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Real News or Fake News?

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

You can’t make shit like this up. Well, sometimes you can make shit like this up.

Three of the nine news items below are for the most part actually Fake News stories made up by yours truly, the present writer. The remaining six items are real news stories edited down and pasted-in from mainstream news sites. See if you can pick out the fake from the real news stories. (You probably can but the fact that you’ll have to think about it bit speaks volumes about the surreal madness of U.S. media-politics culture in the Age of Trump). I will identify the fake stories and give the full citations and URLs for the six real stories at my Website www.paulstreet.org

#1 Trump Suggested Nuking Hurricanes to Stop Them From Hitting U.S.

President Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president’s private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.

During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” according to one source who was there. “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” the source added, paraphrasing the president’s remarks.

Asked how the briefer reacted, the source recalled he said something to the effect of, “Sir, we’ll look into that.”

Trump replied by asking incredulously how many hurricanes the U.S. could handle and reiterating his suggestion that the government intervene before they make landfall.

The briefer “was knocked back on his heels,” the source in the room added. “You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?'”

Trump also raised the idea in another conversation with a senior administration official. A 2017 NSC memo describes that second conversation, in which Trump asked whether the administration should bomb hurricanes to stop them from hitting the homeland. A source briefed on the NSC memo said it does not contain the word “nuclear”; it just says the president talked about bombing hurricanes.

White House response: A senior administration official said, “We don’t comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team.”

A different senior administration official, who has been briefed on the president’s hurricane bombing suggestion, defended Trump’s idea and said it was no cause for alarm. “His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad,” the official said. “His objective is not bad.”

Story #2: President Again Claims He Can End Birthright Citizenship

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was looking “very seriously” at ending the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil.

Trump spoke to reporters as he departed the White House for a speech in Louisville, Kentucky. He said birthright citizenship was “frankly ridiculous.”

“We’re looking at it very, very seriously,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Trump has claimed he’d do away with it — he said something similar in October.

But the citizenship proposal would inevitably spark a longshot legal battle over whether the president can alter the long-accepted understanding that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil, regardless of a parent’s immigration status.

James Ho, a conservative Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge, wrote in 2006, before his appointment, that birthright citizenship “is protected no less for children of undocumented persons than for descendants of Mayflower passengers.”

But Trump has said he was assured by his lawyers that the change could be made “just with an executive order.”

Story # 3: Trump Considering Executive Order to Remove Latinos and Muslims From Federal Bench

Unnamed White House sources report that President Trump has asked his top political advisor Stephen Miller to draft an executive order that would remove all persons of “Muslim and Mexican or other Hispanic ancestry” from the federal judiciary and federal prosecutor positions. Trump said privately that he “doesn’t have any problem with Muslims or Mexicans being judges or prosecutors, just not in this country. Let them be judges or prosecutors in Iran or Guatemala or someplace like that.”

The rationale for the proposed ban would “have nothing to do with race or ethnicity” according to one of Trump’s top conservative backers and associates speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s just about our culture, Western civilization,” says the Trump confidante. “The president has great respect for other cultures. He has even more respect for American culture, which comes from Europe. It’s hard to expect people from one culture to make fair decisions on legal matters involving people from another culture. The president, as you may know, has had some issues over the years with judges and prosecutors not from his culture, his civilization. If they want to prosecute or make rulings on Anglo-Saxons and other products of Western civilization, then let them go to where they came from and try to do that there. There’s lots of crime to take care of in their homelands.”

The White House did not respond to requests for comment on what would certainly be a controversial policy move.

Story #4:They Won’t be Happy”: Trump Threatens to Nuke Anguilla

In a Tweet that took that surprised his own national security staff this morning, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened the tiny 90% Black Caribbean island of Anguilla, a British overseas territory, with “thermonuclear liquidation.”

“They won’t be happy, the Anguillans,” Trump wrote, adding that “It was a big mistake to go after Happy.’

The cause of Trump’s fury is an Anguillan court’s indictment of a Scott Hapgood, an affluent white banker from Connecticut, for manslaughter.

Last April 13th, Hapgood killed a Black Anguillan hotel worker, Kenny Mitchell, at an Anguillan resort. After he claimed to have felt threatened by Mitchell, Hapgood knocked the resort employee to the floor and pinned hm there for half an hour without proper breathing space. Mitchell died from asphyxiation

Eye-witness accounts of the murder do not fit Hapgood’s claim to have acted in legitimate self-defense.

Hapgood arrived in Anguilla last week to attend a preliminary hearing. Surrounded by armed security guards and donning a bullet-proof vest, the 44-year old financial consultant said he is eager for a trial that will prove his innocence. “Every court appearance means we’re one step closer to putting this nightmare behind us,” Hapgood said.

Trump said he doesn’t think “the Anguilians or whatever they call themselves” are “capable of holding fair trial for some rich guy they hate because he’s an American who worked hard.”

“Who are these people?” Trump asked reporters on the White House lawn this afternoon, “and what are they doing in the Caribbean? Rapists and killers who want to invade our golf courses from crime-infested places!”

“I asked somebody who knows Happy’s lawyer and he says that Happy denies killing that guy. I don’t see why he would have.”

“I don’t think there should be a trial,” Trump added. “Happy tried to have a nice vacation and bring some money to their island. Maybe he tried to give this guy some financial advice. These people could use some financial advice, trust me. And what does this guy do to thank him? Pulls a knife. Probably wanted to rape his wife and kids. That didn’t work out too good for him.”

“I doubt Happy can get a fair trial there. They probably hate him because he’s an American who worked hard for his money like me.”

“If Anguilla doesn’t drop this,” Trump warned, “a lot of people could die. What have they got on that island, 10,000 people or something like that? The real number is 17,400.

“I don’t want to wipe out 10,000 people, but I can do it and I will if I have to.”

“My client is not happy about this tragic incident,” Hapgood’s attorney says, “but he welcomes the president’s support.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press secretary has expressed “full confidence in the capabilities of Anguilla’s courts.” Johnson has so far refused comment on Trump’s threat to incinerate a British overseas territory.

Story #5: Trump’s Push to Hold the G7 at a Resort He Still Owns and Profits From

President Donald Trump wants to host 2020’s G7 meeting of international leaders at Trump Doral in Florida, a private club he still owns and profits from — a move that would serve as perhaps the starkest illustration yet of how Trump is normalizing corruption.

Having the G7 at Doral would be tantamount to “a free, giant international promotion” for Trump’s business, said Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in an interview with Vox.

Trump first raised the idea of hosting next year’s meeting at his Doral, Florida-based golf resort during a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, the last day of this year’s G7 in France, saying of Trump Doral that “we haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it, especially when you look at the location right next to the airport” in Miami.

Trump uses G7 to promote private Doral resort he still owns and profits from, which he says may host the G7 next year: “It’s a great place. It’s got tremendous acreage … people are really liking it … we haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it.”

Trump’s comments raised some eyebrows, and during his G7-ending press conference a few hours later, he was asked by NBC’s Hallie Jackson to respond to people who are concerned he’s profiting from the presidency. He responded by plugging Trump Doral.

“With Doral we have a series of magnificent buildings — we call the bungalows — they each hold from 50 to 70 luxurious rooms, with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It’s, like, such a natural,” Trump said, before adding, dubiously, that “in my opinion I’m not going to make any money.”

Shortly after the press conference ended, the White House Twitter account seemed to make the announcement official in a tweet featuring video of the comments Trump made promoting Doral.

Story # 6: Trump Says “The Radical Left Democrats” Spread a “Nasty” Bedbug Rumor

The news that President Donald Trump might hold the 2020 G7 summit at Trump National Doral sparked a worldwide Googling party that turned up stories on a 2016 lawsuit alleging bedbugs at the Northwest Miami-Dade resort.

And that, in turn, sparked a Twitter retort from the President of the United States:

“Donald J. Trump

✔@realDonaldTrump

No bedbugs at Doral. The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice”

Story#7: Trump Says His Friends in the Military, Police, and a Biker Group Might Get “Tough” on Democrats

Breitbart published an interview with President Donald Trump in which he suggested that his supporters in the military and police would rally to his side in a way that would be “very bad, very bad” if things get “to a certain point.” Here’s the full quote in context, with the relevant portion highlighted in bold:

“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening, [Trump said when asked by Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle about how the left is fighting hard.] You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is –you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”

While it’s perhaps impossible to dissect the precise meaning of Trump’s words here, it appears to be a vague threat that “tough” supporters in the military and police—who are presumably armed and whose work can involve using physical violence—will do something that will result in a “very bad, very bad” outcome if pushed to a “certain point” by the president’s political opponents.

Perhaps the “very bad” thing that would happen as a result of “tough” Trump supporters in the military, police, and Bikers for Trump being pushed “to a certain point” would be taking part in a peaceful protest that gets out of hand due to factors beyond their control. Maybe he’s talking about a less violent form of aggression that’s nonetheless “very bad, very bad.” But the more obvious—and plausible—interpretation is that the president is suggesting these armed political supporters would respond violently if his presidency is imperiled.

Story # 8: Trump Considering Declaring China a “National Emergency”

U.S. President Donald Trump recently “ordered” American multinational corporations to look for alternatives to China as an investment location. When various media outlets and political leaders pointed out that he lacked the political authority to do that, Trump cited the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The IEEPA, passed in response to the Iran hostage crisis, permits a POTUS to “regulate commerce” during a specific and declared “national emergency.”

Short of declaring Chinese trade “a national emergency,” Trump’s capacity to rule over United States companies’ economic relationship with China is restricted largely to tariffs. If he were to take the remarkable step of declaring trade coming from the giant Asian state with world history’s largest national pool of cheap labor a “national emergency,” however, Trump could block future U.S. funds from being transferred there and could otherwise create an atmosphere so hostile to U.S. business with China that multinationals would be compelled to relocate.

In recent discussions, White House sources report, Trump has told advisers that “it’s not just Chinese trade that is a national emergency. It’s China itself. No China, no Chinese trade. No China, no unfair Chinese trade practices.”

“I just looked at a map. It’s huge. More than a billion people. What if it wasn’t there? No China, no problem.”

Trump’s top economic advisors Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro have been asked by the president to draft a declaration identifying the existence of China – a civilization with a recorded history that dates back 5000 years – a national emergency for the United States.

It is unclear whether Kudlow and/or Navarro will act on the request. White House observers note that Trump often forgets assignments given to his staff.

Story # 9: Trump Claims Google “Manipulated” Millions of 2016 Votes

In a tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump made a sensational allegation about Google:

“Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch,” Trump wrote.

He was referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein, which was discussed on Fox Business earlier on Monday.

But Trump did not describe the research correctly. And the research itself has been called into question.

Epstein himself says Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein did find “bias” in Google search results, but he says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” the results to favor Clinton. Also, critics of the study note that there is no definitive link between search results and voting behavior in presidential elections.

Story # 6: World

You can’t make shit like this up…wait, maybe you can, sometimes. Real or Fake News? See www.paulstreet.org

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Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

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