Trump Thanks Fox News for Helping Him Ignore His Duty to Protect and Defend the Constitution

Once again, Donald Trump is caught convening with his “outhouse” cabinet (too crappy to be in the kitchen) on Fox News rather than knowledgeable professionals. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends delivered another of their “Presidential Daily Briefings” to the only person in their audience that matters to them.

Fox News

The segment (video below) reiterated a White House talking point meant to distract from the reality that Russia invaded the United States with a massive and well-financed attack on our democratic system. They advanced the lie that President Obama didn’t do anything about Russia’s election tampering. In fact, Obama did quite a bit. He expelled thirty-five Russian “diplomats” and imposed new sanctions. These were actions that Trump’s soon-to-be National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, assured Russia would not be carried out if they won the election. Obama also tried to get Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell to sign on to a bipartisan public announcement revealing the Russian operations. McConnell refused, and Obama thought it would appear political if he were to proceed without GOP support. It could be argued that Obama could have done more, but not that he did nothing, as Trump did in this tweet:

Of course, Trump never has an original thought, and he didn’t in this case either. He was reacting to the policy dictates put forth on Fox and Friends. In addition to the tweet above, Trump also tweeted a quote that played on the Fox News program of Obama saying that…

It needs to be noted that Obama was talking about Trump’s campaign hysterics that Obama and Hillary Clinton were conspiring to steal the election. He was not talking about the sort of tampering that we know Russia engaged in. That’s a significant distinction, but one that Fox and Trump are too dimwitted to figure out. Or more accurately, too dishonest to admit. So Trump’s “Friends” merely repeated their well-rehearsed lines:

Brian Kilmeade: If you look at the President’s track record, it’s been anything but strong when it comes to Russia. [Steve Doocy had to interject that Kilmeade meant President Obama]
Steve Doocy: But here’s the thing, ultimately. Barack Obama was the president of the United States when Russia was meddling with our election. Trying to sow discord. So why didn’t he, as the chief executive of the country, stop it? And now, fast forward to now, what’s the narrative become? Forget about the fact that it happened on Obama’s watch, now it is ‘Well you know it looks like the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.’ Which there is no evidence, absolutely none that that happened. All we found out Friday with the Mueller indictment was there was this place called the troll factory. Spent about a hundred thousand dollars and put out a few Facebook ads. That’s it.”

First of all, there is plenty of evidence of Trump’s collusion, starting with Donnie Jr.’s meetings with Russians (which he initially lied about) in Trump Tower. There are verified connections between Trump, Wikileaks, and Russia, who Trump begged to hack Clinton and release the stolen emails. There are more than a dozen Trump associates who met with Russians and lied about it. And no one knows what further evidence special counsel Robert Mueller has that won’t be disclosed until he concludes the investigation.

What’s more, Doocy’s deliberate disinformation about Mueller’s indictments misstates the facts. It wasn’t a hundred thousands dollars and a few Facebook ads. It was over a million dollars a month and thousands of Facebook and other Internet posts seen by millions of Americans.

More importantly, Trump appears to be conceding now that the election interference did occur. And while he’s obsessing over Obama’s response, he’s ignoring that he has done nothing himself. To the contrary, he is letting his pal Vladimir Putin off the hook. Trump refuses to impose sanctions that were voted on nearly unanimously by Congress. And although he will criticize everyone from Obama to Clinton to Oprah, he has never said a cross word to or about Putin.

No matter what Trump thinks of Obama, he has a responsibility as the current president to protect and defend the country. But he’s never even had a cabinet level meeting on the threat of Russia’s election tampering. Nor has he directed his intelligence and law enforcement agencies to address the matter. If he thinks that Obama was negligent, then what is he saying about himself? It’s almost as if he’s happy with Russia’s political intrusions and wants them to continue. Or maybe that they have something on him that is costly to his financial empire or personally embarrassing. Nah – couldn’t be any of that. Could it?

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

Trump Repeatedly Claims Hillary Clinton Lied To The FBI, But That’s a Lie

You can always tell when Donald Trump is frightened out of his gourd. He rattles off baseless assertions that attack his critics in a transparent attempt to deflect from what he fears. It’s a rather pathetic display of character weakness and an inability to face reality.

Hillary Clinton

On Monday morning Trump demonstrated this when responding to questions on the White House lawn (video below). He was asked about the recent guilty plea by his disgraced National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. And despite Flynn’s confession that he lied to the FBI, Trump expressed his disappointment and support for the felon:

“Well, I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life. […] I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame.”

First of all, how do you live a very “strong” life? This is Trump exhibiting his severely limited vocabulary. It was either “strong” or “tremendous” or in a pinch, “huge.” Believe me. And Trump also proves that the Republican pretension of personal responsibility is a sham. How did the FBI destroy Flynn’s life? Wasn’t it Flynn who who destroyed his own life by his criminal dishonesty with regard to associations with Russian operatives? The FBI only held him accountable, which is their job.

But Trump wasn’t finished trying to divert attention from his own problems. He thought he could point a stubby, short finger of blame toward his arch nemesis, Hillary Clinton. The accusation that Clinton lied to the FBI “many times” is a wholly fabricated falsehood for which Trump has not even bothered to provide proof. And he’s been making this phony charge for several days. If Trump has evidence of a Clinton lie to the FBI, why doesn’t he say what it is? And why doesn’t he, or one of his sycophantic congressional lapdogs, send a request to investigate to the FBI director that he appointed?

Clearly there is no truth to Trump’s wild assertions. He’s just spraying blame wherever he can and hoping people stop noticing the disgusting deeds he’s perpetrating on the nation. For instance, this morning he also threw his wholehearted support behind the pedophile senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore. He reversed an Obama-era designation to protect endangered land in Utah. He escalated provocative military exercises in South Korea. And he’s celebrating a senate vote to advance a tax bill that redistributes wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and corporations.

It’s been a busy week for the President. And with his former aide cooperating with the special counsel investigation against him, Trump is accelerating his frantic efforts to shift the public discourse. Unfortunately for him, it isn’t working. Except on Fox News where there never is heard a discouraging word for Trump anyway.

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

Trump Says Reporters Should Be Punished For Inaccurate Stories – OK, Let’s Start With Fox News

On Friday ABC News correspondent Brian Ross misreported a story about confessed liar, and Donald Trump’s disgraced National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Ross said that his sources told him that Flynn was prepared to testify that candidate Trump told him to contact the Russians. As it turned out it was during the transition, not during the campaign, that Trump told Flynn to hook up with Vladimir.

ABC News corrected the story, but the mistake cost Ross four weeks of pay and a suspension from duty. Naturally, Trump and his right-wing media mouthpieces wiggled their tails and began blasting out accusations of “fake news.” Never mind that the reaction to the error actually affirms the veracity of the so-called mainstream media. They acknowledged the mistake and punished the reporter. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Even Trump recognized that ABC deserved praise for their professionalism. He tweeted:

Setting aside Trump’s infantile and false characterization of the “Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt,” his suggestion that more networks demonstrate this sort of integrity is on point. And the network that spews more lies than any other is, of course, Trump’s favorite: Fox News. It is a nearly non-stop, 24/7, fiction factory that invents slanderous stories about Democrats and liberals, while fantasizing about Trump’s Messianic reign and defending him from every criticism.

For instance, Sunday morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends set out to smear their competition at MSNBC. Co-host Pete Hegseth began a segment that accused the network of suppressing news about the acquittal of the defendant in the Kate Steinle murder case. Hegseth said that:

“In the days following the acquittal of the illegal immigrant responsible for Kate Steinle’s death, the media has now had a mixed response in their coverage, unsurprisingly. But one network has completely ignored it. MSNBC did not cover the verdict one time on Friday or on Saturday.”

Oh really? Apparently the Foxies don’t get out of their bubble very much. MSNBC did, in fact, report this story beginning on Thursday when it broke. Their coverage continued on Friday. It would be fair to say that it lost the “breaking” aspect after that, especially since that’s when the news of Flynn’s guilty plea was announced. Ironically, it was Fox News that is actually guilty of downplaying a bombshell report. Their primetime programs barely glanced at the Flynn story, while furiously hyping the Steinle verdict.

[Update: A tweet was posted to the Fox and Friends Twitter account acknowledging that MSNBC did cover the Steinle verdict. They subsequently deleted the story and the video, but a copy of the clip can be seen here. They have not issued an on-air retraction on Fox and Friends.]

Fox News

The examples of Fox News deliberately disseminating false information are too numerous to list here. But the fact-checkers at PolitiFact have compiled the data and found that Fox News broadcasts contain at least sixty percent false content. Think about that. Significantly more than half of what you see on Fox News are lies.

Which is why I am in complete agreement with Donald Trump with regard to more networks suspending reporters whose work is found to be inaccurate. Because if Fox News were held to that standard they would go dark for the next couple of years. And that would truly Make America Great Again.

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

Trump Lies On Top Of Lies That He’s Now Lying That He Lied About

Confused? That’s exactly the point. Donald Trump is weaving a web of deliberate falsehoods in order to build up a tolerance to official dishonesty so that his gushing output of lies are dismissed as inconsequential and ordinary. But there is nothing ordinary about Trump’s pathological behavior and aversion to truth and decency.

Donald Trump Lies

In another morning tweetstorm, the Liar-in-Chief knocked off a series of embarrassingly ludicrous messages aimed at shoring up the faith of his glassy-eyed disciples. They included swings at the FBI and Hillary Clinton and special counsel Robert Mueller and, of course, the media. The one thing shared in common was a sense of desperation so thick it could stop a bazooka blast. Trump is clearly frightened out of (what passes for) his wits.

Among these tweets was one in particular that represents his brazen assault on verifiable facts. In response to the crushing news that his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with Mueller, Trump pounded out this absurdity:

This is one of the easiest Trump lies to refute. That’s because he’s on video saying exactly what he is now tweeting that he never said (video below):

“When I decided to just do it [fire FBI Directer James Comey] I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”

So he told NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey specifically because of the Russia investigation at the FBI. An investigation that Comey refused to halt at Trump’s insistence. Flynn, of course, was at the heart of the investigation. And we know now that he lied to the FBI to cover up the involvement of himself and others in the Trump campaign and administration, possibly including Trump.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence and the FBI. That was a new revelation. It was the first time that Trump acknowledged knowing that Flynn lied to the FBI. And if he knew that when he fired him, that is a confession to obstruction of justice.

Comey testified under oath before Congress that Trump asked him to stop the investigation. Now Trump is calling Comey a liar. But if you look at the record of both men in public life, it’s clear that Trump is the one that it is impossible to believe. He currently has racked up over 1,600 lies just since his inauguration. And this latest tweet is a new lie wherein he is lying about his previous lies. And what’s really sad – and somewhat frightening – is that there are still people who believe him.

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

Collusion Delusion: Trump Says He’s ‘Very Happy’ About the Flynn Guilty Plea (Video)

Well, it took twenty-four hours for Donald Trump to think of something to say about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. That’s twenty-three hours more than it takes him to comment on kneeling NFL players or how unfunny SNL is. And the extra time didn’t have any effect on his tendency to lie and exalt himself.

Robert Mueller Trump

In a tweet posted Saturday morning, Trump presented a version of events that contradicts reality. That’s typical of the President whose grip on reality is tenuous under the best of circumstances. But when he’s pressured by events that are likely to lead to his impeachment, he becomes even more unhinged. He tweeted that:

Let’s break that down. First of all, it’s important to recall that Trump resisted firing Flynn long after he knew of his offenses. U.S. Attorney Sally Yates went to the White House to personally notify them of Flynn’s problematic associations with Russia and other foreign operatives. So obviously Trump rushed into action and fired Yates.

Trump’s tweet also asserts that his reason for firing Flynn (who technically resigned) was because he lied to Vice-President Pence and the FBI. In fact, the only reason Trump ever gave for the firing was Flynn’s lies to Pence. If Trump is now confessing that he knew at the time that Flynn had lied to the FBI, that’s a brand new revelation. It seems unlikely that he would have that information because special counsel Robert Mueller wouldn’t share that sort of data with other subjects of an ongoing investigation. Also, if Trump knew then that Flynn lied to the FBI, how could he ask FBI Director James Comey to drop the case? Trump is either lying or he interfered in some manner with Mueller’s probe. Either way it’s obstruction of justice.

[UPDATE: A report citing anonymous sources is now alleging that Trump’s tweet was authored by his lawyer John Dowd. Since there’s no official statement from the White House, and Trump hasn’t updated his tweet, it’s impossible to ascertain whether this is accurate or just a desperate attempt to walk back a tweet that effectively confesses obstruction of justice. However, it hardly seems much better if Trump’s lawyer is the author because he should regarded as being intimately familiar with Trump’s affairs. What’s more, since there was no indication that the tweet might have been written by someone other than Trump, it raises the question as to whether any other tweets attributed to him were also written by someone else.]

Finally, Trump’s assertion that Flynn broke no laws and had nothing to hide is about as shallow an assessment as it’s possible to contrive. If there wasn’t any criminal activity, then why did Flynn lie? Clearly he was attempting to cover something up and hoping to get away with it. Trump’s failure to discern this illustrates how blind he is to what is obvious to everyone else. Or, once again, he’s lying. But there is a measure of self-delusion that can’t be ignored. Take for instance these comments Trump made to the press Saturday morning (video below):

Question: Mr. President, are you concerned about what Michael Flynn might tell the special counsel?
Trump: No, I’m not. And what has been shown is no collusion. No collusion. There’s been absolutely no collusion so we’re very happy.

Notice Trump’s triple repetition of the phrase “no collusion.” That’s typical of his speaking style, particularly when he is consumed by anxiety and in the throes of a panic. He feels the need to reinforce his message with the sledgehammer approach to public communications. But more to the point, Trump is projecting his fantastical notion of there being no legal jeopardy for himself simply because Flynn copped a plea. The whole point of plea bargaining is to charge a defendant with a lesser crime in exchange for information that leads to a more prominent offender. If Mueller didn’t get actionable data, he would not have let Flynn off so lightly. This concept is not entirely foreign to Trump. Remember when he tweeted this:

Well, now Flynn has accepted a limited immunity of sorts in exchange for his cooperation with the special counsel. And the fact that he had to plead guilty is proof that the investigation is anything but a witch hunt.

So while much of the right-wing media is pretending that Mueller doesn’t have anything on Trump because of the relatively soft bargain with Flynn, the truth is it’s that softness that proves that Mueller did get valuable info that could lead directly to Trump, his inner circle, and his family. Mueller is no pushover who can be conned by weasels like Flynn. It’s safe to say that Trump is in his crosshairs, and that accounts for Trump’s noticeably nervous behavior. And despite his inability to grasp this reality, it’s just gonna get worse.

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

WTF? Trump Statement on Flynn Guilty Plea Puts the Blame on – Wait For It – President Obama

Friday morning Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. It’s a charge emanating from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. The relative minor infraction suggests the Flynn is fully cooperating with Mueller’s probe and has material evidence to trade for his leniency. In fact, Flynn’s statement explicitly references his “guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office.”

Donald Trump Michael flynn

However, there is more to his statement and plea bargain that is likely to make things very dicey for Donald Trump. That includes the fact that Flynn’s offenses took place while serving in the administration. Which should make it difficult for Trump to credibly put distance between Flynn and himself. But Trump, being Trump, couldn’t care less about making a rational assessment when it’s much easier for him to float ludicrous implications against his arch enemy, President Obama. The White released the following statement in response to the news of Flynn’s guilty plea:

“Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Note the slyly worded attempt at misdirection: “and a former Obama administration official.” Does Trump really think he’s going to get away with this subliminal effort to blame Obama for the Flynn affair? Probably. He is just that nuts. And after all, Trump will have the assistance of Fox News to manipulate the narrative and shift the focus to his predecessor. But most Americans will simultaneously laugh and cringe when they see this transparent act of desperation.

For the record, Obama fired Flynn from his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. So he can hardly be held responsible for Trump later embracing him. What’s more, Obama personally warned then President-Elect Trump not to hire Flynn as his National Security Advisor. But Trump ignored that warning and hired him anyway. Only to push him out less than a month later.

With regard to Flynn’s “resignation,” it was accepted reluctantly by Trump, who continued to praise Flynn on his way out the door. “I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right,” Trump said about Flynn’s discussions with Russian officials. Trump commended Flynn for “doing his job,” and gushed that “I think he’s a fine man.” For Trump to now pretend that it was somehow Obama’s fault that he cozied up to a scoundrel like Flynn is further evidence of his failing mental state.

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

The Trump administration is well aware of how flimsy their pivot to Obama is, and they are already floating alternative excuses. One suggests that Flynn’s lies (and by extension Trump’s) are no big deal because “everyone lies in Washington.” That’s the sort of justification that can only be proposed by a pathological liar. Therefore, it’s no big surprise that Trump is proposing it. During his campaign he promised to drain Washington of just this sort of swampiness. Of course, a quick glance at his administration, and his policies, reveal that to be just another one of the profusion of falsehoods he has unleashed since he took office.

Unprecedented Chaos in the Trump White House: 6 Key Posts Turnover in Only 6 Months

The first term of Donald Trump’s administration is only six months old, But it’s such an unmitigated disaster that it’s effectively already over. Many of the top positions in the White House have failed spectacularly. Trump’s campaign assertion that he “has the best people” begs the question: best at what? Obviously they aren’t the best at governing or performing the jobs for which they were hired.

Donald Trump

In only six months Trump has already replaced several of his key staffers. And others are anxiously waiting for the ax to fall on their own precariously exposed necks. This is a historically catastrophic degree of turnover by officials tasked with essential civic duties. There is simply no way any administration can be functional with so much perilous volatility.

The departments that have seen their leaders repealed and replaced are not trivial figureheads. They are mission critical managers upon whom rest competent governance and national security. What follows are some of the posts that are already starting over after a disastrous half year of Trump’s failure of leadership.

National Security Advisor
Within a mere three weeks of his appointment, Gen. Michael Flynn was dismissed under a cloud of scandal. He was closely associated with Russian operatives during Trump’s campaign. What’s more, he failed to disclose those relationships as required by law. Trump said that he fired Flynn for lying to him and Vice-President Pence about his meetings with Russians. However, Trump denied that there was anything improper about the meetings.

Press Secretary
The most visible person in any presidential administration is the press secretary. Trump’s first choice for that post was Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice). In the few months that he managed to hold onto the job he was castigated for being overtly dishonest. His first public appearance was spent lying about the crowd estimates at Trump’s inaugural address. It was all downhill from there. Spicer often claimed not to have spoken with the President on key questions raised by reporters. And in an attempt to avoid further bad publicity, he shut down the daily press briefings or prohibited cameras. During his tenure far-right fringe outfits like Breitbart News and Alex Jones’ Infowars were granted press credentials. And all of this took place under the president who declared the media “the enemy of the American people.”

Communications Director
The first person appointed to this post was not especially noteworthy. Michael Dubke’s short tenure went almost completely unnoticed. He was replaced briefly by Sean Spicer in an acting capacity. Then Trump named Anthony Scaramucci to the post permanently. Scaramucci came screaming out of the gate with wild accusations and insults directed at Spicer and others in the administration. His profanity-laced diatribes against Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon made headlines for the worst possible reasons. But he did represent the President in the vulgar fashion to which is accustomed.

[UPDATE:] Scaramucci has been fired. Sources say that the new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, wanted to select his own team. Translation: Get that vulgar piece af crap out of my White House.

Chief of Staff
And speaking of Reince Priebus, shortly after Scaramucci’s unhinged tirade, Priebus was ousted from his job. But like a good little sycophant, he praised both Trump and Scaramucci on his way out the door. Entering the Oval Office to replace Priebus was Gen. John Kelly, currently Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Trump announced Kelly’s appointment in glowing terms that highlighted the “spectacular” job Kelly did at DHS. It is, therefore, curious that Trump would take this star performer from his job protecting America, and selfishly limit his role to one of protecting just the President.

Secretary of Homeland Security
Of course, Kelly’s transfer leaves the vital post of DHS secretary vacant. It remains to be seen who Trump will offer as a replacement. Some Washington insiders have speculated that he might move Attorney General Jeff Sessions into the job. But you have to wonder why Trump would give such an important job to someone he has publicly said has disappointed him? The answer may be that Trump wants an excuse to remove Sessions as AG so that he can replace him as well. It’s no secret that Trump wants to fire special counselor Robert Mueller. Sessions can’t do that because of his recusal on matters related to that investigation.

FBI Director
Last May Trump shocked the nation by firing FBI Director James Comey. That impetuous and self-serving action set in motion many of Trump’s current problems. It’s why Sessions had to recuse himself. And it’s why there is a special counselor investigating Trump, his campaign, and his finances. In particular, Trump has exposed himself to impeachable charges of obstruction of justice. Comey’s department was investigating Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump even admitted that his reason for firing Comey was because of “this Russia thing.”

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

These high-level staff turnovers are unique for a presidency that’s only six months old. It speaks to the incompetence and erratic nature of this president. The rest of his cabinet is just as conflicted, corrupt, and unqualified as those that have been cast out. They just haven’t had their public meltdowns yet. And if anyone is surprised by the turmoil in Washington, they haven’t been paying attention. Donald Trump is the most conflicted, corrupt, and unqualified of the bunch. And his day will come as well. Hopefully before he has had a chance to do much more damage.

It’s Not Just Comey: Trump’s Scorched Earth Policy Toward Those Investigating Him

The legal concept of “consciousness of guilt” is when a suspect behaves in a manner that an innocent person would not. For example, engaging in actions to hide evidence or cover up participation in unlawful events. Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is the best evidence to date that he is aware of his culpability in a crime. It’s hard not to recognize that he knows that the law is circling around him and he is running scared.

Donald Trump

News reports are filling in some of the blanks since the bombshell announcement about Comey. One report notes that subpoenas have been issued by a Grand Jury investigating Michael Flynn’s connections to Russia. Another reveals that Comey had recently requested additional funds for the FBI’s probe. Sensing the noose tightening, Trump tweeted:

The next day Trump fired Comey. No matter what opinions one has of Comey, it is undeniable that Trump’s abrupt dismissal of him is troubling. Terminating an FBI Director who is leading an active investigation is a wholly inappropriate interference with the administration of justice. And the explanation provided by the administration couldn’t be more absurd. Does anyone believe that Trump fired Comey because Comey was too tough on Hillary Clinton?

The Comey debacle would be bad enough on its own. However, it is just the latest in a string of personnel moves that form a disturbing pattern.

In January Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Yates is a career prosecutor who spent 27 years with the Justice Department serving presidents of both parties. The publicly stated reason for her termination was that she refused to defend Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban in court. However, it later became known that Yates personally warned Trump about Flynn’s Russian connections. She provided documentation of the possibility that he had been compromised and advised Trump to act. It took Trump eighteen days to do so. Meanwhile, Yates had already been handed her pink slip.

In March Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Well respected by his colleagues, Bharara also had the bipartisan support of Congress. Even Trump supported him at first and personally asked him to stay on. That didn’t last long. Trump’s support began to unravel after his unhinged tweet that President Obama had wiretapped him. As the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the investigation into that claim fell into his jurisdiction. Bharara was also in charge of the probe into allegations of securities violations by Fox News. All of that put Bharara on Trump’s hit list. And it’s more than a little peculiar that a leading candidate to replace Bharara is Marc Mukasey. Mukasey is the personal lawyer of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

So Trump has fired Yates, Bharara, and now Comey, without any defensible reasons for doing so. The one thing they have in common is that they were all investigating Trump or his associates. It’s indicative of a tyrannical obsession to eliminate one’s perceived enemies. At the very least it’s vindictive. And we know that Trump is often motivated by retribution.

Take for instance his treatment of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who presided over the Trump University fraud case. Trump repeatedly denigrated the judge and accused him of being unfit to rule in the case. Trump’s reasoning was that the judge is Mexican and “I’m building a wall.” For the record, Curiel was born in Indiana. Trump also went after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Perhaps that had something to do with Schneiderman’s probe into Trump’s business dealings and conflicts of interest. Trump lashed at Schneiderman, calling him a “lightweight” and “the worst attorney general in the US.” He even implied that Schneiderman was a “cokehead.”

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’s knee-jerk, juvenile, attacks on anyone who criticizes him is well documented. He blasted an entire court system (the 9th district) when they stayed his Muslim ban. And his political foes all get silly nicknames (Lyin’ Ted, Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, etc.). It’s a psychological symptom of inferiority, narcissism, and paranoia. And it’s playing out daily on a very public stage. The consequences are dire for those who challenge his authority. But they are even worse for the nation – and the world – as Trump’s fear of being held to account drives him deeper into madness.

Trump’s New National Security Advisor Rejects His ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ Hogwash

For most of the Obama administration, conservative pundits and politicians sang a common refrain to castigate his anti-terrorism efforts. They offered little of substance to alter or improve the situation, but they were convinced of one thing. Just saying “radical Islamic terrorism” would send the enemy scurrying away forever. They regarded it as a magic incantation that would result in a glorious victory. {See The Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine). Never mind that most experts rejected such rhetoric as counterproductive. They knew that it would alienate the Muslims who are critical to any successful fight against terrorism.

McMaster Trump

Among the chorus of wingnuts was our now-President, Donald Trump. Throughout his campaign he employed the mindless chant. He used it this week in his speech to CPAC. “We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he ranted. True to form, he never explained how he would do that.

One of Trump’s first appointees was Gen. Michael Flynn as the National Security Advisor. Flynn lasted all of 24 days in the job. He was fired by Trump after news broke that he had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. Making matters worse is that reports reveal that Trump knew about Flynn’s activities but still made him the fall guy.

After a couple of respected national security experts declined Trump’s offer to replace Flynn, Trump got Gen. H.R. McMaster to accept the position. McMaster is considered to be a warrior-scholar with an independent streak. And he’s already displaying a profound measure of independence. According to the New York Times:

“President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.”

McMaster, reportedly told his new staff that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” That’s a direct repudiation of the position of Trump and senior aides such as Stephen Bannon. Not to mention virtually every Republican in Congress. The only question is whether Trump will respect the advice of a bona fide expert, or rely on partisan political hacks and propagandists. If the past is any indication, Trump is not going to be easily persuaded. Last year he tweeted:

Hopefully someone in the “fake news” will ask Trump to reconcile that statement with the views of his new National Security Advisor. McMaster’s position is one that has broad agreement in the security community. They recognize that saying “Radical Islamic Terrorism,” or otherwise associating the entire Muslim faith with the acts of violent extremists, is unwise and dangerous. We need to preserve our ability to form coalitions with Muslim nations in the Middle-East. Their cooperation is required to prevail against ISIS. And broadly demeaning their faith works against that objective. But it’s more than that. Accepting the terms and definitions of the terrorists is tantamount to acting as their PR department. They desperately aspire to be regarded as the legitimate voice of Islam. So why would Trump and his GOP cohorts insist on granting the terrorists that victory?

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

It remains to be seen how Trump will respond to McMaster’s comments. It is also notable the McMaster doesn’t share Trump’s opinion of Russia. He is unequivocal about Russia being an unfriendly adversary. Trump, on the other hand, is eager to cozy up to Putin. Under the circumstances, McMaster’s tenure as NSA might not last much longer than Flynn’s, but for entirely different reasons.

Trump’s CPAC Speech: Narcissistic Blather And Incoherent Attacks On The Media

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for 2017 is currently in progress. And on Friday it featured its star attraction, President Donald Trump. Trump could have stayed home and just delivered a video from any of his campaign stump speeches. His speech (transcript) was entirely devoid of any new thoughts he might have had after being president for a month. Of course, that’s presuming he ever has any new thoughts.

Donald Trump CPAC

Trump began with a familiar topic: himself. He rambled aimlessly for several minutes about whether he had just received a standing ovation. And of course he rattled off false statistics about his allegedly record setting electoral achievements. Then, after a few minutes of right-wing boot-licking, he bragged about how much he is loved by the CPAC crowd. One of his boasts concerned how well he did in polling after his previous CPAC speeches. The truth, however, is that he lost most of the CPAC straw polls bigly. In 2015 he registered a pathetic eigth place finish with only 3.5 percent of the vote. Last year, with the presidential campaign in full swing, he finished a distant third with 15 percent.

Trump did manage to stuff in the usual conservative issues and wingnut applause lines. He promised to fight terrorism, repeal ObamaCare, deport Mexicans, cut taxes, and build a wall. And he would preside over the biggest military buildup ever, and spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, while eliminating the national debt. As usual, he provided no details as to how he would accomplish any of those fantastical goals.

Much of the speech was focused on his infamous hatred for the free press, or as he calls it, the “fake news.” He opened this part of his address with a manic declaration. “I want you all to know,” he ranted, “that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake.” Then he elaborated:

“A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, ‘Nine people have confirmed.’ There’re no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people. And I said, ‘Give me a break.’ Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say ‘nine people.’ And somebody reads it and they think, ‘Oh, nine people. They have nine sources.’ They make up sources.”

Indeed, Trump railed about the media as the enemy of the American people. That’s a phrase that maligns the First Amendment, and has its roots in Mao’s China. But his mad ravings about the “nine sources” is especially puzzling. That’s because he’s referring to a story in the Washington Post about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. The Post reported that they had nine sources affirming that Flynn had inappropriate discussions with Russian agents during the campaign. As a result of that story, Trump fired Flynn. Is he now contending that he fired his top national security aide because of a fake story with no sources? Who knows? And it doesn’t get any more comprehensible from there:

“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out. And now I’m saying, ‘Oh no, this is no good.’ But that’s the way they are.” […]

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. ‘A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.’ Let ’em say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

Huh? First of all, without any sources there wouldn’t be any stories. And anonymity is necessary at times when the source is threatened professionally, financially, or physically. And, of course, Trump’s administration has its own anonymous sources that pass information to the press. Will he identify them all now? The only part of that that made any sense was the part about him being a “horrible human being.”

As for Trump’s assertion that he specified only fake news as the enemy of the people, he’s right. But his assertion that reports left that word out is nonsense. In most cases cases they quoted his tweet verbatim and showed it on screen or in print. Furthermore, his tweet accusing the media of fakery was pretty broadly stated. He explicitly cited the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. Apparently, Trump regards only Fox News, Infowars, the National Enquirer, and Breitbart News as non-fake. And he still isn’t through:

“They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment. You know, they always bring up the First Amendment. And I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody. I mean, who use it more than I do? […] So just in finishing, I say it doesn’t represent the people. It doesn’t tell the – never will represent the people. And we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and have to speak our minds and we have to be honest.”

Who ever said that he can’t criticize the media? Are the voices in his head shouting louder than the Fox News blowhards on his TV? And for someone who claims to appreciate the First Amendment, he has a funny way of showing it. Friday afternoon his press secretary explicitly banned several news organizations from an informal briefing. After admitting right-wing propaganda outfits like Breitbart and the One America News Network, Sean Spicer shut the door. He refused entry to CNN, the New York Times, Politico, The Hill, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News. This is in direct contradiction of a promise he made last December that he would “absolutely not” ban any credentialed journalists. So much for fairness and transparency in the Trump press office.

So just in finishing, WTF does Trump mean when he says that the media “doesn’t represent the people” and that he’s “going to do something about it?” What exactly does he have in mind? And does he think it’s the job of the president to make the media represent the people, as he defines it?

This CPAC speech was another in long line of embarrassingly maniacal orations that have come to epitomize the Trumpian sermonizing. They are filled with lies, exaggerations, boasting, and malice toward many. And to the extent that they can be comprehended, they are almost entirely lacking in substance. Yet somehow, his glassy-eyed followers cheer wildly as if he said something that wasn’t gibberish. That may be the saddest – and scariest – part of 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.