Decades of conservative efforts to work the press are paying off handsomely.

The front page of The New York Times carries a picture of President Trump on Feb. 25, 2017, a day after he criticized in a speech the FBI and journalists in New York City. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)


To merely make it through the day with one’s sanity intact is no small task during Donald Trump’s presidency. There are so many moving targets, and they proliferate so quickly, that it’s all but impossible to maintain any kind of equilibrium between outrages.

The phenomenon I find most difficult to stomach is Trump’s genius for upside-down attacks on the media. CNN spent the last two years sucking up to him, giving him billions of dollars’ worth of free airtime and hiring “analysts” whom Trump was paying to lie for him — and he nonetheless accuses the network of spreading “fake news” on those rare occasions when it actually reports real news. To Trump, it’s the real news that is “fake news,” and vice versa. Every day is Upside-Down Day.

The Times’ DC bureau is a particular problem: Its reporters and editors see themselves as part of the ruling establishment.

Mainstream media institutions have no idea how to deal with this situation. They know how to treat a president “respectfully,” saying things like he “misspoke” or, in extreme cases, “asserted, while failing to provide evidence,” when presidents lie. But they don’t know how to cover a pathological liar who has convinced himself of the truth of those lies and who is able to get millions of gullible Americans to believe them too. Trump may be Frankenstein’s creation, but the media long ago lost control of their monster.

Among the institutions trying to find their footing in our newly dystopian democracy, none is more influential than The New York Times. And none does a better job, or even comes close. The Times was among the first newspapers to call the president’s lies by their proper name, and much of what we know about Trump’s various machinations is due to its energetic reporting. But significant problems remain. They will not be easily fixed, since they’re tied to the paper’s DNA. The Washington bureau is a particular problem: Its reporters and editors see themselves as part of the country’s ruling establishment, along with politicians, lobbyists and various hangers-on. They can’t shake the old habits that continually allow The Times’ pages to be manipulated by the liars and charlatans who now run our government…

Source: The Media’s Addiction to False Equivalencies Has Left Them Vulnerable to Trump –

“There are a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” — Donald J. Trump, Feb.

…Of course, I could be wrong about all this, and it could be that resistance leads Trump to have second thoughts, makes civil servants across the government push back vigorously against fascism, and revives both the Democratic and Republican parties to go back to their respective liberal and conservative roots rather than the two-headed neoliberal monster they’ve become. We could have a mass movement of compassion toward immigrants, Muslims, and poor and unhealthy people in this country. The media could become a repository of diverse opinion. We could see mass support for disengagement from our wars in the Middle East and retreat from our worldwide assault on human rights. Of course, all of that could happen, in which case, go ahead, participate, engage, remain hopeful that we can go back to the thing that we’ve lost, or make it even better, and I will accept that I’m wrong.
But I know that there is nothing to hope for from our entire (neoliberal) intellectual establishment; how can there be a chance for resistance to work in that situation? They, the country’s thinkers, especially those who consider themselves progressive, are the conveyors of the virus that has led to fascism. We are not yet ready to give up empire (we call it our “world standing”), and therefore the fascism that goes with it; we just want a nice human face on it, an Obama or a reformed Hillary Clinton.
Why do I think that resistance makes fascism worse? Because it creates the illusion, for a while (as under the Obama administration), that things are getting better, but they only get worse. Resistance legitimizes, and fascism, especially, thrives on it. The two missing elements in the Bushian version of fascism were the lack of a charismatic leader and the potential of a fascist militia, the first of which has at last come true and the second of which now seems a real possibility. I would say that it’s because America is fascist but also the world’s strongest power, and administratively already possesses total capacity to destroy any entity, internally and externally, the way it wants to, that resistance only strengthens the fascist regime because it gives it something to fight against. Fascism needs an enemy to build itself against, but what if the enemy were to retreat and disappear? What would it fight against?…


Source: This Is a Fight Against Fascism—Our Resistance Tactics Have to Change | Alternet

Any correlation between Trump’s rhetoric and the hate crime in Kansas is “absurd,” White House says. Really?

…If Donald Trump and the Republican Party actually believed in the Constitution, they would ensure that gays, lesbians and transgender people would be able to marry and use public facilities without fear of violence or harassment.

If Donald Trump and the Republican Party actually believed in the Constitution, they would want to stop police abuse and thuggery against African-Americans, Latinos, First Nations people and other vulnerable populations.

If Donald Trump and the Republican Party actually believed in the Constitution, they would not single out Muslims for profiling, travel bans and other violations of their human rights and dignity.

If Donald Trump and the Republican Party actually believed in the Constitution, they would not seek to deny women the right to make their own reproductive and other health choices.

If Donald Trump and the Republican Party actually believed in the Constitution, they would not threaten entire communities of people with mass deportation and arrest.

Harry Truman was one of America’s greatest presidents. On his desk he displayed a famous sign that said: “The buck stops here.” By comparison, Trump is a clown king, demagogue and serial liar who evades personal responsibility for his actions…

Source: Profile in cowardice: Donald Trump will take no responsibility for the wave of hate crimes he has inspired –

American militarism

Posted: March 1, 2017 in American Politics, Culture

by Peter Guenther


After watching Trump’s speech to the joint session of congress last night I have to say one thing – It always amazes me how much militarism is baked into the American psyche. People weep and cry for lost loved ones every day but when it’s a military death due to illegal American military operations, the whole country melts into a pool of tears and gut-wrenching sorrow. From where I stand it just looks crazy – and scary. Americans don’t even seem to realize that their Empire is an Empire ruled by military force. They believe they are ALWAYS the good guys in white cowboy hats civilizing the world in their own image. They assume they are better than everyone else. Their arrogance is nauseating.

Trump is the quintessential American stereotype, proud, arrogant and self-righteous. He embodies the American spirit. He is not an anomaly. He is as American as it is possible to be.

Ok. Ok. That is a bit harsh. There is a rapidly decreasing number of Americans supporting Trump but, at his peak, he had half the country conned. I think it is currently down to just over forty percent. That is still far too many.

revised: 1:20 AM March 2, 2017

By Richard J. Evans

…Whereas other politicians seemed to dither or to act as mere administrators, Hitler projected purpose and dynamism. They remained trapped within the existing conventions of political life; he proved a master at denouncing those conventions and manipulating the media. The first politician to tour the country by air during an election campaign, Hitler issued an endless stream of slogans to win potential supporters over. He would make Germany great again. He would give Germans work once more. He would put Germany first. He would revive the nation’s rusting industries, laid to waste by the economic depression. He would crush the alien ideologies—­socialism, liberalism, communism—­that were undermining the nation’s will to survive and destroying its core values…

…Few took Hitler seriously or thought that he would actually put his threats against the country’s tiny Jewish minority, his rants against feminists, left-wing politicians, homosexuals, pacifists, and liberal newspaper editors, into effect. Fewer still believed his vow to quit the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. But within a few months of taking office, he did all of these things—and much more…

Source: The Ways to Destroy Democracy | The Nation

Speech to this year’s J Street conference

So let me be very clear: to oppose the policies of a right-wing government in Israel does not make one anti-Israel or an anti-Semite. We can oppose the policies of President Trump without being anti-American. We can oppose the policies of Netanyahu without being anti-Israel. We can oppose the policies of Islamic extremism without being anti-Muslim.

Source: On Anti-Semitism, Israel, and the Palestinians | Common Dreams

Some weeks, it is not possible to highlight thoughtful conservative perspectives – but it is important to note the divergence in human values

The end of the Milo show is exposing the worst of American conservatism. I’m not just talking about Milo Yiannopoulos’s own apparent defense of pedophilia, but the reactions of the people who enabled and promoted him.

There are weeks when it is not possible – as it has been in earlier editions of this column – to bring to light thoughtful conservative perspectives, and to highlight areas of common ground. This is one of those weeks. Those who aren’t trying to blame Milo’s nihilism on the targets of Milo’s abuse are shiftily backing away, or using it as an opportunity to redouble their own attacks on those who happen to share Milo’s sexuality.

Yet this, too, is useful. Now and then we need to remind ourselves that human values really do diverge sharply. It’s not just a misunderstanding that we can talk through. A hatred of marginalized people really does animate some conservative minds, and a love of hierarchy may be baked into all of them. We can only really get a full sense of this by reading what they write, and taking them at their word…

Source: Burst your bubble: five conservative articles examining Milo Yiannopoulos | US news | The Guardian