Media reinforces Donald Trump’s most dangerous behavior

Mosul shelling

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.

MOAB

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

TrumpGun

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

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

sessions-trump

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

No, Donald, the ‘real story’ isn’t why there are leaks, it’s what they reveal

trumpflynn

During Trump rallies, Flynn, right, would lead the crowd in “Lock her up” chants. After 24 days in office Flynn has resigned over a likely violation of the Logan Act.

The biggest scandal this week in the Trump Administration is the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and hard-right conspiracy theorist who had no business in the position in the first place. Flynn was forced to resign when it became known that he communicated with his Russian counterpart prior to Trump’s inauguration and lied about what was discussed. After Flynn’s resignation Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” Continue reading

Donald Trump channels Noam Chomsky (sort of)

trumporeilly

In a pre-Superbowl interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Trump defended Vladimir Putin’s kills.

A statement President Donald Trump made to Bill O’Reilly during a pre-Superbowl interview landed Trump in more trouble than usual. In defending Russian dictator Vladimir Putin from O’Reilly’s allegation that he’s a killer, Trump said, “You think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the War in Iraq from the beginning… a lot of people were killed, so, a lot of killers around, believe me.”

Establishment politicians and media fretted over Trump’s frank assessment of American foreign policy, but for once he’s not wrong. In fact, Trump went much further than most politicians usually do in his remarks, venturing into territory usually reserved for the likes of Noam Chomsky. His equation of the Iraq War with Putin’s murders suggests the Iraq War was not merely an honest mistake made with good intentions, but a crime. Continue reading

Trump’s true agenda crystallizes, and it’s oil imperialism

tillersonputin

Trump may never have met Putin, but his Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, has received an Order of Friendship from him.

Donald Trump is less than five weeks away from being inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. His cabinet picks offer Americans an ominous preview of what they can expect for the next four years. Corporate America will run roughshod over workers and consumers as Trump obliterates the line between big business and government. But it’s his Secretary of State pick, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, which bodes most ominously for both the environment and international relations. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton, WikiLeaks, and the new Cold War

clintonsyria

Hillary Clinton supports Syrian insurgents, many of whom are linked to known terror groups, over the Russian-backed Bashar al-Assad regime.

As leaked audio of Donald Trump bragging about his history of sexual assault became the biggest story of the 2016 election, WikiLeaks released another trove of Hillary Clinton documents. They include portions of transcripts from her mysterious speeches to big banks, as well as emails from campaign chair and longtime ally John Podesta. While much of the content is illuminating, little of it is outside the scope of the dirty politics the Clintons have long been known to play. Continue reading

Words versus deeds: Foreign policy in the 2016 election

The likely 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are the most disliked major party candidates in American history. But of all the faults these candidates have, their darkest aspects are most visible in foreign policy. And for as much as Americans don’t like the two of them, imagine what the rest of the world must think as the most powerful nation on earth prepares to hold an election between an accomplished war criminal and a maniac who pledges to become one. Continue reading

Stop ‘trump’ing up the threat of Islamic terror

ISIS

ISIS soldiers march in Raqqa, Syria, the terrorist organization’s de facto capital.

Radicalized Islamic terrorists have become the focal point of national security concerns and much of the 2016 presidential election. Not without good reason – groups like ISIS, al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and others are among the most barbaric gangs of cold-blooded killers, kidnappers, torturers, rapists, sex traffickers and drug dealers ever. But treating them as an existential threat superseding the Nazis, as some have done, is granting them way too much legitimacy. Continue reading

How the gun debate and the War on Terror are connected

AP_San_Bernardino_shooting_suspects_151205_DC_4x3_992

San Bernardino shooting suspects, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook.

Right-wing extremism received heavy scrutiny for a few days following the Planned Parenthood attacks. Commentators and left-wing politicians criticized the venomous rhetoric the right uses to denounce its opponents, one of which – the red herring cry of “baby parts” – was used by the Planned Parenthood shooter himself. Since the San Bernardino shooting, committed by Muslims a few days later, white terror has largely fallen off the radar. It shouldn’t.

What hasn’t fallen off the radar is the gun debate. It’s being waged as aggressively now as it’s been in years, with President Obama calling for restricted access to assault weapons and other mild reforms. Conservatives, as expected, reacted with total apoplexy. There has been a strange development, though, as the gun debate has become part of the discussion on Islamic terror. Continue reading