You never would have heard of Steve Bannon without Robert and Rebekah Mercer’s billions

A hoary riddle comes to mind. Question: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit? Answer: Anywhere it pleases.

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Mistakes in the news are not 'fake news' -- and tantrums from the faker-in-chief don't make them so

When they’re not frantically defending the Tweeter-in-Chief’s outbursts against Mika Brzezinski — the latest freak-out in his long-running misogynistic obsession with female blood — right-wing outlets have been jumping up and down about CNN as a “network in crisis,” a nonstop manufacturer of “FAKE NEWS” that’s been caught out. The tweeter-in-chief himself crowed:

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Watch what Trump tweets -- but more importantly what he does

I’m the last guy to turn my eyes away from the sub-Shakespearian maneuvers that may (or may not) be shuffling personnel behind closed doors in the White House. I confess myself tempted by the pastime so widespread in kingdoms and autocracies — rumor-mongering, or at a higher level, the conspiracy theorizing that enables us to pretend that the opaque has, momentarily, become transparent. In recent days, I couldn’t for one moment tear myself away from the recent on-screen dramas starring former FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. (It was a particular pleasure to hear Sens. Ron Wyden, Kamala Harris and on one occasion, even Marco Rubio, intimate that they know more than they’re letting on about what the Attorney General was unwilling to say.) I confess that from time to time I devour transcripts of the pratfall performances of Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and (bring her back!) Kellyanne Conway. I search through transcripts looking for revealing moments of semantic evasion, subject-changing, non-denial denials and non-responsive responses.

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Fox News columnist: Trump can order FBI to stop any investigation

Modesty is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of either Alan Dershowitz or Donald Trump. Still, it’s remarkable that they should resort to the identical words to express their respective self-infatuations.

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Sean Spicer regularly uses the stupefying form of speech that George Orwell called 'duckspeak'

The Trumps’ nine-day journey outside the United States was “incredible, historic…because it truly was an extraordinary week.” It was “unprecedented.” “We’ve never seen before at this point in a presidency such sweeping reassurance of American interest,” said press secretary Sean Spicer.

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How much of America is locked into a looking-glass world?

For getting a sense of what Americans think, decent polls, for all their deficiencies, are better than wild guesses. So consider the findings of a major poll that last month looked into the question of whom to believe, Trump or the major media. It ain’t pretty.

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Who is the real Steve Bannon? A dissection of Trump's Rasputin and his unending virtual pit of monsters

The home page of Breitbart.com, the quasi-official voice of Steve Bannon’s White House, is a virtual stew of menace, a pit of monsters, an unending onslaught of apocalyptic horsemen rearing up at full gallop, coming straight at you, drawing closer…. But what the Breitbart reader is not being warned against is poisoned water, eviction, a melting glacier, a rising sea, a pauper’s grave, a burning cross, a bank swindle or a loss of medical care. Those are the kind of fears that afflict liberal wimps brainwashed by “the enemy of the people.”

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Understanding the right-wing media alternate universe and the twisted 'truths' they report

I spent most of 2016 doing my duty as citizen, writer and educator aghast at the favors done for the unprincipled, incoherent, vicious, dangerous ignoramus Donald Trump by the business known as “the media,” formerly known as “the press” — an enterprise accorded privileges by the US Constitution on the quaint 18th-century belief that if the people are informed, they will make better judgments than if they are less so. Detailing the incomprehensions, incapacities, failures, inadequacies and airbrushings over the course of many months was not, for me, a feel-good exercise, but I judged it preferable to sitting at home griping, ranting and snarling to my family and friends while my mind exploded in the knowledge that the rudder was coming off the ship of state even if some last-minute reprieve might be granted.

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Trump is a co-production of nihilistic capitalism and unscrupulous entertainment

Which new installments — daily, hourly — of the enthralling Self-Demolition Tour of Donald Trump will emerge before the day is done?

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Donald Trump showed all he can do is prowl and fume

He paces. He prowls. He struts. His face is a mask pulled taut. His jaw is rigid from holding inside the rage that he knows he must keep locked up for the moment. Talk about body language.

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Here is why Hillary Clinton isn't thrashing Donald Trump in the polls

The other day, Hillary Clinton asked a union audience this question of questions: “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” Why indeed? She’s neither the first nor the last to ask. In recent days, I’ve heard the same words, the same incredulity, from a reporter and a retired historian from Paris, from professors and graduate students and the democracy-campaigning barrister Martin Lee in Hong Kong.

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It's disturbing that the deplorable violence at Trump rallies is evidently no longer 'newsworthy'

It has been widely reported that outside a Trump rally in Asheville, North Carolina, Monday night, Sept. 12, a 69-year-old woman was “cold-cocked” (her word) by an irate Trump supporter. The woman, Shirley Teter, later asked a reporter rhetorically: “Why did I get involved yesterday, at my age? Because I ran into another situation that was sickening my heart.” Ms. Teter preserved her sense of whimsy and irony, for she also asked whether “people find a Trump supporter punching her in the face deplorable.”

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Now is the time to pile on in defense of the idea that journalism requires a commitment to truth

After Today show glad-hander Matt Lauer disgraced himself on NBC Wednesday night — failing to correct Donald Trump’s lies about the Iraq war, promoting the notion that Hillary Clinton’s notorious emails constitute a serious blow to national security and repeatedly interrupting Clinton as she spoke whole sentences in response to his fatuous questions — squadrons of actual journalists stepped forward to deplore his insensitivity to truth.

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Why Trump presents a huge problem for presidential debate moderators

As TV news approaches more moments of truth (and untruth) in the coming presidential debates.

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The hidden depravity of the Trump campaign that no one is talking about

Is this presidential race anything more than a chronicle of depravity? Is it about anything more than race hatred, emails, the deportation of millions, Benghazi, the alt-right, the founding of ISIS, the building of walls and the finances of Ukraine, the insults directed at a former prisoner of war and the parents of a soldier killed in another war, the encouragement of mob rule and the donors to the Clinton Foundation?

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