To Sarah Sanders: If Congress is Too Dumb to Understand Trump’s Taxes, Releasing Them Can’t Hurt

Donald Trump’s media relations have been a case study in both a totalitarian hostility toward the free press and a narcissist’s obsession for attention and adulation. He has repeatedly referred to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” while lashing out personally at journalists and networks that he doesn’t think are sufficiently adoring.

Donald Trump

Trump’s White House has all but abandoned the daily press briefings that every other president in modern times has held. But he continues to send his press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, out to the same TV news networks that he maligns. While there she does nothing but disseminate flagrant lies, packaged propaganda, and irrational defenses of her bosses many offensive utterances. Case in point: Sanders went on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to try to shore another bad week for Trump. When the subject turned to the President’s stubborn refusal to release his tax returns, Sanders let this bull fly (video below):

“Frankly, Chris, I don’t think Congress – particularly not this group of congressmen and women – are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be.”

Seriously? Trump’s first responses to this question were promises that he would release his taxes and would be happy and proud to do so. That later shifted to a lie about being audited, which he said prevented him from releasing his returns. It doesn’t. Most recently he has just declared that he isn’t going to do it under any circumstances. Which should cause any thoughtful citizen to wonder why he’s lied for so long and what terrible things he is trying to hide?

But for Sanders to make such a vicious ad hominem attack on the entire institution of Congress only escalates the suspicions that Americans should have. After all, it is the job of Congress to conduct oversight on matters like this, and many members have professional experience and training in economics. The insult by Sanders is just a lame attempt to avoid the real issues that concern Trump’s corruption and nefarious business relations that may include Russians.

If Sanders thinks Congress is too dumb to comprehend Trump’s taxes, why does the White House she represents think they are capable of developing a new healthcare plan; or ratifying international treaties; or passing Trump’s Tax Scam; or regulating everything from energy to banks to defense policy? Her scattershot slander only reinforces this administration’s aversion to the American ideal of democratic self-rule. According to Trump World, we’re all too stupid to be allowed any such privilege.

However, if Sanders really believes what she’s saying, then why would she have any objection to Trump’s taxes being released right now? After all, Congress won’t be able to understand them, so what’s the harm? In reality, this is just another example of projection by Trump and company. This is a man so inept that he bankrupted four casinos. He is the one who is so painfully idiotic that he can’t comprehend even simple matters, particularly about the economy. Take for instance his Sunday morning tweet about the Federal Reserve Board:

None of that is true. It’s pure fantasy to suggest that the Dow would be 10,000 points higher, even if the Fed did what Trump wants. But they can’t do it because lowering interests rates when the economy is already overheated would result in inflation and a massive stock selloff as investors sell equities and shift into bonds. What’s more, if a recession should result (a real probability), there would be no way to mitigate its harm by lowering interest rates further. It’s a recipe for a depression. But that’s where this administration is determined to take us. They just hope it occurs after a Democrat is elected next year so they have someone else to blame.

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

Trump is STILL Colluding With Russia (and Fox News) to Deny Putin’s Election Interference

It’s been four days since the Mueller Report has NOT been released – only the four page cover up by Trump’s plant in the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr. In that short span of time the right-wing media has been furiously crafting a brazenly false narrative that imagines that Donald Trump was exonerated even though Barr’s letter explicitly denies it and the American people don’t buy it.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Included in the campaign to vindicate from Trump are demands that the media apologize for accurately reporting about Trump’s crime-riddled administration. Which is ironic since it’s Trump who should be apologizing to special counsel Robert Mueller. For more than two years Trump has engaged in reckless character assassination, accusing Mueller of being a corrupt, dishonest partisan on an illegal witch hunt.

What’s more, the media’s MAGA Martinets are also calling for the President to actually escalate his war against the First Amendment. And perhaps the new king of anti-free press hysterics is the Fox News host of their alleged business channel, Stuart Varney went on an extended rant (video below) that proved nothing except for how valuable psychoactive pharmaceuticals could be if certain unhinged TV yakkers were taking them. Varney began his tirade by saying that:

“Now is the time for a presidential counterpunch. President Trump is good at this. Have a go at him and he’ll come right back at you, big time. Now is the time to counterpunch the media. For two years they’ve let their hatred show. I used to soften that word and say they have contempt for the President. No no, they hate him.”

Isn’t “contempt” actually strong than “hate”? And does Varney really believe that Trump hasn’t already been punching at the press with his Stalinist-inspired denunciations of it as “the enemy of the people” and “the opposition party”? He continued:

“For two years they’ve indulged in a orgy of hatred that colored absolutely everything. For two years they preened themselves, assuming the moral high ground. They’re the elite. They’re above the rest of us. They told us the President of the United States was a Russian agent. They told us he was a traitor. They breathlessly reported the most outrageous statements. They gave themselves prizes. Listen to this. It’s from the Pulitzer Prize awarded jointly to the New York Times and the Washington Post. I’ll read it.”

“For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.”

Varney then mocked this tribute as referring to leaks to the press by former FBI director James Comey, and the false allegations against Hillary Clinton for allegedly funding the infamous Steele dossier. What’s peculiar about this is that Varney is attacking the Pulitzer awards for their recognition of reporting on the “Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election,” not the accusations that Trump and his criminal associates conspired with Russia.

Russia’s efforts to illegally influence our election have been documented and affirmed by everyone from the U.S. Intelligence community to the Mueller report, according to Attorney General Barr. But this rabid rundown by Varney is denying that the election interference ever occurred. And Trump posted this video on his Twitter feed. Which can only mean that he is, once again, denying Russia’s involvement in tampering with the election. In that way Trump is still colluding with Russia by taking their side, absolving them of guilt, and making it easier for them repeat their crimes in 2020. Vladimir Putin must be ecstatic.

And Varney wasn’t through. He wrapped up this atrocious gift to our enemies in the Kremlin by lavishing adoring praise on Trump and lashing out again at the media:

“The counterpunch has already started. Good! The Trump campaign has sent a letter to news outlets telling them to employ quote ‘basic journalistic standards’ when booking guests who have made outlandish and false claims. Way to go Mr. President.”

For the record, that letter to TV news outlets was pretty funny. It called on them to refuse to book any guests who had proven themselves to be repeated and unrepentant liars. It singled out politicians like like Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Adam Schiff. But it more accurately described people like Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whose absence from the airwaves would make them decidedly more trustworthy.

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

HAH! Trump Campaign Memo Makes Strong Case for Banning Lying Trump Surrogates from TV

It’s was just two days ago that special counsel Robert Mueller completed his investigation of Donald Trump and the nefarious connections to Russia by the President and his close associates. And it’s been less than twenty-four hours since Attorney General William Barr released his deliberately distorted letter that misrepresented even the few sentence fragments from Mueller’s report that Barr bothered to cite.

Donald Trump

However, that was plenty of time for the Republican Political Machine to contrive their propaganda offensive and to craft a brazenly false narrative that Trump has been exonerated and that his critics are witch hunting liars. The project they rushed to implement included a bizarre memo from Tim Murtaugh, the Director of Communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign. Murtaugh’s memo echoed what most of the GOP Surrogate Squad has been saying: Barr’s letter is “a total and complete vindication of President Donald Trump.” Of course, Mueller’s actually words dispute that. He literally wrote that his report “does not exonerate” Trump, at least with regard to obstruction of justice.

The rest of the memo consisted primarily of a list of Democrats who made truthful statements about Trump and Russia. They included Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Eric Swalwell, DNC Chair Tom Perez, and former CIA Director John Brennan. Each of them correctly noted that there is abundant evidence that Trump did in fact conspire with Russians to advance his election prospects. Murtaugh sent the memo to TV producers in an effort to poison the media trough by baselessly accusing the Democrats of lying.

Notice that the only argument that Murtaugh makes to support his allegations is what Barr wrote in his highly partisan interpretation of the Mueller report, which he has so far refused to make public. And on the basis of that he asks TV bookers to reconsider inviting Democratic guests for interviews. It’s a familiar dictators’ ploy to silence their opponents by starving them of media exposure. But perhaps the most ludicrous paragraph in the Murtaugh memo was the question that he proposed for TV bookers to ask themselves:

“Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past.”

That’s a darn good question. The only problem for Trump’s whiny comms director is that if the media takes his advice, and uses that criteria for future bookings, it would be the end of all television appearances for Trump’s senior counsel Kellyanne Conway, his press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, his campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, his son Don Jr., and pretty much anyone else who works for Trump. They are a team of recidivist liars who, when they aren’t mangling the truth, are feverishly trying to deflect and divert from the topic at hand. And of course, Trump’s record breaking 9,000+ lies would make him off limits for TV bookings.

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

So, come to think of it, this is a pretty good idea. Television news would be far better off without these tale-spinners butchering what should be an informative public discourse. Most of the time their interviews devolve into shouting fits wherein they cravenly try to filibuster the limited time available for their segment and avoid giving any substantive answers. So while Murtaugh meant to impose a thinly disguised demand for censorship, he ended up offering a solution to the pollution on the airwaves by dishonest Trump-fluffers and sycophants. We owe him our thanks.

Lying Trump Shill Sarah Sanders Gives Solace to Domestic Terrorists and Russian Conspirators

It has been several days since the arrest of Christopher Hasson, a domestic terrorist who compiled a cache of weapons and ammunition with the intention of murdering Democrats and journalists. But Donald Trump has still said nothing about it, even though he has commented on the Jussie Smollett case, 6G communications technology (which doesn’t exist), and a remorseful “ISIS wife” who wants to return to her home in the U.S.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders

In the absence of any comments from the President, reporters asked his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, if she could provide any insight into Trump’s feelings on the matter. This lead to an exchange that was purely pablum for Deplorables:

Reporter: Is there any plan for the President to maybe tone down his rhetoric, and do you think this contributes to these sorts of extremists getting these ideas?
Sanders: I certainly don’t think that the president at any point has done anything but condemn violence against journalists or anyone else. In fact, every single time something like this happens, the president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence and the media is the first people to blame the president. We should all join together and start condemning the violence whether it’s against members of the media, whether it’s against Democrats, Republicans, any person in this country. That is unacceptable, and that is why every time it comes up we have been consistent and repeatedly said that we condemn violence in all forms.

The first notable part of this robo-reply is that it didn’t mention Hasson or his plot to commit mass murder. Sanders pointedly did not condemn him or make any statement to deter others from conspiring to commit the same atrocities. She simply generalized the horror and pretended that it’s a problem for both sides of the political aisle, although the data shows that right-wing domestic terrorism is far more prevalent and on the rise.

What’s more, Sanders’ claim that Trump hasn’t “done anything but condemn violence” is provably false. In fact, Trump has encouraged violence at his cult rallies, telling people to “knock the crap out of” protesters, and not to worry about it because “I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.” Trump also praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who was convicted of assaulting a reporter, saying that “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type.” And of course, Trump’s repeated assertions that the media is “the enemy of the people” are unambiguously incitements to violence, particularly of the sort aspired to by Hasson and committed against the Capital Gazette of Maryland.

During the same press avail, Sanders was asked about the media reports that special counsel Robert Mueller might be wrapping up his investigation and what Trump’s thoughts were about the pending report. Here is the question and Sanders’ response:

Reporter: You were saying a minute ago that there was no need for the campaign to collude with the Russians, but there have been so many indictments. There have been convictions. And there were so many contacts with the Russians. How do you balance that?
Sanders: It’s real simple to me. The President was far and away the better candidate. He had a better message and he outworked Hillary Clinton. And that’s why he’s president. He didn’t need to, nor did he, collude with the Russians. Pretty simple.

Notice what’s missing in Sanders’ reply? Pretty everything that was asked about in the question. Sanders said nothing about the indictments, convictions and numerous contacts with Russians by many of Trump’s closest associates and family, all of whom lied about their activities before being confronted with evidence that forced the truth out of them.

The result of Sanders’ remarks are not inconsequential. By failing to specifically condemn Hasson and anyone else who would seek to emulate him, Sanders is implicitly condoning those actions. Why does she find it so easy to universally condemn innocent refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. as criminals, rapists, and drug traffickers, but cannot denounce actual right-wing terrorism? And by refusing to address the facts surrounding Trump and his nefarious relationships with Russia, she is giving permission for our foreign adversaries to continue to undermine our democracy.

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

What both of these failures to stand up for American principles and sovereignty demonstrate is the tendency by the Trump administration to act against the interests of the United States. In some circles that is referred to as treasonous. At the very least it reveals a suspicious leaning toward some self-interest on Trump’s part that benefits our enemies. And that’s about as solid a justification for impeachment that you’re ever going to see.

This Just In: Trump finally addressed the Hasson matter, but only after he was asked by Hallie Jackson of NBC News. His answer is unbelievably disgusting. He called it “a shame.” WTF? It’s a shame when your kid cheats on a math test. A terrorist plotting mass murder is an atrocity. And Trump’s assertion that he hasn’t been fully briefed a week after the arrest is undoubtedly another lie.

Trump Freaks Out Over Cliff Sims: Nothing Screams ‘GUILTY’ Like Threatening a ‘Low Level Gofer’

The walls are closing in around Donald Trump. And they aren’t the walls that he is obsessed with building on the southern border. More of the criminal associates that comprise Trump’s inner circle are being swept up by the long arm of justice every day. And with each new arrest and indictment the evidence of Trump’s culpability becomes more apparent.

Donald Trump, Cliff Sims

The latest accomplice to Trump’s treason to face the music is Roger Stone. He has been a close friend and associate of Trump’s for decades. Now he has been charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. Trump’s defenders celebrate the fact that the word “collusion” isn’t spelled out in the indictment. But what do they think Stone was lying about? What do think he was threatening other witnesses about? What unlawful activity do they think he was endeavoring to obstruct?

As a result of this devastating blow to Trump World, the President is behaving typically frightened by another event that puts him at great risk. And consistent with his pattern of behavior, he is lashing out in desperation and hoping it takes some of the heat off. But his actions expose his abject fear.

Cliff Sims was Trump’s White House Communications Director for Message Strategy. That’s a post within the White House Press Office where Sims worked closely with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and Bill Shine. He held the position for about a year and a half, which is a lifetime in the Trump Administration. Sims just published a book about his experience (Team of Vipers) that is not sufficiently adoring of Trump. Consequently, on Tuesday morning Trump posted a tweet attacking and threatening Sims, who Trump now pretends he hardly knew:

This raises a couple of obvious questions. First, precisely how many gofers and “coffee boys” work for Trump? It seems like everyone who has written a tell-all book has turned out to be a nobody who Trump never met, despite all the photos of them together. And second, how does Trump know the book is boring since he surely hasn’t read it. He hasn’t even read the three dozen books he endorsed in his Book Club for Dummies.

More importantly, Trump’s tweet contains an overt threat. His reference to a “non-disclosure agreement” can only be interpreted as Trump’s intention of filing a lawsuit against Sims for speaking out. And that isn’t an idle threat. There is already a notice posted by Michael Glassner, the Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, announcing that “The Trump campaign is preparing to file suit against Cliff Sims for violating our NDA.”

There are some obvious flaws to that legal strategy. First of all, how can they sue for a violation of a non-disclosure agreement if the the President himself is asserting that the book consists of “made up stories and fiction”? There is no violation if no truthful information is revealed. So either what’s in the book is actually true, or the lawsuit is null and void.

What’s more, non-disclosure agreements are not permitted for White House staff. That’s because they do not work for the President. They work for the United States government. So the government would have to be the plaintiff in the lawsuit. But the First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” The government can’t sue someone for exercising their constitutional rights.

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

So Trump is acting out in precisely the manner you might expect from anyone who is flagrantly guilty of serious crimes. He is trying to deflect blame to other less powerful subordinates. He is hoping that the public and the press can be distracted by his frantic gesturing toward some other shiny object. And he is pretending that he has no relationship with those who are implicating him, despite the fact that that relationship is public knowledge and well documented. It’s a sad and pathetic display of desperation that only makes Trump look more guilty. However, Sims should send Trump a “Thank You” note for helping to sell a few thousand more of his books.

Bunker Mentality: A Fearful Trump Orders Press Secretary ‘Not to Bother’ with Press Briefings

When third world dictators find themselves getting squeezed by opposition from enemies, foreign or domestic, they have a common response. It generally involves narrowing their exposure to any criticism or events that might produce negative results. They begin to purge those they fear could be disloyal, they tighten their grip on the media, and they hide behind a wall of propaganda and sycophantic shills.

Donald Trump

Sound familiar? That’s precisely what Donald Trump has been doing for several months. Top administration officials like Jeff Sessions, Jim Mattis, and John Kelly have been humiliated by public terminations. Meanwhile, Trump has surrounded himself with former Fox News figures like Bill Shine, John Bolton, and Heather Nauert. And now the President has publicly declared that he ordered his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to stop giving press briefings because he doesn’t like the questions:

What Trump considers rudeness is actually just any inquiry that seeks the truth about his actions and statements. Never mind that it is the responsibility of journalists to ask probing questions of any president. This one believes that the media’s job is to flatter him and applaud everything he does. That’s why the vast majority of his interviews are given to Fox News, where he can rely on velvet glove treatment.

Trump doesn’t bother to identify any of the reporting that he’s asserting is inaccurate. He just swings wildly and hopes that his accusations take hold. As far his stable of Deplorable cult followers is concerned, he need not worry. They will believe whatever he tells them to believe. But according to every poll on the subject, most Americans trust the media far more than they do Trump.

Trump justifies cutting off access to the press because he believes that his message will get out anyway. He has great confidence that his Twitter feed will serve as a substitute to the free press that America’s democracy was built upon. And he’s certain that by shunning the media there won’t be any negative stories about him. The only problem with his logic is that it is completely illogical and utterly insane. The press will still conduct investigations and publish stories based on the facts they uncover. And Trump’s evasion just makes him look more frightened and guilty.

In addition to his directive to quit White House press briefings, Trump is now considering a peculiar alternative to the traditional State of the Union address. He’s been forced into this position because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him that having the address in the Capitol during the Trump Shutdown would be problematic due to security concerns. So Trump is now preparing two different speeches. One traditional version in the event that government is reopened and the Capitol is available. And one to be delivered outside of Washington, perhaps at a rally.

However, this presents a whole new set of problems. If Trump gives the State of the Union speech at one of his cult rallies, it should not be covered by the press because it would be a political event, not official government business. His rallies are only open to his devoted disciples, and not to the general public. The access by the press is tightly controlled by Trump’s campaign committee. Such an event must not be considered a real State of the Union, but instead, a partisan affair for his reelection. That’s how the media should treat it. They should cover only those portions that are actually newsworthy. And judging by the more than forty rallies Trump staged last year, that would mean not covering it at all.

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

The press recently got played by the Trump regime when it asked for primetime TV access to deliver an address to the nation. But it was just a rehash of his past lies and self-serving talking points to persuade people that his idiotic vanity wall should be funded and built. It didn’t fool the American people. And the press should not allow itself to be fooled again.

Senile or Surrender? Trump’s Rambling Tweets Don’t Mention Border Wall Funds to End Shutdown

There has been considerable speculation for the past couple of years about whether Donald Trump is mentally stable or capable of performing his duties as president. His psychological condition has been questioned by mental health professionals and politicians from across the ideological spectrum. And now as the U.S. government is being shutdown over funding for Trump’s vanity border wall, those questions are getting harder to ignore.

Donald Trump

In a series of tweets on Saturday morning, the President predictably ranted about the shutdown that he previously took pride in creating. Even after saying on national television that he would take full responsibility for it, Trump tried to blame the Democrats who had already agreed to a Continuing Resolution with senate Republicans. It was only after wingnut rightist media cranks like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends complained that Trump reversed course and reneged on his word to sign the CR. But his morning’s tweetfest might be revealing some weakness in his resolve:

Setting aside the obvious lie that Trump is “working hard,” it’s notable how he is now tying the debate to only “Border Security.” Didn’t he leave something out there? Trump didn’t mention his wall in that tweet or the others that followed. And border security (minus the wall) has always been a part of the Democratic platform. Of course his omission may just be due to his inability to concentrate on anything for more than half a minute, unless it’s a mirror. But it might also be an indication that he recognizes that Democrats are not going to pacify his ego and allocate funds for a useless wall.

Trump later tweeted that he would having a big lunch with a bunch of people to discuss the matter. It’s comforting to know that he will be well fed while tens of thousands of Americans will not be getting paid this holiday season.

In addition to the border wall issue, Trump also tweeted about his intention to retreat from Syria. His remarks were especially reckless and dangerous:

First of all, ISIS is far from defeated. Estimates by his own administration say there are 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria. On Friday his press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Trump had destroyed 99.9 percent of ISIS in Syria. If you do the math, that would mean that they started out with thirty million – which is patently absurd because that’s almost twice the total population of Syria.

However, Trump’s remarks that Turkey “should be able to easily take care of whatever remains,” are even more troubling. He’s right if what he means is that Turkey will take care of (i.e. slaughter) our allies, the Kurds, as soon as we leave. And he doesn’t bother to mention the fact that our retreat will leave the country to Russia and Iran for the foreseeable future. Vladimir Putin even praised Trump’s decision to run away. And it’s among the reasons that Defense Secretary Mattis resigned in protest, along with the U.S. special envoy to the coalition to defeat ISIS.

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

So as usual, Donald Trump is doing everything he can to please our enemies (especially Russia), while working overtime to harm our allies. And his efforts on the domestic front are even worse as he shuts down the government for Christmas and shows no sensitivity for the plight of fellow citizens. With every day Trump demonstrates that he is working against the American people (who don’t want the wall), and solely on his own behalf. Including even more instances of obstruction of justice to escape accountability for his many criminal activities. It’s long past time for him to go.

Fox & Friends Co-Host Brian Kilmeade Leaps Off the Trump Train, Says He ‘Refounded ISIS’

Things are getting really bad for Donald Trump. His secretary of Defense quit with a stinging rebuke of his policies and leadership. He’s heading for a prolonged shutdown that he took credit for in advance, even claiming to be proud of it. And all for a border wall that no one but his Deplorable cult followers want. The economy is in a tailspin with the markets negative for the whole year. And even his pals at Fox News are getting antsy about supporting his inane, reckless, and impulsive outbursts.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders

Nothing is more representative of the trouble that Trump is in than when his favorite Fox News program, Fox and Friends, gets weak-kneed about backing up his latest idiocy. They have a record of supporting nearly anything he’s done, no matter how ludicrous or destructive or even illegal. But these remarks by co-host Brian Kilmeade during an interview with Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, really hits a low note for Trump at Fox (video below):

Kilmeade: He’s giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him. He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing. He said President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He just refounded ISIS. They’ve got 30,000 men there, and they’re already striking back.

That gets pretty much everything in there but an apology to Hillary Clinton for all the Benghazi and email bashing. Kilmeade noted that Putin is on Trump’s side regarding the Syria withdrawal. He compared Trump to his nemsis, Barack Obama. And he hung the founding of ISIS around Trump’s turkey neck.

For her part, Sanders acted like a deer already run down by the bus with the headlights in her face. She “respectfully, but vehemently” disagreed with Kilmeade’s analysis. But her defense of Trump was pitifully weak and devoid of any factual basis. She tried to turn the whole ISIS fight into a personal one between them and Trump saying that “If ISIS wants to pick a fight with somebody, they sure as hell don’t want to pick one with Donald Trump.” Something tells me that they really do. He’s a coward who can’t concentrate on anything for more than half a minute, unless it’s a mirror.

Then Sanders emulated her boss by making up numbers to glorify him. “We’ve wiped out 99.9% of ISIS in Syria,” she blurted out nonsensically. Where she got that figure from is – well it’s dark and ugly. Since there are estimated to be 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria today, that means that before having allegedly wiped out 99.9% of them there were 30,000,000. That’s nearly twice the population of Syria.

Sanders also parroted Trump’s own assertions that he has done more damage to ISIS than anyone. She insisted that he surely never did anything to help them. To which Kilmeade replied “Leaving is helping.” And he actually called her out for lying saying that “The word on the ground is different from what you just said.” That may be the first time that Sanders has been called a liar by a Fox News host on the air. And if it’s any indicator of what’s to come, Trump might as well start packing his bags for Mar-A-Lago – or prison.

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

Shepard Smith Slaps the ‘Defenders’ of Flynn on Fox News, While Trump is Witness Tampering

Tuesday morning saw a particularly voluminous tweetstorm from Donald Trump for a weekday. And naturally, it was mainly lying about about how innocent he is. But it was also a morning for finding out what penalty former Trump advisor, and confessed felon, Michael Flynn, would pay for his crimes. For some time now the Trump-fluffers on Fox News were belittling the charges and maligning law enforcement for what they alleged was persecution and entrapment. But on Tuesday Flynn’s sentencing was postponed after the judge told him that he might face prison time for “selling out his country.”

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

The amen chorus on Fox News has been relentlessly attacking special counsel Robert Mueller and the prosecutors in New York as corrupt, conflicted, and biased against the President. They had nothing to prove any of these claims, but when has that ever mattered to Fox News? Everyone from Sean Hannity to Laura Ingraham to the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends have belted out in unison that Flynn was a victim of overzealous prosecution and was entrapped by unscrupulous defilers of the law. Flynn hinted at the same complaints briefly, which may be what angered the judge, who regarded that as a potential withdrawal of his guilty plea.

However, in court on Tuesday Flynn backtracked and fully accepted responsibility for his criminal activities. That unambiguous affirmation of his guilt contradicts everything that Fox News has been saying for weeks. And at least one person at Fox noticed:

Shepard Smith: “You heard the theory floated by the White House and its defenders here and elsewhere. That all blew up today.

“Michael Flynn himself said that he is not challenging the circumstances of the interview. That he knew lying to the feds was a crime when he lied to the feds. That he was not entrapped. That he was guilty.”

That’s a pretty sharp criticism of the Trump shills on Fox News. Smith explicitly calls out the “White House and its defenders here (i.e. on Fox) and elsewhere.” You have to wonder how Hannity is gonna take that. Never mind the rest of the story that proves Hannity’s sycophancy has been for naught. Flynn himself effectively threw Hannity et al under the Trump Train. Can they continue to advance the “Deep State” conspiracy theory that Flynn was “ambushed” (as Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today) if even Flynn doesn’t believe it?

Meanwhile, Trump took another stab at witness tampering. He tweeted his best wishes to Flynn, a confessed felon, because what president doesn’t have friends who are admonished in court as being disloyal to their country? But Trump’s tweet had another purpose as well:

Trump saying that it “Will be interesting to see what he has to say,” is his way of sending a message to Flynn. Just clam up and shield Trump from any possible legal accountability and there might be something in it for you. Like maybe a pardon? This message could hardly be more clear without attaching a “Get Out of Prison Free” coupon to it. The President is dangling favors in front of Flynn that Michael Cohen (the RAT, according to Trump) isn’t getting. It’s just another example of his self-incriminating behavior. Trump knows that Mueller can see these tweets, doesn’t he?

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

The combination of Trump throwing out a life preserver to Flynn, while Flynn is admitting all of the dastardly charges against him is cringeworthy. But it provides a small measure of comfort to see Shep lay some truth on these cretins. Not that it will do any lasting good. Hannity and his ilk blithely ignore any facts that get in the way of their propaganda.

Donald Trump Issues a Flagrantly Authoritarian Decree for ‘Governing the Conduct of Journalists’

The transformation of the United States presidency into the sort of dictatorship presided over by the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un has taken a frightening leap forward. Donald Trump’s manifestly autocratic tendencies are rapidly being implemented by his administration with the willing complicity of the Republican Nationalist Party and right-wing media like Fox News.

Donald Trump, Censorship

Earlier this month Trump was so rattled by the questions of CNN’s Jim Acosta that he took the unprecedented step of banning Acosta from further press conferences. That overtly unconstitutional boot-stomping of the free press was quickly repudiated by most of the press corps, including the executive class at Fox News. Although most of the on-air Trump-fluffers at Fox continued to lambaste Acosta and his audacity for exercising freedom of the press. CNN took the White House to court and a judge appointed by Trump ordered the restoration of Acosta’s press pass.

Subsequently, the White House has now drafted a set of rules of behavior that they are imposing on the journalists covering the President. It’s an egregious breach of the American principles that have long been held by a nation that reveres the role that journalism plays in sustaining democracy. But it fits nicely into the oppressive schemes of the Trump regime. Here are the salient portions of what Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff (and former president of Fox News), Bill shine, and Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have cooked up for those disobedient reporters who refuse to kowtow to Dear Leader:

“We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference. But, given your insistence that shared practices be replaced by ‘explicit…standards,’ this letter attempts to convert into rules the widely understood practices described in our prior letter.

  1. (1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
  2. (2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
  3. (3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.
  4. (4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

“We are mindful that a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules might need to be devised, including, for example, for journalist conduct in the open (non-press room) areas inside and outside the White House and for Air Force One.”

“The White House’s interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take. President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and interacts with the press in just such a way. It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events.”

It is abundantly clear that the White House intends to bully reporters so that they can force them into submission. Trump is obviously scared of having an open dialog wherein reporters can ask tough questions and challenge him when he evades answering or outright lies – as he is known to do. So he is acting out with the weakness of his character to suppress the media. And it is worth noting that there are no rules for Trump or his supplicants. He can still call reporters “stupid,” “racist,” “fake,” “enemies,” etc. He can still abuse them and threaten them and interrupt them and ultimately silence them. When he claims to want “decorum” in the White House it couldn’t be more hysterically hypocritical.

These artificial and unnecessary mandates are intended to intimidate reporters who now must consider whether merely being assertive might result in their getting banished. They will have to think twice about challenging Trump for fear of violating these ludicrous rules that no White House in history has ever required. And Trump will not hesitate to cite these strictures to cast out any journalists that upset him or are less than obedient when he orders them to sit down and shut up.

The letter says that “Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment.” That is, perhaps, the biggest lie of all. Believing in the First Amendment is not demonstrated by calling the media “the enemy of the people” and recklessly labeling any news you don’t like as “fake news.” And it certainly isn’t demonstrated by imposing strict and insulting behavioral rules on what is supposed to be a free press. But this is how Trump’s belief system works. If you aren’t sufficiently adoring of him, then anything you have to say can be suppressed and your ability to question the President – a servant of the people, not a king – can be revoked. Hopefully the remaining members of the free press will refuse to observe this atrocity and demand that Trump submit to the constitutional principles he swore an oath to defend.

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