Wannabe Dictator Trump Proposes Unconstitutional Senate Investigation of the Media

One of the first things that aspiring tyrants do after assuming power is to suppress and/or control the media. That’s a difficult task in a country that has explicitly protected a free press in its Constitution. But that isn’t stopping Donald Trump from trying anyway.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

In his latest Twitter tantrum, Trump has taken another step toward the monarchy that he so fervently desires to lead. He has escalated his relentless (and unsuccessful) smear campaign against what he refers to as “fake” news, but is actually any news that isn’t fawning adulation. On Thursday morning he tweeted this disturbingly fascist proposition:

There are several easy answers to Trump’s frightful question. To begin with, “so much of our news” is not fake. Trump doesn’t bother to offer any proof of his allegation because he doesn’t have any. The media may get things wrong from time to time, but “made up” news is rare and dealt with harshly. Unlike what happens when Trump himself makes things up. He refuses to issue corrections or apologies and, more often than not, repeats the lies after he already knows they are lies. The Washington Post has documented more than 1,100 false or misleading claims since his inauguration. That’s almost five lies per day.

More importantly, what Trump is suggesting is blatantly unconstitutional. He is directing another independent government body to investigate the independent media. The Constitution prohibits Congress from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” A White House sponsored Senate investigation based on news content is an unambiguous breach of the First Amendment.

Another reason the Senate Intelligence Committee isn’t looking into fake news is that it’s the Intelligence Committee. It has no jurisdiction in that area. Trump’s proposal is a clear effort to deflect the Committee, and the nation, from an entirely different investigation. Already under way is the probe into Trump’s electoral collusion with Russia and related financial corruption. Trump’s obviously afraid of what they’ll discover and is anxious to divert attention away from it.

Another reason Senate Intel isn’t looking into fake news is that it would likely turn up more evidence of fakery by Fox News than by any other media organization. The Republicans in charge of the Committee are aware of this and thus reluctant to pursue it. Fox News has been found to have lied far more often than any of their peers. PolitiFact scored their coverage as “Mostly False, False” or “Pants on Fire” sixty percent of the time. That compares to forty-one percent for MSNBC, and only twenty-seven percent for CNN. So Trump’s favorite network would suffer the most damage from such an investigation were it constitutionally permitted.

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

Trump’s obsession with portraying the media as fake is driven by fear. He’s afraid of reports that correctly describe his ignorance and incompetence. He’s afraid of being caught in bed with the Russians (literally and figuratively). He desperately wants to change the subject and poison the minds of news consumers. And he’s willing to subvert the Constitution in order to assuage his fears and achieve his goals. That’s what dictators do. And Trump has been behaving like a manic tyrant throughout his brief residence in the White House. And for most of his adult life for that matter.

North Korea? NFL? Oh Wait – Russia Probes Are ‘Closing In’ on Donald Trump

For much of the past week Donald Trump has been tweeting in a frenzy over subjects not previously in the news. He has escalated the debate over professional athletes expressing themselves on matters of significant social importance. And he has also created a crisis situation with North Korea that wasn’t an issue until he starting mouthing off.

Carl Bernstein

Both of those issues are newsworthy on their own now. Certainly the message behind the movement that quarterback Colin Kaepernick started needs to be addressed. Systemic racism in America continues to cause real harm. And Trump’s overtly bigoted contribution has had the unintended effect of getting the issue more positive attention. As for North Korea, Trump’s childish feuding with Kim Jung Un has thrust the world into a rhetorical firestorm. And this one has frightening, nuclear overtones. The media can hardly ignore that.

And that may be the point. Trump is trying to control the news cycle to keep it clear of something that he’s truly afraid of. By injecting new and melodramatic subjects into the media, he hopes to prevent further revelations about his own scandals. To some degree it’s working. But in a segment on CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein were not fooled. (Video below):

Stelter: It was reported this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is asking the White House to provide documents related to Trump’s actions as president. Not just pre-campaign or pre-election day, but issues recently. That request includes at least thirteen areas in which investigators are seeking information. Including statements made about former FBI Director James Comey made in the presence of Russian officials. Also the firing of Michael Flynn. And the meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr. As you recall, he sought to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian individual.

That introduction covered a broad swath of the potential criminal behaviors emanating from the White House. And Carl Bernstein’s response closed the circle with a concise summary of the President’s unsavory avtivities:

Bernstein: Robert Mueller, the special counsel, is looking at the conduct of President Donald Trump and members of his family, especially Jared Kushner. Also his closest campaign aides in terms of their dealings with Russia, ethno-Russians, during the campaign and before. And in business. But there’s a much larger context that now informs the whole investigation. And that is the conclusion of the American intelligence community – under Donald Trump, not under Obama – that now is certain that the Russians were very, very, effective at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton and specifically helping Donald Trump.

And we keep hearing the word collusion, which is not a legal term. What Mueller is focused on is quite different than the simple idea of collusion. It’s whether or not Donald Trump, and perhaps his family and business associates, knew that the Russians were trying to help his campaign. And if they knew that, why didn’t they blow the whistle on the Russians? Did they try to cover it up? Are they continuing to try and cover up that knowledge? That’s the real question. Not the word “collusion,” which Trump and the White House keep trying to focus on.

Finally, Bernstein proposed what might be the motivations driving Trump and his more recent scandal mongering:

Bernstein: But the reason is these investigations are closing in on him, his family, and his aides. And if indeed there’s nothing there and it’s a hoax, then why has Donald Trump tried to undermine, demean and obstruct – not necessarily in terms of the legal obstruction of justice – these investigations for six months at every turn? He’s done everything that he can, as have those around him, to keep these investigations from succeeding.

That pretty much says it all. Trump is engaging in a fierce effort to divert attention from himself and his possible prosecution and/or impeachment. And he’s using other news events, some serious, some fabricated, to achieve that goal. Hopefully more journalists like Bernstein and Stelter will demonstrate that they cannot be tricked into serving as his propaganda merchants.

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

Watch the Dumbest Man on Fox News Fail to Grasp Russia’s Cyber War in Debate With Rob Reiner

Every day seems to bring a new revelation about Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. The most recent include the business relationship of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with a Kremlin-affiliated oligarch. And special counselor Robert Mueller is digging ever deeper into the White House’s personnel and documents. All of this has Trump in a panic. And that has resulted in more rabid, diversionary outbursts on Twitter attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.

Fox News Tucker Carlson Rob Reiner

The accelerated implosion of the Trump administration is also roiling his defenders at Fox News. Chief among the Trump-fluffers is Tucker Carlson. He has distinguished himself as a devoted disciple whose knee-jerk support is as predictable as a sunrise. On his Thursday night program he invited director Rob Reiner to discuss a new initiative to “Investigate Russia.” The Committee to Investigate Russia is a non-partisan group that brought together experts like James Clapper, Norman Ornstein, and David Frum, to inform the public and advocate for open, comprehensive investigations. They put out this public service announcement featuring Morgan Freeman:

After running a brief clip from that video, Tucker Carlson began his debate with Rob Reiner (video below) asking a question that demonstrates an acute disability to understand simple concepts:

Carlson: So we’re at war. How would you respond if President Trump took you seriously and sent a B-52 to St. Petersberg or blockaded the Gulf of Finland? Would you support that?

That’s an interesting question. Not because it raises substantive issues. But because it exposes Carlson as incapable of differentiating between a conventional war and a virtual one fought in cyberspace. He seems to think that the use of the word “war” can only be interpreted as involving soldiers and tanks. The notion of any other kind of international conflict is beyond his mental capacity. Any high school student would have no trouble with these concepts, but Carlson is hopelessly stumped.

The other interesting thing about the question was its insulting slap at Trump. Apparently Carlson thinks that Trump might react to Reiner’s talk of a cyber war and call out the bombers. Sadly, I think he could right about that. It’s the sort of simplistic behavior that is emblematic of Trump. Nevertheless, Reiner immediately sought to correct him, which led to this exchange:

Reiner: When we say we’re at we’re talking about a cyber war.
Carlson: It doesn’t make that clear. It just says where Morgan Freeman – who everyone trusts … we’re at war. So you don’t really believe we’re at war. Why are you saying it then?
Reiner: Well, because if you watch the entire video it talks about cyber warfare. It talks about how he was able to use the Internet and cyber tools to attack the democracy. Which is what they did.
Carlson: But shouldn’t you say somewhere in there ‘We’re not really at war. We’re just taking creative license. We’re just trying to get you all pumped up.’ It’s not really war. And we shouldn’t respond as you would if you were in a war. Why not just say that so you don’t confuse people?
Reiner: Well, as I say, if you watch the whole video you wouldn’t be confused about it.

Indeed. Carlson’s confusion is dumbfounding (with an emphasis on the “dumb”). Is there anyone with a functioning brain stem who doesn’t understand what it means to be in a cyber war? Is Carlson really this idiotic, or is he just being a douchebag? (You don’t have to answer that).

This discussion went on for another six-plus minutes with Carlson never getting the point. Reiner, to his credit, remained remarkably calm and tolerant of Carlson’s determined and deliberate ignorance. Carlson, on the other hand, continued to ask ridiculous questions that illustrated his intellectual infirmity. And the whole time his face was contorted into an expression that’s a mix of bewilderment and annoyance. Either that or he would start cackling at inappropriate times. It was prime Carlson. And it’s why he’s known as the dumbest man on Fox News.

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

Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

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

BENGHAZI? Watch Kellyanne Conway Resort to Classic Dodge to Avoid Defending Trump’s Lies

The guardians of Donald Trump’s floundering presidency are finding it ever more difficult carry out their task. They now have to deal with a special prosecutor ramping up investigations of the President. Grand juries are being impaneled in Washington, Virginia, and New York. And a flurry of new lies erupt from the White House every day. What’s a dedicated Trump shill supposed to do?

Kellyanne Conway

Well, Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week” we may have found out. Kellyanne Conway was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos about the blatant contradictions by Trump and company about their interactions with Russia. He summarized the situation and asked Conway for her explanation for the various accounts (video below):

“The White House and the President’s surrogates have told conflicting stories. First they said there no contacts with Russians. Then it turned out there were at least eighteen contacts. The story broke in the New York Times saying the President was involved in the drafting of his son Don, Jr.’s misleading response to that meeting he had with Russians during the campaign. And Jay Sekulow, the President’s attorney, came on GMA and told me the President was not involved.”

Stephanopoulos noted that the original statement and the one offered after the Times story were “very different answers in the space of two weeks.” But Conway’s response evaded the question to say that the meeting was of no consequence. She continues to deny the consequences of just agreeing to meet with Russian operatives to obtain campaign information. Even if nothing was obtained, the effort itself was an attempt at collusion. Conway added that Trump’s involvement in drafting Junior’s response was merely “weighing in as a father.” Of course. Every father has had that experience where they help their adult son to lie about meetings with America’s enemies.

Stephanopoulos persisted to challenge her on the shifting facts. He noted that the first statement was totally false and that the President and his lawyers “didn’t tell the truth.” To which Conway replied with a series of alleged falsehoods from the distant past. She raised the matter of whether or not people could keep their doctors under ObamaCare. And then she actually brought up Benghazi and tried to make that relevant to this discussion.

Let’s not get into a debate as to whether those were actually examples of untrue statements. The main point here is that Conway was utterly incapable of defending the lies from Trump’s White House. So reached into the past hoping to grasp a rhetorical lifeline. Stephanopoulos’ complaint that Conway was just changing the subject fell on deaf ears. When he asked if Trump could be truthful about the Russia investigations, Conway swerved to repeat Trump’s baseless assertion that the whole thing was fabricated.

By the end of the interview, Conway didn’t once respond directly to the charge that Trump and his surrogates lied. There are obvious differences between their initial accounts of the meetings and the facts that they later conceded. Plus, the false claim that Trump had nothing to do with Junior’s first statement remains unexplained. And Conway’s flagrant evasions only serve to highlight how overwhelmed she and her associates are.

They are quite simply out of answers. The tsunami of lies that flow from Trump have exhausted his defenders. And since they have emptied their arsenal of arguments, be prepared to hear more from yesteryear’s classics like Benghazi. And if they get desperate enough they might even revive Obama’s birth certificate and Monica Lewinski.

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

Trump Signs Bill Sanctioning Russia for Election Tampering that he Believes is a Hoax

For several months Donald Trump has been dismissing reports that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential campaign. He has had a variety of counter explanations for the documented cyberattacks. On some occasions he alleged that they were the work of China. On others he imagined that “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” had concocted the whole scheme.

Trump/Putin

The only party that he never exclusively held responsible was the one that was indisputably guilty: Russia. Every relevant intelligence agency concluded that Russia was behind the attacks and that they were certain to strike again. Former heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc., unequivocally fingered Russia as the only culprit. And yet Trump ignored the analysis of the intelligence professionals in favor of his pals at Fox and Friends. He labeled the entire episode a hoax contrived by Democrats who were bitter at having lost.

On Wednesday morning, however, Trump signed a bill to impose sanctions on Russia for their involvement in the election tampering. The bill covers several matters on foreign policy that Congress acted on due to Trump’s opposition and/or neglect. According to NBC News:

“The bill sanctions Russia — citing its cyberhacking as well as aggression in Ukraine and Syria — while also slapping new sanctions on North Korea and Iran. But the legislation also makes it harder for the president to lift these sanctions unilaterally, requiring permission from Congress before waiving them.”

In effect, Trump’s signature puts into law that he is a liar. It directly contradicts his stubborn refusal to accept reality about the nature of Russia’s offenses. What’s more, the bill overtly prohibits him from altering the terms of the sanctions. Congress was so worried that Trump would ignore their legislation that they legally tied his hands. It was a smart move on their part given Trump’s creepy affinity for Vladimir Putin and aversion to criticizing him.

The bill passed in the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 98-2. Similarly, in the house it passed 419-3. Consequently, Trump knew that there was a veto-proof majority in Congress that would have made the bill law whatever his response. If he vetoed, or declined to sign, the bill it would have become law anyway. But he would be perceived as having aided and abetted Putin’s attack on American democracy. However, by signing it he accepts the premise that Russia did interfere with the election and deserves to be punished.

That dilemma resulted in Trump attaching a signing statement to the bill to express his objections. But that only exacerbated the hypocrisy. Seven times he asserted that the bill’s provisions were “clearly unconstitutional.” How can a president, sworn to uphold the Constitution, sign a bill that he believes violates it? That, by itself, is a breach of his oath of office. By way an explanation, Trump issued a separate statement saying that:

“Despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.”

First of all, his notion of national unity is not a justification for violating the Constitution. And secondly, this bill does not represent America’s desire to improve relations with Russia. It represents the desire to penalize them for criminal activity. Trump must think that incarcerating Charles Manson was an attempt to get along with him better. It’s that sort of illogic that infects so much of Trump’s thinking. Including this closing thought in his statement:

“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

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

In fact, he built a company that suffered multiple bankruptcies, and whose value is unknowable because he refuses to release his tax returns. Trump’s prowess (or lack thereof) at deal making has been apparent in the first six months of his presidency that has produced zero achievements. And as for the reason he was elected, many people say it is was actually due to Russia’s interference. So there’s that.

Kellyanne Conway is TOTALLY Oblivious to the Crisis in Trump White House

The Sunday Morning news fest was particularly exciting this week. Much of it was consumed by Donald Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. He made the rounds to demonstrate that he’s a sufficiently sizable asshole to represent this president. What America learned, for the most part part, was that he “loves” Donald Trump, which he said repeatedly. Plus, he gushed about Trump’s near divine perfection as a communicator and a leader. Good work, Mooch.

Kellyanne Conway

However, no Sunday is complete without the screwball antics of White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway. She was interviewed by Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources. And she lived up to her low standards for honesty and rational discourse. The conversation focused on the many scandals that have dogged the White House. Conway was surprised at the very notion and refuted it fiercely. And in a shockingly candid appraisal of the President’s proclivity for bald-face lies, Conway served up a unique justification:

Stelter: The scandals are the President’s lies. About voter fraud. About wiretapping. His repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.
Conway: He doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.

Stelter went easy on Conway. There are literally hundreds of other demonstrable falsehoods that Trump has shamelessly uttered. But Conway is adopting the “Costanza Principle,” famously introduced in an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry’s friend George was advising him on how to beat a lie detector test. “If you believe it,” said George, “then it’s not a lie.” And now that principle has been put to the test in the “real” world of Kellyanne’s “alternative facts.” Stelter pointed out that just because the President says something, even if he believes it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t still untrue. But that was a concept that would be over the head of any Trump advisor.

In the same interview, Stelter’s reference to the many scandals plaguing the Trump administration seemed to come as a surprise to Conway. That led to this exchange:

Stelter: This is a White House in crisis whether you recognize it or not.
Conway: Why? I work there. Where do you get that?

Conway’s oblivious response ignores the fact that Trump is under investigation by the FBI, the GOP-controlled Senate and House, and an independent counsel. She also appears not to have noticed that Trump’s attempts to kill ObamaCare have failed. Or that his border wall is still a wingnut fantasy. Or that his immigration policies are stalled. And nothing has been on done taxes or infrastructure, or terrorism. This is likely the least productive administration in decades, despite Trump’s ludicrous claims to the contrary.

What’s more, Trump has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Conway had an explanation for that which made no sense whatsoever:

“Part of the disapproval are the independents who voted for him and want him to ignore all the nonsense, and all the noise, and all the Russia nonsense. That’s part of it. Part of it are people upset with Congress. The President’s approval rating is far higher than the approval rating of the media or the Congress, and there’s a reason for that.”

So Trump’s abysmal ratings are due to his own supporters giving him poor marks because they don’t like Congress? Yeah, that’s the ticket. As for Trump vs. the media, numerous polls have shown that, given a choice, majorities of voters trust the media more. That includes the “failing” New York Times and “fake” news CNN.

Conway was insistent that CNN and others were pushing the “phony” stories about Russia. She suggested that they should cover real stories instead. Then she gave as an example that “millions of Americans don’t have healthcare.” Which is an interesting choice since her boss is advocating a bill that would would take healthcare away from 32 million more Americans. And of course, that story has been covered extensively across the spectrum of media.

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

It’s morbidly entertaining to watch Trump’s staff and surrogates struggle to put his disastrous administration in a positive light. There are no plausible arguments that can make any of this sound less than catastrophic. Consequently, their efforts seem more and more absurd and desperate. You have to wonder what they think of themselves at the end of a day of this futile spinning. But then, since they work for Donald Trump, what could they think of themselves anyway.

How Deranged Are Trump Supporters? New Poll Shows That It’s Worse Than You Ever Imagined

In the Era of Trump, Americans have been been subjected to wild diversions from reality. Donald Trump and company have unleashed baseless accusations of “fake news,” and the ceaseless dissemination of “alternative facts.” They have violated constitutional protections of free speech and abused the media in an unprecedented manner. Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people.” And his White House Press Office has discontinued on-camera briefings.

Donald Trump

This overt hostility and flagrant assault on transparency has had an impact on a certain sector of the electorate. Trump voters have evolved into a breed of ill-informed, willfully ignorant yokels whose devotion to their Orange Julius Caesar borders on cult worship. This alarming descent into madness is frightfully illustrated in the results of a new survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP). The depth of the delirium of these lost souls is unimaginable. And yet, the data from the PPP pollsters is clear. Here are some examples from the study:

  • Only 45% of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians about information that might be harmful to Hillary Clinton…even though Trump Jr. admitted it. 32% say the meeting didn’t happen and 24% say they’re not sure.
  • 72% of Trump voters consider the Russia story overall to be ‘fake news,’ only 14% disagree.
  • Only 24% of Trump voters even want an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, 64% are opposed to an investigation.
  • Only 26% of Trump voters admit that Russia wanted Trump to win the election, 44% claim Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, and 31% say they’re not sure one way or the other.
  • Even if there was an investigation, and it found that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia to aid his campaign, 77% of his supporters think he should still stay in office to just 16% who believe he should resign.

What manner of sickness is this? Less than half of the Trump disciples believe that Don, Jr. met with Russians despite his having confirmed it. Do they think he’s lying? More troubling though, is that more than three quarters of the StormTrumpers are comfortable with him serving as president even if he conspired with a foreign hostile enemy to steal the election.

Is there any line he can’t cross? Apparently not. Because the survey also asked a question referencing Trump’s campaign comment that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. And 45% of Trump voters said they would still approve of him if he shot someone. This is Jonestown-level dementia. When people talk about “drinking the Kool-Aid,” they can’t get closer to that comparison than this.

As a final humiliation to the President, PPP asked respondents to indicate who they trusted more: Trump or various media organizations. Trump lost in every match up:

Voters say they trust NBC and ABC each more than him, 56/38. They say they trust CBS more than him 56/39. They say they trust the New York Times more than him 55/38. Voters say they trust CNN more than him 54/39. And they say they trust the Washington Post more than him 53/38.

Those are significant majorities that favor the “failing” New York Times and “fake news” CNN. Despite Trump’s relentless efforts to negatively brand his media adversaries, he has had no success in doing so. And his continued whining in the face of that rejection is pathetic.

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

However, his glassy-eyed followers will undoubtedly fall in line no matter what atrocities he commits. That’s a sad commentary on the state of the nation. It remains to be seen how they will eventually react when the hammer comes down on his criminality. They may just pretend not to have supported him in the first place. After all, the one thing we’ve learned about them is that they have an unlimited capacity for self-delusion.

Desperate Trump Tweet Accusing Hillary Clinton Proves He Doesn’t Know What ‘Illegal’ Means

As the walls continue to close in around the Donald Trump crime family, he’s resorting to ever more desperate outbursts. On his Sunday morning Twitter venting, the President let loose on several familiar topics. His act is getting so stale that it can be predicted with almost perfect certainty.

Hillary Clinton

Among the subjects gnawing at his ego today were his pitiful approval ratings that reached another new low. At thirty-six percent he is the most unpopular president in seventy years of polling. And yet, his comically rounded up tweet bragged that at “almost 40% [it] is not bad at this time.” That’s sort of true, it isn’t bad. It’s historically abysmal. And even as he sought to spin this poll as good news, he dismissed is it as “just about the most inaccurate poll around.” So in effect he’s saying “See how great I’m doing in this bullshit poll?”

Trump also took a perfunctory slap at the media, complaining about its “phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting.” The man who allowed Russia to influence our election also charged that the media was “DISTORTING DEMOCRACY” (his caps). Never mind that Trump happily boasts about his own unnamed sources when they serve his purpose.

Perhaps the most ludicrous tweet of the morning, though, was the one that dug deepest into his desperation and paranoia. It’s a comment that harkens back to the classic campaign chants of “Lock her up.” That was when Trump was accusing Hillary Clinton of heinous acts of criminality that were never supported by facts. Trump tweeted this morning that:

This explains so much. Perhaps we now know why the Trump family so frequently engages in unlawful behavior. They clearly don’t know what the word “illegal” means. For instance, there is nothing illegal about getting questions prior to a debate. In fact, a competent debate prep team probably anticipates the questions in advance anyway.

Nor is it illegal to delete your own personal emails. Despite the controversy surrounding this, no one has ever proved that Clinton deleted any government documents. And that’s after FBI investigators scoured her servers and recovered many of the deleted emails.

Both of these allegations were leveled by Trump in defense of his unscrupulous son, Don. Daddy Trump is attempting to argue that his son’s treasonous collusion with hostile Russian operatives should be excused because Clinton deleted some emails and might have cheated in a debate with Bernie Sanders. Trump is obviously still obsessed with Clinton and can’t stop thinking about her and her popular vote victory. What’s more, he’s blaming the “fake” news media even though the evidence of Junior’s crimes came from his own emails. How ironic.

You have to wonder what Trump is thinking when he posts these tweets. Does he believe that they will exonerate him and his skeevy family? Does he think that he’s persuading anyone other than his glassy-eyed disciples that they’re all innocent? Can’t he read all of the replies on Twitter that are overwhelming opposed to his whining commentaries?

Trump is a president who is not only notching new lows in public opinion, he is losing the battle on almost every front. The same poll that showed him at thirty-six percent approval has other bad news for him as well. It shows that sixty percent of Americans think Russia did try to influence the election outcome. It also shows that sixty-three percent believe that meeting with Russians during the campaign was inappropriate. Other polls show that his agenda is almost universally despised. America hates his healthcare plan, his border wall, and his immigration ban.

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

These are not split decisions. They are uncommonly large majorities that have concluded that Trump and his family are dishonest and untrustworthy. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the Republican Party recognizes the risk to their congressional dominance. That’s when they will start to turn on Trump in order to save their own political skins. And the good news is that they will almost certainly make that decision too late.

Trump’s State Department is Granting Hundreds of Visas for Russian Spies

Friday morning Donald Trump met with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. This is either their first meeting or their fifteenth, depending on which statement by Trump you choose to believe. In any case, according to the White House, Trump went into the meeting with no agenda. He told reporters that he was honored to meet Putin. That’s a pretty cavalier attitude toward encountering the man who everyone in the U.S. intelligence community says interfered with our election last year.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Trump obviously doesn’t care about the election hacking issue. He still insists that “nobody knows for sure” that the Russians were responsible. That opinion is not only dangerously misguided, it is an insult to America’s national security professionals. It also conveniently lets the guy who helped him get elected off the hook. However, it is not the only threat to which Trump is exposing the nation. CNN is reporting that Russian spies are pouring into the country courtesy of Trump’s State Department:

“Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.”

Those 35 diplomats were expelled by President Obama in response to the Russian hacking. It was just one of the actions taken despite Trump having said that Obama had done nothing. But now that Trump’s team is in place they are readmitting suspicious characters. These are potential operatives who could ramp up election tampering activities for 2018 and 2020. And American intelligence officials are worried about just that:

“Fueling law enforcement officials’ concern is that the Russians are targeting people in the US who can provide access to classified information, in addition to ongoing efforts to hack the US government for intelligence, according to several of the officials. In some cases, Russian spies have tried to gain employment at places with sensitive information as part of their intelligence-gathering efforts, the sources say. But that hasn’t stopped the State Department from issuing the temporary duty visas.”

Reports coming out of Trump’s meeting with Putin indicate that he was less than eager to hold the Russian’s accountable. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the focus was on moving forward. That must have pleased Putin immensely. I’m sure he’d like to get on with his plans to hack future American elections. And now, thanks to Trump, he’ll have an army of spies in the country to help achieve his goals.

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