Donald Trump’s Administration Marks Need for New Wave of Skepticism

By David G. McAfee

Skepticism has always been important: it helped our ancestors outsmart predators, and it continues to help us avoid other dangerous pitfalls even today. But there is perhaps no time in recent history in which this skeptical mindset is more urgent than now.

I’ve spent my entire adult life promoting skepticism of false claims, so I was excited the first day “fake news” was discussed in mainstream media, but that enthusiasm faded quickly. The reference was in relation to false news stories and propaganda that propelled Donald Trump to the White House, of course, but that didn’t stop him from coopting the phrase and using it to shoot down anything critical of him.

And that’s exactly the problem: Trump, arguably the most powerful man in the world, is promoting false information at a record rate and discrediting investigative journalists at the same time. In essence, he is attempting to become the sole arbiter of “Truth” (or his twisted version of it) in America.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – Skepticism has always been important: it helped our ancestors outsmart predators, and it continues to help us avoid other dangerous pitfalls even today. But there is perhaps no time in recent history in which this skeptical mindset is more urgent than now.

    As with climate change deniers, pseudo-sceptics, whose denial is based on ignorant bigotry, claim to be “Sceptics” the crooked, or scientifically illiterate media, then parrot the propagandist misuse of the word!

    I’ve spent my entire adult life promoting skepticism of false claims, so I was excited the first day “fake news” was discussed in mainstream media, but that enthusiasm faded quickly.

    It was perhaps predictable, that as with the Vatican pronouncing their theistic evolution or Ken Ham his flood-myth pseudoscience, to be “troooo science”, that liars, the bought stooges and the deluded, will use psychological projection and assert that those who expose their lies andf ignorant assertions are the liars!

    The reference was in relation to false news stories and propaganda that propelled Donald Trump to the White House, of course, but that didn’t stop him from coopting the phrase and using it to shoot down anything critical of him.

    How else would Trump maintain the smoke screen of confusion, which allows his gullible sheeple followers to admire his (grossly dishonest and incompetent) “brilliance”!

    Admittedly he is not incompetent at everything!

    After all there is video evidence that he can actually sign his name on a string of documents – (even if he has no understanding of what those documents say or are supposed to do)!

    Most of my associates, know that I can also sign my name, but I don’t need to show them me doing so on video to prove that I can write! 🙂

  2. Trump on live press conference now. The strain is showing. Rambling paranoia.

    “We’re becoming a drug infested nation”

    “Isis growing like a cancer”

    “It’s going to be a great wall negotiated by me”

    “We’ve ordered an end to sanctuary cities”

    “We are saving American lives every day – courts are not making it easy for us”

    “Our administration is working night and day to keep you safe – including reporters…”

    “Extreme vetting will be put in place even thought the…circuit is in chaos (court)”

    “We will be issuing a new and comprehensive order to protect our people next week”

    “To drain the swamp I’ve imposed a five year ban on lobbying”

    “Obamacare is a disaster folks,”

    “One of the greatest cabinets ever assembled in history”

    “ending the bleeding of jobs from our country”

    “every country takes advantage of us, almost”

    “There has never been a Presidency that has done so much in so short a time”

    “God bless America”

  3. After the ridiculous comments he made above, the rest of this press conference has been a direct attack on the press, arguing with the reporters in the room, insisting that they are fake and out to get him. He complimented FOX news on fairness and good reporting. “The whole Russian thing is a ruse” WTF!! Now more bizarre rambling about Putin. Reporters are trying to get concrete answers on real issues and he deflects immediately to how he’s being misunderstood and misrepresented and keeps reviving Hillary Clinton and her faults. Wow, the angry ranting about how he’s “not going to tell” the press what he’s going to do about international aggressions. This guy is off his rocker. Very frightening.

  4. No Dan, never hesitate to weigh in. It’s not good for anyone to exist in a bubble. Correction is valuable. The good thing about this site is the different perspective offered by commenters from the international community and I also need perspective from other Americans too.

  5. A wave of profound pessimism just hit me.

    I think it’s over now, Laurie. Trump’s press conference juxtaposed with Friedman taking questions amid protests sent a message to my brain: the great spirit of America is no more. We are a destroyed nation. We have gone to Hell, and MLK warned us about that. The forces of reaction and greed have won. It is a nation gone mad. I see no light at all.

    The rest of us progressives and people of justice and conscience have nothing left but scrambled brains, Bill Maher, and an impotent, vague desire to reverse the current state of affairs. But we’re fucked. It’s all over. Warren can’t save us. Sanders and Schumer can make some noise… It’s over. Nothing left for people of good will but to be trampled underfoot. It will get worse and worse and worse. That is what I think at the present moment. (Maybe I’ll feel better after some coffee, but I doubt it.)

  6. Dan

    Oh jeeze I missed the Friedman conference. Probably for the best. Yesterday’s press conference with Netanyahu and now todays shit show press conference with mentally unstable Trump has me stunned.

  7. There is a philosophical adage that whatever you invent for constructive purposes, will have a proportional destructive capability……the ying & yang of life. The intriguing part is that it is always proportional.

    The Internet represents a truly revolutionary tool in facilitating instantaneous global communication between individuals and groups alike.
    I firmly believe a key catalyst of the ‘Arab Spring’ was the facilitation of individuals being able to communicate across boundaries traditionally controlled by regimes. As an example, individuals were able to bypass traditional propaganda influences and get real information from actual family and friends on ‘the other side’. In other words, while traditional regimes spread misinformation to their own citizens about the state of affairs in other countried, the Internet made it possible for individuals to learn the truth about what was really happening in other parts of the world.

    What we’ve been seeing more of late is that same powerful communication tool being used to exploit people….basically the regimes have caught on to using the Internet to spread propaganda.

    The partisan politics within the US is now palpable. Logic and objectivity have been pushed aside by political correctness and political agenda. Social media is now being used to co-opt collusion and mob thinking. People are unwittingly gravitating to receive information that which only caters to what they already believe, rather than hear both sides of an issue. This accelerates and hardens the partisan mindset. It becomes a lynch mob mentality.

    Now begins the counter to fake news, which is sure to be a strange evolution. With regards to global communications I think we’ve just gone from playing checkers to playing chess. The mind games to manipulate the masses have only just begun.

  8. LaurieB #3
    Feb 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    He complimented FOX news on fairness and good reporting.

    I see he pronounced his travel ban to be “perfect”, and the roll out of it “smooth”! It had to be rushed into place so all the “terrorist citizens” from the 7 banned countries (who had never attacked the US on US soil before), could not rush in ahead of the ban and attack the US!

    “The whole Russian thing is a ruse” WTF!!

    Ah! But Trump supporters are “good people” because they are Trump supporters!
    How could they possibly be Russian spies, or loose mouthed security risks?
    How dare the FBI or CIA challenge Trump appointees, just because they have monitored their (denied) illegal phone calls about changing US foreign policy or sanctions on Russia before Trump appointed them to high office!

    Apparently the chaos was due to the bad judgement of the courts! 🙂

    The delusion bubble is apparently unaltered by any reported facts which have since come to light in the course of the court cases! !

    Still! The Trump supporters should feel safer – now that the mentally unstable IN the US have had their right to buy guns restored!

  9. @OP – And that’s exactly the problem: Trump, arguably the most powerful man in the world, is promoting false information at a record rate and discrediting investigative journalists at the same time.
    In essence, he is attempting to become the sole arbiter of “Truth” (or his twisted version of it) in America.

    I see Arkrid Sandwich has linked this on another thread.
    It is perhaps appropriate here!

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/opinion/mental-health-professionals-warn-about-trump.html?smid=fb-share&_r=2&mtrref=www.independent.co.uk&assetType=opinion

    His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize.
    Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

    In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed.
    We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

  10. Laurie,

    Former Fox News employee Greta Van Susteren (now on MSNBC) just interviewed Netanyahu with a frozen smile on her face. He just sat there and lied with that grating voice of his. She did not question anything that he said! Awful!

    I do think the cable news media is getting a bit better. Trump is bringing out the best in some of them.

  11. Dan
    I couldn’t stand to watch that interview. Couldn’t take it after the press conference today. I hate Netanyahu’s voice too. Deep and authoritative while lying and conniving. Why is Greta on MSNBC ? I don’t know much about her (because I don’t watch FOX as you might have guessed by now 😉 )

  12. Vicki

    From your link:

    Bottom line: Pat Robertson is still alive; and he believes that his imaginary God is a Trump-loving, conservative Christian, just like him.

    I can’t wait for Trump to get caught with an open microphone saying something like, “Fucking Christ”. Let’s see how sicko Robertson likes him then.

  13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39000389

    US President Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser has turned down the job offer.

    Retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward was widely tipped for the post after Mr Trump fired Michael Flynn on Monday.

    A White House official said Mr Harward cited family and financial commitments, but US media said the sticking point was he wanted to bring in his own team.

    Mr Flynn had misled US Vice-President Mike Pence over his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US.

    The latest setback emerged hours after Mr Trump robustly denied media reports of White House disarray, insisting in a news conference that his administration was running like a “fine-tuned machine”.

    “It’s purely a personal issue,” added the 60-year-old former Navy Seal who is currently based in Abu Dhabi as an executive for US defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

    Asked about reports that he had asked to bring in his own staff at the National Security Council, Mr Harward said: “I think that’s for the president to address.”

    Mr Flynn, a retired army lieutenant-general, was ousted amid claims that before he was even appointed as national security adviser he had discussed sanctions with a Russian envoy.

    This would have potentially breached a law banning private citizens from engaging in diplomacy.

    Mr Flynn initially denied having discussed sanctions with Sergei Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.

    But on Monday, Mr Trump asked for his resignation following revelations that Mr Flynn had misled the vice-president about his conversations with the diplomat.

    God grief!! Someone proposing bringing in a team selected by competent people to the Trump administration! 🙂 Horrors!

    Next people will be suggesting scientists to head and supervise science related departments, and diplomats to negotiate with foreign governments! 🙂 Perhaps even competent legal advisers to seek compliance with the constitution and federal law! ! !
    Nah! – Too much for Trump to stomach! – legal advisers – who don’t tell the president what he wants to hear – have to be sacked for studying the same heretical law books as those darned judges!!! !!

    Two other contenders – retired General David Petraeus and acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg – have also been tipped to take on the job.

    Mr Kellogg, a retired three-star general, was named acting national security adviser after Mr Flynn stepped down.

    The 72-year-old had a long career in the US Army, serving in Vietnam and Iraq, before retiring in 2003 and becoming a security consultant for software giant Oracle Corp.

    Mr Petraeus, a celebrated former four-star general, retired as CIA director in 2012 after it emerged he had given top-secret material to his biographer, with whom he was also having an extramarital affair.

    He is still serving two years’ probation after his conviction for mishandling classified information, and would need to notify his parole officer if he wished to move to Washington DC.

  14. Well it’s nice to see that the House Oversight Committee chaired by sleazeball Trump surrogate Jason Chaffetz have finally found something to investigate. “Oh what?” I hear you all ask. Contacts with Russian intelligence? Trump giving away state secrets? Unsecured mobile phones used by Trump and his people? Nope, they’re going after Brian Pagliano the computer specialist who set up Hillary’s private email server many years ago. Maybe they’ll have another look at Benghazi when they’re done with him. Tossers.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/16/chaffetz-seeks-to-charge-ex-clinton-aide-in-email-inquiry.html

  15. Arkrid, nothing surprises me now; but that did – a little. I think this atrocious move is good in a way. People will come to regard Hillary as someone who has been and is being persecuted, as a kind of martyr. This will create sympathy for her, which she deserves. (I personally think she deserves a lot of respect too; I still think she’s a good woman and a highly capable public servant.) And people will turn on her persecutors; they may not buy it this time. This kind of turn-around in public sentiment does happen.

  16. Dan

    I agree about public sympathy for Hillary. Trump can’t resist trashing her and blaming her even though he won the election. Poor loser. No honor. Is there anyone our age, male or female who didn’t grow up learning the lesson of how to be a good winner and a good loser? Then here comes this morality challenged psycho who can’t take his win, make nice with the opponent and launch into a positive program for the country and bring the losing party into the plan for the good of everyone. But no, Trump won’t be satisfied until he has everyone groveling at his feet and genuflecting.

    Hillary was more than patient with that ass Trump and maintained a professional attitude in the debates while he acted like a bizarre toddler (remember the creepy stalking incident?) and now he takes every opportunity to further impugn her. This will be interpreted as hostile harassment for no good reason.

    In addition to that we have the shutting up of Elizabeth Warren in the Senate a few days ago. Dan, I’ve got to tell you that there is a long shitty history of men shutting women up and this has always been a feminist action item from way back. This is how to infuriate women. Every woman in this country who has one molecule of feminism, justice and self respect was burning mad when that happened.

    Now something else to piss me off that happened a few minutes ago, there’s lard ass Trump standing there at the Boing facility with two planes behind him. One is airforce one and the other is a new sleek plane, I don’t know what the hell it is but whatever. So Trump points to his plane and exclaims over what a great plane it is and says that it’s thirty years old and still looks great. He said something like – What still looks good at thirty years old, this plane (points to plane). Ok, so with this guys reputation of abuse and objectification of women, how do you think I interpreted that? 🙁

    Now the African-American community is pissed off over his treatment of the journalist yesterday at press conference. He’s a sexist and a racist. He doesn’t even try to hide it, the pig.

  17. LaurieB #18
    Feb 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    So Trump points to his plane and exclaims over what a great plane it is and says that it’s thirty years old and still looks great.
    He said something like –
    What still looks good at thirty years old, this plane (points to plane).

    Something which is thirty years old in the aero-space industry, only “looks great” to an uneducated science duffer!
    To anyone familiar with the technology, who looks beyond the gloss on the new paint, it looks obsolete – although possibly serviceable operating as a patch-up job in some deregulated third-world backwater or some vintage air show!

  18. Laurie

    I agree with everything you said, and I understand that there is a long history of men suppressing women, which made McConnell’s gesture all the more infuriating.

    He asks a respected reporter (who happens to be black) if she knows anyone in the CBC and if she could set up a meeting! (Almost funny; almost; life isn’t a sit-com.)

    “The plane is 30 yrs old and still looks good.” Yup. Good observation, Laurie.

    Alan or Laurie or Arkrid, can you explain this Boeing BS to me, if you have a moment? What was that spectacle all about today? I didn’t get that, smell a rat. Doesn’t he have stock in Boeing?

    Sexy Katy Tur (Sorry) on MSNBC seems positively gleeful today. Why is she so happy? Trump is sick and is heading to Florida to meet his adoring fans.

    Mika won’t allow Kellyanne on the Morning Joe show anymore. (“Not as long as I’m here.”) Good for her.

  19. Dan #20
    Feb 17, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    “The plane is 30 yrs old and still looks good.” Yup. Good observation, Laurie.

    Alan or Laurie or Arkrid, can you explain this Boeing BS to me,

    You would have to ask Laurie about Trump’s comments.

    My comment about 30 year old planes referred to the fact that airlines usually replace old planes with newer technology at 20 – 25 years old!

    http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/commercial/about-our-market/assets/downloads/Boeing_Current_Market_Outlook_2015.pdf
    {Page 24 and Page 25}

    The number of single-aisle airplanes reaching 25 years of age has traditionally averaged 250 to 275 annually, but that figure will double to more than 500 by the beginning of the next decade.
    Meanwhile, the number of widebody airplanes reaching 25 years of age currently averages approximately 100 annually but will increase to well over 200 during the same period.

    Our long-term view of market demand is that airplane
    replacement will form 42 percent—a figure that has increased
    nearly every year as more fleets in emerging markets
    launch replacement cycles in the 20-year timeframe
    .

  20. Alan

    No, I meant: what was he doing in South Carolina this morning? Not asking you about the comment. What is the Trump – Boeing connection? Any insights?

  21. Dan
    One thing about Boeing is that Trump made some big stupid deal about the price of the replacement for airforce one that is in the works now apparently. Started bragging about how he would knock them down on the ridiculous price and save the taxpayers a bundle. While he’s at it how about not taking the current plane out on jaunts to his gaudy Florida resort every weekend. It costs millions of dollars every time he goes there and it’s costing 500,000 dollars/day to keep Melania in NYC says MSNBC. Penny wise and pound foolish.

  22. LaurieB #23
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    While he’s at it how about not taking the current plane out on jaunts to his gaudy Florida resort every weekend. It costs millions of dollars every time he goes there and it’s costing 500,000 dollars/day to keep Melania in NYC says MSNBC.

    It seems to be invariably the truth that those who tell others how important it is so economise, balance the books, cut down on big government, reduce the national debt or whatever the specific topic at hand is, never want it to actually apply to themselves. I’m sure Trump’s ego is having a high old time with the entire economic resources of the country at his disposal to blow millions on a whim every time he wants to go away. Perhaps it helps make up for the tiny inauguration crowds and shrinking poll approval numbers that he keeps denying but which must be chipping away at his insecurities.

    Paul Ryan meanwhile has found a wonderful way to finance the huge tax cuts he wants to give to the very rich – imposing import taxes on consumer items so the taxes to be cut for the wealthiest 1% will be paid for out of the pockets of the other 99% of ordinary wage earners. It’s coming up to 4 months since the election and I’m still shaking my head in bemusement about why anyone would vote for these disgusting people.

    I suppose a month in is still a bit soon to make a totally fair judgement but I see echoes of a number of things which should make anyone fearful.

    I see echoes of the propaganda of Nazi Germany and the constant messages that America is a dystopia which only Trump can solve. It’s straight out of Hermann Goring’s playbook and the quote about how the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders by telling them they are being attacked.

    I see echoes of McCarthyism as sectors of society are demonised and villified, banned from coming in or rounded up and deported.

    I see echoes of the spectre of internment camps for the Japanese during WWII.

    I see echoes of the behaviour of tinpot tyrants in African republics where the elite keep all the oil money for themselves and the people go hungry.

    It’s just been reported in the British press that one of our famous footballers can no longer visit the USA because he once played a testimonial charity football match in Iran many years ago. The paranoia is growing steadily and history teaches us that paranoia fuels bizarre and unacceptable behaviour if nothing is done to counter it.

  23. Arkrid Sandwich #24
    Feb 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I suppose a month in is still a bit soon to make a totally fair judgement but I see echoes of a number of things which should make anyone fearful.

    Normally in politics, after detailed committee work and debates prior to approval, it takes months or years for disasters or successes to be properly evaluated as changes are phased in and monitored!

    But hey! Trump is pronouncing his measures as smooth-running “winning successes”, almost before the ink has dried on his comically badly drafted documents – so mean media critics and courts, should stop bursting his ego-bubble by monitoring, reporting effects, and checking for legality and effectiveness, – and just applaud like his cheerleaders do! (allegedly)!!

  24. LaurieB #23
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    One thing about Boeing is that Trump made some big stupid deal about the price of the replacement for airforce one that is in the works now apparently. Started bragging about how he would knock them down on the ridiculous price and save the taxpayers a bundle.

    Perhaps he could get a really good price if he changed the order to one for the purchase of a second-hand time-expired Boeing 707 from some African airline, and had the interior fitted with luxury furnishings!

    With some new paint an aircraft even more than 30 years old could “look great”, and perhaps solve a whole load of problems for the USA and the world when transporting Trump across some ocean – while maintaining the sort of de-regulated safety standards he has in mind for the public! 🙂

  25. @#25 – Normally in politics, after detailed committee work and debates prior to approval, it takes months or years for disasters or successes to be properly evaluated as changes are phased in and monitored!

    When I was sitting on a political committee, I could always tell that I had won on persuading reluctant members to support my amendments to proposals, not only by the vote, but also when some of the less reputable politicians on that committee, claimed credit for initiating the changes a few months later in their publicity leaflets or press comments!

  26. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39018096

    Donald Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans “without the filter of fake news

    Ah! That’s why he loves Breitbart, Fox, and babbling those “alternative facts” on Twitter! 🙂

    US President Donald Trump has launched another fierce attack on the media at a “campaign rally for America” event in the state of Florida.

    He told the crowd in Melbourne the media did not want “to report the truth” and had their own agenda.

    The village idiot sheeples at rallies love to lap this stuff up!
    Like creationists and anti-vaxers, they seek to inflate their reported numbers to give the public the impression of wider support for their nonsense than they actually have!

    The more reputable critically objective media, don’t want to report fictional propagandist “Trump troooofs”, so his psychological projection goes into hyper-drive!

    He also defended the achievements of his presidency so far, insisting that a spirit of optimism was sweeping the US.

    . . . . . And had a muppet fan come on stage to applaud these “achievements”, although apart from generating chaos at airports, being a laughing stock in court, and causing concern, abroad, in numerous government departments and industries, he has only signed poorly thought-out (and probably some illegal) documents, and on the ground actually “achieved” nothing! – Unless you count getting applause from inflaming clueless sheeple fans, an “achievement”!

    Then things changed: Tara McKelvey, BBC News, Melbourne
    Before Air Force One landed, President Trump came to the back of the aeroplane.
    He shook our hands and told us we’d see “a fantastic crowd of people” at the rally.
    He was warm and friendly to us on the aeroplane but things changed at the rally.

    Standing on stage, he said reporters “are part of the corrupt system”.
    When he attacked the media, people in the audience screamed their support.

    I sat with other journalists in an area that was surrounded by metal gates. At times the animosity towards the media felt personal:
    my colleague was taking photos, and one man held his hand in front of her lens.

    As we left the hangar, another man said to us: “Goodbye, lying media.”

    It should be obvious, that when Trump and Co. are in charge of organising an event, he is given a stage for preaching his lying propaganda.

    What is needed is a plentiful supply of media reports from specialist experts and analysts from events organised by other people in reputable organisations.

  27. Trump’s comments about “terrorism in Sweden” to his cheerleaders in Florida seem to have generated considerable scepticism and mockery in Sweden!!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39020962

    During another ferocious attack on the media on Saturday evening, US President Donald Trump cited a non-existent incident in Sweden, baffling many – not least Swedes.

    “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible,” the new US president told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Florida.

    It was not entirely clear which incident he was referring to, as many on Twitter pointed out, including the former Swedish prime minister:

    So what exactly happened in Sweden on Friday?

    There were no reported terrorist incidents in Sweden on Friday.

    Some people suggest Donald Trump might have been referring to a clip aired on Fox News on Friday night of a documentary about alleged violence committed by refugees in Sweden.

    “There was an absolute surge in both gun violence and rape in Sweden once they began this open-door policy,” Ami Horowitz, who made the documentary, told Fox News, referring to Sweden’s decision to open its doors to large numbers of refugees in 2013.

    Fox News is known to be among Donald Trump’s favourite cable TV channels.

    Others are speculating that the president may have confused Sweden with Sehwan, in Pakistan, where a suicide bombing on a Sufi shrine killed at least 80 people on Friday.

    What about terror attacks?

    There have been no terror attacks in Sweden since the country’s open-door policy on migration began in 2013.

    As British historian Simon Schama, says: “The real Swedish message: 200,000 refugees, no terrorist attacks.

  28. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38663043

    Trump tracker: How much has the president achieved so far?

    {I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done
    President Trump, 16 February}

    After four weeks in the White House, he said “incredible progress” had been made, having signed some two dozen executive actions and put his signature to several bills.

    He also fired his scandal-hit national security adviser and an acting attorney general, who defied his seven-nation travel ban, which later suffered an appeals court defeat.

    So what has President Trump achieved so far?
    In the weeks and months to come, we’ll be tracking the progress he makes on his agenda and how it is received by the American public.
    (Continued on link)

    Mr Trump won the election with low approval numbers so it’s unsurprising they’re still low, but the scandal over his team’s contacts with Russia and his controversial travel ban have kept them falling.

    Do the numbers matter? Maybe not, for now. Republicans control both the House and Senate so in theory he can pursue his legislative agenda without worrying about his ratings – as long as he keeps his Republican colleagues on side.

    But if his ratings stay low or fall further, expect some dissenting voices to emerge in the party as Republicans start to worry about midterm elections in 2018.

  29. I see Trump is still illustrating his dictatorial gross incompetence, and utter lack of diplomatic or legal skills, churning out idiot orders!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-39054999

    Mexico’s foreign minister rejects Trump deportation policy

    Mexico has condemned new guidelines issued by the United States, under which almost all illegal immigrants can be subject to deportation.

    The new rules include sending undocumented people to Mexico, even if they are not Mexicans.

    But Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says his country cannot “accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.”

    Two top US officials are in Mexico to discuss the measures.

    Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the head of Homeland Security, John Kelly, will hold talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto, amid one of the most serious rifts between the two neighbours in recent years.

    The changes announced on Tuesday include plans to enforce an existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act that allows authorities to send illegal immigrants back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

    But it is unclear whether the US has authority to force Mexico to accept foreigners.

    The Obama government focussed on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

    Now, the new priorities are broad enough to apply to almost any illegal immigrant, including anyone who has been charged with a crime, misrepresented themselves, poses a risk to public safety, or “abused any programme related to receipt of public benefits”.

    The new guidelines also allow Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people immediately.

    Expedited deportations can now be used against undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US, who are unable to prove they have been in the country for more than two years.

  30. @OP – The reference was in relation to false news stories and propaganda that propelled Donald Trump to the White House, of course, but that didn’t stop him from coopting the phrase

    While Trump continues in denial of genuine facts and real investigations, data keeps coming out!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39062663

    Russian military admits significant cyber-war effort

    Russia’s military has admitted for the first time the scale of its information warfare effort, saying it was significantly expanded post-Cold War.

    Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian “information troops” were involved in “intelligent, effective propaganda”, but he did not reveal details about the team or its targets.

    The admission follows repeated allegations of cyberattacks against Western nations by the Russian state.

    Nato is reported to be a top target.

    “The aim is to control information in whatever form it takes,” he [Keir Giles] wrote in a Nato report called “The Next Phase of Russian Information Warfare”.

    “Unlike in Soviet times, disinformation from Moscow is primarily not selling Russia as an idea, or the Russian model as one to emulate.

    “In addition, it is often not even seeking to be believed. Instead, it has as one aim undermining the notion of objective truth and reporting being possible at all,” he wrote.

    Russia rejects Western narratives about its “disinformation”, instead accusing Nato of aggressive expansion and support for anti-Russian nationalists in Ukraine.

    Russia’s effort in cyberspace is under intense Western scrutiny following high-level US accusations that Russian hackers helped to swing the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.

    According to Mr Giles, the Russian military decided to prioritise information warfare after the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict. The country’s security apparatus drew lessons from its “inability to dominate public opinion about the rights and wrongs of the war”, he said.

    Commenting on Mr Shoigu’s remarks, former Russian commander-in-chief Gen Yuri Baluyevsky said a victory in information warfare “can be much more important than victory in a classical military conflict, because it is bloodless, yet the impact is overwhelming and can paralyse all of the enemy state’s power structures”.

  31. Meanwhile in the UK the clueless ideological Jeremy Corbyn is still supported by his loony left, and his minority of MPs, and has just led his party into losing a long held Labour seat in the Copeland, by-election despite the unpopularity of the present government!

    Despite putting up their new leader, UKIP lost their challenge in the other by-election where disaffected Labour MPs had resigned.

    His hard-core left, are still echoing Tory-story propaganda, describing the vote for brexiteer fairy tales as, “The will of the people” – despite knowing full well that the the whole thing is a heading the UK into a complex chaotic calamity!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39064149

    The Conservatives have won the Copeland by-election, beating Labour in an area it represented for more than 80 years.

    Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes to Labour’s Gillian Troughton’s 11,601.

    Mrs Harrison hailed the victory – the first by-election gain by a governing party since 1982 – as “a truly historic event”.

    Labour’s Gareth Snell held Stoke-on-Trent Central with 7,853 votes, seeing off a challenge from UKIP leader Paul Nuttall who got 5,233.

    Labour had held both seats since their creation but was forced to defend them when two former frontbenchers, Tristram Hunt and Jamie Reed, resigned as MPs.

  32. Trump and his loud-mouthed incompetent shower, attack anyone who says anything they don’t like – in disregard of policy, laws, ethics, national interest or anything else that would be expected of a competent political leadership! !

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39080673

    The White House has confirmed it asked an FBI official to discredit reports President Trump’s campaign aides were in touch with Russian intelligence.

    The White House acknowledged its chief of staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI’s deputy director to dispute a New York Times article alleging Moscow links.

    CNN reports the FBI refused, citing an ongoing inquiry into claims of contacts between Trump aides and Russia.

    Mr Trump has responded on Twitter by railing against FBI “leakers”.

    “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time,” Mr Trump, who is due to address a conservative political gala on Friday morning, tweeted.

    “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on US. FIND NOW.”

    The New York Times reported last week that US agencies intercepted phone calls last year between members of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence agents.

    Mr Priebus asked FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to pour cold water on suggestions of communications between Mr Trump’s staff and Moscow.

    As of Friday, the FBI has not commented publicly on the report.

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer refuted the CNN report.

    “We didn’t try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth,” he said.

    Mr Trump has been dogged by claims of alleged links to Moscow since his presidential campaign.

    The president asked for national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation last week after he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about his contacts with a Russian ambassador during the transition.

    When pressed about Moscow ties last week, Mr Trump said “nobody that I know of” spoke with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.

    Democrats said Mr Priebus was in violation of a policy limiting communication between the White House and law enforcement on pending investigations.

    Michigan Representative John Conyers, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said: “The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers.

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