The Fake News Wars

I’m in a lot of anti-Trump Facebook groups.  A lot of them.  And something I’ve noticed recently is people who, without bothering to research, shout “fake news!” when someone posts a news or opinion article to one of those groups.

It’s been happening quite a bit lately.  I even had it happen when I posted an article from a House member’s Capitol Hill site, and the guy who made the accusation would not back down.  Not only that, he used the juvenile and snarky, “I’m sorry, but this is fake,” which with me is like waving a red flag in front of the proverbial bull.

Luckily for him the group moderator stepped in and backed me up (otherwise it would have ended badly) and someone else took the liberty of saying the “fake news” claimer was “FOS.”  Sorry, but that’s true.

The point is, don’t claim “fake news” without doing your own research first.  It doesn’t make you look smart, discerning, or well-informed.  And don’t confuse news sites with opinion sites, hard as that may be in the era or MSNBC and Fox News.

While right-wing groups thrive on fake news and exist only because of it, among middle and left-leaning groups, posting fake news has become something of a minor felony.  It’s a very serious charge. Someone tried to soothe my ruffled feathers by saying that shouting “fake news” has become a game for some just to get a reaction, but to me that’s like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (which is illegal).

Plus it’s bullying, not discourse.

Anyway with that in mind, I’d like to post a short list of often-cited “news” sites that do post fake news, or at least misleading and inflammatory headlines.  The first three are my additions to the list provided by Wikipedia, and then there’s a link to the Wikipedia article.

learn progress
Wikipedia list of fake news sites
Another thing that you may want to watch out for is any news article posted by someone with an unlikely-sounding name (you know, like “Mortimer Guessalov” or “”Fatima McHenry,” or something like that), and if on Facebook, if their profile is filled with nothing but stock photos.  You might also look at the URL of the “news” they are offering to see if the URL reads something like, “”  It’s almost a dead giveaway that both the article and the “person” who posted it are fake, and if you click on that site, someone may be gathering info on you.

Also, these bots/trolls often post articles with inflammatory headlines, from never-before-heard-of sites, without commenting…or with a brief pro-Trump comment or something else equally weird if you’re in an anti-Trump group.

In addition, watch out for any article that has a headline written in all caps or that includes exclamation points.  If you click on a tantalizing headline and find out that the article underneath has little or nothing to do with it, that’s another red flag.  Realtimepolitics and bipartisanreport are often guilty of that, and especially for bipartisanreport, which actually does contain good info once in a while, it cuts into their credibility.  (I have never seen anything worthwhile on realtimepolitics.)  Learn Progress often kills its own credibility by starting their headlines with “BREAKING,” which is another dead giveaway that it’s a click-bait site, and following up with articles devoid of substance.

Before anyone snarks that this blog is itself “fake news,” please read the disclaimer page at the top of the screen (“How this blog got here, and a word to the wise”).  I never claimed this is a news site.  What’s written here is just my understanding of what’s going on.  If I may pat myself on the back, I sometimes latch on to minutia just a bit before it becomes national news.  But no, I do not have my own private sources, nor do I seek them out.  My sources are like yours: national news, and some opinion blogs.

That said, the role of this blog in the foreseeable future will be to become a sort of one-stop shop for those overwhelmed by Russiagate news and related matters.  I’ll try my damnedest to pull it all together for you into a coherent story.  But I’m not guaranteeing anything, because this story is anything but coherent.

A little ah-HAH moment

I’m guessing this is why the Trump administration just planted a story in the National Enquirer blaming Flynn for all that pesky Russia stuff:

Palmer Report

Life in the S#*%-storm

I haven’t been writing because of security concerns, and because I’ve been ill at the thought of somewhere around 20% of the U.S. population being stupid enough to vote for Donald Trump.  But as of today, I’ve decided I have something to thank them for.

Courtesy of the Trump-suckers, welcome to life in the shit-storm.  Today (Wednesday, 3/22/17) it’s hitting the fan faster than I can type.

In some ways, that’s a good thing.  I’ve suspected for years that something wasn’t right with the Republican party.  They were sending out too many unqualified, loony, weird-looking candidates and were having too much success doing so.  It’s only now when all the shit is hitting the proverbial fan that I start to see why and how this has been happening.

We now have at least circumstantial evidence that not just Trump, but most of his cabinet and several ranking members of the House and Senate are Russian agents (so to speak), either wittingly or unwittingly.  “Useful idiots,” as it were.  And we have Trump and his suckers to thank for that.  Without the jolt of the very fact that this dolt was elected, none of this would ever have come to light in our lifetimes.

As of today, with each passing minute, the evidence against all of them — circumstantial as it may be — is piling up faster than the snow in an eastern-seaboard blizzard.  It’s the perfect shit-storm.  And the best part of it is, it can’t easily be shoveled off the walk and passed by with blinders on, in the hope that it will soon be forgotten.  That’s because there’s just too much of it.

I have to mention the public reaction to all this.  Of course, the 20% with Trumpitis will never believe any of it, not even in the unlikely event that Trump is led to the gallows for treason (more seriously, there has been a lot of talk about impeachment; but impeachment won’t necessarily get rid of him, so I prefer not to dwell on it).  If it comes to that point, the Trump-suckers will blame it on aliens or something.  Or they’ll claim that Trump is still president even after he’s been removed from office because they believe in some…I don’t know…”deep state” or something.  (You know, kind of like Elvis still being alive.)  Never mind that all it is is a deep state of denial on their part; to them, it’s reality.  And that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.  The rest of us can go to hell.

And so, courtesy of our Trump-sucker friends, massive gerrymandering, wonky voting machines, voter suppression (not fraud), a corrupt Electoral College, and of course not forgetting Russia, here we are in the middle of a shit-storm in hell.

Around 40% of the population recognize this in varying degrees and are in varying degrees of panic, and have been since November.  In addition, I’ll wager there is another 15% who have no idea what time of day it is or what country they’re in.  They’re too busy talking on their cell phones to realize that their country has fallen down around their ears.  The last 25% are kids, but I have to give them credit.  Young as they are, a lot of them seem perfectly aware that something is wrong…which is more than I can say for the 20% who voted for Trump.

And what’s wrong?  Following is a dose of reality for those who can take it.  I remind you that most of this thus far is based on circumstantial evidence and is not proven.  Funny how “proof” has become so much harder to come by lately than it was when Hillary Clinton was dragged before Congress over and over to explain her emails and Benghazi, or when people kept saying that Obama was an immigrant.  Actually there was no proof then, either, but the point is that it didn’t seem necessary.  Now, however, even with an avalanche of circumstance behind every allegation (unlike the allegations against Clinton and Obama), proof is a rare commodity all of a sudden, or at least it seems almost impossible to obtain at a level that satisfies those who are trying to protect Trump.

And there are a lot of those:

Trump – positively floating on Russian waters in spite of his denials that he even knew the word “Russia” before just recently.  “Fake!”  There seem to be Russians around him no matter where he goes, except in Washington, where he is surrounded by Russian surrogates.  “Fake!”  But still he claims, “Russia?  Where’s that?”  Meantime he tweets shit about Obama and Clinton at 3:00 a.m., making up stories about how they are guilty of the things he himself has done. FAKE.

Pence – either a liar, or he needs to carry a full-sized calendar around with him.  Wikileaks is talking crap about him so I doubt he’s deeply involved with Russia, or maybe it’s just another smokescreen.  Whatever, he’s got enough stupidity and scandals of his own where he likely won’t last long if by some miracle the rest of them are prosecuted and he is left alone and exposed.

Sessions – talked to the Russians, lied to Congress about it, but nothing substantial seems to be happening to him as a result (more on that in the future).  Yes he was forced to recuse himself from any investigations of the Trump-Russia connection, but that’s no big deal because we have…

Bannon – what his deal is no one knows or cares; he’s just a sodden sad-sack lump with some political savvy to the extent that he’s very good at destroying basic governmental functions without batting an eyelash.   But the fact is that his Breitbart is being investigated for its connection to Russian bots.  I’m sure Breitbart will be allowed to claim that they are SHOCKED, SHOCKED to hear that Russians attached bots to their site, and that will be the end of it as far as Congress is concerned (not the IC, however).  Anyway…you get it…Russia.

Tillerson – Putin’s closest American buddy.  Seems too tired to do his job and claims he never wanted it.  Never mind the reason he got it (something about a zillion-dollar oil deal that could make Putin the richest man in the world, and is probably the reason Putin pushed so hard to get Trump elected).

And then there’s that business about him wanting to skip a NATO meeting to go carouse with his buddies in Russia.  But never mind, nothing to see here.  He’s very tired and hates his job, after all.

Flynn – lied (about Russia), got caught, got fired, and that was supposed to be the end of it.  ALL of it.  Not another word about Russia, you hear?  Only it isn’t the end of it.  When last observed, Flynn was covering his ass and I’m guessing getting ready to sing.

Manafort – there’s so much going on here that I have trouble keeping it straight, but apparently he got caught hiding massive amounts of Russian and Ukrainian money (paychecks?), acting as an unregistered Russian operative in the U.S., and pulling pro-Russian crap in Ukraine.  Now he may be getting ready to sing, as he’s hired some sort of crisis-management PR agency.  Meantime, Trump is trying hard to deny he ever met his former campaign manager.  You’d think that he’d still be reeling over the (rather unforgettable) fact that Manafort maneuvered him into taking on Pence as his running mate, but probably all Trump can think about is “why can’t I tell Pence, ‘you’re fired?’  It worked on TV!”

McConnell – protected Trump last fall when Obama wanted to go public with the fact that the FBI was investigating Russian interference in our election which was apparently favoring Trump.  Now his wife has a post in the Cabinet.  Russian connections are not clear at the moment, but I have no doubt that they are there.

Ryan – an oddly suppressed oil scandal, a long-buried insider trading scandal, probably has some Russian financial support as well, and he definitely benefited from the Russian email hacks, although lord knows we haven’t heard much about that, either.  He’s generally a creepy, icky, sucky creature such as one would find in the muck of a swamp.  Ironic, isn’t it.

Chaffetz — Russian financial ties.

Nunes — Russian financial ties.

Gowdy — I honestly forgot what I heard about him — it got lost in the shit-storm — but I’m sure it has something to do with Russia.  And oh yes, his entire lengthy Benghazi investigation was bullshit.

Giuliani – Russia.  Wikileaks.  Something to do with rogue FBI agents.  And too stupid to keep his mouth shut about it.

Stone – peripheral character, not in any official position, but too tied to Russia and Trump to be ignored.

Page – pretty much ditto Stone.

Meantime there are anywhere from 6 to 10 unexplained Russian deaths; at least a few of these people were in Trump’s/Putin’s orbit.  And that ain’t all.  In fact, there’s so much Russia showing up all over Washington D.C. that one wonders if the town’s somehow been transported and is now a suburb of Moscow.

Still, even with all of this (and I’ve actually barely left a fingerprint on the veneer), I’m sure Trump’s supporters will tell you, “nothing to see here.”  And all I have to say in response is, “it must be nice on your planet.”  Because whatever planet they’re on, it sure ain’t Earth.

And what is Congress going to do about all of this?  Didn’t I just mention a lot of their leaders?  You have your answer: they will do as much of nothing as possible.

Diane Feinstein did hint the other day that (because so many Republicans are tied up with Russia in one way or another?) the Democrats may choose to leave the Russia issue to the intelligence community, and meantime pursue Trump via the emoluments avenue.  Certainly they seem to (no PROOF again) have a lot to nab Trump on there, without unduly alarming their oh-so-delicate, oh-so-nervous, and apparently oh-so-guilty Republican counterparts.  There is, after all, nothing to be revealed about the rest of them by investigating whether Trump is profiting hugely off of being President.  Plus, she hinted (wishfully, I think) that the problem may take care of itself, and Trump will magically quit.

My take on it is that he can’t quit.  If he quits, the Russians may kill him.  But that’s just an idea.  Honestly, however, how can you believe anything else when all these Russians keep turning up dead?

Also about the emoluments thing: Trump is so tangled up in Russia that there is no guarantee that investigating him in that avenue will ensure that no one in Congress is unwittingly exposed.  So it’s a nice thought, Feinstein, and for sure you know far more about this than I do.  But I don’t accept it as a legitimate avenue of investigation at this point, in and of itself.  Investigate Russia and you end up with Russia; investigate conflicts of interest and profiteering and you also end up with Russia.  The Republicans cannot allow either investigation to happen, so they will continue to do as much of nothing as they possibly can.

All roads lead to Russia from Washington D.C., and there is no escaping that fact.  And that, my friends, is why we are stuck in a shit-storm from hell for the time being.  Thank you so much Trump voters, for unwittingly bringing all this out into the open.  But that’s all we have to thank you for.


Excellent article here for those of us faced with loved ones and friends who appear to be living in an alternate universe (especially if they’re lost in Trumpland): Gaslighting

Nothing much to add to this except that I’m currently wondering if we are all being gaslighted over the huge, really huge outrage regarding Trump’s “hot mike” remarks about sexually assaulting women.

Not that the remarks weren’t awful, but where was the gargantuan outrage when…oh, where do I start?  At the moment Trump went up the down escalator?  He said something about Mexicans being rapists, etc., that day.  Yes, he did.  A lot of his supporters are saying he was misquoted or it was taken out of context, which has become their go-to excuse every time Trump says something that people get upset about (lately there’s a new wrinkle: they just claim he never said any such thing at all even though he did so live on TV — gaslighting at its finest!).  Or else they whine something about “political correctness” oppressing them — and then, when  Trump threatens to sue someone who offended him, and/or his followers threaten violence toward anyone who is offended by Trump, it leaves us in the strange situation that Trump and his minions can say whatever they want, but the rest of us can’t.  It’s the new political correctness, I guess, Trump-style.  Welcome the bold new world, where everything is upside-down.

Back to the subject, darlings, I heard that escalator speech.  That’s what he said:  “Mexicans are rapists…”  In spite of the continued attempts at editing the collective memory of that event, the fact remains that that’s what he said.  No gaslighting allowed.

There was outrage at the remark, but it certainly didn’t stop his campaign.  Since then there has been a new outrage almost every week, sometimes every day.  So what’s different about this one?  Why is this any worse than the other 300 or so outrages?

What I really can’t get through my head is the Republican gasps at his misogynous comments.  They’re upset about something he said about womenReally?

(At this point I really must interject with Mitt Romney’s tone-deaf remark, “these are our wives, our daughters..”  Fine if you’re talking to an audience of all men, or of women like the late Phyllis Shufly or whatever her name was, and all men; stupid if you’re talking on the subject of women to everybody, because everybody includes women, who make up more than half the population.  Dummy, go back and read your binders of women or something.)

The party’s entire platform places women in danger in various ways, and Republican lawmakers across the nation continue to find new and improved ways of raising the danger level.  That’s an established fact.  So if they are going to play the outrage card to the hilt this time, over some misogynous remarks Trump made 10 years ago, (and has attempted to excuse by claiming that he’d heard far worse from Bill Clinton during golf outings), there has to be an underlying reason that has nothing to do with women.

Some have guessed that the Koch brothers are attempting to get Trump out of the way before election day so they can have their boy Pence in the oval office.  Sounds plausible.  Or maybe someone in the GOP finally recognized the very real danger of Trump’s Russian entanglements (the news of which came and went in about a week, without any effect whatsoever) and decided this was a good an excuse as any to try to force him out of the race.

Whatever the cause of the outrage, you can bet it has nothing much to do with Trump’s attitude toward women.  Any claim to the contrary is just gaslighting, and I, for one, am getting damned sick and tired of it.

10/8/16 evening update:
it appears I’m on to something with my Pence guess: writing Pence’s name in

The Republicans are stuck with Trump; there’ll be no forcing him out over a (for the Republicans, fake) woman issue.  All they have left is the futile gesture of writing Pence’s name in.  Of course they would never consider voting for an actual woman as a viable alternative to Trump.  Never.  Which proves my point about Republican outrage over this particular issue.

So now I see the future clearly: he’ll just hang around and in a few days issue some fresh outrage, and all this woman bullshit will be forgotten — not just by him but by the rest of the Republicans.  And if anyone dares bring this up in the future…well, you know, he didn’t say that.

Clueless in New York

As if anyone needed any more proof that Donald Trump has no idea what he is talking about, there was last night’s debate — which also proved that we in the audience have no idea what he’s talking about.  What he presents is a blank slate on which his supporters chalk their fondest wishes, nothing more.

I’m sure he’s claiming he won the debate.  But he also said he lost it because his mike was defective.  Maybe the mike was adding sniffling noises to his gibberish, I don’t know.

As for those sniffling noises, Twitter is ablaze with arguments over whether the cause was illness, allergy, cocaine, or Adderall.  We will never know for sure, because we will never be sure of anything about Trump

All I know for sure is that he’s gotten as far as he has by regurgitating everything that was wrong during the Bush years as if Obama created those problems (he didn’t) and hasn’t corrected anything (he has).   And Trump’s true believers lap up this nonsense.  They get two things out of this: a paper hero, and a continuing excuse to hide from the truth.

And oh yes: he’s white and Obama isn’t.

What Trump gets out of it?  His name in lights, millions skimmed off his campaign coffers into his own companies, and possible Russian backing (they own him, after all) for his further business entanglements (you can’t call them deals) and maybe even in the Oval Office, should he get there.  Oh, and then there’s Deutsche bank.  And all the other stuff.

Let’s just say that it all looks like a huge scheme to bail Trump out of financial hot water, which he is almost certainly in, and keep his name in lights and keep him living in the manner to which he is accustomed.  (One right-wing fanzine site even posted a photo essay explaining why Trump could not live in the icky old White House…it’s not posh enough for him.)

What’s left out of the scheme?  Service and governance, two things Trump knows nothing about.

And no, they are not the same as “business.”  A lot of his supporters fend off criticism by claiming he’s a successful businessman.  See the paragraphs above; he is not.  As a further example, one bank estimated his worth at MINUS $250,000,000.  Even if that’s not true, the jerk’s a definite walking debt-bomb and is clearly looking to make some sort of “deal” by capturing the White House, to get his ass out of the fire.

Even if he were a business whiz, as the current governor of Illinois (a multi-millionaire businessman) is finding out, business and government are two different subjects entirely, involving two different skill sets.  Rauner is quickly becoming famous for stalemate and inaction simply because he is so confounded by that.  (He’s an asshole, too, but…)

Trump appears to have an aptitude for nothing but flim-flam.  He’s known to other billionaires as an empty silver spoon and a swindler.

He’s never even come close to holding public office, and he has no idea at all of what the word “service” means.  In the past 16 months I heard a lot from the right wing about how supposedly unqualified Hillary Clinton is for the Presidency.  Odd that I’m hearing it not at all since Trump got the nomination.  It’s as if the charge was ridiculous to begin with (and it was), and considering what the Republicans have now, no one dares mention it anymore.

Which is to say that Trump is not only patently unqualified, but clueless.  He would have done far better in some other country with “Prince” before his name, but maybe not even then.  Even princes seem to have more demanded of them than he has ever had.  All he knows how to do is maintain his lifestyle, no matter what the cost.

Personally, I do not want to be part of that cost.  I trust not many others do, either.


This is what happens when you don’t believe science

Yep, that’s it: you start believing in weird shit uttered by cranky old televangelists.   And the Stupid of the Day award goes to…Pat Robertson


Projection 101

Trump’s sanity is questioned; he starts calling Clinton “unstable.”

Trump’s charitable activities are questioned; he refocuses the media on the Clinton Foundation and blows a ton of smoke on the nonexistent fire to keep their eyes there, and off of him.

Trump’s health is questioned and this is worsened by a very questionable medical letter allegedly written by a gastroenterologist (in five minutes in the back of a limo).  He demands to see Clinton’s health records, which she has already released, and calls her unhealthy.

Trump’s racist statements land him the title of “racist;” Trump calls Clinton a racist.

Attendance at Trump’s rallies is apparently dwindling to the point where, as one comment put it, “there was better attendance at Spinal Tap and the puppet show.”  Trump starts tweeting stuff about Clinton being able to fit her rallies into small outhouses.

Trump inexplicably cancels several campaign events, then says Clinton is “in hiding.”

See a pattern here, folks?