Tag Archives: propaganda

AZ teachers know their math and economics, AZ legislators not so much

As state policy makers weigh their options in response to the “Red for Ed” movement that is organizing the teacher protests, some conservatives and their allies are once again, like a broken record, blaming administration costs as a reason teachers in Arizona have among the worst pay in the nation. It’s just right-wing propaganda. Analysis shows no link between school district administration costs, teacher pay:

A “messaging guide” by the State Policy Network, a network of conservative think tanks, that aims to discredit the nationwide movement to increase teacher pay urges conservatives and anti-union activists to turn the conversation to how “red tape and bureaucracy” and “administrative bloat” suppresses teacher pay.

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But an Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of school district spending data compiled by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office shows no correlation between how much a school district spends on administration and how it pays its teachers.

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Authoritarian Tea-Publicans call for the prosecution of the political enemies of ‘Dear Leader’ Donald Trump (Updated)

Like the fog in the famous, ultra-short poem by the U.S. person Carl Sandburg, fascism may well come in “on little cat feet.”

The crypto-fascist Tea-Publican members of the GOP House Freedom Caucus are calling for the criminal prosecution of the political enemies of their “Dear Leader,” Donald Trump. This is what occurs in tin-pot dictatorships and  authoritarian banana republics.

Matthew Yglesias reports, 11 House Republicans call for prosecutions of Clinton, Comey, Lynch, and others The authoritarianism is coming from inside the House:

Eleven House Republicans — Ron DeSantis, Andy Biggs, Dave Brat, Jeff Duncan, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Todd Rokita, Claudia Tenney, and Ted Yoho — have signed a joint letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for the criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton and a variety of other Obama administration appointees, career FBI officials, and even Trump appointee Dana Boente, who is currently the FBI’s general counsel.

Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs have always been unfit to serve in any political office, and Arizona voters have both a moral and patriotic duty to remove these fringe radical extremists from office. These sorry excuses for a human being are a disgrace and an embarrassment to this state. As The Arizona Republic editorialized earlier this year, Our View: Rep. Paul Gosar is a disgrace to Arizona. Somebody please unseat him. The same goes for Andy Biggs.

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Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen is getting a legal education

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael D. Cohen is like Thomas “Tom” Hagen, the consigliere to the Corleone family in The Godfather.

A couple of weeks ago, McClatchy News reported Mueller probe tracking down Trump business partners, with Cohen a focus of queries;

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators this week questioned an associate of the Trump Organization who was involved in overseas deals with President Donald Trump’s company in recent years.

Armed with subpoenas compelling electronic records and sworn testimony, Mueller’s team showed up unannounced at the home of the business associate, who was a party to multiple transactions connected to Trump’s effort to expand his brand abroad, according to persons familiar with the proceedings.

Investigators were particularly interested in interactions involving Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former Trump Organization employee. Among other things, Cohen was involved in business deals secured or sought by the Trump Organization in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The New York Times reported on March 15 that Mueller had subpoenaed unspecified records from the Trump Organization. Days before that, the Washington Post reported that Mueller’s team was looking into a Moscow hotel deal for which Cohen brought to Donald Trump a letter of intent from a Moscow developer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

They must have obtained something of evidentiary value because a week ago Monday the F.B.I. Raided the Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen: “The F.B.I. raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room [and home] of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday morning, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress.”

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The other ‘Trump TV’ propaganda network, Sinclair Broadcasting

Doctor Steven Jonas correctly noted in his 2015 essay, Fascism in the 21st Century:

When we are looking at 21st century fascism, in the context of what is happening in certain of the capitalist states, at the present particularly in the United States, it should be noted that it is entirely possible that wholesale violence will not be required for its introduction. Nor will a maximum leader necessarily be required. Like the fog in the famous, ultra-short poem by the U.S. person Carl Sandburg, it may well come in “on little cat feet.”

Fascism can gradually creep in over time little noticed, until it is too late.

But in the 21st Century, strong cults of personality were carefully built by large propaganda media apparatuses.

The personality cult of Donald Trump appears to be following this more established model for its “Trump TV” propaganda network at FOX News, and at Sinclair Broadcasting.

David Atkins reports at the Political Animal Blog, Sinclair Is Bad for Democracy. So Are Other Media Monopolies.

Remember when right-wing media company Sinclair Broadcast Group took over 40 percent of local TV news stations? [Sinclair owns more television stations than any other broadcaster in the country. ] The results are beginning to speak for themselves:

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This is only the most chilling and most recent example of the company enforcing its Trumpist ideological views on its local subsidiaries:

The broadcaster has aligned itself with the Trump administration: In addition to the “one-sided news” script featured last week, Sinclair stations are also required to run political commentary from the network’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn. Epshteyn previously worked for the Trump White House and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The Post-Intelligencer noted that another must-run segment aired on KOMO last week featured former Trump White House official Sebastian Gorka. (During a panel on Sinclair-owned WJLA in October, Gorka lamented “black Africans” killing each other “by the bushel” in Chicago.)

Gorka, Post-Intelligencer reported, spoke about an alleged “deep state” attempting to undermine the Trump presidency. The segment’s producer, according to the report, was Kristine Frazao, who before working for Sinclair was a reporter and anchor for the Russian state-owned network RT.

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Trump’s hate-filled Easter Twitter tirade fueled by Fox & Friends

Just to be clear, last September President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants work authorizations and protection from deportation to undocumented young people who meet certain qualifications.

Two federal judges have blocked Trump’s action, leaving DACA recipients in limbo to face an uncertain future.

On Easter Sunday morning, President Trump tweeted a generic “Happy Easter!,” which was then followed by this hate-filled Easter Twitter tirade:

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As we have come to learn, Trump’s morning Twitter tirades are fueled by his morning television viewing habits (jokingly referred to as “executive time”) of watching the “tree dolts on a divan” at Fox & Friends. Trump Declares ‘NO MORE DACA DEAL!’ After Quoting Border Patrol Union Prez:

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s outburst borrowed nearly word-for-word from an interview on “Fox & Friends Sunday,” minutes earlier, with Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

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The social media leg of the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation comes into focus (Updated)

Cambridge Analytica is a company created by Robert Mercer, a billionaire patron of right-wing outlets like Breitbart News. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, is a board member. Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, is a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica, and the former editor of Breitbart News. Trump confidant Gen. Michael Flynn also had “a brief advisory role” with Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained:

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content.

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In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

Pro-Trump programmers “carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day.”

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