Desperate President Tweets Threat to Republican Senators Who Are ‘Turning On Trump’

Apparently making reckless threats aimed at nuclear-powered madmen isn’t sufficiently fulfilling for Donald Trump. Perhaps his own reputation as a nuclear-powered madmen dilutes the effect. So Trump is now aiming his electoral weapons at his Republican colleagues in the senate.

Donald Trump

Included in his scheduled morning Twitter tirade was a retweet of his pals at Fox and Friends. [NOTE: Trump must be on the Fox News payroll as this is his 13th retweet of F&F so far this month, and the 121st since he launched his campaign] The article linked in the tweet was, of course, from Fox News. It dealt with the potential electoral tribulations of Republican senators who have had the audacity to be independent thinkers. In other words, they have disagreed with the wannabe dictator in the White House.

The article is titled “Senators learn the hard way about the fallout from turning on Trump.” That’s a perfectly legitimate subject of discussion. And there are GOP incumbents whose seats are in jeopardy next year. Although that’s true for those still fluffing the unpopular president. However, by posting that article Trump is blatantly warning all Republicans to refrain from challenging him, or face his wrath. There is nothing subtle about promoting the perils of “turning on Trump.”

This heat-seeking rhetorical missile is meant to frighten Republicans who may be wavering in their otherwise unyielding adoration of the President. He demands constant support for everything he does and says. Any healthy expression of doubt or criticism is regarded as disloyalty. And the temptation to distance oneself from Trump’s toxicity will not be tolerated. That’s a harrowing dilemma for politicians attached to a president who can’t raise his approval ratings out of the thirties.

Trump has already made very public and embarrassing attacks on the GOP’s Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. He has characterized McConnell as a weak loser who is responsible for Trump’s failing agenda. Never mind that Trump ran on the promise of his unparalleled negotiating skills and how easy it would be to achieve every goal he put forward. By now we should have defeated ISIS, repealed ObamaCare, cut taxes for the rich, locked up Hillary Clinton, and built a wall on the Mexican border. You know, made America great again.

Trump, however, has failed achieved to any of his campaign promises. Instead, he has brought the world to the brink of a thoroughly unnecessary nuclear conflict. His administration is a pitiful mess that has undergone unprecedented upheavals. And he is being investigated for financial corruption and collusion with Russia’s attacks on our democracy. Is this what he meant when he told his rally-goers that they would soon be “sick and tired of winning?”

So while Trump is playing nuclear chicken with Kim Jong-Un, he is also alienating his allies on Capital Hill. Previously loyal colleagues like Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Dean Heller, and John McCain are becoming more comfortable defying his authority. How he expects to shepherd his agenda through Congress without their help is a mystery.

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

Trump thought the presidency was like his family business where he was the king. But now he is discovering that his only tool is whining and bullying. And the more offensive he is toward his own party, the more likely they are to join in impeachment proceedings as his legal troubles continue to unfold. Keep in mind, Republicans in Congress have always preferred Mike Pence anyway.

A Republican Appeal for ‘ObamaCare Horror Stories’ Backfires Spectacularly

Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are continuing their efforts to kill ObamaCare. Never mind that that their proposed replacement is overwhelmingly opposed by the American people. In recent polls its support has languished in the teens. You have to wonder why a party would fight so hard for something so unpopular. Well, actually, you don’t have to wonder. It’s because they are committed to giving millionaires tax cuts, denying hard-working Americans basic human rights, and erasing President Obama’s legacy.

Medicare For All

Republicans have been unable to pass their TrumpCare legislation despite having majorities in both houses. The Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell promised to bring it to the floor for a vote before July fourth. However, he couldn’t get his own party to support the bill so he postponed the vote indefinitely. Now he is engaged in backroom horse-trading (i.e. bribery) to try to get some members to flip.

In the meantime, the GOP PR machine is reaching out to improve the awful perception of their healthcare agenda. In Indiana, the home state of Vice-President Mike Pence, the party posted a request on Facebook for public feedback. Here is what they asked in a brazenly leading question:

“We were promised Obamacare would make healthcare cheaper, better, and more available, but in reality it’s turned out to be the opposite. What’s your Obamacare horror story? Let us know.”

Unfortunately for them, what they got was surely not what they hoped for. Hoosiers were appalled at the prospect of losing the Affordable Care Act. They were equally disturbed by the GOP bills currently circulating around Congress. And more than 7,000 of them made their opinions abundantly clear. Here are some select examples of the replies:

  • I saved over $100/month on individual coverage through the marketplace, for the exact same coverage from the exact same insurer! The horror!
  • Being able to afford to buy insurance through a market rather than having to rely on employer-provided insurance allowed my best friend to leave her job and start her own business.
  • My kids have a genetic illness. After the ACA was passed, we felt relieved that they would never be denied coverage. And there is no worry of a lifetime cap on their care. Thanks Obamacare!
  • I lost my job and found out I had skin cancer 2 weeks later. If it weren’t for Obamacare, I wouldn’t have been eligible for another insurance plan because I would have had a major preexisting condition. I was able to go on to the open market place and select an affordable option that covered the bulk of my treatments. I’m now cancer-free and didn’t have to lose everything to pay for chemo. Thanks Obamacare for being there exactly when I needed it!
  • The “horror” is that Republicans would take it away without a decent replacement. Or replace it with a giant tax cut to the wealthy instead of actual…ya know…health care.
  • No horror story about ACA. The real horror is a bunch of white guys making decisions about women’s health and bodies.
  • I am a single mom of two young children. Before IN joined the ACA, I was denied health coverage. Thanks to Obamacare my children and I both have healthcare while I’m back in school pursuing my nursing degree. Thank you Obama!
  • Prior to the ACA (Obamacare) I was denied coverage for my pregnancy because it was considered a pre-existing condition. I then went on state funded Medicaid because it was he only available option, besides going bankrupt.
  • Obamacare makes my dad able to obtain insurance with a preexisting and covers his $15k/month medication. Thank you, Obama, for giving my dad years on his life!
  • I’m a pastor here in Indiana, and Obamacare has been wonderful for some of the people in my congregation. Thanks to Obamacare, they now have affordable health insurance for the first time.
  • My premiums went down in 2017 under the ACA. My daughter had her gall bladder removed in January that left a bill totaling $93,000.00 but under the ACA my bill was $ 2000. I love my ACA. Stop lying.
  • My son was dx with leukemia at 5 months old. Thanks to ACA he can not be denied health coverage. The horror
  • My mom is fighting cancer because of the ACA. So your party of “pro life” and “family values” can shut the hell up. You don’t care about us. You care about tax cuts for the billionaires.

Will the Republicans pushing for their cruel and greedy alternative to ObamaCare be moved by these comments? It’s impossible to tell from this Facebook post. The party has not responded to any of the comments. But there are some diehard, Fox News infected, Trump disciples out there making irrational contributions to the debate. One found it “Interesting reading all the Soros-hired leftwing shills and their fake posts.” Right. George Soros hired more than 7,000 people to post unique and moving appeals to retain and improve ObamaCare.

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

That’s the sort of lunacy that we have to contend with in order to preserve the first national healthcare plan the United States ever had. It’s indicative of a deeply deranged segment of the population that regards anything they don’t like as “fake.” The good news is that mental health care is covered under ObamaCare. So these poor souls may be able to get the help they desperately need. That’s is, if they don’t succeed in killing it.

FEC Commissioner Calls Trump’s Bluff, Demands Evidence Of Voter Fraud

Three months ago Donald Trump managed to corral more electoral college votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. He also lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. And he’s still whining about it. His obsession with the historically unprecedented popular vote deficit has glommed onto his psyche like a fetid leech that won’t let go. And despite having the burdens of the office weighing on him, he’s still yowling about it.

Donald Trump

Trump’s reaction to the popular vote loss was to assert that 3-5 million people voted illegally in November. That blatantly false contrivance has been thoroughly debunked. PolitiFact rated it a “Pants-On-Fire” lie months ago. Repeated requests for documentation of his claim have been ignored, but for a promise to launch a federal investigation. That inquiry, Trump said last week, would be led by Vice-President Mike Pence. Much like the claim of voter fraud itself, there is no evidence of any inquiry. Even the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is skeptical. On CNN he said that “I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that.”

Which brings us to Trump’s Friday meeting with a group of senators and former New Hampshire senator, Kelly Ayotte. Proving that he’s still controlled by his image-conscious ego, Trump offered a new version of the voter fraud lie. According to Politico, Trump blamed his loss of the state of New Hampshire on “thousands” of people who were ‘brought in on buses’ from neighboring Massachusetts to ‘illegally’ vote.” Once again, he refused to provide any documentation of the claim.

This time, however, the allegation was noticed the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Ellen Weintraub, a George W. Bush appointee to the commission, made a public request for Trump to fess up. Her letter said in part that:

“President Trump has alleged an astonishing voter-fraud scheme [that] would constitute thousands of felony criminal offenses. [And that] democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections. […] I therefore call upon President Trump to immediately share his evidence with the public and with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities so that his allegations may be investigated promptly and thoroughly.”

Trump’s allegations of voter fraud are problematic for more than their dishonesty. It is irresponsible to foment distrust of the election process in ways that are demonstrably false. There are indeed flaws in the process of voting. They include gerrymandered districts, campaign financing, and voter suppression through registration obstacles. But every credible study done on voter fraud shows that it occurs so infrequently as to be irrelevant.

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

Nevertheless, Trump and his sycophants in the White House and the press continue to disseminate lies. It is part of a concerted strategy to deceive and confuse the public. They want people to doubt democracy. Just like they want people to doubt academia, science, the media, and government in general. By sowing suspicion of society’s institutions, the Trump regime aims to exert ever greater control of a frightened populace. He must not be allowed to succeed.

Trump Doesn’t Need Intelligence Briefings Because ‘I’m, Like, A Smart Person’

On Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump confirmed that he is snubbing the intelligence briefings available to him as president-elect. Perhaps a better title would be President-Neglect. And his negligence should send a shiver down the spine of all Americans. This is another affirmation of his arrogance and cavalier approach to the solemn duties of the presidency.

Donald Trump

The reason Trump gave for his presidential truancy is pure Trumpian hubris. With regard to these critical advisories he told Fox’s Chris Wallace that “I get it when I need it.” Which sounds grossly similar to his position on grabbing women’s private parts. He went on to say:

“I don’t have to be told, you know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.”

Like wow. He’s a such a smarty. And even though the national security landscape is constantly changing, once a week is all that this super-genius needs. An hour a week is plenty of time for him to grasp the complexities of international events. Plus, he’s probably getting additional counseling from his pal, Vladimir Putin.

Trump also insisted that daily briefings weren’t necessary because “My generals are being briefed. Mike Pence is being briefed.” So what does that say about them? Apparently they aren’t very smart. They do “have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day.” If Trump really believes that the briefings are redundant and, therefore, a waste of his time, why would his VP and others have to suffer through them? But if they are dispensing important information to his aides, then maybe he should be attending himself. He can’t have it both ways.

We have seen our pending Narcissist-in-Chief heralding his superior intellect before. For instance, that time when he was asked who he talks to for advice and he said that “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” And then there was the time he assured us that “All I know is what’s on the internet.” But at least we can take comfort in the fact that he “loves the poorly educated.” By that he must mean President Obama, who he called “the most ignorant president in our history.” Perhaps that’s why Obama has to receive the briefings six days a week. What a dummy.

Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated how pitifully ignorant he is about virtually every issue. Nevertheless, he still manages to have a delusional image of himself as a man of uncommon brilliance. That’s a combustible combination of character flaws. And should he actually make it through the inauguration the country is going to suffer for his boneheaded conceit.

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

Trump’s Campaign Of Lies Is Portrayed As ‘Refreshing’ By His VP Mike Pence

A couple of weeks ago the Oxford Dictionary selected “post-truth” as its Word of the Year for 2016. They define it as the preference for emotion and personal belief over objective facts. That’s been the operative model for Donald Trump’s campaign from the very start. Now his top staff are cementing the strategy into his developing presidency.

Trump/Pence

Trump recently tweeted that he would have won the popular vote but for the “millions of people who voted illegally.” That nonsense won him his 61st Pants-On-Fire lie from PolitiFact. He never bothered to provide any evidence to support the claim. And the evidence provided by his spokespersons didn’t even address the subject.

It’s clear that Trump and his minions have no respect for the truth. One of his most prominent surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes of CNN, came right out and admitted it. In a recent radio interview she said that “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” We are truly over the rainbow here, folks.

The latest tunnel-blind defense of Trump’s brazen dishonesty goes even further to malign the existence of facts. His Chief of Staff nominee, Reince Priebus, was asked by John Dickerson of CBS’s Face the Nation about Trump’s tweet. Priebus responded saying:

“Here’s the thing, no one really knows. You don’t know. […] I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country. He’s not taking conventional thought on every single issue.”

Indeed. He has caused people to think – that their President-Elect is a pathological liar. What Priebus is calling “pushing the envelope” and “unconventional thought” are better known to most people as bullshitting. This parade of euphemisms continued on the Sunday TV news circuit with VP-Elect Mike Pence. George Stephanopoulos asked him if Trump had “a right to make false statements.” Pence replied that:

“It’s his right to express his opinion. […] And I think the American people find it very refreshing that they have a president who will tell them what’s on his mind.”

Once again, propagating purposeful falsehoods is framed benignly as expressing an opinion. These people don’t think there’s any difference between a politically partisan spin on a personal belief and a demonstrable fact. They are actually seeking to abolish the concept of facts in order to dispense their fabrications without consequences. It’s the same approach they take to disparaging the media. They don’t do it as responsible criticism, but as a means to eliminate any critical judgment of their deliberate distortions of reality. And to that end, Trump tweeted this defense of his obsession with Twitter:

Of course, what he really objects to are those rare occasions when the press does cover him accurately and honorably. Sad.

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

Trump Whines When Pence Is Booed By ‘Hamilton’ Audience – Then Tweets Lies About It

Friday night Vice-President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of the musical “Hamilton” on Broadway. Judging from the audience reaction, his presence in the theater was not particularly welcome. There was noticeable and sustained booing. It’s a response that is consistent with the anger expressed by much of the country since Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. Protests are still being held on a nearly daily basis in cities nationwide.

Mike Pence Hamilton

After the play, cast member Brandon Dixon stepped forward to read a statement prepared especially for Pence. It was written collaboratively by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the producers, and the cast. Here is the full transcript of Dixon’s remarks (video below):

We have a guest in the audience with us this evening. Vice-President-Elect Pence, I see you’re walking out, but I hope you will hear just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing stories of love. We have a little message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton, American Musical.” We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. ALL of us.

Again, we truly thank you for staying for the show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds and orientations.

Pence did stay to hear the message. Then left without creating any kind of scene. Unfortunately, his running mate was not so gracious. Saturday morning Trump took to his Twitter machine and belched out a couple of typically boorish expressions of disapproval:

Trump’s interpretation of Dixon’s comments as “harassment” is patently absurd. Dixon was respectful and welcoming. The audience may have been explicit in expressing their opinion (which they still have the right to do in America), but that isn’t the cast’s fault. In fact, Dixon even asked them to refrain from booing. For that Trump accuses the entire cast of harassment. Then Trump followed that up by tweeting:

Actually, the theater must always be a place that honors creative freedom and free expression. Once again, without any justification, Trump charges the cast with behaving rudely and demands an apology. Seriously? This is the same man who regularly calls people pigs, dummies, losers, sleazy, pussies, etc.

Trump hardly has the moral authority to label anyone else rude. What’s more, he is notoriously averse to apologies himself. He has still never offered any after calling Mexicans criminals and rapists. Or for disparaging John McCain’s war heroism. Nor for insulting the Gold Star parents of a slain soldier. Or for boasting about committing sexual assault, accusing a political rival’s father of participating in the plot to assassinate JFK, encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies, mocking a disabled reporter, and so much more.

Late Addition: Trump posted another tweet in his thin-skinned obsession with Hamilton. This one not only falsely maligned the cast, but also insulted them, despite being totally ignorant on the subject. Clearly he will be taking his juvenile boorishness into the White House.

Trump’s reaction to the heartfelt and undeservedly polite commentary at the play is further proof of his lack of presidential temperament. He only registers anger and hostility when he perceives criticism. And he lies in order to cast aspersions on his critics. Then he responds by proposing censorship and suppression of free speech. It’s been less than two weeks since election day and Trump is already proving to be a national embarrassment.

Update: In a statement, Pence contradicted Trump’s crybaby histrionics saying that there is no need to apologize and that the audience’s expression of disapproval was “what freedom sounds like.” For the record, here is how Lin-Manuel Miranda responded:

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

Watch the Hamilton statement here:

Trump’s Refusal To Accept The Results Of The Election Is Not ‘Suspense’ – It’s Treason

The third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is now history and that’s precisely the place it will reside. Never before has a candidate outright refused to respect the will of the voters. However, Trump is not an ordinary candidate. From the outset of his campaign he’s taken every opportunity to express disrespect for American principles and for his opponents. And that was true during the Republican primary as well as the general election.

Donald Trump

There were many times during the debate that Trump embarrassed himself. He blatantly lied about his prior support for countries like Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, to acquire nuclear weapons. He defended Russia against charges that they hacked American citizens and institutions. And he denied insulting the women he’s accused of assaulting even though videotape exists to prove it. Trump even blamed Clinton for his failure to pay federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

But the most disturbing thing Trump said last night was that he was unwilling to accept the results of the election if he loses. His baseless assertion that the system is “rigged” against him is typical of his paranoid, narcissistic approach everything. His specific complaints were a cacophony of incoherence. Beginning with this:

“I’ll look at it at the time. What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen, is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don’t even care. It is so dishonest, and they have poisoned the minds of the voters.”

Even if the media were biased against him, that would not equate to voter fraud or make the election invalid. And he praises the New York Times in the same sentence that he criticizes it. Then he insults voters for allowing their minds to be poisoned, but only if they don’t vote for him. For the record, studies show that Trump received far more favorable coverage in the press than any other candidate.

Trump continued his anti-democratic rant with more blathering that is impossible to translate into human:

“Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote. So let me just give you one other thing. I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I’ll tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s … She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run, and just in that respect I say it’s rigged.”

First of all, the millions of people he’s referring to appear to be names that appear on registration rolls that may not be updated for deaths or relocations. Of course, there is zero evidence that anyone in those circumstances ever voter improperly. But what “serious crime” Trump has in mind is never mentioned. And in any case, he is not the arbiter of who is permitted to run for office. The Constitution doesn’t prohibit even felons from running. He is simply demonstrating his affinity for tyrannical rule. Just as he did when he promised to investigate and incarcerate Clinton if he should become president.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News reminded Trump that his refusal to accept the election results contradicted pretty much everyone in own sphere of influence. Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chair, insisted that the election results should be respected. So did his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, his running mate Mike Pence, and his daughter, Ivanka. Nevertheless, Trump himself veered off to say only that “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?” He still seems to think this a reality TV game show.

For her part, Clinton was appropriately appalled. She interjected to say “let me respond to that because that’s horrifying.” Continuing she said:

“This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks, and it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”

Exactly. That is how an adult behaves in a democracy. It’s a question of valuing the principles and traditions that define a free people. And it isn’t an act of partisanship. When you have people like GOP strategist Steve Schmidt saying Trump’s remarks are “a disqualifying moment,” and Fox analyst Charles Krauthammer calling it “political suicide,” it’s safe to say that party affiliation is not involved.

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

What Trump has done is to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of his gullible followers. He is saying that American elections are untrustworthy and not to be respected. That’s a recipe for chaos and it encourages the most demented malcontents to take matters into their own warped hands. If Donald Trump had an ounce of patriotism he would immediately reverse course and pledge to honor the election. But knowing him that would be way too much to expect.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

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

Donald Trump Horribly Botched His VP Announcment – And Wants To Do The Same To America

Donald Trump’s pathetic rollout for his vice-president nominee, Mike Pence, could not have gone worse. It included uncontrollable leaks to the media, a canceled news conference that exhibited his weakness and indecision, an awkward announcement by tweet, and reports that he wanted to back out of the selection of Pence, but was told it was too late. Then there was a coup attempt in Turkey that totally shut #TrumpPence out of the news cycle. So how long before he says it was all a plot by Obama and/or Clinton to rig the system against him?

Trump/Pence

This morning Trump finally got around to making it official that Mike Pence would be his running mate. He ambled out onto the stage and took his place behind the podium. Then he spoke for nearly half an hour about – himself (surprise). When he eventually got around to Pence he confessed that “the primary reason” he chose Pence was because “he looks very good,” later switching to “party unity.” Neither of which are good reasons to put someone a heartbeat away from the presidency. He then assured his audience that “Mike Pence was my first choice.” Unfortunately, as noted above, Pence may not have been his last choice, but he was stuck with him.

The press was not particularly kind to Trump either. The general consensus was that he flopped in an epic fashion. His unfettered ego consumed the entire affair. Here are some examples of the reactions:

And all of this failure was focused on introducing a man who Trump would have eviscerated in any other circumstance. After all, Pence called Trump’s Muslim ban “offensive and unconstitutional.” He supported both NAFTA and TPP. He favored intervention in Libya to depose Gaddafi and praised Hillary Clinton for her efforts. He signed legislation to expand Medicaid in Indiana as part of ObamaCare. To Trump, all of these things were supposed to be evidence of the evils of the Obama administration and Clinton’s bad judgment. So either Clinton’s judgment wasn’t bad after all, or Trump just tapped someone whose judgment he despises as his running mate.

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

Donald Trump is doing us all a favor by demonstrating so clearly why he should never be president. The selection of a VP is often referred to as the first important decision an aspiring president will make. If he can’t handle this competently, God help us if he had control over the nuclear codes (or the economy or the environment or foreign affairs or the Constitution). Donald is an existential threat to America and the world.

The Company You Keep: 13 Extreme Right-Wing Nuts Who Love Trump’s New VP Mike Pence

When Donald Trump canceled his news conference to announce Mike Pence as his VP pick he effectively handed the terrorists a victory by demonstrating with his cowardice that, under his “leadership,” they can have a profound impact on our democratic processes. Although it may have been more ego than cowardice as he didn’t want to compete with the tragedy in Nice for attention from the press.

Trump/Pence

However, now that his selection of a running mate is official it is revealing to observe the throngs of conservatives who regard Pence as a brilliant choice and the salvation for a candidate that many on the far-right never trusted. The rush to praise Pence was immediate, celebratory, and nearly unanimous. Here are just a few of the accolades that have been pouring in since the choice was confirmed:

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House: “Mike Pence comes from the heart of the conservative movement — and the heart of America. I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate.”

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union: “This is a great day for conservatism and great news for conservatives.”

David Macintosh of the Club for Growth: “Mike Pence would be an outstanding Vice-President.”

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin: “Governor Mike Pence provides the opportunity to give GOP voters still undecided about Donald Trump a reason to unite and to vote for a more principled ticket.”

Brent Bozell, of the ultra-rightist Media Research Center: “Naming of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate is a homerun for Donald Trump.”

Penny Nance, president and CEO, Concerned Women for America: “This is an excellent choice by Donald Trump … will be a unifying factor and conservatives will be very supportive.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List: “An affirmation of the pro-life commitments he has made and will rally the pro-life grassroots.”

Mark Meckler co-founder of Tea Party Patriots: “An excellent selection”

Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and Senior Fellow of the Family Research Council: Trump “gets an A-plus for his first presidential decision.”

Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan: “Pence is a good choice for VP.”

Laura Ingraham, Fox News contributor and right-wing radio talk show host: “Trump/Pence does have a nice ring to it!”

Mark R. Levin, Right-wing radio talk show host: “Pence is an excellent choice”

Dana Loesch, host at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze and Special Advisor on Women’s Policy for the NRA: “IMO Pence as a VP pick is the best choice among the listed.”

If anyone thought that Mike Pence was a mainstream Republican who would be a moderating influence on the mercurial, hotheaded Trump, this parade of wingnut rapture should put an end to that delusion. Pence is an ultra-rightist who has a long record of supporting the most extreme conservative positions. He is a favorite of evangelicals and other social conservatives who oppose LGBT equality and a woman’s right to choose. He is among the science deniers who believe that climate change is a hoax. And he is a proponent of the hoax that cutting taxes for the wealthy will benefit the poor and middle-class.

There is, though, at least one notable skeptic of the Pence selection: Donald Trump. CNN’s Dana Bash is reporting today that Trump spent last night beseeching his aides for ways to get out of naming Pence. Apparently they couldn’t come up with a plausible escape route.

Perhaps Trump’s reticence stemmed from some of the serious disagreements on core policies that are certain to be brought up as the Trump/Pence campaign leaves the launching pad. For instance:

And:

It’s too late now, Donnie. You are stuck with each other. At least you have some consolation knowing that you have the approval of the Neanderthal wing of the Republican Party. The Trump/Pence ticket will likely have all the success of the group that shares its “TP” acronym: Tea Party. Good luck with that.

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