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Delusion January 29, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to BH for pointing to this, from Nick Cohen and a heart-felt plea about Covid conspiracies and how both in their strong form (outright denialism/anti-mask ‘activists’) and weaker form (media scepticism) they endanger life. Cohen (who has actually been a little bit back on form in recent times) points to the tragic story of one anti-masker and how he eventually succumbed to Covid. Tellingly those of a like mind with him have been unwilling to accept that reality (stewing in anti-vax, anti-semitism, conspiracy ‘theory’ viciousness). As Cohen notes, for them…

Covid can’t have killed him, it just can’t. No hard fact can be allowed to break through the defensive walls of an enclosed ideology, even after the death of a friend. “The cause of death is currently listed as Covid-19,” Parker told his followers. “It is now the duty of those he has left behind to ensure that his name is not used to further this gargantuan fraud.” Parker hinted that Matthews had asthma and it might have killed him. (This is news to his family.) Others suggested he took his own life. I’ve seen screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation where a Shrewsbury conspiracist says he “could have been murdered” by shadowy figures – Bill Gates, maybe, or the head of an intensive care unit – because he was “part of the movement, one of us”.

But Cohen rightly – and sympathetically to Matthews – pulls back the focus to others:

How mad and how different from what passes for respectable opinion. But shift the conversation just a little and the conspiracy theories are not so different from the propaganda pouring out of rightwing radio stations and newspapers. Their claims that masks and lockdowns don’t work, that Covid is no more deadly than the flu, that 91% of so-called Covid cases are false positives and that there are no excess deaths are as false as imagining Gates wants to microchip the world and just as deadly. It’s not that they are made by people who know nothing that makes them so objectionable. They are made by people who can never know anything. Just as the anti-vaxxers of Shrewsbury had to deny the reason for the death of their comrade, so the presenters on Talkradio and LBC and the columnists on the Telegraph must maintain their ignorance and scream down all who try to enlighten them or their audience will look elsewhere.

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1. Colm B - January 29, 2021

You’re right WBS it was a very good article by Cohen. He’s good at skewering the right but he just can’t seem to help himself, always slipping in an equivalence with radical left, though this article is an exception. So any discussion of far-right racism has to drag in Corbyn and Labours alleged anti-semitism, any mention of xenophobic Brit nationalism has to include the obligatory and totally false dig at the SNP and Scottish nationalism etc.

It’s not that Corbyn, SNP etc. shouldn’t be subject to scrutiny and criticism, it’s just the patently biased attempts to tar them by association with the far right.

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2. CL - January 29, 2021

” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lambasted the Republican decision to place Greene on the House education committee, saying the assignment was “appalling.” Pelosi also said Thursday that “the enemy is within the House of Representatives,” with those comments coming after a CNN report found Greene had liked posts on Facebook calling for the execution of members of Congress. One suggested a “bullet to the head” to remove Pelosi from office. ”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2021/01/28/clinton-conspiracies-false-flags-and-laser-beams-that-cause-wildfires-marjorie-taylor-greene-has-endorsed-them-all/?sh=5f6b01166515

” Some Democrats express fears that Republican lawmakers, who have tried to get guns on the floor of the house in some cases, cannot be trusted. Some have bought bulletproof vests and are looking for other protective measures.”
http://dailypoliticalpress.com/hostility-between-congressional-republicans-and-democrats-reaches-new-lows-amid-rising-fears-of-violence/

” Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday accused Sen. Ted Cruz of “trying to get me killed” during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and called for his resignation from the Senate, after the Texas Republican appeared to agree with her on the need for an investigation into Robinhood following chaos on Wall Street.”
https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/politics/ocasio-cortez-ted-cruz-capitol-attack/index.html

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CL - February 2, 2021

” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Monday issued a tacit rebuke of controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene…

“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” McConnell said in a statement. “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.”….
In the cases of Cheney and Greene, the Senate minority leader appears to break with former President Donald Trump. Greene announced Saturday that she had spoken with Trump amid calls for her expulsion from Congress, saying she was grateful for his support and will “never apologize” as she faces backlash.”
https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/01/politics/mcconnell-marjorie-taylor-greene-cancer-republican-party/index.html

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CL - February 2, 2021

Kevin McCarthy, the cawbogue who is the House Republican leader, visited Trump in Florida last week. He has said that he will speak with Taylor Greene.
Having aided and abetted him for the last 4 years McConnell is now trying to help the Republican party recover from Trump.

” Recently, Greene met with a far-right British commentator, Katie Hopkins, who has described migrants as “cockroaches” and said she doesn’t care if they die. Greene told her, “I would love to trade you for some of our white people here that have no appreciation for our country.”- Michelle Goldberg.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/01/opinion/marjorie-taylor

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2021

She’s the worst. Just grim. Be interesting to see how they deal with this and if they do.

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CL - February 2, 2021

In the 1930s FDR’s New Deal put an end to the political careers of Fr. Coughlin and other would-be Hitlers.

Much depends on Biden’s prospects of success. If he can get his ‘stimulus’ plan through and not the watered-down Republican-influenced version the outlook is good.

If the Biden administration cannot effectively deal with the racial, economic and pandemic crises, then the counter-Enlightenment, trumpian reaction will grow in strength.

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CL - February 2, 2021

Hofstadter wrote his essay in the aftermath of the Goldwater campaign of 1964, but the paranoid, nativist, proto-fascist style. long a feature of American politics, has strengthened considerably under Trump.
McConnell’s move, thought belated, shows that MTG has become something of an embarrassment, at least to the non-Trump faction of the GOP. But she still has Trump’s backing, and fear of the base influences how the House leadership will deal with her.

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CL - February 2, 2021

” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is shocked — shocked, I tell you — to learn that wild, hateful, violent conspiracy theories have somehow found their way into the Republican Party. And he’s not going to stand for it….

McConnell does not want to banish loons and conspiracy theorists from the GOP, because even if he were capable of doing so (which he isn’t), it would mean a dramatic reduction in the size of the party’s base and consequently its ability to win elections.
McConnell and the rest of the party leadership don’t want to lose the loons, they just want them to be quiet….

Don’t forget that just hours after a violent mob of Greene’s kindred spirits rampaged through the Capitol — destroying property, beating police officers (including one who was killed) and trying to find members of Congress, presumably so they could kill them too — 147 Republicans, including a majority of Republicans in the House, voted in effect to validate the insane lie of a stolen election that drove the mob there in the first place.

That is who the Republican Party is and who it represents. They can try to distance themselves from Greene all they want. But they spent years nurturing the malignant forces that brought her to Congress, and they haven’t stopped yet ”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/02/what-gop-war-over-marjorie-taylor-greene-is-really-about/

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CL - February 4, 2021

” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican, on Wednesday condemned Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s past conspiratorial and violent comments, but he declined to take any action against her on the eve of a vote forced by Democrats to remove her from congressional committees.
“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” Mr. McCarthy said in a lengthy statement. “I condemn those comments unequivocally.”…
But in the same statement, Mr. McCarthy criticized Democrats for moving unilaterally to kick Ms. Greene off the education and budget committees, calling the action a “partisan power grab,” and made clear he did not intend to punish her himself by stripping her of those posts.” -NYT.

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CL - February 4, 2021

“Rep. Liz Cheney survived to fight another battle but on a raucous and defining day, the appeasement of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by House Republicans sent their party lurching further down the road to extremism….

The fact that Cheney has faced more criticism from her colleagues than Greene in recent days reflects how the GOP’s traditional values are under siege and the vast power that extremists and conspiracy theories welcomed into the party by Trump are accumulating….

Scared of repudiating Trump’s base, the House GOP is racing at top speed towards its extremist fringe to validate millions of Americans living in an alternative reality even if Cheney’s survival suggests that privately many GOP members don’t believe the election was stolen….

In many ways, Wednesday’s meeting accelerated the direction the party has been heading at least since many parts of its traditional base became disillusioned with the establishment following years of war and the 2008 financial crisis. Trump’s weaponizing of the issue of race and swift social change after Barack Obama’s presidency continued the conspiratorial trend while his seditious post-election behavior removed the last restraints to an all-out embrace of extremism….

This will all have profound consequences for the country”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-liz-cheney-republicans/index.html

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3. gregtimo - January 29, 2021

I think Cohen has been another longtime Blairite to Centrist in UK Labour terms, but the article was quite good. Revealing that Matthews was ex-SWP hit my own back of the head worry about the bad mental health effects of too much negative anti-Statism of wider Trotskyism and Anarchism leading to a slide into Populist Right hair-brainedness of the more precarious after the dissapointment of realising the ‘Waiting for Godot’ nature of too much referred to Left wing revolution isnt coming soon. Look at what happened to our own Indymedia as an especial cringer. While I observe some Trotskyists painfully edging their way towards Gramscianism after skimming hours and hours of Youtube over the past while, the hanging on to the idea that imminent revolution is still possible is further painful to watch . Mass mental health issues do not make Left wing revolution likely and why there has been an increase in Populist Right-ism world wide, anti-social behavior, tragic youth violence on our own streets in the middle of lockdown included. Only Chile has come close to Left wing revolution in recent times (Though Bolivia’s Mass protest counter to the right wing coup was impressive), Both events hardly studied here due the emasculation of LASC into a strange combination of ultra-Leftism and neo-Liberalism partly (see Gene Sharp effect perhaps). The outcome of Chile’s mass protests of Last year up in the air with Constituent Assembly elections due in April and the Left split 4 ways at least there. Perhaps discussion of these may ensue then ?

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