities and racial epithets. More than twenty calls were made within a two day period. The caller’s irrational outrage was expressed in terms that are recognizable to anyone who has been following Donald Trump. According to CNN:

“Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down,” said the caller, who cursed and used an expletive directed at African-Americans, the affidavit said.

“I am on my way right now to gun the f****** CNN cast down …. I am coming to kill you,” the caller said a second call to CNN, according to affidavit.

Sound familiar (more detail here)? These are sentiments that Trump has been disgorging for the past couple of years. His hostility toward the media is well documented. He has maligned them in Stalinist language as “the enemy of the people.” He demeans reporters as “sleazy,” “dishonest,” and “horrible people.” He advocates changing laws to make it easier to sue publishers. He has featured CNN in particular as the victim of his violent abuse in tweets where he body slams them or runs them down with a train.

Trump has even speculated about literally killing reporters. It may have been his idea of a joke, but is the consideration of murdering journalists really funny? At a campaign rally in Virginia he revealed his true feelings about the press to his audience of drooling disciples saying “I hate some of these people, I hate ’em. [But…] I would never kill them. I would never do that. Uh, let’s see, uh…” He eventually concluded that he probably wouldn’t kill them, but he had to think about it.

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

And now one of his devoted minions has taken it to the next level by openly threatening the same news organization that Trump has attacked with unambiguously violent rhetoric and imagery. What did Trump expect? This was as predictable as a sunrise. And just because this crackpot was foiled doesn’t mean there aren’t others waiting for their opportunities. When Trump says that Democrats are complicit for any murders committed by undocumented immigrants he is reaching way too far to make any sense. But his warped logic applies much more accurately to his own incitement to violence against the media. And if one of his twisted troops manages to follow through on his mission, there will most assuredly be blood on Trump’s hands.

Fox News Military ‘Expert’ Blames Egypt Terror Attack On – Wait For It – President Obama

The best indicator of a total collapse of mental stability is when an argument makes so little sense it is both painful and laughable. It’s an affirmation of craziness that is impossible to dismiss. And the crazy at Fox News just keeps getting laid on thicker with every passing day. For example, today we have a doozy courtesy of Fox News contributor Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer.

Fox News Alert

Shaffer is a well established wingnut who jumps at every opportunity to bash liberals and Democrats. That, of course, is how he got hired by Fox News to provide military commentaries. But following the awful terrorist attack in Egypt, Shaffer crossed a line of decency that has become far too common for Fox News. In his strained attempt to explain the tragedy he said this (video below):

“The things we’re seeing right now, Jesse, are the result of the complete failure of leadership by the Obama White House and by the Obama Congress.”

That’s right. Somehow, after leaving office ten months ago, President Obama is still to blame for a terrorist attack that occurred in another country that is 6,000 miles away. And the Congress, that has been under GOP control for seven years in the House and three years in the Senate, is still the “Obama Congress.” According to Shaffer it’s because of a lack of aid to help Egypt fight terrorism. Never mind that it was Obama who actually restored aid that was previously cut off by the Republican congress.

What’s more, Donald Trump has been bragging incessantly about how he has personally reformed the military which, he says, is now winning every battle and defeating ISIS. He even gave thanks – to himself – this Thanksgiving for the alleged improvements. It’s difficult to figure out how Trump could have defeated ISIS while it is still conducting terrorist operations and killing hundreds of innocent people. It’s a cognitive dysfunction that can only exist in his diseased mind.

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

Trump Echoes Fox News to Politicize Terrorist Attack in New York and Falsely Blame Democrats

Sadly, another terrorist attack has taken place in New York City. This tragedy has taken the lives of eight innocent victims and injured a dozen more. At times like these Americans are called upon to unite against such senseless brutality and to come together in support of those affected. It’s a manifestation of the strength and resolve that we have to endure and prevail.

Donald Trump Fox News

However, it is also sad that Donald Trump doesn’t share these principles. The President’s first reactions to the carnage were blathering assertions that what had just happened in America can’t happen in America. But what he later sought to convey, after having slept on it, was even more repulsive. In a series of brazenly political tweets, he declined to criticize the terrorist or the extremist views that inspired him. Instead, Trump lashed out at fellow Americans in Congress. Specifically, Senate Minority Leader (and the representative of the state that was attacked) Chuck Schumer and Democrats in general:

It’s nauseating that Trump appears to be more upset with Sen. Schumer than with the terrorist. What’s more, he is predictably misrepresenting the truth. The Diversity Visa Lottery program was supported by Schumer as an amendment to the Immigration Act of 1990. That bill passed in the Senate by a whopping 89 to 8 vote and was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. It was also supported by some notable Republicans including Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Funny, Trump didn’t attack any of them.

Something else Trump left out was that in 2013 a bipartisan group of senators, including Schumer, proposed to eliminate the Diversity Visa program. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they offered a compromise immigration reform bill that would have ended the lottery. The bill was killed by conservative Republicans in the House.

Trump’s comments fly in the face of his response to last month’s terrorist attack in Las Vegas. After that horrific mass murder Trump and the GOP were aghast that anyone would talk about solutions to gun violence. And after the murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo Nazis, Trump declared that he couldn’t talk about it until he had the facts. But just a few hours after the attack in New York, while the investigation was still in progress, Trump was already pushing his partisan agenda and lying about his political foes.

Not surprisingly, it’s easy to figure out where Trump got these talking points. He was obviously watching Fox News. In the hours following the attack, Fox News hosts and pundits were pushing their biases out onto the airwaves. And their stridently anti-Muslim bigotry was on full display. Here are some examples:

  • Tucker Carlson: It seems obviously tied to immigration, why is the country unwilling to have that conversation, to face that?
  • Pamela Geller on Hannity: The fact is Muslim immigration means more Islamic terrorism. It’s just that simple.
  • Laura Ingraham: Why must we take the risk, knowing that we can’t tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized?
  • Zuhdi Jasser on Tucker Carlson Tonight: [Americans] are in denial if we don’t believe that nonviolent Islamism is a precursor to militant Islamism.

Trump’s TV was typically tuned in to Fox and Friends. That’s where he got the Schumer connection, which was not even confirmed at the time. Co-host Steve Doocy said so when he stated that:

“According to Mark Levin, and I looked online, and there are a bunch of websites that say that Chuck Schumer was one of the sponsors. We have not independently confirmed that through our brain room yet.”

Let’s just set aside the dubious assertion that Fox News has a “Brain Room.” The network was admittedly disseminating rumors in order to blame political adversaries for a terrorist attack. And that was enough for Trump to regurgitate it and give Fox News credit. Doocy’s colleague, Brian Kilmeade, contributed to this deliberate disinformation. Undoubtedly, this is the first time Trump had connected the visa lottery to the attack:

“All right, let’s talk about how he got here. He applied to a lottery system, the diversity visa program […] And congratulations, you win the lottery and then eight people are run over in this case eventually down the line because of this.”

For the record, the Diversity Visa Lottery program was not a free pass to American citizenship. Recipients had to be vetted by all of the same criteria as any other immigrant applying for entry. They are also subject to the same requirements and waiting periods. Kilmeade’s description was patently dishonest and purposefully misleading.

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 relies on the disinformation and lies of Fox News is appalling and dangerous. They clearly don’t have the credibility to be the foundation for government policy. But Trump puts more faith in them than he does in the intelligence agencies he oversees. This morning he called his own Justice Department “a joke and a laughingstock.” The result is ignorant policies that are infused with noxious racism and bigotry. Not to mention the corrosive division that is sown by a President who regards his political opponents, and the media, as worse than our nation’s real enemies.