Total Transparency? What Trump Really Means When He Lies About Exposing the Phony Witch Hunt

There has never been a president who has expressed more animosity toward the intelligence community he is supposedly leading than Donald Trump, His open disdain for the Department of Justice, the FBI, and all of the other intelligence agencies throughout the federal government and the military, is well documented. He even prefers the word of Russia’s Vladimir Putin to his own intel resources.

Donald Trump

On Monday evening it was revealed that Trump ordered the declassification of a select group of documents involving the the investigation of his nefarious connections to Russia. It’s a conspicuously cherry-picked set of docs that were previously requested by the smarmy and ultra-biased Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes. Needless to say, these items were chosen to deceitfully advance Trump’s paranoid “witch hunt” narrative. However, they actually pose a significant risk to intelligence sources and methods, while also adding to Trump’s expanding portfolio of obstruction of justice charges.

So naturally Trump made a statement on Tuesday morning to try to shore up his crumbling arguments against the work of special counsel Robert Mueller (video below). Trump unironically told the press that “I want total transparency.” Sure he does. He continued saying that:

“This is a witch hunt. Republicans are seeing it. The Democrats know it’s a witch hunt, too, but they don’t want to admit it because that’s not good politics for them. But it’s a terrible witch hunt and it’s hurt our country. And the things that have been found over the past couple of weeks about text messages back and forth are a disgrace to our nation. And I want transparency, and so does everybody else. As you know, congressional committees came to me and they wanted this, and I did it based on their request. But I think it’s a good thing because we should open it up for people to see.”

It’s funny how Trump thinks he knows what Democrats want and are secretly thinking. Particularly since he doesn’t even know what is in the documents that he just declassified at the request of partisan hacks in Congress. But it’s his claim to wanting transparency that really tests the limits of believability. If Trump is really committed to transparency, here are a few other matters that he might want to consider being transparent about:

  • His tax returns. He promised to release them several times, but that’a promise he never intended to keep. Presumably due to the numerous illegal and embarrassing things we would learn if he did release them.
  • Transcript of meeting with Vladimir Putin. Trump met with Putin for a couple of hours in Helsinki, but has refused to disclose what was discussed, even to his own national security officials.
  • Obama’s birth certificate. Trump said that “investigators” he sent to Hawaii “cannot believe what they’re finding.” We know how they feel.
  • Brett Kavanaugh’s file. Tens of thousands of pages relating to Kavanaugh’s service in the George W. Bush White House are still being withheld by Trump.
  • Emails and text messages related to Russia. While Trump did selectively declassify some of these documents, they were limited to those produced by people he regards as “deep state” enemies (James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr) He refuses to release the same sort of documents by Devin Nunes, Jeff Sessions, Sean Hannity, Wikileaks, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, etc.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Trump is surely withholding much more information regarding his finances, his campaign, his relationship with Putin and Russia, and his myriad relationships with the women he was cheating on his wife (wives) with. This is not the behavior of someone genuinely interested in transparency. It’s just another dishonest representation by a notorious liar who is now trying to employ the deceitful, punitive practices of the dictators he admires.

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

Breaking on Fox News: Doddering Old Man Trump Can’t Stay Awake During Obama’s Speech

This Friday has been a day filled with significant news stories that have a profound impact on the nation and the world. For instance, Donald Trump asked his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to investigate the New York Times for publishing an op-ed by an anonymous author. Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, was sentenced in federal court. Hurricanes are heading toward both Hawaii and the East Coast of the United States. And Russia is threatening an offensive in Syria that could put American soldiers at risk. So what is the top story on the Fox News website this afternoon?

Fox News, Donald Trump, Barack Obama,

That’s right. Donald Trump trolls former President Barack Obama by saying that “I fell asleep” during the speech Obama gave today at the University of Illinois. That seems like a pretty sorry effort at trolling. After all, Trump is essentially admitting that he’s a tired old coot with weak stamina. In fact, The Fox News lede could just as well have read:

“A doddering old man, with observable physical and mental infirmities, is unable to stay awake in the middle of the day during a noteworthy speech by a former president even though it is partially about him.”

Of course, that would be somewhat unwieldy as a headline, but it’s a more accurate representation of the facts. Why would Trump want to portray himself as having such low energy, a criticism he used to throw at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? What’s more, if Trump had trouble staying awake for this speech, he had better see his doctor immediately. Obama gave an eloquent and rousing address that covered a broad range of important issues facing the country. Here is a just a taste (full video below):

“Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has, unfortunately, found a home in the Republican Party. This Congress has championed the unwinding of campaign finance laws to give billionaires outside influence over our politics; systematically attacked voting rights to make it harder for young people and minorities and the poor to vote; handed out tax cuts without regard to deficits; slashed the safety net wherever it could; cast dozens of votes to take away health insurance from ordinary Americans.

They embraced wild conspiracy theories like those surrounding Benghazi; or my birth certificate; rejected science; rejected facts on things like climate change; embraced a rising absolutism on a willingness to default on America’s debt by not paying our bills; to a refusal to even meet, much less consider, a qualified nominee for the Supreme Court because he happened to be nominated by a Democratic president. None of this is conservative … It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical.

And that put Trump to sleep? These weren’t even the parts that spoke directly about him. He probably wouldn’t have appreciated Obama reducing him to a symptom of today’s political divisiveness. Trump wants to always be the center of attention. And Obama directly addressed Trump’s Stalinist tendencies toward the media by saying that “I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them ‘enemies of the people.”

If Donald Trump has trouble maintaining consciousness during a speech like this, imagine how difficult it must be for him to stay awake during national security briefings. And what about legal consultations with his personal attorneys handling Robert Mueller’s investigation into his collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice? And if he’s only kidding around, it’s an idiotic attempt at humor that only reaffirms the perception of him as being confused and oblivious. Which is a perception that has been reaffirmed so often that we can just accept it as fact at this point.

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

Unpatriotic? Fox News Knocks Meghan McCain for Saying that ‘America Was Always Great’

In Washington, D.C. today, Sen. John McCain is being remembered by his family and his many friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is at his golf resort (again) tweeting manically about the failures of his own Justice Department. He’s posting ludicrously ill-reasoned quotes by the tiresome swarm of sycophants he’s watching on recorded programs from State TV (aka Fox News). Obviously he can’t watch live television for fear of being subjected to the outpouring of goodwill toward McCain, or anyone other than himself.

Fox News, John McCain Funeral, Donald Trump

Even Fox News is covering McCain’s funeral on the air, which leaves nothing else for Trump to watch but cartoons or those “sons of bitches” playing football. But on Fox’s website it’s a different story. The lead news item on their homepage is one that features the headline “Meghan McCain, Obama knock Trump at funeral as nation says goodbye to senator.” Above that is a photo that is captioned “America Was Always Great,” a line taken from the eulogy by Meghan McCain.

Notice that Fox’s headline frames the story as a “knock” on Trump, rather than a report about the McCain funeral. That tells you what they think was the most important part. The article then characterizes McCain’s comment as a “swipe” at Trump, which may be true. But it’s also an expression of patriotism and an enduring reverence for the country, which makes Fox’s complaint sound trite and disloyal. It’s an awkward position for Fox to take under the circumstances. But they didn’t limit their disapproval to just that remark:

“It was Meghan McCain who had the most searing swipes at the president however. Notably she said that her father’s passing represented the passing of ‘American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.'”

It’s doubtful that Trump’s minders allowed him to hear any of that harsh articulation of the truth. It would have sent him into (even more) hysterics. Nor could his babysitters permit Trump to hear what President Obama said in his eulogy, that Fox also assumed was directed at Trump:

“Obama’s jabs were more subtle but still appeared to be directed at the current occupant of the White House. He derided those in politics who traffic in ‘bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage.’ He also attacked ‘a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear.'”

These fragments of the addresses by both McCain and Obama were singled out by Fox News to create the impression that the whole affair was a just a political sideshow aimed at denigrating Trump. But in both speeches they were merely brief interludes in much longer heartfelt tributes to someone they loved and admired. The article didn’t bother to quote any other parts of these touching eulogies. Apparently Fox was determined to trivialize the funeral service, belittle the mourners, and not allow the day to pass respectfully.

And that’s why Trump loves Fox News so much. They are just as devoted to exalting him above everything and everyone else as he is. Fox is a cable television appendage to Trump’s massive and unrestrained ego.

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

Good News: Trump Promises to Ignore His Job for 2 Months to Campaign for Republicans

The only thing worse than having Donald Trump gallivanting off to his luxurious golf resorts every weekend is having him in the White House doing more harm to the country. He has already spent about thirty-one percent of his presidency (175 days) at Trump owned properties like Mar-A-Lago. It’s an unprecedented negligence of duty for the alleged Commander-in-Chief, but a welcome relief to the nation and, most likely, the long-suffering staff at the White House. Now if we could just get him to stop tweeting as well.

Donald Trump, Disability

In addition to his vacation getaways, Trump is a frequent flyer on Air Force One to political events across the country. On Friday he posted a message on Twitter announcing that he will be appearing at a tremendous gathering of his true believers in Tampa Bay, Florida next Tuesday. That will mark his twenty-third purely partisan revival meeting this year alone. That averages out to three times a month that the President has assembled his staff, security detail, and transportation crews to venture from Washington on the taxpayers dime, delivering nakedly partisan speeches to adoring throngs of Deplorables. These are expensive excursions that every American is footing the bill for. While some costs are reimbursed by Trump’s campaign committee, the trappings of the presidency are borne by us hard working rubes, most of whom voted for Hillary Clinton. And if you want to know what Trump thinks about forcing this financial burden on regular folks, just refer back to his tweets on the subject when Barack Obama was President:

On Friday Trump had a surprise phone-in interview with his shadow chief of staff, Sean Hannity. Among the things they discussed were the upcoming midterm elections. Most prognosticators are predicting a massive Blue Wave that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority in the House of Representatives, and perhaps the Senate as well. But Trump has a different opinion. He believes that the power of his personality will shock the experts and produce a glorious Republican victory. Who knows? Maybe he’s right. And no Democrat should get complacent about winning given the unpredictable nature of this electorate. But in the furtherance of his goal, Trump told Hannity (at about 26:05) that “I am going to work very hard. I’ll go six or seven days a week when we’re sixty days out.”

So what he’s saying is that he’s going to take a leave of absence from the presidency to become a full-time campaign shill. This isn’t really new. Last December his people said that he intends to spend more time campaigning. But this does present some problems. Does he think the country will just wait around for two months until he’s through politicking and returns to the Oval Office to see if he has any messages? Will Vlad know where to reach him? And when, for the love of God, will he have time for golf?

Why he needs to take these measures is puzzling. His rallies to date have been carbon copies of each other where he does and says virtually the same thing every time. It’s just like his Twitter endorsements of GOP hopefuls that are veritable robo-tweets on behalf of interchangeable Stepford Republicans. And for the most part, he’ll talk more about himself than the the candidate he’s suppoedly there to support. But he will play all the hits (“Crooked Hillary, Build the Wall,” and the epic “Witch Hunt”) while castigating the ever-present media as “the enemy of the people.” These affairs are so mindlessly repetitive that they could be performed with a mannequin and tape loops. And his glassy-eyed disciples wouldn’t know the difference.

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

However, at least the country will know where he is and that he won’t be able to do as much damage as he would while playing president and barking orders from the big chair in the Oval Office. And he won’t be cozying up to foreign dictators and selling out the country to our enemies. Of course, he could still relay messages to them from the stump, and they would be listening while waging another cyber war against America during an election. So we’ll have to alert wherever he is. Because we know that Trump and his lackeys won’t be.

Fox News Helps GOP Congresswoman Spread Debunked Lies that Obama Paid Iran $1.5 Billion

Just in case you were looking for another example of Fox News casting off all pretense of being an honest news enterprise, they provided an excellent one Thursday morning. Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends, invited Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney to discuss matters related to the Trump administration’s diplomatic agenda for Iran since Trump broke the agreement the United States made previously. And yes, that’s Dick Cheney’s daughter.

Fox News Friends

The segment began with Ainsley Earhardt reminding viewers that Donald Trump recently posted a deranged, all caps tweet that warned Iran to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.” It cannot be overstated that this was the President threatening the nuclear annihilation of men, women, and children, of a foreign adversary over mere words.

Much of the conversation centered on Cheney’s impressions of Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and his efforts to prevent Iran from advancing their nuclear ambitions. Of course, President Obama had already put an end to that prior to Trump blowing it up in his obsessive fetish to undo all things Obama. But Cheney was then asked specifically how the current administration’s approach to Iran differed from their predecessor. Which seems like a planted question that really had no purpose other than to bash Obama’s achievements. Cheney took full advantage of that saying:

“Oh it’s hugely different. If you look at the fact that Barack Obama paid $1.5 billion – U.S. taxpayer money – paid the Iranians to get them to enter into the nuclear agreement.”

The only problem with that response is that is utterly and provably false. PolitiFact, and every other fact-checker, has documented that the monies disbursed to Iran when the deal with the Obama administration (and by the way, six other nations) was executed, was Iran’s money to begin with. The U.S. was merely releasing funds that it had sequestered as part of the sanctions that were imposed on Iran in order to bring them to the negotiating table.

After Cheney made her wholly dishonest claim about these funds, Earhardt failed to challenge her or to let Fox’s viewers know that she was lying. So that false information was disseminated once again to Fox’s already ignorant and ill-informed viewers. And as if that weren’t enough, Fox News later posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter that featured Cheney’s remarks, but still didn’t point out that they were false. This is typical of Fox’s practice of mangling the news so that it misrepresents reality and feeds disinformation to an audience that can’t distinguish truth from fiction anyway.

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.

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.

Trump Today: Would Be Russia, Wouldn’t Be Russia, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Treason

Donald Trump held a brief press avail during a meeting with congressional Republicans on Tuesday afternoon. And he took the opportunity to attempt some damage control for what he did Monday when he blatantly sided with Vladimir Putin. But his explanation was one of the lamest walk-backs ever.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Trump’s adventures in damage control began with the false assertion that he has always supported the intelligence community. That is contradicted by dozens of statements over the past several months that explicitly reject their assessment of Russia’s election tampering and hacking.

“I’ll begin by saying that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that – and I’ve said this many times – that I accept our intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

First of all, Trump said that he now accepts the intelligence community’s conclusions. But in the same sentence he continues to latch onto the nonsense that there “could be other people.” That’s not the conclusion of the intelligence community. That’s Trump’s way of avoiding a full denouncement of his Russian handler, Vladimir Putin. He’s leaving Putin some wiggle room. But according to every U.S. agency with jurisdiction there was only one country that unlawfully attacked us during the 2016 presidential election.

Then Trump went into an explanation wherein he said that he was confused as to what the big deal was following the press conference. So he said that he got a transcript and discovered that he misspoke on a single word. And therefore, he wanted to make a clarification that he thought should have been obvious:

“In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it WOULDN’T be Russia.’ … Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.”

Trump’s claim that he misspoke when he said “would” is wholly unbelievable. Not only does it not change the context of his original remarks, it ignores the entirety of what he said Monday that he left uncorrected. His extensive comments during the Putin-Trump press conference were filled with references that steered culpability away from Russia. And changing one word leaves the rest of his treasonous comments unchanged and in effect. It doesn’t alter his stated opinion that “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

In addition to those pitiful pseudo-retractions, Trump once again went off about collusion, which he said there was none of, and that all the voices in his head agree with him. Then he launched another of his famous “Blame Obama” tirades where in he also lashed out at John Brennan and James Clapper – you know, intelligence officials – who Trump said were profiting from TV appearances. He accused them all of “burying” the election hacking story. Never mind that the Obama administration actually reacted appropriately, expelling dozens of Russian operatives, throwing them out of two compounds, and restricting visas for many more Russians not currently in the U.S. He would have done more, but GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell wouldn’t cooperate.

Finally, why would anyone believe Trump at this point? He doesn’t even believe himself. He had to read the whole statement from prepared remarks he was probably forced to make. And he stuttered through it like he had never seen it before. At one point he said that his administration would “repeal” Russia’s efforts to interfere with our upcoming elections. He meant “repel,” but pretended that he meant both.

What’s more, Trump’s original statement was so egregiously offensive that it produced immediate scorn from across the political spectrum. He would have known instantaneously that he made a terrible mistake, if it were a mistake. He had plenty of opportunities to issue a correction. He could have told Hannity during the interview he gave right after the Putin tryst. He could have used his preferred method of communications by tweeting a correction. His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who did reply to the commotion his comments made, might have told reporters then that he misspoke.

But none of those things were done. And twenty-four later he reads a ridiculous, alleged “clarification” that didn’t even alter the meaning of comment. Saying “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,” is not the same as saying “Russia did it, and they better not do it again.” In the end, Trump’s absurd excuse changed nothing at all, and his un-American actions are just as repugnant today as they were yesterday – and the days, weeks, and months before that.

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

The Sunday Morning Trump (Not So) Funnies: Donald Trump’s Senile Dementia Kicked in Bigly

This weekend Donald Trump massively accelerated the level of nonsense that has been the hallmark of his presidency. Among the cognitive lapses he displayed while embarrassing America in Europe were his defensive response to the indictment of twelve Russians for interfering with the 2016 presidential election, and his anti-First Amendment rebuke of the the “fake news” network CNN in favor of the “real” network, Fox News. But he was just getting started.

Donald Trump

There were several instances of acute mental confusion that Trump exhibited this weekend. But let’s begin with the most disturbing one, even though it may not be the most substantive. In an interview with British Trump-fluffer Piers Morgan, the President was asked “What is the incentive for America to do a great deal with the United Kingdom?” And this was Trump’s – – – answer?

“We would make a great deal with the United Kingdom because they have product that we like. I mean they have a lot of great product. They make phenomenal things, you know, and you have different names — you can say ‘England’, you can say ‘UK’, you can say ‘United Kingdom’ so many different — you know you have, you have so many different names – Great Britain. I always say: ‘Which one do you prefer? Great Britain?’ You understand what I’m saying?”

No. Nobody understands a single thing that you’re saying. But that’s only because you aren’t saying anything that is remotely intelligible. But other than that, it’s perfectly clear.

From there we go on to an interview Trump gave to CBS anchor Jeff Glor. Trump made several bits of “news” in this brief dialog. Like when he said that his father was born in the EU (Germany). Except that his father was born in New York. Trump will literally lie about anything. There are no limits to the outright absurdity of his frightening foolishness. For example:

GLOR: “What’s your goal from the Putin meeting?”
TRUMP: “I’ll let you know after the meeting.”

Well, that’s comforting. It shows how seriously Trump is taking this summit with the dictator of the nation that is occupying Crimea, helping Iran in Syria, and that attacked America’s democracy. And then there’s this:

GLOR: “The Russians who were indicted. Would you ask Putin to send them here?”
TRUMP: “Well I might. I hadn’t thought of that. But again — this was during the Obama administration.”

He hadn’t thought of the most obvious response to a historic indictment of a foreign nation’s criminal cyberwar against the United States? What the hell is he thinking of? Pee-pee tapes? And even after being given the idea, Trump still only says that he “might” bring it up. Then he goes on to blame President Obama for the whole mess. It may have happened DURING the Obama administration, but it was being done FOR (and with?) the Trump campaign. And then there’s this:

TRUMP: “I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked. But I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans too, but — and this may be wrong — but they had much stronger defenses.”

So now the DNC is responsible for Putin’s hacking of Democrats on behalf of Donald Trump. Classic “blaming the victim.” And Trump has the audacity to make this allegation even while admitting that “this may be wrong.” What sober-minded world leader would say things publicly that he doesn’t know are true? BTW, according to the Justice Department, the GOP was hacked, so their defenses were no better than the DNC. But Russia was only using hacked info against the Democrats. Whatever they hacked from Republicans is probably being used to blackmail Trump. And then there’s this:

GLOR: “Who is your biggest competitor? Your biggest foe globally right now?”
TRUMP: “Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.”

Indeed, we do have a lot of foes. Especially many of our former allies since Trump took office. But the first one he thinks of to mention is the European Union? Certainly not China, or North Korea, or Iran. And as for Russia, last week Trump referred to Putin only as a competitor, saying explicitly that he was “not my enemy.” Trump even went out of his way to congratulate Russia on Twitter Sunday morning. But the EU is a foe? And then there’s this:

TRUMP (On UK protests): “There are many, many protests in my favor.”

Um OK.

Following the Putin/Trump performance review on Monday, Trump is now scheduled for a lavish tongue bathing by Fox News shills Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Because who else would he turn to? And Vladimir Putin will also be visiting Fox News for an interview with Chris Wallace. So it’s an all-Fox, All Russia, all Trump festival of flagrant propaganda. I can hardly wait.

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

Fox News Buries Bombshell on Trump’s Fixer Michael Cohen – Posts Fake Obama/Iran Story Instead

On Monday morning there was one big story that was dominating the news. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s attorney – and self-described fixer – was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos for ABC News. In the interview Cohen pretty clearly indicated that he was no longer willing to “take a bullet” for Trump. He told Stephanopoulos that “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will.”

Fox News, Michael Cohen, Obama

This development is properly being handled like the bombshell that it is by most of the media. Cohen’s additional announcement that he will no longer participate in a joint defense agreement with Trump is generally regarded as a prelude to flipping on the President and cooperating with prosecutors. Even Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News said Trump should have some “sleepless nights” over this.

However, if you were to visit the Fox News website Monday morning you would have had a hard time finding anything related to this blockbuster story. A long scroll down the front page would have eventually brought you to a single line on the subject that linked to a two minute video clip. Later in the day that was replaced by the Napolitano quote. And on the air, Fox News covered the story on Outnumbered in a segment that cast Cohen as “not credible” because he was “going against” the President. Apparently on Fox News that’s all you need to know to be considered not credible.

Meanwhile, the Fox News website chose to put a story at the top of their page that was somewhat less timely. The headline: “Path to Citizenship? Powerful cleric claims Obama naturalized thousands of Iranian VIPs during nuke talks.” Fox had to reach back three years to pull this story out of the woodwork. And it was still just a jumble of fiercely spinning jabs at President Obama. None of them hit their mark because they were so far fetched and thinly argued. The article said that:

“The Obama administration granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians, including family members of government officials, while negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, a senior cleric and member of parliament has claimed.

“Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, who is chairman of Iran’s parliamentary nuclear committee and a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee, made the allegations during an interview with the country’s Etemad newspaper, cited by the country’s Fars News agency.

“He claimed it was done as a favor to senior Iranian officials linked to President Hassan Rouhani, and he alleged the move sparked a competition among Iranian officials over whose children would benefit from the scheme.”

First of all, everything being reported here is coming from Iran’s state news operation and a hardliner within the Iranian government. For some reason Fox News is granting them the journalistic legitimacy that they would never give to the New York Times, or CNN. But more to the point, the article actually outlines a story wherein Obama allowed Iranian dissidents to emigrate to the United States where they are reportedly working against the national interests of the theocratic, totalitarians in Iran. But that isn’t revealed until much further down in the article:

“[Zolnour] estimated that between 30 and 60 were studying in the U.S. while the rest of them were working in the country ‘against our national interests.'”

So Fox News is deliberately trying to cast Obama in a negative light as having done favors for the offspring of Iranian dictators. But the truth is that he was securing the freedom of Iranian dissidents who oppose the current regime. And this fake news story was elevated to the top of the page, even while the much more consequential (and truthful) story about Michael Cohen was virtually eliminated. It’s kind of ironic that Fox is offering this lesson in how State TV works in an article about Iran’s state TV. Fox News can teach Iran so much about propaganda.

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

UPDATE: By Monday afternoon Fox News had replaced their Obama/Iran feature story with one about California splitting into three states. That may be even less newsworthy (and extremely unlikely to happen) than the Iran story. And still just one small link to Cohen, this one linking to a video clip with Shepard Smith.