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Danziger: Hell Hath No Fury

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at

Who Is In Charge Of Border Policy: Hannity Or Limbaugh?

During Trump’s rambling, incoherent Rose Garden diatribe on Friday to promote his bogus “national emergency” declaration, a reporter asked him whether right-wing pundits had influenced his decision to declare an emergency in order to get around Congress and build a border wall.

“Could you tell us to what degree some of the outside conservative voices helped to shape your views on this national emergency?” asked NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.

Trump immediately responded by showering praise on Fox News host Sean Hannity — a serial liarwho has been repeatedly caught pushing bigoted stories and smears — for leading the way on the right-wing agenda Trump pursues.

“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do,” Trump gushed.

“Not of me,” he added quickly. “If I changed my views he wouldn’t be with me.”

Trump then went on to describe the consistently racist Rush Limbaugh, who once called a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton “the White House dog,” as “a great guy,” and marveled at his ability to “speak for three hours without a phone call” in front of “one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world.”

After Trump continued to swoon over Limbaugh’s broadcasting skills, O’Donnell interrupted him to ask if figures like Hannity or Limbaugh are deciding policy.

“They don’t decide policy,” Trump insisted, adding that if he “went opposite” from the ideas they support, they would not go along with him.

While Trump said that they don’t “decide” policy, his effusive praise for Hannity and Limbaugh when asked about their influence on his policy painted a much different picture.

And by insisting that these pundits would stop supporting him if he made decisions they didn’t like, Trump accidentally confessed the truth: He knows the right-wing figures he so admires might abandon him if he doesn’t do what they want.

In reality, though, it takes a lot for these pundits to abandon Trump. And the influence clearly goes both ways.

Contrary to what Trump said, Hannity quickly changed his tune and supported Trump’s decision to sign a bill funding the government after fuming about it at first. The New York Times reported that the Trump White House reached out to Hannity and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs to get them on board with the funding deal.

At the same time, Hannity and other right-wing media hotheads saw Trump dance to their tune as he invoked the “national emergency” declaration that they have been insisting on for months.

After celebrating Hannity and Limbaugh, Trump also praised columnist Ann Coulter because “she said ‘Donald Trump’” when she was asked who would win the 2016 election. He also said Laura Ingraham, one of his most loyal attack dogs, is “great,” and that Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a favorite of white supremacists, “has been great.”

Trump has long relied on right-wing media to do much of his thinking for him, enlisting Hannity in particular as an informal presidential adviser with frequent telephone calls.

Trump’s decisions to engage in destructive behavior, like shutting down the government or declaring a national emergency, have largely been based on the ranting he watches on Fox during his so-called “executive time.”

In exchange, right-wing media outlets have become Trump’s reliable propagandists, attacking his political enemies and legitimate reporters while unquestioningly promoting his administration’s destructive policies and rhetoric.

Trump owes his political career in large part to the right-wing press, since he used his frequent appearances on Fox News to promote his racist “birther” conspiracy theory against President Barack Obama.

Trump has now used the presidency to completely enshrine the most extreme right-wing voices that are the most detached from reality as the senior shapers of American policy. Their fingerprints are all over ideas of Trump’s that have disrupted the lives of millions of people.

In many instances, thanks to Trump, these absurd figures have far more influence than government agencies and departments staffed with high-level experts.

Thanks to Trump, people like Hannity and Limbaugh are now running the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 


Furious Ann Coulter Denounces Trump Signing Of ‘Open Borders’ Bill

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Backed into a corner and with a dwindling set of options, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will declare a national emergency to secure funds for a border wall, even while he signs a government funding bill that allows for only $1.3 billion to be spent on barriers between the United States and Mexico.

And many of his vocal supporters — including those who are most virulently anti-immigrant — are not happy about the deal.

Daniel Horowitz, a conservative writer, an op-ed for The Blaze denouncing the bill after it came out, noting that it’s complexities and the rush to pass it pose many dangers for the president.

“That is exactly why Democrats are salivating to vote on this within a few hours of passage, which is exactly why Trump has a responsibility to oppose it immediately and demand at least a short-term clean continuing resolution so that he can digest the consequences of this bill,” wrote Horowitz earlier on Thursday. “If he cannot make that simple demand, which would not even trigger a phony shutdown, then his presidency is worthless.”

On Twitter, he argued that the legislation is actually the “worst amnesty bill ever,” arguing that provisions will allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country by sponsoring unaccompanied minors.

“Over the years, immigration lawyers and judges have cleverly taken statutes and flipped them 180 degrees to use for amnesty,” he said. “Now Congress is green lighting it in plain language. You cannot imagine the cascading affects of this.”

Of course, Horowitz’s argument depends on fundamentally cruel and prejudiced views of immigration. But his reaction may come to shape the views of Trump’s anti-immigrant supporters.

Ann Coulter, another pundit known for her support of the president and her fiercely anti-immigrant views, was equally apoplectic about Trump’s strategy. She argued that by signing the funding bill, Trump will actually undermine his emergency declaration.

“To declare a national emergency, Trump will now have to argue that a bill HE SIGNED was unconstitutional,” she said. “Ask your new AG if this is a good idea.”

She continued, spitting fire:

Ann Coulter

There’s no coming back from this. No “emergency” or presidential powers will allow him to build the wall, ever, after he signs this bill. Trump has just agreed to fully open borders.

3:58 PM – Feb 14, 2019
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3,457 people are talking about this

Writing for the National ReviewMark Krikiorian, the executive director of the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, argued that the bill itself will offer a veto to localities if they don’t want border walls built on their land.

“And which party controls all local government in South Texas? Go ahead, look it up, I’ll wait,” he wrote. “Rio Grande City is the least Democratic community in the area, and even there voters supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 by more than three to one.”

He didn’t bother to raise the question about why people who actually live on the border don’t actually seem to think there’s a crisis there at all.

Krikorian continued: “Add to that the bill’s prohibition on border barriers in a range of public parks and spaces — such as the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, La Lomita Historical Park, or the National Butterfly Center — and the 55 miles of new fencing supposedly provided for in the bill might never get built at all.”

An article on the deal for Breitbart used more tepid language to describe the agreement, but it ran with the furious headline: “CONGRESS SENDS OPEN BORDERS BILL / EPIC IMMIGRATION SNEAK: LOADED WITH LAST-MINUTE ‘LANDMINES’ /  TRUMP WILL SIGN IT — AND DECLARE NATIONAL EMERGENCY.”

IMAGE: Ann Coulter photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Will The Trump Show End As Farce Or Tragedy?

Recent events in Washington inspire nothing so much as sheer disbelief. Is this a government or a sitcom? Impeach Trump? Why not offer him a prime time gig on Fox News instead?
For the right price, he might take it.
“The Trump Show” could qualify as a brand new genre: “unreality TV”—whining, boasting, empty threats, laugh track and all.
Recently humiliated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the President of the United States has taken to feuding with far-right insult comic Ann Coulter. Until recently his champion—Trump seemingly shut down the U.S. government because she demanded it—Coulter reacted to its reopening by tweeting:
“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush. As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”
In the real world, the recently deceased President Bush flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific during World War II, before and after being shot down and rescued by a U.S. submarine. Later in life, however, he was often polite to Democrats, making him a coward by Coulter’s reckoning.
No less an authority than former Speaker Newt Gingrich rose to Trump’s defense, pointing out that the blonde ectomorph had no clue how to put together a congressional majority. Because when it comes to shutting down the government and throwing public tantrums, nobody knows better than Newt.
Coulter responded rudely: “To those who would attack Newt, please remember that just as collusion is not a crime, kissing the emperor’s ass violates no federal law.”
Meanwhile, Emperor Trump broke into rhyming couplets that sounded like nothing so much as O.J. Simpson’s late defense attorney Johnny Cochrane.
Cochrane: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
But, hey, it worked for OJ, right? Perhaps Trump can come up with a fitting trope for his old pal Roger Stone, busted last week for lying to Congress about his 2016 dalliances with Wikileaks, Russia, and the Trump campaign.  
Striking Nixonian poses outside his Florida home, Stone whined that FBI “storm troopers” had treated him more harshly than Osama bin Laden—who, readers may recall, was shot to death in Pakistan by U.S. Navy Seals.
Somebody should familiarize Stone with special counsel Robert Mueller’s won-loss record as a prosecutor. Mueller doesn’t fool around. He indicts you, he’s got you. Better make a deal.
As for the FBI’s pre-dawn raid, that’s what the Feds do when they think a criminal suspect might destroy evidence. Stone alibis that if he were guilty of wrongdoing he’d already have done so. Judging from the indictment, however, that’s far from clear.
After all, what halfway rational person would threaten to kill a witness (and kidnap his dog) in a high profile federal investigation and do so via text message? That’s what the indictment says Stone did to one Randy Credico. While endlessly duplicitous, the man may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier.
Indeed, the dirty trickster’s latest pratfall reminded me of the time he accused Bill Clinton of making improper advances toward his wife at a funeral. It turned out that somebody paying with Stone’s credit card had been taking out ads in “swingers’” magazines: ‘Hot, insatiable lady and her handsome body builder husband…seek similar couples or exceptional muscular well-hung single men. She’s 40DD-24-36; he’s 195, trim, blonde, muscular and 8″+. Prefer military, bodybuilders, jocks. No smokers or fats please.”
Stone later admitted to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin that the swinger was him.
He’s one of Donald Trump’s oldest friends. What, then, do you think are the odds that he and Trump never discussed Stone’s communications with Wikileaks regarding stolen Democratic emails, as the president supposedly told Special Counsel Mueller in a written interrogatory? They two spoke on the phone constantly during the 2016 campaign — but never about that. Trump reportedly also denied that he was ever told about the infamous June 6 meeting between his son Donald Jr. and Russian operatives at Trump Tower.
Yeah, right.
If you believe all that, then you’re probably also taking seriously the president’s latest made-for-TV vows to shut down the government again in two weeks unless Congress funds his nonsense wall. That’s not going to happen, because if he tried it, Congress would override him overnight. The smarter GOP senators have clearly figured out that if Trump goes down to thunderous electoral defeat in 2020, he takes the Republican Party with him.
Somewhat more likely is a phony “emergency” declaration giving Trump the authority to raid the Treasury on behalf of his fixed idea. A congressional majority can reverse that too. So can the federal courts. Again, clever Republicans understand that abandoning the constitution’s separation of powers for Trump’s short-term political convenience could prove disastrous long term.
How The Trump Show ends, none can say; hopefully less in tragedy than in farce.