After Russia Put Bounties on U.S. Troops, Trump Struck Back – At WH Leakers

Among the criticisms most often leveled at Donald Trump is that he has been a negligent president who spends the bulk of his time on self-serving trivialities like golf, Twitter, and watching Fox News. As it turns out, that may be an unfair analysis. Trump isn’t nearly as lazy as the past three and half years of his slothful lethargy and dereliction of duty would indicate (and he calls Joe Biden “Sleepy”?).

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

There are certain activities that Trump engages in with a surprising vigor. The aforementioned tweeting and his ego-stroking cult rallies are both good examples. But now there is another undertaking that puts a real bounce in his step, bone spurs and all. As reported by Politico

“The Trump administration has opened an internal investigation to try to uncover who leaked intelligence about Russians paying the Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers. The administration maintains the story is overcooked and the leaks cherry-picked despite a steady stream of follow-ups from media outlets across the globe. The administration has interviewed people with access to the intelligence, and believes it has narrowed down the universe of suspects to fewer than 10 people.”

Really? So Trump learns that Russia is paying bounties to kill American troops and, after repeatedly denying that he was ever briefed on the matter (a flagrant lie), he decides that he’s going to do something about it after all. But what he’s going to do is not to repudiate or punish Russia for its assault on U.S. soldiers. He is too beholden to Vladimir Putin for that. Nope. It’s to initiate a search within his own White House to find anyone who might have played a part in the story being made available to the American people. Because betraying the armies for which you are Commander-in-Chief is okay, but informing the public of the truth is something that Trump simply cannot abide.

Trump’s latest obsession with ferreting out traitors on his staff is troubling for another reason. Since the Russian bounty story was published, Trump has insisted that it was made up by the “fake news” media in order to hurt him and his reelection prospects. He tweeted that…

If Trump actually believes that, then how could he have found ten suspects who he now thinks might have leaked a made up story to the press? Surely the press wouldn’t need a source at all if they invented the whole thing, as Trump alleges. But in Trump’s diseased brain everything his is a hoax if it casts him in a bad light (impeachment, climate change, racism, the coronavirus, etc.). Yet he still demands that the perpetrators of the thing that never happened be punished.

This is further evidence that Trump is suffering from severe psychological impairments. His malignant narcissism and paranoia are devouring what remains of his cognitive faculties. Trump has been exhibiting these symptoms for quite a while. In March News Corpse reported on his tweet that whined that all I see is hatred of me.”

There’s a shipload of derp in that twantrum. First of all, he’s confessing that he compulsively consumes news on six television networks and two newspapers that he feverishly disparages as “enemies of the people.” However, the most unambiguous sign of a psychotic breakdown in Trump’s paranoid assertion is that, if hatred is all he sees, then he doesn’t see any of the facts about the crises in the U.S. and internationally. He doesn’t see any of the people’s economic distress. He doesn’t see any of the consequences of a surging pandemic. He doesn’t see the crushing anguish of victims or the inspirational acts of heroes or any of the human stories that define us as a people. He sees only what he perceives as hatred directed solely at him.

It’s a painfully narrow tunnel through which Trump’s vision is constricted to only what impacts his own welfare. And he has a debilitating fear that his welfare is threatened by everything and everyone around him. Trump is plainly unwell, as many of his close associates have attested to. And his paranoid delusions are accelerating.

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

UH-OH: Fox News Speculates that Trump is a Loser Who Might Drop Out of the Race

The downward spiral into which Donald Trump is descending may finally be beginning to sink in, not just to Trump, but to the right-wing media propagandists who are struggling to shore up his sickly presidency. With each day there is news that contributes to the terminal prognosis of Trump’s floundering reelection campaign. And the accumulating sense of doom has become impossible to ignore.

Donald Trump

Trump himself is well aware of the dilemma he faces as every national poll shows him getting crushed by Joe Biden. Even worse, polls of the seven most crucial swing states (Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, and Minnesota) are also showing Biden leading. So Trump has fallen back on his customary dismissal of the media and the independent firms they hire to conduct their surveys:

Trump is certainly “sorry,” but not for the reasons he states. He’s a sorry excuse for a leader who resorts to petulant whining whenever he doesn’t get his way. And he’s surely sorry that everyone from the New York Times to Fox News is reporting how thoroughly the American people have rejected him. Even his favorite pollster, the rabidly biased Rasmussen, has Trump’s approval rating at 42%, matching lows as far back as January of 2018.

These numbers have Trump repeating his oft-mentioned lie that he has 95% approval within the Republican Party. Not only is that untrue, it’s irrelevant. He is not the president of the GOP. What’s more, Republicans represent a measly 28% of the electorate. Which is hardly enough to secure a victory in November.

The conditions for Trump’s campaign have deteriorated so badly that close associates are speculating as to whether he might drop out of the race entirely rather than suffer defeat. Politico is reporting the prospect of Trump’s renowned cowardice, along with comments from insiders who say that…

“The president has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, amid a mountain of bad polling and warnings from some of his staunchest allies that he’s on course to be a one-term president.”

And as if that weren’t bad enough, Fox News is joining those with suspicions of Trump running away from an expected rout. Fox host Trace Gallagher prefaced a question to Trump surrogate John Sununu (video below) saying that “President Trump’s poll numbers declining in recent weeks […] is leading some speculation that if his support keeps falling, the president might drop out of the race.” And Fox News featured a graphic during the segment that warned of a “rough polling stetch” (sic) for Trump.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Polling

Whether there is any chance of Trump bailing is an open question. He has a reputation as a coward who flees from any trouble that confronts him. But he also has a stubborn streak and a massive ego that can overwhelm his fears. In the end it makes no difference because either outcome would be similarly humiliating for Trump. His malignant narcissism prevents him from accepting that he is less than the manifestation of perfection. And that will result in his eventual downfall being all the more debilitating when it comes to pass.

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

Trump Fails to Renounce ‘White Power’ Tweet in Official Response

The White House Deflection Shields are on full force this morning as Donald Trump is faced with some of the most damning evidence of his despicable negligence, incompetence and malfeasance to date. He has turned to his customary tactic of hurling insults, shifting blame, and denying reality. In other words, it’s the same old Trump who is only concerned with himself and his image.

Donald Trump, MAGA

Following the publication of the New York Times story about Russia paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops, Trump tweeted that “Nobody briefed or told me” about the matter. Then he casually dismissed it with his tedious whining about “fake news.” There is virtually zero chance that this sort of intelligence report would not have been conveyed to the president. But even if Trump were not lying, the contention that he wasn’t told makes matters even worse. It would mean that his intelligence apparatus is dangerously inept and that Trump was ill-informed about the welfare of the troops he is allegedly commanding.

What’s more, Trump continues to downplay the increasing severity of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic as its spread throughout the nation accelerates. He triples down on his defense of Confederate traitors and the offensive statues paying tribute to them. He obsessively watches his “shadow cabinet” advisors on Fox News. And then he goes golfing. This is how Trump is handling the duties of his office at a time of extreme crises and distress for the American people.

In addition to these disturbing examples of Trump’s dereliction of duty, he is also reaffirming his most abhorrently racist tendencies. He tweeted a video Sunday morning that featured his MAGA supporters shouting “white power” as they paraded in their golf carts through The Villages retirement community:

Trump’s comment in the tweet , which he deleted a few hours later (but is preserved here), thanked “the great people” expressing these repugnant views. That’s reminiscent of his praise for neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” and the corroborating views of his Fox News sycophants who last week defended slave owners saying that “It doesn’t mean they were terrible people.”

White House spokesperson Judd Deere frantically issued a statement in an attempt to clean up Trump’s latest mess. Deere said that…

“President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.”

Really? The “white power” chant occurred in the first ten seconds of the video. It’s hard to imagine how anyone, even someone as cognitively challenged as Trump, could have missed it. And if all he saw other than that was “tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters,” he must have a mental filter that edited out all the people shouting “F*ck Trump!” and asking “Where’s your white hoods?” All things considered, it’s surprising that Trump ever thought it was a good idea to post this video. In fact, it’s possible that he deleted it because of the criticism of him, not the racism.

What we didn’t hear from Trump’s spokesperson, or Trump himself, was any denunciation of the racist epithets so viciously bellowed by those unashamed bigots. There was not one word indicating that Trump disapproved of that hateful rhetoric. Perhaps he was worried about alienating his equally racist supporters and Klan pals. The entire statement said only that he hadn’t heard it and that he’s a big fan of those who said it. And that pretty much settles the question as to Trump’s flagrant racism. If he can’t repudiate this painfully obvious bigotry, then he simply doesn’t want to.

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

BAD FOR AMERICA! Trump Delights In the Suffering of American Workers and Business

In times of crisis, the American people want and expect their leaders to exhibit wisdom and compassion. Difficult problems require both intelligence and judgment to resolve, and at least the appearance of sympathy for the hardships facing the average citizen. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is just such a circumstance. Unfortunately, the United States is currently stuck with Donald Trump who has none of these qualities.

Donald Trump Climate Change

The single most reliable feature of Trump’s character (or lack thereof) is his unflinching determination to always do only what is best for him. This selfishness is evident in his reckless and greed-driven proposals to “reopen” the country before any public health expert considers it safe. It’s obvious in his obsession with the polls and TV ratings that define his self-worth. There is virtually nothing that Trump addresses in his Coronavirus Task Force briefings (that he has hijacked and turned into 2020 reelection events) that isn’t directly attached to his personal welfare.

On Monday morning, while the nation was trying to cope with ever more troubling news concerning the spreading pandemic, Trump was, as usual, manning his Twitter machine and pounding out dangerous falsehoods, childish platitudes, and tributes to himself. Among the tweets that he posted was one that was particularly offensive:

What’s “bad for America” is a president who repeatedly maligns the free press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” It’s fair to say that it’s also bad when a president is so stupid that he doesn’t understand that all businesses are presently struggling due to a virtual economic shutdown made necessary by Trump’s negligence and incompetence. Among the businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties are those owned by Trump. In fact, many are currently closed and his net worth has declined by thirty percent.

However, what’s truly repulsive about this tweet is that Trump is openly gleeful that American media companies are being hurt financially along with the rest of the country. These are businesses whose mission is to keep the American people informed, sometimes at great risk to themselves. This is especially difficult when the president is a pathological liar. But they are also businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans. Clearly Trump couldn’t care less about these people, their families, and communities.

It’s further proof of Trump’s ignorance that he doesn’t know whether the press is suffering financially because of the quality of their reporting or the impact of a global pandemic. Trump is just exploiting the issue to bash the media, which prior to this coronavirus outbreak was having a banner year in both viewership and revenue. And it must be driving him crazy(er) knowing that according to most polls, the American people still trust the media more than they trust Trump.

It’s that public disapproval that is likely contributing to Trump’s downward spiraling emotional state. Not only has Trump not enjoyed a sustained “rally round the flag” polling bounce, he is at a four month low (44%) with his favorite, unabashedly biased, right-wing pollster, Rasmussen. That’s gotta hurt. But it shouldn’t hurt so much that it drives Trump to celebrate the misfortune of thousands of American workers. That’s on Trump.

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

Wannabe Dictator Trump Threatens to Revoke Licenses of Stations that Air Critical Ads

As Americans sees the rising number of their fellow citizens becoming victims of COVID-19 (coronavirus), they are simultaneously losing confidence in the “leadership” of Donald Trump. From the beginning he downplayed the threat that the virus represented, insisting that the number of those affected was small and that it would shortly be zero. He could not have been more wrong. On Thursday the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed China.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

And while the virus infections and fatalities go up, Trump’s mental state spirals down. He is sinking into a defensive posture that resembles closely the behavior of paranoid authoritarians who perceive enemies all around them. And one of the most common reactions by such persons is to clamp down on what they believe is a hostile media. Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force (which he really has no business attending) opened with Trump accusing the press of being “corrupt.” That’s nothing new for someone who has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.”

More troubling is that now Trump is going after a progressive group that produced an ad recounting Trump’s failure to respond to the budding pandemic. Priorities USA compiled some of Trump’s own dismissive statements and juxtaposed them with a chart showing the virus’s rate of growth. This upset Trump and resulted in a “cease and desist” from the Trump campaign organization. Here’s the ad that triggered President Snowflake:

It’s bad enough that Trump would try to intimidate a political group by infringing on their First Amendment rights. But it’s even worse than that. The Trump campaign is actually threatening to revoke the broadcast licenses of any television station that airs the ad. That’s a fascist strongman’s solution to pesky critics who dare to speak out. According to a report in Bloomberg News, Trump’s campaign warned that…

“Failure to remove the ad ‘could put your station’s license in jeopardy’ before the Federal Communications Commission, the campaign said in the letter. ‘Your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing it immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements.'”

First of all, let’s establish the fact that the stations do not have any obligation to comply with the Trump campaign’s request that they do not air the ad. That request has no legal standing, and would likely fail to succeed if tried in court. The ad is comprised of Trump’s own words, and they were presented in a manner that reasonably represents their meaning. However, the campaign appears to suggest that the campaign has some ability to influence the FCC, a federal regulatory agency whose members are appointed by the President. That would be a wholly improper arrangement and an unlawful abuse of power on the part of the White House. What’s more…

“The FCC doesn’t appear to have grounds to act against the stations for airing contentious ads, said Jack Goodman, a Washington broadcast attorney, said in an interview. The ad ‘is core political speech’ protected by First Amendment guarantees of free speech, Goodman said.”

The primary complaint by Trump’s campaign concerns an audio clip of him referring to criticism from Democrats, saying that “This is their new hoax.” Trump asserts that he wasn’t referring to COVID-19 itself, but to the Democrats criticism. However, in the full context of his remarks he is itemizing events that he considered to be hoaxes. They included the investigation of Russia’s efforts on behalf of his 2016 presidential campaign, and his impeachment over his attempts to coerce the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. In both of those incidents his allegations of a hoax referred to the charges themselves, not criticism from Democrats. So why would his meaning be any different for the third item in that list?

This isn’t the first time that Trump has tried to use the courts to prohibit free speech. He is currently suing the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN for defamation. Trump is known for filing lawsuits – or threatening to – to harass his foes. But this time he has the power of the presidency to bolster those threats with punishment from agencies that are beholden to him. It’s the sort of authoritarianism that he so admires in his pals Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un. But it is anathema to American democracy and he must not be allowed to get away with it. So feel free to circulate the ad above, far and wide.

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

The Virus that Infects Donald Trump: ‘All I See is Hatred of Me’

One thing that has been clear about Donald Trump from the outset of his administration is that he has never exhibited the qualities demanded of the presidency. He lacks the intelligence, compassion, commitment, morality, and humility, that are the hallmarks of leadership. And he has never demonstrated that he has the ability to learn, take responsibility, or to bring the diverse community of Americans together.

Donald Trump, coronavirus

Trump is always about only Trump. He has brazenly profited from his position by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to his own properties. And he has focused his political attention exclusively on advancing his own partisan interests. These are traits that psychiatric professionals have diagnosed as malignant narcissism, a combination of ego-centrism and sociopathy.

The risks of having someone with those mental issues in positions of power are readily apparent. They portend a tendency toward authoritarian behaviors that demand unflinching loyalty and reject competent advice. What’s worse is that when someone like Trump is under pressure, he will cease to behave rationally. His fears will incite ever more defensive and destructive responses to events he is unable to cope with or comprehend. Like a wounded animal, he becomes more desperate and vicious.

That appears to be the state of Trump’s mental decline now. And his Twitter feed is the best evidence of his psychic decay. Late Sunday night Trump tweeted this frightening call for help:

Let’s break that down, shall we? First of all, Trump is confessing that he compulsively consumes news on six television networks and two newspapers that he frequently disparages as “enemies of the people.”. How could he possibly have time to do that and his duties as president as well? Especially during a national emergency brought on by a deadly pandemic.

We already know that much of his time is spent tweeting (dozens of times a day), staging photo-ops with corporate CEOs and supporters, and leading daily press briefings. Never mind that he has no business even attending those briefings considering that he has no relevant knowledge or experience to contribute. To the contrary, he generally disgorges lies and misinformation that others on his staff have to clean up later. Even worse, he diverts the discussion into his petty grievances with reporters or devolves into shameless episodes of self-exaltation or making excuses for his failures. That is, when he isn’t blatantly exploiting the crisis to boost his reelection prospects.

However, the most unambiguous sign of a severe mental breakdown is Trump’s assertion that “all I see is hatred of me.” Really? That’s ALL he sees? He doesn’t see any of the presentations of facts about the crisis in the U.S. and internationally? He doesn’t see any of the medical professionals offering their expertise to educate the public on how to stay safe? He doesn’t see any of the human interest stories and testimony from real people going through the hardships of surviving in these trying times? He doesn’t see the crushing anguish of victims or the inspirational acts of heroes or any of the human stories that define us as a people? He sees only what he perceives as hatred directed solely at him.

The fact that Trump is blind to all of these non-political, educational, uplifting, and heart-wrenching stories, says something unmistakable about him. Even worse, the only things he does see are his paranoid perceptions of the universal hostility that consumes his diseased mind. What sort of person unleashes public declarations that everyone hates him? And what does it say that he lashes out with vengeful visions of his perceived enemies “destroying themselves”? Is this the behavior of a psychologically stable leader? Is it even remotely sane? And how long can America endure the madness of a man who also tweeted this all-caps rant:

Trump is now implying that he would terminate the “social distancing” recommendations by health experts after a totally inadequate 15 day period, simply because he regards the economic impact to be worse than the pandemic itself. Unsurprisingly, Trump contracted this preposterous notion from Fox News. Now he’s putting money before the lives of thousands of Americans. And he’s only doing that because the financial downturn will negatively affect his reelection hopes. If it wasn’t clear before, it most certainly is now: Trump is suffering from a sickness that threatens every American. And if we don’t take the opportunity in November to socially distance ourselves from him and the Republicans he’s infected, we can all expect to be victims of the Trump Virus.

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

Trump’s Paranoia Has Insiders Warning That ‘He’s Definitely Melting Down Over This’

The nation has been mired in uncertainty for several weeks now due to the (now official) COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Americans are worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. And the economy is in a tailspin that was triggered by the pandemic news. But one thing that has been confirmed during this crisis is that Donald Trump is the most ignorant, self-obsessed, ill-prepared, and insensitive leader this country has ever had.

Donald Trump

While most Americans are struggling to cope with the rush of bad news, Trump is struggling to lather himself with praise, diminish the risks, and cast blame on his numerous perceived enemies. His desperation is unmistakable as his outbursts become ever more incoherent.

On Wednesday morning he fired off a flurry of panic-tweets that put these fears on display. In one tweet he bragged that “America is the Greatest Country in the world,” as if that sort of chest-thumping would frighten off the virus. In another he wrote that he’s working to “create a vaccine,” which in reality will take 12-18 months. In yet another, he blamed the Democrats in Congress for politicizing the virus, which is pure projection. But perhaps the most bizarre and revealing of his tweets was this:

Notice that Trump doesn’t bother explain what he’s whining about? He just unleashes his hostility and expects his glassy-eyed disciples to nod their heads in unison and agree. For the record, Trump is referring to this Vanity Fair article by Gabriel Sherman: He’s Definitely Melting Down Over This”: Trump, Germaphobe in Chief, Struggles to Control the Covid-19 Story.” The article cites several sources within the administration who express concerns about Trump’s faltering mental state. They worry that he is losing faith in his own team. For example, he just fired chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and replaced him with former Rep. Mark Meadows (who is now self-quarantined because he came in contact with someone who tested positive at CPAC).

Trump’s psychosis prevents him from being able to deal with any situation wherein he doesn’t feel he is in control. And, of course, he cannot control a virus. So in public he resorts to frantic boasting and overt lies about how brilliant and effective he is. But in private he is said to be harboring acute paranoid fears. For example, Sherman’s sources tell him that…

“Stories about Trump’s coronavirus fears have spread through the White House. Last week Trump told aides he’s afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One, a person close to the administration told me. The source also said Trump has asked the Secret Service to set up a screening program and bar anyone who has a cough from the White House grounds. ‘He’s definitely melting down over this,’ the source said.”

So Trump thinks journalists are plotting to assassinate him with a virus. It’s hard to convey just how insane that is. For one thing, couldn’t they have done that two years ago? Trump is coming undone. Even his attack on Vanity Fair is evidence of derangement. However, it’s derangement that he has suffered from for years. This isn’t the first time that Trump has predicted the death of Vanity Fair:

    Oct 3, 2011: Sadly, Vanity Fair is a rapidly dying magazine.
    Apr 9, 2012: Vanity Fair Magazine, which used to be one of my favorites, is failing badly.
    May 24, 2013: Read this & you will understand why Vanity Fair is going down the tubes.
    Dec 8, 2013: Vanity Fair Magazine won’t be around much longer, it’s really in bad shape!
    Dec 28, 2017: Vanity Fair, which looks like it is on its last legs.

And it’s not just Vanity Fair. Trump has predicted the end of the New York Times on 39 separate occasions (Here’s one example). And then there’s this:

    Jun 26, 2019: CNN is dead as a door nail (no credibility), and MSNBC is dying fast.
    Dec 12, 2019: Fake News like CNN & MSNBC are dying.
    Dec 14, 2019: Both Commiecast MSNBC & Fake News CNN are watching their Ratings TANK. …. Don’t know why @FoxNews wants to be more like them? They’ll all die together.
    Jan 28, 2020: So, what the hell has happened to @FoxNews. Only I know! … Watch, this will be the beginning of the end for Fox.
    Feb 25, 2020: CNN & MSDNC are dying in the ratings!

At precisely the moment that America needs a steady hand guiding the course for the nation, we are stuck with a demonstrably demented character whose narcissism and paranoia are likely to result in far more misfortune than would otherwise be the case if a sane person were president. So for the time being the American people are going to have to rely on themselves and each other. Because the maniac occupying the White House is a basket case who can’t discern reality from the nightmares his mania manufactures. Good luck everyone.

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

Trump’s Lawsuits Against the Media Could Produce an Avalanche of Evidence – Against Him

This election year has seen norms in political activity be swept away by Donald Trump’s continued rejection of decency and honesty as he tweets his way through a failing presidency. The observations that Trump is either pitifully ignorant and/or severely demented are impossible to dismiss. His symptoms range from bizarre assertions about windmill cancer and toilet flushing, to intense paranoia, delusions of grandeur, and authoritarian aspirations.

Donald Trump, Constitution

In recent weeks Trump has also been escalating his war against the media that he repeatedly refers to in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” which he did once again Sunday morning. Now Trump has set out on a path of litigation that is rooted in hostility and vengeance against the constitutional protections of a free press. This is behavior that reeks of fear, desperation, and the all-consuming mania of an unbridled persecution complex. It began with the announcement a week and a half ago that his campaign is suing his perennial nemesis (in his diseased mind), the New York Times for defamation. And in the short time since then, Trump has announced additional lawsuits against a couple of other perceived foes, the Washington Post and CNN.

Virtually every legal analyst who has commented on these lawsuits considers them not only frivolous, but dangerous. They are intended to inhibit free expression and punish those who dare to criticize Dear Leader. It’s a pure dictatorship play by a president who has repeatedly expressed his admiration for tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping. Each of these suits explicitly attack published opinions articles, not hard news. For instance, these are the specific citation in Trump’s legal complaints that he is alleging are defamatory:

New York Times
“There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”

Washington Post
The lawsuit cites a June 13 opinion piece by Greg Sargent that said Trump “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia against the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also cites a June 20 opinion piece by Paul Waldman that asked “who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”

CNN
“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

All of these articles are expressing opinions that are rational, fact-based, and affirmed by authoritative sources. Some are even affirmed by Trump himself. After all, he did ask Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on national television. What’s more, an extensive investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller found that “Trump and his campaign welcomed & encouraged Russian interference.”

To this day, Trump continues to openly solicit political assistance from hostile foreign countries. And his actions prove that he is working in concert with our adversaries to boost his reelection prospects.

While Trump’s wrathful litigiousness is an assault on press freedom, and has an unambiguous chilling effect on journalists, there is a silver lining to his abhorrent conduct. Should any of these lawsuits ever see a courtroom, Trump will be obligated to comply with discovery orders to turn over documents relevant to his complaint. So the defendants can require him to produce materials that he has been refusing to provide to prosecutors and investigators in Congress. And should he do so, he will almost certainly reveal incriminating evidence that could subject him to criminal indictments.

Consequently, it is highly unlikely that Trump will pursue these lawsuits. He may try to use them for publicity for awhile, and to run up the legal fees for the defendants. But in the end he will probably run away (or try to), as he has done throughout his life. However, he may not be able to escape if the defendants countersue and seek a declarative judgment asserting their rights under the First Amendment. In which case, he might still be required to submit to discovery and even testimony. So even though his intentions are loathsome and anti-American, this could still wind up being kinda fun.

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

Fox News Hack Defends Trump for Making 2019 the ‘Darkest Year Yet for Journalists’

After three years of bootlicking fealty to Donald Trump, there are very few people who would dispute that Fox News is serving as the Ministry of Propaganda for the Trump regime. There has never been a “news” organization more tightly aligned with a political leader and party than Fox News. They even regularly exchange personnel who seamlessly work for both the network and the White House. Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and others are card-carrying members of Trump’s “Shadow Cabinet.”

Donald Trump, Fox News, White House

Other than Fox News, Trump has been relentlessly hostile to the press from the beginning of his presidency. He routinely refers to it in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” and dismisses any less than adoring coverage as “fake news.” Michael M. Grynbaum of the New York times took note of this in a year-end column that accurately described 2019 as the darkest year yet for journalists He elaborated…

“On Twitter, President Trump deployed the phrase ‘fake news’ 273 times this year — 50 percent more often than he did in 2018. He demanded ‘retribution’ over a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch, declared that Washington Post reporters ‘shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,’ and accused The New York Times of ‘Treason.’ […]

Mr. Trump’s vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion of the free press, the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump’s cry of ‘fake news.'”

Trump has terminated the daily press briefings that were a decades-long part of White House operations. He replaced them with his “Chopper Talk” harangues on the lawn of the White House where he’ll berate reporters and lie unashamedly while dodging their questions. And his constant assaults on the press creates an environment of imminent risk to the lives of reporters. Trump even whined to Vladimir Putin that he would like to “get rid of them,” expressing his envy of Putin’s ability to assassinate journalists who offend him. That’s the sort of loathsome rhetoric that caused the Committee to Protect Journalists to issue a long and detailed condemnation of Trump as “an unprecedented threat,” and went on to say…

“Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. […] A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States.”

In response to the article in the New York Times (a frequent victim of Trump’s attacks), right-wing media hack Joe Concha appeared on Fox News to defend Trump’s malicious behavior (video below). However, he proffered a badly mangled argument that Trump was justified in criticizing the press because they were so critical of him. The problem with that is that no one was suggesting that Trump couldn’t offer his own criticisms. But there is a difference between pointing out what he believes are inaccuracies, and accusing reporters of treason.

Likewise, Concha argued that Trump couldn’t be considered a threat to journalists because he speaks to them directly from time to time. Once again, that doesn’t excuse what he’s actually saying in those encounters. If you threaten reporters with cancellation of their credentials, or with prosecution and imprisonment, you cannot simultaneously claim you’re not a threat because you spoke to them.

Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy eagerly agreed with Concha’s premise, saying that Trump often approaches reporters at Mar-A-Lago and takes questions. What Doocy didn’t acknowledge is that those avails are always designed to give Trump the advantage. He takes only the questions he wants, and pretends he didn’t hear the others. And if his answers are insufficient, or totally irrelevant, he refuses follow-ups or any effort to clarify.

The problem with what Concha and Doocy are saying is that they regard Trump’s insults and threats as legitimate critiques of the media. They ignore Trump’s menacing outbursts that cast journalists as criminals and traitors. And they don’t seem to comprehend that labeling everything you disagree agree with as “Fake” isn’t a coherent rebuttal. It’s a flagrant attempt to demean an honorable profession, and the only one protected by the Constitution.

Trump’s purpose is to destroy the public’s confidence in the only institution they can rely on to keep them informed and hold the powerful accountable. In this way Trump hopes to get away with his criminal, amoral, and disloyal, activities. And Joe Concha and Fox News are right there to back him up.

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

Hysterical Impeachment Syndrome: Trump Issues Impotent Demands that Adam Schiff Resign

Donald Trump is previewing his regularly scheduled Weekend Tweetstorm with a special Friday edition. And the lengths he goes to to exalt himself and malign his critics is reaching new levels of hysteria and panic. If Trump thinks this sort of behavior is consistent with that of an innocent man, he is suffering from a deeper case of dementia than anyone previously imagined.

Donald Trump

Trump’s morning rant follows Thursday’s late night flurry of Fox News videos, many of which proposed a bizarre theory that impeaching Trump would hurt Democrats more. It’s clear from their nasty reactions, however, that they don’t really believe that. And Trump’s own response is escalating in animosity – and incoherence – by the minute. For example:

So much derp in one “liddle” tweet. First of all, Trump is outraged that CNN omitted an apostrophe from his infantile prefix to Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s name. So outraged that he forgot the difference between an apostrophe and a hyphen. He also forgot how to spell the word “describing.” And he thinks that this punctuation atrocity somehow changes his meaning in a “dishonest” way.

Trump then moves on to bash the New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker (and for some reason his wife) for writing a story about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that clearly included an extortion threat. Trump has been denying the reality of that even after the incriminating memo summarizing the call was released. But the worst part of this tweet was Trump’s assertion that Baker “should not even be allowed to write about me.”

Trump continues to have the delusional impression that he’s a tyrannical monarch who gets to decide who and what is permitted in the free press that he repeatedly calls, in Stalin’s words, “the enemy of the people.” That burning hatred for the Constitution was further reflected in Trump’s next tweets that continued his attack on Schiff:

Apparently Trump doesn’t grasp the concept of paraphrasing with emphasis to make a point. That’s what Schiff was doing. He even prefaced his remarks (video below) by saying that Trump’s phone call “reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character, and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates.” So contrary to Trump’s brazen lie, Schiff was not “supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call,”

What’s more, nobody has to make Trump sound horrible or look guilty. Trump does an excellent job of that without assistance. Which makes his demand that Schiff resign all the more pathetic and shimmering with the impotence of a wannabe dictator who doesn’t know that he lacks the authority he imagines he has. But Trump wasn’t through with Schiff.

It’s ironic that Trump would call Schiff “sick” in a tweet where he once again makes an absurd demand that Schiff “must resign and be investigated.” Notice the backwards order that Trump puts those in: resign, then be investigated. Trump followed that up with an all-caps tweet that his conversation with Zelensky was “perfect.” If that was perfect, what kind of horror would mediocre be? (Note: Why does he keep saying “perfect,” a word that is generally reserved for things like hanging pictures or seasoning chicken dinner?) Trump also claimed that Democrats are “now to be known as the DO NOTHING PARTY!” Nevermind that they have passed more than 200 bills that Mitch McConnell is blocking in the Senate.

Finally (well, for now), Trump took a wild swing at the whistleblower, who he said without explanation “isn’t a Whistleblower at all.” That contradicts his own Acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, who told Congress under oath that the whistleblower and his account of the events, was credible and made in good faith. Trump, nevertheless, whined that the complaint was inaccurate and speculated baselessly that it was the work of either a leaker, a spy, or a partisan operative.

At this point Trump is just sending conspiratorial trial balloons into the polluted air that he’s making worse with the incessant and toxic exhaust from his own mouth. And the frequency and fury of his Twitter tirades is only exacerbating the public perception of his guilt. A poll on Thursday showed a thirteen point increase in Americans who think Trump should be impeached. And that’s even before many of these latest revelations had time to percolate through the mediasphere.

Long story short: Trump is revealing a measure of fear that is weighing heavily on him. But that may be the most sane response he’s had to any of this controversy to date. Fear would be precisely the right emotion under these circumstances. So if he’s scared it’s because he has good reason to be.

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