Scott Perry Explains How Trump, Fox, and Russian Propaganda Made Him Hate Rule of Law

This exchange, between Scott Perry and Dan Goldman, is one of the best depictions of why and how Republicans have come to hate rule of law.

Jared Moskowitz had just called out Republicans for their utter lack of curiosity about Jared Kushner’s $2 billion windfall for monetizing his role overseeing Middle East policy.

Then Scott Perry — who earlier in the hearing had been brutally criticized for his role in a coup attempt — decided to explain what “galls, or troubles us on this side of the aisle.” He claimed that witnesses in the first impeachment lied in their depositions. “Many of us — I was one of them — sat in a SCIF … for an impeachment [calls out Dan Goldman] … knew there were lies being told to compel the impeachment. … abject straight up lies.”

Then Perry turned to the Russian investigation.

Not to mention the fact that, for years, the other side of the aisle pursued the then-duly elected President of the United States based on pure hyperbole about some Russian hoax that has now turned into, you know, it’s the same old thing from the 1930s in Germany and the 1940s. If you tell a lie enough times it becomes the truth. We sat and watched you dismantle the country and the presidency and any agenda that the American people had voted for based on that.

Then he complained that Hillary Clinton sat for a deposition instead of a grand jury appearance.

Look. Secretary Clinton got away with it. She was allowed to be deposed, not under oath, and her deposition on a Saturday, on a holiday weekend. She got to do that. That galls the rest of America who says, when the FBI or the local magistrate or some law enforcement agency comes knocking on my door and says you’re going to appear, you’ve been served.

In response, Dan Goldman spoke about what distinguished the first Trump impeachment from this GOP inquiry: Fact witnesses. But before he got very far into that, Scott Perry had walked out.

It’s tempting to laugh at this, at the hypocrisy of Perry, who blew off a subpoena himself, and then invoked privileges to withhold evidence of an insurrection from prosecutors, to complain that Hillary also got accommodations from prosecutors. It’s even more tempting to laugh that Perry is so stupid he doesn’t realize neither Trump nor his failson — the latter, a private citizen — did even that in the Mueller investigation; he doesn’t realize that Donald Trump couldn’t even manage what Hillary did. It’s even more tempting to guffaw that Perry has forgotten Hillary’s famous 11-hour Congressional appearance during the Benghazi stunt.

It’s tempting to mock Scott Perry for his belief that the Russian investigation was a hoax, even after five top Trump associates were found, via guilty verdict or judge’s ruling, to have lied to cover up Trump’s ties to Russia. Trump’s campaign manager, coffee boy, his National Security Advisor, his personal lawyer, and his rat-fucker — all of them lied to cover up Trump’s ties to Russia in the year before becoming President.

And I have no idea what he’s referring to when he says witnesses in the first Trump impeachment lied. Perhaps it’s a dispute about Alex Vindman’s testimony that Trump’s White House took out a mention of Burisma in Trump’s perfect phone call with Volodymyr Zelenkyy (though ultimately, even Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams testified the word Burisma had been uttered). Perhaps he’s adopting the renewed Republican belief — based off what Mykola Zlochevsky told an FBI informant around the time that Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down a corruption investigation into him, that he had bribed Joe Biden — that Biden got Viktor Shokin fired to help Burisma, not to reverse corruption.

It’s tempting to dismiss this rank hypocrisy from one of the key figures in an attack on democracy in 2021.

But it’s important to recognize that Scott Perry believes this. Scott Perry actually believes that Hillary Clinton got better treatment than Donald Trump got. Scott Perry actually believes that the Russian investigation revealed no egregious wrong-doing, including strong evidence that both Trump’s campaign manager and his rat-fucker helped the attack by Russian spies, whether wittingly or not. Scott Perry actually believes that Trump didn’t violate Congress’ appropriation authority to try to extort campaign assistance from a foreign leader.

Sure, those beliefs are ridiculous, and easily factually disproven. But as Perry demonstrated by walking out as Goldman spoke, he’s not going to stick around to be exposed to any facts.

One reason Scott Perry believes all these ridiculous things are because he lives in a right wing media bubble, and the default position for those who live in that media bubble is to believe these false claims. If you consume Fox News, you would have no way of learning that these are all false beliefs. None.

Another reason that Scott Perry believes these things is because he was easily, gleefully manipulated by one of the best con mans of all time, Donald Trump. Scott Perry is so gullible he even believed some of the most whack election conspiracy claims in 2020.

He’s an easy mark, Scott Perry is.

And finally, Scott Perry believes these things because he has become susceptible to Russian propaganda, propaganda designed to make easy marks like Scott Perry hate rule of law, prefer his party, “his guy,” over the Constitution.

Scott Perry attacked his country and he did so — he told us at length on Wednesday — because he came to believe a series of false claims, believe them so deeply that rule of law galls him.

It’s tempting to laugh that someone can be so easily manipulated as Scott Perry has been. But Scott Perry succinctly explained why he attacked the country, why he helped Donald Trump attack democracy. And until we come to grips with the series of things that came to make Scott Perry believe absurd things, we will never convince Trump’s believers to adhere to rule of law.

Update: In a recent post on Elise Stefanik, in which I argued that she adopts Trump’s fascism out of naked ambition, I included a rubric I’ve increasingly used to try to understand why Republicans adopt Trump’s fascism. Because folks in comments are discussing similar ideas, I thought I’d include it.

  1. Cowards afraid of his retaliation
  2. People conned by his grift
  3. Utilitarians who believe he’s the only way GOP wins
  4. Adherents of fascism
  5. Christian nationalists

This post argues that Perry believes a bunch of obviously false things, which would put him into the con category. But he has definitely parroted ideologies that would put him into one of the latter two categories.

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193 replies
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  2. rich_17DEC2018_1315h says:

    Thanks for all you do.

    “Come to grips”….please explain that.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You’ve commented as “rich ellison,” “rich,” “Rich,” “rich e,” and “Rich E,” all of which are different usernames, only one of which meets this site’s standard for unique usernames of 8 letters minimum length. Because your username is far too short and common it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. /~Rayne]

      • rich_17dec2018_131 says:

        Thanx. Certainly the reasons you stated provide a good idea how the Perry’s of the world think, but the trickier part seems to be having those folk respect The Rule of Law, (which a not insignificant portion of the population never has). Await your thoughts on that

    • Clare Kelly says:

      IMHO, “Come to grips” with the four paragraphs in Marcy’s piece beginning with:

      “One reason Scott Perry believes all these ridiculous things are because he lives in a right wing media bubble, and the default position for those who live in that media bubble is to believe these false claims. If you consume Fox News, you would have no way of learning that these are all false beliefs. None.”

      Ending with:

      “And finally, Scott Perry believes these things because he has become susceptible to Russian propaganda, propaganda designed to make easy marks like Scott Perry hate rule of law, prefer his party, “his guy,” over the Constitution.”

      [Mea Culpa, I saw Marcy’s reply after I posted this]

  3. Joe Stewart says:

    I remind myself to not dispute people’s explicit beliefs (their “facts”) because, well, they’re indisputable…. I’m now trying to devine their implicit beliefs, what’s comes before their explicit statements, how do their hidden beliefs shape their worldview? Super hard for me as I often get tripped up by their explicit, completely bogus beliefs…..

    • emptywheel says:

      Can you say what you mean by this? I mean, with Perry, does it need to be more complex than that Republicans belong to Fox News?

      • trnc2023 says:

        Perry claims that Hillary Clinton got away with a deposition in which she was not under oath. I find it extremely hard to believe that he does not know that no oath is required because lying to federal agents is already a crime. This is why I can’t jump on the “true believer” bandwagon.

      • Brad Cole says:

        Imho the True Believers who are convinced of their probity, irregardless of proof otherwise, are the most dangerous.

      • GlennDexter says:

        Even if they may stray away from Fox News have exposure to information contrary to what they’ve heard. The term Fake News started getting trotted out conveniently by their masters. But why was everyone Fake news except Fox?

    • Bugboy321 says:

      You have to remember your Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    • Alan King says:

      One explanation I’ve heard that helps me grapple with the Bannon/Stefanik/Miller crowd: elite overproduction.

      You can be very smart, ambitious, attend elite institutions. But you need more than that to succeed: luck, strong networks, luck, good family, more luck, and a reliable moral compass. Your career path of choice is gonna be Grifting (like the mega-church “pastors”) and lordy lordy Fox + MAGA is a gift to the Grifter class.

      The attraction to Putin is clear: only superhero Grifters succeed in Russia. This is a country run by people you will understand! And admire! Sign me up!

  4. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    Scott Perry was indeed manipulated by a con man. But Donald Trump is not a very good con man. His only marks are the rubes: people used to being conned as the natural order of things. His skill is finding and recruiting rubes. He’s pretty helpless with anybody else. (My wife talks to NY contractors who dealt with Trump. They overbid, so that when Trump withheld the final payment, they had already made their profit. The contractors were happy; Trump was happy; and Trump’s minions never told Trump what was really going on.)
    Contrast this to skilled con people like Bernie Madoff or Elizabeth Holmes, who managed to get large sums of money out of some very sophisticated people. None of their victims kept supporting them after the con was revealed. Contrast to Trump’s victims, many of whom double down on the con after they’re ripped off.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      But if Trump’s victims still follow him (and, most important, give him money) doesn’t that make him in some sense ‘smarter’ than Madoff and Holmes? Or simply lucky?

      I keep thinking of Savage Librarian’s comment about the sociopath study. It showed that when you try to teach sociopaths how interact with other people without exploiting them, what they learn instead is better ways to abuse people.

      Trump has had countless people try to make him a better person, husband, father, and president. From them he seems to have picked up ever more pointers on how best to exploit his unfortunately massively expanded audience. I’m not saying he’s a genius; I’m saying he’s a quintessential sociopath, honing his attack.

      Add the malignant narcissism and we have a true monster, partly of our own creation.

      • -mamake- says:

        It is challenging to be precise about the kind of malignant entity this guy is. However, I often think of something Joseph Chilton Pearce (author of many books on human development, and early writer on emerging neurosciences) said 30-40 years ago.

        Using the very simplified triune brain as a model [Cortex (neo-cortex, prefrontal cortex), limbic (amygdala etc) and brain stem (aka ‘reptilian’)], Chilton Pearce would discuss certain people like this:

        Through neglect and abuse, necessary neuronal development in key areas of the brain were severely underdeveloped. Yet for survival their reptilian core along with later developing regions in the cortex were more robust.

        This resulted in people who were basically genius-level reptiles.

        Simon Baron-Cohen has written much more extensively about the neuroscience of evil in recent years. There are some good youtube or vimeo clips of short presentations he’s done as well. “The Science of Evil” is one of his books I always recommend.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          The Science of Evil is brilliant. Accessible for the lay reader as well as insightful and compassionate. I find it indispensable.

      • trnc2023 says:

        “But if Trump’s victims still follow him (and, most important, give him money) doesn’t that make him in some sense ‘smarter’ than Madoff and Holmes?”

        I would say no, because DT’s victims are mostly easily influenced, non-wealthy people who are investing in their grievances. It only works because there are so many of them. Madoff and Holmes had to con people who shouldn’t have been stuck in a small information bubble.

    • mattchew says:

      None of us would be reading and commenting here if he wasn’t a good conman. He’s a narcissist, a jackass, and a downright shitty person, but he’s incredibly skilled at what he does and it strikes me as dangerous to ignore this fact, similarly to when people attempt to take the high road/ engage with righteousness with regards to him; it doesn’t work like that.

      • SteveBev says:

        Trump’s greatest skill has been to recruit enablers who have been skilled at grooming further enablers and so on.

        He has found himself at the apex of a coalescence of sociopathy.

        His rise to power is in no small part due to the skills and malignancy of others. He stands on the shoulders of gigantic assholes.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          “We Are Borne on the Shoulders of Assholes”

          An apt slogan for the modern GOP, but I’m trying to get my head around what the graphics would look like. Is Rob Crumb still alive?

        • Harry Eagar says:

          Agree. But I think also that trump happened (through no plan or aptitude of his) to fit a long-unmet need: a lot of Americans (2 in 5 by my judgement) want a fuehrer.

          Innumerable would-be fuehrers have offered themselves but been found wanting (and, also, they have a tendency to get shot).

          On the surface, trump does not seem as good a candidate for fuehrer as a Long or even a Wallace. Even the massive publicity behind him could not make McCarthy a salable fuehrer.

          I suspect there’s been a change in the fuehrer-followers. One obvious culprit is Falwell. Until the Moral Majority, evangelicals were not very active in politics (at least following their repudiation by Repeal), which they subordinated to salvation.

    • Joeff53 says:

      I’m curious what brought someone like Perry to the fore. Was he always like this? Did someone recognize his potential as a pawn in a long game? What was his career path? Was he picked out and groomed by a malevolent force such as GRU? Is he a smart person or just a malleable smooth talker?

    • DrDoom says:

      I question your inclusion of Holmes as a highly skilled con artist. It’s true that she got wealthy people to invest, some of whom had expert knowledge in various technical fields. However, NONE of them were actually expert in her core problem: reliable laboratory analysis of small volume blood tests, with samples drawn from peripheral tissue. The people who were notably lacking from her team were clinical pathologists (supervisors of medical testing operations) with expertise in pediatric specimen testing and collection. This has been a long-standing and well-recognized problem in the setting of neonatal ICUs, and during the entire Theranos debacle there was not a peep of either interest in developing or testing in that setting. This was a glaring red flag for anyone who actually knew anything about the field. Holmes snookered rubes, but they were rich, well-connected rubes.

      • ColdFusion says:

        So you are saying you can be very smart in some areas, and completely clueless in others. Which is more dangerous because many people think that because they are smart/successful in an area means they are good in all areas. Dunning–Kruger effect Strikes again!

  5. Bay State Librul says:

    It’s quite simple:
    Republicans hate liberals more than stochastic terrorists.
    Hard to fathom — but true.

    • Rayne says:

      True — but this hate is learned, seeded and propagated.

      Successful seeding requires an incurious authoritarian mindset, one which will accept as fact what an authority figure tells them. The mindset is also one which prefers emotional pitches over dry facts.

      Successful propagation requires a chain of manufactured authorities who in turn manufacture emotional outrage on a regular basis, like feeding and weeding the sown authoritarian mind.

      It began before the rise of Fox in the 1990s but Fox *and* the consolidation of broadcast radio station ownership favoring right-wing talk format established the means of delivering that chain of manufactured authorities and their manufactured outrage. Add the internet and social media and the delivery system operates as if on crack.

      The worst part of this system: it can be co-opted and it has been, to the point where some of original authority figures have been undermined and suppressed — like the “conservative” economic talking head Stephen Moore telling the House GOP caucus in 2016 after the election they were no longer the party of Reagan, their former god figure.

      (see https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/307462-trump-adviser-tells-house-republicans-youre-no-longer-reagans-party)

      Now the fertile authoritarian minds are acting on behalf of foreign adversaries and anarchic stateless oligarchs, and they can’t do anything about it if it ever bothers their reptilian minds.

      • MsJennyMD says:

        Thanks Rayne. Reading your comment, Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics from the musical South Pacific come to mind.

        You’ve got to be taught
        To hate and fear,
        You’ve got to be taught
        From year to year,
        It’s got to be drummed
        In your dear little ear
        You’ve got to be carefully taught.

      • yydennek says:

        “manufacture moral outrage”
        Adam Michael Nettina, sentenced Jan. 11 for threats against HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and a Maryland delegate
        Far right wing Catholic Vote and Freedom Caucus’ part of the story alleged at Joemygod.com.
        Excommunication from the Catholic Church as desired punishment for delegate (before or after murder?)
        Source- AMN’s social media (per DOJ)

      • Knowatall says:

        A study of the mindless fandom exhibited in college and professional sports would elucidate the reptilian aspect of most of Trumpism’s adherents. While not every irrational team fan is a Trumpy, every Trumpy is an irrational team fan.

  6. dark winter says:

    “One reason Scott Perry believes all these ridiculous things are because he lives in a right wing media bubble, and the default position for those who live in that media bubble is to believe these false claims.”

    Every am I ‘used’ to listen to cspanwj. I couldn’t take it anymore w/all of the repeated ad nauseam talking points from Fox and the rt wing shows. Entertainment shows, not journalism. I get a personal thrill every single time Marcy calls out the journalists who post on X their ‘paste/post’ vomit of djt/gop w/o actually delving into and getting to the reality of any particular issue. When Perry walked out? That statement captured ALL of the gop bullshit. Hands over ears going ‘LA LA LA LA’ I’m so delighted you’re doing the podcast every Friday nite too.

  7. animlaz says:

    I am following your efforts from abroad(France).
    You probably know all of what follows.
    I believe part of the answers should not be a surprise.
    – It relates first fto tricks and approaches already rampant in the late 1940s in the US and late 20s in parts of Europe. They were brilliantly analyseb the 1949 book ‘Prophets of Deceit”.
    It is present on Wilkipedia ans available for download.
    See http://bostonreview.net/politics-philosophy-religion/charles-h-clavey-donald-trump-our-prophet-deceit.
    – Why so many gullible followers ? builds on personality traits/sociological elements explained/analyzed in the book pg the 1950 Adorno inspired book “Authoritarian personality” available too on wilkipedia
    Adorno even invented an “F scale” to evaluate the degree of acceptance in an individual of the authoritarian meme.
    See more details in
    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-frankfurt-school-knew-trump-was-coming
    All of the actions, methods, erc.. we see and wonder about are there.
    I am not sure it helps.
    Regards

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Thanks so much for the excellent comment and resources, animlaz. I have been thinking about these things for a long time and have done some cursory searches but had not come across something so specific and relevant.

      Both articles you provide are very helpful. And the books discussed in the articles are as well. I think other people who have time to read the articles will find it time well spent.

      “Agitator” is a particularly useful way to think about how Trump manipulated his marks. For me, it also brings to mind the man who Marcy euphemistically calls ‘Phil.’ And, in my own personal experiences, I can say that psychological manipulation was a tool that various agitators used as a means to grab or retain power.

      • Harry Eagar says:

        Ernst Nolte, “Three Faces of Fascism.” He locates its origin as a self-conscious political tendency in France and in Catholicism (although the founder of Action Francaise was an atheist).

        And it is noteworthy that fascism raced through Catholic countries like a wildfire: France, then Italy, Bavaria, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Poland, Dominican Republic . . . Its success in non-Catholic countries was late and uncertain.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          This is critically important, Harry Eagar. Some of us here have noted the dominance of ultra-right Catholics among the occult (in the literal sense: hidden) power structure guiding institutions now.

    • FL Resister says:

      From the Boston Globe article cited above—
      “… the Frankfurt School derived standards of rationality and progress. Whatever contributed to emancipation, equity, and well-being was rational and progressive; whatever inhibited it was irrational, regressive, and self-defeating.” (They fled Germany in 1934.)

      “Prophets (Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator,1949) in particular, applied content analysis to dozens of agitators’ radio addresses, rally speeches, periodicals, and pamphlets…’No matter which agitator was speaking, content analysis showed, the audience always heard the same thing. It was this consistency, this endless repetition, that enabled agitators to gather supporters and build movements.’”

      “By combining content analysis and psychoanalysis, Lowenthal and Guterman developed a method that, while ‘frankly experimental,’ explained how agitators transformed their listeners into followers, constructed the specter of an existential enemy, established themselves as leaders, and created a hostile world.”

  8. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Donald Trump is no different than Charles Manson and Reverend Sun Myung Moon, i.e., each created a cult filled with brainwashed morons.

    Scott Perry is a brainwashed moron in the Trump cult. Like the Manson family members, it will take decades, if ever, to deprogram Perry.

    And like Tex Watson did for Manson, Perry will do Trump’s dirty work while affording Trump the ability to maintain plausible deniability for Trump himself.

    • Tech Support says:

      This is exactly correct. Trumpism is, at it’s core, a cult. The part that makes it especially scary is that the Trumpist filling of the right-wing twinkie is surrounded and given structure by the somewhat more rational operators who exploit the cult for simple greed and self-interest.

  9. Ruthie2the says:

    Does he believe it, though? In Republican politics, there are essentially two categories- those cynical enough to try and harness the con for their own purposes, and those who genuinely believe it. Maybe I don’t know enough about Perry, but I couldn’t say with confidence which group he belongs in. The Venn diagram does seem to be getting ever closer to a circle, though, which is worrying…

    • Rayne says:

      There’s a third category: those harnessed by the con. Much of what looks like stupidity, cupidity, or vapidity is really a response to the enforcement of omertà — in other words, masked fear.

      How much of Perry’s behavior is really driven by fear, when there are GOP electeds are resigning because they’re not MAGA enough.

      • emptywheel says:

        I added the rubric I put in that Elise post as an update above. I think he’s. a mix of conned and fascist or Christian nationalist. He was pushing Tucker’s replacement theory in recent years too.

        • Rayne says:

          What disturbs me the most about Perry is his military background. Is he really on board with all the crap Trump did to DOD? or is this why Perry was National Guard and not regular military — because he could hide fascism more easily there?

          There’s also something not right about his PA-10 district. How does an R+5 rated district elect him instead of a more centrist or more conservative Dem? Why did that district go for Dr. Snake Oil Oz?

          • emptywheel says:

            I’ve heard he’s in trouble this year, even assuming efforts to boot him from the ballot fail.

            But it’s a good question!

          • Grey One Talks Sass says:

            Not sure if you are aware the fascists/theocrats are already in the military. I comment on another blog that defends military personnel from the actions of Christian nationalists who use their command as an excuse to proselytize to those who report to them. Starting in the eighties with the acceptance of the Moral Minority young Christians joined every branch (but focused on the Air Force for some reason) in order to win souls for their deity. We The People are fighting a war waged on all seven of the mountains claimed by Dominionists.

            • yydennek says:

              Colorado Springs is a hotbed (AF Academy)

              Grey One- When we think “Christians” in politics, the most powerful sect shouldn’t be omitted”- right wing Catholics e.g. Leonard Leo, John Eastman (Pres. of Robert P George’s National Organization for Marriage), Michael Flynn (said there should be only one religion), Koch-funded Paul Weyrich (his training manual is posted at Theocracy Watch) and, Bill Barr (“Introduce religion at every opportunity”)

              The Jones Day law firm had 12 lawyers (including Don McGahn) in the Trump administration.

            • Ralf Maximus says:

              > another blog that defends military personnel from
              > the actions of Christian nationalists

              Possibly the MRFF on DailyKos?

          • Sussex Trafalgar says:

            Perhaps like Tommy Tuberville and many other MAGA cult followers, Perry is upset that today’s military consists of people who are not Caucasian.

          • JTKLBG122 says:

            There is indeed “something not right” about Perry’s district. (I am a former Perry constituent who is now in PA-11.) There is a Republican tribalism that is rampant in south central PA that seems almost unbreakable. It seems to be a tribalism very much related to, and perpetuated by, the clannishness present in large/extended families in this area. Unfortunately, I think much of that tribalism is based on fear and hatred – much of it racist. (Along with an unquestioned premise that liberals are the anti-Christ.) After decades of consumption of AM radio and Fox News, the entire worldview of many is now based on these fears, hatreds, and preconceptions – which, in this region, are often reinforced within large families.

            From what I can see, the greatest commonality between the Republican base and Trump – and by extension, Perry – is that he hates/fears the same people that they hate/fear. Yes, there are certainly many exceptions. However, a significant percentage of the Trump/Perry base would be perfectly willing to live in a one-room hut with a dirt floor, provided it meant that another Black man (or woman) would never be president.

            Unfortunately, much of those fears and hatreds are also a shared commonality with Putin. In Putin, the Trump base perceives an ally — an autocratic, alpha male ruler with a lust for power. And a man who hates Blacks, Hispanics, the LBGTQ+ community, Muslims, immigrants, liberals, journalists, and any non-White and non-Christian groups. And those Republican base fears and hatreds continue to overrule any of their reason — to the point of complete abandonment of all the political beliefs, patriotic ideals, and ethics they (supposedly) previously held.

            [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. I assume this is what you have done since you commented last as “JTK0403.” Please use the same username each time you comment going forward. /~Rayne]

            • Rayne says:

              Thanks for sharing your perspective from that district. Whatever has been going on in PA-10 doesn’t match the Cook R+5 rating; Perry strikes me as someone a redder district, like R+15 or higher would elect and re-elect.

              The broadcast TV and radio market in Harrisburg would be interesting to study. There’s not only a Sinclair-owned TV station but a Sinclair partner station as well as an independent religious (read: Christian) TV station; there are two full-power and three low-power religious stations (the third shares spectrum with other non-religious content). That’s a LOT of content which trends to the right in one district.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          “…pushing Tucker’s replacement theory…”
          Conspiracy theories are religious/tribalistic in nature. Members believe “we know the revealed truth “ and others are “sheep who are being controlled by the powers-that-be”. Worse, like most religions, this makes believers “the good guys” and other people as dupes at best, evil at worst. So believing lies is part and parcel of being a conspiracy theorist.

          I’ve seen some YouTube videos of atheists debating Christians. The atheists don’t expect to convince believers to renounce their beliefs. They point out that one cannot, through reason, change beliefs that were not formed by reason in the first place.

          But the fact that Perry and others want to believe these lies because of how, if true, it might impact them, makes them different, and scarier, than, say, a 9/11 truther.

          • earlyriser says:

            Do I understand you to be referring to a Pascalian wager? That would provide me with some food for thought….

              • earlyriser says:

                They’re more worried about what happens — to them — if they don’t believe these things and they turn out to be true, than if they do and they turn out to be false?

                • earlyriser says:

                  I live in a red PA county — fracking country. My neighbors are fervent Trumpists, but they’re not idiots. They know low-flow toilets don’t require 20 flushes, but they understand Trump’s parables of the toilet or the incandescent light bulb stand for all government regulations and worry more about those than about climate catastrophe.

    • Sue Romano says:

      I’m not buying he bought into this for any other reason but wealth. He was raised by a single mom (left abusive father), was really poor. Not surprising he’s another Army General, albeit Army National Guard. I put him in the treason for wealth and power like Flynn, mixed with misogynistic hate of women/Hillary Clinton obsession. He’s more defensive now that his phones are central to comms Jack Smith has his hands on.

  10. Quake888 says:

    The above discussion leaves out the fact that Scott Perry et al. are fundamentally motivated by white supremacy. They don’t say it out loud but they all know it.

    • Rayne says:

      Bob Altemeyer’s updated version of The Authoritarians contains this section on White Supremacy (bear with me, it’s long-ish but worthwhile):

      White Supremacy
      Donald Trump has constantly misrepresented the Black Lives Matter movement as a violent, left-wing extremist attempt to destroy America. But it’s what his base wants to believe. And as he has spread this lie he has continued to give violent White Supremist groups a pass, and even ally himself with them as he did with his “Stand back and stand by” instruction during the first debate. People who do not understand why he does this do not understand Trump himself, who has been prejudiced against African-Americans for all of his adult life. More to the point, he knows his base is highly prejudiced. He tried from the very beginning to attract people who want America to be dominated by Whites. And he succeeded to a degree that astounds one.

      The 24-item Prejudice Scale put on the Monmouth Polls to ferret out the connection between bigotry and supporting Trump sought opinions on this matter in numerous ways. For some statements, agreement indicated bias:

      “White people are the major victims of discrimination in the United State. The government is on everybody else’s side but theirs.”

      “Instead of complaining and protesting all the time, African-Americans should be grateful for how good they have it here compared to where they came from.”

      “Racial minorities have had it good for years in the United States because of all the government programs that help them get ahead of white people.”

      “Black people are just naturally more violent than white people.”

      “The immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa who have come to America have mainly brought disease, ignorance, and violence with them.”

      “Certain races of people clearly do NOT have the natural intelligence and ‘get up and go’ of the white race.”

      For other statements, the prejudiced answer was to disagree:

      “Black Americans continue to get less than their fair share of our country’s wealth because of discrimination.”

      “It will be great if someday America has become such a mixture of diverse people that white persons are in a minority like everybody else.”

      “Americans are not exceptionally nobler than the rest of the world.“ American Exceptionalism” is just another ugly ‘master race’ theory.”

      “Overall the white race has mainly brought exploitation and suffering to the other peoples of the world.”

      “It is good to live in a country where there are so many minority groups present, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.”

      “Most minorities on welfare would rather work, but they can’t get jobs that pay a living wage.”

      Trump’s supporters in the poll answered all of these statements in the prejudiced direction. And these answers correlated highly with their answers to other statements tapping prejudices against Jews, Muslims, persons with “different religions,” and so on, showing that pro-White, anti-Black attitudes are part of a larger package of ethnocentric beliefs and attitudes that really have nothing to do with the groups being discriminated against, and everything to do with how prejudiced people think.

      This is why his base can so readily reconcile inconsistencies like his lawbreaking with their demand for law-and-order: he consistently satisfies their racism.

      • rich_13dec2018_1315h says:

        So correct. Trump is fortunate to live in a country founded upon White Supremacy, and it’s still going strong.

      • Adam_09APR2023_1150h says:

        I’d like to hear someone in the right wind media bubble explain to me the nickname ‘Letitia Racist Peekaboo James’ like I’m a 5 year old. It blows my mind that this is acceptable discourse. To me, the normalizing of dehumanizing and apocalyptic rhetoric is the most tangible impact of the Trump years; I frequently encounter people that literally talk like he Tweets. And I’m starting to lose my patience over it.

        [I don’t recall my username sorry. ill write it down this time I promise!]

        [Moderator’s note: You need to pick a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. So far you have not selected one and remain on auto-moderation because you do not have an established name, using “Adam” four times now. Simply write in a new name in the Name field the next time you comment; the name you see in the Name field has been edited to ensure you are not confused with other Adams in the community. /~Rayne]

    • Nigel Stead says:

      Yes. People who believe in something that doesn’t exist, like white replacement theory are likely to believe a load of other stuff that doesn’t exist that feeds into their fear and paranoia. Last year on a long-haul flight I read The Great Gatsby for the first time since school and it struck me how MAGA Gatsby was.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Tom Buchanan is the truly MAGA character in GG–he’s the reactionary buffoon parroting literal white supremacist ideas, the exception being that he actually *read* them (in a book, no less) rather seeing them on TV or hearing them at a Trump rally.

  11. Grey One Talks Sass says:

    I’ve not noticed any mention of religion in the discussion of why the GOP is acting the way they are in the here/now. Unless that element is included in the equation, no answer will ‘add up’. New commenter, long time reader, I don’t pretend to understand all the legal language used, one too many concussions leaves me with a need for simplicity. So – where is the religion?

    I ask because as an old warrior from the LGBTQA+ civil rights wars one of the main methods of communication used by our honorable adversary was the pulpit. I know, Johnson Amendment, but no one actually checks, and if they did, no one punished any pastor who promoted politics. Oh, there was lots of persecution talking points back then (ebil, ghayz, 1st amend rights, etc) but not one pastor who preached political ideology or told their congregation who to vote for was ever taken to task.

    As I see it, humans like Scott Perry aren’t just in a bubble of Fox, they are getting an earful every time they go to church. They can’t hear about reality because to them they represent reality while the rest of us are demonic evil people standing in the way of their Armageddon/Apocalypse so their Lord and Savior can return which means they (twue believers-trademark pending) can be raptured up to heaven to watch the rest of humanity be burned in a lake of fire for the rest of time, amen.

    Or words to that effect. By the way – I don’t believe Trump is religious but he definitely knows how to take advantage of a situation. In 2016 the evangelical crowd was ready for Ted Cruz to be the nominee. But then Trump, surrounded by enthusiastic actors paid to show support, descended an elevator. The Christian nationalist soldiers, primed to follow any authoritarian their pastors aka voices of authority said to follow took one breath and said OOO shiny!!! and the rest is history.

    It was almost funny watching the Paula White’s faces as their congregants demanded better fare than Ted Cruz. Well, funny for a minute. I’ve watched this movie, read the book. I know what happens next. Doing my best to make sure history isn’t repeating itself.

    Thanks for the learning I get here. Also for the legal breakdown. Y’all are much appreciated and if I had monies you’d already have them.

    • Rayne says:

      I hear you, and yet religion is just part of the authoritarian system. For many right-wing persons it is how they became indoctrinated to seek authority figures instead of relying on their own observations and reason.

      Bob Altemeyer’s work on Trump and authoritarians suggests that one attribute plays a much bigger role in the rise of Trump and his sycophantic remoras* like Scott Perry. It’s racism. He’s white supremacy’s overt and popular symbol.

      * see Brian Klass’s essay about Elise Stefanik as a Trumpian remora (I do wish he’d exit Substack, though).

      • Grey One Talks Sass says:

        I find Christian nationalism walks hand in hand with racism and a host of other ‘isms’.

        I know religion is a touchy subject because We The People believe in the 1st Amendment along with its separation of church and state. The theocrats/authoritarians/fascists (but I repeat myself) attacking our country now have been taught that there is no separation. Not sure how to battle not just a person’s sincerely held beliefs but the willful acceptance of historians (debunked historians – looking at the Barton father/son combo here) who have taught two generations that what is clearly stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights doesn’t say what it says it says. Orwellian times to be sure.

        I’ve no answers which is why I am here. You have ideas I’ve not thought of yet. thank you!!!!! edited to remove an apostrophe and add an ly.

        • yydennek says:

          Grey One-
          Your’e right. The religious right, ALEC, CNP, and Heritage Foundation were co-founded by Paul Weyrich, a right wing Catholic funded by Koch. THE untold story is the political alignment of Koch and the Catholic Church. Pew reported that in 2020, 63% of White Catholics who attend church regularly voted for Trump, a 3% increase from 2016.
          In the electoral college-rich central states, Catholics are not liberal. Btw- the Catholic Church was the first and largest corporate slaveowner in the Americas (Cushwa site).

          • Matt___B says:

            I might add that some devout Catholics who can’t stomach Trump, but absolutely despise Biden, are gravitating toward RFK Jr., who is (IMO) a minor-league demagogue-in-the-making. His Catholic roots are appealing to them, and they’re willing to take his recent public denialism of his decade + of anti-vax activism and casual conspiracy-mongering, at face value. RFK Jr. has also aligned himself with the new-age influencer crowd, but that’s for the young people, not the Catholics.

              • Matt___B says:

                Probably will take away votes from both, hard to know what the proportion will be. And interestingly, former mayor of Cleveland and former progressive congressman from Ohio Dennis Kucinich was RFK’s campaign manager for several months (go figure) and then abruptly resigned that position recently because he disagreed with RFK’s stated position on the Israel-Hamas situation, which was staunchly pro-Israel to the max and no kind words whatsoever for non-Hamas Palestinians.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Fundamentalist Christianity and White Supremacy are a well-mixed stew by now. (You probably know about R. J. Rushdoony, but those who are not informed might want to look him up and consider his enormous influence on conservative Christianity in the U.S.)

    • emptywheel says:

      I added a rubric I’ve started using to explain why Republicans adopt Trump’s fascism. In his case I suggested it was the con and either fascism proper or Christian nationalism, not sure which.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        You may want to explore how Christianity has become more of a social membership badge (think brownshirts) rather than religion.

      • earthworm says:

        among the 5 bullet points, i see no space for the possibility of bribery, inherent or actual.
        it seems almost willingly disingenuous to fail to take the ‘greed factor’ into account, in the mentalities of these credulous followers. They are like the dim but canny peasants of a grimm’s fairytale, eyeing their neighbors’ farms — if they can but remove them in some fashion.

        • earthworm says:

          i want to add to or amend the above comment to include in connection with bribery “covetous,” which Roget’s augments with:
          “greedy, acquisitive, grasping, lustful, avaricious, rapacious, selfish, stingy, mercenary, venal, (and longing and yearning)” — yeah, if the shoe fits, wear it.
          all of which seem to fit many specimens of the rightwing and GOP in government.

      • LaMissy! says:

        I don’t know whether “Christian nationalism”is widely understood to include Catholic sects like the extremists of Opus Dei (Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, Amy Coney Barrett among others). They’re busily attacking the cornerstone of democracy which is public education. The bold move in OK of establishing a Catholic virtual charter school, which would be wholly taxpayer funded simultaneously takes funds from public schools seems intended to blow a hole in the wall between church and state.

        The Catholic church also currently operates 1 in 7 hospitals across the country; in many communities there are no other hospitals. Of course Catholic hospitals do not provide reproductive health care such as abortion, tubal ligation, or some forms of birth control like IUD’s. The National Nurses Organizing Committee has published a damning report on how one Catholic chain, Ascension, has been closing obstetrics units while collecting federal funds and behaving much like a private equity fund.

        https:// http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/sites/default/files/nnu/documents/1223_AscensionSeton_Obstetrics_DangerousDescent_Report.pdf

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Amy Coney Barrett is a member of People of Praise, not Opus Dei; the latter, as I understand it, has more tentacles among the Vatican’s arch-conservatives and a greater emphasis on self-flagellation.

          • SteveBev says:

            To expand a little on the distinction

            People of Praise is a charismatic parachurch, ecumenical in the sense that it is open to all baptised Christians, and has a belief that certain members have the gift of prophesy. Other groups within the Charismatic Renewal Movement adopted further Pentacostalist practices eg faith healing and speaking in tongues.
            Although the Charismatic Renewal Movement has received favourable statements by various popes, the movement is also treated with suspicion as being a potential vehicle for crypto Protestantism.

            Opus Dei is much more integrated into the Catholic orthodox teachings and practices and into the Church’s hierarchies. Its founder and a number of prominent members have been cannonised, several more beatified. A number of cardinals have been created from its ranks. Its precise relationship to the hierarchy has shifted at different times. But it has been subject to the personal prelacy of various Pontiffs

            • yydennek says:

              Allegedly, Russian spy, Robert Hansen and/or his kids were Opus Dei. Hansen told his priest about his spying. DC-based, disgraced Father McCloskey was Opus Dei.

  12. Yogarhythms says:

    Ew,
    Yes RepPerry from PA puts his pants on one leg at a time. Yes RepPerry… is articulate. He is a proud loud member of the grievance party. Burn it down to own the lib’s. Yes as you say he has grown to hate the rule of law and democracy. RepPerry today is the personification of Trump’s media bubble-elected-congress-person 2024 model. He isn’t a person of spontaneous generation. It takes time to grow this ignorant and fearful of laws. 1. Trump’s Russian election assistance and Meta’s targeting of social media and manipulation, created his ascension to 45th presidency. 2. The second recorded viral Pandemic arrived 10-11/2019 killing millions and sealed the deal. A democracy suddenly elected a president that is a malignant narcissistic sociopath and a pandemic arrived devastating our entire society. A population can be made fearful by creating a simple or catastrophic attack on their collective hierarchy of needs such that individuals are questioning their core personal identity structures. This causes tremendous anxiety. Anxious and uncomfortable people become less able to personally question and discern, defensively, lowering their anxiety, a good thing. However, without a questioning ability, now you are also more easy to manipulate by a personality like Trump. RepPerry hates laws and democracy and his day job is to write laws in support of democracy. He is a very frustrated and unhappy person.

  13. Epicurus says:

    “I included a rubric I’ve increasingly used to try to understand why Republicans adopt Trump’s fascism.” Perhaps it’s the other way around, that Trump recognized and adopted Republican fascism as his path to power.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      Given that the stable genius really doesn’t have the brain power to figure this out, let’s guess that his behind-the-curtain helpers/controllers are pointing him in those directions.

    • Knowatall says:

      I would agree the causation arrow is as you say. A paranoid, grievance-based, retrograde fascism has been skulking in the US for nearly 100 years. Trump just crested, not created, the wave.

  14. Greg Hunter says:

    “And God has always used flawed people throughout Scripture, whether it was David or Moses or Abraham. They all had significant flaws. And he used them for his purposes.

    So that may be above my pay grade. But if it’s a Trump administration versus a Biden administration, I don’t see that’s going to be a choice for me. I mean, for me, that will be an easy choice.”

    They will gladly lie to further the aims of their view of god’s intent. I despise the Abrahamic religions more and more each day, but I realize it is very tough to criticise those of faith without alienating part of the coalition aligned against Trump.

    Lisa Desjardens did a good job pressing the Iowa King Maker in her interview but it would be really nice to figure out how to make Christian Nationalists look ridiculous to independent voters for holding these views.

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/iowa-caucus-kingmaker-on-the-gop-race-and-critical-white-evangelical-vote

    • LaMissy! says:

      I’m reminded of Lisa DesJardines’ spectacular reporting on Jan 6. She was live outside the balcony of the House when the insurrectionists broke through. She continued to report without video for a brief time. Then she reappeared, with the Capitol police behind her, holding several men face down on the floor with automatic weapons trained on them.

      https:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E72MIiS8UM @2:51

      • Rayne says:

        That. Church every Sunday, sometimes during the week, quiet charity out of his pocket to homeless, all the things Christians including Catholics are exhorted to do but God in Her quirkiness decided to use Trump to make an example.

        She’s got a wicked sense of humor.

    • Local Oaf says:

      I wish she had pressed him on what a “woke agenda” is, but the interview was more an airing of his distorted and self-serving views.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      This comment and the ensuing thread have resulted in me having to ask a question to which it seems the rest of you already know the answer: Is Lisa DesJardins God?

      When Rayne wrote “She has a good sense of humor” after Sherrie H’s question, I realized I might’ve spent my whole life looking in all the wrong churches.

  15. Jim Luther says:

    I have had long conversations with two immediate family members, one of whom is a devout evangelical, and the other is a devout libertarian. Both used the exact same “reasoning” (if I can call it that).

    The essence of the conversations were that some things were so glaringly, obviously true that any argument against those deeply held convictions was clear evidence that science, scientists, and the media were deeply corrupted and purposefully spreading false propaganda. For the evangelical, the deeply held truths were things like conception marking the start of life, the age of Earth, the creation of humans, and God’s granting of near everything to be used by his followers. For the libertarian, his deeply held truth centered on a bizarre conception of radical individualism and a belief that a market solution will reveal itself if a solution is required – resulting is a total rejection of all public health, public education, environmental regulation, etc.

    Both have a common belief, using common logic but for different reasons, that the Democratic party in particular, and the government in general, are the literal personification of evil itself. To them, descent into fascism is an acceptable alternative to a government that openly defies their god (whether that god is Abrahamic or markets).

    • Knowatall says:

      I, too, know these people. They are unreachable; only turnout will win the upcoming battle. The war is a decades long, generational struggle that may already be lost, but is still worth the engagement.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        I largely agree. But this may not be a generational struggle we can WIN.

        The choices are (1) we prevent this generation’s other side from winning, and they retreat back into their churches and caves for a few generations, or (2) we lose, and they run riot until they are violently defeated.

        Some of these struggles aren’t just decades-long, they’re MUCH longer. May I suggest racism, antisemitism, and misogyny as the oldest generational struggles we face in 2024?

        • Rayne says:

          Russia’s points of attack since 2014 using influence operations in social media: racism and misogyny. (I’m lumping attacks on Semitic persons into racism.)

          Gamergate was about misogyny, and attacks on BLM was about racism, as two key examples.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Both were fueled by heaping amounts of Limbaugh. I wonder now how closely the Russians assigned to this project studied his broadcasts.

            • Rayne says:

              That man was a cancer on humanity who overstayed his welcome. If there’s anything I’m glad for it’s that he lived just long enough to see Trump lose in 2020 and Biden inaugurated.

              That’s another media market and influence study waiting to happen — how much did Limbaugh affect whites in Canada, especially the plains provinces?

  16. Badger Robert says:

    OK, this is a good start.
    But the question is how do entire societies get to the belief that there will be no consequences? Gunter Grass mocked the process, while regretting the outcome. Mr. Perry is a good example. And faith does offer people the belief that the earthly consequences don’t matter. Is it a refuge for immature minds?
    The American example is pretty obvious. Abandoning democracy and nullifying an election had consequence. Thought the apologists insisted that the damage was not self inflicted.

  17. HorsewomaninPA says:

    It is a rare day with a topic I feel somewhat “qualified” to submit a comment (not a brilliant legal mind as so many are on this blog)
    I really, really hate to disagree with Dr. Marcy on anything, she is so well researched and knowledgeable, but in this case, I have something to add regarding whether Scott Perry actually believes all the crap he does. I think that he knows all those things you list are at best questionable, but he is unable to unwind all of his actions in the past that he took that are consistent with those beliefs being true. Complicated explanation, but there is a psychological concept known as denial that most people are somewhat familiar with. In the past, there has been debate in the field whether denial is conscious or not. I think that Perry shows signs of denial that is conscious, therefore, there is at least doubt in his mind at this point.
    I think this because he made the choice to get up and walk out – an active attempt to shield himself from the truth and facts which would blow a hole in his self-concept and demonstrate to him that he was “took” and therefore, stupid. People will go to great lengths to hold onto positive self-regard.
    I think the fact that he got up and walked out as a step in the right direction. It might be his lawyers speaking the truth to him with respect to everything he now has to turn over. It may have forced him to step back and look at the choices he has made in the past. Getting up and leaving is a sure sign of fear. (as long as it wasn’t because he had to pee really bad)
    Now, that said, this whole MAGA thing is absolutely supported by the right-wing echo chamber. Many of the people in it do truly believe the nonsense, but Perry has had a lot of data telling him the opposite and he may be coming to the realization, but unsure how to make his past actions flange up with his current view of himself. Many people seek out the right-wing echo chamber to reinforce their idea of themselves and simplify the complexities of 21st century life – and that they are okay and are the right side. Fellow MAGATs provide the shield of denial – he likely went back to safety of his staff who congratulated him and reinforced his denial.
    The more we see flummoxed people on the right when presented with the facts, the more we know they are teetering – a good thing!

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s a fair point!

      You might want to check out what Perry looked like after 43:00, when Goldman was calling out for his coup activities (this was earlier in the day).

    • SteveBev says:

      You articulated a point that bothered me about Perry getting up and walking out.

      There is the concept of the Sociopathic Triad –
      Sociopath -Apath -Empath.

      The Apath functions to enable the Sociopath’s targeting of the Empath, for their own reasons based on their relationship with each, and in particular they serve to corroborate the Sociopath’s gaslighting of the Empath. It is an act of putting their conscience to sleep. As such they act as a conduit between the Sociopath’s world view and external realities, helping to shape the latter to effectuate the former.

      Avoidance techniques are deployed by the Apath to protect themselves from the contradictions arising from their adopted lack of concern and indifference to the dangers inherent in the situation, their lack of insight and any pangs of conscience, and the threat to his self conception as a righteous individual.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Yes, apathy is enablement in such relationships. That’s a very helpful way to frame sociopathic dynamics. It takes two to tangle?

        “Compartmentalization” is another psych term of art that has similar properties and interpersonal impacts, which I refer to as “lying without talking.”

  18. FiestyBlueBird says:

    I’ve been reading Timothy Egan’s newest book, “A Fever in the Heartland.”

    In the 1920’s, it was David C. Stephenson. Very Trump-like man, in far too many ways to enumerate here. (D.C. was a drunk, though.) He captured/owned Indiana state and local politics, top to bottom. Full stop.

    D.C. was the driving force behind the second rise of the Ku Klux Klan in America. A woman’s testimony brought him down and stopped the madness before the Klan captured the entirety of our national politics.

    Roaches never go away.

    Maddow’s book “Prequel” shows how close we came just a few years later. (I read that one, too.)

    Catholics were on the receiving end (and of course black people, Jewish people, and other others) during the D.C. onslaught, but were among the drivers of the abuse in Maddow’s American Nazi’s “Prequel.”

    We are so screwed up. Pretty miraculous we’ve never lost it all before now.

  19. Troutwaxer says:

    “Cowards afraid of his retaliation
    People conned by his grift
    Utilitarians who believe he’s the only way GOP wins
    Adherents of fascism
    Christian nationalists”

    I might add a sixth, (and possibly even a seventh if you wish to distinguish:)

    Agents (usually of a foreign power) who’ve either accepted bribes or are victims of blackmail.

  20. vertalio says:

    Great discussion, as always. To my own list I would add;

    Those who view Trump as essentially a Pro Wrestling Hero.
    It’s fake, & they know it, but they get off on it.

  21. Sandor Raven says:

    Per EW: “And until we come to grips with the series of things that came to make [people like] Scott Perry believe absurd things, we will never convince Trump’s believers to adhere to rule of law.”

    (re-posted from an earlier thread)

    A long and deeply historical article about what it means to have the courage to “Just try to be decent.”

    HISTORY WILL JUDGE THE COMPLICIT
    Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?

    By Anne Applebaum
    The Atlantic
    JULY/AUGUST 2020 ISSUE

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      “History will judge” is the secular version of heaven and hell; no one dead gives a shit what history thinks.

      • JeoparDiva says:

        I’ll push back on that — plenty of public figures work hard on “leaving a legacy,” trying to craft a narrative about themselves that they hope will last after they have died. But as “Hamilton” pointed out, you don’t control “who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” (The irony is that anyone SHOULD care what history thinks of them once dead.)

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          One would require post-death awareness to care; those who care, as you point out, are the living, and I agree with that. My point was the dead can’t care.

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          I’ve read opinion pieces that were NOT written by Putin or a Putin psychologist, saying that Putin is old enough, and potentially unhealthy enough, to be more focused on his own legacy than on Russia’s future.

          IFF that’s the case, someone who has quite an impact on our world might care.

          I agree that many people are more focused on Now than the Future, and it’s especially weird that both Bolsheviks and predestinarian Christians simultaneously think that (1) a specific future is inevitable, and (2) they must do everything possible to make sure that specific future happens, and not some other future.

          In other words, fundamentalists of any flavor are confusing …

    • Nom du Guerre says:

      EXACTLY THIS! Thanks for the link.

      Trump has numerous times explicitly or otherwise stated intent to use blackmail over people he wants to control.

      I don’t know much about Perry, and maybe that doesn’t explain every 180 degree turn by every Trump apologist, but I feel certain it plays a significant role in our politics.
      J. Edgar Hoover did stuff like that a LOT. Nixon had people trying to bug Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Not a new story.

      Regarding DeSantis:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/08/us/politics/trump-desantis-2024.html
      “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”

      Around the Kavenaugh hearings:

      https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/10/trump-casually-suggests-he-could-blackmail-a-us-senator
      “I happen to know some United States senators,” Trump said, “one who is on the other side, who is pretty aggressive. I’ve seen that person in very bad situations. O.K.? I’ve seen that person in very, very bad situations. Somewhat compromising. And you know, I think it’s very unfair to bring up things like this.”

      That was just a casual search. Probably more where that came from…

  22. MsJennyMD says:

    RepScottPerry@RepScottPerry – Jun 23, 2022
    I stand by my statement that I never sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress. At no time did I speak with Ms. Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any WH staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress — this never happened.

  23. Northwind1 says:

    I commend emptywheel for going where few dare to, namely, opining on what Scott Perry “actually thinks”. However, as with all statements from the MAGA crowd, particularly charter members like Perry, it is at least as necessary to weigh the potential strategic purpose of their language as the hypothetical malign influences that might have led them to their deluded opinions.

    Strategically it is absolutely necessary to maintain message discipline particularly as we get down to the short strokes in the next coup attempt. It is not only a sine qua non of fascist rhetoric that actual facts and evidence are irrelevant but for the MAGA iteration it has been well established that “facts” are established by sheer repetition, obfuscation, projection and gaslighting. This is the preferred means of discourse, not a method of last resort.

    The most parsimonious explanation for the rhetoric of the MAGA movement, whether from the Dear Leader himself, his lieutenants, or merely a dogsbody like Perry is that it is tailored to the specific purpose of installing the Dear Leader, destroying democracy and the rule of law in America. If emptywheel discerns in Perry’s discourse the message that he “hates” the rule of law it is likely this is an inadvertent message that in any event would not be discerned by less erudite readers. As to what Scott Perry “actually thinks”; the most apropos image that comes to mind is that of the Grand Inquisitor O’Brian in 1984 who says; “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” Dismissing Perry as delusional really lets him off the hook.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  24. David F. Snyder says:

    Urgently sought was for God to give a sign of his presence. for him to appear among men in whatever form he might care to assume. for him to descend from his supremacy and use his boundless power to right wrongs and restore order.

    van Buitenen in his introduction to his The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata.

    The religious motivation doesn’t appeal only to Christians. Whether it’s Shiva The Destroyer or Christ The Bringer of Retribution (aka the Book of Revelations), there are many amongst the religious more than happy to burn it all down, not just the Constitution but the planet (of course these believers imagine they are miraculously saved/spared). The numbers of such zealots are slowly shrinking but that only feeds their paranoia.

    And I agree with Rayne that racism is the actual motivator, whereas religion is used by some to provide justification.

    • Rayne says:

      Religion = socially acceptable, can wear it in public without approbation.

      Racism = not socially acceptable except in private closed group events.

      This is why I’m not fully on board with Marcy’s rubric because Trump’s supporters will adopt some socially appropriate name for each of those five flavors and gleefully own it, but scratch beneath the labels and nearly all of those supporters are deeply racist.

      • yydennek says:

        The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus from 2000-2021, Carl Anderson, was Sen. Jesse Helm’s legislative aide from 1976-1981. Helms was opposed to federally mandated busing and he claimed MLK adopted “action-oriented Marxism.” As disparagement, Helms used the word communism, adjacent to MLK- Helms didn’t want a MLK holiday- Helms was very slow to add Black members to his senatorial staff.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        Pew, as in Sun Oil.
        I have a lot of issues with that name.
        From wikipedia, Founders are the adult sons and daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew. Honoring their parents’ religious conviction that good works should be done quietly.
        Furthermore, according to the Pew Trusts’ website, four of the eleven Directors serving on the Board are named Pew.

        • yydennek says:

          You are right to be concerned about Pew- it has a research arm and a second arm. The second ( it may bear the word “charitable” as distinction) visited state capitols with Prof. Joshua Rauh. Legislation/policy about public pensions (a hot button issue with the Koch network at the time) was influenced by their testimony.
          The research they cited came under heavy scrutiny – the point at which the public learned the need to separate the credibility of info that came from one arm vs. the other. Rauh, formerly with Northwestern, was hired by Stanford. Critics of SIEPRE (a Stanford think tank, IMO, aligned in views with Hoover) refer to the spin tank as the Stanford Institute for the Evisceration of People’s Retirement.

  25. Badger Robert says:

    1. Post revolutionary France.
    2. Post World War I Germany.
    3. Post Obama US.
    I think the message contains the promise that the leader can make his followers hegemonists again. He can restore them to their self appointed rightful place.
    Except Obama’s re-election was 12 years ago, a lifetime in politics.

  26. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m going with Scott Perry is a fascist. I’ll explain why.

    In general, I look at what Trump supporters were doing BT (Before Trump) and what faction within the Republican Party they belonged to. I start with the position that the Pew Research Republican Coalition Typology is quite useful in understanding the relationship between Trump and various Republican “types”. See here: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2021/11/PP_2021.11.09_political-typology_01-01.png?w=551

    Pew identifies Christian Nationalists with a more anodyne name: “Faith and Flag conservatives”. The fascists they call “Populist Right”, which is how you spell fascist if your keyboard doesn’t have the letter “F”. These groups existed within the party before Trump. As did what Pew calls “Committed Conservatives” and I call establishment Republicans. I’ll ignore the other two groups, for now, because to the extent it matters in my analysis, they act like establishment Republicans with respect to Trump.

    And that leads me to believe that Dr. Wheeler’s groups 1, 2, and 3 are establishment Republicans at different stages in their Trumpian relationship. To a large extent, Trump did con them into thinking he would rule as a traditional Republican. When these folks realize they’ve been conned, they become utilitarians, figuring that they can still use Trump for their own ends. And when they realize who has conned them, they become cowards, fearing the moment when Trump sics his mob on them.

    The Christian Nationalists and the fascists were never conned by Trump. They saw exactly who Trump was and realized that he was their best hope to destroy multi-racial democracy in the U.S., the true common cause of those groups since before they were part of the Republican Party.
    Scott Perry clearly isn’t a Christian Nationalist, in the same way Mike Johnson clearly is. And while he avoided the obvious fascist sympathizing of say, Steve King, his views appear to fall right in line with the hardest right of Republican elected officials. For example, he was a proud member of the House Freedom Caucus from day one. Then his leadership role in the insurrection confirmed his fascist ideology.

    • yydennek says:

      “Mike Johnson clearly is,” how about Leonard Leo, William Barr and, the Jones Day lawyers in the Trump administration, what are they?

      How about Pope John Paul II who told right wing Catholics to champion their faith in the public square?

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Leaving Pope John Paul II aside (not a member of the Republican coalition), I find it more useful to describe the folks you mentioned as fascists (Leonard Leo, Bill Barr) or establishment Republicans (the Jones Day lawyers that I recall at the moment) rather than Christian Nationalists.

        In the U.S., Christian Nationalism has historically been a Protestant movement that excluded Mormons and Catholics. It’s harder to square the universalism of Catholicism with the Christian Nationalist view of American exceptionalism. Not impossible, just a little more difficult.

        • yydennek says:

          “Protestant movement excluded Catholics”- that changed with the appointment of Scalia. Ryan Girdusky’s 2014 interview with Pat Buchanan (posted on the internet) details the change. Subsequently (recently), Ryan Girdusky founded the 1776 PAC to raise money for right wing school board candidates.

          • WilliamOckham says:

            I find it useful to distinguish between Christian Nationalists and other American fascist groups, even the other groups that are explicitly Christian and fascist like Opus Dei, for a lot of reasons. One is that the core animating ideology of Christian Nationalism is not shared by any other group, even the other Christian groups that make common cause with them in their support of Trump. The core belief that defines Christian Nationalism is that the U.S. was chosen by God to rule the world. So, I would disagree that anything changed with the appointment of Scalia to the Supreme Court. Rather, I would say that his appointment was the result of a successful effort by the Christian Nationalists to make common cause with the right-wing of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

            It’s fine with me if you don’t feel the distinction is useful or meaningful in the current moment. I’m trying to answer your question about my taxonomy of Trump supporters.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Catholics became allies of (conservative/reactionary) Protestants the moment the right dropped its attempt to use the tax status of religious schools as its great cause in favor of abortion, about 45 years ago. Catholics, of course, had gotten *there* first; it’s easy to forget (or not know, if you’re young) that being pro-choice was the accepted moderate Republican position back in the pre-Reagan days (and even the Bush The First days).

            Suddenly the right/GOP had a cause that would turn out, not turn off, voters. But the motive force behind this has been dark money, which cares little about “life” and everything about protecting itself–a project for which Catholic help proved welcome electorally, and will continue to do so on many higher courts for years.

            • yydennek says:

              Adding- Republican Catholic Gov. Voinovich (Ohio) wanted tax money for Catholic schools. His success was in the form of education vouchers. He made a deal with the bishops. They would publicly lay low. Voinovich knew if the public understood the money was for Catholic schools, they would oppose vouchers. (Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 14, 1999). The overwhelming amount of (and, ever increasing) voucher money in Ohio goes to Catholic schools. The politicking of the Catholic Conferences makes voucher expansion, a legislative priority. The religious charter schools of Nicole Stelle Garnet (Notre Dame friend of Amy Comey Barrett) is the end game.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s especially difficult given the schisms within the Catholic Church, especially the U.S. where the U.S. Catholic Bishops are fucking fascists at odds with Pope Francis and with much of U.S. Catholic sisterhood. The latter identify more closely with liberation theology than the bloody bishops.

          • yydennek says:

            Respectfully, it’s not difficult to know who makes choices about the political spending of the Catholic Church.

            Church organization “good works” are significantly funded by taxpayers (usurpation of government function) and, it is problematic. It’s legal for tax-funded social services when provided by the religious, to be selectively provided e.g. discrimination against LGBTQ. After Amy Comey Barrett renders the majority SCOTUS verdict for religious charter schools (her friend, Nicole Stelle Garnet, is the most influential legal scholar advancing them), you and I will be subsidizing potential discrimination at both ends of the process, employment in the schools (Biel v St. James Catholic school) and against students/parents. And, without a community elected board, there will be no recourse for the community that funds the discrimination.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            I hear more than murmurs among the RW Catholic crowd along the lines of how to get rid of Francis–and not “get rid of” in any nice, pro-life way. I’m sure yydennek knows a lot more about this.

            Francis is all too easily Otherized as a non-European pope, another immigrant poisoning the blood of the sacred white culture of the Vatican. What they say about him…it’s not nice, and it’s not Christian at all.

            • Rayne says:

              American Catholics are being poisoned by the toxic patriarchy of US bishops. They’ve utterly forgotten everything about the Beatitudes and Christ’s teachings in general, in thrall to literal fascist dickheads.

        • Jim Luther says:

          Consider the case of Utah, which is neither Protestant nor Catholic, yet heavily religious, Republican, and pro-Trump. The flavor of the religion is not really the defining character, but more the intensity. All religions believe things that can not be proven, or disproven. The specific sub-sects that gravitate toward the GOP are the ones that believe things that have been empirically disproven. We are simply in yet another battle that began with The Enlightenment roughly 500 years ago. Attempting to use evidence, logic, and reason to understand a group whose defining characteristic is the rejection of empirical decision making is fruitless.

          • emptywheel says:

            I think Mormons and the Dutch Reform Christians from my old stomping ground actually have a more troubled relationship with Trump (ignoring Mike Lee’s radicalization), in no small part because they are proselytizing religions with a kind of cosmopolitanism. Using Ockham’s description, they’re more like mainstream Republicans who are now stuck with Trump.

            • yydennek says:

              The Mormon reps and senators in D.C. are cosmopolitan and the base is largely provincial?
              The laws passed in the states where most Mormon live, Utah, Idaho and Arizona? Between 2015 and 2021, only 2 Mormon Democratic US Reps, 12, GOP. Was Udall the last Democratic Mormon senator?

          • Badger Robert says:

            And religion has consistently loss ground to Roger Bacon, Newton and Darwin. Religion couldn’t produce steam engines and control small pox.
            Another win for common sense and observation is possible.

  27. greenbird says:

    “This sort of behavior supports the intended kayfabe opinion that the face (or faces) the heel is feuding with is actually more deserving of the title than the title-holding heel is.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heel_(professional_wrestling) [includes a mini-link for kayfabe.]

    (soon, i might also resort to using Bugs-Daffy-Elmer in a similar fashion, to keep myself entertained.
    being immature as i am.)

  28. morganism says:

    Thanks Marcy.

    I think your #5 Adherents to facism might instead be the Grand Oppression Party.
    #7 appears to be a bit of adherents to loyalty instead. No sunk cost fallacy. They have been spending so much of their self respect defending him, they feel invested, and can’t divest now.
    They want everyone else to submit, while stridently denying their desire to. Not having to choose anymore is it’s own choice, and a type of freedom. Very russian type of defeatism that.

    And the capture of govt functions isn’t going to go over well with the GOP base when the laws making it legal to run over protesters , runs over them.
    Those folks are not going to be happy when the solar electric driverless Uber they have to take to the next rally is remotely disabled by an LE AI. (that remote disable is an actual thing already)
    When they take away trucks and guns as being too threatening to the ruling classless, and they have to sit in the back of the desegregated bus, then i don’t expect them to show up much anymore. And it will be too late to bring them back to the rule of laws.

    Want the RU view, try Kamil , he has the background to be a valuable external perspective. His thread of threads has more history, and the mindset of oppressed folk.
    His latest stuff is on the UA/RU and dependence on tech and software.

    https://threadreaderapp.com/user/kamilkazani

    As to the overproduction of elites hypo, that doesn’t end at all well historically. Peter Turchin has been dead on with his cyclic studies of cliodynamics. His earlier studies were on X-Risks at Less Wrong.

    https://peterturchin.com/when-a-i-comes-for-the-elites/

    (Sorry to the boss, and the mods here. Have been ranting the last month. Must be lack of sunlight and hope for the country. Will try the dispassionate observer role again soon….after caucases , seriously?

    • Alan King says:

      DIdn’t know Turchin .. thanks. This is important stuff. Turchin talks about lawyers, but doctors are also in the crosshairs. Early insurmountable debt stresses will certainly tempt one to the dark side.

      Turchin’s points reveales just how essential are the Biden adinistration’s student loan debt reduction efforts: strategic and essential to this anti-fascist war.

    • Alan King says:

      Oh and let’s not overlook the army of IT workers (a natural breeding ground of fascists) suddenly rendered redundant by CodePilot and other GPT capable of writing boilerplate code.

  29. knotscott_SOCKPUPPET-ID says:

    Me guilty?
    Rep. Scott Perry, R-York, faced felony charges in 2002 of conspiring to falsify state-mandated sewage records related to a business he co-owns, Hydrotech Mechanical Services Inc. He avoided a conviction and completed the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program that is designed for first-time, nonviolent defendants.

    Mr. Perry, who maintains his innocence, called it a “last-minute, at-the-courtroom deal that was never supposed to happen, but it did.”
    https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2010/11/14/Arrest-records-of-state-lawmakers-raise-questions-of-standards/stories/201011140255

    [Moderator’s note: I am letting this comment publish because it contains news relevant to the topic most of the community isn’t familiar with. DO NOT SOCKPUPPET AGAIN. You can expect to be in auto-moderation permanently if you do this one more time. /~Rayne]

  30. Zinsky123 says:

    Another great post, EW! I looked at Fox News’ website this morning, after reading your post and their banner story is about how Speaker Mike Johnson is going to expose the “real truth” about January 6th! In other words, Fox is still working, to this day, to make sure their minions get only Fox’s view of the universe and no facts or counterarguments are welcome! I think we need to figure out how we can de-program vast swatches of brainwashed people in America before we can ever get back to some semblance of normalcy.

  31. harpie says:

    Texas National Guard did nothing while three migrants drowned in the Rio Grand.
    [A female adult and two children]

    https://nitter.net/steve_vladeck/status/1746272694377607557
    Jan 13, 2024 · 8:47 PM UTC

    Texas’s continuing interference with federal Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass—with the help of a seriously flawed injunction from the Fifth Circuit—now seems to have prevented the rescue of three migrants who drowned in the Rio Grande.

    The cruelty really *is* the point.

    • harpie says:

      The next tweet in his timeline:

      https://nitter.net/steve_vladeck/status/1746354653489487903
      Jan 14, 2024 · 2:12 AM UTC

      It’s amazing just how much vitriol I’ve provoked from having the temerity to suggest that, if it’s possible to save a mother and two children from drowning in the Rio Grande, we ought to do that.

      The times we live in…

      The first response to his initial tweet, from someone calling himself Mike Howell:

      Are you aware of how many migrants have drowned or otherwise died or been killed on a regular basis throughout this entire crisis? Blood is on Biden’s hands for everyone for inviting this journey, in concert with the cartels

      Vladeck responds:

      There’s a lot to say about what’s wrong with our current immigration policy and who’s responsible. My point is about preventing federal agents from saving people who are drowning. I don’t see how that’s defensible regardless of how we got here. Do you?

      Mike:
      Don’t agree. There’s not much to say about who is wrong for this crisis at all.

      There’s nothing in the factual record that says Texas prevented BP from being in the Rio Grande either. Think the regular is being politicized here. I haven’t seen any of the outlets/influencers weigh in on the regular cadence of illegal alien deaths by blaming Biden. Just politics here

      Steve:
      Here’s the Solicitor General saying exactly that to the Supreme Court.

      supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/2…

      Maybe you think the government is lying, but that’s a different claim.

      Mike:
      Thanks for this, it helps my point. They unfortunately drowned bc of Bidens Open Border policies and advertisement of it. Texas does not control the Rio Grande in its entirety.

      Have you commented on any other illegal alien drownings during this admin? Or been aware?

      ETC…

      • harpie says:

        [^^^^^ ERROR in blockquotes]

        I think this is a good real time example of what we’re talking about here.

    • harpie says:

      https://nitter.net/KatiePhang/status/1746504819374792855 [NBC News]
      Jan 14, 2024 · 12:09 PM UTC

      “U.S. Border Patrol agents were unable to enter the area from the U.S. side after Texas National Guard troops, under the direction of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, prevented them from doing so.”

      The woman & 2 children died. [link]

      During a radio appearance Jan. 5, @GovAbbott said: “The only thing we are not doing is we’re not shooting people who come across the border, because, of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.”

      • Rayne says:

        Meanwhile, there are right-wing entities which have been manufacturing this growing crisis at the border.

        In 2019, far right group BAMN was encouraging border crossings:
        https://www.kqed.org/news/11719103/u-s-activists-urge-migrants-to-cross-border-by-any-means-necessary-but-migrants-resist

        Three days ago a Proud Boy plead guilty to transporting undocumented migrants in violation of federal law:
        https://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/oregon-proud-boys-member-pleads-guilty-to-transporting-undocumented-migrants/article_50d80b3b-7265-50dc-9de7-a4d398093e76.html

        The latter story I saw as a blip in my Mastodon timeline; had difficulty trying to backtrack and find the story because it didn’t come up in Google News until I used the name of the perp in one search and the name of the municipality where the perp plead — Oregon City — in another. It’s almost as if this was being suppressed though it could be really shitty AI at work. But I tried searching variations of search terms including [Proud Boys, Oregon, transport, migrant, undocumented, border, crossing] and the story wouldn’t come up.

        It’s no wonder the public makes no connection between the right-wing continuing sedition and rebellion against the U.S. government and now the Biden administration through attacks on border security. This news gets little coverage — literally PBS and a local news station above, not the big news outlets — and it’s not surfacing through Big Tech operated news feeds online.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          While Trump had employer s hiring “illegals” sentences commuted and he employed “illegals “ and meat packers employ “illegals” no matter how many times they are caught.

        • harpie says:

          The FASCIST MOB / RABBLE are working in concert.

          https://nitter.net/JuddLegum/status/1745443611401932916
          Jan 11, 2024 · 1:52 PM UTC

          1. @elonmusk has spent this week spreading false & misleading information about voting to his 168 million followers

          Musk used these erroneous claims to justify massive restrictions on voting, including ending early voting and most mail-in voting

          Follow along for details [THREAD]

          2. On January 10, Musk posted that he recently learned “illegals are not prevented from voting in federal elections,” and that “came as a surprise.”

          That claim is absolutely false. […]

          • harpie says:

            The last tweet in that thread:

            11. Musk has changed the algorithm of this platform to promote his views.

            It is not a place where you can reliably find accurate info.

            Subscribe to Popular Information to get the FACTS right to your inbox. // It’s free to sign up.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          And who’s screaming (“advertising”) OPEN BORDERS? Not the Biden administration. It’s the RW recursive-loop congress-to-Fox media machine. Meanwhile, moments ago, Republicans refused to agree to a deal that would have begun to deal with the border issue.

          Because obviously they don’t want to deal with them–as Iowa caucusers showed, that’s their best-polling trumped-up issue. Were they to help find solutions, there would be no crisis for them to exploit. Trump *needs* those women and babies dying to “poison our blood.”

    • harpie says:

      TRUMP lackey and another tumor in the metastasizing FASCIST MOB,
      Ric GRENELL is in a state of REBEL-lion:

      https://nitter.net/clearing_fog/status/1746737470329491964
      Jan 15, 2024 · 3:34 AM UTC

      I hope everyone sees this.

      Guatemala overwhelmingly elected a liberal President, but today, right wing members of the legislature and court attempted to halt his inauguration.

      Ric Grenell has been conducting “diplomacy,” undermining US policy and is openly agitating sedition. [THREAD]

      […] Mike Lee was also piggybacking on Grenell’s efforts. […]

      • Rayne says:

        Yep. I have been wondering since I first saw reports of a coup in Guatemala if right-wing groups were fomenting insurrection there in part to increase the wave of undocumented migrants.

        • harpie says:

          The screenshot referenced above is of a GRENELL tweet.
          [I’m transcribing it here with strikeouts]

          Fomenting a REBEL-lion:

          GRENELL 2:58 PM [TZ?] 1/13/24

          As I’m leaving #Guatemala, it has become crystal clear that one of the reasons illegal immigration and drugs are pouring into the United States is because our U.S. Embassies in Central America are doing politics – not economic development and security.

          They are running around labeling everyone who disagrees with them as “undermining Democracy”.

        • harpie says:

          More from that THREAD:

          […] Seriously WTF is Grenell doing?

          He’s representing himself as the “Director of intelligence and special envoy for peace negotiations of the United States” and using an official logo of the ODNI. […]

          • Rayne says:

            Wow. If Grenell is actually representing himself as a federal employee, he’s asking for prosecution.

            As if State Department doesn’t have enough on their plate with Ukraine, Israel-Hamas/Iran-Houthi-Red Sea, North Korea’s taunts, Taiwan’s elections, China’s general unhappiness.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Sure wish the press had found time for this–maybe wedging it in between endless speculation about the effect of cold on Iowa voters.

  32. PeaceRme says:

    What I like to remind people, and this is important because it’s very hard to fix, is that when we operate with power and control on an interpersonal level the physiological result is dissociation from the self. Power and control in a less complex way can be explained by behaviors that disconnect us from ourselves and make us easy to manipulate.

    Trump is not smart. He has one party trick he lives by and it’s highly effective in a society that says anti power and control words, but actually lives by the unconscious paradigm of power and control. Some of us are so harmed by it we see it and go in opposition. Most of us live with one foot in and one foot out of this paradigm. We have all been harmed by it.

    The power and control paradigm was parenting in the USA. (And most industrialized nations.) Power and control is effective. Persuasive, and like most pollution we can’t see it but it affects us.

    You can spot power and control by how a society treats the humans with the least control. Babies. Parenting books of the 1800’s were about controlling your children. Babies. In the US we respond to our crying children the slowest of industrialized nations. We put more space between our babies and ourselves. We use discipline not intimacy to raise a child. Less so today but still the dominate paradigm at school, and church. Sports.

    The power and control parent wants to control the baby who has no power.

    The behaviors of power and control are what causes domestic violence. Slavery and genocide. War.

    Its brainwashing. Its works on all of us where there is fear. See these patterns of behavior and it helps to fight the paradigm. This paradigm’s mechanism is through the interpersonal relationship. Once the wiring is in place our limbic system responds by tuning out our cognitions and dissociating.

    We follow and stop arguing. We go along because it’s easier. This is what happens in domestic violence. Cults. The military. The wiring is based on a response to fear and invalidation and guilt and shame.

    It works. We judge the woman who allows violence in her home, but say nothing of the paradigm that trains police officers, doctors, military, priests.

    We live in parallel with it at all times because it’s how we were raised. At some point no matter how wrong your parent might be you will stop fighting and go along to stop the punishment. Torture works on some level sometimes. But comes with a cost to truth.

    The people who follow Trump were abused as children by the power and control paradigm. They literally are dissociated from their own perceptions. They are fighting reality to protect themselves from the truth. Quit fight, just follow. Just do as you are told. Don’t think, and most of all do not question. Its physiological. Watch them when questioned. The only communication employed is deflection. They literally fight against the truth.

    These are the interpersonal behaviors that are employed, to make a brain dissociate and “go offline”.

    Intimidation. Obviously the younger you are where this is used the limbic system responds with no awareness at all. Using fear to scare someone in to allowing them to control your behavior.

    Name calling, insults, psychic pain employed rather than logic or critical thinking. You are stupid. You aren’t worthy. You are not good enough. Easy peasy when employed on a child. Child can’t question.

    Using love and the withdrawal of love to cause fear and shame to make someone follow. (Narcissists employ this.) It creates constant fear of being booted from the family or group. A stamp that says “not good enough”. It’s using shame to control a child.

    Minimize, deny and blame. Deflection and invalidation. This is the disconnection between self. It was no big deal. Your feelings are invalid. You are invalid. Deny. It never happened. You can’t trust your perception. Blame the most toxic of all. I hurt you because you deserved it. Your behavior caused it. Can you see that if this happened in early childhood it creates a codepency with “authority”. That says “you tell me what’s real then so I won’t be punished more”. Your perceptions are invalid. Don’t trust them. Trust me.

    Power and control requires invalidation. Treating “others” as “not people”. Invalid.Living in a paradigm in which non obedience means “other”. You are valued as an object. Hard worker. Good student. But you are nothing outside these roles. It teaches and places the mechanism for racism, genocide. Some people have no value. Children, women, blacks, French, Irish, Israeli, Palestinian. We don’t want to be one of them.

    If you don’t uphold the system (white privilege) you are punished. There is no need for empathy because some of us are just not valuable. This creates the fear that we live with throughout our lives. You are worthless unless you perform.

    Authority. I am the boss. I have the authority. Hypocrisy is born. I have power so I do whatever I want and can deflect all responsibility by the power vested in me by my authority. The tattle tale school monitor.

    Economics. We keep the power of the purse in the hands of those in power. To share money is to share power.

    Coercion and threats. The use of punishment. Take your punishment. Expect your punishment. Extract your punishment. Uses fear to create compliance and the greater the fear the easier to get people to do things they don’t believe in.

    The milligram experiment zapping people under a mildly authoritarian leader showed that the limbic system response is in place because this is how we raise kids. This is how we coach and teach. The more you were taught in this way, the less likely you are conscious of how this affects your relationship with authority.

    Have you ever noticed that this site with its clear respect for truth also contains a fair amount of rebellion. We are fighting brain washing. We must not obey. To survive. Willfulness is a mechanism in humanity to prevent the complete take over. Some of us are cynical about power. Thank goodness. To carefully consider our reactions to the world. Power and control take this offline. And trains the brain to follow in response to fear, guilt, shame.

    Some of us can see this. Others are actively fighting not to see it. Physiologically speaking it takes so much work to deprogram but our human interaction is laying the foundation of power and control daily.

    I have posted these explanations many times. But once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Our whole country needs to deprogram. Jesus, Buddha, mahatma Ghandi, MLK Jr., our constitution all anti power and control.But we keep making the mistake of using power and control to get our way thereby strengthening its hold on us.

  33. Upisdown says:

    Things haven’t been the same since the Bowling Green Massacre.

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  34. harpie says:

    Charlie KIRK, just another tumor in the metastasizing FASCIST MOB:

    https://nitter.net/WilliamTurton/status/1745791493585936821
    Jan 12, 2024 · 12:55 PM UTC

    SCOOP: How Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA Plans to Discredit Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Act [THREAD] [Link]

    Links to:
    How Charlie Kirk Plans to Discredit Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Act Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk is preparing to launch a campaign against MLK and the landmark civil rights law he helped enact. https://www.wired.com/story/charlie-kirk-tpusa-mlk-civil-rights-act/ WILLIAM TURTON JAN 12, 2024 7:00 AM

  35. harpie says:

    Josh [FIST PUMP] HAWLEY, just another tumor in the metastasizing FASCIST MOB:

    https://nitter.net/clearing_fog/status/1746249105784094949
    Jan 13, 2024 · 7:13 PM UTC

    Josh Hawley just wrote a couched screed subtly calling for ‘Seven Mountains’ dominionism: that Christians must capture the 7 ‘mountains’ that constitute society (Education, Religion, Family, Business, Govt, Arts/Ent., & Media).

    He tweeted it with his government account.

    https: //nitter. net/HawleyMO/ status/1745971925032005878 [spaces added]
    Jan 13, 2024 · 12:52 AM UTC

    America has been profoundly shaped by the Bible. If Christians want to renew that influence today, we’re going to have to start thinking about what a truly Christian *economy* would look like – one with good jobs, high wages, and strong families [link]

    Links to: OUR CHRISTIAN NATION [at First Things dot com] by Josh Hawley February 2024

    • yydennek says:

      Josh Hawley worked at Becket Law (the Catholic version of ADF). He attended a Catholic high school. (Ron DeSantis attended Catholic schools, K-8)
      Josh’s wife works at ADF.

  36. harpie says:

    TRUMP reminds us yesterday of his TIES to the original MOB:

    https://nitter.net/capitolhunters/status/1746294751668629655
    Jan 13, 2024 · 10:14 PM UTC

    Now that Trump has flashed a NY Mafia pal (murderer Sammy Gravano of the Gambino family) to threaten Judge Engoron, is it finally time to mention that Trump’s NY mob ties also touch his “friendly” Judge Aileen Cannon? Her husband worked for John Rosatti of the Colombo family. 1/ [screenshot] [THREAD]

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      My therapist is beyond rattled by Trump’s behavior calculated to intimidate jurors in the Carroll trial. Flashing his mob ties (which every New Yorker must know about) is a perfect way to reinforce the importance of Judge Kaplan warning jurors to maintain utter secrecy. That (the utter part) seemed extreme to me before, but not anymore.

  37. GV-San-Ya says:

    Appealing to objectivity and reason is difficult with people whose decisions are based on something as subjective as faith.

  38. earthworm says:

    question not for publication:
    the autofil for email comes up with two different ones. one is my email with my name. the other is my email but not my name.

    • Rayne says:

      You’re not in auto-moderation so I didn’t see this comment in the site’s backstage, only out here in public view.

      I suspect this is an issue with your browser. This site won’t care if you supply a working/valid email address, only that the one entered into the Email field is the same one each time. How you do that is up to you as the commenter, whether using your browser’s autofill, or manually typing it in each time, or other tool is up to you.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        Rayne is right (autocompletion is a browser convenience, and not under this site’s control), but I hope my clue is helpful for those who have the same issue.

        I have the same experience – I use the same email address for informal discussions under my PREFERRED first name, and formal discussions with government agencies and businesses that require my LEGAL first name.

        If I enter enter my preferred name, I can autocomplete my email address. If I enter my email address first, Chrome assumes I want to use my legal name, and doesn’t offer my preferred first name, and I need to edit the name manually.

        I don’t know why Chrome works that way, but it does …

  39. The Old Redneck says:

    As EW explains, Perry and his ilk don’t care about whether there is soft corruption happening within political families. Instead, this is all about creating an unsavory spectacle. The point is to humiliate Hunter Biden, and by extension Joe Biden. Look at Hunter’s dick hanging out! Look at him smoking crack! Look at him cavorting with hookers!

    Like Benghazi, they will keep this alive for years. They will keep recycling this lurid stuff, then go on the Sunday news shows and say – in their best grim and serious tones – that they are “troubled” by so many “unanswered questions.” And because it’s a shiny object, rather than something boring like tax policy, it will stay in the headlines.

    Ultimately, they want us to look at the Biden family and say: Wow, what a bunch of losers. And if we do, they’ll figure they’ve won.

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