Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Fascism

1. An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

1.1 (in general use) extreme authoritarian, oppressive, or intolerant views or practices.

Source Oxford Living Dictionaries
_________________________________________

Bill Maher is a comedian but he also has a serious side. On his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher he made the case Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He checked off the items on the authoritarian checklist:

  1. CheckmarkNarcissism
  2. CheckmarkFamily members in positions of authority
  3. CheckmarkRallies and military parades
  4. CheckmarkState media propaganda (Fox News often referred to as “Trump TV”)
  5. CheckmarkUsing office for financial gain
  6. CheckmarkAligned with other authoritarians/dictators
  7. CheckmarkBlames minorities for nation’s troubles
  8. CheckmarkSerial lying to the point the big lie supersedes the truth
  9. Wears a military uniform

Sure, we can argue the degree to which Trump is an authoritarian. Sure, we can quibble with items on the list like Maher’s tongue in cheek reference to Fox News as state TV. However, it’s hard to avoid Trump’s authoritarian tendencies.

Trump cartoonLooking back to the dictionary definition of “fascism” the other element is nationalism. It’s even more obvious in the case of Trump. “Make America great again” (MAGA) definitely is an appeal to nationalism. Trump’s slogan “America first” – clearly an appeal to nationalism – being a cornerstone of MAGA. Given all of Trump’s anti-immigration demagoguery, Trump is specifically advocating racial nationalism.

There are other ways to determine whether or not Trump is a fascist and the degree to which he is a fascist. John McNeill at the Washington Post wrote an article How fascist is Donald Trump? There’s actually a formula for that detailing an interesting and more sophisticated approach. Unlike Maher, there’s not a bit of humor in his analysis. He’s completely serious.

Hitler being the most famous fascist in history – and the scariest – a lot of Trump defenders will try to ward off all this talk of fascism by claiming his accusers are comparing him to Hitler or calling Trump a Nazi. And we all know when you start calling someone a Nazi you’ve lost an argument. But there’s degrees of fascism and nobody is accusing Trump of sending anyone off to death camps or wanting to conquer Europe. Trump is hardly violent by nature. Even the few people who scream “Nazi” at Trump really, in my humble opinion, are just pointing out his fascist tendencies. Not that he’s among the worst fascists in history. Though it doesn’t help when Trump implies illegal immigrants are vermin which brings back memories of how the Nazis characterized Jews.

However, just the mere fact we’re having this conversation is disturbing. No? Let a thought sink in: What does it say about America that we elected even a fascist-lite president? But that’s a whole different can of worms that deserves its own blog post.

I haven’t written a blog post in a long while so why now and why this hot button topic? Am I just pushing out some click bait? While I may never convince Trump’s supporters otherwise, the reality is his disturbing nativist immigration policies pushed me over the edge. Trump’s decision to separate children from their parents as a way to pressure Congress into caving and paying for his border wall and his litany of draconian immigration policies were just too much for me to take. I have to speak out against this clearest example of Trump’s fascist tendencies.

Safety is fundamental to happiness in our society. So when Trump says at rallies and pressers and during his rants on Fox News and in his nasty tweets on Twitter illegal immigrants are violent criminals it certainly puckers ones butt cheeks. But like so many things coming from The Donald’s mouth it’s mostly a lie.

He loves to fear-monger about MS-13 crossing our borders. And certainly it has. But what Trump doesn’t say is the majority of the movement has been from the United States to Central America. The sad fact is MS-13 started in Los Angeles. American law enforcement cracking down on the gang deported them back to their homeland where they’ve flourished to the point of greatly undermining security in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Most of the victims of MS-13 violence aren’t Americans but Central Americans who, ironically given Trump’s fascist demagoguery, are fleeing it to seek asylum in the United States.

To make his point Trump recently held a press conference showcasing families whose loved ones were killed by illegal aliens. What I heard from the portion live broadcast on cable news was one case of a drunk driver and one case of a violent criminal. Nothing regarding MS-13 though I’m sure there must be examples to be had since the gang is still active, if diminished, in America. But the reality is a case can be made illegal immigrants commit crime – particularly violent crime – at a lower rate than our citizenry. Trump’s own statistic he used at the presser that 63,000 Americans have been killed since 9/11, unsurprisingly, is lie that’s easily debunked.

The libertarian think tank The Cato Institute often associated with conservatism – rightly or wrongly – conducted a study of immigration and crime in Texas which mostly proved illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lesser rate than American citizens. The report concludes:

The homicide conviction rate for illegal immigrants was 25 percent below that of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015. The conviction rates for illegal immigrants were 11.5 percent and 79 percent below that of native-born Americans for the crimes of sexual assault and larceny, respectively. Illegal immigrants were more likely to be convicted of gambling, kidnapping, smuggling, and vagrancy than natives, but those crimes constituted only 0.18 percent of all convictions that year in Texas. For all criminal convictions in Texas in 2015, illegal immigrants had a criminal conviction rate 56 percent below that of native-born Americans. Legal immigrants had a criminal conviction rate 85 percent below that of native-born Americans.

Trump is also known to spew statistics touting huge numbers of illegal immigrant crimes. But a large percentage of these crimes is the ‘crime’ of illegally entering the United States in the first place despite the first offense merely being a misdemeanor. Which I think is rather bogus since many people like myself see the need for a liberal immigration policy to fill jobs Americans won’t do but are nonetheless vital to our economy. Yet until Congress can get its act together one can argue a crime is a crime even though Trump sycophants must admit the act itself is victimless. Oh, and don’t conflate me calling illegal immigration being victimless with the separate issue of a small minority of illegal immigrants at some point during their stay here committing a crime. That’s a separate issue I dealt with earlier.

If conservative nationalists like Trump are going to wet their pants as long as there is a single crime committed by illegal immigrants in the United States – other than the ‘crime’ of sneaking into America illegally – then we have an impossible goal. There are an estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants in America. Certainly in a population that large some criminals will be found. However, I’d argue the benefits of illegal immigrants far outweigh their costs as they’re vital to our economy. Is 12.5 million too many? How many more do we let in? What does legal status mean (e.g. is there a path for citizenship or are they perpetual guest workers)? Those questions are open for honest debate. But Trump’s zero tolerance policy and other various intimidation policies hoping to not let any more in and send those already here back home isn’t a solution, it’s a problem. And it’s clearly ugly fascism at work which history will judge us harshly for. Guaranteed.

Advertisements

Yes, America, Our Media Failed Us For Election 2016

I mainly want to point people to Daily Kos’ “The media has failed this nation“. Frank Vyan Walton covers most of what I’d say. He likely has a broader perspective because the majority of the news I watch is hyper-partisan Fox News which is nothing more than a news format for right-wing blog and radio content their executive suite view as marketable to a broader, more mainstream conservative audience.

As Fox News has grown into an unwatchable Donald Trump infomercial when it isn’t trying to destroy Hillary Clinton, I switched over the CNN. CNN is bending over backwards to look fair. Okay, that sounds terrific. Who wants biased coverage? However, at some point the purpose of a news network is to report the news and any analysis must be based on expert research, not partisan opinion.

…Fox News which is nothing more than a news format for right-wing blog and radio content their executive suite view as marketable to a broader, more mainstream conservative audience.

What CNN defines as fairness typically is gathering pundits, politicians, and campaign surrogates onto panels where important topics rarely are discussed long enough to get beyond shallow talking points which viewers hear repeated over and over again. Nothing is learn. Mud and dubious factoids are tossed back and forth. Infotainment.

Can we please depend more on in-depth expert, non-partisan analysis? What do we really understand of the candidate’s policies on health care, the economy, climate change, national defense, etc.? I’m not saying these topics are never discussed on CNN but the overwhelming emphasis I’ve picked up watching many hours of their Election 2016 coverage is the sizzle of the horse race, not the steak of actual policies.

Worse, CNN doesn’t seem to me to be just reporting on the horse race. It’s pretty clear CNN wants the horse race to be as close as possible. So we are bombarded with endless false equivalencies and imbalance in critical analysis to make it look like there’s no difference, say, in the honesty of Hillary versus Donald. Yet, a fact check comparison by PolitiFact proves Trump is by far the worse liar.

Is it any surprise in the absence of quality Election 2016 information and an avalanche of poorly fact checked partisan claims, conspiracy theories, speculation, and over-hyped scandal voters are frustrated and angry to the point most have a very poor opinion of both major party candidates and have an even lower opinion or our media?

Confirmed: Fox News ‘Media Watchdog’ Howard Kurtz A Right-Wing Hack

One of the biggest stories any media watchdog worth their salt should note this week is Fox News’ Bret Bairer apologizing for a poorly sourced story an FBI indictment is forthcoming for Hillary Clinton. So how did Howard Kurtz handle it given his first chance on his “Media Buzz” show? Kurtz buried the lead. Segment after segment he pounded home the point the liberal media is in the tank for Hillary Clinton. With 8 minutes left in the show he brought in Fox News’ supposedly ‘hard news’ reporter Ed Henry to discuss the FBI leaks media coverage in detail.

Boasting he was just “sticking with the facts” Ed Henry did his best to recast Baier’s bogus reporting as actually true at its core. Huh? Well, you can pull this off if you stick only to cherry-picked facts.

Henry’s data-mining gave Kurtz the chance to lead Henry through a long discussion of surgically cherry-picked facts to carry the narrative the Clinton Foundation scandal is a huge story that will run  on long after the election.

Certainly, the Clinton Foundation corruption narrative is legitimate and should be covered by the press. Certainly, the Clinton Foundation story will endure long after Election 2016 is decided. However, “Media Buzz” claims to be a media watchdog program. When the chance to watchdog Fox News’ own heavy conservative bias, Howard mostly took a pass. Worse, it’s pretty clear Howard was deflecting the conversation to mop up Bret Baier’s partisan sloppy reporting.

Howard leave the editorializing and even reporting of the news to other Fox shows. Not your job.

Return of Eyes On Fox Dot Org

On Twitter I’m EyesOnFoxOrg. Any of my Twitter followers visiting here must wonder about the Dot Org bit. Until today, going there sent anyone on a journey to Asia. Google translate and it’s obvious it’s your run of the mill parked domain page.

My Twitter handle is based upon the Eyes On Fox blog myself and a friend, Gary, ran for many years. “Fox” refers to Fox News which we monitored exposing the popular “fair and balanced” channel’s crazy right-wing bias. The domain eyesonfox.org was registered in Gary’s name as was the host account so, upon Gary’s way too premature death, the entire thing passed into oblivion.

The Propaganda Factory was a concept I toyed with concurrent with Eyes On Fox. The point was Eyes On Fox was focused solely on Fox News. The Propaganda Factory could have a broader scope but I never really did much with it as you can see. Both sites paralleled a general burnout in the blogging thing for me. I was able to pick up the eyesonfox.com domain – which Gary and I had before – as a link to the past but our core eyesonfox.org domain oddly passed through a series of owners who did absolutely nothing with it.

Anyway, while nobody cares but probably me, my namesake is back as of today. Whether I do anything with this site or not is an open question. Certainly Election 2016 has me worked up like much of our greatly divided nation. The biased coverage by Fox News, as expected, has gone way over the top as the “fair and balanced” “Trumpland” pundits populating all the hosting chairs collectively try to push The Donald over the top. It’s to the point with 3 days left it seems Fox is determined not only beat Hillary Clinton but to destroy her. So Fox News is always a rich topic to discuss in the context of propaganda.

But CNN isn’t exactly setting a high bar for journalistic excellence either. Their coverage while far fairer, is almost too fair creating false equivalencies to make Election 2016 an exciting horse race. CNN is the ESPN of news. Political sports entertainment. Keep it close. Keep eyeballs on the telly.

Then there’s the new CBS News streaming channel CBSN which didn’t even exist when Gary was alive. MSNBC which everyone thinks as a liberal Fox News until they witness “Morning With Joe” or watch Chris Matthew dump on Hillary Clinton who he complains he’s weary of and just wants to go away. But there’s Rachael Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell there still and nobody will claim they’re anything but liberally biased to the core. And the 3 major broadcast networks still do their pitiful 30-minute broadcasts a 6:30 PM. Oh, and don’t forget “PBS Newshour” which I like a lot. Must prove I’m a drooling left-winger. Even a Socialist. Maybe a Commie even. Or not.

And then there’s another play on propaganda. My own. Bother everyone with my own opinion like it really matters or is any more insightful than anyone else’s.

Time will tell. I’m just happy I got my name back.

How much does “fair and balanced” Fox And Friends hate Obama?

Tags

, , ,

Typically I start my morning watching Fox News’ Fox And Friends. Network morning shows are mostly light fare with a little bit of news mixed in. Fox And Friends is sort of like that except it’s far more heavily weighted towards red meat conservative politics.

It won’t take a viewer very long to realize the three co-hosts and most of the guests on Fox And Friends’ curvy couch hate President Obama. One regular Obama hater is billionaire Donald Trump. Brilliant self-promoter? Egomaniac? Take your pick or say he’s a lot of both. There’s no doubt he’s conservative. You don’t have to believe his repeated flirtations with running as a Republican presidential candidate to accept his conservative cred. Just catch a couple of his Fox And Friends visits where trashing President Obama is one of his favorite topics.

Like his last visit yesterday morning where him and his Fox And Friends buddies enjoyed his tweet smearing President Obama with blame for the Seahawk’s Super Bowl loss.

Trump tweet

Mocking any president is fair game. However, good luck finding any video of Fox And Friends similarly mocking, say, Obama’s predecessor President Bush. In fact, the Fox And Friends curvy couch crowd routinely bristles at the run-of-the-mill Bush isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack jokes which were very popular during his presidency and linger to this day.

The saddest part of all of this is this sort of hypocrisy is lost on Fox And Friends and Fox News programming in general. The dye in their wool is so deep red Republican I’m starting to think hating President Obama is what they view as a “fair and balanced” approach to news coverage and analysis. Witness habitual Obama critic Bill O’Reilly’s constant claim he’s fair to President Obama. Which is correct in the context of how tolerant can any Republican be of our president?

Fox News’ Outnumbered advertised as women outnumbering men. Ah, not really, gang.

Tags

, , , , , ,

I’ve never really watched Fox News’ Outnumbered before other than bits and pieces. However, I have today off for the Lee-Jackson holiday (hey, I live in the South so get used to it) and, sadly, I have nothing better to do. Yes, I need desperately to get a life.

Today might not be the best day to assess the show since it’s interrupted by a “Fox News Alert” with Bret Baier prepping viewers for a joint President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron press conference. However, I got enough of a taste to realize it’s the typical Fox News fair and balanced hypocrisy pimping conservative causes by being anything but.

This particular show features conservative Pete Hegseth as the guy supposedly in the hot seat facing the ladies. Yet, predictably, Pete has nothing to fear nor is there any point of view unique to the ladies you wouldn’t find during any other typical partisan Fox News exchange. Fox News likes to wave the flag so Pete, the former director of the partisan Vets for Freedom which has backed 10 Republicans while running ads opposing Obama, is the perfect pick to pimp Republican policies regarding terrorism, immigration, and all things related.

So who ends up in the hot seat? Left of center Kirsten Powers, the designated liberal on the program. Pete joins the rest of the women to push conservative talking points and piling on Kirsten when she disagrees.

The show reminds me of Fox News’ The Five. As the name implies, there’s 5 co-hosts on The Five. Since this is Fox News you shouldn’t be surprised it’s 4 articulate conservatives against 1 liberal. That single liberal usually is Bob Beckel who, quite frankly, is an embarrassment. Not only is Bob a pitiful debater, he’s a pathetic spokesman for liberalism being a dinosaur who reminds me of a Democratic version of Archie Bunker. Bob is a useful idiot Fox News uses as a tool to discredit anything not fitting their conservative agenda. More on why Fox News picks ‘liberals’ like Bob can be found here.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Brand New Gun. Fox News Fox And Friends Edition.

Tags

, , , ,

Christmas is a time for friends, families, the spirit of giving, and for Christians celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Just kidding. If you’re Fox News Fox And Friends it’s the season to spin right-wing politics. Brainwashing viewers is a 365 day a year operation.

So what’s the gift women Fox News targets are craving for Christmas? A new car? A diamond ring? guns for Christmas A trip to Hawaii? A Nordstrom’s shopping spree? Just kidding again. They want a shiny new gun. What else to get people who celebrate Christmas from their fear bunkers? Well, I guess you could purchase some ‘food safety.’

Now you see why I don’t hang out with right-wingers when they’re unwrapping presents. My luck, they packed the gun with bullets in it all ready for the gun-grabbing Obama adminstration’s ATF agents who are liable to kick down their door any minute and the one lib in the room accidentally gets it.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone!

Is Fox News’ Ed Henry a Real Reporter? I Don’t Think So.

Tags

,

Since Fox News isn’t so much a real news network but just a loud conservative messaging megaphone it logically follows their reporters are merely the tools speaking into said microphone. Enter Ed Henry.

Fox News Fox And Friends, 12/24/2014

Ed Henry and friends. Fox News Fox And Friends 12/24/2014.

I haven’t posted here in a long, long while. The issue hardly is having nothing to post about Fox News. If nothing else, Fox News is a reliable conservative propaganda factory. I’m also not sure why this minor point of bias by Ed Henry is a tipping point to get me to post something again because by Fox News’ outrageous standards it’s the mole hill casting the shadow of a mountain.

So it’s Christmas Eve which is naturally a slow news day. Fox News’ morning propaganda kick-off show, Fox And Friends, is reduced to 2nd and 3rd string co-hosts on the curvy couch. Ed breaches the cliché end of the year news retrospective networks use to plug the hole of little interesting news during the holidays. Only this is Fox News so it’s got to be immersed in politics. It’s Fox News so the spin must be hard right.

What Ed serves up is a softball interview of some pundit to reflect on the worst political stories. Didn’t catch her name. It’s not really important. I suspect it’s the typical Fox News set-up where a conservative spin doctor is peddled as an objective analyst but since I have no proof let’s say she’s truly non-partisan. Her selection wasn’t random in any case as she dives immediately into slamming Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats over Jonathan Gruber.

The punch line? Ed Henry realized what’s up. He’s playing propaganda charades. Deep down inside there’s a shred of guilt. His byline lists him as a “reporter” dagnabit! So he interjects his analyst is “fair and balanced” (yes, Ed used Fox News’ cynical tagline). The proof? She ‘criticizes’ the GOP Congress. That’s “fair and balanced.” Right? Wait for it….

One tiny little crack in the “fair and balanced” mirror. Her criticism of the GOP Congress is they didn’t stop President Obama. Seriously, Ed?

Fox Nation Chokes on “All Opinions Welcome” Slogan

Tags

, , ,

If you’ve got a sense of humor at all you’ve got to love Fox News. Seriously. Or maybe not so.

Their often parodied “fair and balanced” slogan needs no introduction. Witness Fox Nation’s daddy Fox News cable network’s “fair and balanced” debates. If you watch the network long enough wading through segment after segment softballing conservative politicians, activists, analysts, and pundits you’ll eventually experience one. The topic is invariably some red meat topic that’s percolated up from conservative talk radio and/or blogs. If the conservative guest runs into trouble dealing with the softballs they’re handed the “fair and balanced” host will gladly jump in and help them argue against the guest liberal. Yeah, those “fair and balanced” debates.

So we’re prepped for our Fox Nation experience. Any visitor to Fox Nation is greeted by “All Opinions Welcome.” Maybe so in some broad, we don’t censor comments sense. Maybe in some broad, if you dig long enough – like with our daddy – center-left content might momentarily break through the consistent conservative narrative like a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. Just don’t get your hopes up there’s a whole lot of sincerity in their promise. Well, it’s not really a promise. More like marketing hype. Like Frosted Flakes “tastes great.” Whoever coined that one never actually ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes I’m guessing.

So it’s no surprise their headlines follow a consistently conservative narrative.

Near the of the list as I type these words is “MUST SEE INTERVIEW: Rush On Why He Does His Job.” Then there’s Mark Levin’s “Levin: Benghazi ‘Iran-Contra Times A Thousand’.” If you’re not impressed with the diversity of “all opinions” yet there’s “Krauthammer: Poor Folks And Congress Will Get Obamacare Subsidy.” Calling from Fox News’ stable of “fair and balanced” ‘news analyst’ hosts there’s Bill O’Reilly’s “O’Reilly to ‘Race Hustler’ Al Sharpton: ‘Your Day Is Done’.”

Drowning in “all opinions welcome?” Me too. But Fox Nation is so much more than punditry. There’s news to be found there too!

Stories like “Where’s Obama On The Democratic Sex Scandals?” Then there’s “Weiner: ‘I Can’t Promise No Surprises’ Before Campaign Ends.” Let’s not overlook “Leno: How Do You Get Lower Than Anthony Weiner?” It seems Fox Nation has Weiner of the brain.

I won’t list every ‘article’ but they are all conservative opinions. All are critical of liberals except one “Conservatives Challenge McConnell To Defund Obamacare: ‘If You Fund It, You Own It’” which is a conservative group going after a Republican for – wait for it – not acting conservative enough. Who said Fox News doesn’t criticize the GOP?

Fox And Friends’ Steve Doocy Busted Taking Obama Completely Out of Context on Business Remarks

Tags

, , , ,

Steve Doocy

Steve Doocy “Worst Person in World” again?

The Propaganda Factory’s inspiration is the conservative agitprop channel Fox News. Posing as a news channel, Fox News is largely a megaphone for right-wing talk radio, red blogs and conservative think tanks like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Fox News feeds a willing tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear partisan audience slam dunk half truths proving pure conservative ideology is infallible good. Everything else is liberalism and, if you’ve watched much Fox News, you quickly realize liberalism isn’t just a misguided policy failure, it’s a moral one as well.

Kicking off Fox News’ propaganda spew each morning is Fox And Friends. Lightly camouflaged as your run of the mill fluff morning show, Fox And Friends focuses heavily on politics. It’s all about constructing conservative narratives so you’ll rarely see a Democrat on the show unless they’ve crossed the aisle to join the Republicans. Fox And Friends is so overtly biased I usually find it quite funny. However, Fox And Friends’ bovine excrement isn’t always so obvious. Jon Stewart, who also often finds Fox And Friends quite funny, provides this telling example:

– Jon’s skit starts around the :50 mark.

This is classic “fair and balanced” Fox News participating in a tag team event with right-wing pundits and team Romney.