Goebbels Redux: White House Bans CNN Reporter Because She Asked Trump Some Questions

On Wednesday Donald Trump held an impromptu photo-op with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission. This is the same European Union that Trump recently cited first when asked when to identify America’s “biggest foe.” He later added China and Russia as if they were afterthoughts. But now he was meeting with our EU foe’s president in the Oval Office.

Donald Trump, CNN

As the event drew to a close, Kaitlan Collins of CNN threw out some questions for Trump, just as reporters always do at these affairs. She was representing the television news community as the pool reporter for the day. Her questions were focused on subjects that were currently topical and that Trump himself was addressing to reporters and on his communications platform of choice, Twitter. Specifically, she asked about the release of Micheal Cohen’s recoreded conversations with Trump and Trump’s invitation to Vladimir Putin for a meeting at the White House. Trump often answers such questions in this setting, but on this occasion he chose not to.

Immediately thereafter, Collins was called into the office of Bill Shine, the former Fox News president who is now Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was fired by Fox for his enabling of the network’s sexual predators, including Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. Now he performs the same services for Trump. But as Trump’s chief media staffer he wanted to see Collins to tell her that she would be barred from covering the next event on the President’s calendar, a Rose Garden Q & A with Juncker. According to CNN, Collins arrived at Shine’s office and then:

Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders met Collins there. “They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'” Collins said in an interview. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.”

A video clip of the exchange shows that Collins was speaking the same way journalists in the press pool usually speak.

Collins said she reacted by saying, “You’re banning me from an event because you didn’t like the questions I asked.”

Collins is only partly right. It is not insignificant that the reporter who was banned for doing something all reporters do works for CNN. Trump routinely maligns the press as being “sick,” and “sleazy,” and “the enemy of the American people.” But he frequently singles out CNN as being “the worst” of them all. So the banning of a credentialed CNN reporter is not a random incident. It is a retaliation.

What’s worse is that this sort of sanction is intended to send a message to the rest of the press corps. Either behave the way we want you to, or be banished from the White House and other presidential events. It’s notable that even Fox News issued a statement criticizing the White House and expressing solidarity with CNN. Although Fox host Lou Dobbs wasn’t on board with that, praising Collin’s punishment by saying that “it’s about time there were consequences.” As for the White House, they released a statement saying that:

“At the conclusion of a press event in the Oval Office a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so. Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event, but made clear that any other journalist from her network could attend. […] To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”

So Donald Trump is demanding that the press be “respectful” of him? The same guy who menacingly points to the journalists pen at his rallies, calling them “liars” and “horrible people,” and whipping up the hostility of his crazed followers? The guy who has proposed revoking the credentials of any reporter who is less than doe-eyed adoring? The guy who tries to undermine independent news operations by falsely smearing them as “failing” or criminal? Now he thinks they should be respectful, by which he means unquestioning sycophants?

The media is doing their job just as they have done for decades. And that has caused other administrations to have uncomfortable relationships with them. But this administration has gone further than any other to upend the very notion of press freedom. And if this is their idea of supporting a free press, they have a severe problem with the definition of “free press.” It doesn’t include bullying a woman from a network that you’ve already designated as your enemy. By abusing power in this manner the Trump administration has proven once again that they are intent on emulating the tyrannical governments of Putin and Kim Jong Un who Trump seems to admire so much. But he’s going to find out that America’s Constitution is stronger than his desire to suppress the freedom of the press.

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

Trump’s Flagrant Lies About Sexual Affairs is Okay with Fox News Because Everybody Does It

The relentless efforts by Fox News to defend Donald Trump for anything and everything he does and says is well known to anyone paying attention by now. Their duties as the official State TV of the Trump presidency require them to abandon all reason and principle in order to prop up the President and crush his critics. And they fulfill these obligations with determined devotion, if not much in the way of logic or adherence to facts.

Donald Trump, Playmates

On Wednesday’s episode of Outnumbered, the four right-wing co-hosts welcomed former GOP congressman, and Benghazi fetishist, Jason Chaffetz to group as their so-called “One Lucky Guy.” The discussion included a venture into the breaking news about Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen and the tapes that were just released of him plotting with Trump to pay hush money to Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump had a longstanding affair.

As the conversation developed it was clear that there was no way to deny Trump’s bad behavior. He was cheating on his third wife who had recently given birth to his son, Barron. So the Fox crew had to shift to a defense that consisted of excusing the behavior, no matter how repugnant. And so that’s just what they did, beginning with co-host Melissa Francis, who tried to employ some classic “whataboutism” by maligning former Clinton attorney Lanny Davis (video below):

Francis: I think it’s a bit rich when you have the Clinton cleaner out there talking about the Trump cleaner. It makes you wanna jump in the shower and wash it all off and wash it off your brain. I guess Lanny Davis says ‘What’s the point? What’s this all about?’ It’s about truth and that the President lied.

Okay. I kind of assumed that from the beginning. I don’t know what this does for us.

Kennedy: I think most people have. That was the thrust of the whole Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti soap opera. It was somehow getting at the mysterious truth as though we’re being trolled and living in an episode of political X-Files: The truth is out there.

See what they did there? Since other people have behaved badly in the past, it doesn’t matter that Trump does it too. But it is a little surprising that Francis shrugs at Trump’s dishonesty as something that she assumes as a matter of course. And then Kennedy went into a rant about how all of this is just a series of distractions from both sides. She cites everything from the fallout of the Helsinki summit to Trump considering the revocation of security clearances of former Obama officials. These, of course, are all melodramas created by Trump himself that Kennedy is now insisting are distractions. And the fact that Trump lied isn’t newsworthy because everyone already knows that he’s a liar. This is Fox News making that argument.

They go on to defend Trump’s lying because “people who have affairs lie about it.” And somehow they are completely oblivious to the fact that these Fox News shills, and the whole Republican Party, supported the impeachment of President Clinton for that very thing. But now it’s such a minor point it should be tossed aside as a mere diversion that doesn’t warrant our attention.

You can be sure that if it were President Obama who was having an affair and was caught in a taped discussion about covering it up with hush money, they wouldn’t have written it off so gleefully. But their Dear Leader in the White House is so sacrosanct that he’s allowed to commit any sin or crime he wants to. That’s the privilege of demagogic cult leaders like Trump who command blind devotion from their disciples. Must be nice.

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

Heartsick: Trump Breaks His Date With Putin Until 2019, After the ‘Witch Hunt’ is Over (Huh?)

The first date went so tremendously that Donald Trump almost immediately asked dreamy Vladimir Putin out again for a rendezvous in romantic Washington, D.C. in the fall. But Trump was dissed by his crush when Putin wavered as to whether he would accept the invitation. A crestfallen Trump is now saying that he has other plans as well.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

Trump’s National Security Advisor, and mustache ride attendant, John Bolton, made the announcement that “The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year.” A dejected Trump is now employing the famous “You can’t fire me, I quit,” method of diplomatic courtship.

However, this statement has some peculiarities that warrant additional scrutiny. First of all, this is the first use of the phrase “witch hunt” by Mr. Bolton, and maybe by any senior White House staffer other than Trump himself. Apparently they are trying to cement its use as an acceptable descriptor of legal processes.

Secondly, Trump is assuming that Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation will be ongoing at least through the end of this year. That’s a long ways from the predictions of his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who has been saying that the probe would be over in a couple of weeks ever since he joined Trump’s legal team.

Finally, it is very likely that the real reason for the delay has something to do with the upcoming midterm elections. It could be embarrassing if Trump were to repeat his disastrous performance in a rematch with Putin just prior to those contests. Republicans are already considered to be in dire shape as a massive blue wave of Democratic victory is forming. Putin may have been aware of that and was subtly nudging his politically naive American stooge into rescheduling until after election day. Not that things will be any better for Trump if the GOP takes the beating that is being forecast. But they could simply pretend to forget about the summit entirely should that happen.

What’s more, if Mueller completes his investigation anytime between now and year’s end, that will throw a huge Russian boot into plans for the two authoritarian aficionados to convene. Unless, of course, wherever they wind up incarcerating Trump allows for conjugal visits.

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

Rachel Maddow: White House Transcript Erases Putin Saying He Helped Trump Win the Election

Holy crap. This is one of those moments when it simply cannot be ignored that the Trump administration is deliberately falsifying reality in order to deceive their glassy-eyed Deplorables. The White House has brazenly disappeared part of the press conference he held with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. And the purpose is painfully obvious.

Rachel Maddow Donald Trump

On the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday, Rachel revealed that the official White House transcript had an omission that could not have been accidental. The video from Maddow’s show tells the whole story. But the gist of it this: Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked Putin a question and got a surprisingly candid answer. After Putin replied to a question about assisting Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe, Putin and Mason had the following exchange:

Putin: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Jeff Mason: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
Putin: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.

However, that is not what showed up in the White House transcript. They omitted the first part of Mason’ question, making it appear that Putin was still replying to the Mueller question:

PRESIDENT PUTIN: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.
Q: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.

So the Trump camp removed Putin’s explicit admission that he wanted Trump to win the election, and that he took measures to achieve that end. Gee, why do you suppose Trump didn’t want the American people to know about that, even after they saw it with their own eyes when it occurred? Could Trump be trying to re-write history in order to cover up his collusion with Russia? Would he be that obviously Orwellian? Well, on Tuesday he spoke at a VFW event and said “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening” That’s frighteningly close to what Orwell wrote in 1984: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

To make matters worse, the official video of this on the White House website has the same clearly intentional and flagrantly deceptive edits. This is nothing more than the sort of twisted propaganda tactics that occur regularly in authoritarian dictatorships. In fact, Russia excised the same parts of the transcript as the White House did (collusion?). Trump is trying to erase the fact that Putin openly advocated for his candidacy, and even directed his officials to provide assistance. And what’s really disturbing is that it seems to be right in line with the sort of abhorrent behavior we all expect from Donald Trump.

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

See for yourself: And be prepared to be disgusted by the unscrupulous immorality of our current, and hopefully short-tenured, president.

UPDATE: Philip Bump of the Washington Post is saying that Maddow’s analysis of these video discrepancies is wrong. He says the video that the White House (and the Post) transcribed was missing the part of the question identified above. But even if that’s true, why didn’t the White House get the complete video? Maddow did. And if they want to say this is all just an innocent mistake, then why haven’t they corrected the White House website? Are we supposed to believe that they are committed to the truth when they leave information they know is false on their website?

UPDATE II: Sometime on July 26, the White House website finally corrected their transcript of the the Trump/Putin press conference. And it only took them them a week and a half.

Gaslighting 101: Trump is ‘Very Concerned’ that Russia Will Be ‘Fighting Very Hard’ for Democrats

Perhaps the most lasting legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency will be the ease and frequency with which he passes off flagrant falsehoods to the American people and the world. It’s a display of pathological lying that could keep psychiatric researchers busy for decades. Yet is a daily occurrence for Trump and it is actually increasing in volume and depth of dishonesty every day.

Donald Trump

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump tweeted another absurdity that he hopes will tickle the shriveled hearts of the glassy-eyed disciples who believe his every utterance. The cult mentality is strong in these adoring StormTrumpers. But this latest Twitter post ought to be recognizably fake news to even the most naive Deplorable:

There is much wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to begin. How about with the fact that just two days ago Trump tweeted that Russian election hacking was “all a big hoax.” And that came only a few days after he insisted that he didn’t see why Russia would interfere with our elections, a statement he supposedly “corrected” the day after he said it. It appears that Trump was arguing that Obama should have told him about the Russian interference that he also says never happened? And what he has been repeatedly calling a hoax and a “witch hunt” is suddenly real.

Secondly, at the joint press conference Trump held with his Russian counterpart (aka boss), Putin was asked directly: “Did you want President Trump to win the election? And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin replied, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did.” In fact, Putin has been consistently as flattering toward Trump as the infatuated Trump has been toward him.

Thirdly, Trump has an odd conception of what toughness on Russia is. After all, he just rewarded Putin, who he now believes is intent on interfering with American elections again, with an invitation to the White House. Why on Earth would an American president grant such an honor to someone who the entire intelligence community has concluded was responsible for hacking the last election, and the same president is asserting plans to hack the next one?

Finally, if Trump is so concerned about the election being tampered with by Russia, then why did he and his Republican Party just vote to eliminate funding for election security? These cuts are being imposed even as Trump’s own national security team warn that Russia is still engaging in the election tampering activities that they employed in 2016.

While most of Trump’s tweets are dripping with hostility and deceit, this one is especially infested with his psychotic determination to turn reality on its head. He even said in a speech today to the VFW that “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” In other words my children, “Believe me, not your own eyes and ears.” you Is he doing this to put Democrats on the defensive as the beneficiaries of Russia’s cyber war? Or to take the heat off of himself as Putin’s puppet? Or is it just a means of distracting the public and the media from his other scandalous behaviors? Most likely it’s a Trumpian combo-plate of his specialties: blaming others, lying, and treason. And the rightist Republicans who are incapable of coherent thought will eat it up.

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

Trump is Threatening to Punish Former Obama Officials for Exercising Their Free Speech Rights

The president who has been the most hostile to the First Amendment of any president in history is accelerating his attack on the Constitution. Donald Trump’s latest threats toward his critics should frighten all Americans, not just those unlucky enough to be in his crosshairs at the moment. And he’s doing it for the most flagrantly political reasons.

Donald Trump Censorship

At the White House press briefing Monday morning (only the third one in July so far), Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a question about Sen. Rand Paul’s request that Trump revoke the security credentials of former CIA director, John Brennan. Paul alleged, without proof, that Brennan was “monetizing his security clearance” and “divulging secrets to the mainstream media.” Sanders replied with a prepared statement that went even further (video below):

“Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the security clearances of Comey, Clapper, Rice, Hayden, and McCabe.”

Note that these all are national security professionals who served at least part of their tenures in the Obama administration. Note also that they have been outspoken critics of the President. There has been no discussion of revoking security clearances for Sean Spicer, Rex Tillerson, or Reince Priebus (if they ever had any). Sanders continued reading her statement:

“The President is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and in some cases security clearance making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia, or being influenced by Russia against the President is extremely inappropriate. And the fact that people with security clearances are making the baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

No one has politicized and monetized their public service more than Donald Trump. He uses his Twitter account to post brazenly partisan political messages including defenses of his collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Furthermore, he posts his robo-endorsements of Republican candidates for Congress. He also promotes his visits to his golf resorts and other properties he owns where he profits from both government expenditures and private reservations from corporations and foreign dignitaries seeking to influence American policies.

The activities of the people Trump is threatening are standard expressions of opinion in the media by experts with the experience to comment intelligently. They are granted the right to have and express their opinions by the Constitution. And by having done so, they have now become the targets of Trump’s infantile and un-American wrath. It should be noted that in no case have any of these people disclosed any confidential information. The assertion that what they have said is “false” is just the unsupported opinion of Trump and his lackeys. But it wouldn’t matter if it is false. There is no prohibition on expressing a false opinion. If there were Fox News would be out of business. And Trump as well, for that matter.

Trump’s rabid aversion to free speech is well established. He repeatedly refers to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” And just this morning he rattled off a couple of tweets castigating the Washington Post for some peculiar and unexplained anti-trust violations. In fact, he’s only attacking them because he perceives them as critics. Which makes the assault an unambiguous breach of the First Amendment.

If Trump follows through on these threats, it would be an obvious attempt to silence his critics. And it would only add to the high crimes and misdemeanors that he is already guilty of, and that warrant his immediate impeachment and removal from office. As if his treasonous collusion with Russia, his obstruction of justice, his financial corruption, and his sexually predatory assaults on women weren’t enough.

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

BURN! Fox News Accidentally Interviews a Candidate Who Tells the Truth About (and to) Trump

Monday morning on Fox News there was a devastating outbreak of the sort of truth that the network strives so hard to suppress. All of their evil efforts went up in smoke after a booking glitch put a conscientious Democratic candidate on the air instead of their customary crackpots and shills. It was delicious.

Fox News Bozo

On Fox and Friends First co-hosts Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt introduced Ann Kirkpatrick, someone they thought was a pro-ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Democrat that got booed at a candidate forum in Massachusetts. Their intent was to stir up phony dissension within the Democratic Party. That’s a common tactic used by Fox News to falsely infer a party in disarray. They have a bevy of so-called Democrats they can call on to bash the Party.

However, this time someone at Fox screwed up. The guest that appeared on air was not who they thought it was. It turned out to be Barbara L’Italien, a different candidate with an entirely different point of view. She began straight out of the gate with a message for Donald Trump (video below):

Mele: Joining us the candidate, the only democrat on stage to support ICE, Ann Kirkpatrick. Tell us why you do support ICE?
L’Italien: Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump. I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane. I’m state senator representing a large immigrant community and running for Congress in Massachusetts.

I keep thinking about what we are putting parents through and imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again, we have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms. Stop putting kids in cages, stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court.

The co-hosts immediately looked confused and struggled to counter L’Italien’s truth with pre-chewed Fox News lies. Schmitt said that the practice of separating and caging children had been stopped. It hasn’t. Then Mele said incorrectly that the kids have been reunited with their families. Only about 500 out of nearly 3,000. That was followed by an awkward exchange wherein the co-hosts wondered “Who is this?” And after cutting the feed to L’Italien, they mused that “That didn’t go as planned. That happens sometimes. Time for a break? Yeah.”

A statement was later released by Desiree Dunne, the executive producer of Fox and Friends First. She tried to explain how the segment got so badly mangled, but failed to miserably. And then she sought to blame L’Italien:

“This morning we invited Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on Fox & Friends First through her press contact on file […] During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien, appeared on camera instead of Kirkpatrick. Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview.”

Note that Dunne doesn’t say that the producers ever asked L’Italien to identify herself. L’Italien told ThinkProgress that she was merely taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity to communicate with Trump and Fox viewers. She also said that:

“This would not have happened to an actual news station. Fox’s lack of attention to the facts normally is a disaster for the country, it just so happened that today it was embarrassing for them.”

Ann Kirkpatrick also had some harsh words for Fox News, saying that they “put out false reports on my position on ICE, without a single word from me.” So she doesn’t seem particularly disturbed by having been axed from the network’s propaganda programming. But even when the mistake was discovered, why would Fox need to end the interview? Why couldn’t they just continue talking to a candidate with a different perspective?

The answer to that question is obvious. fox News doesn’t tolerate different perspectives in circumstances they aren’t in complete control of. L’Italien was expressing a viewpoint that is shared by a majority of Americans. But since it is contrary to the Trump administration’s viewpoint, and that of the Republican Party, it could not be allowed on their air. But unfortunately for Fox, that happens sometimes.

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

STOP THE PRESSES! Trump Says Russian Election Interference is ‘All a Big Hoax’ (Again?)

This roller coaster ride is really getting ridiculous. After a week of Donald Trump swerving in every direction at once he is now taking another sharp turn toward the sort of absurdity that usually accompanies acute mental decline or senility. However, in Trump’s case it’s just more evidence of a mind that is incapable of rational thought or honesty. It’s the cognitive processes of a malignant narcissist gone wild.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

Remember when Trump held a news conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin and, responding to a question about whether Russia was interfering with American elections, he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia? And then, after he was deservedly raked over the coals for taking the word of our enemy over the that of our intelligence community, Trump back-flipped and said that he meant to say “wouldn’t” instead of “would”?

That was just last week. And in the aftermath of that public display of treason, Trump and his defenders in the right-wing media insisted that all along he has declared his commitment to the conclusions of the American intelligence agencies with jurisdiction over these matters. State TV (aka Fox News) even put together a little propaganda video to drive the point home. Although in their inept sycophancy they actually proved the opposite of their intention.

Well now Trump is back to calling all of the intelligence agencies that he so earnestly claimed to believe, liars. In a new tweet that was aimed at besmirching his arch nemesis, President Obama, he said that the claims of Russian election hacking were “all a big hoax.”

Poor Donald just can’t seem to hold a coherent thought in his cartoon brain for more than hour. His argument is now that Obama’s failure to do anything about Russia’s cyber attack is evidence that it never took place. So is Trump saying now that he actually meant he doesn’t see why it “would” be Russia in the first place? Is he arguing that Obama should have told him about the Russian interference that he says never happened? And the lame excuse that he meant “wouldn’t” was, as Trump might say, all a big hoax?

For the record, Obama did plenty when he found out about Russia’s hacking. He ordered new sanctions against Russia that included expelling thirty-five diplomats, restricting the activities of Russian intelligence services and their operatives, and closing two compounds used by Russians in the U.S. He also admonished Putin in no uncertain terms that this behavior would not be tolerated. Notice that he didn’t ask Putin whether or not he did it. Obama simply told him forthrightly to stop. And he would have done more, but was obstructed by Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress.

Also, Trump is lying when he says that Obama didn’t tell him about the hacking. Trump was personally informed of the election tampering by Obama administration national security officials. So now he’s denying that the disclosures he personally participated in took place. This is not a failure of memory. This a deliberate lie. We know this because he was reminded of it just four days ago by the New York Times.

The brazen and corrupt dishonesty of Donald Trump is on scale never before seen in American politics. And what’s even more frightening is that his glassy-eyed disciples will believe anything he says no matter how ludicrous and contradicted by demonstrable facts. Add to that the traitorous complicity of the Republican Party as whole and we have the makings of a constitutional crisis. The Congress needs to step up and hold Trump accountable. And the only solution at this late date is impeachment and removal from office. And if Congress won’t remove Trump, then the American people will remove Congress.

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

Fox News Alert: Donald Trump Works Really Hard at Putting the White House in Total Disarray

Well, the rat is out of the bag. We finally have confirmation that Donald Trump’s White House is a swirling pit of ineptitude, staffed by morons who don’t know what the hell is going on. What’s more, they’re proud of it and they think it proves that they are dedicated overachievers. And these revelations are not insults thrown by partisan lefties. They’re straight from the horse’s ass: Fox News.

Jeanine Pirro Fox News

On Saturday’s episode of Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro the “judge” hosted former Arkansas governor/Christianist minister, Mike Huckabee. In the course of their discussion, that was predictably bashing liberals, Huckabee decided to unveil some truths that are usually kept behind the dark curtain of rabid conservatism (video below). He said that:

“Here’s what I think people don’t understand about Donald Trump: he doesn’t sleep a lot, he works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, he has so much going on that even his own staff cannot keep up with all that’s going on.

“I used to have a chief of staff and she would often say ‘If I know everything that’s going on, there’s not enough going on.’ Well let me assure you, in the Trump White House there is nobody that knows everything that’s going on because nobody can keep up with that much stuff.”

Is he kidding? This is Huckabee’s assessment of the laziest man in Washington. Trump has played golf for about a third of his presidency. He doesn’t attend or read his presidential daily briefings unless they have pictures or happy news about him. He refuses to prepare for critical events like summits with Kim Jong Un or Vladimir Putin. He holds meaningless photo-ops with his cabinet and for bill signings. He never seems to know about the corruption of his own senior staff. He wastes time traveling to friendly red states to hold ego-fluffing rallies. And he spends countless hours (his “Executive Time”) watching cable news. Mostly Fox News, of course, where he gets his intelligence reports, political strategies, policy updates from Sean Hannity.

What’s more, if it’s true that nobody knows what’s going on, then that only exposes the White House as incompetent and unable to fulfill its mission to serve the people. It also means that Huckabee’s own daughter, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is one of those who doesn’t know what’s going on. So how the hell can she inform the press of the administration’s activities? Not that she ever has any intention to.

We should probably be thankful to Huckabee for his candid assessment of a White House in disarray. That’s been painfully obvious to any conscientious observer, but we don’t often hear Trump’s insiders admitting it. Another word for not knowing what’s going is “ignorance.” And the ignorance of Trump’s staff is clearly not due to Trump’s allegedly dynamic schedule. It’s due to his own inability to comprehend the complexities of his job and his deliberate efforts to withhold pertinent information from more intelligent and experienced professionals. And that’s at least partly due to the need to keep his financial corruption and collusion with foreign enemies secret.

Much of Saturday’s program was consumed by Pirro whining about incivility in politics. That’s rich coming from perhaps the most vitriolic screecher on television. Pirro has been barking out contemptuous scorn at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and every other left-of-center American for years. Just last week she complained about being “treated like a dog” by Whoopi Goldberg on The View. But she conveniently forget to mention that she called the whole cast of the show an epithet that rhymes with “sock cucker.” And then she has the nerve to say that:

“The level of hatred toward the 45th president of the United States is beyond anything we’ve seen in American history…Now Donald Trump is the target of vitriol so papable it’s simply frighten…It’s almost impossible to have a rational discussion that doesn’t turn into a food fight.”

Let’s just set aside that she appears to be drunk (“so papable it’s simply frighten”?) Her contention that Trump has been the victim of more vitriol than any other president is ludicrous. Barack Obama, who was accused of being the founder of ISIS and the Kenyan-born spawn of Satan, might have something to say about that. Or maybe John Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln, whose lives were cut short by rather vitriolic assassins.

Pirro had some help from her another guest on the program who was equally delusional about who in America is uncivil. Trump’s senior counsel, Kellyanne Conway showed up to assert that Trump “is a president who believes that diplomacy and conversation is better than hostility and conflict.” Seriously? The president who encouraged his supporters to assault protesters and opffered to pay their legal fees; who has disparaging and infantile nicknames for every opponent; and who goads unstable tyrants into nuclear confrontations? That president believes in diplomacy?

At least Pirro had a brief moment of self-awareness in the opning paragraphs of her new book, Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy. She writes that “We know what the liberal media think of Trump voters: They’re deplorables, idiots, rednecks, and people who cling to God, guns, and religion. To those charges, I plead guilty–guilty and proud!” So Pirro is guilty, even proud, of being a deplorable, idiot, redneck. That explains a lot.

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

Fox News Ignored the Michael Cohen Tape Until Trump Freaked Out About it on Twitter

The presidency of Donald Trump has been a constant challenge for the press to keep up with his outrages, crimes, and embarrassments. The news cycle has been flooded with mostly non-newsworthy distractions that nevertheless need to be covered just to document them for the record. And then, of course, there are the legitimate stories that reveal Trump’s penchant for breaches of ethics or the law, his ignorance of the job he’s supposed to be doing, and the corrupt swampiness of his administration.

Fox News

While most of the media struggles with this unprecedented journalistic dilemma, Fox News has a much easier go of it. They can just neglect to report on any event that reflects badly on the President (pretty much all of them), or invoke “whataboutism” in order to misdirect their glassy-eyed viewers with mentions of President Obama or Hillary Clinton’s emails. And that’s the approach that Fox took with Friday’s breaking news about Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen.

It was reported that Cohen had secretly recorded conversations between himself and his main client, Donald Trump. Those recordings included discussions about how to handle hush money being paid to another one of Trump’s mistresses, Playboy model Karen McDougal. The story has repercussions that extend to exposing Trump’s prior lies denying the affair, and possible campaign finance violations. The mere existence of these tapes raise speculation about what other tapes might turn up, including, perhaps, discussions about Russia aiding and abetting Trump’s campaign.

Naturally, Fox News went to great lengths to avoid any airing of these matters. It’s a blockbuster story that Fox was content to sweep under the rug. They spent a grand total of twenty-one seconds on it during Friday’s primetime programs that feature devoted Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity. And they would likely have left it at that had not Trump himself escalated the issue with a manic tweet on Saturday morning:

What’s “inconceivable” is how much Trump can lie in the space of 240 characters. First of all, the government did not “break into” his lawyer’s office. they were executing a judicially authorized search warrant. Cohen himself described the FBI agents as “extremely professional, courteous and respectful.” Secondly, it is not “unheard of” for a lawyer to record conversations with a client or other persons while representing a client. It is unusual for those recordings to become public, but that only occurs when there is a criminal investigation in progress where they become evidence. Third, it is entirely legal in the state of New York to record a conversation as long as at least one person in the recording grants permission. In this case that’s Cohen.

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

Finally, the most absurd part of this masterfully absurd tweet is Trump’s conclusion that “The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!” Anyone with a functioning brain stem knows that Trump does virtually everything wrong. But his claim to be our favorite president is laughable. For that to be true he must be talking to only himself and maybe Ivanka. Maybe. But looked at another way, the statement might actually be true. America’s favorite president, according recent polling, really didn’t do anything wrong. Thanks, Obama.

Barack Obama, Favorite