Tinpot Administration Is Apparently 'Building Dossiers' On Journalists Who Criticize Trump

from the referred-to-the-House-Committee-on-Unamerican-Activities dept

President Trump openly admires authoritarians. It appears he believes he was being elected dictator rather than president, and has been openly bitter about his perceived lack of power ever since. The world leaders he enjoys talking to most -- Vladimir Putin, Mohammad bin Salman, Recep Erdogan -- are all notorious thugs who punish critics, dissidents, and anyone else who steps a little out of line.

Trump envies that power. He spends most of his phone time trying to impress a collection of international asshats. And he embarrasses himself (and us by proxy) when speaking about his favorite shitheels in public. Just recently, Trump spent part of his meeting with an American pastor recently freed from a Turkish prison praising the man who had put him there.

"I have to say that, to me, President Erdoğan was very good," Trump told [jailed pastor Andrew] Brunson. "And I know they had you scheduled for a long time, and you were a very innocent person, and he ultimately, after we had a few conversations, he agreed. So we appreciate that, and we appreciate the people of Turkey."

Like Erdogan, Trump appreciates at least one person in Turkey: Recep Erdogan. Those two are aligned there. They're also aligned in their desire to punish their critics, even as they preside over countries that have enshrined free speech and freedom of the press. (Yes, even Turkey has a Constitution that name-checks freedom of expression. It has been ignored for decades.)

In Turkey, this hallowed right has been hollowed out, moving Turkey to the top of the "Most Journalists Jailed" list. Here in the United States, we're not quite up to jailing journalists. But we are placing them under surveillance. And in the latest free speech chilling news emerging from the Trump administration, the White House is building an "ENEMIES" list filled with journalists.

In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere accused The Washington Post of "blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization" and demanded "it must stop."

"Please be advised that we are building up a very large 'dossier' on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people," Deere said.

This was unveiled in Farenthold's latest piece for the Washington Post, exposing the funneling of federal tax dollars to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and other properties -- places where the president spends an inordinate amount of time. According to Farenthold's report, at least $900,000 in taxpayer funds have been spent at Trump businesses, much of it for the Secret Service agents who must accompany Trump wherever he goes. Trump heads to his own properties when away from the White House. And he does this frequently: 271 times since he took office, according to this report. It's a wonder the price tag isn't even higher, considering the Trump Organization tacks on things like daily "resort fees" and $1,300 "furniture removal charges" to the bills taxpayers are footing,

The White House -- which should be fully separated from Trump's personal business ventures (as Trump promised to do shortly after being elected) -- is targeting journalists for digging into the Trump Organization and its federal "guests." It's not a jailing but it's a still a threat -- one that seems completely out of place in the Land of the Free where speaking about political issues is at the top of the list of things protected by the First Amendment.

It appears Trump regrets taking the top job in a nation that shields his worst enemies from government censorship and prosecution. But there's nothing preventing him from making them miserable. And when you're someone who appears indifferent to everything -- including bad optics -- why not compile a bunch of info White House officials can hate read whenever they feel "oppressed" by the people they serve.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, authoritarian, david farenthold, donald trump, dossiers, free speech, journalists, recep tayyip erdogan
Companies: washington post


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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 3:30am

    "I have to say that, to me, President Erdoğan was very good"

    Which, of course, is all that matters. The suffering of the man he's addressing is secondary to his own ego being stroked.

    I wish I could say it's the dumbest thing he's said recently, but him claiming to have spoken to Jacob Blake's family pastor (to which the family responded "we don't have a pastor"), and talking in glowing terms about a man who just killed 2 people are only the tip of the things he's said this week alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 4:18am

    How far is he willing to go with his attempt at silencing critics? He has already claimed that several critics should be put in jail, for things he thinks are illegal.

    Is this a police state? I guess that depends upon ones definition.

    I hope there are not too many people out there that want to live in a police state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 4:39am

      How far is he willing to go with his attempt at silencing critics?

      As far as his enablers in the three branches of the federal government will let him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 4:46am

      Re:

      "I hope there are not too many people out there that want to live in a police state."

      I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. There are many people out there actively rooting to do just that, under the delusion that they will be the oppressors when that happens. Hopefully, enough people will vote against them in November.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:22am

      Re: how far

      ... guess you never heard of Barrack Obama who holds the modern Presidential record for arresting and spying upon journalists.

      Abraham Lincoln holds the all time record for brutal mass suppression of newspapers, publishers, editors and reporters who opposed his war policies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:30am

        Re: Re: how far

        Well, thanks for the history lesson even though it has nothing to do with my comment.

        Providing rationalization of present activity via a review of history ... that's the way we have done it before ... does not cut the mustard. It is bullshit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re: how far

        Even assuming that was true about Obama going after individual journalists(which would also be bad, so unless you're hypocritically going after Obama for what you're giving Trump a pass for...), I don't seem to recall Obama openly and regularly attacking the press as a whole in an attempt to undermine them so that the public would ignore and/or not trust them when they report on that week/day's debacle, so at most you'd had 'Obama did something bad more often than Trump has(so far), but Trump is still much, much worse on a related action that has wider impact.'

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 3:52am

        Re: Re: how far

        What was that, Baghdad Bob? "But Obama!!"?
        THAT's your whole argument?

        This may come as news to anyone who wasn't raised to fundamental human decency but the argument "But that guy was acting badly so that means I can, too" doesn't fly even in pre-school.

        And your argument about Lincoln would mean that genocide is still OK because past national leaders have perpetrated such.

        At least have the moral courage to admit the truth that you're still so scarred for life about a Black man being president that you've regressed to the state of a toddler throwing tantrums.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 4:40am

          Re: Re: Re: how far

          "What was that, Baghdad Bob? "But Obama!!"?
          THAT's your whole argument?"

          It's all they have. They can't actually defend anything Trump does, so they have to indulge in a good dose of whataboutism.

          It's not quite as dumb as the fearmongering "this is what the US will be like if Biden is elected" (handily ignoring that all the pictures are from Trump's America), but it's the same kind of thinking.

          "the argument "But that guy was acting badly so that means I can, too" doesn't fly even in pre-school."

          It seems that a lot of people didn't graduate from there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 8:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: how far

            It seems that a lot of people didn't graduate from there.

            It is a consistent level of mental development(or lack thereof) though, given bigotry is basically the adult version of 'ew cooties'.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 5:34am

    Exactly the same as previous administrations

    The Clintons had the secret service stay in a home on the new property they purchased in New York. The amount that they charged the Secret Service, pays for not only the house the SS stay in, but the entire mortgage for the whole thing. They directly profit from having to have Secret Service around them so why can't any other president?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      teka, 2 Sep 2020 @ 5:56am

      Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

      https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/landlords-of-misrule/

      In short: No. you are wrong. Repeating a cool fun talking point you found on facebook or on your special safe forums wins you no point. You are either lying for perceived political points or you are letting yourself be used by others like a cheap plastic fork (useful for a moment, then discarded without a thought when you get it dirty)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:35am

        Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

        Unfortunately, quoting snopes is a rather ineffective way of confronting falsehood, especially when it is being spread by an Alt-right type (the type who most often, but not uniquely, spreads falsehoods about he Clintons).

        The reason is that they have all sorts of conspiracy theories about snopes that allow them to ignore any fact-checking there. The origin of this prejudice is actually well-known and documented on several fact-checking sites (including at least one right-ish favourite). Snopes exposed a con man (and it was a man, so this is descriptive, not generic) who retaliated by a) passing himself off as a right-wing type, under assault by the "media" and b) making several bizarre, false and damaging claims about snopes. The right (especially those of an "alt" nature) ate it up and have since pretty consistently ignored or rejected any snopes fact checking.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

          Only ineffective for those who adhere to the three monkey mantra.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

            Which, unfortunately, is most people. Especially if they've already come up with an excuse to ignore your source.

            And especially those on the political extremes, like the extreme hard left of the democratic party and the 80% plus of republicans who worship the Donald.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

              "the extreme hard left of the democratic party"

              Those people would be termed "moderates" in most other countries. The US has no far left with any political capital.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrat

                Yup, what ever is not presently mainstream is extreme and therefore not worth knowing about. The overton window has been moving to the right for several decades now, and the right is still not satisfied.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 3:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

              "...like the extreme hard left of the democratic party"

              Which, in todays US political scale, would include Reagan and Eisenhower. McCarthy might count as a moderate centrist according to the alt-right today.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 3 Sep 2020 @ 4:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrat

                The only difference between McCarthy and the current crop is that he was at least railing against actual communists. He was wrong, astoundingly counter-productive and his methods horribly destructive to innocent people, but at least his perceived opponents really were communists, rather than just people suggesting the poor get healthcare and unemployment benefits.

                The moment he spoke up to explain to these people what communism actually was, he'd be kicked to the curb.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

        Haha, isn't snopes that site that tries to fact check the babylon bee?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          teka, 2 Sep 2020 @ 10:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

          There are an unfortunately large amount of "satire" pieces that seem engineered to act as ammo for people tilted toward a skewed position. Once the "satire" goes through a few layers of "FW:FW:FW:RE:You GOtta Raed THIS screenshot of a facebook post and pass it On!" it might just be news that PROVES that there was secretly a basement under the pizza place after all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 5:59am

      They directly profit from having to have Secret Service around them so why can't any other president?

      1. You’re referencing something that happened after Bill Clinton was no longer president; he wasn’t using the power of that office for personal financial gain.

      2. You might want to get your shit straight on that story, too.

      3. The power of the office of the president — or any public office, really — shouldn’t be used for personal financial gain; that numerous lawmakers believe otherwise and act accordingly is an ethical dilemma (and possibly a legal one), but it is also a cold reality that spits in the face of idealism and asks for payment in return.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:03am

      Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

      That's your bar? "Well, I was told that guy was stealing, so I'll start robbing the place as well"?

      No wonder your country's in such bad shape. Even if you were telling the truth (and it appears that you're not), you're happily engaged in a race to the bottom.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:10am

        Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

        I mean, this is a pretty prevalent attitude throughout the country, unfortunately.

        "If owning slaves was good enough for George Washington"....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

        I mean, this is a pretty prevalent attitude throughout the country, unfortunately.

        "If owning slaves was good enough for George Washington"....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Exactly the same as previous administrations

          "this is a pretty prevalent attitude throughout the country"

          Reminds me of what every mother tells her kids.
          If your friends jump off a cliff ....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 7:37am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:08am

    Inverted Lists

    Wouldn't it be faster and easier to list the people who're aren't critical of Trump?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:11am

    If he wins re-election we'll see journalists who report on leaks start to get arrested, disappeared to dark military run holes while the crazed 'Mah Freedum!', 'Cancel culture!' and 'Free speech!' loons on the right cheer, caring not one jot about their fellow Americans or the freedoms they're giving up for spite.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 8:14am

    'I wish I could do that...'

    You can tell a lot about a person by who they admire, and the fact that Trump openly admires brutal dictators while tasking the government to put together a list of his 'enemies' on top of constantly attacking and belittling anyone that dares call him out on his actions seems to make pretty clear that he'd love to have as few limits as his idols, if only that pesky 'constitution' and 'laws' weren't getting in the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 10:33pm

    Trump should just do us all a big favor and choke to death on a hamberder. We would actually praise him with all our hearts if he were to die soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Sep 2020 @ 11:01pm

      Re:

      "Trump should just do us all a big favor and choke to death on a hamberder."

      After November. The last thing the world needs is Pence being ushered in on a wave of martyrdom.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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