More distractions and straw men

I’ve been posting a lot on FaceBook (as me, not as Hitting Bregma) about the lousy journalism and logical fallacies I’m seeing on FoxNews. I don’t watch a ton of FoxNews, but I flip over somewhat regularly, just to see what’s going on. Many of these times, I’m struck by how different the coverage is. For instance, while all the other networks (regular networks and cable news) are focused on one story, like a new leak about something from the Trump administration, FoxNews will run a story about a person killed by an immigrant in a hit and run, or something equally unrelated to what everybody else is covering. I’ve also spent a lot of time harping on the classic straw man fallacies that they are so good at. They construct this ludicrous picture of a “liberal” or something that liberals are mad about, and then justifiably call them silly or hypocritical. The problem is that the whole premise gets it wrong. It’s not just FoxNews, but it’s also clearly a tactic of the Trump administration. Let’s look at a couple of key examples, including one from today.

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What’s a RINO?

Todd Starnes has a piece on FoxNews today about all the people who want to take Trump down. “Mainstream media, Dems, RINOS: They all want to overthrow Trump.”  It’s a strange read to me. The premise (that all these people want Trump gone) doesn’t seem far from the truth, but the thing that gets me is the use of “RINO,” Republicans in name only.

Isn’t Trump the quintessential RINO? He’s different from classic (at least over the last few decades) republicanism. He’s against free trade (republicans have long supported free trade). He’s for increasing the deficit to “prime the pump” and stimulate the economy. That’s something that democrats fight for, not republicans. He’s praised health care systems of countries with single-payer, and himself has said that single-payer is a good idea. The GOP has strongly supported integration of religion and politics (not that the democrats haven’t, but religiosity and frequency of church attendance does correlate with republicanism). Trump only recently started talking about religious values.
 
So, is he a RINO himself? Or did that definition change to any registered republican who doesn’t support Trump? I guess in Todd Starnes world the answer is yes. 

How to know when things are upside down

I wish this was an instructional manual to help achieve the title. It isn’t. In fact, I have a hard time knowing when things are all messed up, or when my fears are irrational. That’s the thing with irrational fear, it doesn’t subside with reason. That said, I wouldn’t call myself afraid right now, but I am certainly concerned, and really disappointed. The Trump presidency continues to take a toll, with the primary victim being my faith in the decision-making and analytical abilities of my fellow citizens.

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Sometimes when you win, you lose. Sometimes when you lose, you win. And sometimes when you win or lose you really tie.

 

 

The House of Representatives has voted, once again, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is not the first time they have done so, and it likely won’t be the last. They passed several bills and amendments since 2011 that repeal or limit Obamacare, and few of these became law. My guess is that this bill will die like the others have, but this time it will be killed by a more pensive (and smart?) Senate. Senate republicans are already saying that they can’t pass the current bill, and it’s not clear that they even have enough support for a vote. It’s hard to see how the House and President see this as a win, but they do, and they had a party at the White House about it. Vice President Pence rallied the crowd (of middle-aged to old white men) with a line, “Welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare.” Silly line. Doesn’t that assume that Obamacare will end? Doesn’t it assume that the previous votes weren’t the beginning of anything? Silliness all around.

Continue reading “Sometimes when you win, you lose. Sometimes when you lose, you win. And sometimes when you win or lose you really tie.”