Happy Easter from Donald Trump During a Pandemic

On this holy day for America’s Christian faithful, Donald Trump has spent the day demonstrating just how important the holiday is to him.

Donald Trump, Twitter

As usual, Trump was manning his Twitter machine and blasting out a flurry of frantic tweets that mainly expressed his rage and hostility and ignorance. It’s hardly what you would call piety. For instance…

Congress was too distracted? Trump himself said he was too distracted to deal with the coronavirus. In other words, he was admitting that he chose to prioritize his impeachment over the lives of the American people.

This is Trump celebrating that there are disaster declarations in all 50 states. That isn’t winning. By definition, it’s a disaster! But Trump’s mind was on his mortal enemy, the free press.

Trump, who said that he takes no responsibility for the management of the coronavirus crisis is shifting that responsibility to others.

For the record, there was no China ban. More than 40,000 came into the country after the alleged ban. Also, Trump just retweeted a message advocating that he fire Dr. Anthony Fauci.

To be clear, Trump is “working hard” to slander the media for telling the truth about him. He warned us that he would do this. When asked by Lesley Stahl why he attacked the press, he replied “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all, and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” And there you have it. That’s Easter in the Trump White House.

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

Fox News Reminds Kellyanne Conway that Trump is a Serial Sexual Predator

There are innumerable reasons to be disgusted by Donald Trump. He is an unapologetic racist who praised neo-Nazis as “very fine people.”. He ripped babies from their parents arms and warehoused them in cages. He gushes affection for hostile foreign dictators. He maligns his critics as “enemies of America.” And he lies with every breath he takes.

Kellyanne Conway, Fox News

Those atrocities only scratch the surface of Trump’s loathsome character (or lack thereof). But high on the list of his noxious behaviors has to be his abusive treatment of women. It’s an appalling fact of the Era of Trump that a political figure can be charged with committing dozens of sexual assaults and not be punished or cast out of public life. A new book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator,” documents 43 new allegations against Trump. But somehow Trump has gotten away with all of this as new scandals emerge every day to wipe the previous ones from the public’s mind.

On Sunday morning, however, there was a reminder from an unexpected source. During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Trump’s most prolific media shill, Kellyanne Conway, encountered an inconvenient question from host Chris Wallace. In an exchange that raised the issue of alleged sexual misconduct at Michael Bloomberg’s company, Wallace challenged the hypocritical double standards from the Trump camp (video below):

Wallace: Is it fair game for President Trump when he’s made sexist comments too?
Conway: Oh please. First of all, I’ve been working by his side for four years. He’s the best boss I’ve ever had.
Wallace: There are plenty of people who would say the same thing about Michael Bloomberg. Is this any worse than the “Access Hollywood” tape?
Conway: It’s far worse. Oh my goodness, it’s far worse. And by the way, that was fully litigated. That happened October seventh. He won a month later.

First of all, Conway is lying (surprise). The matter of Trump’s confession that he assaulted women was never litigated. And, as Wallace pointed out, his election doesn’t negate that it happened.

More to the point, Trump’s remarks on the “Access Hollywood” recording are not merely “sexist comments.” They are admissions from his own mouth that he committed criminal sexual assault. And he did so because he considered himself entitled to, as a celebrity. But Conway thinks that sexual harassment in the workplace is “far worse” than repeatedly physically attacking women, bragging about it, and feeling no inhibition about doing it again.

The American people must never forget that Donald Trump is a repugnant and unrepentant abuser of women. It should remain a campaign issue in 2020. If the careers of Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Matt Lauer, and so many others can be ended for this conduct, then why should Trump be exempt from any consequences. If anything, he should be be more accountable due to his prominent place in American society and culture.

Furthermore, Trump’s sycophantic mouthpieces should be equally culpable when the appear on television defending his abhorrent behavior. Conway and the rest of Trump’s apologists need to be tarred with the same brush. They are enabling Trump’s vile activities and those of all who would follow his lead. They are all equally responsible for the harm done to innocent people. And they must be made to pay, politically, socially, and legally.

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

Crybaby Trump Wants to Know: ‘What the Hell Has Happened to Fox News?’

Every now and then, Donald Trump becomes despondent over the fact that he is not blindly worshiped by everyone in the known universe. His typically vicious response to that is to lash out at whoever he regards as being insufficiently adoring. Occasionally that happens to be his State TV Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Strange

Trump is currently exhibiting signs of the enormous burden that weighs on him as the Senate hears the case for removing him from office. He is tweeting more frequently and more furiously, with rage-filled outbursts aimed at his perceived enemies. Among them is his former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, whose new book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” affirms that Trump extorted Ukraine to get dirt on Joe Biden. That’s actually something that Trump himself admitted.

However, on Tuesday morning Trump took a wild swing at the TV “news” network that has been his staunchest defender throughout his presidency. This is not the first time that Trump has gone after Fox News, but it’s a significant slap in the face to those who are working hardest at disseminating his disinformation during the Senate impeachment trial. He tweeted that it’s…

So Trump begins this tantrum by whining that Fox News interviewed the Senator from Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, who Trump alleges has no name after citing it in his tweet. Van Hollen had an appropriately stinging reply:

Don’t hold your breath. Apparently Trump believes that Fox should ban all Democrats from their network and only interview Trump-fluffing Republicans and other Fox Newsers. And in an immediate contradiction, he seems to think that Fox should have hosted a Democratic primary debate.

Continuing on this tirade against his sycophantic Fox friends, Trump posited a rather peculiar question: “What the hell has happened to Fox News?” And he replies to his own query with an even more peculiar answer: “Only I know!” He doesn’t bother to elaborate on what he allegedly “knows” about Fox. So he will continue to be the only one who knows. But he does single some of those on the network that he is most upset with, including Chris Wallace and the now departed Shepard Smith. Trump’s concern for Shep’s well being is touching. If he’s really interest, he should know that Shep is waiting for his non-compete clause to expire, whereupon he will surely sign a lucrative deal with another network.

Finally, Trump predicts a dire future for the network that employs his most fervent StormTrumpers. People like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Steve Doocy, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, and so many more. He predicts that this is “the beginning of the end for Fox.” That would strike many Americans as a positive development. But it’s difficult to imagine where Trump’s army of media shills would land if their Fox bunker were to collapse.

Not to worry. Like everything else Trump says, none of this is true, particularly the part about the networks that are “dying in the ratings.” Actually, all of the cable news networks are enjoying a banner year with high viewership and revenue. But Trump never lets facts get in the way of his raging animus or massive ego. Consequently, he has aimed his anger at Fox many times when he felt that they weren’t sucking up hard enough (here are some examples of his frothing hostilities).

As the Senate impeachment trial proceeds, it’s likely that Trump will get even more disturbed. There is also a likelihood of additional incriminating evidence coming out. And the case for the Senate calling witnesses became much stronger following the Bolton revelations. So look for Trump to escalate his whining and cries of victimhood, something that he takes enormous pride in. And prepare for more griping about Fox and the rest of media, which he still says he doesn’t understand.

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

It’s a Crime! Fox News Anchors Tell the Truth About Trump’s Witness Intimidation

On Friday the Congressional hearing on Donald Trump’s impeachment continued with the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine. Most observers have noted that Yovanovitch is a respected diplomat whose decades of service to the country reflect her honor and honesty. That opinion, however, is not shared by the President, whose nasty animosity is starkly contrary to the consensus of those who know her and her work.

Fox News, Impeach Trump

While the hearing was in progress, Trump demonstrated his deep-seated fear of the consequences of Yovanovitch’s truthful and credible testimony. True to form, Trump grabbed his Twitter machine and lashed out savagely at her in a loathsome attempt to discredit an honorable public servant. Trump tweeted that…

First of all, the fact that Yovanovitch voluntarily served in “hardship” posts (or what Trump might call shithole countries) is evidence of her patriotism and commitment to the advancement of our national interests. She was not responsible for the adversity in those countries. To the contrary, she could be credited with mitigating the chaos and suffering they endured over many years prior to her tenure.

Trump’s tweets can only be interpreted as intending to intimidate this witness and discourage other witnesses from coming forward. It is a corrupt and potentially illegal act that exposes his consciousness of guilt and further incriminates him. That view is surprisingly shared by the principle “news” anchors at Fox News. Bret Baier was asked for his assessment immediately following the first session on the hearing. He said that…

“This whole hearing turned on a dime when the President tweeted about her real time. And during the questioning Adam Schiff stopped the Democratic questioning to read the President’s tweet to her and get her response. That enabled Schiff to then characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness, or tampering with the witness, which is a crime. Adding, essentially, an article of impeachment real time as this hearing is going on.

Not only did Baier identify the potential criminality embedded in Trump’s disparaging and threatening tweet, but he recognized that having tweeted while the hearing was still in progress was an unusual interruption that had a profound and improper impact. And he wasn’t alone. Fox’s Chris Wallace also commented on Yovanovitch’s testimony saying that “if you are not moved… by the testimony of Marie Yovanovich, you don’t have a pulse.” He went on to deliver a brief history of her sterling career with the State Department. And then he added that…

“I agree with Bret here that the really dramatic moment is that this wasn’t just testimony about the past. This played out in real time with the president attacking her and saying that every place that she served went bad. And she was asked by Adam Schiff, ‘Do you see that as an effort to intimidate you and other witnesses?’ And she said that ‘I feel that is quite intimidating.’ And that does raise the possibility of witness intimidation and witness tampering as a new charge here.”

It was not, however, all hearts and flowers at Fox News. Yovanovitch has been bitterly attacked by the usual suspects during Fox’s primetime (Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham) and their morning propaganda block (Fox and Friends, Outnumbered). Wallace alluded to this when he spoke of the “smear campaign that came from Rudy Giuliani and some of his cohorts and was repeated in some of the outlets in right-wing media.” What Wallace didn’t acknowledge is that Fox News is the most prominent of those right-wing media outlets that smeared her. And we can expect that to continue despite these rare and candid comments from Baier and Wallace.

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

UPDATE: As Fox took a break from the hearing, their senior Capitol Hill producer made the utterly irrelevant observation that “When we look at the U.S. Constitution and look at Article 2, Section 4, it doesn’t say anything about witness intimidation.” Of course it doesn’t. It also doesn’t say anything about murder, rape, bank fraud, perjury (see Bill Clinton), tax evasion, child pornography, cannibalism, etc. The Constitution never intended to itemize every possible illegal act that would warrant impeachment.

Trump’s Retreat on Hosting the G7 at Doral Exposes His Inherent Corruption and Weakness

One of the key characteristics that Donald Trump has tried hard to impress on the public is that he is a strong man (a strongman?) who will not bend to pressure. To that end he doubles and triples down on his most ludicrous rhetoric and policies, he refuses to ever concede that he’s wrong, and he hails is own wisdom and superiority over virtually everyone. But that conceit often ends up with Trump drowning in his own flop sweat.

Donald Trump Sweating

Returning to reality, Trump’s actual record paints a picture of a much weaker man with barely any observable conviction to anything. He reverses himself regularly, sometimes in the space of a single sentence, denying something he just finished saying. And the controversy over his recent decision to line his own pockets by hosting the 2020 G7 summit at his own bedbug infested Doral golf resort is another example of the fallacies embedded in his wholly manufactured persona.

Less than a week ago, Trump sent his Chief of Shill, Mick Mulvaney, out to announce and defend Trump’s intention to violate the Constitution by directing business to his own property and collect payments from foreign governments. It didn’t go well. Mulvaney was grilled by reporters who understood that what he was proposing was illegal. And the pushback from both politicians and the press was immediate and brutal. Consequently, Trump flip-flopped and declared that Doral would not be the site for the next G7 meeting.

Trump made this U-turn on Twitter (of course) in an historic 3-tweet retreat. And what it told us about him is significant and troubling.

First of all, while Trump will gladly take credit for anything he regards as positive, even when he’s had nothing to do with it, he is notably unable to take responsibility for any of his own failures. So he cast this G7/Doral debacle as being the fault of “Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.” If you take him at his word (never a smart move), there’s a notable confession in that blame-letting. He is ostensibly admitting that he had to back down because the media and the Democrats are stronger than he is. That’s not the image that he generally pretends to put forward.

In reality, Trump caved because his nannies were able to convince him that openly breaching constitutional law isn’t a good idea, especially when you’re being impeached. Trump didn’t bow to the media or the Democrats. He bowed to Fox News, his motley crue of lawyers, and his fellow Republicans, who were in open revolt on this as well as Trump’s disasters in Syria and Ukraine. They all surely told him that he’d lose this battle so he abruptly surrendered. But he impotently threw little pebbles at his perceived enemies as he ran away.

In addition to his about-face on the hosting, Trump’s tweets managed to include a blatantly crass infomercial for his Miami golf club. He described it as “big [and] grand,” and with “tremendous ballrooms.” And he maligned virtually every other American hotel and conference center by bragging that his is “better than other alternatives.” You have to wonder what the rest of the hospitality industry must have been thinking. But leave it to Trump to use his defeat as a wholly inappropriate opportunity to promote his business. And Mulvaney even told Chris Wallace of Fox News that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”

Trump also exploited this affair to promote himself (surprise). He tweeted that he thought he was “doing something very good for our Country” by unlawfully enriching himself. And he praised his selfless sense of charity for offering up his resort “at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.” Of course, this deal would have brought Doral millions of dollars that would have rescued the failing resort, particularly during the summer months when no one is visiting Florida and his club is mostly vacant. And that isn’t even counting the promotional benefit.

No matter how you slice it, Trump is guilty of improper financial self-dealing. He was guilty before this, and he’s guilty now. Just because this deal didn’t go through doesn’t mean Trump didn’t set out to break the law. If you plot to rob a bank, but when you get there the security guard stops you, you’re still a bank robber. So despite his walk-back, Trump’s actions are still condemnable and impeachable. And he must be held accountable to the full extent of the law for this as well as the multitude of other impeachable crimes he’s committed.

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

UNFIT: Trump Okays Strike on Iran Without a Casualty Assessment, and Other Unpresidential Acts

There has been frequent speculation about the shaky temperament of Donald Trump and his mental unfitness for the office of the presidency. This has been observed in his pathological lying, infantile name-calling, nerve-rattling ignorance, affinity for murderous dictators, aversion to American intelligence agencies, and brazen disrespect for the law.

Donald Trump

Nevertheless, Trump continues to provide more evidence of how pitifully incompetent and unprepared he is for the duty he’s assumed. The latest demonstration of that is his response to the charge that Iran shot down an American drone. His first comment on the matter was (naturally) a threatening tweet that said only that “Iran made a very big mistake!” However, he followed that up by suggesting that he literally believes that what Iran did was accidental. Which makes his decision to strike back with military force (for an accident?) somewhat peculiar. But no more peculiar than his reversal of that decision, which he explained in another series of tweets. Let’s examine this tweetstorm:


Obama did not “give” money to Iran. Trump is referring to money that was Iran’s to begin with. It had been frozen in foreign accounts. Obama’s deal released the funds upon completion of the nuclear agreement. Also, Obama did not give Iran a “free path to nuclear weapons.” He secured a decades-long prohibition of further development of their nuclear capabilities which at the time were within a year of completing a functional weapon. Trump’s knee-jerk blaming of Obama is ironic considering that Trump had falsely accused him of plotting to attack Iran nine times before he was president.

Trump complaining about the nuclear agreement with Iran not being ratified by Congress is laughable considering his proclivity for executive orders and appointments of numerous “acting” cabinet officials (ominously including Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, and U.N. Ambassador) who have never been confirmed by the Senate. And Trump’s claim that Iran is now “Bust!” doesn’t jibe with reality. There’s no evidence that their military capabilities have been reduced in any way.


This first tweet contains several notable rhetorical errors. First of all, all drones are unmanned. Secondly, “International Waters” is not a pronoun. Third, it’s “locked and loaded” not “cocked.” Fourth, it’s “sites,” not “sights.”

More importantly, if it’s true that Trump approved a military strike, but only asked for a casualty assessment ten minutes before it began, he is even more disengaged and incompetent as Commander-in-Chief than we thought. However, casualty assessments are routinely given during mission briefings, and reports say this one was no exception. So Trump is likely lying about when he learned of the potential fatalities. Even Chris Wallace of Fox News was curious why Trump didn’t ask that question sooner, prompting him to wonder if Trump “has the stomach to launch this kind of attack.”

Trump often says that he has “rebuilt” the military which he describes disparagingly as having been “depleted.” In doing so, he is insulting every American officer and soldier who served prior to his election. Never mind the fact that his demeaning assertion is wholly unfounded.

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

Taken in total, these tweets are nothing more than Trump seeking to excuse his inadequacies, assign blame to others, and exalt himself as a national savior. They do nothing to advance a solution to rising tensions in the Middle East (which he has exacerbated), or to protect America’s interests. Like just about everything else he does, it was focused solely on glorifying himself and canonizing the image that he wants others to have of him. Unfortunately for Trump, that will only work on the glassy-eyed Deplorables that make up his cult following.

Fox News Riles Big Baby Trump By Hosting Buttigieg Town Hall Rather than More Trump-Fluffing

For anyone who isn’t yet convinced that Fox News is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Cult Enterprises (or maybe vice versa), Donald Trump has helped to affirm this fact himself. In a pair of tweets that reveal just how tightly integrated they are, the reality TV president made it clear that there should be no wavering on Fox’s mission to prop up all things Trump. And that also means shunning non-Trump news.

Fox News Friends

When Pete Buttigieg agreed to appear on Fox News for a town hall, he articulated his justifications for doing so. They were essentially the same as those by other Democrats who mistakenly believe that there is some merit to lending their credibility to a propaganda outfit that hasn’t earned it and doesn’t deserve it. In short, they argue that they need to reach out to Fox’s viewers. But there are other venues to communicate with any Fox viewer who isn’t devoutly pro-Trump. And those who are need not be bothered with. In the meantime, it’s counterproductive to help Fox earn more respect and revenue with which they will trash Democrats.

Nevertheless, Buttigieg showed up for the town hall ready to address what was expected to be an unfriendly encounter. Surprisingly, the audience was fairly receptive to his remarks. In particular they applauded vigorously when he said of Trump’s vile and infantile antics that “It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away.” He also enjoyed a standing ovation at the end that caught anchor Chris Wallace off guard.

But Trump’s reaction to this program was somewhat different. He angrily tweeted that it’s:

Trump is giving away the propaganda game here. He is complaining that Fox News had the audacity to cover someone running for president other than the officially designated candidate of the Fox Nationalist Party. He did exactly the same thing following the Bernie Sanders town hall on Fox. According to Trump, just giving a Democrat one hour out of twenty-four is evidence that the network is “moving to the wrong side.” Even that phrasing indicates Trump’s impression is that Fox News is on his side and against his enemies.

Trump segues from that nonsense to taking a swipe at Wallace who he says “never speaks well of me.” Setting aside the fact that that’s patently false, a more interesting fact is that Trump is so scared of Wallace that he’s never granted him an interview as President. Which is ironic since the rightists in Fox World are always accusing Democrats of fearing Fox. The truth is just the opposite. Media Matters has done the research and found that Democrats appear on Fox News far more often than Republicans appear on CNN or MSNBC.

So what did Buttigieg gain by submitting to Fox? He earned a rebuke from Fox for having done so. The following morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends tore into Buttigieg for speaking candidly about what happens “when you see what goes on with some opinion hosts on this network.” He elaborated saying…

“I mean when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty, when you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers and children in cages to summer camps, then there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem.”

That drew the ire of Fox’s Brian Kilmeade who went on an extended rant where in warned prospective Fox guests that they shouldn’t show up if they intend to speak their minds and tell the truth:

“Don’t hop on our channel and continue to put down the other hosts on the channel. If you feel that negative about it, don’t come.”

Perhaps Fox News should publish a guidebook outlining what is and isn’t allowed to be said on their network. Because if you say anything the least bit critical you’re scolded and maligned for having “absolutely no courage” despite your presence in their studio. Then, for good measure, Kilmeade went on to lie about Trump’s tax cuts which Buttigieg correctly said benefited the wealthy. Kilmeade disputed that saying that the cuts were aimed at corporations (Is that better, or even different?) and that “the smallest tax cut was for those who pay the most.”

All of these lies and insults took place the morning after the Buttigieg town hall. They were done without giving Buttigieg an opportunity to respond. There was no Democratic voice on to set the Foxies straight. And the Buttigieg bashing continued on Fox News throughout the rest of the morning broadcasts and surely continued for the remainder of the day.

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

So how exactly did the hour that Buttigieg got justify the countless hours of attacks and lies? The lesson from both Sanders and Buttigieg is that doing these Fox town halls only sets you up for attacks without providing any benefit whatsoever. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have stated publicly that they will not be submitting to Fox. The rest of the Democratic field should take heed and do the same.

Trump’s Lies About China Paying Tariffs Gets Fact-Checked Live – On Fox News!

America is currently suffering through a historically unique period wherein it is being misled on a daily basis by both it’s president and the State TV network (aka Fox News) that is propping him up. Donald Trump has been documented to have told more than 10,000 lies since his inauguration. And the pace of those falsehoods is increasing as he gets ever more desperate due to the unfolding web of criminality that he is frantically trying to cover up.

Donald Trump

The risk this poses for the country is significant. Trump doesn’t care how dishonest his impotent rants are, so long as they provide a distraction from his impending legal jeopardy. And he doesn’t even care if they introduce threats of war or other serious harm to the nation – and the world. Representative of that reckless disregard for the welfare millions is an entirely manufactured economic crisis that Trump has latched onto with fanatical fury. His shameless ignorance of economic and fiscal affairs is the real crisis that America faces.

Last week Trump threatened China with increased tariffs if they didn’t capitulate to demands that Trump seems obsessed with but refuses to specify. He tweeted repeatedly that China would suffer if they didn’t comply, throwing the stock market into a tizzy that produced a 600 point drop. Trump believes (or pretends to) that the tariffs he seeks to impose would be paid by China. Probably around the same time that Mexico pays for his idiotic border/vanity wall. He even said that the tariffs would be more financially advantageous than actual trade with China.

Every economist with a pulse knows that tariffs are not paid by countries. They are paid by the importing businesses (i.e. U.S. companies), and those costs are generally passed on to U.S. consumers. It’s a de facto tax that would burden every American family. Nevertheless, Trump tweeted or retweeted his ignorant assertions twenty-six times just in the past week. He is apparently impervious to the facts and logic associated with this (or any) issue.

On Sunday morning Trump’s stubbornness was brought into the spotlight by his favorite “news” network Fox News. His Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was interviewed by Chris Wallace, when the subject of tariffs came up. Kudlow tried to obediently tow the Trump line, but his embarrassing failure to do so resulted in this exchange (video below):

Wallace: It’s not China that pays tariffs. It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what is, in effect, a tax increase, and oftentimes passes it on to U.S. consumers.
Kudlow: Fair enough. In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.
Wallace: But the tariffs on goods coming into the country, the Chinese aren’t paying.
Kudlow: No but the Chinese will suffer GDP losses and so forth, with respect to a diminishing export market and goods that they may need…
Wallace: I understand that. But the President says that China pays the tariffs. They may suffer consequences, but it’s U.S. businesses and U.S. consumers who pay, correct?
Kudlow: Yes, to some extent. I don’t disagree with that. Again, both sides will suffer on this.

First of all, as Wallace pointed out, whether or not China suffers GDP losses is a completely different question than who pays the tariffs. And Trump said explicitly that China’s “massive payments go directly to the Treasury of the U.S.” That’s a lie that even Kudlow couldn’t support. Trump also said that “Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker.” Which Kudlow unequivocally contradicted by saying that “both sides will suffer on this.”

That last comment should ring in the ears of all Americans. Trump’s chief economic advisor admitted on national television that Trump is causing the U.S. to suffer. Many Americans already know that. Particularly the farmers who have already been hurt so badly by Trump’s tariffs that he had to promise them a bailout paid for by every other American.

And you can add to the list of sufferers all of those impacted by Trump’s sabotage of ObamaCare; those dealing with the effects of natural disasters, especially in Puerto Rico; those whose wages have been stagnant for years as Trump’s Republican Nationalist Party opposed increasing the minimum wage; and those residing on a planet that is rapidly deteriorating due to deliberate abuse in pursuit of profit. When it comes to making other people suffer, Donald Trump can finally take credit for really being the best at something.

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

Fox News is Referenced in the Mueller Report Four Times, and Each Makes Trump Look Worse

With the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report by Donald Trump’s plant in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, there is going to be a flurry of furious spinning by Trump’s devoted martinets in the right-wing press. Trump himself will continue his frantic robo-rant of “no collusion, no obstruction,” as he has been doing for months.

Fox News, Robert Mueller

Naturally, Fox News will assume its predictable role as the main line of defense for Trump. They will focus exclusively on any positive angles among the vague interpretations of Mueller’s report offered by Barr or other Republican partisans. And they will brazenly ignore anything in the report that is remotely detrimental to Trump, of which there is a significant amount. Even Chris Wallace of Fox News noted that “There is a lot of stuff in here that is damaging to the president, politically embarrassing to the president.”

However, Fox News itself had a place in the Mueller report with four references to Trump’s State TV affiliate. The following passages from the report illustrate just how deeply integrated Fox is with Trump and his associates. For instance:

Page 70:

“That night, the White House Press Office called the Department of Justice and said the White House wanted to put out a statement saying that it was Rosenstein’s idea to fire Comey. Rosenstein told other DOJ officials that he would not participate in putting out a ‘false story.’ The President then called Rosenstein directly and said he was watching Fox News, that the coverage had been great, and that he wanted Rosenstein to do a press conference. Rosenstein responded that this was not a good idea because if the press asked him, he would tell the truth that Comey’s firing was not his idea.”

What we have here is Trump keeping tabs on the investigation by watching Fox News, and then trying to get Deputy AG Rosenstein to lie for him about FBI Director James Comey’s firing. That’s obstruction of justice right there. The fact that Rosenstein refused doesn’t make Trump’s attempt any less illegal. And then there’s this:

Page 99:

“[Reince] Priebus recalled learning about the June 9 meeting from Fox News host Sean Hannity in late June 2017. Priebus notified one of the President’s personal attorneys, who told Priebus he was already working on it. By late June, several advisors recalled receiving media inquiries that could relate to the June 9 meeting.”

It’s rather remarkable that Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, found out about the infamous Trump Tower meeting (with Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and some Russian operatives) only by watching Fox News. That’s how out-of-the-loop Trump’s closest White House aide was, but also how integral Fox News is to Trump’s affairs. And that’s not all:

Page 126:

“In a Fox News interview on August 22, 2018, the President said: ‘[Cohen] makes a better deal when he uses me, like everybody else. And one of the reasons l respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial-you know they make up stories. People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping. The President said that flipping was ‘not fair’ and ‘almost ought to be outlawed.'”

In this “interview” with the unabashedly pro-Trump “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, Trump is laying the groundwork for threats directed at his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, while simultaneously praising his more loyal campaign chairman, Manafort. This is a fairly clumsy attempt at witness tampering. Which he did some more of here:

Page 151:

“In January 2019, after the media reported that Cohen would provide public testimony in a congressional hearing, the President made additional public comments suggesting that Cohen’s family members had committed crimes. In an interview on Fox on January 12, 2019, the President was asked whether he was worried about Cohen’s testimony and responded:

‘[I]n order to get his sentence reduced, [Cohen] says “I have an idea, I’ll ah, tell-I’ll give you some information on the president.” Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law because that’s the one that people want to look at because where does that money-that’s the money in the family.'”

Trump made these accusations during an interview with his adoring acolyte, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. They were directed against Cohen’s family as a flagrant attempt to scare him into keeping his mouth shut.

It’s hard to see why Mueller didn’t think he had sufficient evidence to indict Trump, or at least to recommend that Congress take up an inquiry that could lead to impeachment. And as guilty as Trump now appears to be, it’s plain that Fox News was a willing accomplice every step of the way. It is not insignificant that Fox was referenced four times in the report. They were further included in twenty-seven footnotes. No other national news network was referenced in the body of the report even once. What does that tell you?

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

To Sarah Sanders: If Congress is Too Dumb to Understand Trump’s Taxes, Releasing Them Can’t Hurt

Donald Trump’s media relations have been a case study in both a totalitarian hostility toward the free press and a narcissist’s obsession for attention and adulation. He has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” while lashing out personally at journalists and networks that he doesn’t think are sufficiently adoring.

Donald Trump

Trump’s White House has all but abandoned the daily press briefings that every other president in modern times has held. But he continues to send his press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, out to the same TV news networks that he maligns. While there she does nothing but disseminate flagrant lies, packaged propaganda, and irrational defenses of her bosses many offensive utterances. Case in point: Sanders went on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to try to shore another bad week for Trump. When the subject turned to the President’s stubborn refusal to release his tax returns, Sanders let this bull fly (video below):

“Frankly, Chris, I don’t think Congress – particularly not this group of congressmen and women – are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be.”

Seriously? Trump’s first responses to this question were promises that he would release his taxes and would be happy and proud to do so. That later shifted to a lie about being audited, which he said prevented him from releasing his returns. It doesn’t. Most recently he has just declared that he isn’t going to do it under any circumstances. Which should cause any thoughtful citizen to wonder why he’s lied for so long and what terrible things he is trying to hide?

But for Sanders to make such a vicious ad hominem attack on the entire institution of Congress only escalates the suspicions that Americans should have. After all, it is the job of Congress to conduct oversight on matters like this, and many members have professional experience and training in economics. The insult by Sanders is just a lame attempt to avoid the real issues that concern Trump’s corruption and nefarious business relations that may include Russians.

If Sanders thinks Congress is too dumb to comprehend Trump’s taxes, why does the White House she represents think they are capable of developing a new healthcare plan; or ratifying international treaties; or passing Trump’s Tax Scam; or regulating everything from energy to banks to defense policy? Her scattershot slander only reinforces this administration’s aversion to the American ideal of democratic self-rule. According to Trump World, we’re all too stupid to be allowed any such privilege.

However, if Sanders really believes what she’s saying, then why would she have any objection to Trump’s taxes being released right now? After all, Congress won’t be able to understand them, so what’s the harm? In reality, this is just another example of projection by Trump and company. This is a man so inept that he bankrupted four casinos. He is the one who is so painfully idiotic that he can’t comprehend even simple matters, particularly about the economy. Take for instance his Sunday morning tweet about the Federal Reserve Board:

None of that is true. It’s pure fantasy to suggest that the Dow would be 10,000 points higher, even if the Fed did what Trump wants. But they can’t do it because lowering interests rates when the economy is already overheated would result in inflation and a massive stock selloff as investors sell equities and shift into bonds. What’s more, if a recession should result (a real probability), there would be no way to mitigate its harm by lowering interest rates further. It’s a recipe for a depression. But that’s where this administration is determined to take us. They just hope it occurs after a Democrat is elected next year so they have someone else to blame.

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