GasLit Nation: Sleeper Cells

March 31, 2021

We describe the uneasy interim period of the early Biden era and what’s to come when the covid crisis ends – and predict that it’s going to look a lot like what happened after the end of the 1918 Spanish Flu: white mob violence, anti-immigrant movements, economic turmoil, rising fascism, and the consolidation of dictator personality cults. Day to day life is slowly improving under the Biden administration, but the US remains as vulnerable to autocracy as before – unless certain policy decisions are made.

GASLIT NATION WITH ANDREA CHALUPA AND SARAH KENDZIOR

Marjorie Taylor Greene ovation shows why Democrats shouldn’t deal with GOP

Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.

By Max Burns, Democratic strategist

After a week trying to bring Senate Republicans into a bipartisan deal, Democrats are moving unilaterally to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. In other words, they’re doing what they should have been doing all along.

So long as that unpunished extremism remains, Democrats owe it to the American people to shun the party.

Until congressional Republicans show accountability for their role in the inciteful rhetoric and conspiracies that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Democrats shouldn’t be engaging with them. For all of Biden’s laudable talk about unity, and the upsides to passing major legislation in a bipartisan manner, as of now the Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.

Seeking bipartisanship with the GOP as it exists today is a threat to good government. Negotiating with the party hitches Democratic — and American — interests to a group whose members include people not only disinterested in but hostile to the workings of democracy.

It’s a far cry from the party of George H.W. Bush, who in 1991 led the GOP in booting Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke over his lifelong white supremacy and unapologetic anti-Semitism. In its place is a party willing to condemn extremism in general while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman Republican from Georgia, weaves another variation on Duke’s anti-Semitism even as she carries on the fight to undermine trust in the 2020 election. Biden is under no obligation to extend a drop of legitimacy to such demagogues.

The GOP can start the process of reform by expelling Greene from the House. Greene has harassed a teenage survivor of the Parkland mass shooting, endorsed violence against Democrats both generally and by name, and cheered on the right-wing extremists who killed a police officer and injured 140 others at the Capitol. Not only has Greene violated her oath of office, she is mocking its exhortation to protect the United States from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Prominent Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been uncharacteristically direct about the threat Greene poses to both the GOP and democratic norms. In a statement Monday, McConnell criticized Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” calling them “cancer for the Republican Party and our country.” (Though even in condemnation, McConnell places damage to the Republican brand ahead of the risk Greene and her fellow insurrectionist apologists pose to the country.) Continue reading

HCR explains Q-Anon nuts and Covid relief

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an America 2/3/21

While Republican lawmakers continue to grab headlines with outrageous behavior and obstructionism, President Biden has been derailing them in the only way no one has tried yet: ignoring them and governing. Only two weeks into his administration, this approach appears to be enormously effective.

The two Republican factions continue to compete for control of the party. That struggle has been personified this week by the relative standing of new Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and established Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the House Republican Conference Chair, who is the third person in the line of Republican House leadership.

In her two weeks in Congress, Greene has made the news with her support for the extremist QAnon movement, harassment of school shooting survivor David Hogg, and past support for executing Democratic politicians, among other things. After news emerged that she had agreed with a Facebook commenter that the 2018 Parkland school shooting was a “false flag” operation, Democrats were outraged that Republican leadership assigned her to the House Education and Labor Committee. They demanded House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy strip her of committee assignments.

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HCR: Republican Party heads toward a full-on embrace of authoritarianism

By Heather Cox Richardson 1/31/21

The most prominent story these days is that the Republican Party is sliding toward a full-on embrace of authoritarianism. Former president Trump’s exit and ban from his favorite social media outlets has left a vacuum that younger politicians imitating Trump’s style are eager to fill by rallying people to the former president’s standard.

Notably, Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have tried to step into the former president’s media space by behaving outrageously and becoming his acolytes. Gaetz last week traveled to Wyoming to attack Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third most powerful Republican in the House, for her vote in support of Trump’s impeachment. Not to be outdone, yesterday Greene tweeted that she had spoken to Trump and has his support, although neither her camp nor his would comment on her statement.

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Sic Semper Tyrannis?

By Heather Cox Richardson


Since right-wing insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6 with the vague but violent idea of taking over the government, observers are paying renewed attention to the threat of right-wing violence in our midst.

For all our focus on fighting socialism and communism, right-wing authoritarianism is actually quite an old threat in our country. The nation’s focus on fighting “socialism” began in 1871, but what its opponents stood against was not government control of the means of production—an idea that never took hold in America—but the popular public policies which cost tax dollars and thus made wealthier people pay for programs that would benefit everyone. Public benefits like highways and hospitals, opponents argued, amounted to a redistribution of wealth, and thus were a leftist assault on American freedom.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that fight against “socialism” took the form of opposition to unionization and Black rights. In the 1920s, after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia had given shape to the American fear of socialism, making sure that system never came to America meant destroying the government regulation put in place during the Progressive Era and putting businessmen in charge of the government.

When Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt established business regulation,

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