Trump Inches Closer Towards Censoring Media

For all of Trump’s enmity toward North Korea’s Trump-like leader, the fascist in the White House is embracing concepts that keep Kim Jong-un in power without opposition or dissent. After a typical Trump Twitter outburst yesterday, it appears that he is serious in using the United States Congress to target, investigate, and punish the news media and journalists. Yesterday he called on the United States Senate to “investigate” the various news outlets that publish unflattering, but accurate and truthful, stories about him and his administration.

Apparently when Trump took the “swear to godoath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” he was lying.  Of course he was lying and that became obvious the day of his poorly attended inauguration. Trump doesn’t have much use for the Constitution, much less any intent to preserve and protect it; not when he’s violated it willfully and often for pecuniary gain. But this is the first time he has made it clear he wants to use the federal government to aid him in violating the Constitution’s 1st Amendment to censor the media like his fascist paramours in Russia, North Korea, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s panties were in a wad over a couple of reports, and one report that never happened, regarding his strained relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; a strained relationship like Trump eventually develops with anyone who fails to lick his boots. Apparently Trump was incited to a Twitter outburst after learning that his Secretary of State called him a “moron” with “an R-rated modifier” that rhymes with “trucking.” Tillerson’s aptly-worded remarks were many Americans’ reaction to Trump’s self-aggrandizing campaign speech to the Boy Scouts. For dog’s sake, except for evangelical extremists and Nazis, nearly everyone in America and around the world has called Trump a moron – probably with several “R-rated modifiers.”

A couple of hours before dawn yesterday, Trump “tweeted:

Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”

As any eighth grader knows, the “Senate Intel Committee” isn’t investigating any kind of media because unlike Trump, the preponderance of senators comprehend that the First Amendment forbids Congress from abridging freedom of the press.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Tillerson held a news conference after the reporting that he called Trump a “f*cking moron;” a report he definitely did not deny. Instead, he took the “kind-of” high road and said, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” Still, Trump interpreted Tillerson’s “non-denial” later in the day as proof  the media was lying by claiming the story reported by NBC was “totally refuted” and “made up.”

Not content to use Twitter to spread his own “totally refuted” and “made up” claims about what Tillerson did or did not say, Trump went back to Twitter less than an hour later; surely to impress on his devotees how important it is for Congress to investigate the press. Trump assailed NBC as spreading “fake news” that Rex Tillerson threatened to resign. He “tweeted:”

Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.”

 Besides news outlets or journalists not needing verification (approval) from the liar-in-chief, there is the minor issue of Trump’s wont of spreading “Fake News” to incite rage against the media. It is “Fake News” from Trump that NBC reported Tillerson threatened to resign; it just didn’t happen. What its report did claim was that Tillerson “was on the verge” of stepping down. It is an entirely believable claim after Trump assailed the Secretary of State in public for wasting his time in seeking a diplomatic solution to North Korea.

The insinuation from Trump, and a glaring dog whistle to his zealot followers, is that there is no “real news” except that which he “personally verifies is real” to reporters and news outlets. It is precisely how the “news” is curated in North Korea; only news personally approved by Kim Jong-un is real and verified as suitable for delivery to the public.

Many politicians have rocky relationships with the free press, especially those who lie at about the same rate most people use a toilet. But Trump is a different animal, (all due respect to every animal on the planet). Since his campaign he has made inciting animus toward the press nearly as high a priority as boasting about himself at every opportunity.

Trump has regularly assailed reporters en masse, and very personally. He incites his acolytes, especially in rallies, against various media outlets and reporters, and hypocritically accused individual reporters of sedition. As an aside, writing an accurate story is only considered seditious in countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

During the campaign Trump made a big deal out of wanting libel laws changed to make it easier to sue news outlets he considers spreading fake news; like accurate stories and stories that don’t acknowledge his divinity. He also uses “memes” of violence against news outlets and they are not humorous or inconsequential. They are highly successful incremental acts to incite his followers to violence against the free press.

Although this latest call for the Senate to investigate news outlets is an authoritarian dictator’s move, and it is no revelation that Trump wants the authority to censor the free press, there is the “vengeance” factor Trump is renowned for. Remember, it was the free press that reported every moronic word Trump uttered as well as reporting that Trump is connected to Russia; and that he lies more often than an infant soils its diaper. Those accurately reported stories are one of the reasons the public even knows why the Senate Intelligence Committee, like several other committees and 17 different intelligence agencies, are investigating the corrupt fascist. Getting vengeance on people he thinks wronged him is Trump’s admitted raison d’être. Now he thinks the White House gives him authority to “get back” at his perceived enemies and it explains his attacks on the NFL and now poses a serious threat to the free press.

It is uncertain if anything comes from this latest authoritarian move, at least legally and in the near future. But what is certain is that Trump continues instilling a violent distrust of the media, and the truth, into his feeble-minded acolytes and Americans too ridiculously stupid to recognize a corrupt fascist dictator when they see one.

There is no doubt Trump would unilaterally censor the media if it was within his power, but since he can’t he is doing the next best thing; calling on Congress to do his dirty work. If Trump succeeds, there will still be media in America, but it will be Alex Jones Infowars, Brietbart and Fox News, and the extremist evangelical networks; the only media Trump hasn’t attacked because they are the only groups spreading his fake news.

U.N. Issues Rare Warning Over Trump’s Violent Racism

 

For the second time in less than two weeks, America’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has made a remarkable statement that the man leading the United States does not speak for, or represent the values, of the United States. Tillerson’s rebuke of Trump and his racist worldview was a pathetic attempt to assure the rest of the world that America is not racist like the man in the White House; even though “facts on the ground” contradict Tillerson’s remarks. It is true that Trump’s racism does not represent the entire population, or the Constitution, but with little to no pushback against Trump and his adherents from the party controlling the government, the rest of the world definitely sees Trump as “spokesman for racist America.”

It is almost certain that Secretary Tillerson’s remarks were in response to a damning condemnation of Trump’s leadership by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). It is a sad fact that Trump has so tarnished America’s reputation around the world by embracing white supremacists and Nazis that the world organization had to issue a rare warning to the United States. In the same manner they have warned seven brutal dictatorships and war-ravaged developing nations over the past decade, the U.N. warned America to get a handle on the racially driven hate plaguing the country.

It is a tragedy that while Republicans allow their racist standard bearer to incite his devotees’ animus toward people of color and the wrong religions (Jews and Muslims), they are content to sit back and let the United Nations warn Americans to embrace their Constitution and equal rights and reject Trump.

It is most likely that Rex Tillerson’s claim that the Constitution speaks for America, and not Trump, was a tepid insinuation that if Trump had any fealty to the Constitution, he would never embrace white supremacists and Nazis. Not only does Trump lack any respect for or devotion to the nation’s founding document, he did saythe U.S. Constitution is bad for the country;” probably a statement that was not lost on the rest of the world.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was so appalled at the results of “the horrific neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville, Virginia” that they had to take what is arguably a “very rare” action. The idea that Nazis and white supremacists rioted in a first-world wealthy nation leading to violence, several injuries, and “a woman being murdered in a vehicle attack” did not incur universal outrage from America’s leaders, so the U.N. had to issue a warning.

The U.N. knows, like decent Americans, that Republicans are not doing anything to combat racism or rein in their Nazi leader Trump. In fact, because of the Trump-approved atrocity in Charlottesville, coupled with the increasing frequency of racial hate crimes since he was inaugurated, CERD felt it was their humanitarian duty to take the extraordinary step of issuing an “early warning” to the United States.

CERD issued its “formal early warning” not because they believe it will have any effect on the racist Trump, but to send a message that the world is appalled at the blatant display of racism since Trump’s ascendancy to a place he doesn’t belong. The U.N.’s warning is “rare” and “unprecedented” because it has only been issued against third world nations or tyrannical dictatorships such as ISIS in Iraq, Burundi, and Kyrgyzstan. Now America is included in that “rare” list.

Although CERD stopped short of directly naming Trump, they left no doubt as to whom the “early warning” was intended. Anastasia Crickley is CERD chairwoman and in a statement she said:

We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred.”

Actually, CERD did not have to specifically name Trump because they “took a thinly veiled swipe” at him for “falsely claiming that many sides were to blame for the white supremacist and Nazi violence in Charlottesville.” CERD’s “formal early warningspecificallyadmonishes high-level politicians and public officials to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn hate speech.” It is telling and humiliating that the world organization had to admonish America’s leaders to reject and condemn hate speech.

Obviously, Trump is never going to reject or condemn his racist ‘acolytes’ any more than Republicans will condemn and reject their racist standard bearer. It is just as obvious that the United Nations’ early warning will have no effect on Trump, his Nazi disciples, or his Republican enablers. In fact, it is mildly shocking that Trump has not seized on the “early warning” to rile up his base against the United Nations and launch a new “us against the world” campaign.

Tillerson’s rebuke of Trump as “not speaking” for America likely did not fool the U.N. any more than it fools Americans. All he really accomplished was pissing off Trump; but nobody in their right mind will condemn him for that. However, pissing off Trump or not, America is still a racist nation or Trump would never have been nominated, much less elected. Moreover, the American people would not have had to suffer through eight years of GOP-incited racism against a very popular President simply because he is Black. Racism is an American trait whether the people acknowledge it or not and that may be the one positive out of the U.N.’s warning; reaffirming that what Trump, Republicans, and their base represent is very real and very American.

Trump has had a deleterious effect on America’s image since he won the election and has tarnished that already damaged image daily since his sparsely attended inauguration. It is too bad mainstream media has not reported that because of Trump, the United Nations had to warn Americans they are on a short list of “developing and unstable countries threatened by ethnic civil war.” It is a warning no small number of pundits and commenters have expressed since Trump emerged on the national scene.

Trump Thanked Putin For Cutting America’s Diplomatic Corps

While many Americans are rightfully concerned that Trump is playing to a big-time wrestling script with thermonuclear war as possible result, the reality show character’s close relationship with Vladimir Putin is not commanding much news coverage. However, yesterday while some Americans were considering building bomb shelters in their backyards, Trump showed that he still embraces Russia and continues rejecting America and more importantly, its diplomats.

No doubt Trump has yearned for a reason to thank Putin for his valuable (campaign) support over the last year-and-a-half, but that would just further implicate his complicity in Russia’s attack on democracy. Still, Trump found a way to express his gratitude to Putin and “stab American diplomats in the back” in the process; because diplomats prevent wars.

When Trump was asked what his thoughts were on Putin expelling about 775 diplomats from Russia as retaliation for new congressionally-mandated sanctions, he seized the occasion to express how “very thankful” he was that Putin expelled hundreds of American diplomats from Russia. He even explained why he was grateful.

Trump said:

I want to thank him [Putin] because we’re trying to cut down our [State Department] payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

No sane person thinks Trump was being facetious in offering his gratitude to Putin; no small number of diplomats and foreign policy experts have bemoaned loudly that Trump’s refusal to even partially staff the State Department is a gargantuan disaster waiting to happen. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is rabid about cutting down on diplomats, and the idea that Trump wants a non-functioning State Department has nothing to do with “saving a lot of money.” He is more than willing to spend a “lot more money” on bombs and bullets in one fiscal year than it costs to run the State Department for a decade.  Trump and his key alt-right advisors ardently believe that the best way to conduct foreign policy with any country is not diplomacy; they love threats, belligerence, bullying and war. It is the worldview Trump has demonstrated over the past few days in the grandest fashion imaginable.

There have been several reports that the State Department is woefully understaffed with no plans, or intent whatsoever, to fill those positions. And they are crucial positions around the world that do not include janitorial or kitchen help jobs. This danger is not all down to Trump, but it is likely he directed Secretary of State Tillerson not to bother himself with putting up nominees for “low priority” positions such as assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Some Americans may recall that Republicans consider diplomatic security at the bottom of their low-priority concerns to explain why the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi lacked adequate security and protection.

As many former diplomats and foreign policy experts have noted, there is much “more than an ineffectual State Department here, there is real danger.” The real danger is when, not if, something in the world goes terribly wrong like when a poor manager and inexperienced malcontent issues biblically-inspired threats of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Every administration faces crises throughout their tenure, and everything falling on Trump stems from the rest of the world’s perception that he is a sap and those foreign policy crises are only going to increase in number and frequency. As noted in the Washington Post, America’s foes feel emboldened with an incompetent in the White House.

They also state the peril of Trump endangering national security by not filling important diplomatic positions; or worse, thanking a hostile foreigner for “cutting down our [diplomatic] payroll and letting a lot of people go.”

It is frightening to imagine what happens when “a crisis erupts in an area of the world that Tillerson hasn’t bothered to staff,” or another attack on an embassy occurs when Tillerson has not bothered to put up a nominee for assistant secretary for diplomatic security? “Tillerson and the president Trump will be in deep trouble.

Remember too that Trump claimed filling his administration with billionaires with exemplary business backgrounds would ensure that his government will have better management and only the very best people will be employed. “Instead they cannot perform the most basic management task of an administration — picking personnel.”

A career foreign service officer who served as an ambassador to Poland in the Clinton Administration and on the National Security Council under Bush really put Trump’s idiocy and third-rate management skills under a spotlight with two simple rhetorical questions. Dan Fried asked:

Under what theory of management is there not an assistant secretary for Europe or Asia?”  And, “How do you make an administration effective when your institutions are weak?

Trump believes his administration is effective because he controls one powerful institution; the United States military and its robust nuclear arsenal. It is likely why he said the hundreds of diplomats “Putin let go to cut America’s State Department payroll” are not going back. It is also highly likely that since Secretary of State Tillerson is BFFs with Putin, Trump believes diplomats are unnecessary; Putin will help Tillerson run the State Department and probably help him cut the diplomatic payroll even more.

It is particularly prescient right now that Trump is demonstrating what he thinks of diplomats or seeking a diplomatic solution to end his nuclear pissing match with the North Korea’s version of Donald J. Trump. One thing is crystal clear after Trump’s showy display of gratitude for some Rusky budget cutting assistance; Trump is too enamored and thankful to ever get into a pissing match with Vladimir Putin.