House Speaker solution...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Seattle, Jan 6, 2023.

  1. candy Valued Senior Member

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    1,072
    The maga group wants the government shut down.
    Without a speaker the congress is shut down.
    Sometimes you just have to sallow the bitter pill and hope for the next election to fix the mess.
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    The deliberate disruption of government function is sedition.

    That's not swallowing a bitter pill. It's sedition.

    You are describing an insurrection by Congressional Republicans.

    If they cannot win at the ballot box, then they will disrupt the function of government until everyone else gives them everything they want.

    And, sure, that's not surprising, but once upon a time conservatives were offended by the thought that they were a bunch of petulant, anti-American, wannabe Nazis. Now we have Nazi sympathizers in Congress¹ and it turns out that "Godwin's Law" was always invalid: There were Nazis at the table the whole time.

    Inasmuch as the House Speaker solution, for the GOP, might be↑ to simply paralyze the House of Representatives, well, at least we can agree on that. But to wilfully disrupt the government of the United States simply because voters decided otherwise is more than simply a dereliction of duty for the elected reprsentatives tasked with running the thing; it is an act of sedition.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ09) have addressed the neo-Nazi America First PAC; Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA03), who achieved prestige as a celebrity lawless sheriff, appears in a 1992 Atlanta Journal-Constitution acknowledging both that David Duke is a Nazi, and that he voted for Duke; Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA01), the House Majority Leader selected by House Republicans as candidate for Speaker, but unable to secure a majority in the House of Representatives, addressed one of Duke's gatherings in 2002.​
     
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  5. candy Valued Senior Member

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    When members of Congress disrupt government services it is not sedition. It is the political poker game they all play.
    The legal definition of insurrection and sedition are very narrow for a reason.
    You are correct that they are like a child trying to get his own way.
    Being a neo-nazi is not in itself a crime in a free society. That is part of the price we have to pay to remain a free society.
    As a voter I feel that stubbornly refusing to compromise is a dereliction of their duty as my representative but that is not a criminal offense. It is a great reason to vote for someone else.
     
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Come to think of it, maybe that's why the GOP can't choose a speaker. The last GOP riot aimed to kill the speaker and the VP - and that was a bad look for the GOP. If there's no speaker, no one can try to kill him/her!
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think you want to go there.

    In 2016 almost 100 democrats , led by John Lewis, staged a sit-in in Congress to demand action on gun control after the Pulse nightclub massacre. They deliberately disrupted work in the House for days. Should they all have been arrested and charged with sedition?
     
  9. candy Valued Senior Member

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    1,072
    Apparently Jordan believes in 3 strikes and you're out or the caucus does unsure about whether he quit or they withdrew support.
    The 2 sides do not seem to want to compromise despite the very real need to move forward.
     
  10. TheVat Registered Member

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    70
    This would be a good time for these Representatives donor base to get irate and threaten to pull the plug. Unfortunately most of the Rep's campaigns are funded by big money folk, i.e. those who are most insulated from the effects of government lapses like shuttered services and shutdowns. They can make popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show.

    As long as the House eventually gets back to work, and they know their Rep will cast a vote for Welfare for the Rich, they can weather the storms of partisan disruption and teeth-baring displays. They will keep funding the propaganda that keeps persuading the working class that the GOP truly cares about them.
     
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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    To adapt the advice in Henry IV Part 2, it is their course to busy giddy minds with culture quarrels, so that they don't notice they are being deluded into voting for ever increasing social inequality.
     
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  12. TheVat Registered Member

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    I had to brush off my Shakespeare.

    Therefore, my Harry, Be it thy course, to busy giddy minds
    With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out, May waste the memory of the former days.


    In politics here the Overton Window has shifted so much that these domestic quarrels in Congress have come to seem normal and routine.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well touché. I had to look up what the Overton Window is.

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  14. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    if they had traded the cow for magic beans i would understand, instead they traded the cow for donald trump & argued over seats to watch the world burn.
     
  15. candy Valued Senior Member

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    1,072
    And we have a winner or at least a speaker.
    Anyone want to start a pool on how long this one lasts?
     
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Shades of History, or History and Shade

    What comes around; or, perhaps, we might suggest everything old is new again. Pick a cliché. The Speaker of the House sounds like an internet argument from twenty years ago.

    Per Amanda Marcotte↱:

    So far, no single narrative about Johnson has emerged. Which of the many flavors of "right-wing radical" is best to focus on? As I offered my newsletter Friday, what stands out to me about Johnson — and I suspect will be compelling to most people — is what a sinister little creep he is. The man gives off strong incel energy, and his elevation really showcases how much the politics of bitter sexual obsession have come to dominate the Republican Party.

    Journalists and Democratic researchers have been carefully compiling a couple decades worth of quotes from Johnson, who flat-out rejects the First Amendment prohibition against government-imposed religion. Instead, he falsely claims the Founders wished to impose his deeply fundamentalist faith on the public on the grounds that we "depend upon religious and moral virtue" to "prevent political corruption and the abuse of power."

    Johnson warned that legalized same-sex marriage is "the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic." … He's repeatedly described homosexuality with terms like "sinful," "destructive," "deviant," and "bizarre." He, like all these bigots, compared same-sex marriage to the right of "a person to marry his pet."

    No, he has not backed off these positions. When asked on Fox News about it this week, he said, "Go pick up a Bible." In truth, the Bible is not nearly as interested in policing people's sex lives as Johnson is. (Not that it should matter, since this is not a theocracy.) This level of outrage about the acrobatic sex lives he imagines other people have draws more on the incel-style fantasy than anything in scripture.

    "Like all these bigots"; what a sore spot, over the years. Even at Sciforums, we tolerated a lot of abusive conservative rhetoric in the name of being fair, and while the world does not turn on what happens here, neither was there anything unusual about it. But those who have been here long enough can try to recall, and those who have paid attention to these issues can certainly think back through their own experience, and remember how notions like supremacism and bigotry were considered somehow impolite liberal rhetoric. It's actually a pattern that plays out frequently, when tradition intersects with justice.

    And this is the part where suddenly nobody has ever seen, nor heard of, the accusation that "everyone who disagrees with you is a [___]", even people who have said it, or uttered some similar formulation. Generally speaking, the accusation overlooks the words in the political rhetoric work, or the living implications of those rhetorical functions.

    And here is a split result: To the one, such behavior retards discourse; to the other, it's been going on so long that we have a bountiful record. The only thing about the quoted paragraphs that Marcotte wouldn't have said twenty years ago is the word "incel", which emerged along the way.

    The same with this paragraph:

    In true incel fashion, Johnson is haunted by all the erotic adventures he imagines the straight ladies of America are having when he's not in the room. When New York's Irin Carmon interviewed him in 2015, he blamed legal abortion for school shootings, saying, "When you break up the nuclear family, when you tell a generation of people that life has no value, no meaning, that it’s expendable, then you do wind up with school shooters.” Nor was that a one-off. In 2016, he gave a speech in which he blamed feminism, liberal divorce laws, and the "sexual revolution" for mass shootings.

    And here is one that considers that period, and the emergence of the incel:

    In this view, Johnson agrees with mass shooters, who claim they were driven to it because of women's sexual freedom. In the year before Johnson blamed male violence on women's sexuality, the incel-identified killer Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in California, claiming he was forced to do it to "punish" the "sluts" who had sex with other men while he remained a virgin. Since then, there's been a rash of violent incidents, some quite deadly, conducted by men who employ the same logic: Female sexual autonomy offends them, and must be punished with pain and death.

    And the thing is, like all such bigotry, its motivation is built largely around fantasy. Marcotte notes Futrelle along the way to describing a "simple claim" "at the center of incel ideology", "That women cannot be trusted with the decision of who to be in a sexual relationship with … So women have to be locked down for the good of 'society,' by which they mean men." Or, perhaps, maybe "just those men who fear they can't get a wife without coercion".

    "Johnson has similar views", Marcotte explains. Not only does the Speaker oppose no-fault divorce, his own marriage is of a sort known as "covenant marriage", which was a rightist specialty in the '90s, a way around no-fault. And she explains¹, "almost no couples opted in. And it's no wonder. 'If I don't trap you, I know you'll leave' isn't really the marriage proposal of romantic dreams."

    And if that lockdown trap of a covenant marriage reads like "the guiding view of incels when it comes to relationships", we should also recall just how mainstream the inceldom can be, like the time in 2018↗ when it found a place on the New York Times op-ed page.²

    And it has a special place in the heart of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    There's a lot that ostensibly wasn't supposed to go as it has, except, well, when we read the history it was always kind of obvious. That even Speaker Johnson should pretend he doesn't remember what he has said and done in the past ought not surprise anyone; it's part of shielding bigotry. And, yes, those are the words: Bigotry. Misogyny. Supremacism. It might even hurt the bigots' feelings, but no, it's not paternalistic and condescending to call it by its name. It's not some "mere" dismissal to call it by its name. Still, there were those sought to legitimize it while pretending to not be part of it.

    "Like all those bigots," says Marcotte, and we can only wonder what people thought they were protecting or legitimizing—what did they think they were doing?—when shielding bigotry from its name.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ Note for another day: "Romantic" marriage was a contentions issue, the conservative complaint, in the early twentieth century, and while the arguments sound similar to the record before and after, the period also happens to coincide with the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in the United States (ca. 1922), and at the very least simmered until disrupted by the WWII, leading to the Long Decade (1945-62), which in turn gave way to the Sexual Revolution. The "marriage proposal of romantic dreams" is not insignificant in history.

    ² A couple things about that episode; first, even then, as our own record observes↗, Marcotte reminded how common it is that men "hurt and kill women to control them or punish them". Also, of Douthat, we have an episode from 2014 recalling Isaac Chotiner's suggesting, "the impulses behind social conservatism often stem from a desire to control the sex lives of women", and explaining that Douthat "describes this parental worrying as being about a daughter's future rather than her sex life, but the emphasis is on the sex-hungry men". We have our own version, ca. 2008↗, but in re Douthat, we also saw him↗, in 2013, cravenly politicking for sexual control. One thing to consider, then, is the emergence of Douthat's incel advocacy from what seemed somewhat mainstream conservative politics; Brewer's 2014 veto of SB 1062 was a surprising deviation from the Republican political course, and Chotiner's consideration was an easy juxtaposition to Ben Carson, who would eventually rise to HUD Secretary, blaming women for racism. Oh, and, also, 2014 was also when Elliot Rodger sought to "punish" "sluts". While the idea of romanticizing↗ the incel icon seemed strange at the time, it really was hard to imagine would-be respectable folks might eventually raise such an ideology to the Speakership, or, at least, not so identifiably, as it is a fairly standard pretense of American traditionalism. And perhaps that becomes the (third and final) point of the footnote: This bigotry isn't new.​

    Chotiner, Isaac. "The Creepy Reason That Having a Daughter Makes Men More Conservative". The New Republic. 16 December 2013. NewRepbulic.com. 31 October 2023. https://bit.ly/46QMxRf

    (Note: The 2014 Sciforums post linking to Chotiner's article contains two relevant errors, misspelling the author's name in-line, and erroneously listing the publication date as 2014 in the works-cited note, two weeks after the post; the article published in 2013.)​

    Marcotte, Amanda. "'Sexual anarchy': New House Speaker Mike Johnson showcases the incel-ization of the modern GOP". Salon. 30 October 2023. Salon.com. 31 October 2023. https://bit.ly/45WCF7t

    —————. "The Accused Toronto Killer Has Roots in the Online Misogynist Underworld -- But Does That Make Him a Terrorist?" AlterNet. 25 April 2018. AlterNet.org.October 2023. http://bit.ly/2HORqyO
     
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  17. TheVat Registered Member

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    70
    Do we want to compute that in Scaramuccis or heads of lettuce? (is the one that was famously competing with Liz Truss still available?)
     
  18. TheVat Registered Member

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    I'm kind of a Marcotte fan. She epitomizes the straight-talking Texan. Thanks for sharing that.

    Am always amused when the GOP tries to inoculate itself against critique by crying cancel culture or otherwise implying that free speech is somehow not to be countered with other critical free speech.
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Hard to Ignore

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    God of Bad Luck: "Time heals all wounds, but it's up to us to make the new ones—and we make them like this."

    Steve Benen↱ makes a certain point:

    There are no credible questions about Johnson's ideology. The Wall Street Journal, in a news report, described the Louisiana as "the most conservative speaker of the last century," and I'm hard pressed to imagine how anyone could credibly draw a different conclusion.

    But among the reasons that's relevant is the eagerness among House Republicans to keep finding new ways to move even further to the right.

    This also came to mind the other day when The Washington Post's Greg Sargent highlighted Johnson's radicalism on immigration, including the GOP congressman's embrace of highly provocative conspiracy theories ....

    .... It's not just immigration, of course. On everything from abortion rights to climate change, LGBTQ+ rights to the separation of church and state, Johnson is well to the right of McCarthy.

    Who was to the right of Paul Ryan.

    Who was to the right of John Boehner.

    There's a school of thought in American politics that parties pursue course-corrections in the wake of electoral setbacks. Indeed, it probably seems like common sense: When a party fails to persuade voters and struggles at the ballot box, party leaders look for ways to become more popular in the hopes of winning the next time.

    For Republicans, the course-correction never comes.

    And if the MSNBC producer and blogger looks back, for instance, to 2006 and 2008, it is part of a trend that was becoming obvious, even then, and even fifteen years later, conservatives still won't change course. Moreover, Benen actually starts with a New York Times editorial reaching back to the Reagan presidency.

    And inasmuch as this has been going on for a long time, an inevitable question arises: Is the apparent extremism really so extreme? That is to say, this is how they've done it for over forty years, now, so maybe we should believe them. But as the discourse considers extremism, purity, and conservatism, there are other words that apply. And, toward questions of shielding bigotry from its name↗, that's also forty years in which calling it something else was an act of will that sought to legitimize the bigotry, prejudice, and supremacism as something else.¹

    Which, in its way, points back↗ to Marcotte on "all these bigots". Bigotry. Supremacism. Prejudice. These are apparent. But extremism? Does that not hinge on how we define extremism? Is the policy outlook extreme? Comparatively, the word fits. As a statistical presence, though, it is normal enough to elect a Speaker of the House. The New York Times (qtd. in Benen) chooses "extremism"; the Wall Street Journal said, "most conservative" in a century. Both of these are true, but neither is willing to call the extremism or conservatism by its name.

    It's not even a matter of pretending equivalence between facts and make-believe when the point of such pretense is to denigrate criticism of the make-believe.

    So, while Speaker Johnson is the latest iteration of something that has been going on for a long time, there remains a question of who, among those pretending to not be a part of it, are still confused about what they are dealing with. For all the false equivalence of cacophony, its progeny now holds the gavel.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ cf. "Practical Application: Ninety-Nine" (2022)↗ for a consideration of belief, ninety-nine percent, and what is "true for you", i.e., If you can get ninety-nine percent of people to ignore objective reality in favor of their make-believe surrogate, does that somehow mean they're right? While Mr. Johnson's ascension does not rest on any ninety-nine percent, its legitimacy is an actual make-believe surrogate intending to ignore objective reality.​

    Benen, Steve. "Mike Johnson’s ascension and the course-correction that never comes". MSNBC. 30 October 2023. MSNBC.com. 31 October 2023. https://bit.ly/3QjeWIO

    Marcotte, Amanda. "'Sexual anarchy': New House Speaker Mike Johnson showcases the incel-ization of the modern GOP". Salon. 30 October 2023. Salon.com. 31 October 2023. https://bit.ly/45WCF7t


     
  20. TheVat Registered Member

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    Seems like the Right-ward drift started with Reagan and then accelerated during Newt's "Republican Revolution" in 1994. And the rise of Faux News and other Murdochian properties seems to map onto that curve fairly well.
     
  21. TheVat Registered Member

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    I guess three replies and a Like click don't get you far around here.

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  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    There is actually a certain amount of irony wrapped up in all that; the Reagan Awakening, a gathering of evangelical voters under the Republican tent, actually leads to the mess we're in, and that includes Newt and FOX News, so by the time we get to something like the sad juxtaposition of Dennis Hastert and Jim Jordan, one can easily drown it the deluge.

    Still, consider that the Reagan Awaekening was 1980. While a certain idea was already present on this side of the Atlantic, we Americans took it in a different direction. In 1980, German scholar Manfred Barthel observed that, "The churches will have to realize that not every word of the Bible was necessarily dictated by the Almighty. Archaeologists will also have to stop assuming that discrepancies between their findings and a biblical account discredit the Bible."

    And toward that, I suggested↗, a couple years ago:

    Looking back, the German scholar, Barthel, seems nearly blithe about certain aspects of the Bible that might easily slip unnoticed past later political-historical discourse. Across the Atlantic, 1980 is also the year Americans elected Ronald Reagan to the presidency, and students of religious or political history might recall the notion of a Reagan Awakening, when the Republican Party mobilized evangelical and fundamentalist voters in ways not previously undertaken. If we consider the period between then and now, Barthel's easy comfort and nearly chirpy admonition dismissing biblical literalism seem nearly mystifying compared to the American experience ....

    .... If we consider the idea of an historical period in which traditionalist and Christian supremacism wrapped itself in a pretense of literalism that was never actually genuine, perhaps it might stand out that the whole time—that is to say, since even before the Reagan Awakening—literalism had already been ceded as an anti-historical relic of faith. In its way, the period can describe people disputing over the wrong question.

    And, yes, we can see the effect of over forty years spent disputing the wrong question; it now holds the Speakership.

    †​

    Inasmuch as this is how the day goes, I had no sooner posted than Marcotte↱ turned up again:

    I was reminded of a quote from Carl Sagan's classic defense of science, "The Demon-Haunted World": "The Bible is full of so many stories of contradictory moral purpose that every generation can find scriptural justification for nearly any action it proposes—from incest, slavery, and mass murder to the most refined love, courage, and self-sacrifice." As I argued on Monday, Johnson's career is a perfect example. Johnson's starting position is clearly a desire to prop up a patriarchal system that oppresses women and LGBTQ people. The Bible is backfill — there as rationalization, not reason.

    It's important to understand that most fundamentalists like Johnson "believe" that Noah's ark was real or Satan controls Disney in a very different way than most people understand the word "believe." It's not an assertion about reality in the same sense as saying, for instance, that October 31 is Halloween. An assertion is valued for how it makes them feel or whether it helps them get power. Evangelical culture is full of these quasi-beliefs, from creationism to urban legends about everyday encounters with angels.

    We can know they don't really believe half the crap they say because they don't act like people who believe it. When they get sick, most creationists go running to medical doctors, whose practice only works because the theory of evolution is true. Johnson wasn't really afraid his TV was a portal for demonic possession, or he would have thrown the whole machine out. And certainly, no one literally believes Donald Trump is a Bible-believing Christian, but since it suits their purposes to claim he is, they will "believe" he is saved by the cleansing powers of Jesus Christ.

    "Belief" is less about actual views on the nature of reality, and more about claims that serve their personal or political purposes. I often refer to an illuminating 2008 Patheos blog post by Fred Clark, regarding his efforts, when he was with the church, to dissuade people from spreading the lie that a Satanic cult secretly ran Proctor & Gamble. As he wrote, "no one is stupid enough to really believe such a story." When they were presented with evidence that P&G is not a Satanic cult, they did not express relief, which is what a person sincerely misled would do. They got defensive and angry. That's because it felt good to them to claim P&G is a Satanic cult. It allowed them to feel self-righteous and titillated at the same time, an intoxicating combination that no fact can compete with.

    This is why Trump has done so well with evangelicals, despite his utter contempt for their faith and his lifetime of unrepentant philandering. His life philosophy, where what is "true" is whatever he wants to believe, fits nicely within the demon-haunted rhetoric of the Christian right, where Noah's ark is real but science is not. The "belief" that the election was stolen from Trump isn't a statement of fact but of loyalty to the tribe. That's why most Republicans now claim Trump didn't try to steal the election, as if they simply didn't see the months of loud, showy efforts to do so. They know in their hearts it's not true, but the false thing feels better to say.

    In a way, this is all about empowerment. There is, approximately, an old way that things used to be, and reality has made clear those old ways of looking at the world are not accurate. Between dissatisfaction and discontent we might suggest some threshold of empowerment. It's one thing to be annoyed or dissatisfied, but this old way of looking at the world is not accustomed to being refused. What motivates the discontent is the perception of disempowerment. And while many would appeal to the general commonality of feeling disappointed, much of this traditional empowerment requries disempowerment of others. The empowerment to disempower others is what is eroding. Consider the prospect that equality is somehow disempowering. And that's the problem they perceive.

    Thus, Marcotte: "We can know they don't really believe," she argues, "because they don't act like people who believe it." And if, as such, "'Belief' is less about actual views on the nature of reality," and what feels good, "allows them to feel self-righteous", and, yes, even "titillated".

    "This is why Trump has done so well with evangelicals," Marcotte explains. "His life philosophy, where what is 'true' is whatever he wants to believe, fits nicely within the demon-haunted rhetoric of the Christian right".

    And for the Christianists involved, there is a pseudo-literalism at the heart of it. Speaker Johnson is part of this, too. And maybe these days the literalism looks and sounds a lot more desperate than forty years ago, but it is a contiguous ideological progression holding out for an anti-historical relic.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Barthel, Manfred. What The Bible Really Says. 1980. Trans., Mark Howson, 1982. Avenel: Wings Books, 1992.

    Marcotte, Amanda. "Mike Johnson's Satanic panic: How evangelical delusions trained Republicans to love Trump's lies". Salon. 31 October 2023. Salon.com. 1 November 2023. https://bit.ly/3sfQNe2
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2023
  23. TheVat Registered Member

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    Yes, Marcotte is a bit of an anthropologist, studying the peculiar quasi beliefs of the Right and allied Evangelicals, and some frightening intersections with the Dominion Christians (Trump made sure he had one, Pompeo, in his cabinet) . I agree the dynamic is always about power and not any sort of truth or traditional democratic principles or genuine discourse. I guess that approach is what is later seen as fascism once it's played out and people start waking up to what has happened.
     

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