Trump’s Braintrust (Fox News) is Pushing Him to Declare a National Emergency to Get His Border Wall

The presidency of Donald Trump has distinguished itself for its hostility to the media and the Constitution’s protection of a free press. His tedious whining about “fake news” and his Stalinist references to the media as “the enemy of the people” are evidence of his desire to poison the public’s minds in order to suppress criticism of him and his administration.

Donald Trump, Fox News

That said, no president has ever been more closely intertwined with a media enterprise than Trump is with Fox News. Before his election he was a regularly scheduled contributor to Fox and Friends with a segment called “Mondays with Trump.” He limits his interviews to Fox News on a nearly exclusive basis. His administration is infested with former Fox News staffers. They include: Deputy Chief of Staff, Bill Shine, who was the president of the network before being fired for mishandling incidents of sexual harassment; ambassador to the United Nations nominee, Heather Nauert, a former Fox host; National Security Advisor, John Bolton, an ex-Fox contributor.

In addition, Trump employs current Fox News anchors as his de facto cabinet, getting advice on everything from the economy to military engagements, to taxes and more. Sean Hannity is reported to talk with the President almost every night before bedtime. Lou Dobbs is often on conference call during Oval Office meetings. Jeanine Pirro is a favorite consultant on legal matters. And Trump is frequently live-tweeting whatever he happens to be watching on Fox, day and night.

Recently, Trump was prepared to sign a bipartisan bill to keep the government open. But when Fox Newsies heard that it didn’t provide funding for his idiotic vanity wall, they went berserk. Subsequently, Trump reversed course, and now we find ourselves in what is about to become the longest government shutdown in history. Which makes it all the more troubling that many of Trump’s Fox faves are now imploring him to declare a national emergency as a tactic to fund the wall that has nothing to do with any emergency, and that most Americans oppose. For instance, as reported by Media Matters:

Sean Hannity: So, with the president speaking, I’m guessing he’s going to declare a national emergency. […] victims of crime happening in this country, that should be enough of a national emergency.

Lou Dobbs: This is the president of the United States. He says a wall should be built; that it’s a national emergency. At that point, the nation should rally behind him. […] It is a national emergency, it is a crisis, and there could be no rational disputation of that.

Lou Dobbs (again): I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country.

Stuart Varney: I think this total refusal to negotiate has pushed the president to the point where he has to declare an emergency on the border.

Rush Limbaugh: And so they empowered the executive branch with the National Emergencies Act. He can confiscate private businesses, if he wants. All he has to do is declare it a national emergency.

Gregg Jarrett: The National Emergency Act authorizes the president to declare an emergency, and nobody can second-guess him. He has unfettered authority. […] he can use the military, redirect them for construction of an unauthorized project, whatever it is, the president wants it to be. That can be the barrier wall, and nobody can stop him from doing it.

Bob Bianchi (Fox guest): To me, politically, it makes perfect sense. [for Trump to] invoke my powers as the president under the National Emergency Act and under one of these sub-acts that allows me to move funds around to build this border wall.

Tom Fitton (on Tucker Carlson Tonight): It is a national emergency when we have a thousand plus miles of unsecured border in our southern area without any ability to figure out who’s coming across. We know the terrorists are targeting [the] southern border.

Considering how gullible Trump is, and how easily influenced he is by his Fox News brain(?) trust, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll declare a national emergency. However, contrary to the ravings of Trump and Fox, he does not have unfettered authority to do so. It will undoubtedly be challenged in court. And since the facts don’t support any claim to a crisis, he’ll almost certainly lose. In the meantime, millions of people are hurt and the nation is stifled by Trump’s ignorance and ego. Hopefully that can all be avoided by Congress waking up and doing the right thing. But given the abdication of its civic duty, Mitch McConnell’s Senate has to be considered a long shot.

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

Fox News Urges Trump to Fire Rosenstein Over Comments in the ‘Fake News, Failing’ New York Times

The latest bombshell to emerge from Washington D.C. in the twisted era of Donald Trump comes just as the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is reaching a boiling point. Is it a distraction or a legitimate news story that demands immediate attention? No matter, it’s already getting the airwave blanketing that was inevitable considering the subject.

Donald Trump, Fox News

The New York Times is reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had floated the idea of secretly recording Trump to gather evidence that he was mentally unstable and unfit for service. There was reportedly further discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare the President incompetent and remove him from office. Other news reports have spoken to sources who say that Rosenstein was being sarcastic. And Rosenstein himself issued a firm denial.

What’s peculiar about this story, other than the distracting effect it has on Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct, is that the only other beneficiary of it would be the White House. It gives Trump an excuse to fire Rosenstein and appoint someone in his place who would put the brakes on the investigation of special counsel, Robert Mueller. But it would be somewhat hypocritical for Trump to do that on the basis of a story from a news source that he considers fake and failing. Consequently, he might need some support from his cheering section (and shadow cabinet) at State TV, also known as Fox News. And he’s already getting it:


[Note: Ingraham deleted this tweet the next day. Was it because Hannity took the opposite position?]

Wow. Are these three confirmed Trump-fluffers all buying into the “fake news” from the New York Times? Laura Ingraham, Gregg Jarrett, and Jeanine Pirro are three of Trump’s most devoted supplicants on Fox News. And it stands to reason that they would want to rush to give him cover to jettison the bone spur that has traveled from Trump’s foot to his ample backside. But will he take the bait?

Trump has posted ten tweets since this news broke, and none of them are about Rosenstein or the New York Times. Is he consulting with Sean Hannity, Bill Shine, and the rest of his propaganda team to come up with a strategy? Is he afraid to get out too far ahead of the story while it’s still unfolding? Is he getting spanked by a porn star at Mar-A-Lago? Who knows? But the fear factor may be the most plausible scenario. Because even his pals at Fox News aren’t completely in his corner. Shelby Holliday of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal had this to say in an interview shortly after the story was released:

It probably won’t be long until Trump makes his views known about this. He is simply too lacking in self control to keep his mouth shut. But if he does fire Rosenstein he’s going to have to explain why he suddenly believes the “failing” New York Times” whose story was based on the anonymous sources that Trump says don’t exist. He will also have to face more charges of obstruction of justice as Mueller gets closer to wrapping up his probe. But if he let’s it go, then Mueller and company proceed as before. So all told, this is really a lose-lose proposition for Trump.

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

LATE BREAKING: Sean Hannity is diverging from his Fox colleagues above. On his program Friday night he had a personal message for Trump, warning him that “Under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody.” Hannity thinks Trump is being set up by Democrats – or the deep state, or Satan – and that giving Rosenstein the boot is a “set up,” a plot to justify impeachment. Those insidious demonrats.

Kiss of Death? Another Trump Goon Sleeps With the Fishes After Praise From the White House Don

The big news out of Washington on Wednesday is that Donald Trump’s last remaining original lawyer working on Russia collusion matters is off the case. The President has had a difficult time hiring and maintaining legal defenders to counter the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. A few weeks ago his lead attorney, John Dowd was dismissed. And his personal attorney, Michael Cohen has his own legal problems and might be close to flipping on his former client.

Godfather

Ty Cobb was one of the first lawyers that Trump brought aboard to handle the special counsel matter. And throughout a tumultuous tenure. Trump has fiercely insisted that Cobb was in it for the duration and had his “full confidence.” Trump affirmed that in a tweet as recently as April 12. What’s more, Trump was outraged (as usual) at the the New York Times for reporting last March that there were problems within his legal team and that changes were imminent:

Apparently, the Times’ Maggie Haberman got a lot right despite Trump’s whining that she “knows nothing” and was “not given access.” It turns out the story wasn’t false after all. Both Dowd and Cobb have left since those tweets. And his insistence that he would not be hiring anyone else has also proven to be untrue. In a much ridiculed display of desperation, Trump hired Rudy Giuliani. And along with the news about Cobb’s departure is the addition of Emmett Flood. Flood’s significance as a new member of the team is that he is one of the few attorneys alive who has experience with impeachment, having worked on Bill Clinton’s hearings in 1998. What does that say about what Trump is currently fixated on and worried about?

And don’t let anyone tell you that Cobb’s departure was simply due to his desire to retire. That is an utterly implausible assertion. He just took this job a few months ago and was well aware that it wasn’t going to be a quick gig. The truth is that Cobb and Trump have been at odds regarding Trump’s behavior and particularly his tweets attacking Mueller which just make him sound more guilty. CNN’s Jim Acosta confirmed this with sources who said that Cobb “was not going to be ‘part of a mud slinging campaign.'”

In conjunction with the news about Cobb, Trump fired off some more rage-tweets denying that there was any collusion or obstruction of justice. You know, like any innocent person would do five times a day. One of the tweets quoted Joseph diGenova on Fox News (who was on Trump’s legal team for about half an hour) saying that Trump could fire anyone he wants at any time. Of course, that isn’t true. There are exceptions for criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice that specifically apply to Trump’s situation.

Trump also tweeted a promo for Fox News legal analyst, Gregg Jarrett, and his new book “The Russia Hoax – The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump.” Jarrett is disreputable character whose credentials are pitiful. He hasn’t practiced law in 30 years, and has been at Fox News half of that time. Trump and Jarrett both share the problem of repeatedly referring to the Mueller investigation as a hoax. PolitiFact honored that phrase with its 2017 “Lie of the Year” award.

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

Like many of the other members of Trump’s White House staff who he has praised, Cobb was dumped a few weeks later. Having Trump’s approval is the best warning that you are about to be unceremoniously shit-canned. Cobb should have seen it coming. And now that there are new reports that Chief-of-Staff John Kelly has been calling Trump an idiot, Trump came out with criticism of those reports and is standing by Kelly. In other words – goodbye Kelly. He’s just the latest flunky to get the Fredo treatment from the White House Don.

Shut Down Fox News For Facilitating Sexual Abusers Like Bill O’Reilly – Says Fox News?

A breaking story from the New York Times on Saturday revealed just how ingrained the culture of sexual deviancy is at Fox News. And it underscores their complicity in the abhorrent acts of their employees and management. So far the company has terminated their CEO Roger Ailes and their biggest star Bill O’Reilly. In addition, other executives and on-air hosts like Bill Shine, Eric Bolling, and Jaime Horowitz were jettisoned under similar circumstances.

Bill o'Reilly Fox News

This new story in the Times discloses that Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment and assault suit in January of 2017. This was after O’Reilly and Fox News made previous settlements involving O’Reilly’s sexual misconduct totaling over $13 million to five other women over a 15 year period. That disclosure led to his termination from Fox News in April. However, following the January settlement, Fox News renewed his contract despite knowing about all of these legal payoffs. Apparently being a serial sexual predator wasn’t disqualifying to be a host on Fox News.

To put this in perspective, Fox News has argued that such behavior is so irredeemable that punishing the abuser isn’t enough. The company employing him should literally be shut down. That assessment was provided by Fox host and pundit Gregg Jarrett in both a column of the Fox website and on the air (video below). Jarrett, however, was referring to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his production company. But by simply replacing references to Weinstein with Fox News, the commentary retains its meaning while pointing to an entirely different but equally guilty company. See this annotated version of excerpts from Jarrett’s article:

The Weinstein Company Fox News should immediately shut-down its operations and permanently close its doors. […] The Weinstein Company Fox News surely knew it had a sexual predator at the helm, but did little to stop him. Instead, it willingly fostered and sustained an environment that permitted him to continue abusing women.”

The Weinstein Company Fox News approved a written contract which deliberately enabled Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, et al, to sexually harass women and allowed [them] to cover-up the abusive conduct by paying off [their] victims. […] Weinstein’s O’Reilly’s contract appears to encourage or condone his suspected illegal behavior.”

“Viewed another way, the company seems to have aided and abetted Weinstein Ailes, O’Reilly, and others. They handed [them] a piece of paper which granted [them] permission to victimize women with impunity.”

Well, that’s pretty clear. Jarrett is an attorney and should know that his argument remains consistent regardless of the perpetrators. So he is, in effect, advocating that Fox News be shut down. And he isn’t the only one at Fox to say so. Tucker Carlson delivered a rant on the subject last week that made similar points about Weinstein that were easily transferable to Fox News. And let’s not forget another sexual predator to whom these rebukes could apply. Donald Trump has been accused by at least a dozen women of sexual harassment or abuse. And he has even confessed to criminal assault in the infamous Access Hollywood videotape. There are pending federal investigations against Fox News, and Weinstein may soon be be facing the same.

So bring it on, Fox, Let’s see you report on Trump and O’Reilly with the same righteous outrage you direct at Weinstein. And how about shutting down your irreparable and unrepentant operation that has proven to be a hotbed of criminal sexual assault. Any company that can reward cretins like O’Reilly with rich contract renewals despite knowing that he’s a recidivist pervert doesn’t deserve to continue polluting America’s airwaves.

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

Wingnuts Spin Trump’s Sexual Assault As OK Because – Oh Look, It’s The Clintons

By now everybody has heard Donald Trump describe how easy it was for him to sexually assault women. His comments were a grotesque and candid display of his real character, or more correctly, lack of it. Following the release of the recordings, Trump attempted to dismiss them with a typical non-apology apology that shifted the blame to others. He released the following statement:

Donald Trump

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

So Trump is apologizing only “IF” someone happened to be offended, but not “FOR” his offensive remarks. It’s an old method of placing responsibility on the poor sap who was foolish enough to listen to him. What’s more, this is not anything like the locker room banter that I’ve ever witnessed. This a confession to criminally aberrant behavior.

However, perhaps the worst part of his dodgy apology is that he couldn’t refrain from using it as an opportunity to smear his political foes. Bill Clinton had nothing to do with this, and Trump’s accusation was arbitrary and utterly unprovable. But that didn’t stop him or his surrogates from leaping feet first into politicizing his boorishness. And most of them employed the same faulty defense. For instance:

Sean Hannity sought to whitewash Trump’s ugliness by first saying that “Nobody’s gonna defend this. You can’t defend – it is wrong, it is inappropriate, it is outrageous. I don’t think anyone’s gonna argue with that.” After which Hannity argued with it for the remainder of his show. Along with his guests, Monica Crowley and Jeanine Pirro, he waived off Trump’s tales of sexual assault and weaved in the affairs of Bill Clinton that have already been worked over in the media for years.

Then there was CNN contributor Scottie Nell Hughes who said that “The words of Donald Trump are bad. But they’re not near as bad as the actions of Hillary Clinton since she’s been in office. There are four soldiers in Benghazi right now, that are not with us right now because of Hillary Clinton’s actions.” Aside from that having been proven untrue by at least four Republican led congressional committees, it has no bearing on Donald Trump.

But no one came close to Trump’s ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who now works for CNN. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer he made the insanely audacious claim that “What we don’t know, and I’m not trying to change the subject here, we don’t have any understanding of what Hillary Clinton has said in those meetings with Wall Street where she was paid for these speeches. She’s never released those transcripts. For all we know, the same things are being said in that regard.”

Let that sink in. Lewandowski is actually implying that Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street executives might have been about how she sexually assaulted people. No wonder they paid her so much. You can’t get porn like that from a former Secretary of State on the cheap. And note also that Lewandowski wasn’t trying to change the subject. It makes you wonder what he thought the subject was. And while your wondering, WTF was Blitzer doing when Lewandowski made that disgusting accusation? He thanked him and went to commercial.

There was one thing that Lewandowski said that actually made sense. In defending Trump he asserted that America isn’t electing a Sunday school teacher, they’re electing a leader. And Trump’s remarks show the nation that “You’ve got a leader who talks tough. He’s been very bold. He speaks from the heart. People understand that. They know Donald Trump.” Indeed, he speaks from the heart. And apparently his heart is poisoned with perversion and hate. And yes, that is the Donald Trump that we know all too well unfortunately.

Finally, Trump himself made a video to take another crack at expressing remorse. This time he admitted that he was wrong and apologized. However, he continued his effort to minimize his grossness and redirect the outrage to his mortal enemies, the Clintons:

“This is nothing but a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today. […] I’ve said some foolish things. But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days.”

Once again, the Clintons have nothing to do with his bad behavior. Additionally, the problem with all of this is not his words. It is, in fact, his actions as he himself describes them. He was not simply spewing profanities, he was talking about things he actually did. His video apologia also contained his “pledge to be a better man tomorrow.” That’s all well and good, but it’s something he should do on his own time, not while residing in the White House.

These are just a few examples of the coordinated spin from Trump and his allies. Clearly they have decided that the way to approach this is to pretend it doesn’t matter and besides the Clintons did it too. That’s a defense worthy of nine year old, which may be the emotional age of Trump.

The video itself was embarrassing. And the proof of that is that after it was aired on Fox News, anchors Gregg Jarrett and Arthel Neville noted that Trump was awkwardly reading the statement and said that it was “almost painful” to watch. They observed that he was clearly reading something that his speechwriters had written for him. And when you’ve lost Fox News…

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

See for yourself:

Fox News Anchor Arrested In Airport Bar (By Obama’s Thugs?)

Reports about an intoxicated and belligerent man brought police to a Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport bar Wednesday afternoon. There they found Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett who allegedly refused to follow orders and was subsequently taken into custody. He posted a $300.00 bond and was released Thursday morning with a court date set for June 6, the Washington Post reported.

Last week Jarrett had requested a leave from his Fox News duties for unspecified “personal reasons.” And while requests for comment by Fox News went unanswered, we can speculate as to how the network will eventually report this event.

Fox News Jarrett

In another show of tyrannical overreach, the Obama administration has once again applied its boot to the neck of Fox News. Anchor Gregg Jarrett was harassed and arrested by police in Minneapolis while investigating Obama’s plot to ship incriminating documents from the Veterans Administration to Benghazi where they would be disposed of along with Tea Party applications for IRS tax exemptions. Some say that Jarrett was subjected to police brutality and later refused medical attention because the ObamaCare Death Panel declined to approve his claim.

Unfortunately, this isn’t too far off from how Fox actually constructs their news stories. Just yesterday, after Nancy Pelosi told the press that she was reluctantly assigning Democratic members to the GOP’s Select Committee on Politicizing Benghazi, which she regards as unfair and unnecessary, Fox News reported that she was recognizing the seriousness of the committee. In other words, Fox reported the complete opposite of what Pelosi had just said, seconds after she said it.

So don’t be surprised to see the mock report above become reality on Fox News, complete with impassioned defenses from the likes of Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly. That’s if they ever bother to report on Jarrett’s arrest at all, which is highly unlikely.

Shameless self-promotion…
Get Fox Nation vs. Reality. Available now at Amazon.

[Update:] Fox News released the following statement:

“We were made aware late last night that Gregg Jarrett was arrested in Minneapolis yesterday and charged with a misdemeanor. He is dealing with serious personal issues at this time. A date for which Gregg might return to air has yet to be determined.”

Also, the police report says that Jarrett was recently released from an alcohol or drug treatment facility. All kidding aside, hopefully he will get the help he needs.

Fox Uses False Video (Again) To Inflate Sarah Palin’s Crowd

Just one week ago, Jon Stewart exposed Sean Hannity for inserting video of a rally last summer to make a less successful rally this month look like it was well-attended. It was a blatant distortion that could not plausibly have happened by accident. Nevertheless, that is exactly the excuse Hannity coughed up, as he sought to trivialize the affair and sweep it under the rug. I wonder how Fox News will explain it this time.

ThinkProgress has caught them red-handed again. The video below was introduced by Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett saying…

“Sarah Palin continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand new book. Take a look at…these are some of the pictures just coming into us. You can see the lines earlier had formed this morning. There’s a crowd of folks.”

The problem is that this video clearly shows Palin at a campaign event last year, not a current stop on her book tour. McCain/Palin signs are plainly visible in the audience. But Jarrett’s commentary identifies these images as “just coming in.” It should also be noted that Jarrett is considered by Fox to be an actual “news” anchor, not a part of their editorial programming, like Hannity.

Following the takedown by Stewart, Fox and their apologists insisted it was an innocent mistake and that they had no intention of being deceptive. But how many times does this need to happen before their alibis are dismissed for the lies that they are? Real news enterprises do not misrepresent events to advance their agenda. You will notice that they have never made a mistake like this that increased the size of a Democratic rally. The dishonesty of Fox News seems to have no lower boundary. Before too long we should expect it to look something like this:

Update: Fox News has responded to this latest Faux pas by typically blaming a lowly editor:

“This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn’t alert the control room to update the video,” Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news at FOX, sad [sic] this evening. “There will be an on-air explanation during Happening Now on Thursday.”

That’s twice in two weeks. And on different programs. This is either intentional or a pattern of incompetence. Perhaps they should schedule a daily program to make their on-air explanations so they don’t have to interrupt their mistake-filled propaganda.