George Clooney Bursts the ‘Hollywood Elite’ Bubble BS and Trump’s ‘Gold Toilet’ Hypocrisy

The Daily Beast just published an extensive interview of George Clooney. While the article is part of the rollout for his new film “Suburbicon,” it covered a variety of other subjects. Not surprisingly, many of them were about politics and politicians.

George Clooney

Clooney was asked about the 2016 presidential campaign and the flaws in Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. He talked about race and the overt bigotry embedded in Donald Trump’s campaign. The incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, came up, along with the Confederate flag controversy. When asked whether Trump was emboldening white nationalists, Clooney responded without mincing words:

“Well, think about it this way: if I was President of the United States and David Duke is praising me and the white nationalists were talking about how I was on their side, the first thing I would do is I would come out and say, ‘Fuck these guys. Anyone who believes this is not in my camp, I don’t believe it, and I completely reject it.’ Don’t play coy and claim that you don’t remember who David Duke is.”

Clooney went on to talk about political villains of the present (Steve Bannon) and the past (Richard Nixon). And he addressed the failings of the press that “abdicated their duty in the run-up to the election,” by catering to Trump’s media manipulation and sensationalism. But Clooney really hit his stride when the subject turned to the right’s demonization of so-called Hollywood elites. He shot down the idiotic talking point and lambasted the hypocrites who employ it. And he set his sights on one “coastal elitist” in particular:

“Here’s the thing: I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door-to-door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. I grew up understanding what it was like to not have health insurance for eight years.”

“So this idea that I’m somehow the “Hollywood elite” and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”

But Clooney wasn’t finished. He had a few more things to say on the subject and a personal message for Trump:

“People in Hollywood, for the most part, are people from the Midwest who moved to Hollywood to have a career. So this idea of ‘coastal elites’ living in a bubble is ridiculous. Who lives in a bigger bubble? He [Trump] lives in a gold tower and has twelve people in his company. He doesn’t run a corporation of hundreds of thousands of people he employs and takes care of. He ran a company of twelve people!”

“When you direct a film you have seven different unions all wanting different things, you have to find consensus with all of them, and you have to get them moving in the same direction. He’s never had to do any of that kind of stuff. I just look at it and I laugh when I see him say ‘Hollywood elite.’ Hollywood elite? I don’t have a star on Hollywood Boulevard, Donald Trump has a star on Hollywood Boulevard! Fuck you!”

I have absolutely nothing to add to that.

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

Fox News Wants You to Believe That Trump-Bashing Killed the Emmys – It Didn’t

The preliminary Nielsen ratings for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast are in and they aren’t particularly good. The program drew about 11.2 million viewers, which is down slightly from last year’s show. But leave it to Fox News to turn this minor slippage into a political catastrophe caused by the relentless liberalism of Hollywood elites.

Emmys Stephen Colbert

An op-ed on the Fox News website trumpeted the ratings results with a speculative headline asking “Emmys ratings crater; Trump-bashing to blame?” The argument presented by Fox’s Brian Flood was that criticism of Donald Trump sunk the broadcast to new lows. He writes that:

“It looks like the 69th annual Emmy Awards are heading into sub-basement territory in terms of ratings after host Stephen Colbert spent much of Sunday’s event attacking President Trump. It turns out American viewers may not have been as into Trump bashing as Hollywood would like them to be.”

For the record, host Stephen Colbert didn’t spend much of the night attacking Trump. In all he spent less than three minutes out of a three hour program. But the real absurdity of this analysis is that it proposes something that’s impossible. Fox News thinks that viewers chose not to watch the program based on their clairvoyant observation of the Trump-bashing before it even began. Obviously, without such ESP skills they would not have known not to tune in.

In fact, the Emmy broadcast has been scoring lower numbers for several years. Trump wasn’t president when the ratings began a falling trend. The reasons knowledgeable people attribute to the decline are that television doesn’t have the popular appeal of the Oscars and the Grammys. What’s more, many of the winning programs are now airing on services like Netflix and Hulu that have fewer viewers than broadcast TV. Consequently, the stars are not as familiar or compelling. And airing against Sunday Night Football didn’t help either.

That didn’t stop Fox News from setting up their biased perspective and interviewing political partisans to support it. Flood first sought the opinion of Dan Gainor of the ultra-conservative Media Research Center. Predictably, Gainor slammed the event as “a Hollywood bubble show.” He further castigated television’s creative community as out-of-touch with America and unqualified to express an opinion. That’s a point of view that disappears from right-wingers when the TV personality is one of theirs. Case in point: Donald Trump (or Ronald Reagan, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, Scott Baio, etc.).

The argument that Americans might have tuned out the Emmys because they objected to jokes about Trump also fails logically. Trump is currently sitting on record low ratings himself. And that’s from the American people, not a select groups of show business professionals. With his approval numbers wallowing in the mid-thirties, it’s unlikely that the program lost many viewers who were loyal to Trump. If anything, the fact that most Americans are repulsed and embarrassed by him might have drawn in a bigger audience. There is substantial appetite in the country for the Trump-bashing that Fox News is lamenting. An example of that is the fact that Colbert has become the top rated late night talk show host largely due to his nightly mockery of the President.

The program did feature some sharp jabs at Trump’s expense. Veep’s Julia Louis Dreyfus noted that her show had considered an impeachment plot line, but abandoned it because they were worried that “someone else” might beat them to it. Alec Baldwin, who’s portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live won him an Emmy, consoled Trump by giving him partial credit for an award he never won himself. But the most cutting comedy came from the reunited stars of 9-to-5 who said:

Jane Fonda: Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.
Lily Tomlin: And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.

Those are the sort of comments that Fox News and their conservative disciples regard as intolerable attacks against their White House Messiah. And for some reason they get away with calling liberals “snowflakes” for being too sensitive. Yet it doesn’t bother them when Trump himself posts tweets that show him assaulting Hillary Clinton. Apparently joking about physically attacking women is perfectly acceptable to these Deplorables. But Fox News finds it necessary to write op-eds that lie about the Emmys just because they can’t handle a few harmless jokes.

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

Jon Stewart (As Trump) Declares: ‘The New Official Language Of The United States Is Bullsh*t’

America is going through a difficult period with uncommonly serious challenges unfolding daily. Donald Trump’s first two weeks in office have already produced unprecedented opposition with millions of citizens taking to the streets to protest his regressive agenda. Consequently, the nation has never needed the uplifting effect of biting satire more. And no one is better at it than Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart

Perhaps sensing the hunger from a troubled nation, Stewart made a rare public appearance with his old pal Stephen Colbert. Tuesday night’s surprise visit to The Late Show (video below) was a welcome respite from the political and personal animosity emanating from Trump’s White House. Stewart strolled onto the stage wearing a ridiculously long red tie and a stuffed animal on his head. That set the scene for a segment wherein he introduced some executive orders that Trump hadn’t yet announced.

Leading off was a unique proposal for completing the wall that Trump promised top build on the Mexican border. Stewart/Trump proclaimed that he would just make China send us theirs. Of course, Mexico would bear the cost because it would be sent C.O.D. while America pretends they’re not at home.

The next executive order would demand something that seems to have already been achieved by the Trump administration. Stewart/Trump decreed that:

“I, Donald J. Lincoln Kennedy Trump III do pronounce America now finally has an official language. The new official language of the United States is bullshit. I, Donald J. Trump, have instructed my staff to speak only in bullshit. And by the way, none of that, ‘Sure, I’ll speak bullshit at work, but at home I’m using facts and real information.’ No. Bullshit all the time. Immersion – it’s the only way to be fluent.”

Judging by the comments coming from Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, and other Trump mouthpieces, he’s already implemented that order. The advent of “alternative facts” makes that abundantly clear. Likewise, the ludicrous and unsupported talk of voter fraud and bogus estimates of inaugural crowd stats affirm Trump’s fluency in BS..

Add to that Trump’s belligerent behavior toward the press that he despises, his bigoted and heartless ban of refugees, and the ongoing drama surrounding his swamp-dwelling cabinet nominees, and you have the making of a toxic presidency. It’s no wonder that he has entered the office with the lowest approval ratings on record. And as Stewart observed in the segment’s poignant finale, Trump is exhausting:

“I, Donald J. Trump, do declare by executive order that I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting. It has been 11 days, Stephen. Eleven fucking days. Eleven! The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public. And the reason that I, Donald J. Trump am exhausting is that every instinct and fiber of my pathological self-regard calls me to abuse of power.

“I Donald J. Trump, want – no, deserve – not just your respect but your adoration. Parades with the tanks and the synchronized dancing. And why can’t they train 10,000 doves to spell out ‘Trump’ in the clouds? How hard can it be? They’re already flying.

“I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting because it is going to take relentless stamina, vigilance, and every institutional check and balance this great country can muster to keep me, Donald J. Trump, from going full Palpatine, with the lightning coming out of the fingertips and the ‘fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate.’ We have never faced this before. Purposeful, vindictive chaos.

“But perhaps therein lies the saving grace of I, Donald J. Trump’s presidency. No one action will be adequate. All action will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less, and constitutionally partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America, just not the way I thought I was gonna.”

As he often does, Stewart’s faux-news persona presented a picture of current events that surpasses the efforts of the “real” media. He expressed the sentiment of a majority of the nation and their well-warranted anxiety of Trump. But most most importantly, he opened the door to let in a ray of hope. His commitment to “relentless stamina [and] vigilance,” noting that “All action will be necessary,” is just the inspiration Americans need right now. And we could also use more of Jon Stewart providing his unique insight and humor.

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

Trump’s Bigoted Muslim Ban Prohibits Oscar Nominee From Entering The U.S.

With a flurry of executive orders this week, Donald Trump implemented some of the unsavory promises he made during his campaign. They include a revival of the KeystoneXL and DAPL oil pipelines, a gag order on women’s health services, laying the groundwork for repealing ObamaCare, and affirming his intention to spend billions on a pointless wall along the Mexican border.

Farhadi Oscar

However, perhaps the most abhorrent of his actions is an order that reeks of bigotry directed at victims of terror. He is prohibiting refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from immigrating to safety in the United States. Never mind that there has never been a terrorist attack in the U. S. by any refugee from these countries. Or that he inexplicably exempted countries with which he has a business relationship. For example Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 terrorists came from.

Among the casualties of Trump’s callousness is Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian filmmaker. Farhadi is the director of “Salesman,” an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language film. Unfortunately, he won’t be at the awards gala due solely to his national origin.

So who really cares about whether the “Hollywood elites” get to honor a movie director for his work? Aren’t there thousands of more seriously at risk people who are also being denied entry to the U.S.?

Of course there are. The point of this is to illustrate the foolishness of Trump’s blanket ban. It punishes people based on their religion, regardless of their need. Farhadi doesn’t deserve to be barred from an honor that he earned. But Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice lumps Farhadi in with all of the evildoers he imagines are seeking refugee status. What’s more, Farhadi’s absence will likely hurt the marketing of the film. Consequently, Americans will miss the opportunity to witness the reality of this Iranian artist’s perspective. That should delight bigoted conservatives who prefer to propagate negative stereotypes.

If people like Farhadi are barred from entry into into the U.S., think about the fate of those who are persecuted. There are Iraqis who are helping American forces to defeat ISIS who will be turned away. Some of them will likely end up dead for their trouble. And thousands of families and children whose lives are at risk will be forced to endure further hardship and death. That’s a cruel fate to impose on National Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The impact of Trump’s policy is certain to result in more personal tragedy. But it is also likely to advance the cause of international terrorists. It will affirm their argument that the U.S. harbors a hatred for Muslims. That view is validated by the language in Trump’s executive order that prioritizes aid for Christian refugees.

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

Apparently Trump is unaware that Muslims are the most frequent victims of terrorism by ISIS and other radical groups. Then again, he is unaware of many of the critical issues that face the nation. And his ignorance will make America, and the world, more dangerous. Specifically, his policies can only incite an increase in terrorist activity, and particularly actions aimed at Christians. So, in the end, his racist outlook could become more accurate. Nice work, Donald.

Rich And Entitled Fox News Host Is ‘Annoyed’ By The Rich And Entitled In Hollywood

Sunday night’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards produced one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered at such an affair. As the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner for lifetime achievement, Meryl Streep was clearly disturbed by the crudeness and vulgarity of President-Elect Donald Trump. She devoted most of her acceptance speech to chastising The Donald for mocking a disabled reporter. And she defended American citizens in the arts who speak out on important issues.

Tucker Carlson Fox News

That speech set up Fox News to launch a full court press against one of their favorite targets: Hollywood. And it began early in the morning on Fox & Friends with special guest, Tucker Carlson. Carlson’s appearance was surely scheduled, at least in part, to promote his brand new primetime program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” The segment kicked off with clips from Streep’s speech, including her opening line:

“All of us in this room belong to the most vilified segment in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

The truth of that cannot be denied by anyone with an honest perspective. Conservatives have had an insatiable Hollywood bashing obsession for decades. Likewise, foreigners have been a convenient target to blame for every social problem for which conservatives have no solution. Trump has elevated xenophobia to new heights of hatefulness. And the press, never particularly well-liked, has taken more heat in the past eighteen months than ever.

While Streep’s opening line was true, it was intended as joke and it got the laugh that she expected. However, Carlson took it as some sort of high-minded social philosophy that deserved critical analysis. He told his pals on Fox that:

“Here you have a rich and entitled person describing herself as an outsider, an outcast, a pariah. […] What I was so struck by is she was telling a crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. She was saying things that are totally uncontroversial within the context she was speaking. That’s the least courageous thing you can do.”

First of all, Streep never cast herself as an outcast. That was Carlson’s way of preemptively dismissing everything she had to say. But more troubling is his criticism of Streep for allegedly pandering to her Hollywood audience. He was “annoyed” at her lack of courage for saying exactly what her audience wanted to hear.

Really? That is what Fox News does all day, every day. It is a 24/7 pandering operation for right-wing propaganda. Where is the courage in that? And Carlson himself is the perfect symbol for Fox’s partisan fawning. He just replaced Megyn Kelly, who while affirmatively conservative, has had differences with Trump. Now the entire Fox News primetime lineup is composed of Trump fluffers and friends.

As for the “rich and entitled,” Carlson could be their mascot. Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born into wealth in the heartland city of San Francisco, California. He is the son of a television executive who later became ambassador to the Seychelles. Now he splits his time as a TV pundit between New York City and Washington, D.C. When you drain the swamp, what you’ll find is scads of slimy Tucker Carlsons flopping around in the muck.

Carlson is so in touch with mainstream America that he recently confessed that he doesn’t even watch movies. In an interview with TheWrap he said “Who watches movies? Who would? Not me. I wouldn’t cross the street to watch a movie for free.” That comment came following his rebuke of the industry that he thinks is “crumbling.” In fact, the film business is enjoying record profits. Last year box office earnings exceeded 11.3 billion dollars.

Not to be outdone, Trump also commented on Streep’s remarks. True to form, he descended into his typically childish taunting. He tweeted:

So one of the most admired and honored actors of this, or any, generation is “over-rated” in Trump’s feeble mind. [Update: In 2015 Trump was asked about his favorite actors and said “Meryl Streep is excellent; she’s a fine person, too.”] And he’s aghast that she would have an opinion of him without knowing him. But he doesn’t hesitate to express his utterly ignorant opinion of her. Of course, he is suggesting that nobody, not any citizen, has a legitimate right to criticize him without having some kind of personal relationship. That’s a bastardization of democracy. For comparison, here is what Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest had to say about Streep’s speech:

“Meryl Streep delivered a thoughtful, carefully considered message. It seemed to me to be a fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment rights as a citizen of the United States.”

That’s the statement of a statesman. It’s also precisely the opposite of the attitude that Carlson projects. To him the only people who are permitted to hold and share opinions are those with whom he agrees. Ill-informed Tea Party crackpots can say whatever they want about President Obama. And celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Ted Nugent are considered virtual Rhodes Scholars. But artists who speak their minds outside of the right-wing echo chamber are condemned for their impudence. Worst of all, wealthy, trust-fund babies like Carlson get primetime shows on Fox News where they lambaste the rich and entitled.

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

Blue Xmas: A Christmas Carol For Cynics, Skeptics, And Other Swingin’ Realists

In this alleged season of joy, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of their savior. In his honor they profess to engage in selfless acts of compassion and generosity. It’s a spiritual doctrine that would be even more beautiful if it was actually carried out by all of those who purport to believe in it. Sadly, some of the most vocal vicars of faith actually do more to obstruct these hallowed principles.

Blue Xmas

For example, there are radical Christianist Republicans who sow hatred and mistrust of anyone who they deem unfit to enjoy America’s gift of freedom. This year the unfortunates included Syrian refugees, Mexican immigrants, and a broad array of liberals and Democrats. And the apostates at Fox News continued to wage their annual “War on Christmas.” It’s their call to arms against the recognition of an inclusive holiday season.

America also elected Donald Trump, a greedy, lustful, gluttonous, wrath-filled, narcissist who insists that he has never had to seek God’s forgiveness because he’s never done anything to necessitate it. As long as you don’t count his three marriages, serial infidelity, fraudulent businesses, and incessant self-aggrandizement. And his devotion to the holidays is evident in the promise he makes to the disciples at his rallies. He says that “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” It’s that 1930’s style totalitarianism that makes him think he can decide what we are ALL going to say.

So in the spirit of the season, we present a musical gift for the forsaken and forlorn. This is for all of those who are not huddled around a dead tree today, buried in colorfully wrapped packages. It’s for the cynics who won’t accept the notion that the birth of an alleged savior is an excuse to exchange material goods or fruitcakes that nobody likes. It is for outcasts and rebels and nonbelievers who are puzzled by the greed and commercialism that permeates the season. And yes, it’s for those who still believe that peace and goodwill are morally superior to profit and oppression. Here is Miles Davis and Bob Dorough performing the heartwarming traditional Christmas ballad Blue Xmas:

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

Trump Whines When Pence Is Booed By ‘Hamilton’ Audience – Then Tweets Lies About It

Friday night Vice-President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of the musical “Hamilton” on Broadway. Judging from the audience reaction, his presence in the theater was not particularly welcome. There was noticeable and sustained booing. It’s a response that is consistent with the anger expressed by much of the country since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. Protests are still being held on a nearly daily basis in cities nationwide.

Mike Pence Hamilton

After the play, cast member Brandon Dixon stepped forward to read a statement prepared especially for Pence. It was written collaboratively by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the producers, and the cast. Here is the full transcript of Dixon’s remarks (video below):

We have a guest in the audience with us this evening. Vice-President-Elect Pence, I see you’re walking out, but I hope you will hear just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing stories of love. We have a little message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton, American Musical.” We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. ALL of us.

Again, we truly thank you for staying for the show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds and orientations.

Pence did stay to hear the message. Then left without creating any kind of scene. Unfortunately, his running mate was not so gracious. Saturday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine and belched out a couple of typically boorish expressions of disapproval:

Trump’s interpretation of Dixon’s comments as “harassment” is patently absurd. Dixon was respectful and welcoming. The audience may have been explicit in expressing their opinion (which they still have the right to do in America), but that isn’t the cast’s fault. In fact, Dixon even asked them to refrain from booing. For that Trump accuses the entire cast of harassment. Then Trump followed that up by tweeting:

Actually, the theater must always be a place that honors creative freedom and free expression. Once again, without any justification, Trump charges the cast with behaving rudely and demands an apology. Seriously? This is the same man who regularly calls people pigs, dummies, losers, sleazy, pussies, etc.

Trump hardly has the moral authority to label anyone else rude. What’s more, he is notoriously averse to apologies himself. He has still never offered any after calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. Or for disparaging John McCain’s war heroism. Nor for insulting the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier. Or for boasting about committing sexual assault, accusing a political rival’s father of participating in the plot to assassinate JFK, encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies, mocking a disabled reporter, and so much more.

Late Addition: Trump posted another tweet in his thin-skinned obsession with Hamilton. This one not only falsely maligned the cast, but also insulted them, despite being totally ignorant on the subject. Clearly he will be taking his juvenile boorishness into the White House.

Trump’s reaction to the heartfelt and undeservedly polite commentary at the play is further proof of his lack of presidential temperament. He only registers anger and hostility when he perceives criticism. And he lies in order to cast aspersions on his critics. Then he responds by proposing censorship and suppression of free speech. It’s been less than two weeks since election day and Trump is already proving to be a national embarrassment.

Update: In a statement, Pence contradicted Trump’s crybaby histrionics saying that there is no need to apologize and that the audience’s expression of disapproval was “what freedom sounds like.” For the record, here is how Lin-Manuel Miranda responded:

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

Watch the Hamilton statement here:

EXPOSED: WikiLeaks And The Anti-American Trump / Putin Cabal – With New Pussy Riot Video

WikiLeaks began as a disrupter force in the battle for government transparency. They heralded a movement that professed freedom of information and open access to the inner sanctum of officialdom. Unfortunately, they have now devolved into just another self-serving political propaganda outfit. Their motives are blatantly partisan and they are affiliated with shady foreign powers.

Pussy Riot

The evidence of the downfall of WikiLeaks is all too apparent. They continue to release packets of documents stolen exclusively from Democrats and others associated with Hillary Clinton. And they don’t appreciate the difference between exposing government secrets and invading the privacy of individuals. They’ve bastardized their supposed mission of open government by peeking into the private lives of their ideological foes. They have even endangered the lives of people by exposing personal and identifiable information.

At the heart of WikiLeaks is its founder Julian Assange. He is currently a “guest” at the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he attempts to evade extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault. It’s ironic that this alleged rapist is now furthering the candidacy of a fellow sexual abuser. And while many consider Assange to be a hero, the truth about him is beginning to leak out.

Nadya Tolokno is a member of the Russian music and art collective, Pussy Riot. She recently spoke about her encounter with Assange in an interview with the Daily Beast. What she revealed was a shocking affiliation with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. She said that:

“He couldn’t deny it [working with the Russian government]. On the next day after I visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, the head of Russia’s biggest propaganda network, Russia Today, the editor-in-chief came to him and they had a project together. He often works with the Russia propaganda machine, and doesn’t try to hide it. […] He’s connected with the Russian government, and I feel that he’s proud of it.”

Assange certainly shares that in common with Donald Trump, whose connections to Russia are tightly woven into his financial and personal life. Tolokno explained that Assange is motivated by deeply held anti-American views:

“He’s in a state of war with the American government. He’s smart and charismatic and will use any means to destroy the American government. And we had a conversation if it was really the ethical thing to do that with the hands of another government [Russia] which is, in fact, much worse and a real authoritarian government.”

According to Tolokno, Assange dodged the question. He refused to concede the ethical dilemma of advancing Russian totalitarianism at the expense of democracy. It’s an interesting paradox for a man who professes to believe in freedom of speech, but takes the side of one of the world’s most oppressive and censorious regimes.

Tolokno also had something to say about Donald Trump. She assailed his misogyny, racism, and immigrant bashing. The new Pussy Riot music video (below) is a punishing put-down of Trump and his campaign of hate and tyranny. And she drew some poignant parallels between Trump and Putin:

“They want to oppress people and don’t want them to raise their voices. Their reaction when it comes to people who try to criticize them is very similar: Putin put us in jail, and Donald Trump wants to put Hillary Clinton in jail if he’s elected President of the United States. So it makes perfect sense that Putin would want someone like Trump to take power. […Trump wants] to establish a new conservative right-wing oppressive order all around the world. And we need to do everything we can to stop them.”

Tolokno is providing a unique perspective of someone who has spoken with Assange and been the victim of the Russian oppressors that he is now aiding and abetting. She is right that we need to stop Trump, but we also need to stop Assange and his treacherous acts.

No one should give any credence to his document dumps. They are a breach of personal privacy and cannot even be certified as genuine, unaltered information. He is working with Putin, a former KGB agent, on his projects and is not to be trusted. And the media should refuse to cover the WikiLeaks stories without fully disclosing Assange’s unsavory affiliations and motives.

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

Watch Pussy Riot’s awesome anti-Trump music video “Make America Great Again”

Obama Presents Medals For The Arts: Here’s What The Honorees Think Of Donald Trump

This week President Obama paid tribute to a group of distinguished Americans who represent the best of our nation’s culture. At a White House ceremony Obama paid tribute to recipients of the National Medal for the Arts and the Humanities. They come from diverse world’s of theater, literature, music, and other creative occupations. Among the honorees were beloved and revered figures like Mel Brooks and Morgan Freeman. But there is something that several of them share besides a passion to enrich the lives of others.

Obama Brooks

Many of the honorees have distinct ideas about the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. And these intelligent, insightful communicators have not been particularly impressed. Here are some of the opinions articulated in the past by these renowned observers of the human condition.

Actor Morgan Freeman:
“Donald Trump is the Honey Boo Boo of rich people.”
[Note: Freeman is an avid Clinton supporter and narrated the biography video that played at the Democratic convention]

Author Sandra Cisneros:
“Donald Trump is a very frightened man. Anyone who is frightened has to bluster and yell and shout.”

Painter Jack Whitten:
“I thought that Sarah Palin was the ultimate political comic book character until Donald Trump entered the scene.”

Author Ron Chernow:
The Trump campaign disturbed him more than “any other presidential campaign in our history.”

Musician Wynton Marsalis:
“It’s cheap populism. It’s an attempt to get a voter base. They used to scapegoat black people, but now there are so many black people in jail they use Mexicans.”

Singer/Actor Audra McDonald:
So the KKK, Vladmir Putin, and Kim Jong-Un all endorse Trump for president…Are we sure this isn’t an episode of South Park?

Chef Jose Andres:
Trump is “a man whose statements had made him a pariah for the great majority of the Hispanic community.” [Note: Andres is currently in litigation with Trump after pulling his restaurant out of Trump’s new Washington, DC hotel. The dispute arose following Trump’s campaign announcement during which he called Mexicans rapists and criminals]

Actor/Writer/Director Mel Brooks:
“If I were doing a sitcom I’d do it about a powerful idiot like this guy, who’s running a big corporation or a big network and we’d get to see behind the scenes what an idiot he is.”

As a special bonus for attendees of the ceremony, when Mel Brooks rose to accept his medal he smiled graciously and then tried to pants the President. However, setting aside that brief and hilarious departure from decorum, these recipients are themselves a tribute to the spirit and vision of American creativity. Their experience and wisdom is both representative and inspirational. And it is not insignificant that so many people of this stature regard Donald Trump as a national embarrassment. If only there were an award for that.

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

Pro-Censorship Fox News Says Government Should Seize Profits From Snowden Biopic

Taking their propaganda business model one step closer to police state fascism, Fox News is now advocating government censorship of film producers for projects that challenge their right-wing world view. This became all too apparent on today’s episode of Fox & Friends during an interview with Tom Fitton, the president of the ultra-conservative Judicial Watch group.

Fox News Snowden

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox & Friends aired a transparently hostile segment (video below) on director/producer Oliver Stone’s upcoming biographical film about Edward Snowden, the systems administrator turned whistle-blower, who leaked documents that revealed the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. The segment began with the trio of co-hosts suggesting that Stone’s film “could violate federal law” and that “the DOJ may be able to seize [its] profits.” The first question Fitton was asked was specifically about that possibility. He responded:

“Well, if they were interested in pursuing where these profits were going and who is funding this movie, because Oliver Stone was working with Mr. Snowden who had no right to the information he had. As a fugitive he’s under indictment. And typically you can’t benefit from moneys that you may earn from stealing government property and betraying your country.”

Notice that Fitton did not offer any evidence that Snowden was benefiting from the film. He merely planted the suggestion and inferred that Stone’s working with him was in itself suspicious. Although any competent film maker would seek to get first hand accounts from the subject of a biopic if that subject were available.

Notice also that the outrage expressed by Fitton, and shared by the Foxies, for someone who “stole” information was never shown toward the thieves who hacked the Democratic National Committee. And those thieves actually were working for a foreign government (Russians) who had hostile intentions toward the U.S. Undeterred by reason or patriotism, Fitton went even further with his baseless inferences against Stone:

“Mr. Stone knew something was up with respect to Mr. Snowden because he made a point of saying that ‘I stuck to making this movie in Munich,’ because he was, quote, ‘afraid of the NSA.’ If he was doing a regular movie what would he have been afraid of?”

First of all, there is nothing unsavory about making a film in Munich, especially when it places you 3,000 miles closer from your home base in New York to your primary source in Moscow. Secondly, the very topic of the film validates any concern Stone might have had about interference from the NSA.

Most importantly, Fitton’s assertion that Stone should have nothing to fear if he were making a “regular” movie (whatever that is), is reminiscent of the assurance from authoritarians that, so long as you’re not doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t bother you if the government reads your email, listens to your phone calls, or searches your bedroom closet. What are you afraid of, comrade? The absurdity of Fitton’s comment even seemed to make Fox’s co-host Tucker Carlson nervous. He gingerly asked:

“So I’m not defending Oliver Stone, or of course Snowden, but the NSA did spy on Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, so maybe Stone’s not a total paranoid. But more to the point, every news organization in America reprinted information that Snowden stole. So by the standard you just held, should every news organization also be liable for abetting a criminal?”

Fitton’s defensively knee-jerk response to this was “Not necessarily.” He reiterated that Stone’s meetings with Snowden somehow made the whole relationship an unholy conspiracy. According to Fitton “Snowden is no whistle-blower,” and his actions were tantamount to “treachery.”

At this point Fox’s co-host Pete Hegseth chimed in that “There’s no doubt that Snowden’s disclosure helped groups like Al Qaeda and others.” And once again, he provided no evidence for such a serious charge. But he did gave Fitton the opportunity to present his own wingnut theory that “The Obama administration is no fan of our nation’s security.” Fitton is obviously in the camp that regards Obama as a foreign-born Muslim terrorist sympathizer.

The notion that the federal government is empowered to confiscate profits from a filmmaker, based on the content of the film, is a blatant violation of the principles of free speech. It is a breach of constitutional liberties and merely threatening to do so would have a chilling effect on the rights of free people. It is by definition censorship.

The fact that Fox News would provide a platform for someone advocating this, and then fail to repudiate it, is indicative of Fox’s affinity for rightist tyranny. And it’s further proof that the mission of Fox News has nothing to do with the pseudo-patriotic image they attempt to manufacture for themselves and sell to their dimwitted audience.

Please do visit the Snowden film website and watch the trailer for the movie that is coming out September 16.

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