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The GOP: Not What It Used to Be


fraurosena
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There are increasingly worrying signs that the party formerly known as the GOP is being / has been taken over by extremist right wing conspiracy theorist fascists.

I thought I’d start a thread to discuss the slow disintegration of the GOP.

It’s time to call a spade, a spade.

 

Edited by Coconut Flan
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Long but really good interview with Mike Lofgren. His analysis is spot on.

Longtime GOP insider Mike Lofgren: "Going easy on these people will not work"

(if you don't want to read it all, stick to the bolded to get the gist of it)

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Republican officials at the highest level support insurrection, terrorism and treason. They have presided over a political culture that, for many years, has inculcated seditious desires within millions of expertly programmed citizens. The consequences became manifest on Jan. 6 when a rabid mob of neo-Confederates, fascists and associated psychotics took the Capitol by force, perhaps hoping to murder duly elected members of Congress — not to mention the vice president — and install Donald Trump as dictator.

As surreal as that summary of recent events might seem, it was not entirely unpredictable. Mike Lofgren, a former Republican congressional staff member of 28 years, began warning about the danger of the GOP in 2011, even going so far as to condemn his longtime party as a "death cult." Before his retirement, Lofgren worked in both the House and Senate as a specialist staffer for national security affairs, tasked with analyzing Pentagon budget requests and preparing military-related legislation.

Lofgren's formal training, not incidentally is as a historian. He holds an M.A. in history from the University of Akron, and went on to study European history on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Bern and the University of Basel in Switzerland. 

The unique combination of Lofgren's historical expertise and his long career in the "boiler room" of legislative politics, as he calls it, put him in the perfect position to see the destructive monstrosity that Republicans and their far-right allies have created. He has detailed his analysis and experience in two books, "The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted" and "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government."

With that latter title, by the way, Lofgren was not gesturing toward the conspiracy-theory delusion currently popular among Trump supporters. Rather, he meant "deep state" as an umbrella term for the lobbying firms, corporate donors and military-industrial complex that have a stranglehold on American public policy. 

I recently discussed the insurrection at the Capitol, how best to combat right-wing extremism and the future of the Republican Party with Lofgren in a phone conversation, lightly edited here for length and clarity.

We'll start with the obvious. What was your gut reaction as you watched the act of domestic terrorism — the siege of the Capitol — live on television? Now that you've had time to process it, what is your interpretation of the event both in terms of what happened and how the United States should proceed? 

I worked for three decades in Congress. Regardless of how peeved I might have been over some policy or another, I was proud of my public service. To see the place trashed like that, and I mean really desecrated — there were people shitting on the floor, and smearing it on the walls. The insane violence of a mob beating a cop with a fire extinguisher and shoving him down the marble stairs was horrifying. At the same time, once the mob was dispersed, they went throughout the D.C. metro area randomly beating up people whom they could victimize. Later that afternoon, my daughter, who does not live in D.C. but in Arlington, across the river, was out walking her dog, and saw these thugs spewing out of the Metro station like toxic waste. She had to do a 180. Arlington was placed under curfew that night. All these occurrences, including having to worry about my own family's safety, left some pretty vivid impressions, to say the least.  

In terms of the larger picture, at least three allied European intelligence agencies believe that Trump fomented the mob because he could not get the military to assist him. They have suggested there was at least some degree of collusion with federal law enforcement. Given how fast the Capitol Police chief resigned and left the building, there's some credence to that. Second, that view is reinforced by a former senior official on Trump's National Security Council — Fiona Hill, whom everyone should recognize from the Russiagate testimony she gave. She believes that Trump was consciously trying to trigger a coup using the military, and that the intervention from 10 former secretaries of defense may have prevented it.

We now know that the Republican Attorneys General Association sent out robocalls the day before, encouraging people to descend on the Capitol. Republican dark money financed the rioters, gave them bus tickets and chartered the transportation. Dark money is the so-called 501(c)(4) organizations with anonymous donors, that Republicans on the Supreme Court claim is such a wonderful idea for freedom.

Finally, two-thirds of House Republicans voted to nullify the results of legitimate elections that had been recounted multiple times and survived many court challenges. They did this a few hours after the entire place was vandalized and everybody's lives were in danger. A YouGov poll found that 45 percent of Republicans, after the fact, approved of the assault on the Capitol. [In fairness, a more robust ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted this past week found that only 20 percent of Republicans approved. (fraurosena: oh, look, another example of the worthlessness of polls)] And now there is new information that extremists plan to encircle the Capitol to assassinate Democrats.

The severity of the threat means that we cannot afford an ineffective response. Considering your experience in government and your wider historical perspective, how do you suggest we react? 

It is necessary to see the historical analogies that tell us what works and what doesn't work. The thing that pops into everyone's mind is the Civil War. People tend to get all misty-eyed about Lincoln's statement, "With malice toward none, and charity for all." That was his second inaugural address in March of 1865. What were the results? A couple of weeks later, what he got out of it was a bullet in the head. What Blacks got out of it was Jim Crow. What Confederates got was pardons, amnesties, dropped charges and the ability to rewrite history. The rest of us were saddled with them, and now we have a large portion of the country — a single region that is basically a Third World state.  

The Civil War was not a fluke. Weimar Germany is another example. Compared to the devastation that the Germans caused in France and Belgium, the Versailles Treaty was very mild. The gratitude for that mildness was a buildup of authoritarianism in Germany, people in all walks of life thinking that they were victims, the police and the courts going very easy on the perpetrators of the Beer Hall Putsch — a guy named Hitler was involved in that — and the results were not very happy.

Now, let's see what works in these cases. We haven't had much trouble with Germany in the past 75 years, because in 1945, basically, they were treated to a Carthaginian peace — a massive military occupation and a few strategic hangings of the ringleaders. It was assisted, of course, by the fact that the Germans had to be on their best behavior, because they didn't want us to go home, and leave them to the tender mercies of the Russians. 

Those examples show you what works, and what encourages people in cases of massive insurrection. Being overly lenient only encourages them.  

Lawrence Rosenthal, a leading scholar of right-wing extremism, often gives the same warning. They see liberal society as "weak and flabby," and will interpret any reluctance to act with aggression as confirmation of their central thesis. Then they will push the envelope further. So what is the correct approach? 

I agree with him. The approach has to be, first, governmental, with laws and the application of those laws, but also socially, by boycotting and putting pressures on corporations. It is also individual, each person dealing with other individuals. I say this because I've personally confronted the issue. It is important to tell relatives and friends in no uncertain terms, "You can stop invoking Jesus. I sure as hell don't want to hear about Black Lives Matter. You are not a good citizen or a patriot if you continue to vote for these Republicans. I might have to keep your grandkids away from you unless you repent of this. I don't want their young minds poisoned by hatred and violence." 

Decent people will have to ask themselves, "Wouldn't you rather have a friend who is not nuts? Wouldn't you rather not have to carefully steer the conversation away from politics so that Uncle Fred doesn't make a scene and ruin Thanksgiving dinner?" You don't need to hang onto relationships with hate-filled or deluded people out of habit or obligation. You can find other friends. 

The social media prohibitions are also good. These people crying censorship and free speech have no understanding that you cannot compel a private individual to use his privately-owned platform to broadcast incitements to murder. It is a complete inversion of the First Amendment. 

Next, companies cutting off donations is a start. Credit rating agencies should rate these GOP officials, and those who supported the insurrection, at zero. Their social credit is in the trash can. I'm saying that maybe their financial credit should be as well.  

We have to guard against hypocrisy and stupidity, however. I saw that Northrop Grumman announced a six-month pause on all political donations to both parties. Unless you specifically target the perpetrators, it makes no sense.  

I've learned that the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee [Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi] is demanding that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz be placed on the no-fly list. See, there are many tools available. Republicans are so fond of antiterrorist laws: I say, let's use them against Republicans who advocated violence. We can use civil and criminal RICO statutes to confiscate the money of GOP organizations that fund violent extremism.

I have been activating old friends on the Hill, and people who have access to various people on the Hill, and proposing that you have to saturation-bomb the Republicans legislatively. You can't make it an either/or with impeachment. You can do impeachment and concurrently have in your back pocket the 14th Amendment, which bans anyone from office who incited insurrection against the United States. 

Laurence Tribe did not do us any favors when he said that the person otherwise has to be convicted in a court before that amendment can be applied. A plain reading of the 14th Amendment does not say anything about that. It is a pure finding by Congress that they are committing insurrection, and are barred from holding office. The beauty of it is that it requires only a simple majority in each house, whereas impeachment requires two-thirds in the Senate to convict, and knowing Republicans as I do, we may not get two-thirds. The 14th does require, however, two-thirds to lift the ban and reinstate their right to run for office. So there is a bigger hurdle to relieve them of the ban than to punish them. 

All of this is necessary because going easy on these people — holding their hands, giving them a cup of tea and trying to understand them — will not work. They take it as weakness and a sign that they will prevail. If people are supporting violent overthrow of the government, I see no reason — morally, politically or practically — why our society should not ostracize them. 

Would you suggest that Democrats initiate the 14th Amendment process against the senators and representatives who voted to overturn the election of Biden?  

Concurrently against Trump, and against those who were found to have incited. Whether everybody who voted to object to the results deserves being banned for life, I'll leave that to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi's wisdom. Sarcasm aside, the speaker does not sound amused by any of this, which is refreshing.  

You said, "Knowing the Republicans as I do …" Let's get into that. In 2014, you wrote that the Republican Party had transformed into a death cult. In 2018, you wrote a brilliant and unfortunately prescient essay for the Washington Monthly in which you predicted that violence and nihilism were waiting at the end of the GOP track. How did this happen with the party? How could the party transform into something so insane?  

I suppose it was partly happenstance, and partly my past training as a historian, that I could see this before almost anybody else could. I first wrote about their apocalyptic nature in 2011. Most people looked at me like I was some sort of exotic zoo specimen. Almost no one else was saying this at the time. Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann did say it in a book that came out roughly around the same time. I had the advantage of being in the boiler room, and seeing how the GOP operates. I was kind of an Eisenhower-Gerald Ford Republican. I wasn't caught up in the "movement." I viewed my public service as public service. I wasn't an operative for the party.

I had lived in Europe before working on the Hill, and developed an understanding of what happened there. I began to read philosophers like Sir Isaiah Berlin, who deconstructed conservatism by showing some of these obscure historical figures — everyone knows about Edmund Burke and his supposed moderation — but they forget that the bigger influence on the psychology of conservatives were the radical reactionaries against the French Revolution. Berlin described a kind of violent, anti-modernist, authoritarian, mystical strain in conservatism that often comes to the fore in moments of strain.  

He was a philosopher of science, but Karl Popper wrote one of the most impassioned defenses of democracy in an open society in general when he wrote "The Open Society and Its Enemies." He warned that people with this tendency toward absolutism are poison for any kind of rational thinking, and that includes science, as we have recently seen. He condemned extremist systems, whether communism or economic free-market fundamentalism, which translates into CEOs making 500 times what their average employee makes. Popper warned that any system that is deterministic leads to catastrophe.

All of this combined to lead me to conclude that the Republican Party has violent tendencies and a nihilistic outlook — rejection of science, rejection of civil rights, rejection of democracy, rejection of anything that does not allow them to maintain power. They will bring down the country to keep in power.   

I observed this over the years from people who are "true-blue constitutional conservatives, patriots who bleed red, white and blue." You get three or four beers in them, and they are singing the praises of Adolf Hitler. It sounds like I am exaggerating, but I've seen it happen. 

You mentioned the disparity between CEO and worker salaries. One of the arguments to emerge among people outraged over the Trump personality cult and fascist movement is over cause. Some analysts insist it is primarily hatred of Blacks, immigrants and the liberalization of society, whereas others point to economic precarity and increasing levels of poverty and despair as creating the conditions for these antisocial, anti-government extremist movements to grow. Can we keep in mind the latter analysis, while working to crush the fascists? 

The economics did contribute. Although you don't want to fall into the trap of saying, "Oh, these guys' wages are falling behind compared to the 1970s, and that's why they are worshipping Trump." That was a myth that the New York Times and all the rest of them swallowed. Support for Trump was racism. More careful polling and research, after the fact, made that clear. That being said, economic precarity does create a social ecology where these kinds of movements more readily catch on. Then it becomes symbiotic.

Economic precarity, referring back to Karl Popper, was not the inevitable trend of a mechanical globalism that operated beyond anyone's power to control it. It was powerful people making conscious policy decisions about how our economy is regulated. They systematically regulated for the benefit of the rich, and everybody else had to be on their own. That's how we got 401k's instead of defined benefits. That's how we got banks making synthetic derivatives out of nonexistent things. That's how we got the 2008 crisis. It is a symbiosis of, yes, the economy is poor, but it is not poor because it fell out of the sky in that form. The people we elected made it so. 

Yes, and people can reverse it. But this same radicalized insurgency that you identify, and the party they support, is the main obstruction to that reversal taking place. 

Right. There is a huge bad-ideas industry that exists in the country. It is all those 501(c)(3) foundations that churn out these policy proposals: The Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

What happens now with the Republican Party? They've suffered some major defeats. We have an incoming Biden administration. The Democrats will control the House and Senate. It appears that, thanks to Trump and the terrorist siege on the Capitol, their credibility is in free fall. Yet we've been here before. In 2008, political analysts predicted that the Democrats would have a permanent majority. Well, that didn't work out so well. What do you see transpiring in the next few years? 

Democrats seem to think that once they elect a Democratic president, they can all go back to sleep. We saw the consequences of that complacency in 1994. We saw it in 2010. During the first term of a Democratic president, you typically get landslides in the midterm against the sitting president. I fear that people could become complacent again. Then, there are many on the progressive left who think that their own gullibility is worldly-wise cynicism. They'll say: "Oh, it's just death by poison or death by hanging — the two parties are really the same." Well, they're not. They're making the same mistake as the far left in Weimar Germany, their delusion that the Social Democrats were the same as the Nazis. Don't kid yourself. Even a decadent status quo is better than living in a combination of Kim Jong-un's North Korea and anarchic Somalia.  

People should talk to Trump-supporting parents or uncles and aunts over the age of 65: What did you think you were going to get out of this? What was in it for you? If those rioters succeeded in overthrowing the government and installing Trump as dictator, do you think you'd continue getting your Social Security and Medicare? If a tornado knocks over your trailer, FEMA is not going to give you a check. 

Whatever your criticism of the Democrats, they are for sanity. They are for the rule of law. You are better advised to vote for them than for fascists.

 

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Jeff Flake on CNN talking about the way Trumpism seems to be winning a couple of weeks after the riots. He doesn't think Trumpism will last in the long run.

He thinks Trump will fade.

He would vote to impeach (But that's worth very little as he's an ex senator.)

It's not just the morality, he's also concerned that GOP lost the House and the Senate and the presidency and that the white supremacist fraction of the electorate is probably a demographic dead end for GOP eventually.

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8 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

Nikki Haley is Pro armed coups now

 

"Give the man a break."  Uh, that's a hard "No."  He debased the office of the President for 4 long years, culminating in an act of insurrection in the hopes of installing himself as a dictator.  At the very least, that deserves impeachment, and hopefully outright banning from ever seeking or holding any elected or appointed government position or office.

Also, Nikki, that is a butt-ugly painting in your office.  

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"Marjorie Taylor Greene’s vile new antics highlight a 50-year GOP story"

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Republican leaders were shocked, shocked to learn about revelations that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) once approved of calls for the execution of Democrats. They are so troubled by this that they plan to sit her down and give her a slap on the wrist with a little plastic ruler.

In so doing, they will be reminding us of a story about the GOP and conservative movement that goes back at least a half century: Their failure to adequately police the extremists in their midst.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is set to have a talk with Greene about her vile new antics. CNN reports that Greene “liked” a social media post that suggested “a bullet to the head” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and seemed to approve of a suggestion that other prominent Democrats should be hanged.

Perhaps it’s uncharitable to surmise that McCarthy will not take genuine action against Greene. But skepticism is reasonable, because right now, we’re seeing Republican leaders backpedaling from taking on their party’s destructive crackpottery on multiple fronts.

New reports confirm that GOP leaders are backing away from holding Donald Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection, and that the Pennsylvania GOP is increasingly organizing itself around blood-oath loyalty to the ex-president and his myth of a stolen election.

The GOP’s Greene problem is metastasizing with particular force. As Aaron Blake reports, Greene has supported QAnon conspiracy theories about a global pedophilia cabal, approved of suggestions that mass shootings were staged and made a variety of racist comments.

A new level? Probably not.

Greene’s apparent approval of the killing of Democrats should take this to another level with GOP leaders, if only because it comes after the storming of the Capitol, which may have almost resulted in lawmakers’ executions.

But at this point, many Republicans still refuse to unambiguously renounce the lie that inspired the assault — that the election was illegitimate — and many still won’t declare forthrightly that Joe Biden fairly won the election, in effect still refusing to fully recognize the legitimacy of his presidency.

For her part, Greene has also lied that the election was “stolen” in Georgia, and she called for Biden’s impeachment even before he took office. But the dispiriting truth of the matter is that this doesn’t make her much of an outlier in today’s GOP.

So it remains to be seen whether Greene will face serious disciplinary action from GOP leaders. But the mere fact that this is an open question itself points back to a decades-long story.

Long-running failure to police extremists

There is a long-running debate among historians and political scientists about the true nature of the far-right fringe’s relationship to the GOP and the conservative movement.

In “The Long New Right,” political scientists Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld argue that the GOP and conservative movement have allowed the boundary between fringe and mainstream to remain “porous” going back through Joe McCarthy’s anti-communist crusades in the 1950s.

That lapse, according to this thesis, is grounded in a fundamental feature of the post-war right wing, its constant addiction to a “politics of conflict” that lacks any “sense of limits, whether tactical or substantive.”

The result: The GOP and conservative movement have failed at “policing boundaries against extremism,” which defined a “half century of Republican politics.”

Examples include conservative movement leaders flirting with the John Birch Society; allies of 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater refusing to disavow a Ku Klux Klan endorsement; Newt Gingrich’s conversion of GOP politics into nationalized scorched earth warfare; and, of course, the rise of Trump.

‘No enemies to the right’

Geoffrey Kabaservice, the author of a history of the modern GOP, argued to me that GOP and conservative “gatekeepers” have gradually stood down over time, bringing us to the present.

“The dictum now really is ‘No enemies to the right’ within the conservative movement and the Republican Party,” said Kabaservice, the director of political studies at the Niskanen Center.

Kabaservice noted a confluence of trends have brought us here. The unpopularity of the GOP agenda to the U.S. mainstream has made it necessary to fire up increasingly far-flung reaches of the base with what Kabaservice calls “entertainment” and “jihadist ecstasy.”

And so GOP leaders continue humoring tales that the election was stolen from Trump, because such “jihadist ecstasy” energizes the base. Recall that GOP officials declined to recognize Biden’s victory for weeks precisely in order to keep the GOP base fired up for the Georgia runoffs.

Meanwhile, the explosion of extreme right-wing news sources has “opened up a path to power and popularity for people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who reject governing altogether,” Kabaservice continued. Policing people like her risks alienating the voters she has energized.

GOP leaders stand down against Trump

What’s noteworthy is that GOP leaders basically agree with this analysis. The New York Times reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is backing away from his effort to distance the GOP from Trump.

Why? Because McConnell’s calculations are trapped between the recognition that if the party sticks with Trump, it will keep alienating “women and suburban voters,” and the understanding that Trump brings “new voters into the Republican fold.”

For now, the latter calculation is winning out for McConnell: With huge swaths of GOP voters still backing Trump as the party’s leader, moving away from him is too risky.

Meanwhile, Trip Gabriel reports this remarkable tidbit about the thinking of Republicans in Pennsylvania:

G.O.P. leaders recognize the extent to which the former president unleashed waves of support for their party. In Pennsylvania, just as in some Midwestern states, a surge of new Republican voters with grievances about a changing America was triggered by Mr. Trump, and only Mr. Trump.

As Kabaservice summed it up to me: “They’ve lost any sense of why conservatives would need to police” the GOP’s “boundaries against kooks and extremists.”

 

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A good op-ed by Kathleen Parker: "The GOP isn’t doomed. It’s dead."

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With the electoral eviction of Donald Trump from the Oval Office, Republicans had a shot at redemption and resurrection.

They missed and failed — and deserve to spend the next several years in political purgatory. The chaos now enveloping what’s left of the Grand Old Party after four years of catering to an unstable president is theirs to own. Where conservatism once served as a moderating force — gently braking liberalism’s boundless enthusiasm — the former home of ordered liberty has become a halfway house for ruffians, insurrectionists and renegadewarriors.

What does Trump have on these people, one wonders? The continuing loyalty of so many to a man so demonstrably dangerous can’t be explained by “the base,” a word never more aptly applied. What secrets were shared by Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who, after blaming Trump for the Jan. 6 mob attack, visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago this week to make amends? It seems that The Don, yet another appropriate nickname, need only purse his button lips and whistle to summon his lap dogs to Palm Beach, there to conspire for the next Big Lie.

The party’s end was inevitable, foreshadowed in 2008 when little-boy Republican males, dazzled by the pretty, born-again, pro-life Alaska governor, thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency. The dumbing down of conservatism, in other words, began its terminal-velocity plunge, with a wink and a pair of shiny red shoes. Palin cast a spell as potent as the poppy fields of Oz, but turned the United States into her own moose-poppin,’ gum-smackin’ reality show.

Forget Kansas. We’re not in America anymore.

Eight years of Barack Obama added insult to injury and paved the way for Trump — a gaudier, cinematic version of the “thrillah from Wasilla.” Seizing upon our every worst instinct, he turned Palin’s lipsticked pig into a herd of seething, primitive barbarians. Now, the Department of Homeland Security is warning of yet more violence by domestic extremists, presumably from the ranks of the mob and QAnon conspiracists who stormed the Capitol with blood on their minds.

For Donald Trump, you went down this road? Either Trump has a stockpile of incriminating videos — his people have people, you know — or today’s Republicans are the weakest, wimpiest, most pathetic crop of needy nincompoops in U.S. history.

Suddenly, the “good ones” are worried about their newest member, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a QAnon-promoting female version of Trump — only without the charm. You begin to see how this monster mutates like a certain virus into ever-more-dangerous versions of itself. Among other things, Greene embraces the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., were staged. One struggles for words, but I’ll settle for “creep.”

Recently unearthed video shows Greene chasing David Hogg, the Parkland student who rose to public prominence as a gun-control activist after the February 2018 shooting, goading him to respond to her insinuation that his ability to get appointments with U.S. senators when she couldn’t obviously meant he was a public relations spawn and not a survivor of a terrorist attack.

I confess to early uncertainty about Hogg, who was preternaturally adept at media management and public speaking, suddenly materializing from the fog of horror. But the notion that he was somehow complicit in a manufactured act of mass murder is beyond the pale even for the farthest right.

Good work, GOP. You got yourself a live one. Naturally, Greene has been assigned to the Education and Labor Committee.

Going forward, not only will House Republicans be associated with a colleague who “liked” a Twitter post calling for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s murder. They’ll be attached to QAnon, which promotes the extraordinary fiction that Trump was leading a war against Satan-worshiping pedophiles and cannibals, whose leadership includes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and, oh, by the way, yours truly, as well as U2’s Bono.

To those Republicans who can read: You own all of this. The party isn’t doomed; it’s dead. The chance to move away from Trumpism, toward a more respectful, civilized approach to governance that acknowledges the realities of a diverse nation and that doesn’t surrender to the clenched fist, has slipped away. What comes next is anybody’s guess. But anyone who doesn’t speak out against the myths and lies of fringe groups, domestic terrorists and demagogues such as Trump deserves only defeat — and a lengthy exile in infamy. Good riddance.

 

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3 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

 

I find it absolutely disgusting how the Republican have been taken over and are punishing those who finally found enough spine and huevos to stand up and do the right thing. Granted it was too late because they were complicit with Trump's shenanigans. I would be angry as well if the parties and the situations were reversed.

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Bobby Kaufmann wants Iowa Democrats to make nice with Republicans.

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Iowa Republicans are in full control of all levels of the state government and are moving forward on a constitutional amendment limiting abortion rights and another protecting gun rights. Neither is a done deal yet, Iowa voters would eventually have the final say. Proposals to expand school choice in Iowa are also moving ahead.

It’s drawn complaints from Democrats, who have little power to block the Republican agenda. But Representative Bobby Kaufmann tells KCRG TV9 he hopes to keep politics respectful in Iowa.

”I think I can be an example and others can be an example that republicans and democrats can be friends. That you can disagree and not try to cancel somebody, that you can disagree and not try to silence somebody, I think that’s the biggest thing I can do,” Kaufmann told us.

Go fuck yourself Bobby.  Take your calls for unity and shove it up your ass.  I'm done making nice with Republicans who want to destroy Iowa.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/cancel-culture-criticism-accountability/2021/01/29/8d24d2d4-6180-11eb-9061-07abcc1f9229_story.html
 

So you’re being held accountable? That’s not ‘cancel culture.’

Spoiler

 

 

 

By

Margaret Sullivan

Media columnist

Jan. 31, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. GMT+2

According to the Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry, nothing less than a “social justice mob” descended on Politico after it gave a guest-editing slot to right-wing flamethrower Ben Shapiro.

Scarry mocked those, including many of Politico’s employees, who thought Shapiro never should have been put in charge of the site’s popular Playbook newsletter — even for a day.

Such objections are an effort to silence conservative voices, Scarry claimed in another piece: Liberal journalists “believe one side of the political spectrum to be legitimate, and the other should be given as few opportunities to have their opinions heard as possible.”

In other words, it’s all a part of “cancel culture” — the catchphrase for how the masses supposedly gang up to silence provocative voices.

I happen to think that the Politico staffers were right to oppose their news organization granting its imprimatur to someone with Shapiro’s history of performative bigotry.

But Scarry is entitled to his opinion.

So are the objectors at Politico.

And so is Shapiro, who tweeted this in 2010: “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage.” And who offered this view in 2019, after a Democratic presidential candidate proposed that colleges opposed to gay marriage lose their tax-exempt status: “Beto O’Rourke does not get to raise my child. And if he tries, I will meet him at the door with a gun.”

Yes, in America, all these people get to talk. Because of the First Amendment, the government won’t shut them down.

That doesn’t mean they’re immune to other forms of accountability, though. When Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri joined the Republican Sedition Caucus and supported overturning the presidential election a few weeks ago, Simon & Schuster decided it didn’t want to publish his book anymore.

Likewise, Twitter decided to permanently suspend President Donald Trump after he used the platform to spread damaging lies about the election and to fire up those who rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

There’s been plenty of criticism about these decisions, not one of which had anything to do with the First Amendment, which forbids the government — not Twitter or any other private entity — from shutting down speech except in the most dangerous cases.

But you’d never know it from all the bad-faith squealing, mostly from the right.

Night after night, Fox News offers prime-time viewers its “leftist-assault-on-speech” show. Hawley, who needed only a few days to find a new publisher for his book, subsequently blasted the “muzzling of America” in an opinion piece in the widely read New York Post.

Have any of these people been silenced? Hardly.

As Parker Molloy of Media Matters put it: “Despite getting a spot on the front page of the fourth-largest newspaper in the U.S., coverage across the entire Fox News lineup, a new book deal, an audience of more than half a million followers on Twitter, and a lengthy list of credits on IMDb, Hawley would like you to believe that he is a man without a voice.”

And then there’s Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who ranted that the congressional efforts to hold Trump accountable for his role in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol are somehow sins against free expression:

“Impeachment is the zenith of cancel culture,” he tweeted, as if “cancel culture” were to blame for a constitutional remedy that dates back to the country’s founding.

I talked with a leading First Amendment lawyer and scholar, Jameel Jaffer, about all of this last week. Jaffer thinks a lot of these complaints are misguided. They spring, he said, from a misunderstanding (I would call it an intentional misunderstanding) of what the First Amendment is all about.

“The point of the First Amendment is to take these kinds of debates out of the hands of the government and put them in the hands of private citizens,” said Jaffer, a Columbia University law professor and director of the Knight First Amendment Institute.

It’s not subverting the First Amendment, therefore, to criticize a politician or a cable news host or a right-wing provocateur. “That’s the whole point of the First Amendment,” he said.

Nor is it a subversion of free-speech values for news organizations to make editing decisions or for social media platforms to make and enforce rules.

Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump, though, gives Jaffer pause. Given the outsize power of the tech platforms as speech gatekeepers and information distributors, he prefers to err on the side of letting people have their say. (When their say turns into dangerous incitement, he agrees it goes too far.)

These nuanced views don’t get much airtime in the outrage factories of cable news and talk radio.

“It’s important we should tolerate diverse views,” Jaffer said. “We benefit from a public square that includes ideas that make us uncomfortable.”

Late last week, progressive groups published an open letter asking news organizations to stop amplifying politicians who won’t publicly concede that the 2020 presidential election was legitimate.

“Every American is entitled to freedom of speech, but they are not entitled to appear on prestigious television programs or news outlets to spread demonstrable falsehoods that have already incited a murderous insurrection, and remain at the heart of an ongoing national security threat,” the letter said.

Do these politicians run the risk of being “canceled”? I doubt it. They’ll find a way to get their messages out, just as Hawley is doing with such success.

It would help if journalists pushed back more effectively. CNN’s Pamela Brown gave a master class in her devastating interview with Madison Cawthorn, a Republican congressman from North Carolina. By the end, he had no defense left for his election denialism.

But, even if that sort of pushback becomes the norm, news organizations should be wary of handing these charlatans a megaphone.

You can call that cancel culture if you want. I call it responsibility.

The good news is that, in America, we get to argue about it.

 

 

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Majorie Taylor Greene (R-WNJ) will be twiddling her thumbs soon. 

House Democrats move swiftly to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee assignments

Kevin McCarthy (GOP leader in the House) got a note saying that he has 72 hours to strip Greene's assignments to the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committees or the Dems will do it for him. 

My guess? Republicans desperately need this to happen,  will make the Democrats do it and then criticize them for it, while threatening to do the same when Repubs take the House. 

Mitch McConnell made a comment disparaging Greene's wingnuttery, being so very careful to not use her actual name: 

Quote

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," the Kentucky Republican said. "Somebody who's suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.'s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party."

Until reading this on CNN today, I had no idea there was a conspiracy theory that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.'s airplane.  According to some QAnon elements, JFK Jr. never died and was going to show up and something something, and some guy who looks exactly nothing like Jr. is actually him. 

Just checked in on a sports betting site, which is an amazing font of information about the  the process to remove a sitting Representative from the House and how MTG has Swiffered her social media accounts. 

Odds Marjorie Taylor Greene Completes Her Term Set at -500

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30 minutes ago, Howl said:

According to some QAnon elements, JFK Jr. never died and was going to show up and something something, and some guy who looks exactly nothing like Jr. is actually him. 

According to Qidiots, JFK Jr. was supposed to reappear in December and replace Pence as Trump's running mate. Unfortunately, I'm not kidding. I don't know why they would think JFK Jr., if alive, would run on a republican ticket.

 

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Oooooh, Malcom Nance is reporting that Marjorie Taylor Greene has admitted (on film) that the Parkland shooting really happened and wasn't a false flag after all! 

So...some grownups must have sat MTG down and read her the riot (insurrection) act: start denying her RWNJ conspiracy theories or possibly face expulsion from Congress down the line. 

Also: Repub ratf**kery = spin her removal from committees as a negative for Dems and to rehab her rep: she's a useful idiot to keep the far far far right 2A ammosexuals in the party. 

Edited by Howl
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