Self-Abuse? Trump Promised to Release His Taxes, Now Calls Requests ‘An Abuse of Power’

The still simmering controversy over whether or not Donald Trump should release his tax returns is emblematic of the march toward Idiocracy by the Trump administration, his cult following, and his State TV affiliate, Fox News. The arguments made by the tax suppressors are an affront to logic and democracy. In other words, quintessentially Trumpian.

Donald Trump

The first and foremost point to be made is that Trump himself promised to release his tax returns prior to the election saying that “I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that.” He never delivered on that promise of transparency that every presidential candidate for the past forty years has complied with.

Trump’s original breach of his pledge was an invented excuse that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was being audited. Let’s set aside the fact that there is no evidence of any such audit taking place. More to the point, the IRS does not prohibit – or even care – if a taxpayer chooses to release their own tax returns during an audit. And it wouldn’t affect the audit in any way. After all, the IRS already has that data, so there wouldn’t be any surprise disclosure. How could a public release change anything?

Now Trump is whining about efforts by Democrats in Congress to acquire his tax returns as part of their constitutional oversight responsibilities. And his complaint is typically broiled in hyperbole. He is accusing Democrats of “a gross abuse of power.” In fact, they are performing their duties in conjunction with all applicable laws. And there is a glaring need to probe Trump’s finances given all of the evidence of corruption in his businesses and political activities.

What’s more, Trump is exacerbating the suspicions that surround him by being so evasive and adamant that his taxes remain secret. There is a distinct odor of criminality and consciousness of guilt. What is he struggling so hard to conceal? His “acting” chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was on Fox News Sunday morning and participated in this exchange with anchor Bill Hemmer:

Hemmer: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the President’s tax returns?
Mulvaney: Oh no, never. Nor should they. Keep in mind that that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could’ve given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway.

To be clear, Trump told voters that he would “absolutely” release his taxes, he lied, and a minority of voters elected him anyway via the fatally flawed Electoral College. And it’s the American people, not just the Democrats in Congress, that Trump is most worried about, prompting his obsession with preventing them from seeing the shady dealings in his tax returns.

Trump frequently takes both sides of any issue he addresses. That’s mostly because he doesn’t understand anything and forgets what lies he told previously, or finds a new lie more advantageous at the moment. For instance, his initial assertion that he welcomed the release of the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller, and later dismissing it as an illegal hoax. But for him to call requests for his taxes a “gross abuse of power,” after vowing to release them himself, suggests that he was engaging in a perverse act of self-abuse when he made his initial promise. Democrats now are only asking that he keep his word. Which, based on his prior record, may be way too much to hope for.

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

Fox News Badgers Trump’s Chief of Staff Mulvaney to Take Even More Extreme Positions on the Wall

It’s day seven of the Trump Shutdown, and Fox News is determined to hold Trump’s feet to the fire. Not for his responsibility for creating this havoc and hurting hundreds of thousands of Americans. But to insure that he doesn’t bend on the radical principles that Fox News holds dear.

Fox News, Donald Trump Baby

On Friday morning Fox and Friends interviewed Trump’s Acting (one of many) Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (video below). For the most part it was a friendly get together among like-minded Trump shills. However, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes were fired up over the possibility that the President might commit the unforgivable crime of compromising with Democrats in Congress.

Mulvaney tried repeatedly to characterize the Democrats as having “left Washington” to avoid the debate on Trump’s idiotic and useless vanity wall. But this Congress is still run by Republicans. They control whether the Congress stays in session or not. And it is Republicans who made the decision to stop working until next year. Democrats had no say in the matter.

Yet Mulvaney still accused Nancy Pelosi of orchestrating the shutdown and leaving town because she doesn’t want to appear weak. That’s a classic case of projection when it’s Trump who is transparently afraid of looking weak in the eyes of Fox News. Both houses of Congress had previously agreed on funding bills to keep the government of open. But then Trump was triggered by Fox News reports that he was breaking his promise to build a wall. And even though he also promised that Mexico would pay for it, he still felt it necessary to punish American taxpayers by shutting down the government.

What stood out in the interview was the ferocity of the Foxies in pushing Mulvaney to take ever more extreme positions on the wall and the shutdown created to force it down the nation’s throat. Here are the questions that Mulvaney was hectored with by the Fox crew::

Pete Hegseth: He says he’ll close it all down because of these ridiculous immigration laws. Is he willing to go that far?

Mulvaney replied that Trump is willing to go all the way. We’ll see. But it was predictable that the first question was so full of anti-immigrant bias.

Hegseth: It was $25 billion dollars was possibly on the table. Now it’s five […] Mr. Mulvaney, a lot of Trump supporters feel like five is already a compromise, $5 billion. So to now float out there $2.5, $2.7, wouldn’t that look like a cave on this key issue.

Mulvaney surprisingly admitted that the $25 billion figure was “smoke and mirrors.” And the only real “cave” here is Trump to Fox News.

Griff Jenkins: Hold on. The American people wanted a wall. What deal then now is President Trump willing to accept that is anything short of that wall?

According to Mulvaney, nothing. “That’s why the government is closed.” As for what the American people want, a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that only thirty-five percent said they backed including money for the wall in a congressional spending bill. And only twenty-five percent said they supported Trump shutting down the government for it.

Rachel Campos-Duffy: But let me ask this. We’re talking about money – $5 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.7 billion. Why isn’t there other things on the table? DACA for example. Is that being negotiated?

Mulvaney said that it is, but there’s no evidence of that from the White House. Plus it would be atrocious for Trump to exploit DACA applicants as bargaining chips for a wall nobody wants (even though he’s done that before).

Hegseth: Mr. Director, Nancy Pelosi calls the wall immoral ineffective, and expensive. We know it’s effective. We know $5 billion is not expensive in Washington dollars. In taxpayer real dollars we know it is. But the morality of it. Tell that to the family of Corporal Singh. Tell that to the family of Kate Steinle. The moral thing to do is to keep it shut down until you get a wall. Trump supporters are going to expect that. How attuned are you to the reality that a compromise that makes it look like Republicans are cavin’ again – Here we go. Democrats always … No. That is a real thing that has to be factored in.

Mulvaney insists that “We’re not compromising.” But this question was loaded with bigotry and lies. There are no credible experts that believe the wall would be effective. Most undocumented immigrants came legally through border checkpoints. And by raising the Singh and Steinle issues, Hegseth is once again implying that all immigrants are potentially murderers. The facts show that immigrants commit crimes a lower rates than American-born citizens. So Hegseth shouldn’t be talking about “the moral thing to do,” especially since he opposes all reasonable gun reforms to prevent the massacres of American citizens by American citizens.

Hegseth: The President’s floated the nuclear option. Is that a possibility in the Senate?

“I wish all options were open,” said Mulvaney. But even Mitch McConnell has ruled this out.

Campos-Duffy: If he’s there, why doesn’t he do an Oval Office address? […] Why isn’t he using all the tools at his disposal?

On this Mulvaney fired back saying that Trump knows what he’s doing, and how to do it, better than they do. Because Dear Leader is infallible and only wants to protect his weak and frightened children.

And that’s what passes for a fair and balanced interview on Fox News. The program’s hosts badger their guest with opinionated viewpoints aimed at pushing him toward their radical perspectives. And the guest complies with answers that feed right into the craziness of their right-wing agenda. But in the end none of this matters because Trump will only tweet something that contradicts them and himself and makes no sense. And his glassy-eyed cult followers will lap it up like gruel and be grateful for whatever morsels he tosses to them.

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

Donald Trump’s Reality TV Presidency: Defense Secretary is the Latest ‘Acting’ Cabinet Official

With all of the controversy and melodrama that emanates daily from the historically chaotic White House of Donald Trump, it’s easy to forget his humble beginnings as the host of a reality TV game show. That was not a recreational pastime for a bored billionaire. It was his job for fourteen years. A real billionaire wouldn’t have had the time for that.


As president Trump has transferred his experience in television playacting to his new job in Washington. And it’s painfully obvious that his skills are utterly inappropriate for his new duties. He spends most of his time watching TV (Fox News) and conducting made-for-the-camera photo-ops with bill signings and human props. His press conferences are a circus wherein he replaces substantive dialogue with insults and rambling incoherence.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump runs the White House like he would a fictional sitcom about a bumbling chief executive. Many of his senior staffers were actually recruited from television (again, Fox News), and most have little experience for the assignments they’re given. His Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications is the disgraced former president of Fox News, Bill Shine.

On Sunday morning Trump Announced the latest recipient of his “rose” for a critical post in his cabinet. He is making Patrick Shanahan the “Acting” Secretary of Defense. This follows the resignation of Gen. James Mattis, whose departure was motivated by Trump’s recklessness and ignorance. Mattis advised the President that his resignation would be effective February 28, 2019. But now, in a fit of pettiness and ego-pacification, Trump is moving that up to December 31.

What’s more troubling is Trump’s newfound compulsion to replace permanent, senate-confirmed cabinet officials with unqualified “Acting” stand-ins for the real thing. 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 now Shanahan as Acting Secretary of Defense. All to serve our Reality TV Acting “President.”

This means that nearly twenty percent of the President’s cabinet is serving in an “acting” capacity. They have not been vetted or confirmed by the Senate as required by law. The reasons for this include Trump’s lack of knowledge of the sort of qualified people to fill these positions. Also problematic for Trump is the fact that qualified nominees don’t want to get anywhere near this president or his defective, criminally-tainted White House.

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

So now America is stuck with third rate understudies for governing officials who are likely to be merely surrogates for Trump’s dementia. Mulvaney as chief of staff is the perfect example of that. He’s a rabidly partisan Republican Nationalist who slobbers over Trump now even though he called him a terrible human being just two days before the election. We have to wonder when the country will have competent leadership again that is serving in accordance with the law. But that will probably have to wait until the law catches up with Trump and ousts him from the office he stole with the help of his Russian comrades.

Trump Shill: If You Get Your News From Fox News You Probably Like the GOP Tax Scam

Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are hurtling headlong into passage of tax bill that will materially alter the tax code in ways that harm most Americans. It is flagrantly biased in favor of corporations and the wealthy with toxic provisions that will sabotage healthcare and cripple Social Security and Medicare. The GOP refused to hold hearings on the bill or even allow Democrats to review it prior to voting. Much of it was written by corporate lobbyists. And without any justification for their haste, Republicans are ramming it through before the already strong opposition becomes impossible to ignore.

foxnews-mulvaney

As usual, whenever Republicans require a boost in propaganda they turn to Fox News. They know that they can present whatever bullshit they want and that there will be no one to challenge their lies. They took advantage of that Thursday morning when they sent Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, to the studios of Fox and Friends to pimp the tax bill. He received precisely the welcome that he expected as co-host Steve Doocy offered up a softball for Mulvaney to hit out of the park. Surprisingly, Mulvaney took a wild swing that landed in foul territory (video below):

Doocy: People don’t like to pay taxes so you would think that this would be a good story for you. And yet, Mick, the Quinnipiac poll came out and shows that fifty-five percent of Americans don’t like it, as opposed to twenty-six percent who do. Can you explain to me why people don’t like the idea of a tax cut?
Mulvaney: Sure, because if you turn to any channel besides this one, all you’re going to hear is bad news about this particular bill. […] No one is focusing, as you folks do, on what’s good for people in this bill. So if you get your news here, you probably like it because your focused on what’s good for you. But if not, you don’t.

So the only reason Mulvaney had for people not liking the bill was that they weren’t watching enough Fox News. Or worse, they drifted from their “news” teet at Fox and were exposed to actual facts and honest scrutiny. Doocy was taking a chance by citing the Quinnipiac poll which he correctly quoted as showing a historic disapproval rating, especially for something being pitched as a tax cut. The poll provided an explanation for that which Fox News left out entirely. Nearly seventy percent of those polled said the bill favors the wealthy and only twenty-one percent think that it will help the middle class. In other words, people can see through the GOP spin and recognize a fraud when it’s right in front of their faces.

However, what was most interesting about Mulvaney’s response was that he explicitly admitted that Fox News was a pit of partisan bias where viewers would get only the conservative perspective peddled by the White House. He praised the “Curvy Couch” potatoes for being sycophantic hucksters upon whom he could rely to spew the government line. Just like state-run TV outlets are supposed to do. Heaven forbid that the American people might ever get an unbiased analysis of this bill that contained actual facts derived from independent experts. That isn’t what Fox News was created for, and it surely isn’t what they did this morning. Welcome to the American Pravda, now proudly out of the propaganda closet.

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