Media Research Center

Time for a new series

Months ago I signed up for this newsletter from a conservative propaganda mill calling itself Media Research Center (MRC). The upshot is that I receive an almost daily message in my in-box. Here is how they bill themselves, from their most recent transmittal:

I wish you could walk the halls of the MRC right now and see our team in action… they are literally working around the clock and can barely keep up with the incredible level of media bias… but we are fighting on.

We won’t stop documenting, exposing, or battling to neutralize the outrageous bias of the leftist media. THIS IS EXACTLY why we exist! But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU to join us now!

This latest piece contains a link to a page soliciting funding from me, funding I am not considering. That linked page contains the following of interest:

The Liberal Media Are Out of Control!

We are working around the clock to expose and neutralize their bias!

[That’s the headline. Following is some more.]

The liberal media and their Leftist agenda are out to destroy the administration and the conservative values that every patriot holds true.

Support the Media Research Center with a gift today to assist in our battle against the liberal media agenda!

Without denying the existence somewhere of “liberal media,” my observation is that the MRC casts a very wide net, a net that snares any news organization that does not slant far the right. Particularly, their net drags at a host of news outlets exposing the failures and misdeeds of the current administration. The Wikipedia entry for the MRC summarizes (see the link above) condenses to this:

The Media Research Center (MRC) is a politically conservative content analysis organization based in Reston, Virginia, founded in 1987 by activist L. Brent Bozell III. Its stated mission is to “prove—through sound scientific research—that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.”

That last part, “undermines traditional American values,” is interesting and worthy of some Skeptical Analysis. But first it’s worth reviewing additional content from this mail. You will notice they address me by my first name. I always give out my real name and other requested information when I sign onto  something:

Hello John,

This is UNPRECEDENTED!
The left-wing media are TOTALLY unhinged!

I know, like me, you have been watching the nonstop, one-sided bias that has been on display over the last few days. In 30-years of tracking the media, we have not seen this much unabashed bias from so many news sources, in a nearly around-the-clock onslaught, than what we are witnessing right now!

It is so incredibly bad that MRC’s CNSNews.com division documented a May 19th 2017 Harvard University study, of all places… depicting that coverage of President Trump during his first 100 days had, “set a new standard for negativity.” Every media outlet that was studied provided MORE negative than positive of the current president, with CNN and NBC leading the charge with 93% negative coverage! For a comparative reference — Obama’s coverage was 59% positive.
And to be very clear… this fight isn’t really about President Trump. Last year, Americans rejected the failed policies of the left in spite of the liberal media agenda to manipulate the election cycle for a Hillary win. In backlash, the liberal media and their leftist cronies are out to destroy a conservative Presidency — at any cost, using any biased tactic — in order to stop ANYchance of conservative reform.
Folks, they are on a “scorched earth” mission to save their liberal goals.

I wish you could walk the halls of the MRC right now and see our team in action… they are literally working around the clock and can barely keep up with the incredible level of media bias… but we are fighting on.

Right away you will notice something characteristic of propaganda. “This is UNPRECEDENTED!” and “The left-wing media are TOTALLY unhinged!” illustrate the institutional appeal to emotion. Also appreciate the use of all caps. Full disclaimer: liberal propaganda mills employ identical devices.

Additional full disclosure: I also subscribe to a newsletter sent from the above mentioned CNS. More on that in a future post.

Continuing, the MRC wants me to know of a survey finding that, “coverage of President Trump during his first 100 days had, ‘set a new standard for negativity.’ Every media outlet that was studied provided MORE negative than positive of the current president, with CNN and NBC leading the charge with 93% negative coverage!”

Yeah, how about that? Let’s take a look at some of that negative coverage:

Of course there is more, and there must be a way to put a positive spin on all it, and I am sure the MRC would be warm of heart if other news outlets would get in line with Fox, Breitbart, and a number of others I could name. Yes, that’s not going to  happen.

Examine yet another outtake from the MRC newsletter:

And to be very clear… this fight isn’t really about President Trump. Last year, Americans rejected the failed policies of the left in spite of the liberal media agenda to manipulate the election cycle for a Hillary win. In backlash, the liberal media and their leftist cronies are out to destroy a conservative Presidency — at any cost, using any biased tactic — in order to stop ANY chance of conservative reform.

Acknowledging it is true that “Last year, Americans rejected the failed policies of the left” to the tune of 65,844,969 to 62,979,984, I can only hope that at least once in my life I get so thoroughly rejected. Regarding whether the liberal media are out to destroy President Trump “at any cost,” it is worth noting that Mr. Trump’s injuries seem to be entirely self-inflicted. Apparently the liberal media need a lot of help. Scorching the earth requires both sides working together.

Lest readers get the idea I’m flogging the MRC without conscience, please be dismayed that I find some parts positive. For example this is one of the few outlets I have found to employ the word “media” as a plural noun. Small things get appreciated.

Don’t cry for me, Venezuela

Previously

The sordid tale continues. I started following this story during the rule of Hugo Chavez, a populist anti-American, who bolstered his  position by invoking wage and price controls, during the course of which action he violated some basic economic principles and shorted civil rights. With Chávez dead and Nicolás Maduro in the driver’s seat, the situation continued to dissolve:

In close parallel to the Castro regime in Cuba, the ideologically-based rule in Venezuela has sent the country’s economy into a downward spiral. Only Chávez, and now Maduro, haven’t had somebody like the former Soviet Union to prop them up. As with the failing Cuba, the staggering Venezuela has cast about for somebody to blame. A villain is needed. For such as Mr. Maduro there is always one close at hand.

Today CNN aired a report produced by one of their reporters who entered the country disguised as a tourist. In February the government banned CNN from the country after that network published a report about the issuing of passports to potential terrorists:

Conatel [Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission] accused the channel of attempting to “undermine the peace and the democratic stability” of Venezuela.

It did not specifically mention the passport story, but government officials had earlier in the day disputed it at a press conference.

The story was the product of a year-long investigation into allegations that Venezuelan passports and visas were being sold to people in Iraq, including some with terrorism links.

The report alleged that Venezuelan Vice-President Tareck El Aissami was directly linked to the granting of 173 passports, including to members of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is designated a terrorist group by the US and other Western powers.

The video report, apparently smuggled out of the country and airing this afternoon, shows people digging through trash for food scraps. A street juggler, once able to earn money by performing at weddings, now spends his time looking for food. His face shows sever damage he says came from his encounter with police attempting to suppress protesters. People are being killed.

Claiming to be primed for civil war, a Venezuelan general issued orders to prepare for the future use of snipers against anti-government protesters, according to a secret recording of a regional command meeting held three weeks ago at a military base in the northwestern Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto.

On the recording, obtained from a Washington source that has provided el Nuevo Herald with information on Venezuela for previous stories, the generals discuss the legality and risks of using snipers during the massive demonstrations taking place almost daily against President Nicolás Maduro.

Aljazeera offers a broader look:

Venezuela’s political crisis is escalating fast.

With the economy in freefall, protesters have hit the streets and violence is on the rise.

Has the Venezuelan government gone authoritarian?

“It’s important to say Nicolas Maduro was democratically elected,” says Gabriel Hetland, a professor at the University of Albany. “But I think actions over the last 16 months have moved Venezuela unfortunately in a more authoritarian direction.”

“It is a government under siege,” counters Venezuelan-American journalist Eva Golinger, who also served as an adviser to former President Hugo Chavez. “The opposition doesn’t play by democratic rules, unfortunately has not, and as of yet we haven’t seen any such initiative or indication that they will in the near future.”

Whatever the rules are supposed to be, the socialistic government is rapidly losing support from its base. From The New York Times:

The threats Venezuelans face today are not the result of foreign or domestic conspiracies, but Mr. Maduro’s disastrous leadership. On his watch, the country’s health care system has atrophied so severely that scores of Venezuelans are dying every week because of chronic shortages of medicine and ill-equipped hospitals.

Violence has soared as armed gangs loyal to the government roam the streets. During the first three months of this year, 4,696 people were murdered in Venezuela, according to the government, and in 2015 more than 17,700 were killed. The three-month death toll is higher than the 3,545 civilians killed last year in Afghanistan, a record number.

Shortages of food and basic goods are likely to worsen as Venezuela’s economy continues to contract this year. Political prisoners, meanwhile, have languished behind bars for years, victims of a corrupt and broken justice system.

My title for this post reflects, of course, the history of the Peron regime in Argentina over 60 years ago. Evita, we will not cry for you.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

I was trying to catch some news on TV. There was President Trump. He was saying something. It was remarkable. Truly remarkable:

President Donald Trump on Thursday again denied that he or his campaign colluded with the Russian government’s suspected attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“Believe me, there’s no collusion,” Trump told reporters in the White House. “Russia is fine, but whether it’s Russia or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America.”

What? What? Donald Trump said, “Believe me?” He did. He really did. But in fact, he has said this before. Lots of times. He has said some other things, besides:

And I’m not going to bore you with the remaining litany of Donald Trump’s falsifications since his inauguration. Daniel Dales’ list  in the Toronto Star has grown since I quit at number 80 on 8 May:

Donald Trump has now said 250 false things as president. Here are all of them

The Star’s running tally of the straight-up lies, exaggerations and deceptions the president of the United States of America has said, so far.

So much for, “Believe me.”

In addition to what President Trump says, of significance is where and when he says it. For example, yesterday he held a joint news conference with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, using the opportunity to assuage his bruised feelings:

May 18, 2017 1:32pm PDT

“There was no collusion and everybody – even my enemies – have said, ‘there was no collusion,'” Trump says.

May 18, 2017 1:31pm PDT

“We don’t have health care. Obamacare is a fallacy. It’s gone,” Trump says.

May 18, 2017 1:28pm PDT

“Director Comey was very unpopular with most people,” Trump says.

May 18, 2017 1:28pm PDT

“No. Next question,” Trump says when asked if he pressed former FBI director James Comey to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn.

May 18, 2017 1:21pm PDT

Trump: Believe me, there’s no collusion.

May 18, 2017 1:21pm PDT

Trump: We’ve made tremendous progress in the last 100 days.

May 18, 2017 1:20pm PDT

“The entire thing has been a witch hunt. I think it divides the country,” Trump says of the appointment of a special counsel to head the Russia investigation.

[Emphasis added]

Were I President Santos about then, I would be nervously fidgeting and glancing over at the man standing next to me and mouthing these words. “Is this person  really the President of the United States, and does he have anything more of substance to say right now?”

No.

Seven Days In May

I don’t know why this movie came to mind just now. Maybe it’s because today, 18 May, is the critical day in the plot. It could be that recent developments in the news made me think of it. Anyhow, it’s Seven Days in May, starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. It was directed by John Frankenheimer, with a screenplay by Rod Serling, of The Twilight Zone fame. Here are Airforce General General James Mattoon Scott and Marine Colonel Martin “Jiggs” Casey.

They are participating in a congressional hearing that pits General Scott’s pro-military stance against that of liberal President Jordan Lyman, played by Fredric March. It’s about an attempt to usurp the United States Government by military coup.

Here is the point in the plot where Colonel Casey begins to become suspicious that something fishy is going on. He hangs up the phone and asks himself, “What the hell is going on?”

But don’t worry. It’s only fiction. Get a good night’s sleep. Everything will be all right in the morning.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

Here is the President of the United States standing in front of the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy whining about how he is being treated. Specifically:

No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,

Amazingly, reports reflect that this self pity was received positively by a decidedly pro-Trump audience. Although the President sought to put his complaining in a positive light, telling the graduates, “You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams. I guess that’s why I want to thank you,” I have  to wonder how they will  recall this in later years. Here is their commander-in-chief complaining about receiving some rough treatment. These are people who may someday serve their country in situations at the peril of their own lives, and they will carry with them a memory of their leader feeling hurt that bad things were said about him.

Published reports on President Trump’s talk omit critical phrasing. Here is my partial  transcription.

Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, [evokes a giant shrug] especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse, or more unfairly.

“No politician in history,” that’s a deep well to draw from:

  • Adolf Hitler, roundly criticized by the world press (but not the German press), attacked by the largest military force ever assembled, survived numerous attempts to kill him, eventually driven to  commit suicide.
  • Benito Mussolini, cast from office by his own people, held as a prisoner until freed through action by Adolf Hitler (see above), snatched from a motorcade while fleeing persecution, imprisoned, shoved against a stone wall beside a rural Italian road way, killed at close range by machine gun fire, strung up by his feet at a service station in downtown Milan.
  • Julius Caesar, ambushed and knifed to death by members of his own Senate, including by his close friend Marcus Junius Brutus.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte, cast out of office following a string of military failures, vilified, imprisoned, again taken prisoner after escaping prison and suffering another military setback, sentenced to spend the remainder of his life on  one of the remotest islands on this planet.

Yes, compared to some other politicians, Donald Trump has had a pretty rough ride. I urge my readers to take this into account and go easy on this, the tenderest of presidents in my lifetime. Cast off your nay saying, speak softly of this gentle soul, let not ye multitudes cast aspersions on his daily misdeeds.

That’s my job.

May Donald Trump serve long and wretchedly, exposed daily to a public eye grown weary and jaundiced at the sight of vainglorious self-destruction. His embarrassment is my joy, and I intend to flog this vision of abject misery daily. Until there is no skin left.

Someone left the cake out in the rain.

We can’t make this stuff up.

Watching the TV news this morning a vision from long ago popped into  my head. I have never been the one to make sense out of poetic symbolism, so my interpretations are reflections of my own mental workings. To me, it does appear as though somebody left the cake out in the rain.

Yesterday, in a post, I unloaded, not on Donald Trump, President of the United States, but on the people who supported him in his candidacy, voted for him, and still support him. I castigated the entire American conservative community for its mendacity, its shameful disdain for the truth, its sordid and phony moral basis. I pinned American  conservatism to the current president, and bathed them in his stench. I could have waited one more day.

Since yesterday the mire has deepened, as it does without pause. A story that broke late in the day on Tuesday has crystallized the issue for many: From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.

Contemporaneous notes and memoranda by FBI agents have been ruled to be admissible evidence in court, so the story distills down to whom we believe. The President denies this happened, so it’s going to be President Trump’s word against that of the FBI Director, whom he subsequently fired while issuing a fraudulent explanation for that action. It’s a game the President should avoid. In a string of falsifications, beginning two years ago when he launched his campaign and continuing without letup since inauguration day, this President has flogged us with a litany of lies and various other untruths. His veracity would find difficulty stacking up against one of those illegal Mexicans he so disdains.

One thing I’m seeing on the TV news I find easy to believe is that members of the President’s own party will start to make some distance from  him only when the scandal begins to touch their electorate. Recent town hall meetings with congressional Republicans have seen  scathing  backlash from voters, but this has mainly been with regard to the Party’s movement on health care insurance. The President lies, the President doesn’t lie; the President is a fool, the President is not a fool; the President is inept, the President is not inept (sort of a double negative)—these are the kinds ot things that do not hit voters right in the gut. The question is whether President Trump’s base of conservative voters will start to come out of a deep slumber and realize this is not the person they thought they had voted for. Don’t count on it. This is the candidate who boasted, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” That’s an astounding grade of Teflon.

Meanwhile we may be watching the actualization of a meme from days gone by. It could be that MacArthur Park is melting in the dark.

Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 20 in a series

CNN viewed on YouTube 15 May 2017

Words cannot begin  to describe the joy of being a liberal during this time. Not just a liberal, but an anti-conservative. If there is a God in Heaven, then he has delivered American  conservatism into my hands. To observe daily the self-immolation of this wretched enterprise does not merely gladden my heart., it invokes in me a lust to see their blood. The kowtowing to ancient mythology, the self-righteous disdain of those at social disadvantage, the homage paid to ingrained self-deception, the sacrifice of truth on the altar of greed–these are the institutions of American conservatism being corroded from within by an object of its creation. And that object is President Donald J. Trump.

The final crack may have come last week when that which had been generously put off as a personal idiosyncrasy was revealed to be the President’s working asset. When President Trump secluded himself inside the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister along with a known Russian spy, excluding American media representatives, but welcoming in the state-run Russian press, the optics were foreboding. At the time I feigned a lack of concern, avowing that was ahead of the game, already conversant in what may be the new national language. Of course I was joking, since I am not fluent in Russian, nor do I expect Russian to soon become the lingua franca. It was just a bit of fun.

The fun is over, and so may be the party. Both The New York Times and The Washington  Post report that at this meeting, with only Russian reporters making videos and taking photographs, President Trump bragged to his perceived friends of certain American intelligence, intelligence so secret that its revelation endangers our relationship with the country that supplied the intelligence and possibly endangers the lives of those collecting the intelligence on the ground. From the Times:

WASHINGTON — President Trump boasted about highly classified intelligence in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week, providing details that could expose the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected, a current and a former American government official said Monday.

The intelligence disclosed by Mr. Trump in a meeting with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, was about an Islamic State plot, according to the officials. A Middle Eastern ally that closely guards its own secrets provided the information, which was considered so sensitive that American officials did not share it widely within the United States government or pass it on to other allies.

Mr. Trump’s disclosure does not appear to have been illegal — the president has the power to declassify almost anything. But sharing the information without the express permission of the ally who provided it was a major breach of espionage etiquette, and could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship.

By just about every account, this was a major FUBAR. The President’s response was characteristic:

 4:03 AM – 16 May 2017

This morning I gagged at the response of one conservative pundit on TV. The outrage was not against a President who colluded with this nation’s enemies. Instead, the cry was repeated, “Who leaked this supposedly private conversation?” Really? You have to ask? Could have been some concerned participant from the White House staff. Could have been the Russians.

President Trump reminds us of his legal right to divulge classified information to governments not friendly to this country. And I remind supporters of this man, those who trumpeted his qualities in the face of a continual string of lies and outrageous behavior on the campaign trail, those who bought into the false claims of misconduct by opponent Hillary Clinton, chanting along with the candidate and along with now disgraced General Michael Flynn, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” Your moral outrage is now revealed to be a sham, perpetrated to justify your inner demons, to make yourselves comfortable with your prejudices.

Conservative Facebook friends who supported this phony undertaking and participated by posting insults against the sitting president and his wife, including comparisons to disreputable animal life, these same conservative friends, as soon as I responded in valid and egregious critiques of candidate Trump, ever so quickly disappeared from my Facebook feed. So often is wretched philosophy coupled with abject cowardliness.

To conservatives who supported the Trump candidacy, who voted for him, who still hang on his false promise, I wish you a long and fretful life. Were you to pass today from this world, I would be the one who mourns most deeply, having been deprived of the pleasure of watching as you squirm in a miserable world of your own making.

And that’s just me at my most pleasant.

Snowflake-in-Chief

New game in town

I’m not too sure who coined the term “snowflake,” but it does get a lot of use. I’ve seen it employed to identify liberal college students who resist having right wing speakers on their campus, and I’ve seen it used against students at public schools objecting to creationism and advocation for religion.  Taking an easy guess, I conclude a “snowflake” is something tender and delicate that melts at the slightest whiff of heat. It’s applied against individuals supposed to exhibit these properties. And what a marvel it is to see the concept so prominently enshrined.

Our current president came to office by way of a trail of derogation and slander of any number of individuals and institutions. Hillary Clinton, various Republican Party rivals, identifiable nationals (including Mexicans) and religions (Muslims)—all were fair game to this candidate in his lurch toward power. All the while he showed a soft underbelly: a remark less than laudatory brought a scathing rebuke. A direct verbal offense induced a scandalous tirade. Then the moving mouth came to power.

But before inauguration day there remained a troubling issue. Donald Trump easily trounced Democratic Party opponent Clinton by 77 electoral votes. Not so pleasantly for Donald Trump, Clinton garnered a clear majority of the popular vote; more than 2.8 million over the President. It was at this point the snowflake began to drip. What was proclaimed in advance to be a rigged election was now in fact a rigged election. The president-elect assured us that three million people voted illegally, for Clinton. More so, these were, in some versions, illegal voters. People not authorized to vote. Non-citizens. Whoop!

Nevertheless, Donald Trump became the president on  inauguration day. And the snow continued to melt. President Trump’s crowd was greater than any of President Obama’s, he told us. In fact, it was about the largest ever. Denials, with evidence, were trounced. Vigorously. The flake was feeling the heat.

More was to come, day by day, the President’s prevarications amplified to include any number of things. President Obama had ordered his phones at Trump Tower tapped. Nobody could find any evidence except for evidence that the President was making this up. He was lying.

And, almost monolithically the United States intelligence community came to the conclusion the Russian government had meddled in the 2017 election process, both by filching Democratic Party mail files and also by facilitating the dissemination of false “news” derogatory to the Clinton campaign. The conclusion by key intelligence officials was that Russian President Vladimir Putin was totally displeased with Clinton and wanted Donald Trump to win. The snowflake seethed.

President Trump’s previous and current financial ties to Russia and his perceived love affair with Russia and its president continued to gain the attention of the FBI. This was troubling to the Snowflake-in-Chief, and early in his tenure he supposedly asked FBI Director James Comey whether he could count on the Director’s loyalty. That is, loyalty to President Trump. Apparently the Director demurred. And the Snowflake-in-Chief seethed.

Last Tuesday it came to a head. The President of the United States announced abruptly that he was terminating the tenure of Director Comey (firing him), the reason being given: Director Comey’s mishandling of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation. And that’s the story that was true, for that day. Which brings us to the present. See the picture above. That’s Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders giving out the revised story. Here is what she had to say. From the tape:

The President, over the last several months, lost confidence in Directory Comey, the DOJ [Department of Justice] lost confidence in Director Comey. Bipartisan members of Congress made it clear that they had lost confidence in Director Comey, and most importantly the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.

If the Deputy Press Secretary seems familiar, it’s because you already know her father, Mike Huckabee, religious zealot and sometimes presidential candidate.

But that was Wednesday. Come Thursday, 11 May, additional clarification emerged. From CNN:

(CNN) — Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Thursday rejected assertions by the White House that FBI employees had lost faith in James Comey and that the bureau’s probe into Russian election meddling was one of its most minor concerns.

“I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity,” McCabe told members of the Senate intelligence committee.
He said Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, enjoyed “broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.” He added, “The majority, the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.”

So, from where did all this rank and file disenchantment spring? I’m guessing from the fevered brain of a Snowflake-in-Chief. Sanders was asked. From the video:

Sanders: …from countless members of the FBI, that [sic] are grateful and thankful for the President’s decision.

When pressed to elaborate on the term “countless,” Sanders went doodle bug, saying she didn’t want to get into a numbers game. She cited emails, text messages. Then she nailed it by saying she had heard from a “large”number of individuals.

Time to digress. Diagnose the word “countless.” I am a mathematician (college diploma on request), and I have a definition for “countless.” The set of rational numbers is countable. Infinite, but still countable. To get to “countless” you have to go to the set of real numbers. That set is uncountable. Real numbers are countless. Surely Secretary Sanders does not mean to assert the number of FBI employees thankful for President Trump’s firing of Directory Comey is infinite, because I can guarantee the number of FBI employees, a superset of the number who are glad, is finite. So, what does “countless” mean to Secretary Sanders? I have an interpretation.

When Deputy White House Press Secretary Sanders says there are countless FBI employees thankful that President Trump fired Director Comey, she means, “I’m not going to tell you.” This is the way of all people making stuff up. Except that the late Senator Joe McCarthy, no friend of the truth, actually gave us a number. He asserted there were “fifty-seven card-carrying Communists” working for the State Department. It became a running  joke, one that was recapitulated in a hit movie.

To be sure, people having inside experience with the FBI will tell you there were some dissatisfied with their director, but it has become apparent that Sanders’ explanation is mere cover for a Snowflake-in-Chief. President Trump’s subsequent comments on the matter have made it apparent his real concern was that Director Comey refused to swear personal loyalty and also refused to back off the agency’s investigation into the Russian connection. But, what is it for me to worry about? I already speak Russian.

The Awful Truth

Number 2 of a series

Was there ever a better time to be a liberal? Not in my memory. OK, maybe during the Watergate flap. Nothing recent. For this joy we have none other to thank but current President Donald J. Trump. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. Where to  start. How about the White House press office, which attempts, often in vain, to explain away an accumulating mess. From CNN:

When White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held her first press conference last week, journalists in attendance or watching back in the office gave her relatively good reviews. She was calmer and more collected than her boss Sean Spicer, they said, and certainly less condescending.

But on Thursday, as she became the face of the White House’s bungled, contradictory account of President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Sanders proved to be just as unreliable and obfuscatory in the briefing room as Spicer.

Nobody enjoys a fumbling Donald Trump administration as much as political liberals, sitting much on the sidelines after last year’s disastrous election outcome. Trump’s attempts to justify his dismissal of political liability James Comey have electrified his opposition. CNN again, concerning press secretary Sanders:

On Wednesday, during a briefing for which she once again received relatively high marks from observers, Sanders was asked if the president had decided to fire Comey before receiving a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that she do so. “No,” she replied.

On Thursday, Trump gave an interview to NBC News in which he said he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation.

Yet during Thursday’s White House press briefing, after the relevant parts of the interview had been released, Sanders repeatedly dismissed the idea that there were inconsistencies in the White House’s timeline leading up to Comey’s termination. “Our story is consistent,” she told reporters.

Sanders also said Wednesday and Thursday that she had personally spoken to “countless” FBI officials who were frustrated with Comey’s leadership. But acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said at a Senate committee hearing Thursday that statement “is not accurate. I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.”

So, which is it? Trump fired FBI Director James Comey as a result of a bad review from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Later President Trump unraveled that explanation by stating that he had planned to  fire Comey all along, no matter what the outcome of Rosenstein’s report. From all appearances, Trump attempted to lay off the blame for an unpopular move on the second-in-command at the Justice Department, and Mr. Rosenstein is having no part of it.

Trump had said he acted based on the recommendations of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But as Rosenstein was thrust into the spotlight shortly after news of Comey’s dismissal broke, he was taken aback and even threatened to resign, according to an unnamed person close to the White House who was cited by The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Trump’s efforts to pump up his press staff are having the opposite effect. His specialty appears to be poor word choice:

 4:59 AM – 12 May 2017
 5:07 AM – 12 May 2017

“For the sake of accuracy.” What a concept! How about, “Get it right the first time?”

A short message from President Trump early this morning is interpreted by some as a veiled threat against James Comey:

 5:26 AM – 12 May 2017

Breaking news: James Comey, private citizen and no longer required to demonstrate any loyalty, has been invited to testify before Congress. At least two grand juries are empaneled on  related matters, and I am guessing Comey will appear before one or both.

Does anybody besides me recall the days of J. Edgar Hoover, original and Director for life of the FBI? From its founding in 1935 until  his death just days before the Watergate break-in in 1972, his power grew. The FBI had information on America’s power brokers, and presidents trembled when he walked. The FBI under Hoover’s command, wrecked the lives of people who came down on the wrong side of Hoover’s thinking. Now a former director, with knowledge in his head that can wreak havoc for the Trump administration, is being slandered by the one most vulnerable. We will enjoy seeing hos this shakes out.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.