Trump’s Highly Praised Neo-Fascist Speech

Trump Maladministration

It’s bad enough that headlines are calling last night’s speech “presidential” and even “hopeful.” I read the thing this morning. It seemed to me to be the same old hateful crap, with some conciliatory bleats tacked on to the beginning and end to make it more palatable. It was a true shit sandwich.

Josh Marshall:

I think purely as a speech, its crafting, the thematic cadence and delivery, it was pretty average to unremarkable. It wasn’t a very good speech. Having said that, I think Trump may pick up a few points of support from the public because he seemed like a fairly normal person delivering it. This is admittedly an extremely low standard. But when you compare this Trump to the meltdown press conference Trump or the rageful, spewing Twitter Trump, he can’t help but seem more balanced and less threatening by comparison. Low bar. SAD! But there it is.

I think that’s exactly what happened. He’s being praised for managing to not crap on the lecturn.

Karen Tumulty:

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump declared Tuesday that he had come to the House chamber to deliver “a message of unity and strength.”

Though Trump’s rhetoric took him to a new and loftier plane, however, the goals he spelled out were the familiar and divisive ones that have left little room for compromise and conciliation — as evidenced by the fact that the Democratic side of the chamber sat largely silent and stone-faced throughout his speech.

Nor did the president give his Republican allies in Congress what they had wanted to hear, which was a sense of clarity on how he plans to achieve the ambitious agenda he promised. There were few detail offered and no nod to the complexity of the issues nor the fact that achieving his goals will require navigating deep fissures within his own party.

The whole sorry thing left me sputtering in outrage, although most of it was generic Republican drivel. This is the part where he colored way outside the old lines:

I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims.  The office is called VOICE –- Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement.  We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.

Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them.

Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.

Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison.  Jamiel Shaw Jr. was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great quarterback.  But he never got the chance.  His father, who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.

Also with us are Susan Oliver and Jessica Davis.  Their husbands –- Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver and Detective Michael Davis –- were slain in the line of duty in California.  They were pillars of their community.  These brave men were viciously gunned down by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record and two prior deportations.

Sitting with Susan is her daughter, Jenna.  Jenna:  I want you to know that your father was a hero, and that tonight you have the love of an entire country supporting you and praying for you.

To Jamiel, Jenna, Susan and Jessica:  I want you to know –- we will never stop fighting for justice.  Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.

Certainly, anyone who has lost a loved one to violence deserves sympathy. But losing a loved one to violence hardly makes one a “hero.” And the scapegoating of undocumented people as a violent, criminal element in our midst is both inaccurate and unjust. In saying this, Trump has planted a flag firmly in neo-fascist territory.

First, let us be clear there is absolutely no data to suggest that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, are commiting violent crimes at a higher rate than natural-born citizens. Just the opposite, in fact. So where is the special cocmmission for victims of natural-born citizens? How are such people not just as “heroic”?

Please see:

The Cato Institute: Immigration and Crime – What the Research Says “With few exceptions, immigrants are less crime prone than natives or have no effect on crime rates. ”

The Police Foundation: Undocumented Immigration and Rates of Crime and Imprisonment:
Popular Myths and Empirical Realities. (PDF) Here’s a quote:

“Both contemporary and historical studies, including official crime statistics and victimization surveys since the early 1990s, data from the last three decennial censuses, national and regional surveys in areas of immigrant concentration, and investigations carried out by major government commissions over the past century, have shown instead that immigration is associated with lower crime rates and lower incarceration rates.”

The Anti-Defamation League: Myths and Facts About Immigrants and Immigration

“Recently, public figures have claimed that immigrants are “killers” and “rapists,” bringing crime to the U.S. Study after study has shown, however, that immigrants—regardless of where they are from, what immigration status they hold, and how much education they have completed—are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes or become incarcerated. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply between 1990 and 2010, the violent crime rate in the U.S. during that time plummeted 45 percent and the property crime rate dropped by 42 percent. Studies have consistently found that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans and that there was no correlation between crime rates and levels of immigration. Other studies have in fact found that crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.”

I could go on. There is copious data from research organizations across the political spectrum telling us that immigration is not causing a crime problem. The perception that there’s a particular problem with immigrant crime, as opposed to regular old human-on-human crime, is coming purely from bigotry, not data.

Neo-fascism is widely defined as “a political movement arising in Europe after World War II and characterized by policies designed to incorporate the basic principles of fascism (as nationalism and opposition to democracy) into existing political systems.”  Britannica says,

Like earlier fascist movements, neofascism advocated extreme nationalism, opposed liberal individualism, attacked Marxist and other left-wing ideologies, indulged in racist and xenophobic scapegoating, and promoted populist right-wing economic programs. Unlike the fascists, however, neofascists placed more blame for their countries’ problems on non-European immigrants than on leftists and Jews, displayed little interest in taking lebensraum (German: “living space”) through the military conquest of other states, and made concerted efforts to portray themselves as democratic and “mainstream.” The National Front in France, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, and the Liberal-Democratic Party in Russia, led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, are often cited as neofascist.

The scapegoating of immigrants is a prominent feature in European neofascism, so it should be no surprise to see it here. And certainly, ugly nativist movements have sprung up before. The purpose of this is, as it has always been, to divide us; to absolve the genuinely guilty of blame; to establish power and authority through fear. As Giles Fraser wrote at The Guardian, scapegoating immigrants is the oldest trick in the book. Scapegoating any vulnerable minority — whether immigrants, blacks, Jews, Latinos, or anyone else — is a hallmark of fascism. And it’s hardly speaking to the better angels of our natures.

I’m very discouraged to see that nearly all the media are giving Trump a pass on this and instead praised him for mouthing cliches about “the dreams that fill our hearts.” The dream that fills my heart is that his monster and all of his enablers will be removed from office, sooner rather than later.

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  1. Doug  •  Mar 1, 2017 @4:42 pm

    Agreed about the scapegoating of immigrants as a tactic of fascism. The speech was built around the canonization of victims of ‘them’ – immigrants and Muslims. But while bigotry is the means, little is said of the ends, which was in plain view in the speech but hidden in “The Purloined Letter” style of concealment.

    Trump wants to lower taxes on corporations (with not a word to reform of corporate tax). Trump wants to lower taxes on the rich, though he specified by my recollection, “including the middle class”, but the proposals I’ve read about favor the ulra-rich far more than the middle. And Trump acknowledged the seriousness of the debt (which is Obama’s fault, in Trumpworld). Plus, Trump wants to spend a trillion on infrastructure. So lower taxes, more spending and how do we balance the budget?

    Here’s the think most people are ignoring – tariffs. Throw a 33% tariff on imports from Mexico, you can raise a lot of revenue but the consumer pays that tax and the poorer you are, the heavier the burden is when prices go up. But if you are very rich it’s a windfall – your income tax goes WAY down – inheritance tax goes away and you pay a little more for lettuce and tomatoes.

    I think we’re looking at a clever consumer tax, wrapped up as ‘jobs’ program. It won’t work to provide higher paying jobs, but the rubes will suck it up because they think we’re punishing Mexico and China, while actually the consumer here is paying the most regressive tax in many years.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 1, 2017 @6:05 pm

    The speech is being called “presidential…”

    Because he didn’t step on his tiny dick, or bite the head off of an immigrant, while reading from the teleprompter.

    While I think there’s a small shard of our broken and shattered media which wants to cover a real “Constitutional crisis,” or a major political one, I think last night’s speech allowed the majority of our MSM members to breathe a sigh of relief:
    “Of good! He didn’t do anything monumentally stupid and/or offensive! Now we can cover t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin like all of the last few POTUS’s – only better, since it’s apparent he wants and needs… no, craves, our attention and love. He’s not like that uppit… arrogant Obama. He’s more like W. And we liked him! He gave us nicknames, and had BBQ’s for us, ‘n stuff! And we got to be War Correspondents – just like Grandpa Walter – only safer. Ok, well, safer except for a few guys…”

    FSM, I feel sick………………………..
    And I see no cure.
    Not until t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin is acknowledged a Fascist fool.
    And the Republicans, as willing accomplices.

  3. Swami  •  Mar 1, 2017 @6:11 pm
  4. Ed  •  Mar 1, 2017 @7:04 pm

    What he said about the FDA was nonsense also. The government is not responsible for life-saving drugs failing to reach sick Americans. The responsibility lies with the sheer complexity of human biology. Merck, for example, recently had to abandon development of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease because of futility in the Phase 3 trials, where it turned out not to significantly improve the cognitive deficits of patients in whom it was tested. It got to Phase 3 because it had looked good in earlier studies, and it did significantly reduce the amount of amyloid which was deposited in the brains of patients. Problem is, there appears to be a lot more to Alzheimer’s disease than just amyloid deposition, and it is this complexity of the disease, not heartless bureaucratic red tape, which is keeping a cure for this dreaded disease from reaching the American public.

    Last night’s performance in front of Congress sent a signal that Trump is planning to appoint Jim O’Neill as FDA Commissioner. Watch for his name to appear in the news in the very near future. Typical Silicon Valley libertarian folderol will quickly ensue.

  5. grannyeagle  •  Mar 1, 2017 @10:15 pm

    I was really ticked off about Paul Ryan’s behavior. He kept smirking and making side comments to Pence. At least Pence did not respond. Also, I did not like to watch the public expression of grief by Owens’ widow. It was embarrassing. She was obviously distressed and it went on and on. What did it mean when she kept clasping her hands, looking to the ceiling and mumbling something? Who was she talking to? Of course, we can have compassion for her grief but some things are meant to be private. I don’t know how she felt but it was obvious she was uncomfortable.

  6. Swami  •  Mar 2, 2017 @1:10 am

    Of course, we can have compassion for her grief but some things are meant to be private.

    Yeah, but the only problem with that is how can you exploit someone’s grief if it’s keep private? That is one of Trump’s primary tools for self aggrandizement. Look back at the Central Park Five and see that Trump really could give a shit about the victim(s) in that case. He saw it as a way to put his name out in public as some concerned citizen only when all the eyes of New York and the nation were upon that story. He was promoting the name Donald Trump at the low cost of exploiting a tragedy.
    He employed the same tactic with the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He showed up for the picture taking and made promises of a million dollar donation to express his so called love and appreciation for the men and women who gave their lives in that war…But as soon as the fanfare subsided Trump was nowhere to be found..He sucked up the glory of the dead through feigned concern then disappeared with his million dollar promise never fulfilled. He’s a big bag of shit who knows how to exploit tragedy and suffering at no cost to himself.
    So I wasn’t surprised when Trump used the pain and grief of a widow to polish his image as a caring human being. He’s a black hole of narcissism. And above all he’s a big bag of _____! Fill in the blank.

  7. aj  •  Mar 2, 2017 @1:21 am

    The exploitation of Owens death and his wife’s grief was a disgusting egregious display to cover for Trump’s lack of judgement in okaying the mission. Trump constantly pointed and glared at the Dem side, dissed them over and over. And my reaction was ‘ looks like he’s on his meds tonight’.
    And then the media started talking tone pivot and presidential. Will they never learn?

  8. bernie  •  Mar 2, 2017 @8:42 am

    Every once in a while I tune in to the incessant, repetitious, right wing radio station to see what kind of silly rant they are on.  At one time they seem to take marching orders from the same puppeteer,  as they all seemed to have a coordinated topic of the day.  I am not sure if this is true recently, as I have not tuned in.  I also did not tune in to last night’s address. 

    Before an Obama address I did tune in to Rush Limbaugh.  He was coaching his “ditto-heads” not to listen.  He said he would listen for them and let them know what was said and what if anything was important.  Why not.  His followers need someone to “think” for them, as they relish being “ditto-heads”.  I did not listen last night because the veracity of the speaker is in my judgement abysmal.  Why listen when you have to wait for fact checking and even then, have no idea is a real one or more hucksterism.  I did note the stock market when on a tear.  Pump and Dump seemed to be the message they got.  What is new.  Hucksters like fellow hucksters. 

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 2, 2017 @9:53 am

    The best analysis I’ve read so far, as to why there are so many positive reviews of t-RUMPLW-Thin-Skin’s speech the other night:

    McKay Coppins ✔ @mckaycoppins
    .@SykesCharlie on MSNBC just attributed the glowing media reaction to Trump’s speech to “battered pundit syndrome.”
    2:07 PM – 1 Mar 2017

    Battered Pundit Syndrome.
    I think it’s a real thing.
    Don’t you?

  10. bernie  •  Mar 2, 2017 @10:38 am

    Battered and deeply fried.

  11. Bill  •  Mar 2, 2017 @10:46 am

    I intentionally avoided it, then heard it was damage control to make him seem more reasoned-civil, less loony-retarded. Maybe those Japanese translators were complaining to Trumps handlers that they couldn’t hold back the overwhelming LOL urges much longer.
    I quit listening to anything wingnut after Glenn Beck finally admitted that the liberals had been right about Iraq, and even there he was wrong. Libertarians and paleos and most extranationals had also “been right”. It wasn’t a liberal idea to be against all that cost for so little gain there. That whole thing was clearly stupid regardless of belief. I forgave the many who’d been overcome by the emotion of hope – hoping for a quick resolution. These things happen. But all I learned, again, was that wingnuts are so addled by dogmatic haze and identity tribalism they must be told what’s right far too long after it should have been clear.

  12. bernie  •  Mar 2, 2017 @12:54 pm

    Bill, I think Glen Beck got banished from the tribe when he went after Grover Norquist for his alleged Muslim connections. anyway great points.

  13. Swami  •  Mar 3, 2017 @12:58 am

    I don’t recall which one of you Mahablog commenter pointed out the similarities between the facial expressions of Benito Mussolini and Donald Trump. You know, the face where he (Trump) muggs with self satisfaction and extreme pleasure with himself. Well, that face was on full display the other night and it’s the perfect example of body language used to connect two kindred souls.
    Whoever you are…you nailed it with your eye for detail.

  14. Kiana  •  Mar 9, 2017 @1:45 am

    Articles like these put the consumer in the driver seat-very imtnpraot.

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