Trump’s Insane Threat to ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’ Affirms His Mental Infirmity

The United Nations is holding its 72nd Session of the U.N. General Assembly. But it is also the first one that is being addressed by Donald Trump. If the diplomatic body was expecting to be surprised by Trump’s speech, they were not disappointed. Trump has been a frequent critic of the U.N., calling it ineffective and unfair to the United States. He has proposed withholding funding. But in today’s speech he crossed lines that call into question his psychological fitness.

Donald Trump

The bulk of the speech was standard Trumpian “America First” rhetoric with some disingenuous allusions to all nations working together. But the part that will surely get the most attention was his melodramatic threats to North Korea and Kim Jung Un. Trump said that:

“If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

Let’s set aside the childish name-calling that is so familiar from our juvenile president. It’s the cartoonish hyperbole that makes these remarks so disturbing. Trump’s assertion that “we will have no choice” is a self-limiting falsehood. There are always choices for intelligent leaders. Sometimes it comes down to making the best of a bad lot. But Trump’s narrow vision that limits his choices to total destruction demonstrates how ill-prepared he is for this job.

It should be noted that the United States never made totally destroying Germany or Japan a goal of their war effort. In fact, following the war we led the effort to rebuild the nations of our former enemies. The objective in war is not total destruction, but victory. Trump’s rhetoric shows incredible insensitivity to the human life that he is proposing to snuff out. And that includes the lives of Americans and our allies. In that respect there is truth to the framing of this as a “suicide mission.”

For some perspective, last year President Obama spoke at the U.N. General Assembly. The subject of North Korea was on the table then as well. In an interview with CBS News Obama said something similar to what Trump said, but with with an important caveat:

“Our first priority is to protect the American people and our allies, the Republic of Korea, Japan, that are vulnerable to the provocative actions that North Korea is engaging in. […] But it’s not something that lends itself to an easy solution. We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea.”

Obama was not threatening North Korea, but simply noting that the U.S. has a powerful military advantage. More importantly, he qualified his remarks by recognizing the “humanitarian costs” of a nuclear conflict. That’s how a conscientious, diplomatic leader approaches a sensitive subject like this. And it illustrates the massive disconnect from reality that drives Trump’s thinking. He acts as if he’s a character in a superhero movie where everything revolves around static questions of black and white, good and evil, and nothing in between or subject to consequences.

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

Trump’s ultimatum does nothing to ease tensions or arrive at a solution. They only exacerbate the problem and threaten to inflame the twisted sensitivities of Kim, who is no better suited to leadership than Trump. The two of them could seriously jeopardize the future for millions of people and much of the world. And while there is little we can do about Kim, Americans should make every effort to divert Trump from his disastrous course, including removing him from office as soon as possible.

Donald Trump Breaks the Ninth Commandment as He Signs Declaration For a Day of Prayer

For the past week there has been an embarrassing parade of self-congratulatory spectacles staged by Donald Trump. The devastation caused in Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey has created abundant opportunities for Trump to exalt himself. That exaltation comes in many forms.

Donald Trump Messiah

The President has managed to look pensive in an array of photo-ops. He has read statements prepared for him that seem almost giddy that he’s presiding over the most “bigly” hurricane ever. He lied about “witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.” And he’s spent more time bragging about his disaster response than comforting victims.

Trump also pledged a million dollars for relief efforts, but hasn’t disclosed where it will go or whether it will even come from his own funds. Note that this alleged billionaire regards a million dollars as sufficiently generous. A few years ago he offered five million for Obama’s birth certificate. Non-billionaires Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ellen Degeneres donated the same amount. While fellow billionaire Michael Dell ponied up $36 million. And Trump’s record on keeping his pledges is spotty at best. He failed to pay up for veterans until he was publicly shamed. And victims of Hurricane Sandy are still waiting for the relief they were promised.

On Thursday Trump went before the cameras again to sign a declaration for a “Day of Prayer” on behalf of the those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The ceremony featured the President reading from notes while sitting in front of a gaggle of “faith based people.” His remarks were filled with obligatory condolences and assurances that we will get through this together. And then he said this (video below):

“We’re going to be signing a ‘Day of Prayer,’ and that’ll be on Sunday. It’s gonna be a very special day. I don’t know when this was done last, but it’s been a long time ago. Is that a correct statement? Yes, it’s been a long time ago. So I’m gonna sign it and then a few of the folks will say a few words.”

For the record, Trump’s “long time ago” is a blatant lie. The latest in more than a thousand he has told since his inauguration. The last time there was such a prayer declaration was only one year ago. It was made by President Obama. Trump’s dismissal of that fact is typical of his malignant narcissism. What’s more, it squares with his obsession to belittle his arch-nemesis, Barack Obama. The former president remains far more popular than the current one and has a legacy of accomplishment that would put Trump to shame, if that were possible.

So while signing this declaration, Trump also lied about his role and that of his predecessor. The Ninth Commandment, for those who haven’t already Googled it, prohibits bearing false witness. Which is precisely what Trump has done. And he did it with an army of spiritual “leaders” standing right behind him. They obviously didn’t mind, because after Trump spoke he allowed each of them to say a few words. Without exception they praised Trump as if he were the Second Coming. Right-wing pastor Robert Jeffress even thanked God for having “given us a gift. President Donald Trump.”

The Day of Prayer declaration is an annual affair that is mandated by a law that Congress passed in 1950. So what Trump did today was not only not unique, it was required by legislation that’s over sixty-seven years old . Trump, of course, took the credit as if he had thought of it himself. And he denigrated every president that preceded him by pretending they never made the same proclamation. But he must have taken particular interest in demeaning Obama. It’s something that wingnuts have done for years. The long-festering myth that Obama had canceled the Day of Prayer even earned a “Pants on Fire” rating from PolitiFact. Trump may want to refer to Romans 6:23 to learn what the wages of sin (i.e. lying) will earn him.

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

STILL CRAZY: Trump Is ‘Stone Cold Sane’ According To This Fox News ‘Psycho’ Analyst

This week Fox News thought it would be a good idea to repost a six month old article by their resident “psycho” analyst, Keith Ablow. In it he asserted some ludicrous reasons to dismiss critics of Donald Trump who questioned his mental health. Trump’s sanity has only become more suspect as time has gone by.

Fox News Keith Ablow

The decision by Fox News to rerun this pathetic Trump-fluffing is difficult to understand. It made no sense at the time, and is even more embarrassing now. Nevertheless, it does provide a good opportunity for News Corpse to reprise its response to Ablow’s original posting. So here it is in its entirety:

ABLOW SAY RELAX: Trump Is ‘Stone Cold Sane’ According To This Fox News ‘Psycho’ Analyst

In recent weeks there have been several reports characterizing the mental stability of President Donald Trump. Some of these have been partisan assessments by political opponents. Others have been more detailed warnings from mental health professionals about his “malignant narcissism”. There have even been bipartisan bills drafted to mandate a White House psychiatrist. However, “Doctor” Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, has his own professional diagnosis that comes to a different conclusion. He believes that Trump is as sane as you and I. But the reasons he gives are – well – batshit crazy.

Ablow starts off with a disclaimer that he has never examined Trump. It is considered unethical for doctors to make diagnoses of people who have never personally been under their care. Funny, Ablow never bothered to offer that disclaimer when he was unethically (and absurdly) diagnosing President Obama. What follows is a rundown from his latest article for Fox News. In it Ablow says Trump is totally sane because:

He’s rich and famous:

“When a man acquires billions of dollars through complex real estate transactions, invests in many countries, goes on to phenomenal success in television and turns his name into a worldwide brand, it is very unlikely that he is mentally unstable.”

Of course. Everyone knows there aren’t any wealthy business people with mental illness. They can just buy some new sanity if they lose theirs. Rich people are always perfect in body, mind, and bank account. Take Howard Hughes for example.

He’s a good family man:

“When the same man obviously enjoys the love and respect of his children and his wife, who seem to rely on him for support and guidance, it is extraordinarily unlikely that he is mentally unstable.”

Indeed. And Trump is so stable that he’s currently on his third wife. And each of his marriages have been marred by flagrant and public infidelities. Plus, his current wife and their child rely on him so much for support that they declined to live with him in the White House.

He’s a political wrecking crew:

“When the same man walks into the political arena and deftly defeats 16 Republican opponents and then the Democratic heir-apparent to a two-term president’s administration, the odds of that man being mentally unstable become vanishingly thin.”

Because nothing says mental stability like viciously maligning your own party colleagues with childish nicknames and outlandish allegations. Just ask Lyin’ Ted Cruz whose father worked with JFK assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

He’s a bureaucrat magnet:

“And when that very same man attracts to his team the kind of intellect and gravitas represented (to name just a few) by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and commander of the U.S. Central Command, he cannot be mentally deranged. Period. It is a statistical impossibility.”

That’s right. After all, who ever heard of someone accepting a lucrative and powerful government job when offered one? That’s especially true of unqualified nominees like Carson, Rick Perry, and Betsy Devos. And the billionaire, Goldman Sachs, swamp dwellers have their own selfish reasons.

But perhaps the most profoundly absurd defense of Trump’s sanity was Ablow’s personal testimonial and endorsement of Trump branded products and services:

He’s a walking infomercial

“Anecdotally, by the way, I have never had one bad Trump experience. Not one. I own several of his ties — all of them of the highest quality. I have stayed in his hotels and never had a single complaint (and I am a born complainer). I have eaten in his New York restaurant — flawless service, excellent food. I own an apartment at Trump Place in Manhattan. Impeccable design, sturdy construction, fabulous amenities. A mentally unstable man would be unlikely to deliver superior products across multiple industries, don’t you think?”

Seriously? Ablow thinks that Trump is the picture of sanity because ties manufactured in China, but branded with his name, meet his standards as a consumer. Similarly, Ablow’s Trump Place condo is in a building that the Trump Organization developed but does not own. And does any sane person think that Trump is responsible for the food and service at a restaurant with his name plastered on the front?

Ablow went on to suggest that the performance of the stock market is another indication of Trump’s mental health. Sure, it’s up about 2,000 points since the election. It’s notable that none of Trump’s fiscal policies have been implemented in that time. Nor would it reflect on his sanity if they were. However, since he’s handing out credit, Obama must be super-sane, because the market rose 12,000 points during his presidency. Except that, as noted above, Ablow has already diagnosed Obama as mentally challenged. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the markets are still running on the economic policies of the Obama administration.

And if it weren’t enough for Ablow to construct a preposterous case for Trump’s mental health, he also had to portray his critics as mental deficients. He called anyone who questioned Trump’s psychological status “political opportunists, or fools, or both.” Then he singled out Sen. Al Franken as an example. Specifically, he called Franken’s sanity into question because Franken and Elizabeth Warren are allies and Warren once said she had Native American ancestry. First of all, she only said that because that’s what her parents told her. Having never bothered to fact-check her parents doesn’t make her nuts. But regardless, how would that reflect on Franken? Ablow’s psychological prognosis implies that anyone affiliated with Warren is crazy.

Ablow closes by saying “And they’re calling Trump’s sanity into question? Really, you can’t make this stuff up.” Wrong again. Ablow just proved that you can make up whatever the hell you want and Fox News will publish it. After all, this is the same guy who wrote that Donald Trump’s narcissism is exactly what America needs. And my personal favorite, his treatise praising the Unabomber. Now that certifies him as a perfectly sane psychiatrist, don’t you think?

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

Lyin’ Trump Steals Credit for ‘Moderniz[ing] Our Nuclear Arsenal’ From President Obama

As if things weren’t crazy enough. Donald Trump is now stirring up a nuclear crisis with his infantile feud with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. This whole affair isn’t much more than a battle between two narcissistic dictators. Unfortunately, the lives of millions of people who probably couldn’t care less about these maniacs rests in the unbalanced psyches of two emotionally stunted children of privilege.

Obama Trump Tweet

So what does Trump do after threatening to start WW III because he felt disrespected by Baby-Kim? Well, among other things he commences to puff up his chest with empty boasts that stink of lies. In this case, as is often the case, it occurred with the posting of comment on Twitter:

Anyone who is not in a vegetative coma recognizes how disturbingly delusional that is. Trump has only been in office for about six months. During that time he has been consumed with scandals related to his finances and his unsavory connections to Russia. One thing he certainly has not done, is anything related to the nation’s nuclear arsenal. There has been no legislation, no directives to the Pentagon, and no guidance to the Secretary of Defense. Nothing. Period.

Sometimes Trump makes unsupportable comments like this that rest on a kernel of truth that has been grotesquely mangled. But on in this instance there isn’t even an inkling into what he’s talking about. His bragging is purely self-aggrandizement based on nothing but his fertile imagination. You have to wonder what he thinks is different about our nuclear assets today than six months ago?

If you’re looking for any evidence of a presidential initiative to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal, you’d have to look at what President Obama did last year. Last October the New York Times reported that the “The U.S. is planning a trillion-dollar modernization of its nuclear forces over the next few decades.” So any progress in our nuclear defense profile is the work of Trump’s predecessor. And even that will be taking decades and likely shows no change during Trump’s brief and unproductive presidency.

Trump’s incessant self-glorification frequently borrows from the achievements of others. He pretends that the performance of the stock market is his doing despite not having passed any legislation that impacts the economy. He contends that higher wages came with his election. Although that was mainly due to increases in the minimum wage that he and Republicans opposed. Whatever positive movement has occurred in the past few months did so irrespective of Trump’s presence.

On the other hand, the failures that abound are easily attributable to him. Whatever weakness there are in ObamaCare are the result of his deliberate attempts to sabotage it. As the environment becomes ever more at risk, it’s due directly to his mismanagement of the EPA. And the war stance that is now threatening this country and the world was wholly manufactured by Trump himself. In fact, he even predicted it in this tweet from August of 2013:

That’s good advice. We should be prepared. And we should take whatever legal actions are available to us to mitigate the risks he is describing. They include congressional actions to restore the balance of power, indictments, and impeachment. The sooner the better.

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

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

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

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern Day Presidential? Trump Attacks American Institutions and Leaders While on Foreign Soil

Donald Trump’s first trip overseas last May was widely viewed as a diplomatic failure. When he wasn’t embarrassing the United States with his ignorance and bluster, he was insulting its closest allies. So the world is holding its collective breath as Trump once again ventures beyond the shores of America. And if his first day in Poland is any guide, this trip signals an even worse outcome.

Donald Trump

There is a long-held canon of international diplomacy meant to encourage national unity and continuity of purpose. It asserts that all domestic political quibbles and criticisms should end at the ocean’s edge. American leaders representing the country ought not to be bad-mouthing it on foreign soil. It’s a simple rule, and one that is easy and wise to follow. Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump.

In his first stop, Trump held a joint press conference with Poland’s President Duda. [For the record, Trump has not held a solo press conference since February] The President took only two questions from American reporters. The first came from David Martosko of the Daily Mail. He asked about both North Korea and Trump’s WWE-themed tweet wherein he body-slammed a CNN character. Trump chose to respond to the CNN question at length, with an afterthought about North Korea. He said:

“I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them. As you know now, they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way. NBC is equally as bad, despite the fact that I made them a fortune with The Apprentice. But they forgot that”

So while standing next to one of Europe’s worst media suppressors, Trump bashed the American media and the concept of free press. It was an unprecedented assault by a traveling president. Trump seems to think that generating income for an entertainment division of a media company entitles him to positive coverage by the news division. But the larger problem is that his rhetoric can only encourage other countries to demean and dismiss their local journalists.

The next question came from Hallie Jackson of MSNBC. She asked if he would “once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?” He would not. Trump gave a rambling response that avoided directly acknowledging Russia’s complicity in the election tampering:

“Well, I think it was Russia, but it could’ve been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people interfered. I’ve said it very simply. It could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries. I won’t be specific. But I think a lot of people interfere. I think it’s been happening for a long time. It’s been happening for many, many years.”

Jackson’s follow up asked Trump why he could not just agree with his intelligence agencies who have definitively identified Russia as the culprit. He proceeded to ramble some more:

“Let me just start off by saying, I heard it was seventeen agencies. I said, “boy, that’s a lot. Do we even have that many intelligence agencies?” Right? Let’s check it. And we did some heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn’t seventeen. […] With that being said, mistakes have been made, I agree. I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows for sure.”

And with that, Trump commenced maligning his own intelligence operations. He brought up the issue of weapons of mass destruction as an example of an intelligence failure. However, that was a failure of the Bush White House. The intelligence community did not support their WMD allegations.

What’s more, Trump’s assertion that seventeen agencies were not in agreement about Russia is just plain false. While only three agencies (the CIA, FBI, and NSA) were involved in making the assessment, none of the others dissented after the report was published. And by questioning whether there are seventeen agencies he is publicly exposing his ignorance of the intelligence community he is supposed to be leading. Trump’s dismissal of these agencies is another example of improperly criticizing the country while he’s abroad. What sort of confidence does that give to other countries when we ask for their support based on our intelligence?

Finally, in response to the questions about Russia’s election tampering, Trump felt the need for a diversion. He awkwardly shifted the conversation away from both himself and Russia with this nearly incoherent rant:

“Now the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this – in terms of if it were Russia – found out about it in August. Now, the election was in November. That’s a lot of time. He did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA, as I understand it. it was well reported. And he did nothing about it. […] My big question is ‘Why did Obama do nothing about it from August all the way to November.'”

That’s his big question? Not what the hell is Russia doing interfering with our elections? First of all, Trump is once again wrong on the facts. President Obama took swift and decisive action when informed of the Russian hacking. He opened an investigation and encouraged state election officials to tighten their digital security. He was especially cautious before election day because he didn’t want to be seen as interfering with the election himself. And immediately following the election he imposed new sanctions, threw out 35 Russian officials, and closed down two diplomatic compounds.

So after bashing American media and intelligence, Trump has now moved on to American leaders. By showing such open disdain for the just-past president, Trump is giving permission for our allies and enemies to do the same for any national leader. They are now free to disregard the words and deeds of any representative of the United States, including Trump.

So much for leaving criticism at the ocean’s edge. Trump is demonstrating that he is incapable of behaving appropriately as president. He is more worried about defending his fragile ego than he is about serving the interests of the nation. His lack of diplomatic skills is likely to produce some unwanted consequences. And he has already proven that he is untrustworthy with confidential information. That’s why so many people are so anxious every time he meets with foreign dignitaries, whether at home or abroad. The country would be a lot better off if he would just stay at his golf resorts and leave governing to the adults.

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

Fox News Posts a Dishonest and Racist Attack on President Obama for Taking a Vacation

For eight long years Fox News was the central bureau for inventing and broadcasting lies about President Obama. Their pseudo-news coverage included allegations that Obama was a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya. They called him a radical, racist, anti-American who was too incompetent to be president. And even though he has been out of office for six months, they still persist in their campaign of contempt.

Fox News Obama Luxury

The Fox News website posted an article last week with the provocative headline “Obamas under fire from the left for never ending, sizzling ultra-luxury vacations.” However, nothing in that tabloid-style headline was true or supported by the content of the article. The whole thing was one of the worst examples of deliberate slander by a network that has specialized in it. The opening paragraphs said that:

“The Democratic base is growing increasingly frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s actions after leaving office, including a seemingly endless tour of millionaire and billionaire luxury retreats, according to Democrats and activists contacted by Fox News. Ex-presidents, understandably and un-controversially, go on vacations immediately after leaving office. But the level of luxury the Obamas enjoy on their vacations is unprecedented for a modern-day president, say travel experts.”

“Since leaving office in late January, Obama has visited late actor Marlon Brando’s private island; the Four Seasons in Bali — where rooms cost upward of $2,000 per night; a Palm Springs estate; Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island; the exclusive Mid Pacific Country Club in Oahu; the 13th-century Borgo Finocchieto in Tuscany; and the Rising Sun, Hollywood studio mogul David Geffen’s private yacht.”

Many of the destinations mentioned belong to Obama’s friends and associates (Branson, Geffen, and former Ambassador to Italy John Phillips). These were not strictly stays at luxury resorts as much as they were visits with friends. But even if they were conventional vacations, so what? Obama has earned the right to spend his leisure time any way he pleases. It’s his time and his money. The hypocrisy of Fox News to make an issue of this is astonishing. Particularly since they have remained silent about Donald Trump’s lavish expenditures at his luxury golf resorts on the American taxpayer’s dime.

In addition to that made-up non-scandal, Fox News portrayed Obama’s critics as disappointed liberals. However, they failed to document that claim in the article. The only quotes used were conspicuously irrelevant. They included a travel agent of unknown political affiliation, and a socialist from Houston. Even worse, they described the rabidly right-wing Fox News contributor Pat Caddell as a “Democratic strategist.” Caddell pretended to worry that Obama’s trips would offend the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. Fox didn’t bother to ask Bernie Sanders.

The only other citation was one from comedian John Oliver. Fox News used him to assert that “The left-wing media is also worried about Obama’s luxury vacations.” While Oliver did joke about Obama kite-surfing while “America is on fire,” it was at worst gentle mockery. And in any case, it was hardly representative of left-wing media. Fox News offered no examples at all of actual media criticisms of any kind from any source.

To their credit, Fox did include a statement from an anonymous source (really?) defending Obama. What they described only as “a former Obama White House official” gave a brief accounting of Obama’s post-presidency activities:

“One of the first actions after leaving office was to mentor young men from Chicago’s south side who are in a job training program called ‘CRED,’ led by former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The president also donated $2 million recently to help young people in Chicago get apprenticeships and summer jobs. The president is an avid supporter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that aims to improve life outcomes for young men of color.”

That was uncharacteristically fair of Fox. But then they immediately returned to Pat Caddell who declared that “it wasn’t enough.” Caddell went on to ask “When is he going to do anything to help people other than enrich himself?” Of course, that questioned was answered in the prior paragraph. Obama has done many more things that also went unmentioned. And he hasn’t been absent from the political stage either. On his Facebook page he made an in-depth statement about the still pending healthcare debate, saying in part:

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. […] Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

Obama also made his position on immigration clear through his spokesperson. “The President fundamentally disagrees,” he said, “with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

The article made a ludicrous comparison between Obama’s post-presidency and that of Carter and the Bushes. But all of them were wealthy before they moved into the White House. This is Obama’s first opportunity to enjoy his good fortune as a private citizen. There is a distinct note of racism in Fox’s attack that suggests that this sort of activity is undeserved for the black guy. They never offered any such criticism of presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton, or the Bushes. Why is it only Obama who is characterized negatively for hobnobbing with the rich and famous? What exactly is it that makes him different? Can you possibly imagine?

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

Trump Brags About Having Higher Approval Ratings than Obama – In His Warped Imagination

Donald Trump is reportedly holed up at Camp David this weekend. It’s the first time that he’s visited the official presidential retreat since taking office. He prefers to stay at his own luxury golf resorts where taxpayers have to shell out for his lodging. Taxpayers also foot the bill for the dozens of staff and security personnel who accompany him.

Obama Trump

But while at Camp David, Trump still found time for exalting himself on Twitter. He boasted about how well his agenda is doing, despite a record of profound failure. All of his most prominent campaign promises have gone unfulfilled. He has been unable to repeal ObamaCare. There is no hint of a wall along the southern border. Tax reform hasn’t even begun. Terrorism is just as big a problem as ever. His attempts to implement a ban on immigration were repeatedly struck down by federal courts.

The most peculiar tweet of this Sunday morning TwitFit is one that sought to pump up his ego. Yeah, I know that applies to most of his tweets. But this one was more flagrant than most:

First of all, no one regards Rasmussen as an especially reliable survey outfit. They are brazenly biased toward Republicans and conservatives. And their accuracy lies closer to the bottom of the pack. What success they have is only because they often rejigger their findings at the end of a campaign to be more in line with other polls. That improves their averages, but is wholly dishonest. FiveThirtyEight gives them only a C+ rating. Their survey method employs automated phone calls to landlines. Most polling services regard operator-assisted calls as more reliable. And capturing the opinions of cell phone users is a requirement for accurate results.

That said, Trump’s assertion that his fifty percent approval rating is higher than President Obama’s is just plain false. According to Rasmussen’s website, Obama had an approval rating of fifty-five percent at this point in his presidency. During his first five months, Obama got as high as sixty-three percent, and never dropped below fifty-three. Trump, on the other hand, has marked record lows for a president in his first five months. This new personal high of fifty percent comes after an unlikely and unexplained seven point leap in two days.

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

Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that Trump outright lied about beating Obama’s numbers. And also the fact that Rasmussen is overtly biased. The spectacle of Trump getting excited about an approval rating that leaves half the country dissatisfied is kind of pathetic. What’s more, Rasmussen breaks down his numbers to reveal that only thirty-one percent “strongly approve” of Trump while forty-two percent “strongly disapprove” (a net negative index of -11%). Yet this is something that Trump thinks is cause for celebration. That’s the sign of a desperate and delusional man.

Pro-Trump Crackpot Gets Booed Off Stage After Interrupting Shakespeare in the Park (VIDEO)

New York’s Public Theater has been providing free performances of Shakespeare in Central Park for more than sixty years. It’s a non-profit, public service that contributes to the cultural advancement of the community and is available to everyone. It is generally not the scene of political controversy, however, last week became a rare exception.

Shakespeare Protester

The theater group staged a stylized performance of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Taking creative license, they cast Caesar as a Donald Trump lookalike. Consequently, when the scene in the play that depicts Caesar’s assassination came, the character was brutally stabbed to death. Unable to distinguish between reality and fiction, conservatives went into a frenzy asserting that the play was advocating Trump’s assassination. It didn’t take long before the alt-right media was accusing all liberals of being violent and bloodthirsty.

Friday night the performance suffered further attacks when a pro-Trump extremist blogger leaped onto the stage. She began screaming feverishly about alleged “political violence against the right.” Ironically, Laura Loomer writes for a website called TheRebel, a name that implies militant violence.

The interruption was clearly not appreciated by the audience. They immediately burst into a chorus of boos as the cast surrounded Loomer and waited for security to escort her from the stage. And as she was led away the audience cheered and applauded. Surprisingly, Loomer posted video of this embarrassment as if she were proud of it.

following the incident, Loomer had her accomplices video her arrest. Of course, she regarded this as a travesty of justice since all she was doing was defending her Dear Leader, Donald Trump. But her harangue drifted into some peculiar, paranoid territory:

“I really think that the left wants there to be another civil war in this country because they’re so polarizing and they’re so violent. They’re so disgusting. They lack morals. And they really want there to be an assassination so there’s not only a full blown race war, but they want there to be political wars.”

How she concludes that this play makes any statement related to race wars is a mystery only her psychologist can resolve. Perhaps it’s an admission that any criticism of Trump would be countered by his devoted racist supporters. But the hypocrisy is glaringly evident. She attacks the left as polarizing mere seconds before insulting them as disgusting and devoid of morals. That isn’t polarizing at all, is it?

Loomer tries to portray herself as an investigative journalist. But her resume betrays that as absurd. She got her start working for the disgraced and irrelevant confessed criminal, James O’Keefe. For a brief period of time O’Keefe made headlines by producing widely debunked, and deceptively edited, videos intended to slander Democrats. Now his reputation is so toxic that even Fox News won’t publish his nonsense anymore.

So it’s easy to see where Loomer got her idea that interrupting a play with incoherent hollering would be a reasonable act of protest. The only thing she achieved was attracting praise from the alt-right true believers who already worship this sort of idiocy. Disreputable folks like Mike Cernovich, Dinesh D’Souza?, and Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) rushed to her defense. Alex Jones of Infowars tweeted that she was a “patriot.” And Laura Ingraham of Fox News had this say:

First of all, President Obama was the target of innumerable attacks that included stabbing, lynching, and other forms of assassination. The right finds it convenient to forget about that. But Ingraham’s remarks about how liberals would behave in circumstances similar to this one are painfully ignorant. In 2012, the same play was staged with an Obama character in the role of Caesar. There were no protests or juvenile interruptions of the performance.

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

Hypocrisy is no stranger to the right. When Tea Party activists stormed congressional town halls, conservatives hailed them as heroes. When liberals did the same thing earlier this year, the same conservatives condemned them as subversives. When liberals protest speeches on college campuses by white supremacists they are accused of being against free speech. But when Trump and his cohorts advocate government control of the media, the right cheers and agrees. So if you’re looking the differences between left and right responses to expressions of political viewpoints, you need look no further than people like Laura Loomer and the censorious president she idolizes.

Trump, Jr and Other Republicans are Already Blaming Democrats for Scalise Shooting

Wednesday morning a deranged man opened fire on a group of Republicans practicing for a charity baseball event. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but several people were wounded including the GOP House Whip, Steve Scalise. Capital Police returned fire and killed the gunman. This is a horrific act of violence for which there is no excuse, and members of both parties have come together to condemn it. For the most part.

Donald Trump, Jr

Sadly, there are some on the right who leaped to the opportunity to take political advantage of this tragedy. And at the top of the list is the eldest son of Donald Trump, Don, Jr. The Trump scion retweeted conservative pundit Harlan Hill who posted this offensive and false sentiment: “Events like today are EXACTLY why we took issue with NY elites glorifying the assassination of our President.”

Trump and Hill are referencing a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where the title character was made up to resemble Trump. But they are woefully ignorant of the content of the play which concludes that political violence is abhorrent and counterproductive. What’s more, they never had any complaints when the same play was staged with President Obama in the role of Caesar.

More to the point, Trump, Jr. is demonstrating a callous disrespect for the victims and their families by rushing to politicize this shooting. It exposes his obsession with partisan antics aimed at disparaging Democrats. And he isn’t alone. Other Republicans have also dived into the scummy end of the pool. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) called it a “political rhetorical terrorist attack.” Fringe wingnut radio talker Michael Savage tweeted “I warned America the Dems constant drumbeat of hatred would lead to violence!” Alex Jones’ InfoWars deemed it “media-inspired terror attacks.” That’s notably different than his take on the Sandy Hook murder of twenty children as a hoax staged with actors.

Conservative websites like the Drudge Report and Breitbart News joined in the pile on against Democrats and liberals. Never mind that every Democrat who has spoken out about this has unconditionally condemned it. And then there’s GOP congressman Chris Collins (R-NY), who assigned the blame solely to Democrats for rhetoric that he said “fuels the fires.” He continued:

“I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric. The rhetoric has been outrageous. The finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. […] Maybe this is a wake-up call. I’m not saying it will be. But let’s hope we could disagree on a more polite, conversational basis.”

So Collins’ idea of being more polite is to accuse Democrats – and only Democrats – of inciting violence. And his solution to finger-pointing is finger-pointing. Just for the record, Republicans have been notoriously hostile toward Democrats for decades. And that has only worsened during the Era of Trump, who famously suggested “2nd Amendment solutions” to handle Hillary Clinton. And who can forget the images of Obama being lynched that were circulated endlessly by right-wing trolls. In many cases they were further disseminated by GOP officials.

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

Republicans are right to admonish anyone who glorifies violence against political adversaries. They’re right to condemn such violence when it occurs. But they are just bending the arc of hypocrisy to the breaking point when they assert that they are not at least as guilty of hostile partisan rhetoric. And they need to extend their outrage to abortion clinic bombings, assaults on Muslims, LGBTQ people, women, African Americans, Latinos, etc. Then they can start to consider lecturing Democrats on civility.