Media reinforces Donald Trump’s most dangerous behavior

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Iraqi citizens gaze at the devastation in Mosul, where Trump-authorized airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians.

For the first several weeks of his presidency, it looked as though mainstream media might hold Donald Trump at least partially accountable for his actions. Stories regularly aired that were critical of Trump’s brutal budget and discussed his pathological lying. All of it prompted Trump to label the media the “opposition party.” Then, late last week, Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. His fireworks show earned Trump bipartisan media and political praise.

Even before Trump launched the attack, Hillary Clinton called for it. Both the Democratic Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, praised the attack, as did prominent Republican critics of Trump like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Liberal CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declared Trump “became president of the United States” with the attack while NBC host Brian Williams described the bombing as “beautiful.” FAIR found that of 47 editorials published in major papers, only one was critical.

Trump learned perhaps the first serious lesson of his presidency: if you bomb it, they will come. And Trump has escalated US bombing campaigns throughout the Middle East. In addition to Syria, he has expanded the military’s footprint in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. For a man who is obsessed with being praised, loved and admired, this is deadly behavior to give positive reinforcement to.

Already Trump has taken the lesson to heart. On Thursday he dropped a weapon that had never been used in combat, called the “mother of all bombs,” on Afghanistan. The MOAB is said to be the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. And while the Pentagon claims it “took every precaution to minimize civilian casualties,” Trump has been making those precautions less and less cautious. Given the MOAB’s blast radius of one mile, avoiding civilian deaths is probably impossible.

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The 21,000-ton “Mother Of All Bombs” is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal.

Becoming a war criminal is one of the few campaign promises Trump has kept. He promised he would “take out their families,” and now he’s doing it. A March strike on a mosque in Aleppo killed an estimated 46 people. A spate of March attacks in Mosul killed hundreds of civilians. His first major raid in Yemen left 30 civilians dead. And Trump’s bombing of the Syrian airbase reportedly killed nine civilians living nearby.

For the mainstream media, efforts by Trump to normalize relations with Russia are treasonous. But killing human beings on the other side of the world makes Trump presidential. Democrats in Congress are only angry that Trump didn’t ask them for permission first; if he had, they’d have readily given it.

The American political-media-military machine is a planet-sized tumor. It has hogged trillions of dollars from the put-out American taxpayer, slaughtered millions of people all over the world, triggered refugee crises and given birth to barbaric terror organizations. It’s what Trump ran against when he pretended to oppose Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy and it’s partly what endeared him to the nationalistic alt-right. Now even the alt-right is turning on Trump while the establishment is becoming his biggest cheerleader.

Much of Trump’s day is spent watching TV. He tweets in real-time about stories he sees on shows like Fox & Friends and The O’Reilly Factor. The one thing Trump wants more than anything is to turn on the TV and be told what a great job he’s doing. Now he’s learned that so long as he keeps the bombs falling, he can reliably find positive coverage. Fewer people will discuss his Russian collusion or robbery of the public trust.

As Trump is absorbed into the establishment echo chamber, the human species moves ever-closer to extreme peril. If he follows through on threats to strike nuclear-equipped North Korea – potentially as soon as this weekend – it could literally set doomsday into motion. All of civilization is in the hands of a man who is more likely to remember the cake at his country club than which country he bombed last.

Mainstream media never met a bombing it didn’t love. And Trump has never turned down an opportunity to get positive coverage for himself. As the world blows up around him, the one thing Trump will want to know is: “What are they saying about me on CNN?” The more of the globe Trump annihilates, the giddier the pundits will be. If Trump does bring the world to nuclear war, they just may declare him the greatest president of all-time.

Donald Trump is making bad foreign policy worse

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In the first international crisis of his presidency, Trump is failing as spectacularly as anyone might have guessed.

As many as 70 Syrian men, women and children were killed this week by what is believed to be sarin gas, and another 100 were seriously injured. The atrocity played out on news networks and social media feeds around the world. President Trump seized the opportunity to demonstrate just what kind of a leader he is and will continue to be – by blaming former President Obama. Continue reading

Internet privacy bill illustrates who Republicans really work for

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Paul Ryan shares a laugh with some fellow Republicans.

The Republican Party provides formal, governmental representation to corporate and big-money interests. While the Democratic Party is plagued by its corruption, and faces resistance from its left-wing base because of it, the Republican Party has corruption in its DNA. From top to bottom, the GOP is firmly, openly, and proudly committed to the interests of American oligarchy, starting with oligarch-in-chief Donald Trump.

At the bottom of the list you might find Louisiana Representative Clay Higgins. During his 2016 campaign, the brand-new congressman received a mere $300 from the telecommunications industry. This week, Higgins and 264 congressional Republicans scrapped regulations that prevented internet service providers from selling their customers’ web history. That $300 investment in Higgins – and much larger ones for his fellow Republicans – will pay off in the billions for corporations like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. Continue reading

Indulging a fantasy: What comes after Trump’s impeachment?

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The First Lady and the President looking rather dour on the day of Trump’s inauguration.

To say that the first two months of the Trump presidency have been embattled would be an understatement. Several of Trump’s biggest-ticket items, including the border wall with Mexico, the replacement of Obamacare with “something terrific,” and a ban on Muslims entering the country, have been fraught with political peril and popular opposition. If that wasn’t bad enough, the extent of Trump’s connection to Russia is being examined by practically every journalist and investigative body in the federal government.

His presidency may not last long. Predictions about Trump run the full gamut, from early impeachment to a lifelong reign as America’s first Führer. It remains to be seen which will actually happen, but the way things stand now, early impeachment looks to be the odds-on favorite. But Trump’s impeachment will not solve America’s problems. Continue reading

Why we can expect political violence in the Trump era

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Neo-fascist and alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer was punched in the face at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Last week, ultra-right radio host Michael Savage was involved in a physical confrontation in a San Francisco-area restaurant. No one was charged, but Savage insists he was assaulted because of his political beliefs. He might well have been. A prominent Donald Trump supporter who interviewed the candidate several times during the campaign, Savage is infamously outspoken about three issues: borders, language and culture. Like so much of the far-right, Savage is a crypto-white nationalist.

The incident recalls President Trump’s inauguration when Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who coined the term “alt-right,” was punched in the face by a protester. Later that month, riots shut down a speaking engagement by disgraced Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley. Mainstream commentators argue these incidents stifle free speech. But what’s so often left unsaid is that Savage, Spencer, Yiannopoulos and others are figureheads of American fascism, the most violent movement in the country today. Continue reading

Mountains and molehills: what to take seriously in the Trump/Russia saga

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a prominent Trump campaign surrogate when he met with a top Russian diplomat.

Americans are divided over just what to make of President Donald Trump’s connection to the Russian government. Most of them favor a special prosecutor to look into the matter, and the political establishment is certain it’s a massive story. But until more facts are revealed, it’s impossible to know just how deep the arrangement goes. Knowing which angles of the story are mountains and which are molehills is difficult. Continue reading

Trump and the coming era of mass incarceration

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a huge advocate of the abuse-riddled private prison industry.

Thanks in large part to the War on Drugs, the United States houses the world’s largest prisoner population. More than 2 million Americans are behind bars. With less than a quarter of its population, we even have more prisoners than China. This is one of the great scandals of present-day America, and it doesn’t receive the serious attention it deserves from politicians and mainstream media. And the GOP, led by the Trump Administration, plans to make it much worse. Continue reading

Trump sticks to a script; media gushes with praise

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President Trump points for emphasis while Vice-President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan applaud.

On Tuesday night, President Trump went before Congress to deliver an address to the American people. It capped off a day during which Trump courted controversy by blaming the military for a botched raid in Yemen and suggesting that Jews were committing their own acts of anti-Semitism to make him look bad. But in a classic demonstration of the 24-hour news cycle’s short attention span, all was forgiven when Trump stuck to script and delivered a serviceable speech. Continue reading

Why liberals protest and Republicans stay home

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Even for a billionaire like George Soros, it must have cost a pretty penny to pay all those protesters and buy them all hats.

Concerned citizens have been antagonizing Republican lawmakers in state town halls for the past several weeks. Their concerns range from worry about how they’ll survive when Republicans take away their healthcare to wondering how our fragile civilization will survive with a lumbering, fascist orangutan in the White House. Republicans have done such a terrible job addressing their constituents’ concerns, many are simply skipping the events altogether.

So-called President Trump hasn’t tweeted much lately, but he did say, “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!” Trump is right that the confrontations are, to some extent, planned. That hardly makes them illegitimate. If Trump didn’t want to contend with an organized citizenry, he should not have sought public office in a democracy – even one as flawed as ours.

Republicans insist that protesters are paid agitators, even the millions of Americans who protested Trump’s inauguration. Protesting isn’t easy, so to believe that is to believe they’re being paid well. In reality, many protesters take time off from work to march, and many don’t have jobs with generous leave policies. Walking, shouting, braving harsh weather, making signs, risking a confrontation with the police – all of it is a sacrifice compelled by concern for the country and the world. Continue reading

For Yiannopoulos, age of consent controversy is a wasted opportunity

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In multiple podcast interviews, Yiannopoulos attempted to defend certain kinds of pedophilia.

When a professional internet troll has to backpedal or apologize, it means he fucked up bad. Milo Yiannopoulos’s living is built largely on characterizing marginalized groups – women, immigrants, Muslims, black people, fat people, the poor – as bullies trying to oppress good, honest, white men. He’s been canceled by event organizers, banned from Twitter, and violently protested against, all of which propped up his brand as a First Amendment provocateur.

Now his provocations have alienated him from this base. During several podcast interviews, Yiannopoulos attempted to minimize and normalize pedophilia. After the remarks were publicized, a planned appearance at CPAC was canceled and a book deal with Simon & Schuster fell through. Yiannopoulos knows he’s in trouble this time, and he’s acting precisely as the free speech crusader he is – by backpedaling and worming out of his own words. Continue reading