That’s not a dog-whistle

That’s a fucking dog-tornado-alert-siren.


It also comes out of /pol/, and is called “hILLhISTORY”, a reference to “hh” — “Heil Hitler”. And Donald Trump tweeted this bit of poison himself. Isn’t it reassuring to know that the Trump campaign is getting their slogans and ads crafted for free by the most evil collection of assholes on the Internet?

Earlier in this ugly election cycle, I read many articles arguing that, while they were not defending him, Trump was not literally a fascist. Don’t do that anymore. While you might have some clause you can pull out of your textbook definition to say that he doesn’t meet all of the specifications, he meets all the essential qualifications. He’s practicing the demagoguery of hate.

We’ve also allowed the demographic of ignorance to grow out of control to give him a power base.

Now Corey Lewandowski is claiming it was a simple “sherriff’s star”. These people are dishonest and disingenuous through and through.

By the way, fuck CNN for hiring that Trumpian bozo as a correspondent. This is also how the corruption of fascist demagoguery spreads–the assholes always fail upwards.


  1. Zeppelin says

    Nah. This has nothing to do with “pulling some clause out of my textbook” — fascism is a specific ideology. Trump isn’t nearly coherent enough to have anything worth calling an ideology.

    Trump is still “just” a gut-level racist reactionary authoritarian, and his campaign is designed to appeal to others like him. Which also makes him popular with literal nazis like those guys, of course, but I fail to see the use in reducing “fascist” to a non-specific Snarl Word the way his clientele do “socialist”.
    Lumping all your enemies together into one big, homogeneous conspiracy is what right-wing reactionaries do. I’d like us to be more precise than that.

  2. marcoli says

    A while ago I did a google search on Trump and narcissist, and found several references from various therapists and psychologists who said he likely had this tendency.

  3. says

    Uberto Eco was likely not first to point out that fascism is not a strict set of clearly defined ideological tenets but a way of thinking. He wrote a wonderful essay, Ur Fascism , that explains this. After reading this see if you don’t see that Trump qualifies as fascist.

  4. DLC says

    The man literally postures and poses like Mussolini. While that doesn’t make him a Fascist, the words he spouts in between his Il Duce’ poses do.

  5. says

    Cross posted from the Moments of Political Madness thread.

    Here is the coverage from Vox on Trump’s photoshop collage of Clinton, piles of money, and the Star of David symbol.

    […] The idea that politicians are controlled by Jewish money is one of the defining tropes of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The apparent subtext of the graphic is that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, and that the source of the corruption is the Jews.

    Did Trump intend to convey an anti-Semitic message with this graphic? I’m honestly not sure. On the one hand, his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism several years ago. She and her Jewish husband Jared Kushner reportedly wield some influence inside the Trump campaign, so you’d think they would steer him away from overt anti-Semitism. Indeed, about two hours after the first tweet, he sent out a new version of the graphic which replaced the six-pointed star with a circle. He deleted the six-pointed star tweet about an hour later.

    On the other hand, the campaign hasn’t yet apologized. Trump has clearly and publicly demonstrated his own blind spot when it comes to anti-Semitism.

    In December, he gave a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition which was filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes. A few examples of what he said:

    “Stupidly, you want to give money. …You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”
    “I’m a negotiator, like you folks.”

    “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”

    It’s also been well documented that Trump has a vocal fanbase among anti-Semites on the internet, particularly on the avowedly anti-Semitic “alt right” subculture. “We haven’t seen this kind of kind of mainstreaming of intolerance at this level,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a May interview with The Forward.

    When journalist Julia Ioffe wrote a critical profile of Melania Trump in GQ, she was inundated with anti-Semitic invective, including photoshops of her face onto concentration camp inmates. […]

  6. says

    If nothing else, the Trump tweet of a Hillary/Star of David image shows that Trump and/or his minions are cruising white supremacist websites, looking for material.

  7. Bob Foster says

    Yes, this looks like it could have been lifted straight from Der Stürmer, but that’s not what I find most mind boggling about it. What I don’t get is this attack on Clinton for Having Money. Really? Billionaire Trump is going after someone for making money? I thought making money that was his raison d’être. Trump loves having piles of cash. He loves to turn a quick buck at the expense of the little people living on the financial precipice. How can he in good conscience bash Hillary for her money?

  8. Zeppelin says


    I wouldn’t have commented if PZ had called Trump an “Ur-Fascist”, but he didn’t. I’m familiar with the essay (…well, I read it once some years ago, anyway).
    I just don’t think it’s useful to call anything that shares features of fascism, even important features, “fascism”. We are not suffering from a words shortage, it really can’t hurt to be precise. “Fascist” is a handy insult, but you muddy the discourse when you go around calling any right-wing authoritarian Literally Hitler.

  9. says

    Bob Foster @ 9:

    How can he in good conscience bash Hillary for her money?

    You’re presupposing that Trump has a conscience.

  10. Zeppelin says

    Basically, calling Trump a fascist for effect, as an insult, for propaganda purposes, that’s fine. He’s certainly fascist-y enough for the insult to stick.
    But calling him a fascist in serious internal discourse (I don’t think anyone who regularly comments here needs to be convinced to dislike Trump) is dangerous because it keeps you from engaging with his tactics and beliefs as they actually are.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Zeppelin @ # 10: I just don’t think it’s useful to call anything that shares features of fascism, even important features, “fascism”.

    The linguistic tides are running against you.

    Maybe you can maintain a sense of precision if you make a distinction between “fascism” and “Fascism”.

  12. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 10:
    noting that a Trump is a fascist is not calling “any right wing authoritarian Literally Hitler”. In fact PZ did not call Trump Hitler but just noted the many similarities of the words he uses with Hitler.
    Even if Trump is just some idiot being a figurehead of a movement, The movement he represents is fascism. Just look at any of his rallies and all the violence they engender. Hatred, ethnically based is a component of fascism, as are all the proposals of his proposed government.

  13. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Zeppelin @1:

    Nah. This has nothing to do with “pulling some clause out of my textbook” — fascism is a specific ideology. Trump isn’t nearly coherent enough to have anything worth calling an ideology.

    Well, if you want to start a ‘dictionary war’: Fascism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

    And the most famous Fascist governments — in Germany, Italy, Argentina — fall in line very closely with Trump’s version of what the USA should be: hyper-militarism? check; xenophobic nationalism? check; dissent equated with treason? check; oligarchical big business in power? check; othering of minority populations? check; lack of a clear economic plan? check; extreme authoritarianism? check; anti-democratic governing? check; sexism and racism are considered not only acceptable, but a good thing? check; women exist to produce babies (well, white Christian babies? check; the idea that obeying your betters will make everything better? check. The GOP in the United States has been growing more and more fascist in their policies during my lifetime.

    Whether Donald Trump considers himself a fascist really does not matter. His policies, his statements, his posturing, his promises, while differing from the German NSDAP, the Italian Fascists or the Peronists, fits in quite well. He has more in common with Peron than Hitler or Mussolini (Hitler and Mussolini were not scions of wealth, Peron came from a politically and militarily powerful family), but when you take a look at his vision for America, and the vision of his supporters, to me the similarities are inescapable.

  14. blf says

    With a minor word change:

    I just don’t think it’s useful to call anything that shares features of walrus, even important features, “walrus”.

    At some point, when it looks, smells, acts, and tastes like a walrus, it’s a “walrus”, albeit perhaps a previously-unknown member of Odobenus.

  15. Blattafrax says

    #10 #12 Zeppelin

    Absolutely. We should just let Trump get on with his vicious othering of minorities; protectionism; advocacy of violence towards other states and building of the cult of his leadership. See how it pans out before we start calling his policies fascist – right?

    Sure it will be OK.

  16. anbheal says

    Oh Zeppelin’s not the enemy here. He makes a valid point, along the lines of Godwin’s Law. As soon as Progressives, Liberals, Leftists, and Democrats start shouting fascism, it becomes easier to ignore them as a Noise Machine. Mein Trumpf isn’t promoting autarky, nor the necessity that all large corporations serve the state, which are the two pillars of the economics of fascism (very slipshod, desultory, and of-convenience economics, albeit). But Brother Ogvorbis makes the equally salient points: 1) his rhetoric mirrors that of the best-known fascists of the last century; 2) his True Believer base would be all aboard with a pseudo-fascist governance.

    When i was a kid, all of my left-leaning sisters and cousins referred to one particular uncle as “Uncle Fascist”. Then, after the first oil embargo, in ’73, it morphed into “Uncle 6-MPG”, because he literally bragged about how lousy the mileage was on his Lincoln Continental Mark IV. He was a racist and sexist and anti-Semite. But his bragging about the bad mileage had less to do with the modern Dixie-Libertarian untuning of their F-150s and Rams to piss off liberals and go broke with the effort (let’s eat nothing but lard and tallow to piss off Michelle Obama, too!), and was rather about demonstrating how rich he was — the increase from 25 cents a gallon to 80 cents a gallon didn’t concern him, because he was a big shot now, making lotsa green. To me, that is closer to Trump, a swaggering blowhard with no political sensibilities at all, other than a smug sense of superiority and a complete willingness to roll his shit downhill. Fascism is a different critter.

    But the duck is walking and quaking a lot these days. Trump wouldn’t know a coherent political philosophy if it bit him on his tiny…..finger. It’s his supporters who worry me, and a Trump defeat won’t make them go away. Only better public education, better jobs, and a more honest performance by the Fascist-owned media will.

  17. qwints says

    The juxtaposition of someone recommending Eco’s essay on ur-facism in a comment thread of people ridiculing distinctions is painful.

  18. mnb0 says

    I agree with #1 Zeppelin – Trump is not a fascist. As a radical left, son of a radical left and grandson of a radical left (my granddad did some work for the Dutch Resistance) I have some right to say so.
    However I don’t say this to defend Trump. The man is not only awful, he’s as much a threat to democracy as Hitler was. I just refuse to call him a fascist because that misevaluates the threat he actually is.

    @14 st: “Hatred, ethnically based is a component of fascism”
    While that’s correct it’s also correct that ethnically based correct is not limited to fascism.

    @15: BO etc.: “Fascism: an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.”
    The same: while that’s correct it’s also correct that not all authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing systems of government and social organization are fascist.

    An core element of every single fascist regime that Europe has known in the 20th Century is Gleichschaltung.

    Another one is corporatism as a way to organize economics.

    I have no problem pointing out how much Trump (and in my native country Geert Wilders) has in common with fascism. But to make the comparison meaningful you have to pay attention to the differences as well. Only then you can get a realistic evaluation of the threat Trump poses.

  19. Ryan Cunningham says

    If you’re arguing for a pure, literal definition of “fascism”, I propose a challenge. Was Hitler a fascist? Did he rise to power espousing a fascist platform? Can you describe his consistent ideology that you could label fascist before he was in power?

    Without seeing him in office, you couldn’t have nailed down Hitler’s political philosophy. Much like Trump, Hitler was a populist and demagogue. He said whatever he needed to say to whoever was listening. If your definition doesn’t work UNTIL THE FASCIST IS ALREADY IN POWER, what use is it to anyone? I guess you can sit on the sidelines patiently waiting until the progroms are in place.

  20. A Masked Avenger says

    FWIW, I agree with both sides of the debate that’s raging here.

    On the one hand, the stuff Drumpf is advocating is similar to fascist regimes of the past–right down to the zeitgeist and methodologies. I’ve noted the similarities between Drumpfenjugend and brownshirts, and the appeals to nationalism and lost glory, along with the scapegoating and othering.

    On the other hand, this should be supplemented with a clear understanding of the differences as well as the similarities, because it’s Drumpfeuhrer we’re fighting and not other fascists.

    Note that the same could probably have been said of Hitler himself. Was his hatred of Jews an affectation, put on for purely political reasons of convenience? Was it an outgrowth of committed belief in racial ideology? Was it personal baggage from alleged parentage by Leopold Frankenburger and imposed on the nation through his megalomania?

    Nobody seems to know, and ultimately it doesn’t matter at all. Knowing what really makes Drumpf tick may also be irrelevant, but it might help in finding the best way to defeat him.

    That his message resonates with millions of Americans is fucking terrifying, but what’s driving them is probably not what’s driving him. It may help if we understand what’s driving that, too: if we assume that it’s because they’re degenerate racist fuckwads, and leave it at that, it’s probably not that helpful. One factor I’m pretty sure of is the fear of losing their livelihoods to either immigrants here or outsourcing abroad–and a way to address that is to find a way to reassure them that they won’t lose their jobs and/or will be taken care of. That’s something Hillary can use, and I hope and assume that she has competent advisors who are on top of such things.

  21. Snoof says

    mnbo @ 22

    Were those two traits (Gleichschaltung and corporatism) advocated by fascist regimes before they achieved power? Or did they start after the fascists took control? I’m curious if they’re predictive or retrospective criteria.

  22. chuckonpiggott says

    When I saw this last night I actually commented to my wife that if they had put circles on the ends of the points they could claim it was a sheriffs star.

  23. themadtapper says

    The reddit comments when this first showed up on the radar were sadly predictable. “Oh, now and six-pointed star MUST be a Jewish one then? What about a sheriff’s star?” And of course its origin on /pol/ was completely ignored. Anyone who spends even a few minutes on /pol/ can tell exactly what that image was meant to imply. Obi-Wan was wrong, there is most definitely a more retched hive of scum and villainy than Mos Eisley.

  24. methuseus says

    @anbheal #18

    nor the necessity that all large corporations serve the state

    He advocates for the opposite, that the state serve all corporations, particularly the big ones. In effect, that ends up being the same thing. So it’s still fascist.

  25. Moggie says

    The Guardian has a story where the big-L Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, describes recent Trump comments as racist. I’m not sure why anyone cares what Johnson says about anything, to be honest, so I’m linking to that story because of this part:

    Earlier this week, a New Hampshire woman asked Trump at one of his rallies whether, as president, he would replace Transportation Security Administration workers who wear “heebeejabbies” – apparently a reference to Muslim headscarves called hijabs.

    “We are looking at that,” Trump replied. “We’re looking at a lot of things.”

    At the same rally, Trump pointed to a plane flying overhead and declared: “That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack.”

    I think it’s reached a point where I wouldn’t be surprised if he started ranting about chemtrails.

  26. dianne says

    @33: But because Trump only says “we’re looking at that” rather than “yes, I will”, some people conclude that he isn’t really racist but is just playing up to his base and his actual presidency would involve no racism.

  27. says

    He advocates for the opposite, that the state serve all corporations, particularly the big ones. In effect, that ends up being the same thing.

    Also, you can argue all you want, but Hitler’s Nazi Germany was the most capitalist friendly regime ever.

  28. MJP says

    Trump supporters have excuses for every incident – this time, of course, it’s the “sheriff star.” We’re expected to believe that Trump’s numerous bigoted remarks were actually a series of wacky sitcom-style misunderstandings. What they don’t understand is that every ad-hoc excuse makes this idea less probable. They’re accumulating a bunch of probabilistic “and” operations.

  29. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re “sheriff’s star” @37:

    Bovine Excrement!!! Pentagram star is quite distinctive from Hexagram Star that even first glance will not confuse them. This “explanation” they offer is grasping at straws out of desperation. They already got their message out visually if not literally (verbally). The 6 pointed star is so strongly associated ethnically that there is almost no chance the Trump team failed to see the association.

  30. says

    A telling set of images was this comparison of an “updated” cartoon in an EDL tweet with the original. There are plenty of anti-Muslim bigots who have just repurposed their hate by targeting Muslims, who are most in disfavor in their country at present. But they have the same paranoia about both groups, and would very likely switch back to an anti-Semitic focus should that be opportune. The fact that someone sat down and intentionally altered this cartoon suggests that at least some of them know exactly what they’re doing.