Sunday, June 28, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: June 28, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
"With this case behind us, we’re going to keep working to make health care in America even better and more affordable, and to get more people covered. But it is time to stop refighting battles that have been settled again and again. It’s time to move on. Because as Americans, we don’t go backwards, we move forwards. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation coming behind us. With this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better right now."
-- President Barack Obama, June 27, 2015, during the weekly presidential address.

Comment: First, this is "rehashing old battles" rhetoric. Why should opponents of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") stop fighting to reverse a law they disagree with? When Democrat-proposed health care reform (known as "Hillarycare") was blocked in 1994, Democrats didn't consider the battle settled. They kept pushing for reform, and it was passed in 2010. Why should Republicans consider the passage of that reform to "settle" the issue? Second, it sounds like Obama is saying that his opponents are rooting for failure, and that his opponents are somehow not real Americans.

"There is something that is very evident from today's decision, which is maybe the most important thing post-2016 is the Court, and who sits on it. I want to talk a little bit about Scalia and the language he used in his dissenting opinion … the bitterness and the virtiol. At one point he was like, "this is unnatural interpretation from the law." And the phrase "SCOTUScare" really revealed a deeply partisan emotional core that informs Scalia's decision making."
-- Pundit Alex Wagner, June 25, 2015, remarking on the dissenting opinion of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the King v Burwell case.

Comment: This is "partisan" rhetoric.

"Charlotte [sic, meaning Charleston] and the people of SC have just put a giant win in the good-guy column. Now, today, I was on the radio, and I started feeling like, geez man, we’re up against the wall again, because they immediately shifted the argument and went to something else. They're doing everything they can to divide us. That's going to get worse and worse as time goes on, we are going to feel more and more divided. We have to stick together and we have to recognize where we win. We just – the good guys won last week, we won in Charlotte [sic, meaning Charleston], now lets stick together. Because some big decisions are being made at the Supreme Court this week and it could divide us strongly."
-- Pundit Glenn Beck, posted June 25, 2015.

Comment: This is "unify the country" rhetoric.

"It's time to level with the American people. This President, and his apprentice-in-waiting Hillary Clinton, are leading America down the path to destruction. Economically, culturally, and internationally. But the most devastating thing they have tried to do is redefine the American Dream. Instead of the dream being to have opportunity and freedom to control your own destiny and make your own way, their dream is for the government to take care of you and make people dependent on the government. We want to guarantee equal opportunity, but they want to guarantee equal outcomes. The simple fact is they are trying to turn the American Dream into socialism. The folks in Washington may call that the American Dream, but out here in America, we call that the European Nightmare."
-- Gov. Bobby Jindal, June 24, 2015, remarking on President Barack Obama and Clinton, who is running for president.

Comment: This is demonizing, to accuse Obama and Clinton of wanting to make people dependent on government. It is also exaggeration: is life in Europe really a nightmare compared to the U.S.?

"We're making progress. I think you've probably noted that when there are Republican xenophobic measures to take away the DREAMers, their right to have a work permit, you see a dozen or so Republicans vote with Democrats to stop that. And that's happened on more than one occasion. On several occasions when really mean-spirited attempts to even hurt the immigrant community and their advances, you see that there are Republicans that are joining us."
-- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), June 24, 2015.

Comment: This is demonizing, saying that Republicans are bigots who are intentionally trying to hurt immigrants.

COULTER: I'm a student of American history, so I'm appalled by -- though I would really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America's history. The flag we're talking about --

KENNEDY: You think immigrants can't understand the history?

COULTER: Well, she doesn't. The Confederate flag we're talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.
-- Pundit Ann Coulter, June 23, 2015, remarking on the decision by Gov. Nikky Haley (R-SC) to no longer fly a Confederate flag in the state capitol.

Comment: If Coulter is right that Haley doesn't understand the history of the Confederate flag that was being flown, she can say so without mentioning Haley's immigrant status (which, it turns out, is false; Haley was born a U.S. citizen). There are non-immigrants (other than Haley) who share Haley's belief about the flag's history, so why should it matter whether the belief is held by an immigrant? Plus, why does this belief about the Confederate flag have a bearing on someone's more general understanding of American history? It seems like Coulter is saying that, as an immigrant (which, again, Haley isn't), Haley is not a real American. Can't immigrants understand U.S. history and be just as "American" as those born here?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: June 21, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
In 1956, Georgia changed its state flag to incorporate the Confederate flag. In Texas, at least, there was a fad of naming schools after Robert E. Lee, another coded message.
-- Pundit Steve Chapman, June 21, 2015.

Comment: This is "code words" rhetoric.

"I know I'm getting all preachy, or religious, but our country has no choice. We can either look to man, and I'll tell you who is going to be there. Al Sharpton is going to be there. He's on a plane now. He's landing and he'll be at a prayer vigil today at noon. And do you think he is going to say 'let's all come together.' Do you think all the people who went into political mode last night when thy first heard about this shooting. Do you think they are going to bring us together? Or do you think they are going to use this community to drive a wedge? Let's hold the arms up of this community and let them show us how to heal."
-- Pundit Glenn Beck, June 19, 2015.

Comment: This is "politicizing" and "unify the country" rhetoric.

President Barack Obama is in a "race to politicize" the shooting in Charleston, SC.
-- Pundit Sean Hannity, June 18, 2015, during the 1st hour of his radio show.

Comment: This is "politicizing" rhetoric.

This year is the 10th anniversary of a book called "The Republican War on Science." I could just as easily write a book called "The Democratic War on Science." The conflict conservatives have with science is mostly caused by religion. Some religious conservatives reject evolution, and some oppose stem cell research. But neither belief has a big impact on our day-to-day lives. … By contrast, the left's bad ideas about science do more harm. Many on the left -- including a few of my fellow libertarians -- are paranoid about genetically modified organisms. … The left's anti-science fears also prevent us from building new nuclear reactors, especially after Fukushima and Chernobyl.
-- Pundit John Stossel, June 17, 2015.

Comment: This is "anti-science" rhetoric, and "war" rhetoric. Stossel seems to be arguing that, if this sort of rhetoric is fair to use against conservatives, then it's hypocritical not to use it on liberals and progressives, too. I'm not sure if he's advocating the rhetoric as a means of retaliating in kind.

Now Islamic State, or ISIS, announces it has taken 86 more Christians hostage, their likely fate a grisly martyrdom. On the same day, June 8, at the G-7 summit, President Obama admitted that he lacks a “complete strategy” to defeat the Islamic extremists now bedeviling Iraq, much of the rest of the Middle East, and beyond. … We may begin to wonder: Is this irresolution or resolution? I do not like to ascribe darker motives but necessarily wonder what explains the commander in chief’s uncertain trumpet. … As it has with others on the front lines of the fight against ISIS and its like, America has been shortchanging de facto allies in the Middle East such as Iraq’s embattled Kurds, sending supplies the slow-or-no way through a balky Baghdad. The Egyptians have not received the F-16 jets for which they have already paid. The Apache helicopters they have received lack defense systems, and the U.S. tanks delivered to them lack spare parts. None of these people are pure enough for our president. … Can our administration not make a strategic choice between Egypt’s President Sisi and the Islamic State’s would-be caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? You do wonder.
-- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), June 17, 2015.

Comment: First, this is a distortion, as President Barack Obama never said there was no complete strategy to defeat ISIS. Rather, he said there was no complete strategy for training Iraqi troops. Second, it is one thing to say that Obama's strategy is inadequate, but it is demonizing to say it can only be explained by sinister motives. For instance, aid given to allies has sometimes later been used against America or its other allies, as was the case with Afghanistan's mujahideen fighting the Soviet Union, as well as Humvees given to the Iraqi Army that were effectively surrendered to ISIS.

"I've said Barack Obama has a screw loose, so does his wife."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, June 16, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio program. His remarks referred to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Comment: This is name-calling of the "stupid" variety.

“I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”
-- Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), June 16, 2015. Bush was referring to opinions expressed by Pope Francis in an encyclical titled "Laudato Si".

Comment: This is ad hominem reasoning. Why should anyone be disqualified from giving sound advice on economic policy (or any other policy, for that matter) simply based on being clergy? We should evaluate claims based on the content of what is said, not based on who says it.

"I think the bigger problem is not being personally rich. FDR was very wealthy, had his own train line to his own summer house and was a great progressive president. But the question is for all politicians, especially her today, when you live in a bubble of privilege, surrounded by and marinating in the world view of elites, business elites, rich donors, can you really connect with the policy concerns of people outside of the bubble? It's a challenge for her, for Bush, for everyone in Congress where everyone's net worth is getting higher and higher every year."
-- Pundit Nicholas Confessore, posted June 15, 2015.

Comment: This is "you don't know what it's like" rhetoric.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: June 14, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
CHUCK TODD: Over the last decade, she’s shifted her position on same-sex marriage, on immigration, on NAFTA, on the Iraq War, on Cuba policy, on criminal justice reform. Just a few that she’s done recently. They’re all to the left — all to the progressive side of things. How should progressives believe these are changes in conviction and not simply changes in convenience because the Democratic electorate has changed.

JOHN PODESTA: Chuck, I don’t think there’s anybody who’s been more consistent in their entire career, from the day she left law school, went to work for the children’s defense fund. From her in Arkansas to First Lady of the United States. She’s fought for children, for families. She’s made her priorities clear, her values clear. You know, times change. A decade ago, I think a lot of people had a different view on marriage equality. Today, the country has shifted. She’s at the forefront of saying that that is a right that every American should have. She’s gone further and said we need to protect the LGBT community in the workplace. So I think circumstances change. This isn’t 1992. It’s not 2008. It’s 2015, and she’ll take positions that are consistent with a set of longtime values that have made her a progressive in the best sense of the word. Fighting for working families, fighting for children, fighting for women across this country and across the world.
-- John Podesta, chair of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, June 14, 2015, during an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press".

Comment: First, Todd is accusing Clinton of flip-flopping. Second, Podesta is surely exaggerating when he says nobody has been more consistent than Clinton in their political positions. Third, Podesta seems to then contradict himself, saying that there have been changes in "circumstances". Does he mean that Clinton hasn't changed positions even as times have changed? Is it really true that she has the same position now on, say, same-sex marriage that she had a decade or two ago? Or is he saying that the changing times have resulted in her changing her position? At any rate, Podesta doesn't answer Todd's question, so this all amounts to an evasion.

Let me start by saying that a white guy is not ideally positioned or situated to evaluate or make sense of the moral and psychological equities of a someone trying to pass as black. (For a second I thought, hey this is kind of like all the rightwingers who are confused and think they're honorary Jews because they're so into Bibi Netanyahu or really, really, really want to kill them some Palestinians. But okay, not really the same.) So let me tentatively and respectfully offer some impressions from this imperfect vantage point.
-- Pundit John Marshall, June 13, 2015, remarking on Rachel Dolezal, an NAACP activist who falsely claimed to be African-American.

Comment: First, Marshall somewhat disqualifies himself from commenting on Dolezal on the grounds that "you don't know what it's like". Second, he demonizes right-wingers, characterizing them as wanting to kill Palestinians.

At a breakfast with reporters in Washington Thursday, Sanders previewed what he said will be a major theme of his campaign.

“I will be talking about family values, but not the family values that my Republican colleagues talk about, which for them means that a woman cannot have the right to control her own body or that gay people should not have the right to get married or that women should not have access to contraception. That is what their concept of family values are about. That’s not my concept,” Sanders said at the breakfast, sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in downtown D.C.
-- From a story by Meredith Shiner of Yahoo News, June 11, 2015, reporting remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Comment: Sanders is demonizing Republicans on abortion by saying they don't want women to be able to control their own bodies. Would it be fair to say that Sanders' position on abortion is that unborn children should be killed? No, both accounts are caricatures. It's also a distortion to say that Republicans oppose women having access to contraception. Republicans don't want contraception outlawed, they (or many of them, at least) just don't want taxpayer dollars paying for it.

When it comes to economics — and other subjects, but I’ll focus on what I know best — we live in an age of derp and cheap cynicism. And there are powerful forces behind both tendencies. But those forces can be fought, and the place to start fighting is within yourself. What am I talking about here? “Derp” is a term borrowed from the cartoon “South Park” that has achieved wide currency among people I talk to, because it’s useful shorthand for an all-too-obvious feature of the modern intellectual landscape: people who keep saying the same thing no matter how much evidence accumulates that it’s completely wrong. … Thus, if you’re a conservative opposed to a stronger safety net, you should be extra skeptical about claims that health reform is about to crash and burn, especially coming from people who made the same prediction last year and the year before (Obamacare derp runs almost as deep as inflation derp). But if you’re a liberal who believes that we should reduce inequality, you should similarly be cautious about studies purporting to show that inequality is responsible for many of our economic ills, from slow growth to financial instability. Those studies might be correct — the fact is that there’s less derp on America’s left than there is on the right — but you nonetheless need to fight the temptation to let political convenience dictate your beliefs.
-- Pundit Paul Krugman, June 8, 2015.

Comment: Krugman is essentially accusing people of not caring about truth, while also caricaturing Republicans and conservatives (the right) by saying that they ignore truth more than the opposition Democrats, liberals, and progressives (the left), without providing any rigorous statistics to back up this claim.

CHRIS WALLACE: Pope Francis will release an encyclical on the environment... You suggested the holy father should stay out of the debate on climate change...

RICK SANTORUM: The Church has gotten it wrong a few times on science. And we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we do -- what we're really good at, which is -- which is theology and morality.

CHRIS WALLACE: Two points, if he's not a scientist, and, in fact, he has a degree in chemistry, neither are you. That's one point. The second point is, somewhere between 80% and 90% of scientists who have studied this say that humans, men -- human activity, contributes to climate change. so, I guess the question would be, if he shouldn't talk about it, should you?
-- Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), June 7, 2015, during an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Comment: Wallace is accusing Santorum of hypocrisy for disqualifying Pope Francis from scientific commentary, but not himself, though he doesn't use it as a basis for an ad hominem argument. Both Wallace and Santorum make an appeal to authority – "scientist should determine what's true in science" – which is flawed reasoning. Whatever the topic, scientists and non-scientists have to abide by the same standards of providing good reasoning behind their beliefs. Scientists shouldn't immediately be believed simply because they are scientists, and the ideas of non-scientists shouldn't immediately be dismissed simply because they are not scientists.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: June 7, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
Ohio Governor John Kasich lambasted Clinton after a campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire. “For her to say that there are Republicans who are deliberately trying to keep people from voting is just pure demagoguery,” he told reporters

Kasich added that he doesn't “know who put her up to this,'' but said the election should be focused on “who's going to improve America, not who's going to divide America better than somebody else.”
-- Governor John Kasich, June 5, 2015, as reported in a story on Bloomberg by Emily Greenhouse and Mark Niquette.

Comment: Kasich is using "demagogue" and "unify the country" rhetoric.

If the talks fail, no sweat. We’ll just apply tougher sanctions until the Iranians come crawling back to the table. This is currently the position of close to 100 percent of Republicans in Congress. If only it were so simple. In the real world that these muddle-headed hardliners apparently don’t inhabit, the multi-lateral sanctions that Obama so painstakingly built during his first term are crumbling. Russia is already selling a sophisticated missile defense system to Teheran and European corporations are itching to trade again with Iran. Congress could impose the harshest sanctions imaginable and Iran would easily circumvent them.
-- Pundit Jonathan Alter, June 4, 2015.

Comment: Alter is saying Republican critics of the proposed nuclear deal with Iran are divorced from reality.

"[Democrats] are the anti-American party."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, June 4, 2015, during the 3rd hour of his radio show.

Comment: Levin is demonizing Democrats, questioning their patriotism.

"Here in Texas, former Governor Rick Perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters. He applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted, and said the lost protections were “outdated and unnecessary.” But Governor Perry is hardly alone in his crusade against voting rights. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote. In New Jersey, Governor Christie vetoed legislation to extend early voting. And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000. Thankfully in 2004 a plan to purge even more voters was headed off. So today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of? I believe every citizen has the right to vote. And I believe we should do everything we can to make it easier for every citizen to vote. I call on Republicans at all levels of government with all manner of ambition to stop fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they’re so scared of letting citizens have their say. Yes, this is about democracy. But it’s also about dignity. About the ability to stand up and say, yes, I am a citizen. I am an American. My voice counts. And no matter where you come from or what you look like or how much money you have, that means something. In fact, it means a lot."
-- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, June 4, 2015.

Comment: "Crusade" is a form of "war" rhetoric, though I think it's generally understood to be metaphorical. More worrying is that she is demonizing Republicans, accusing them of wanting to take people's right to vote away. She is also using "fear-mongering" rhetoric.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: Are you kidding me? The Department of Justice gives themselves a five out of five on proactive disclosure. Do you really think anybody in the world believes the Dept. of Justice is at the top of their game, they've got an A+. Five for five?


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: You live in la-la-land. You live in a fantasy land because it ain't working. I'm sure you're a very nice person, and I'm sure most of the people are very nice people. It ain't working. 550,000 times Americans put forward requests, and got a rejection saying it doesn't qualify. Do you think that is working? Do you think that is presumption of openness? Do you think that is proactive disclosure?
-- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), June 3, 2015, during a meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Comment: Chaffetz is saying Pustay is divorced from reality.

One supporter, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), described the legislation as “the most significant surveillance reform in decades.”

“We’ve done it by setting aside ideology, setting aside fear-mongering,” said Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’ll protect the security of the United States, but we’ll also protect the privacy of Americans.”
-- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), June 2, 2015, from a story that day by Mike DeBonis in The Washington Post. Leahy's remarks concerned the USA Freedom Act.

Comment: Leahy is using "ideologues" and "fear-mongering" rhetoric.

Think about how the Democratic presidential race is lining up. According to the Washington Post, “Hillary Rodham Clinton is running as the most liberal Democratic presidential front-runner in decades, with positions on issues … that would, in past elections, have put her at her party’s precarious left edge.” Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is running to her left. And Bernie Sanders is running to his left. And yet despite this, Democrats and liberals continue to act as if it’s Republicans and conservatives who are extreme, radical, revolutionary, on the fringe. Progressives have created an alternate reality in which they are moderate, temperate, centrist, the very model of reasonableness. They are blind to their own zeal and dogmatism, their own immoderation and intolerance. The Democratic Party was once a great party. It may be a great party again. But for now, it is a radical party — and growing more radical by the day.
-- Pundit Peter Wehner, June 2, 2015.

Comment: Wehner is using "extremist" rhetoric, essentially saying that Democrats are ideologues who are divorced from reality.

RUSH: Here's Tom in Orlando. Great to have you on the program, sir. I'm glad you waited. You're up next. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, listen, I walk dogs for a living. I'm out walking dogs, and you might hear 'em pulling me or yanking me, but I clean up after 'em, too. I call 'em little piles of liberals.

RUSH: (laughing) Yes.

CALLER: I clean 'em up every day, piles and piles of 'em.
-- A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show, June 1, 2015.

Comment: The caller is name-calling, using the language of disgust.

RUSH: Here's Ken in Miami. I'm glad you waited, sir. Great to have you on the program.

CALLER: The reason I called was that Republicans were elected to stop Obama. Obama publicly endorsed the USA Freedom Act, so shouldn't that be enough for the Republicans to be against it?

RUSH: Yeah. I feel your pain. The Republicans even acknowledged that they were elected to stop Obama, but then when they have the chance, they don't. Like in the trade deal. This transpacific partnership that still remains a big mystery. It's the Republicans that are gonna pull Obama -- it's caused me to be on the same page as Elizabeth Warren on this. Imagine how bad this thing must be. Actually, Elizabeth Warren's on the same page with me on this thing.
-- A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show, June 1, 2015.

Comment: The caller is saying Republicans have a mandate to stop Obama – or, perhaps, that they have not mandate to NOT stop Obama. The caller also argues that Obama's support for the USA Freedom Act is cause to oppose it, which is something of a reverse appeal to authority (and still invalid reasoning). Limbaugh notes that he agrees with his opponents on the transpacific trade deal, but doesn't seem to use that as an "ad hostes" argument.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Name-Calling and Caricature: "Disgusting"

Aside from calling people "stupid" and "divorced from reality" or "evil", another common form of derision is to describe people in terms that evoke disgust.

What evokes disgust can vary from person to person, but there are some familiar themes when trying to depict someone as unclean and less than human: vomit, excrement, and animals are routinely chosen.

This kind of verbal abuse typically isn't meant literally, of course. It's a metaphor, or perhaps "comparing" rhetoric: "You're as bad as something disgusting and not even human." But, even if it's not meant literally, it's still unacceptable to describe people as something filthy or vulgar that needs to be cleaned up.

TRUMP: I'm not looking for credit. But what I don't want is when I raise millions of dollars, to have people say – like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He's a sleaze in my book.

LLAMAS: Why am I sleaze?

TRUMP: You're a sleaze, because you know the facts, and you know the facts well.
-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, May 31, 2016, referring to Tom Llamas of ABC News. Trump accused Llamas of misreporting the amount of money Trump raised for veterans.

Comment: “Sleaze” is an example of “disgusting” rhetoric. If misreporting facts about Trump is grounds for Trump to use this kind of language against them, does the same standard apply to Trump himself? If Trump makes a false statement about somebody, are we justified in referring to Trump as “sleaze”?

1) Profited off of 9/11
2) Rooted for the housing crash
3) Ran a fraudulent university
4) Sued for tax dodging
5) Is a dick
-- Political consultant Jon Favreau, May 20, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.

Comment: Favreau's fifth point is name-calling, perhaps of the "disgusting" variety, but certainly vulgar.

@neeratanden @joanwalsh Scumbag Neera uses welfare when she needs it then takes away from others when they need it. Disgusting.
-- Blogger Matt Bruenig, May 19, 2016, referring to activist Neera Tanden.

Comment: Bruenig is using "disgusting" rhetoric.

"There are a lot of Republicans, including myself, who find him morally repulsive. And he’s just not — there are some things more important things than winning an election. And supporting a guy who tears at the social fabric, who insults the office of the presidency by being completely unprepared for it, who plays on bigotry and fear, who is the sort of demagogue our founders feared would upset the American experiment in self-government, well, that kind of guy, you just can’t support, even if it means a defeat."
-- Pundit David Brooks, March 18, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.

Comment: Brooks is accusing Trump of being a bigot and a demagogue who uses scare tactics (he is also perhaps using the language of disgust: "morally repulsive").

Actor and activist Sean Penn told an audience of security geeks Friday that "the defecation on America that is the Republican debate" is making him nostalgic for President George W. Bush, something he finds amazing.

Penn spoke on the final day of the RSA computer security conference, an annual event that was especially newsy this year due to the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI.

He was asked by RSA program chair Hugh Thompson who he backed in this year’s presidential election.

Penn grimaced, then said maybe he’s simply not being democratic enough in how he thinks about the election because he's clearly not taking into account "the true interests of my fellow Americans."

“So many of them truly want to hate each other, want to bottom out their community so they can rise up in it, want to really devastate the rest of the world and maybe get into a civil war,” he said.

If that is what the mass of Americans want, “I’m going to have to consider Trump-Cruz,” he said.
-- Actor and pundit Sean Penn, March 4, 2016, as related in a story by Elizabeth Weise of USA Today. Penn was referring to Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Comment: Penn is demonizing, saying that Trump and Cruz (and/or their supporters) intentionally want to destroy their communities and start wars. He is also using "disgusting" rhetoric (i.e., "defecation on America").

"Patrick Leahy looks like E.T. all grown up, about 10 times more unattractive."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, February 24, 2016, in the 3rd hour of his radio show, referring to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and the alien in the film "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial".

Comment: This is name-calling, I'm guessing of the "disgusting" variety.

Ted Cruz is the definition of sleaze.
-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, February 11, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric.

Donald Trump, who has been the talk of American politics for months, made an appearance of sorts at the Rose Parade.

At least in the sky.

As the parade was ending, a small plane began to fill the sky with puffs of white smoke. At first it spelled "America is Great," but then it continued with a different message: "Trump is disgusting."
-- From a January 1, 2016, story by Richard Winton of The Los Angeles Times.

Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric which perhaps also suggests that Trump is un-American.

Don’t worry I won’t make any exceptions, there are none to make.





The lowest of the low in my book, oh, I might offend some of these mouth breathers; so what, fuck em.

Watching the pigswill that is the GOP debates where the vilest, nastiest and most demeaning piece of drivel gets wild applause. If you want to appeal to the dregs of the earth, then go for it, don’t expect my analysis to be bipartisan.

I don’t want to get to know you better, in fact I don’t want you anywhere bloody near me. Vote for this trash and I will regard you as such.

There are not two sides to the debate there is no common ground, we have gone way beyond that, vileness is their motto, hatred their raison d'ĂȘtre.

Greedy, spineless cowards, fearful of anything that moves, hateful of anything different and proud of their ignorance. Proud unreasoning bigots all.

They live in their own vile pool of ingrained mindless doctrine where belief trumps fact, where ignorance is praised as a virtue.

There are those that exploit the fear, loathing and ignorance and they are the worst of the lot, where denial is easier than facing up to the truth.

To those who would send others far braver than themselves into our mindless wars I have nothing but sheer contempt.

You are scum.
-- Pundit LaFeminista, November 21, 2015, in a post entitled, "Republicans Are The Scum Of The Earth".

Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric. LaFeminista also accuses Republicans of being bigoted, not caring about truth and reason, and exploiting fear.

Calls U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota Andy Luger "loogie", and says he is "disgusting".
-- Pundit Mark Levin, November 3, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio program.

Comment: Levin is using the language of disgust to deride Luger.

Marco Rubio wants no part of Donald Trump’s “freak show,” the Florida senator said in an NPR interview aired Monday.

“I’m not interested in the back and forth — to be a member or a part of his freak show,” the Republican presidential candidate remarked. “I would just say this: He is a very sensitive person; he doesn’t like to be criticized. He responds to criticism very poorly.”
-- Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), September 28, 2015, as related in a Politico article by Nick Gass. Rubio was discussing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Comment: It's one thing to say he doesn't want to get into a visceral back-and-forth with Trump, but the term "freak show" is derisive name-calling (perhaps an instance of "disgusting" or "subhuman" rhetoric?). Also, it seems like the rhetoric is going to incite exactly what Rubio says he wants to avoid.

"I don’t know what happened to the good people of Connecticut to be voting for a piece of crap like this."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, August 28, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio show. Levin was referring to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who had criticized Congress earlier that day for being "complicit" in mass shootings.

Comment: It's fair for Levin to criticize Murphy's remarks, but he can do that without resorting to the language of disgust (i.e., "piece of crap").

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley apologized “like a disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby” for his remark that “all lives matter,” Donald Trump said in an excerpt of a new interview aired Friday on Fox News.

In an interview with Jeanine Pirro for her program “Justice” set to air Saturday night, Trump said that the former Maryland governor did not need to say he was sorry.

“And then he apologized like a little baby, like a disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby. And that’s the problem with our country,” Trump said, according to a clip aired on “Fox and Friends.”

O’Malley, in fact was “politically incorrect” with his apology, Trump remarked.

“How can you apologize when you say black lives matter — which is true — white lives matter, which is true — all lives [matter] — which is true. And then they get angry because you said white and all…we don’t want you to mention that. What’s he need to apologize for?” Trump asked.
-- Presidential candidate Donald Trump, August 21, 2015, as related by a story in Politico by Nick Gass.

Comment: Trump can criticize O'Malley's behavior without resorting to the language of disgust.

"Jerrold Nadler is a Marxist, he is a complete puke. Party before country."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, August 21, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio show. Levin was criticizing Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for supporting the nuclear deal with Iran.

Comment: First, Levin is deriding Nadler as disgusting. Second, while Nadler is a liberal, what is the evidence that he is a Marxist? This sounds like an exaggeration to the point of demonizing. Lastly, in saying that Nadler puts party before country, Levin is demonizing Nadler by questioning his patriotism.

Pathetic turd FrankLuntz begged @realDonaldTrump for corporate polling work - trashes Trump only after Trump declines
-- Pundit Roger Stone, August 18, 2015. Stone's tweet referred to Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Comment: "Turd" is Stone's way of saying Luntz is disgusting.

"This guy's quite the puke. … He looks the part."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, July 15, 2015, during the 1st hour of his radio show. Levin was referring to former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Comment: Levin is using the "disgusting" form of name-calling against Brzezinski.

RUSH: Here's Tom in Orlando. Great to have you on the program, sir. I'm glad you waited. You're up next. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, listen, I walk dogs for a living. I'm out walking dogs, and you might hear 'em pulling me or yanking me, but I clean up after 'em, too. I call 'em little piles of liberals.

RUSH: (laughing) Yes.

CALLER: I clean 'em up every day, piles and piles of 'em.
-- A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show, June 1, 2015.

Comment: The caller is name-calling, using the language of disgust.

Clinton Aide Sid Blumenthal is the Human Equivalent of a Semen-Stained Dress
-- The headline of an article by pundit Nick Gillespie, May 20, 2015, referring to Sidney Blumenthal, who was once a political aide to President Bill Clinton. The headline alludes to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"One man, one vote. People are comin' in this country across the borders like rats and roaches in the wood pile. We've got a state like Minnesota that says it's not our business to check 'em out, we just register 'em. We've got to get control. That's what they need to know."
-- The mother-in-law of Citizens United president David Bossie, May 9, 2015, during a focus group at the South Carolina Freedom Summit.

"Marie Harf -- or "Barf" whatever you prefer …"
-- Pundit Mark Levin, March 24, 2015, referring to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf.

Comment: Levin is name-calling, using a term of disgust to refer to someone he disagrees with. There has to be a way to care about and fight for the Constitution and conservative values – as Levin does – without referring to other people as vomit, doesn't there?

"Get out of here, you low-life scum."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), January 29, 2015. McCain was referring to Code Pink protesters, who had interrupted a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Republicans are immoral scum
-- The headline of an article by pundit "old mark", November 15, 2013.

Referring to TV pundit Melissa Harris-Perry, Doyle says the "bitchy broad factor" is on show at MSNBC. He says of the "self-absorbed ninny" Harris-Perry, "She's just a steaming turd on the side of the road of life … Something you get on the bottom of your shoe and you can't scrape off".
-- Radio pundit Jerry Doyle, November 21, 2012. Doyle was responding to Harris-Perry's commentary on Thanksgiving.

Comment: This is just name-calling. If Doyle disagrees with Harris-Perry's views about Thanksgiving, then he should explain why. But he can do that without resorting to the language of disgust.

The Scum of the Earth: GOP Senator Blocks Bill to Increase Benefits for Veterans
-- Headline to an article by pundit William Rivers Pitt, September 27, 2012.

Sherrod Brown, another puke
-- Pundit Mark Levin, September 7, 2012. Levin was referring to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), whose reelection campaign that day released an ad criticizing his opponent, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R). The ad referred to an August 19, 2012, column by Joe Hallett, senior editor at The Columbus Dispatch, accusing Mandel of adopting "big lie" theory.

During the Holocaust years (1933-1945), the Nazis frequently referred to Jews as germs, bacilli, cancer, vermin, parasites, and lice. … During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Hutu commonly referred to the Tutsi as Inyenzi or cockroaches. During the genocide in Darfur, Sudan (2003 to present [late 2007]), the black Africans of Darfur have been referred to as "dogs" and "slave dogs." In that region of the world dogs are seen as some of the lowliest creatures on earth and the term "slave" is the worst slur that can be used against another human being.
-- From the Dictionary of Genocide, by Paul R. Bartrop and Samuel Totten, published November 30, 2007.

Comment: This is a good survey of "disgust" rhetoric from recent history.

Republican scum of hollywood
-- Title of a list of conservatives and Republicans compiled by pundit "Christ was Socialist", May 4, 2004.