Fox News Found Trump’s Border Crisis Dubious, too. Surprised?

Since the government shutdown continues, with more pressure put on both sides, I figure it is useful to support my blasting of Trump’s phony border crisis with comments from Fox News.  I mean the real news, not the propaganda side of the network headed up by Sean Hannity.

Fox News  is a four letter word, so to speak, to most liberals.   I share some of that feeling.  However, few liberals seem to realize there are also serious news people at Fox whose work equals the best around in my opinion.   News Director Sheppard Smith and prime time interviewer Chris Wallace head up that list.

To give you a sense of  how each stands, Smith has said he didn’t think he would be able to work on the opinion side of the network, while Hannity has called Smith likable but “clueless”.  Meaning, I guess, he doesn’t feel comfortable with “alternative facts.”

I believe Smith actually tries to live up to the “fair and balanced” motto that appears a joke when Hannity and his ilk speak.   And Wallace is arguably the most probing interviewer on television.  His interview of Vladmir Putin was the toughest I’ve ever seen (google it), and such a stark contrast to toady Trump’s fawning over Putin, impressed that the ruthless dictator “denied strongly” Russian interference in our elections.

I like both Smith and Wallace enough to usually tape their programs,  Smith’s at noon PST week days and Wallace’s Fox Sunday News at 11:00 or 4:00 PST Sunday afternoons.

Now let’s look at how they reacted to Trump’s fictional facts about the border emergency.

 

Advertisements

Theatre of the Absurd: The Trumped Up Border Crisis

It’s a new year but the only thing new about the president is his willingness to place even more weight on the phony facts he and his rabid right wing cohorts, like Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, have made up.

Some of these “alternative facts” support the idea that we now need a southern border wall so much that Trump has been willing to shut down much of the federal government for weeks, displacing hundreds of thousands of workers and weakening key services in hopes the Democrats will submit to his demands for wall funding.

That’s Trump’s idea of deal making:  You succumb to his demands or get blamed for an unwillingness to negotiate.

Trump hasn’t acted like the wall was an emergency through his first two years in office.  It’s an emergency now because the likes of Limbaugh and Coulter are calling him a phony for failing to act.  Since he can’t get his way with Congress,  calling the building of a wall an emergency may be his only way to escape the box he has placed himself in.

The matter would likely head straight to the courts, the government could be reopened and Trump can tell Rush and Anne and his base in general he really tried.

We don’t need a southern wall.  Trump needs one to quiet his critical supporters.  The Democrats are right to refuse to succumb, for the wall makes no sense.

Here are a few of facts from government sources that undermine his arguments for a wall:

1)  The overwhelming quantity of drugs come across the border at points of entry not through the wilderness that Trump wants to fence off.  Better search methods are needed, not a fence.

2)   Despite Trump’s claim of thousands of terrorist suspects coming across the southern border, federal government reports suggest it was more like six in the first half of 2018.  Yes, six.  Forty-some came across the northern border that nobody talks about.   Should we build a wall there, too?  And first?

3)  Most foreign terrorist suspects come into the country legally and then just overstay their visas.

4)  Since 9/11, the large majority of terrorists attacks in the U. S. have come from home grown types who have become radicalized not from foreigners infiltrating our borders.

Certainly we could use better border security, not to mention a more humane way of treating  the large increase of those simply seeking political asylum, but Trump’s wall seems to address none of these issues.  It is a fake answer to our real border problems, not only a wasted effort but one that distracts from real needs to be addressed.

The five billion or so dollars he is demanding to start the wall is really, just a start.  Estimates from 40 to 80 billion or more have been made for the total cost.  So, this fake answer to a phony problem is also going to cost us a fortune.

By the way, I watched a clip of Trump at the border being given a briefing by border security.  The officer was showing slides of a tunnel they recently discovered under a section of the wall already built.  Trump just sat there nodding as if unaware the border agent had just provided one more tunnel undermining his argument for a wall.

No matter to him.  It is all a Trump fabrication to shore up his base with a false solution to a mischaracterized problem.

 

 

Thankful for a House Controlled by Democrats

I haven’t posted for about a month, not because I have had nothing I wanted to say but I have had too much.  Too many things happening, too much speculation, too many falsehoods by the president.   But I have been paying attention.

If I were content to just make up things like the resident of the oval office does so often, it would be a lot easier.   Paying attention to facts while trying to say something about them is much harder.  Especially when the president does his best daily to obscure the truth through his twisted portrayals of what is happening and what a wonderful job he has done.

In his view, he led his party to a great victory this fall because they captured a couple of new seats in the Senate, which is a plus for their side I admit.   But he ignores inconvenient facts like the nearly 40 seats in the House of Representatives lost by Republicans, which has caused them to lose control of that body.  Of course, he blames those House members that lost, not the fact that in their districts he had lost popularity.

Today I simply want to  say how relieved I am that the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives.   For starters, the Mueller investigation seems likely to be much better protected from the president.  Come January Democrats will have the power of the subpoena as well as the ability to pass laws in the House.  They won’t continue to be voices in the wilderness.

Of course, the Republican controlled Senate and the president will be able to put checks on those efforts, but it will be a more fair fight.  We could call it a victory for our system of checks and balances, which in itself figures to halt some of the president’s worst instincts, half-baked plans and political stunts.

I breathe a deep sigh of gratitude at the thought.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Overwhelmed by Trump’s Unfettered Lying and Worried About the Election

“People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; repeat it frequently enough people will believe it.”

Adolph Hitler

Yes, it is time to bring out the risky Hitler card.  No.  I don’t see Trump as a budding mass murderer, but when it comes to unfettered lying the comparison seems more than fair, especially in recent days.   Trump is in overdrive to produce that big lie by election day.

I haven’t written since my failed judgement that Judge Kavanaugh would lose his battle for confirmation, not because that devastated me – I figured my prediction was chancy – but because I have been overwhelmed by the wave of subsequent events and Trump’s misleading statements and lies about them.

The issue these days is often not really what occurred, but the ability of one side or the other to shape the narrative.   In the Kavanaugh hearing the Democrats saw Blasey Ford as the victim, and her testimony was very convincing, but by the end Republicans had made Kavanaugh the victim of a sneaky last minute attack.   The odd situation made it seem like a trial of Kavanaugh, and as such one is innocent until proven guilty.

That wins the narrative battle, as indicated by Trump often sighting Kavanaugh and the Democrats not mentioning Blasey Ford.  That event seems to have revved up more Republicans and those “tweeners” than those of us who are already never Trumpers.  We just became sicker and angrier.

But what is most striking at the moment is the untethered flourish of hyperbole, fabrications and distortions – yes, even more than usual – that Trump is churning out now.  He just makes things up by the hour, such as the middle class tax cut his team is hoping to pass before the election, with no evidence of that, perhaps because there are not enough days before the election to pass anything.  It just sounds good.

The lie provides one more mental sugar plum for voters heading to the poles.  There is no stated progress with North Korea on denuclearization, either, but he keeps acting as if there were and its better than his ranting.   So, one more sugar plum….

Trump creates problems and then boasts about fixing them.  But it is the image of his fixing the problem that sticks in our minds.  He says we should pull out of a missile deal we have with Russia, so now his Security Adviser Bolton is there talking with them.  My guess is he’ll come back with good news, promises of working together.  Another sugar plum.

It is the latest flurry of outright lies that is most Hitleresque, though, such as the image he has created of the caravan of refugees heading here from Central America, an image of terrorists and MS13  and rapists (and lions and tiger and bears, oh my!).  No matter he has no evidence for any of this according to several sources, including Fox News.

Shepard Smith, the director of news there (real news as opposed to the opinion misshapers headed up by Hannity) examined the situation and reported:  “Fox News knows of no evidence to suggest the president is accurate on that matter.”

In doing so, he contradicted the theory of the evil invasion cooked up on Fox and Friends that morning, which quite likely was Trump’s “news source”.   (Read this for some details.)  In case you don’t know, Trump calls the Friends often giving the impression many of his spur of the moment  “insights” originate there.

Over the next two weeks or so Trump will say and do anything to make his administration look good, including more baseless promises and warrant-less accusations.  A recent poll shows Trump with a 47% approval rating and reports of early voting suggest Republicans are off to a better start.

So frankly I am scared that too much of the big lie will be bought by too many.

Bye Bye Judge Kavanaugh

Dear Judge Kavanaugh,

While I do realize your impending demise is hardly a laughing matter, I’m flippant in my title because you brought this personal tragedy on by creating a false choir boy image of yourself in high school and college, a self-portrait that has plenty of holes already reported.  I will be surprised if the FBI does not come up with more this week, even though I fear their efforts will be severely curtailed by White House restrictions as to what are “current credible accusations.”

Your Achilles heel is you drank much more in your teen years than you admit to.  There are several reports to that effect along with the confessional book (titled Wasted) by one of your high school pals, Mark Judge, who describes often drinking back then to the point of “annihilation”.   If he did it often, are we to believe you never got blottoed, never had a at least one memory black out?  You keep insisting on your purity in this regard.  You are clinging to that story like a life vest, but it is really a huge stone.

It is not your teen drinking but your lying about it that will bring you down.  G. W. Bush was a problem drinker, but stopped and did not hide his past.   It is your pinning your integrity on a lie that is going to sink you, even if conclusive evidence of sexual molestation isn’t established this week.

If you will steadfastly lie about this what else might you lie about?

You seemed particularly irked when Democrat senators pushed you on this point of never blacking out, at one point petulantly asking your questioner if she had ever blacked out.   (by the way, petulance is not a good look for an aspiring Supreme court judge…..just saying).

While some of your expressions of anger seemed real, your furious reactions to questions on your drinking excessively seemed more the self-righteous delusion woven by a liar who feels above being questioned.  I recall star pitcher Roger Clemens when he furiously denied the use of steroids to a congressional committee, as if the committee was not giving him his just due for all of his accomplishments.  How dare you question my integrity?  Later he was convicted on several charges of perjury.

For many of us Christine Blasey Ford’s “incredibly credible” testimony was confirmation enough that you should not be confirmed, given the fact she had nothing to gain and much to lose in coming forth.  Your defense against her accusations is that you are too nice, on the one hand, and on the other, you have never drank so much in your entire life as to black out and not remember.

I understand.  You feel you have done so much good over the years since, that it is unfair for this to be brought up, and up, and up again…….  You feel you have earned this spot on the Supreme Court, and all these Democrats want to talk about is your behavior as a teen.   So what if I drank too much back then.  Look at what I have become.  That’s what is important.

But judge, your accomplishments do not erase this lie which you continue to tell.  Even if sexual misconduct is not established this week, what the FBI calls a “lack of candor” figures to haunt you.  The choir boy lie combined with your petulant conspiracy laden defense Thursday and Christine Blasey Ford’s indelible testimony figure to prompt at least a few on-the-fence senators  to tip the vote against you.  And it will only take a couple of the in-betweeners to vote no.

You have said this hearing has “destroyed your life.”  Sadly, I think it may be true, but look long in the mirror before pinning the fatal fault on everyone but you.

Kavanaugh and His Accuser: Add Another Ring to the Circus

Permit me to use that tired saw:  You can’t make these things up.   I’d say that fits the whole Trump presidency, but there’s something extra juicy about this.   Two people of sterling reputations (well, at least until they are totally slimed by the opposite side this week), on course to call each other liars face to face under oath in a Senate hearing next Monday.

At stake is whether Judge Kavanaugh will be named to the Supreme Court or not, since only a handful of senators who would otherwise back him, may not now, depending on who they believe once the gun smoke settles.

As you probably know, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor and research psychologist, has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when both were in high school decades ago.  She raised this issue in letters to Senators which she hoped would remain confidential, but once leaked, she decided to go all in and here we are.

I believe Ford’s recollection over Kavanaugh’s, first because she is inviting hell into her life by stepping forward, so she must believe deeply in the righteousness of her stand.   And second because Kavanaugh was quite a drinker in high school and college as well, something that has failed to draw attention until now.

To whatever extent he was an eagle scout, he was also a party guy.  According to a friend with him that night, Mark Judge, such drunken escapades were not rare for him and his friends.

When hearing of the accusations against his friend, Judge called them “absolutely nuts”.   But this is from a pal who wrote a book titled:  Wasted:  Tales of a Gen X Drunk, in which he talks about being “wild drunk” with girls along with his friends.  (Go here to read more.)

Judge has confessed to “bouts of dehumanizing lust.”  I imagine Kavanaugh has some confessing to do as well.  I’ll be curious to see if he tries to maintain his complete innocence as a youth or come clean.

Blasey Ford’s lawyer went too far in indicating in a TV interview that her client would probably have been raped had the boys not been too drunk to pull it off.  How about the possibility that the boys would not have acted quite so badly had they not been so drunk?  Still, acting like asses, still guilty of molestation, but that is not rape even if Blasey Ford feared that would happen.

Whatever happened that night, Blasey Ford clearly feels she was assaulted and Kavenaugh would do well to deal with that in a humane way instead of insisting “it” never happened and acting as if he were some kind of choir boy back then.

Humpty Trumpty Sat on a Wall. Humpty Trumpty……………..

All these things pushing Trumpty to the ledge.  Like Omarosa and her book and a few tapes and then this past week Bob Woodward’s book Fear, both supporting frequent reporting of a witless president in a wacky White House.  Of course, the account of Watergate press hero Woodward is to be much more respected, but Omarosa’s credibility could be bolstered by more tapes.

Either way it is all grease for Trumpty’s slippery slope.   The plea deals of former fixer/sort-of-personal lawyer Michael Cohen and, just a few days ago, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort seem likely to generate numerous revelations that will push Trump over the edge.

Some time ago Cohen offered all sorts of info to the feds in hopes of preventing a prison cell from becoming a permanent home.  And now  Trump campaign manager (for a crucial five months) Paul Manafort has decided to take his chances with clemency in a similar fashion.

Talk about knowing where all the bodies are buried.  These guys have run the cemetery.

I have assumed Manafort was gambling on a pardon.   Why else would he deny everything in his first court case that led to several convictions?  But the odds seem to have changed in his mind.  Trusting Trump on anything is iffy (unless what is good for you is great for him), but there is an additional consideration now.

This plea shows Manafort placing his chips on some clemency from Mueller if he comes clean rather than a pardon from Trump if he doesn’t.

Perhaps he has concluded Trump might not be around to grant him that pardon.