Hannity and Dershowitz Display Their Utter Ignorance and Disrespect for the Constitution

On Wednesday Donald Trump announced that he intends to file a lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, Google, and their executives for not allowing him to disseminate dangerously inflammatory lies. It’s a laughably pathetic legal stunt populated by a clown show of disreputable attorneys making preposterous arguments.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Trump’s lawsuit has been recognized by most legal experts as a frivolous abuse of the court system that is aimed more at fleecing his cult followers than prevailing in court. But undeterred by rational legal analysis, Fox News jumped eagerly into supporting Trump’s futile legal antics. On Wednesday evening Sean Hannity invited Alan Dershowitz to comment on the litigation. Dershowitz was a member of Trump’s impeachment defense team, so his prejudices and intellectual deficiencies are apparent. However, he was truly skirting the edges of coherence when he engaged in this exchange with Hannity:

Hannity: Seems like a strong case. But obviously nothing is a slam dunk.
Dershowitz: This is the most important First Amendment case of the 21st century, and it’s important because it pits freedom of speech on the one hand against the First Amendment on the other hand. That may sound paradoxical, but remember, it’s the high tech giants that are banning freedom of speech. They are censoring. But they are claiming the right to do so under the First Amendment. So they’re using the First Amendment as a sword against freedom of speech.

First of all, Hannity’s assertion that Trump has a “strong case” is contrary to reality. Not only does the case fail on legal grounds, it was filed in in the wrong jurisdiction – Florida rather than California – and may be dismissed on that alone. That’s just more proof that this is a charade for profit and that Trump and his lawyers don’t have any real intention of winning.

As for Dershowitz, he is making it hard to believe that he was ever regarded as a constitutional scholar. He began his remarks by portraying the case as “the most important First Amendment case of the 21st century,” when it isn’t actually a First Amendment case at all. For it to be a First Amendment case there would have to be government involvement in suppression of free speech. But Trump’s targets are all private companies. Trump’s lawyers are trying to claim that the social media companies are “government actors,” but that’s an imaginary label with no legal validity.

Where Dershowitz goes off the rails entirely is the nonsense that the “high tech giants” are claiming First Amendment protection to censor Trump. They are not. They have never asserted a First Amendment protection because they aren’t being suppressed by the government. What’s more, they have every right to monitor what appears on their websites. By Dershowitz’s standards, I should be able to force Fox News to give me airtime every night.

Furthermore, they are not “banning freedom of speech.” Trump, as he has said himself, has many opportunities to express himself, some of which he has claimed are superior to the companies he’s suing. “I’m really getting the big word out,” Trump bragged, “because we’re doing releases. And every time I do a release it’s all over the place. It’s more elegant than Twitter.”

Once again, Trump opens his big mouth and undermines his own arguments. In fact, his “releases” are actually undermining the entire premise of his lawsuit. Every time he makes incendiary statements about how the Radical Left Democrats will “further DESTROY our Country,” and that the 2020 presidential election was disgraceful and corrupt and “RIGGED and STOLEN,” he’s affirming the decisions by the social media platforms to remove his violence inciting account. So the more he keeps talking, the better. (Geez, I never thought I’d say that).

And meanwhile…

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

Crybaby Trump Files Asinine ‘1st Amendment’ Lawsuit Against Twitter, Facebook, and Google

Last week Trump’s spokes shill tweeted that Trump would “make a huge announcement” on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. That day has come and the announcement is living down to the expectations that most people have for the one-term, twice-impeached, former reality TV game show host who is indisputably America’s biggest loser.

Donald Trump, Constitution

From his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort, Trump delivered a nearly hour long address to reveal his intention to file a lawsuit against “Big Tech” companies, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Make no mistake, this alleged litigation (there is no evidence yet that it’s been filed) is driven purely by Trump’s voracious ego and thirst for revenge.

After having his accounts on social media suspended for blatant violations of their terms of service, Trump is proposing to exploit the courts to punish the private companies who took responsible actions to stem his inflammatory rhetoric. He already incited a deadly insurrection in Washington, D.C., on January 6th, and he is continuing his bellicose “Big Lie” rants that drove his glassy-eyed disciples to riot and storm the Capitol.

Trump’s tedious dissertation on his pending lawsuit was filled with bizarre and legally preposterous assertions. He starts off describing this suit as the beginning of a much bigger initiative. “We will take this battle,” he promises, “to state legislatures, to Congress, and to the ballot box.” But the whole premise of the action is ludicrous. Trump thinks that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (which protects free speech) makes social media liable as “government actors” and subject to First Amendment prohibitions against censorship:

“Once they got Section 230 they’re no longer private companies anymore in a lot of views. […] These companies have been coopted, coerced and weaponized by government and by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship.

Not only is Trump’s interpretation of Section 230 completely off, he is articulating a paranoid, crackpot conspiracy theory that social media companies are in cahoots with the feds to silence him. Like his unhinged raving about election fraud, there is no evidence of these allegations either. But that doesn’t stop him from spouting off incoherently (video below) Some excerpts follow:

“Today, in conjunction with the America First Policy Institute, I’m filing as the lead class representative a major class action lawsuit against the big tech giants, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, as well as their CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey. Three real nice guys. We’re asking the district court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well. Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American. We all know that. We know that very, very well. Our lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief to allow prompt restitution.”

Trump didn’t cite a single legal principle to support his claims. That’s because he can’t. The Constitution’s First Amendment prohibits government censorship. Hence the wording that “Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Trump actually undermines his case by bragging about all the avenues of speech he has available to him that he insists are successful (they aren’t).

“We’re in a fight, we’re in a fight that we’re going to win. So many people have said to me, ‘Please sir, do something about big tech. Sue them, sir. Sue them.’ And they’ve been saying it to me for a long time. But there has never been a better time to do it. Polling released by Scott Rasmussen, highly respected, shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that big tech companies should be required to abide by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.”

Trump always has a “sir” story wherein some beleaguered soul begs him to do something that really only benefits Trump. And his reliance on the notoriously disreputable Rasmussen for polling data doesn’t advance his legal interests. Even reputable polls are not legal arguments. Cases are decided by statute and precedent, not popularity.

“Social Media has given extraordinary power to a group of Big Tech Giants that are working with government, the mainstream media, and a large segment of a political party to silence and suppress the views of the American people. And they’ve been very, very successful at that. Not in all cases, but in many cases totally successful.”

This is more conspiracy mongering that now includes a cabal comprised of the government, tech companies, the media, and Democrats. If you ask him, Trump would probably add academia, banking, the judiciary, liberal churches, and the Girl Scouts of America.

Following his prepared, TelePrompTer remarks, Trump took questions from what was obviously an exclusive club of ultra-conservative media. Every question was framed positively for Trump, or prefaced with adoring commentary. That’s just more proof that Trump can’t be taken seriously that he cares about a free press. Which, you recall, he has repeatedly maligned in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the People.”

It’s impossible to set aside Trump’s flaming hypocrisy in all of this. After all, he’s the first one to “cancel” anyone who dares to contradict him. He is the undisputed King of Cancel Culture. He has called for dozens of boycotts of American companies. He even expressed his regret that he didn’t ban Facebook and Twitter when he mistakenly thought he could have as president. And now his buddy, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, is pushing a state law that would make it illegal for private companies to monitor their own website comments.

It’s from that perch of police state prohibition that Trump is heralding his campaign for free speech. So not only is Trump on swampy ground legally, he’s up to both of his chins in hypocrisy. This lawsuit, if it is ever actually filed, is going nowhere in hurry, according to most legal experts.

However, let’s hope that this suit isn’t dismissed before the defendants can conduct discovery. There is a wealth of information that can be acquired regarding Trump’s activities prior to, and during the insurrection, his relationships with right-wing media (Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, etc.), and efforts to unlawfully damage the commercial interests of private companies against whom he holds grudges. That should be fun.

UPDATE: It’s All About the Grift! David Corn of Mother Jones spells out the latest con.

“In typical Trumpian fashion, the cases were amateurishly cobbled together, with arguments and contentions that legal experts immediately derided. […] Trump has a long history of both threatening suits that never materialize and filing bogus cases that go nowhere.” […]

“Other than ginning up the Big Lie believers, there is another strong reason for Trump to proceed with this case: money. Lots of money. No sooner had Trump’s lawyers filed when his grift-machine kicked into action. A text message was sent to Trump supporters hitting them up for donations. “President Trump is filing a LAWSUIT against Facebook and Twitter for UNFAIR CENSORSHIP!” it proclaimed.”

NOTE: Twitter suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. Also, Be sure to visit and follow News Corpse on Instagram. Thanks for your support.

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

Fox News and Republicans are Lying Extra Hard to Confuse Everyone About Voting Reform

Ever since Joe Biden humiliated Donald Trump – beating him by more than seven million votes – the despondent Cult of Trump has whined that Trump didn’t really lose. They continue to cling desperately to the “Big Lie” that the election was rigged and that the presidency was stolen. These are the fantastical delusions that led to the deadly Capitol Hill insurrection of January 6th.

Fox News, Constitution

However, despite having seven months, sixty court cases (all of which they lost), and unlimited hours of right-wing media on Fox News and elsewhere, they have never been able to provide even a sliver of evidence to support their hysterical, fringe-dwelling theories. Consequently, many Republican governors and legislators have turned their focus to future elections and a full-bore campaign of voter suppression.

That effort was met by Democrats in Congress who introduced the For the People Act,” a package of voting reforms aimed at preserving democracy. It hasn’t been easy. The conservative Democratic senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, has been, until recently, gumming up the works. But now he has released his compromise version of the bill which has been positively received, even by the foremost advocate of voting reform, Stacy Abrams.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to move the knee-jerk Republican obstructionists. In fact, they just became even more committed to their anti-democratic agenda. That was plainly evident in this exchange between Dana Perino of Fox News and GOP Senator Tom Cotton (video below):

Perino: One thing that’s a little puzzling about this is that Manchin Lite is very similar to the Georgia voting bill. And the Georgia voting bill, Stacy Abrams said, is Jim Crow 2. So you could be a little confused as to what the Democrats are actually trying to do here. Do you have any idea?
Cotton: I’ll confess I’m always confused whenever Stacy Abrams is advocating for some radical voting proposal. But Dana, I think it’s pretty clear what the Democrats are trying to do. S1 is the Democrats bill to rig our elections forever. They can’t pass their unpopular agenda, so rather than changing their agenda, they want to change the rules of our democracy.

Okay. Try to follow this. Perino says that Manchin’s compromise is similar to the Georgia bill that Democrats staunchly oppose as blatant voter suppression. But it isn’t similar at all. So it’s not surprising that Abrams supports the Manchin compromise, but not the Georgia bill. Then Cotton admits that he’s confused, which shouldn’t surprise anyone either. But he also complains that Manchin’s compromise is a “radical voting proposal,” which Perino just said is very similar to the Georgia bill. So Cotton is bashing as radical the ultra-conservative Georgia bill that he has previously praised.

Don’t hurt yourself trying to make any sense of this. It is a profoundly ludicrous stab at disparaging any attempt to restore fairness to America’s voting processes. Cotton continued in his dishonest misrepresentations by claiming that “This bill would require taxpayer funding of politician’s campaigns.” That’s a flaming lie. The proposals that make up Manchin’s compromise are clearly spelled out. They include…

  • Automatic voter registration
  • Making election day a holiday
  • Mandating at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections
  • Banning partisan gerrymandering
  • Voter ID provisions

However, nowhere in the list is anything suggesting taxpayer funded political campaigns. Cotton has to know this. He’s presenting himself as knowledgeable about the proposed legislation. He has even made a determination that it would be unconstitutional because “the states have primary authority under our Constitution to regulate our election systems.” However, he’s flat out wrong about that as well. Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the Constitution states that…

“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”

What we have here is a Republican senator purposefully lying in order to muddy the waters so that people can’t have a rational understanding of perhaps the most significant feature of American democracy, the sanctity of the vote. And he’s doing it with the full cooperation and complicity of Fox News. It’s because of deliberate transgressions against the American people like this that we must remain vigilant and committed to achieving real reform despite the obstacles in our way.

NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. Also, Be sure to visit and follow News Corpse on Instagram. Thanks for your support.

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

Fox News Embraces Trump Shill’s Dangerously Seditious Election Challenge

The bizarre and unpatriotic aspirations of Donald Trump, and his recasting of the already radically rightist Republican Party, continue to diverge ever further from the Constitution, and more ominously from sanity. That’s to be expected from Trump, whose tenuous grasp on reality has long been a major cause of concern. But the GOP’s willingness – and weakness – to march along in his goose-stepping spectacle raises the stakes considerably.

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Jeanine Pirro Fox News

Republicans in Congress are positioning themselves for a historic battle pitting democracy against authoritarianism. And the authoritarian side is being represented by such GOP “leaders” as Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. They are supported by ten other Senate traitors, more than a hundred colleagues in the House republican caucus, and even out-going Vice-President, Mike Pence. Their futile plot is set to be implemented on January 6, the day that Joe Biden’s election will be certified by Congress:

“A group of Republicans has announced plans to reject electors from states they consider disputed if Congress doesn’t create a commission to investigate their claims of fraud. The effort, fueled by baseless allegations of voter fraud, drew support from Vice President Pence by Saturday night.” […]

“The statement calls for the creation of an electoral commission ‘with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed state.'”

For the record, the Congress has no authority whatsoever to create an investigatory “commission,” nor to impose a ten day audit of election returns. The session on January 6 is a ceremonial duty that merely affirms the election results already certified by all fifty states. The effort by these Republican extremists aims to challenge “disputed” electoral slates that do not exist. And they can’t succeed without both houses of Congress voting for their treachery. Of course, the Democratic-majority in the House is unlikely to play along with that.

Cue Fox News and their Senior Trump-fluffer, “Judge” Jeanine Pirro. She hosted Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro, who has no expertise in constitutional law. And Navarro, as he is wont to do, went skidding perilously off the rails. He began by asserting that “the Democrat (sp) Party, as a matter of strategy, stole this election from Donald J. Trump.” And that led into this hideous exchange:

Navarro: They stole this. We can prove it. And other things… Breaking news: I would not be surprised to see a special counsel on this. And Vice-President Pence, he has the authority to give that ten day window to do what needs to get done, and I cannot imagine when you look at the facts he won’t vote the right way on that.
Pirro: And you know Peter, the interesting thing is that ten day window, it is something that they can change the date. January 20th cannot be changed. That’s constitutional. But this whole certification, the date can be changed.
Navarro: Well it can be changed actually. We can go past that date. We can go past that date. We can go past that date if we need to.
Pirro: Oh.

“Oh”? That’s a cute response by Pirro, an alleged judge, to a Trump administration official proposing a blatantly unconstitutional act. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution plainly states that “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January [….] and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” That is not negotiable, nor subject to the legal shenanigans of anti-democratic authoritarians like Navarro and Pirro.

On Sunday morning Trump retweeted a random crackpot Internet troll agreeing with Navarro’s preposterous misreading of the Constitution. He also retweeted the screwball attorney, Sidney Powell, saying that “This ‘election’ was stolen from the voters in a massive fraud.” Never mind that she has never presented evidence of that in court, or that Trump’s own lawyers (Rudy Giuliani et al) threw her off their team for being even too deranged for them.

What’s more, both the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, Fox News sister newspapers also owned by Rupert Murdoch, have also come out in opposition to Trump, Navarro, Pirro, and the rest of the Fox News deceivers. The Post published a headline story exhorting Trump to Stop the Insanity and to “Give it up, Mr. President — for your sake and the nation’s.” The Journal’s Editorial Board went on record saying that…

“President Trump’s last and worst shot at overturning the 2020 election will come on Jan. 6, as the new Congress meets in joint session to tally the votes from the Electoral College. Mr. Trump wants Republican lawmakers to lodge formal objections to Joe Biden’s electors, and this kamikaze mission already has a few volunteers.” […]

“Any challenge to Mr. Biden’s electors appears doomed, since upholding the objection takes a majority in both chambers. The Democratic House would use the opportunity to excoriate Mr. Trump a final time on his way out the door, and grown-ups in the Republican Senate are unlikely to play along.”

And with that Fox News stands alone in their overly zealous, slobbering support for the failed president who is already halfway out the White House’s backdoor. Well, almost alone. Trump still has Newsmax, OANN, and the rapidly dwindling phalanx of cult disciples who still haven’t gotten to the acceptance stage of their political death.

NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. Thanks for your support.

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

Trump’s Manic Twitter Tantrum Displays Contempt for the Constitution and Democracy

The United States is currently being tested in a manner that no one could ever have anticipated. During a global pandemic that has been most devastating for the U.S. (100,000+ now dead), the nation is burdened with a “president” who not only couldn’t care less, but is certifiably insane. His malignant narcissism, vicious hostility, infantile conduct, moral depravity, and cringe-worthy ignorance, make him uniquely unfit and dangerous.

Donald Trump

In recent days Trump has upped his crazy with nauseating and morbid attacks, including accusations of murder directed at Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, and sick meme postings of a coffin with Joe Biden’s name on it. Trump’s psychotic behavior has resulted in rapidly declining approval ratings, along with plummeting electoral prospects. Politico’s Morning Consult poll has Trump at 40% approval. Fox News has him at 44%. Even his favorite pollster, the notoriously biased Rasmussen, has his approval at 42%, the lowest in that poll since January of 2018, two and a half years ago. And Trump is trailing Biden in every recent national poll at RealClearPolitics, as well as in most of the crucial swing states.

Reality has taken its toll on Trump’s emotional state. He is becoming more unhinged and uninhibited in his rabid lunacies. That’s precisely what psychological professionals would predict for someone with Trump’s acute mental malfunctions who is trapped in a downward spiral over which he has no control. And naturally, Trump’s derangement is getting flushed out on his Twitter feed. For instance…

This is pure hallucination on Trump’s part. There is no evidence – none – of the election fraud he is asserting. It reads more like his strategy for the his own campaign (“Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed”). Furthermore, California is not sending ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Only registered voters will receive them. Trump appears to be laying the groundwork for disputing the election results in November when he loses.

The lies embedded in these tweets were so abhorrent that Twitter was finally moved to act, albeit in baby steps. They attached a link to the tweets that says “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and directs the reader to some of the sources debunking Trump’s disinformation. But even this wrist-slapping was too much criticism for the Snowflake-in-Chief. He embarked on a multi-tweet rant whining about Twitter’s fact-checking and making bizarre and frightening threats:

And as if that weren’t enough, Trump continued his threatening outbursts on Wednesday:

Trump still wasn’t satisfied. He followed up these schizoid remarks in another tweet by promising that there would be “Big action to follow!”

UPDATE:What that “big action” turned out to be was a vengeful, retaliatory Executive Order that would make it impossible for sites like Twitter and Facebook to operate. The EO is plainly unconstitutional and will not pass legal muster, but it further reveals Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and his intention to suppress free speech. He also said about Twitter that “If it were legal, if it could be legally shut down, I would do it.” And if that brazenly tyrannical remark doesn’t frighten you, you are so deeply indoctrinated into the Cult of Trump that you no longer value what America stands for.

What all of this bombastry has in common is a distinct contempt for the Constitution. Trump’s assertion that Twitter is “stifling FREE SPEECH” fails to recognize that the First Amendment only applies to governmental censorship. You know, like what Trump is trying to do to Twitter with threats of regulating them or even shutting them down. As a private company, Twitter has the right to moderate the content on their platform. What’s more, Twitter hasn’t censored Trump at all. His tweets are still available and unedited. What Trump is whining about is that actual facts are being place adjacent to his lies. That’s something that someone with more than 18,000 documented falsehoods will surely object to.

Nevertheless, Trump believes that he has the totalitarian authority to command Twitter, and other social media, to obey his orders. When he says that “I, as President, will not allow” Twitter to provide access to truthful information, and that there is “Big action to follow,” Trump is staking a claim to dictatorship. He doesn’t have any such authority and he knows it. When asked to cite this authority on Tuesday, he dissembled and dodged the question.

That, of course, is Trump’s customary method of answering almost any question. But the mere suggestion that he could exert that sort of tyrannical control is an insult to the freedom and democracy that is enshrined in the American ethic. And therein lies the problem. Trump is as utterly devoid of ethics as he is ignorant of, and averse to, American principles. And the American people have had enough!

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

Dear Leader Trump Proposes ‘Forcing’ the Press to Reveal Sources

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with having utterly bungled the nation’s response the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Now he is moving on to advocate breaching the Constitution’s First Amendment right to a free press. That’s the same press that Trump routinely refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

Donald Trump, Constitution

In his regularly scheduled Saturday Morning Tweetstorm, Trump was consumed by a fit of anxiety and animosity aimed at the media. It’s hard to know for certain what triggered this outburst, but it’s safe to say that it was probably something he saw on Fox News. The result was this Twitter tantrum that lashes out at some vague disturbance of Trump’s already unsettled psyche:

It’s typical of Trump to baselessly accuse the press of making up sources and stories. It’s equally typical that he never provides any documentation of his allegations, and he often doesn’t even cite the story he’s babbling about, as is the case this time. His charges are not simply venting. He specifically insists that the journalists (whom he declines to name) have deliberately invented fictional sources whose accounts are not merely untrue, they are “knowingly” non-existent. This is Trump’s way of defending himself from whatever criticism might happen to be floating around. It’s a defense that relies on the wispiest of innuendo because Trump can’t defend himself on substance.

It’s fair to say that whatever Trump is whining about is actually true. And since the facts would affirm that, he resorts to a blanket condemnation of the media in its entirety. He’s like a murderer setting an entire apartment building on fire to keep people from finding the body in #407.

It’s ironic that Trump is also complaining that the media is “dangerous and corrupt” and would “do anything to win.” That’s a darn good description of Trump himself. And anyone who has observed him for any length of time knows that projection is a key weapon in his arsenal of character assassination. But he wasn’t through bashing the press:

Trump’s problem with sources goes back many years. Never mind that unidentified sources are a valid staple of professional journalism. Trump’s White House communications staff even uses them regularly during “background briefings” where reporters are only permitted to attribute these official statements to “senior administration officials.” What’s more, as a private businessman Trump was known for acting as his own PR agent, using false names like “John Barron” to plant false stories in gossip columns to convince people that he was a rich playboy. And Trump is no stranger to exploiting the press for his own personal benefit, as he is doing by hijacking the Coronavirus Task Force briefings and turning them into Trump 2020 campaign events.

However, the worst part of this tweetfest was Trump’s suggestion that the media “should be forced to reveal sources.” That is a wholly unconstitutional abuse of power. The First Amendment clearly states the prohibition against “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That includes any attempt by the government to dictate to journalists how to source their reporting. The ability of the press to gather information from people with inside knowledge is essential to a functioning democracy. And often those people need confidentiality in order to come forward without fear of reprisal. Especially while Trump is in the White House. He is already threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of TV stations that air ads critical of him.

Furthermore, Trump’s claim that forced disclosure of sources was something that happened “in the long ago past” is downright delusional. Unless he’s talking about the past practices of the sort of tyrants and czars that he so admires (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, etc.). In which case, it’s no wonder that he yearns for the power to emulate his heroes. That is just so Trumpian. But it isn’t American. And any effort to go forward with what he’s proposing in these tweets needs to be fervently resisted by congress, the press, and all of the American people.

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

Trump’s Lawsuits Against the Media Could Produce an Avalanche of Evidence – Against Him

This election year has seen norms in political activity be swept away by Donald Trump’s continued rejection of decency and honesty as he tweets his way through a failing presidency. The observations that Trump is either pitifully ignorant and/or severely demented are impossible to dismiss. His symptoms range from bizarre assertions about windmill cancer and toilet flushing, to intense paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and authoritarian aspirations.

Donald Trump, Constitution

In recent weeks Trump has also been escalating his war against the media that he repeatedly refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” which he did once again Sunday morning. Now Trump has set out on a path of litigation that is rooted in hostility and vengeance against the constitutional protections of a free press. This is behavior that reeks of fear, desperation, and the all-consuming mania of an unbridled persecution complex. It began with the announcement a week and a half ago that his campaign is suing his perennial nemesis (in his diseased mind), the New York Times for defamation. And in the short time since then, Trump has announced additional lawsuits against a couple of other perceived foes, the Washington Post and CNN.

Virtually every legal analyst who has commented on these lawsuits considers them not only frivolous, but dangerous. They are intended to inhibit free expression and punish those who dare to criticize Dear Leader. It’s a pure dictatorship play by a president who has repeatedly expressed his admiration for tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping. Each of these suits explicitly attack published opinions articles, not hard news. For instance, these are the specific citation in Trump’s legal complaints that he is alleging are defamatory:

New York Times
“There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”

Washington Post
The lawsuit cites a June 13 opinion piece by Greg Sargent that said Trump “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia against the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also cites a June 20 opinion piece by Paul Waldman that asked “who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”

CNN
“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

All of these articles are expressing opinions that are rational, fact-based, and affirmed by authoritative sources. Some are even affirmed by Trump himself. After all, he did ask Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on national television. What’s more, an extensive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found that “Trump and his campaign welcomed & encouraged Russian interference.”

To this day, Trump continues to openly solicit political assistance from hostile foreign countries. And his actions prove that he is working in concert with our adversaries to boost his reelection prospects.

While Trump’s wrathful litigiousness is an assault on press freedom, and has an unambiguous chilling effect on journalists, there is a silver lining to his abhorrent conduct. Should any of these lawsuits ever see a courtroom, Trump will be obligated to comply with discovery orders to turn over documents relevant to his complaint. So the defendants can require him to produce materials that he has been refusing to provide to prosecutors and investigators in Congress. And should he do so, he will almost certainly reveal incriminating evidence that could subject him to criminal indictments.

Consequently, it is highly unlikely that Trump will pursue these lawsuits. He may try to use them for publicity for awhile, and to run up the legal fees for the defendants. But in the end he will probably run away (or try to), as he has done throughout his life. However, he may not be able to escape if the defendants countersue and seek a declarative judgment asserting their rights under the First Amendment. In which case, he might still be required to submit to discovery and even testimony. So even though his intentions are loathsome and anti-American, this could still wind up being kinda fun.

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

HUH? Fox News Trump-Fluffers Float Bizarre Theory that Trump Hasn’t Been Impeached

The capacity for total delusion on the part of Donald Trump and his Fox News defenders has never been, and can never be, overstated. However, there are times when they exhibit such utterly ludicrous behaviors that it astonishes even the most jaded media observers. And on Thursday evening we passed that threshold once again.

Fox News, Laura Ingraham

On an episode of Laura Ingraham’s White Nationalist Hour, our intrepid host attempted to impart her version of wingnut intellectualism by presenting a theory so devoid of reason that it sucked all the remaining grey matter from her already nearly vacant skull. It’s a theory that Trump’s White House is also entertaining.

Ingraham delivered a monologue (video below) that began with the absurd contention that “I think one can make a decent argument that the President wasn’t really impeached.” Her explanation sprung from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer finalized the rules under which they would be debated. Ingraham thinks that an impeachment hasn’t really taken place until the House transmits it to the Senate.

To support her silliness, Ingraham mocks Pelosi’s grasp of the Constitution and attempts to cite it saying that “the Senate has the sole power of impeachment.” That, however, is not what the Constitution says. What it actually says is that “The House of Representatives…shall have the sole power of impeachment.” So Ingraham got it completely wrong. It later says that “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” Which is something else entirely. Pelosi, therefore, was right and Ingraham was making a fool of herself.

This disinformation then spread to other Fox News programs. On Friday morning it was regurgitated by anchor David Asman who said that “We may not have an impeachment if it hasn’t been passed to the Senate.” But as we now know, that isn’t true. It’s just part of an ongoing campaign by Fox News to keep their viewers mired in ignorance and falsehoods.

Additionally, this baseless theory relies on the assumption that the House will never transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. Nobody is betting on that. Pelosi is wisely insisting that the Senate trial be conducted fairly and that relevant witnesses to presented. That’s a critical demand considering that McConnell has already publicly stated that he has no intention of being impartial and that he will “take his cues” from White House lawyers. Eventually McConnell will have to concede because Trump doesn’t want the impeachment hanging over his head without at least an attempt to exonerate him by the Senate. Although, exoneration is not something that is actually achievable.

Like or not, Fox News, and Trump’s congressional bootlickers, have to accept that Trump has indeed been impeached. They cannot pretend otherwise. It is a disgrace that will follow him and the GOP throughout history. And clinging to these nonsense notions and wishful thinking only makes them look desperate and dumb. Well, more desperate and dumber.

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

Holy Kowtow: Trump-Fluffers on Fox News Come Out in Favor of ‘Abuse of Power’

As more evidence of Donald Trump’s betrayal of American principles and laws is revealed, he is sinking further into an abyss of fear, paranoia, and desperation. His language is becoming more maniacal and his attacks are losing any semblance of sanity. It’s a painful spectacle to watch for patriotic citizens.

Fox News, Donald Trump

Likewise, Trump’s defenders at State TV (aka Fox News) are similarly abandoning logic and reason, and are foregoing any effort to employ facts in their pursuit of excusing Trump’s rancid dishonesty and criminality. Their arguments have devolved into denying objective reality – including Trump’s own statements – or insisting that his public pronouncements were merely jokes (which would be appalling by itself). They swing wildly from “Trump didn’t do that” to “Okay, he did it, but everybody does it” to “So what, it isn’t illegal” to frantic howls of “Witch Hunt!”

Now the Fox News defensive line has taken up a brand new and wholly repulsive approach to Trump’s misdeeds. Fox and Friends legal and political analyst, Gregg Jarrett, offered his predictably sycophantic exaltation of Trump. The segment sought to ignore Trump’s blatantly unlawful attempts to extort Ukraine’s President Zelensky into digging up dirt on Joe Biden. And Jarrett’s glassy-eyed apologia was ludicrous on its face (video below).

“The fact of the matter is the President’s conversation was not a crime, it’s not an impeachable offense. In the beginning Democrats and the media said ‘Oh, the conversation is a crime.’ Until the Department of Justice Criminal Division said ‘We looked at the transcript. It’s not a crime. It’s not a campaign violation.'”

Of course it is a crime to seek anything of value from a foreign government to benefit a U.S. political campaign. And it’s even worse when the pressure applied is the withholding of military aid that was allocated by Congress. What’s more, Jarrett’s suggestion that the decision of Trump’s lackey, Attorney General William Barr, has any legal merit is preposterous. But he wasn’t finished:

“So now Democrats have embraced this amorphous concept known as ‘abuse of power’ which is nowhere in the Constitution. And the trouble with that is that it’s this sort of shifting sands of subjective interpretation that can be abused for political reasons. Exactly what the framers did not want.”

Jarrett is actually arguing that abuse of power is not prohibited by the Constitution and that the Founders never intended for it be grounds for impeachment. That goes against every principle that America was founded upon. The impeachment language in the Constitution was specifically included as a remedy for abuse of power. Alexander Hamilton explicitly regarded it as a guard against “the abuse or violation of some public trust.” It is exactly what the Framers DID want.

The fact that the phrase “abuse of power” isn’t in the Constitution is irrelevant and, really, silly. A lot of things are not in the Constitution, including abortion, separation of church and state, executive orders, right to privacy, homosexuality, freedom of expression, and lots more. But there is abundant case law that defines constitutional rights that weren’t in the original document. That is, in fact, what the Founders intended. It’s why the Constitution was so short and had provisions for amendments.

For Jarrett to bemoan the “shifting sands of subjective interpretation” is ironic since that’s precisely what he’s engaging in. Except his interpretation is at odds with the Framers – and reality. He’s literally arguing that abuse of power – which was the impetus for the revolution against the British monarchy – should be permitted. It’s an advocacy of tyranny. And he wants to bestow that limitless authority unto his Dear Leader Trump. Which is especially troubling since Trump is a wannabe dictator who is already acting as if he has it.

Addendum: On Tuesday, Trump shill Joe DiGenova appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show and called the whistleblower a “suicide bomber.” He also referred to the impeachment as “regicide” (killing a king). Which, of course, means he thinks that Trump is a king. Which, of course, means that he is an un-American idiot.

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

Trump’s Reasoning for Citizenship Question on Census Could Also Prohibit Most Citizens From Voting

Among the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s presidency is his brazen disrespect for, and ignorance of, the Constitution of the United States. When he isn’t flagrantly misstating its meaning, he is fiercely striving to subvert its purpose. To him it is an inconvenient sheet of parchment that gets in the way of him doing whatever the heck he wants.

Donald Trump, Constitution

Case in point, Trump’s current dispute with the Supreme Court over whether to include a question about citizenship on the decennial census. The Court recently ruled against Trump on the matter, but he is refusing to let it rest. Never mind that the Constitution clearly states that the census is an enumeration of “persons,” not citizens.

At first, Trump’s own Justice and Commerce Departments acceded to the Court’s decision and stated that the Census would be printed without the citizenship question. But this must have angered Trump, or more likely his “Shadow Cabinet” on Fox News. Because Trump later tweeted that he was still seeking ways of going forward with the question despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. He even called his own cabinet secretaries fake news:

On Friday morning Trump elaborated on this “quest” when a reporter asked him about it (video below). His response was a startling display of arrogance and ignorance. After babbling about his his many alleged options, Trump revealed his absurd justification for including a question that has been independently assessed to be discriminatory:

“I just spoke with the Attorney General. We have a number of different avenues. We could use all of them or just one. […] If you look at the history of our country, it’s almost always been asked.”

Let’s set aside the fact that Attorney General William Barr is once again acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, rather than the chief law enforcement official for the American people.

More to the point, Trump is arguing that because there was a citizenship question on the census in the past, there should be one now. But If you take Trump’s advice and look at the history of our country, what you’ll find is that African-Americans and women have almost always been prohibited from voting. So by the same ludicrous logic, it would be justifiable to restore those prohibitions. And that would literally prohibit most citizens from voting.

For the record, a citizenship question was not asked for most of the first fifty years the U.S. existed. Then it began to be asked just after the civil war, until around 1950. That’s curious timing, don’t you think? Thereafter it has been asked of only a small sample of the population. But now Trump wants to ask everybody. In his morning media scrum, he was also asked why the question was so important. And here he said aloud what his aides surely meant for him to keep secret:

“You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress. You need it for Congress for districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going?”

So Trump is now calling his own Justice Department liars. Their original reason had something to do with needing the question to help enforce the Voting Rights Act. That, of course, makes no sense at all. And it’s one of the reasons they lost in the Supreme Court. Even worse, a few weeks ago Trump’s Solicitor General explicitly told the Supreme Court that redistricting was not the reason for the question. So much for that transparently dishonest excuse.

Worst of all, trump is now admitting that his reason for the question is to impact redistricting in a manner that would suppress the votes of a largely Democratic electorate, while helping Republicans to hang on to their white nationalist power base. What we have here is Trump getting caught in a complex web of lies in order to justify a partisan and racist policy that violates the Constitution. In other, business as usual in the Era of Trump.

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