Patrick Radden Keefe (2022) Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers Rebels and Crooks.

Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning author of Empire of Pain. Before I read his book I hadn’t heard of the billionaire Sackler family and how they created an opioid addiction factory (Purdue Pharmacy) that killed tens of thousands and made them obscenely wealthy. I had, however, heard of the moron’s moron and former President Donald J.Trump. I’m a Trump watcher. It baffles me that 74 million Americans voted for him in 2020. And it frightens me that he’s got a fifty-fifty chance of beating Joe Biden in the November election this year. Trump isn’t just a threat to American democracy but an existential threat to the world. He’s a human apocalypse waiting to happen.

I watched Robert Monroe’s documentary on ITV, Trump the Return, which confirms what we already know. Joe Biden is regarded as too old. The moron’s moron, however is timeless, playing the same old games and pedalling the same old lies.

His playbook comes from the four ds of Big Oil and Tobacoo played on a loop: i) discredit, ii) deny, iii) deflect, iv) delay to fight another day.

My gut reaction the Ku Klux Klan Acts of 1870 and 1871 is the one that will nail him.

Patrick Radden Keefe offers an account of Trump before he became Trump. The key to the lock when we look back on our assumptions that the moron’s moron isn’t evil, or in other words, when Donald was just Donald, a second-class grafter.

Winning an article written in 2019 presents as evidence how a former Glaswegian, British paratrooper, Mark Burnett, created the moron’s moron as future President. It’s 2002. Burnett, a marginal figure in Hollywood, hires Wollman Rink in Central Park. He was using it for the live broadcast of his franchise Survivor. The property was leased to Donald Trump. Anyone that knew Donald Trump at that time knew he would turn up to a stamp-licking competition if there were cameras. He sat in the front row with his then girlfriend, Melania Knauss.

Burnett later suggested he knew how to read a room. He knew how to read Trump. Listen to how he flatters him. He said, ‘I need to show respect to Mr Trump. Welcome, everybody to Wollman skating rink. The Trump Wollman skating rink is a fine facility built by Mr. Donald Trump. Thank you, Mr. Trump. Because the Trump Wollman skating rink is the place we are tonight and we love being at the Trump Wollman skating rink. Mr.Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.’

No great surprise that shaking hands with Burnett, Trump called him ‘a genius’ for recognising his genius.

Trump was already the genius that has written Art of the Deal. Only he hadn’t. Tony Schwarz wrote the book, which he regretted. Not because it was a bad book but Trump claimed it as his own. He rather grandiosely condemned Trump ‘as the monster I helped create’.       

Schwartz was a bit player. Burnett tells a story of how he courted Trump by flattering him and telling the moron’s moron how he’d changed his life. Trump liked to tell the story of how he created the idea for The Apprentice. Burnett, unlike Schwartz, never contradicted the moron’s moron.

For each show they shot over 300 hours of footage, but used less than an hour. Much of it focussed on Trump. Burnett liked to say of reality television, ‘You don’t make anything up. But you accentuate things…’ Things like Trump claiming he’d created the show’s theme phrase, ‘You’re fired’.

Trump, despite being the focus of the show, came unprepared the supposed series of business challenges the competitors had to compete. The moron’s moron—as was show at his Presidential briefings—had little idea which competitors performed well or badly. Sometimes a competitor performed well. Only for Trump to fire him on a whim. Since he was never wrong, editors had to go through hundreds of hours of footage to find a few moments when the best candidate had not been at his or her best.

‘Reverse engineering’ wasn’t possible in the White House on in meetings with world leaders.

None of those who worked with him on The Apprentice voted for the moron’s moron in the 2016 election.

Braun, an editor on the show, suggested.

The Apprentice portrayed Trump not as a sleezy hustler who huddled with local mobsters, but as a plutocrat with impeccable business instincts and unparalleled wealth—a titan who always seemed to be climbing out of helicopters or into limousines. “Most of us knew he was a fake. He had just gone through how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king.’  

It seems incredible to believe the court jester, the spreader of hatred and lies, was the 45th American President. Read the runes and weep. He might be the 47th.


The relationship between Trump, Rupert Murdoch, and Fox News undeniably played a substantial role in shaping the political landscape of the 2016 election. While it provided the moron’s moron with a powerful platform and a direct line to a key demographic, its impact must be understood within the broader context of a changing media landscape and the complex factors that influenced voters during that transformative election year.

1. Polarization and Echo Chambers:

  • Against: Critics argue that the Trump-Fox News alliance contributed to the polarisation of media and politics. The echo chamber effect limited exposure to diverse perspectives, reinforcing existing beliefs among Fox News viewers.

2. Blurring of Journalism and Advocacy:

  • Against: Some view the close relationship between Trump, Murdoch, and Fox News as emblematic of a broader trend where journalism becomes intertwined with political advocacy. This blurring of lines raises concerns about media objectivity and bias which the moron’s moron weaponised as us and them.

The phrase "Make America Great Again” used by President Ronald Reagan (often abbreviated as MAGA) was popularised by Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. It became his campaign slogan and a central theme of his candidacy. While the exact origin of the phrase may not be directly attributed to Trump himself, he and his campaign team embraced and popularised it as a rallying cry for his supporters.

Key Points:

  1. Usage by Trump:
  • Trump first used the slogan during his campaign announcement speech on June 16, 2015. The phrase encapsulated his promise to address what he saw as challenges facing the United States and to restore what he perceived as the country's former greatness.
  1. Rejoinders and Criticisms:
  • "America Was Never Great": A rejoinder to MAGA emerged with the phrase "America Was Never Great." This counter-slogan was used by some individuals and groups critical of Trump's campaign slogan. It aimed to highlight historical and ongoing issues such as systemic inequalities and injustices.
  • "Make America Hate Again": Critics of Trump and his policies, particularly regarding immigration and racial issues, adapted the slogan to "Make America Hate Again." This modification sought to emphasize concerns about divisive rhetoric and policies that some felt fueled hatred or discrimination.
  • "Make America Smart Again": This rejoinder was used by those who opposed Trump's policies, particularly on issues related to science, climate change, and environmental policies. It implied that Trump's approach was not aligned with a vision of a scientifically informed America.
  1. Purpose of Rejoinders:
  • The rejoinders aimed to critique and challenge the narrative put forth by Trump's campaign slogan. They reflected different perspectives on the country's history, current challenges, and the impact of Trump's proposed policies.
  • These counter-slogans were often employed by individuals and groups advocating for social justice, equality, environmental responsibility, and a more inclusive vision of America.

3. Criticism of Softball Interviews:

  • Against: Trump's frequent appearances on Fox News were not without controversy. Some critics argue that the network provided him with a platform for softball interviews, avoiding tough questioning and substantive policy discussions.

Arguments For the Influence:

1. Shaping the Conservative Narrative:

  • For: Trump's relationship with Fox News allowed him to shape the conservative narrative, framing issues and events in a way that resonated with a significant portion of the white electorate and make them feel under threat and unappreciated.

2. Mobilizing the Base:

  • For: The supportive coverage on Fox News contributed to mobilising the conservative base. Trump's messaging, amplified through the network, energised voters who felt represented in the media discourse.

Arguments Against the Influence:

1. Broader Media Landscape:

  • Against: Critics argue that the influence of Fox News, while significant, is part of a larger media landscape. Other factors, including social media, traditional news outlets, and grassroots movements, also played crucial roles.

2. Economic Anxiety and Populism:

  • Against: Some contend that Trump's appeal went beyond media alliances. Economic anxiety, populism, and a sense of disenfranchisement were significant factors that contributed to his electoral success.

Allegations of foreign interference will forever mark the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly through social media platforms. Central to these allegations were claims of Russian "bot" factories orchestrating disinformation campaigns to influence American voters.

Links and Tactics:

The Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm, stood at the centre of accusations regarding social media interference. Operating "bot" factories, the IRA was accused of creating fake accounts, disseminating divisive content, and organising events on platforms like Facebook to sow discord among American voters. Pro-Trump social media posts flooded newsfeeds, exploiting existing political divisions and amplifying controversial issues.

Mark Zuckerberg's Initial Denial and Subsequent Acknowledgment:

In the aftermath of the election, Mark Zuckerberg initially downplayed the impact of fake news on Facebook, dismissing the notion that it significantly influenced the outcome. However, as evidence mounted, Facebook's stance evolved. In September 2017, the company disclosed that it had identified thousands of ads linked to Russian entities. Zuckerberg, along with Facebook, acknowledged the extent of the problem, recognising the role of Russian interference.

Supposed Measures Taken by Facebook:

Acknowledging the need for corrective action, Facebook implemented a series of measures to address the issue. Stricter ad policies, increased transparency regarding political ads, and cooperation with investigations became central to their strategy. Zuckerberg testified before Congress in 2018, outlining steps taken to enhance platform security and prevent foreign interference. Ongoing efforts included the removal of fake accounts and deceptive pages linked to foreign entities.

The allegations of Russian interference underscored the vulnerabilities of social media platforms in the face of disinformation campaigns. While Facebook and other tech companies took steps to fortify their defences, the incident prompted ongoing debates about the role of tech platforms in safeguarding the integrity of elections.

The saga of Russian interference in the 2016 election through social media remains a complex and contested chapter in recent political history. The retrospective actions taken by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook underscore the challenges faced by tech companies in balancing freedom of expression with the responsibility to prevent the manipulation of public discourse which might jar with making money. The ongoing debates surrounding social media regulation and foreign interference continue to shape discussions about the future of digital democracy.

Trump and Putin.

  1. 2016 Election Interference:
    • During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, there were allegations of Russian interference in favour of Trump. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia engaged in a campaign of disinformation and hacking to influence the election. Trump’s election was met with joyous scenes in the Russian White House.
  2. Trump Tower Meeting:
    • In 2016, there was a meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., other campaign officials, and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The meeting raised questions about potential collusion, but Trump and his campaign maintained that nothing came of it.
  3. Michael Flynn's Contacts with Russian Ambassador:
    • Michael Flynn, Trump's first National Security Advisor, resigned in 2017 over misleading statements he made about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., during the transition period.
  4. Special Counsel Investigation (Mueller Report):
    • Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to investigate Russian interference, concluded his investigation in 2019. The Mueller Report did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, but it did document Russian efforts to interfere in the election.
  5. Media Coverage:
    • The allegations and investigations received extensive media coverage. Some media outlets speculated about potential connections between Trump and Russia, while others emphasised the lack of direct evidence of collusion.
  6. Trump's Denials:
    • Throughout his presidency, Trump consistently denied any collusion with Russia, often referring to the investigations as "witch hunts." He maintained that there was no wrongdoing on his part and that the allegations were politically motivated.
  7. Impeachment:
    • Trump faced impeachment in 2019 over the Ukraine scandal, which was separate from the Russia-related allegations. The impeachment charges did not directly involve collusion with Russia.

Investigations and reports have contributed to ongoing debates about the extent of Russian interference and its impact on U.S. elections.

QAnon is a baseless and disproven far-right conspiracy theory that emerged in the United States in 2017. The central tenet of QAnon is the belief in a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and global elites who are plotting against then-President Donald Trump. The conspiracy theory gained traction through online forums and social media platforms.

Key Points about QAnon:

Anonymous Posts ("Q Drops"): The conspiracy theory originated on internet forums like 4chan and 8chan, where an anonymous user claiming to have insider knowledge, known as "Q," made cryptic posts or "Q drops" that followers interpreted as predictions or clues that only they (the initiated) could understand.

Themes: QAnon incorporates various unfounded and debunked claims, including the existence of a deep state, global child trafficking rings, and secret efforts to undermine Trump's presidency.

Supporters of QAnon regarded it as a patriotic movement aiming to expose corruption and protect children. Some believed in the alleged imminent "storm" when the cabal would be overthrown.

Critics: QAnon has been widely criticised and debunked by mainstream media, fact-checkers, and law enforcement. Critics argue that the conspiracy theory is baseless, lacks evidence, and has real-world consequences, including incidents of violence and criminal acts.

Proliferation: QAnon gained visibility and spread through various online platforms, including social media, YouTube, and fringe websites. Some political figures indirectly or directly amplified QAnon-related content, further fueling its dissemination.

Deplatforming: Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have taken measures to combat the spread of QAnon-related content. QAnon has been linked to real-world incidents, including acts of violence and domestic terrorism.

Fringe Nature: QAnon is not based on credible evidence, and its claims have been debunked by experts and fact-checkers. It is widely considered a fringe conspiracy theory.

It's crucial to note that QAnon (and the moron’s moron) lacks credibility, and its claims have been thoroughly discredited, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Ironically for some supporters, ‘fact checkers’ are inherently biased and makes it a more credible source, much like their leader’s legal woes. .