On Orders from Sean Hannity (His Fox News Boss) Trump Will Sign Border Bill, Declare Emergency

After the unmitigated disaster of the Trump Shutdown last month, Donald Trump is taking steps to avoid another embarrassing loss to his nemesis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Under Pelosi’s guidance, the bipartisan committee in Congress tasked with drafting a new funding bill has arrived at a consensus that does not include any money for Trump’s idiotic vanity wall. So the President is responding in the most ignorant and undemocratic way possible.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

The Constitution of the United States makes clear that the Congress is responsible for all spending allocations by the federal government. Ordinarly, the president would be bound by the decisions of the Congress that is made up of the people’s representatives. But Donald Trump is in no way ordinary. It appears to be his intention to ignore – and even insult – the people (who polls show are overwhelmingly opposed to the wall) and do an unconstitutional end run around Congress to get funding for his precious wall.

Of course, Trump didn’t come to this decision on his own. That would require reading a bill that is over 1,000 pages and being able to grasp what it means. Instead, Trump is merely following orders from his superiors at Fox News who are accustomed to telling him what to do, and having him obey. It was only one day ago that Sean Hannity delivered his command to Trump in the form of commentary on his program. Hannity’s segment was built around this premise: “How Trump can take Congress’ garbage deal, and stick the wall down their throats.” That’s a particularly fascist tone to take with regard to presidential powers (something they are familiar with). What Hannity actually proposed was this:

“Step one: The president signs the deal, and uses the $1.375 billion as a downpayment for the wall. Step two: President Trump has identified some $900 million for additional construction that is already available for the administration’s discretion. That would bring the pot to about $2.3 billion. Step three: This needs to happen simultaneously, and it has the president declaring a national emergency. This is the time.”

So how did the White House respond to the bill that Congress is about to send him?

Gee. That’s exactly what Hannity told him to do. And this isn’t the first time. In fact, the Trump Shutdown was largely the result of Hannity’s insistence that Trump not agree to any deal that didn’t include wall funding. This time, however, they knew that a shutdown would only make matters worse for Trump, so they decided to try to turn the presidency into a dictatorship. But that’s isn’t going to work out any better them.

The emergency declaration will surely be challenged in court, where Trump will likely fail because there isn’t any emergency. And Trump’s own words and actions are the proof of that. He has repeatedly claimed that his administration has reduced illegal border crossings. He said that he already stopped two “caravans” of refugees at the border without any wall. And he has been putting off any executive actions on this for months. All of this affirms that no emergency condition exists.

Trump is engaging in pure theatricality in order to get his way, not to secure the nation, but to be able to say that he fulfilled a dumb campaign promise (that included Mexico paying for the wall, but now that’s been forgotten). No court in the nation will rule that Trump saving face over a campaign promise constitutes a national emergency. So Trump will lose in the end. But in the meantime he will have degraded democracy and divided the country even more than he already has. And that’s the Trump legacy that will endure long after he’s gone.

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

Trump Freaks Out Over Fake Fox News Report that 42 Million Latin Americans are Invading the U.S.

The prospects of Donald Trump getting the funding he craves for his idiotic vanity wall along the southern border are declining with each new day. Even he recognized in a whimpering tweet that the bipartisan congressional Conference Committee hashing out a compromise bill are leaning toward a skimpy sum that couldn’t be used for any actual wall building.

Fox News, Immigration

So naturally Trump is lashing out in the irrational and childish manner for which he is well known. His purpose, of course, isn’t to inspire a constructive dialogue, but to incite fear, hatred, and division. And he employs his usual bag of tricks to achieve those ends, mainly consisting of whining and lying. On Sunday morning he tweeted that:

It goes without saying that Trump’s assessment of the situation is entirely devoid of facts. What he describes as a looming disaster is actually just a set of hypotheticals that he has taken completely out of context. The Gallup poll he’s citing is much more nuanced than in his simplistic retelling. And, as usual, he didn’t provide a link to it for fear that people would be able to see the truth for themselves.

The poll asked a broadly hypothetical question of residents in Latin American countries about whether they would like to immigrate and, if so, what country would be their preferred destination. The survey results said that twenty-seven percent would like to immigrate, and that thirty-five percent of those would choose to go to the United States.

The only thing this tells us is that there is significant dissatisfaction with life in many of the Latin American countries. Who didn’t already know that? Much of the region is burdened with poverty, violence, and corrupt governments. Also, who is surprised that the U.S. would be a popular destination? Would Trump prefer it if our country was regarded as slime hole that no one wanted to move to? Although it does seem like that’s what he’s trying to turn it into.

Trump’s ignorance is further demonstrated by his omission of other relevant data on international migration. In another recent Gallup poll it was found that an even larger percentage of Europeans (41%) also say they would like to move to another country. Similarly, the top migrant destination worldwide is the U.S., with 158 million people – more than three times the number from Latin America alone – expressing an interest in moving here. For some reason, Trump didn’t bother to mention the potential invasion of America by Europeans. I guess that isn’t an issue for him and his white-wing Republican Nationalist Party.

It’s also notable that Trump didn’t come to rant about this after doing some deep research on his own or consulting his “experts” in the State Department. As usual, he was simply live-tweeting what he had just watched on Fox News. His favorite morning program, Fox and Friends, did a segment wherein the “Curvy Couch” potatoes featured this distorted take on the Gallup poll. And shortly thereafter Trump’s tweet appeared.

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

This is more proof that Fox News constitutes the “brain trust” of his administration. And, as a result, the nation is mired in the ignorance and bigotry that fills Fox’s programming 24/7. It’s a dangerous recipe that combines the ultra-rightist media with government power to poison the minds of the Deplorables who are most vulnerable to such lies and propaganda. And this Cult of Trump, with its State TV Ministry of Information, will continue to do harm until Trump and company are migrated to where they belong: Federal prison.

Donald Trump Calls 60% of Americans ‘Fools’ Because They Don’t Support His Idiotic Vanity Wall

When the President of the United States is notorious for being willfully ignorant and dismissive of factual data, even when it is provided by the experts in his own administration, he ought not to be calling other people names and disparaging their intellect. But that is a behavioral flaw that is all too common with Donald Trump, whose preference for his own counsel (whatever that means) prevails over that of professionals with decades of experience.

Donald Trump

Trump recently told an interviewer from CBS that he “doesn’t have to agree” with Intelligence team. That’s technically true, but it is not generally considered a good idea for someone who knows nothing about national security to ignore the advice of those who have spent a lifetime studying it. Trump also stated that he has “no confidence” in those same Intelligence experts – who he appointed to their posts – apparently preferring the guidance of his shadow cabinet on Fox News and mentors like Vladimir Putin.

Despite this cognitive breakdown, Trump still manages to cast insults at anyone who isn’t sufficiently deferential to his point of view and ego. And his targets include the American people who he is supposed to be serving as their representative. This betrayal of the people’s will is best exemplified by Trump’s position on building a useless wall along the southern border. Most people knowledgeable about immigration agree that a wall is an ineffective solution to the problems cited by Trump and other Republicans. What’s more, a new poll by Gallup shows that most Americans (60%) “oppose significant new construction on border walls.”

This opposition to what has become Trump’s signature fetish is not new. The Gallup poll confirms the results of nearly every other poll done on this subject. The desires of the American people are well known and firmly held. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and his cohorts in the GOP and on Fox News from trying to force their unwise and unpopular plan on a nation that unambiguously rejects it. And what do the citizens of the country get for expressing themselves?

So Trump regards at least sixty percent of the American people as “fools.” Never mind that they agree with the experts while Trump is basing his opinion on partisans associated with flagrantly racist interest groups. This disrespect for the citizens of this country is emblematic of a malignant narcissist who wishes he could be a dictator. Trump forced the nation into its longest ever government shutdown over a policy that the majority of voters oppose. And he is threatening to do it again, or to violate the Constitution with a phony national emergency declaration. And all to advance a proposal for a wall that has been nothing but a scam from the start.

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

Will Trump Declare a Fake National Emergency to Avoid the Real One in the White House?

Ever since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi masterfully forced Donald Trump to surrender his government shutdown, the President has been openly hostile to the notion of a negotiated compromise on immigration policy and border security. Within hours of forming a congressional committee to hammer out the details, Trump insisted that it was a waste of time and threatened to use his imagined imperial powers to impose a state of national emergency.

Donald Trump Revolt

Every credible expert on the law quickly pointed out that Trump’s case for a national emergency was virtually nonexistent. And much of the evidence was provided by Trump himself by his failure to act on the matter for more than two years and his willingness to put it off while Congress debates it. The only plausible excuse for such a declaration would be Trump’s desperation to deflect the public’s attention from his troubles associated with his conspiracy with Russia to steal the election.

However, there is a crisis in Washington that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. It’s a crisis of competence and leadership. Under Donald Trump the machinery of government is crumbling. Nearly twenty percent of the cabinet offices in this administration are being run by “acting” secretaries or directors. That’s because Trump is trying to adapt his television playacting role to his new job as president. And it’s painfully obvious that isn’t working. His “skills” are utterly inappropriate for the duties of government management and national leadership. He spends more time watching TV (Fox News) and conducting made-for-the-camera photo-ops, than engaging in the people’s business.

Currently serving in Trump’s pretend regime are an “Acting” Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney), Attorney General (Matthew Whitaker), EPA Director (Andrew Wheeler), Interior Secretary (David Bernhardt), and Secretary of Defense (Patrick Shanahan). All to serve our Reality TV Acting “President.” None of these department heads have been vetted or confirmed by the Senate as required by law.

It is all the more troubling considering that many of the nation’s most precarious challenges are directly associated with these cabinet offices. For instance, how can Trump’s alleged national emergency be taken seriously when the nation’s top law enforcement officer hasn’t been confirmed? Not to mention the fact that the current director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is also serving in an acting capacity.

Another example of the jeopardy that America faces under the Trump regime is that we have an acting Defense Secretary just as Trump has abandoned the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. At the same time, Trump’s Intelligence team (CIA, FBI, DNI, etc.) have publicly distanced themselves from the President’s positions on the most critical issues facing them, including Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Russia.

This is a terrible time to have a part-time cabinet and intelligence professionals who have no confidence in their boss. But as Washington burns, Trump is fiddling around with pretend declarations of national emergencies that are actually just attempts to bypass a Congress that he is totally incapable of negotiating with. Which is ironic considering the tweet he posted on November 20, 2014:

The outrageous constitutional breach that Trump was ranting about just happened to be related to immigration. Obama had just signed an executive order to “crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.” It was an entirely reasonable approach in response to a problem that Republicans in Congress refused to address.

But Obama did not declare a national emergency or overstep his constitutional powers, as Trump is now threatening to do. He simply took responsibility for a solution that would have passed in Congress (had the GOP allowed it to be voted on) and enjoyed widespread popularity with the public.

Trump, on the other hand, is the one subverting the Constitution with a threat to impose a bogus state of emergency because of his own pitiful negotiating skills. This is what Trump supporters got for believing the lie that he is adept at the “Art of the Deal.” And anyone who still believes that phony PR gimmick is terminally naive or firmly embedded in the Trump Cult.

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

Trump Confesses to Violating the Law By Misappropriating Federal Funds for His Vanity Wall

During the Trump Shutdown the President routinely made ludicrous comments about the necessity of building a wall on the southern border that most experts agree would be wasteful and ineffective. But even worse than that, Donald Trump would claim that his idiotic vanity wall would virtually eliminate, not just illegal immigration, but crimes like drug and human trafficking. Never mind that most of these activities take place at legal ports of entry where a wall would be irrelevant.

Donald Trump, Border Wall

On Friday morning, however, Trump went further down the rabid hole to assert that the wall that has become a fetish for him was already being built (video below). “We’re building the wall,” he lied. “People don’t understand that. They’re starting to learn.” This, of course is totally false. There is no new wall being built anywhere. But Trump continued down that path of falsity:

“We’re spending a lot of the money that we have on hand, like in a business. But we have money on hand and we’re building, I would say we will have 115 miles, maybe a little bit more than that, very shortly. It’s being built. Some of it’s already been completed. In San Diego, if you look, it’s completed. It’s really beautiful, brand new. We have other wall that’s under construction and we’re giving out a lot of contracts. So we’re building the wall. It’s getting it built one way or the other.”

The problem with these remarks is that, if they were true, then Trump is actually confessing to a federal crime. There has been no money appropriated by Congress for the construction any new wall along the southern border. And since Congress is the only government body that can allocate such funds, any money spent on a wall would be misappropriation of funds. It would be just as much a violation of the law as it would be for Trump to build a statue of himself at Mar-a-Lago with government money.

Of course, this would be a difficult case to prosecute since Trump is confessing to something that, in reality, he hasn’t actually done. And you can’t convict someone of a crime that they didn’t commit, even if they say they did. He could confess to being Jack the Ripper, but since he wasn’t alive at the time, the London authorities would be unlikely to go after him.

In addition to Trump’s fishy confession, he is also admitting that his obsession with demanding funds from Congress for his wall is a scam. If he is already building hundreds of miles of the wall with “money on hand,” then why did shut down the government, making hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer? Notably, he has also claimed that the wall would be paid for by a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, or that it would pay for itself by reduced law enforcement costs. And don’t forget that Mexico was supposed to pay for it from the start. According to Trump the wall has been paid for at least four times over.

Trump’s fountain of nonsense is overflowing with crackpot assertions and dishonest blathering. Most of it never approaches the fringes of comprehensible commentary. He’s like the schizophrenic homeless guy under the freeway overpass who is yelling gibberish at passing cars.

Among his other flagrant lies in this interview are that El Paso “immediately” became one of the safest cities in the country after a wall was built there (it has been one of the safest cities long before any wall was erected); many Democrats want the wall but are being prohibited by Nancy Pelosi from saying so (because the iron hand of the Speaker is forcing unity among a caucus usually noted for being in disarray); and Trump’s foes take their legal complaints to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that has nothing to do with the case at hand (which, if true, would not be taken up by that court).

This is just the latest display of Trump diving off the plank into the deep end of idiocy. It fits nicely with his declaration of no confidence in his own Intelligence team. Or his freak out over the release of a book (Team of Vipers) by his former communications aide. Or his boasting about a poll that actually showed him failing miserably. If there is one thing that we can be certain of, it’s that Donald Trump is not the stable genius he thinks he is.

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

Trump Lies About Voter Fraud In Desperate Attempt to Recover from Caving on the Shutdown

If there is one thing that Donald Trump can’t stand, it’s being exposed as the loser that he really is. He refuses to acknowledge his six (at least) bankruptcies. He pretends that he wasn’t played for a fool by Kim Jong Un. And the trail of failures – from his businesses to his marriages to his politics – just gets longer with each passing day.

Donald Trump, Loser

Consequently, getting beat to shreds by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who he deridingly calls “Nancy”) is surely gnawing at his substantial gut. He was forced to abandon his pledge to decline any deal with Congress that didn’t include his precious vanity wall – a wall that by his own argument isn’t necessary. Nevertheless, he insisted on building it in order to hurt innocent people.

Now, among the lies he’s telling about the imaginary “emergency” on the border, and his blatant scam in statements explaining how it is being paid for, Trump is diverting to an old and utterly fictional narrative on voter fraud to distract the public and the press from his recent embarrassment at the hands of Speaker Pelosi. It’s a pathetic diversionary device considering his previous attempts resulted in the humiliating disbandment of his phony election “integrity” commission because it couldn’t find any evidence of voter fraud. Undeterred by this shame, Trump tweeted this:

This is, to no one’s surprise, a bundle of outright lies, presumably gathered from his obsessive concentration on Fox News. The data was produced by Ken Paxton, the Texas Secretary of State who has been trying furiously to push the unsupportable case for rampant voter fraud. And Trump, of his own accord, tries to drag California into the controversy without the slightest bit of proof.

However, the Texas Tribune quickly came forward with some of those pesky facts that journalists rely on in order to debunk Trump’s dishonest ranting. In their analysis they wrote that:

“In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state’s office said.” […]

“It’s possible that individuals flagged by the state — who provided DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver’s license or ID card.”

So while Trump is implying that rampant voter fraud took place in recent elections, the information that he’s basing his lies on was actually accumulated over a period of twenty-two years. And during that time anyone who might have not been a citizen could have become naturalized before ever casting a vote. The Texas Secretary of State didn’t bother to check a single voter to see whether or not they were a citizen at the time they voted. But he still released a report that implied that all 58,000 voted illegally.

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

Of course, Trump parroted this irresponsible and poorly documented report as if it were valid. Because it fits nicely into his flagrantly racist narrative that nefarious brown-skinned villains are plotting to invade and take over America. And it also serves as convenient distraction from his border wall debacle that is, not coincidentally, aimed at maligning the same group of people. At least Trump is consistent in his raging dishonesty and bigotry.

Donald Trump Just Made a Fantastic Argument Against Building His Idiotic Border Wall

Well, it took thirty-five days and cost about six billion dollars, and incalculable personal suffering, but the Trump Shutdown is now over (temporarily). To say that Donald Trump caved is putting it mildly. He folded like a counterfeit three dollar bill under pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who he calls “Nancy”). And true to form, he emerged from the White House to declare victory in an impotent display of pathetic groveling and forced bluster.

Donald Trump

During Trump’s concession speech he revealed another repulsive side of himself as he admitted that the purpose of his wall is to hurt already suffering refugees by killing any “glimmer of hope” they might have for safety and freedom. And on Saturday morning he followed that up with a Twitter tantrum that was rife with callousness and delusion. This tweetstorm featured one posting that stood out as being a pretty darn good argument against the vanity wall that Trump has been so obsessed with:

So if we have already turned away two “caravans” of asylum seekers, then why do we need to spend billions of dollars on a wall that most experts say will be useless? The next caravan can be handled exactly the way the previous two were, without the expense or the pain associated with shutting down the government in an infantile rage.

Trump has actually admitted that our current ability to secure the border is perfectly adequate. There can be no credible argument that there is anything resembling an emergency at the border. So his yappy whining has no purpose other than to salve his ego. But he won’t let that stop him:

Let’s set aside Trump’s deranged assertion that he didn’t concede. The larger point he is making here is that he finally recognizes that the shutdown he was proud to impose was actually causing great harm and misery to millions of innocent people. But in the same sentence he callously threatens to do it all over again, unconcerned about inflicting more pain. He’s like the bully who uses his victim’s hand to slap his own face while taunting “Why do you keep shutting down yourself? Why do you keep shutting down yourself?”

This isn’t the first time that Trump’s argument for his wall has backfired on him. While his original campaign promise was that Mexico would pay for wall, he has failed utterly to bring that about. Instead, he has since insisted that the wall is being paid for by several different means in addition to Mexico, including: It would pay for itself, presumably by reducing unspecified expenditures on law enforcement; The new trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, which has nothing to do with wall funding as all the financial benefits of such a deal go to private industry; And the American taxpayer from whom he is currently demanding payment under threat of shutting down our government or declaring an unconstitutional national emergency.

So that’s four different payments for the same wall. How is that not a con game that would land anyone else in jail? Especially since the wall isn’t needed in the first place as Trump has now conceded on Twitter. And along with that concession, Trump has provided a couple of tweeted endorsements that are as phony as a con man’s paid shills. The first is by Fox News regular Matt Schlapp, who also happens to be married to Mercedes Schlapp, the White House Director of Strategic Communications. And the second is a video produced by the Daily Caller News Foundation, which is run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. So these are hardly independent affirmations of Trump’s wall fetish.

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

The more Trump talks and/or tweets, the less Democrats need to make the case against Trump’s wall. He’s doing a mighty fine job of that all by himself. And the last person who would be surprised by that is special counsel Robert Mueller, who has seen Trump’s public statements as some of the most incriminating pieces of evidence against him, particularly with regard to obstruction of justice. This is just how Trump operates. He is so consumed by his narcissism that he truly believes that everything he says is brilliant and furthers his objectives. By the time he finds out how wrong he is, it will be too late.

Trump Brags that His Wall Will Kill the ‘Glimmer of Hope’ that Refugees Have to Be Safe and Free

After thirty-five long and difficult days, the Trump Shutdown is coming to an inglorious end. Donald Trump vowed that he would not cave, but in the end that’s exactly what he did. He accepted a proposal that Democrats had offered a month ago, before the shutdown began. And it provides zero dollars for his precious vanity wall.

Donald Trump, Immigrant, Child

This is not, however, a final conclusion to the matter. It merely kicks the can down the block for three weeks when we will be faced with the same debate over Trump’s insistence on a useless wall. Trump even threatened to shut down the government again, or declare an unconstitutional national “emergency” if he doesn’t get his way next month. So no one should get comfortable, particularly if you’re a federal employee.

In his speech announcing the temporary agreement to reopen the government, Trump spent most of his time lauding the imaginary benefits of a border wall. He imbued it with magical powers to eliminate drugs and human trafficking. He said it would reduce crime, even though these immigrants commit fewer crimes than native born citizens. But perhaps the most repulsive part of his statement was one that illustrated just how callous and uncaring he is with regard to real human suffering (video below). Trump asserted that among the benefits of a wall is that…

“They save good people from attempting a very dangerous journey from other countries. Thousands of miles because they think they have a glimmer of hope of coming through. With a wall they don’t have that hope.”

So Trump is actually advancing as a positive argument for his wall that it will extinguish the hope of refugees who are fleeing violence and poverty in their countries of origin. How is that representative of the American Dream that brought generations of people escaping tyranny and torture to the shores of “the land of the free”? Trump declares proudly that his wall will mean that similar asylum seekers won’t have the hope that contributed so much to America’s greatness.

Not only is this attitude noxious and anti-American, but it ignores some obvious facts. If Trump acknowledges that these refugees are braving long and dangerous journeys, does he stop and think for a second about why? Clearly they would not undertake such an arduous task, often with young children, if the need wasn’t crucial to their survival. This isn’t a pleasure cruise they are enjoying. Trump knows that. He knows that these refugees are motivated by fear and hope, but he still thinks it’s appropriate, and even worthwhile, to strangle the hope out of these desperate souls.

Trump admits in his remarks that the refugees are “good people” who are “attempting a very dangerous journey.” And in his next breath he smugly asserts that the “glimmer of hope” to which they cling should be snuffed out with his “big, beautiful wall.” So what does he think they should do after that hope is extinguished? He doesn’t bother to say. Presumably they should just stay put and suffer and die quietly. Because for many of them, that’s the alternative. Do you think Trump cares?

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

Trump’s Martin Luther King Jr Tweet Reveals the Hypocrisy of His Own Hostility to Equality

One of the great ironies in American politics is the rush to embrace Dr. Martin Luther King Jr by the very same people who so adamantly opposed him and his movement. In 1983, 90 representatives (77 Republicans, 13 Democrats) and 22 senators (18 Republicans, 4 Democrats) voted against honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday. However, today the Republican Party officially (if not enthusiastically) celebrates King’s legacy in public statements and events.

Donald Trump, Martin Luther King

As for Donald Trump, he has a sketchy history of recognizing this day’s importance to the nation. It’s almost always a perfunctory tribute that appears forced and disingenuous. This year he had no plans to mark the holiday at all until reports of that neglect caused him to rush out to the King Memorial in D.C. for a couple of minutes. The year before that he announced that he would visit the new Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, but canceled it in a petty fit after being criticized by Rep. (and civil rights hero) John Lewis.

Trump did, however, manage to squeeze out a couple of tweets for the occasion this year. One was a purely propaganda video with no message, just images of him and Mike Pence laying a wreath at the King Memorial. The other tweet actually included some commentary on the subject:

That’s almost an appropriate message to honor this day and Dr. King’s contribution to the country. But part of this message is undercut by current events. In this tweet Trump specifies that “the place of our birth” does not negate the fact that “we are all created equal.” But Trump is feverishly seeking to discriminate against people for that very reason.

The nation is now in the midst of the longest government shutdown in history. And all because Trump is demanding that Congress fund his vanity wall on our border with Mexico. In his tedious justifications for this funding, Trump maligns the Latino refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. as murderers, rapists, and drug traffickers. What’s more, he is committing political extortion by threatening DACA applicants and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (both programs he is trying to terminate) with deportation if his demands aren’t met.

This is not the way people who are created equal are treated in a just society. But it is the way that Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party are treating people who are fleeing violence and poverty. And it’s the way they are treating people who were brought here as children and have lived here their whole lives. Under these circumstances, for Trump to pretend that he cares about the principles that King fought for is completely absurd.

If Trump means what his tweet says about the place of our birth not precluding us from being treated equally, then he should immediately reopen the government and initiate procedures to process the asylum claims of all refugees, and provide DACA and TPS recipients permanent residency and a path to citizenship. That’s what he should do. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump and the GOP to behave honorably or to honor the spirit of Dr. King.

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

Gaslighting: Trump Brags About Dubious Support in a Poll that Shows Him Floundering Miserably

In Donald Trump’s regularly scheduled Sunday Morning Tweetstorm, the President with way too much time on his tiny hands delivered a series of rambling rants that were chock full of the lies, insults, boasting, and diversions that his dimwitted Deplorables have come to expect and appreciate. It was a smorgasbord of bullcrap that was tightly focused on his base. And brother was it ever base.

Donald Trump

Among the subjects that Trump addressed were the economy (wherein the stock market just suffered its first negative year in a decade), the weather (wherein he again demonstrates his ignorance of climate science), the shutdown (that he blames on Democrats despite having promised not to), Nancy Pelosi (who he both insulted and threatened), and the progress on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament (which not only hasn’t occurred, they have expanded their arsenal and capabilities). Then Trump posted a flagrant propaganda video that reminisces about his God-awful “American Carnage” inauguration speech.

But perhaps the most ludicrous of the bunch (a hard call) was his tweet bragging about a poll that showed his support among Latinos on the rise (50-46%). He attributed this to their support for his positions on immigration and his idiotic vanity wall. It doesn’t take much to realize that there’s something terribly wrong with his analysis.

Trump didn’t bother to identify the poll to which he was referring because, as usual, he doesn’t want anyone to discover the facts about his standing. However, it was easy to track it down. It was poll by Marist for NPR and the PBS NewsHour. You know – the “enemy of the people.” And as it turns out, Trump was almost right about the numbers for Latinos. Although the increase was 19 points, not 19 percent.

Still, there was a lot that Trump left out. First of all, Trump’s overall approval was a flaccid thirty-nine percent, down three points since the last poll. But more to the point, the poll interviewed 1,023 people, of which the Latino sample was only fifteen percent, or 153 people. That’s way too small a sample for a reliable national survey result. What’s more, the same poll broke down those numbers to strongly approve: 29 percent, and strongly disapprove: 41 percent. So clearly there is some animosity in this community that Trump, for some reason, failed to disclose.

Another question in the poll asked “Thinking about the 2020 election, do you definitely plan to vote for Donald Trump for reelection as president or do you definitely plan to vote against him?” The Latino respondents said resoundingly “NO,” by a thirty-one point margin (58-27%). That’s almost identical to the overall total respondents who said “no” (57-30%). Even ten percent of Republicans said “no,” while twenty-one said they were “unsure.” Sixty-four percent of Independents said they would definitely not vote for Trump in 2020. The only demographic groups that registered over fifty percent to vote for Trump were Republicans and white evangelicals. Every other breakout (gender, education, financial, geographic, race, age, etc.) fell short of that mark.

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

So Trump is once again pretending that he’s beloved by his subjects. And he’s trying to convince everyone else of that same delusion. It’s the same sort of mind games he pulled when insisting that the polls showed support for his wall and shutdown (they didn’t). Or that the media had lost all credibility with the people (people trust the media more than they do Trump).

For Trump it’s just a continuous effort to gaslight the public with easily debunked claims. And, of course, it’s all intended to distract the people and the press from his criminal acts of conspiracy with Russia, obstruction of justice, and financial corruption. Unfortunately for Trump, the American people are smarter than he gives them credit for. Which is why they will be happy and relieved when he’s finally impeached or otherwise driven from office.