The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Trump is not Hitler

That's just ahistorical and wrong, according to Josh Marshall. No, Trump is more like Mussolini:

Mussolini's speeches have a mix of chest-puffing, hands at the waist swagger, hints of humor, hands to the crowd to calm themselves no matter how excited they are. Frankly, they're almost operatic in nature. The mix of violent rhetoric with folksy hypotheticals and humorous jabs unites the two quite nicely.

The problem of course is that Trump has trended in an increasingly racist and xenophobic direction as his campaign has gone on. But that was never really Mussolini's thing. The Nazi fetishization of race was basically foreign to fascist ideology. And Italian fascism was not at all anti-Semitic ... except after 1938. That's when Mussolini moved into full alliance with Nazi Germany....

In other words, Mussolini's embrace of racism and anti-Semitism appears to have been cynical and opportunistic. But this works as an analog to Trump since I continue to believe that Trump's embrace of racism, anti-Mexican immigrant bigotry and Islamophobia is largely opportunistic. My only hesitation in calling it cynical is that I think Trump may be the type who once he finds something convenient to say then starts to believe it.

Regardless, Trump is a dangerous demagogue who is harming American political discourse the same way Goldwater did.

Three things to read today

First, the New Republic's Jeet Heer reminds us that Donald Trump is a bullshitter, not a liar, and is that much more dangerous for it:

The triumph of bullshit has consequences far beyond the political realm, making society as a whole more credulous and willing to accept all sorts of irrational beliefs. A newly published article in the academic journal Judgment and Decision Making
links “bullshit receptivity” to other forms of impaired thinking: “Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.” 

It’s no accident that Trump himself is receptive to bullshit ideas promulgated by the likes of anti-vaxxers. A President Trump, based on his own bullshit receptivity and his own bullshit contagiousness, would lead a country that is far more conspiratorial, far more confused, and far less able to grapple with problems in a rational way. Trump’s America would truly be a nation swimming in bullshit.

Next, a heartwarming story of how LifeLock allowed a man to set up an account to stalk his ex-wife, and then did nothing when she complained:

Not only did the company not respond to her queries about the situation, she tells the Republic that LifeLock actively tried to block her access to the account — in order to protect the privacy of her ex-husband.

While she was able to block her ex from having access to the service, he was still able to close the account because he was the one who had paid for it. Rather than help her by providing the requested documents or keeping the account open, LifeLock advised that she open an entirely new account.

Finally, from Cranky Flier, the account of the last airplane to roll off an assembly line in California, ending a 102-year-old industry there:

As aircraft manufacturing dried up around the state, Long Beach became the last holdout. When Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas, the entire Douglas commercial line was terminated in short order except for the MD-95. That became the Boeing 717 and made it all the way to May 23, 2006. On that day, the last two were rolled across Lakewood Blvd on the east side of the airport and delivered to AirTran and Midwest. Commercial aircraft production in the state died that day.

But on the west side of the field, the military C-17 soldiered on. The C-17 is a beast of an airplane. It’s a massive military transport that is essential for the US military. The problem is that the military has all the C-17s it needs. Production peaked at 16 a year in 2009, but that has been ramping down every year since. The aircraft was marketed to foreign countries and orders did roll in — enough to keep the production going for longer than expected — but the end has finally arrived.

The last airplane to be delivered took off from Long Beach around midday on Sunday.

There's a video of the plane taking off, too. (C-17s are pretty damned impressive.)

Things to read

A couple of articles floated through my awareness today:

Happy reading.

 

More meetings, less reading

More things I haven't read yet:

And a customer technician spent 90 minutes over two days worth of conference calls denying that something obviously his responsibility was not, in fact, his responsibility, until a network tech from his own company said it was.

Is Ben Carson running a scam?

TPM's Josh Marshall isn't saying so exactly, but there does seem to be something off about the good doctor's campaign:

Hucksters and cheats can be found everywhere. But particularly on the right there is a significant layer of people in the business of fleecing outraged and/or low-information conservatives of their money. Some of it you see with those advertisements for buying gold on Fox News. ... But the big thing on the right are various fundraising groups that exist largely to fundraise. So for instance, you'll have Americans Against RINOs which sends out a ton of direct mail, raises lots of money from conservatives who've just had it up to here with RINOs like Boehner and McCain and McConnell selling the country out to Obama. But instead of that money going to fight the RINOs, most of the money goes back into raising more money.

So where's the money going? Well, the direct mail business is very lucrative. And usually you'll find that Americans Against RINOs has a tight relationship with AAR Direct Mail Inc which is making a pretty penny servicing Americans Against RINOs. You get the idea. Obviously there are crooked charities that run this way. But it's a prevalent model on the right.

Do I think Carson's going to grab all the money and run off to Venezuela if he gets the nomination? No. I'm sure he's pretty into this right now. But "Ben Carson" clearly comes out of this world. And his operation still seems mired in it.

So, Marshall is saying, essentially, Ben Carson is the modern version of "Springtime for Hitler." It would be funny if it weren't so scary.