Tuesday, February 02, 2021

The (Re)education Committee?

Cannon here. Before I hand it over to D-Jay, I'd like to note a strange shift in the GOP narrative. 
The Democrats have formally filed their impeachment brief with the Senate, "accusing Trump of jeopardizing the foundations of American democracy by whipping his supporters into a “frenzy” for the sole purpose of retaining his hold on the presidency." Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham -- and the right generally -- has made a rather pathetic plea for the Senate to forego witness testimony.
“If you open up that can of worms (by calling witnesses), we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people actually pre-planned these attacks and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol,” the South Carolina Republican continued, parroting a right-wing talking point that the attack was planned well before Trump urged his supporters at a pre-riot rally to march to the Capitol.
Wait a minute. Wait just one consarned minute!

Not so long ago, rightwingers (and Rudy in particular) were offering a very different scenario. They said that rioters were actually mild-mannered flower children who had arrived en masse at that place and time to pursue the path of peaceful dialogue. Heck, all they wanted was to deliver some Oreos and Ovaltine to Pelosi and Pence, in an effort to sway their views. 
The only reason they turned violent was Antifa. We have been assured that there were, oh, gosh, just hundreds of Antifa infiltrators crawling all over the Capitol Building, all of whom have somehow escaped the attention of the FBI, and none of whom appear in any video footage. These Antifa ninjas used insidious MKULTRA techniques to transform Trump's merry band of peacenik cookie-deliverers into a bloodthirsty, cop-killing army of rage-monsters chanting "Hang Mike Pence!"
It all happened on the spot, quite suddenly. Nobody could have seen it coming. Nobody but Antifa. And George Soros. And the Elders of Zion Deep State.

That was the old scenario: Antifa diddit. They used mind control to turn peaceniks into maniacs. 

The new scenario, according to Lady G., is that the people in that mob went there with the intent to do violence. They showed up in DC having already made detailed plans for insurrection and assassination. When Trump addressed the crowd, he had no idea about their plans. He thought that those people were simply going to deliver Oreos and Ovaltine. 
("With strength." I guess he was referring to extra-strong Ovaltine.)
So Scenario 1 has been officially replaced by Scenario 2. Dunno about you, but I can't wait for Scenario 3...! 

Here's D-Jay...
*  *  *

The Deprogramming Dilemma – 10

The (Re)education Committee?

By D-Jay

Like almost everyone else in the country with more than half a brain, I was horrified to see genuine QAnon crazy, Majorie Taylor Greene, actually be elected to Congress, and – adding insult to injury – assigned by the Republicans to the Education Committee. 

This is, after all, a woman who has championed the toxic lie that the large-scale murders of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary, Stoneman Douglas High and other schools were false flag operations. As if that wasn’t bad enough. She even had the unmitigated bad grace and gall to accuse David Hogg of being a paid actor instead of a victim.  Yes, that David Hogg, the brave young man who lived through the horrific Stoneman incident himself and has gone on to wage a personal campaign for sensible gun laws in response. 

What class.

Is it really too much to ask that people holding high office in our country at least be able to tell fantasy from reality and recognize utter nonsense when they see it?  In aftermath of Trump, I guess not.

Amidst all the outrage over this most hurtful, insulting and inappropriate of appointments, however, I have found myself wondering if, with a little parliamentary ju-jitsu, this might not be the perfect place for Ms. Greene to be.

In the wake of the January 6th Trump terrorist attack on the Capitol, after all, surely a large majority of Americans would agree that one of the most pressing needs in our education system is to find a way to improve the critical thinking skills of our children.  To make sure they are not so susceptible to crackpot conspiracy theories like QAnon and Big Lies such as the “Trump won” idiocy.

Both phenomena having shown themselves to pose a mortal danger to our democracy, nothing could be more important than making sure that future generations of voters have the intellectual tools they need to recognize such destructive disinformation campaigns for what they are.

So why not hold an in-depth series of hearings on the issue in the House Education Committee. 

Provide hours of compelling testimony from people who have escaped the QAnon rabbit hole as well extensive debunking of it and the other Trumpian fantasies by experts on propaganda, techniques used to undermine democracies, the actual U.S. Constitution, voting systems and procedures and so on.

In short, let’s make it Ms. Greene’s own personal deprogramming session – on live nationwide TV for the world (and others caught up in the QAnon/Trump cult) to see.

Heck, if House rules allow, why not subpoena Congresswoman QAnon herself as a witness?  (And if the rules don’t allow it, why not change them so they do?)

Have her sit through three days or so of Benghazi style interrogation on her beliefs and how she came to hold them.  Make her look at the most gruesome crime scene and autopsy photographs and videos available of the school massacres and listen to first-hand testimony of cops who were there.  Hire a top-level cult deprogramming expert to advise the members and their staff on how she should be questioned.  Confront her – and all those watching the proceedings – with clear debunkings of the idiotic fantasies she seems to believe.

Make her take a long, hard look at herself and see how she likes it.

Also subpoena Alex Jones, Jim Watkins and others most responsible for spreading the lies (add Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, perhaps) and compel them to testify, under oath, on why they are doing so, if they themselves really believe, and the actual sources of the nonsense.  Don’t hesitate to slap on the maximum penalties for perjury and contempt of Congress if they refuse to cooperate.

Best case?  Majorie actually does get deprogrammed. 

How cool would that be?  Allow yourself for a moment to imagine how much good it would do our country if the poster child for QAnon somehow flipped back to reality.

How wonderful would it be if we actually did come up with some good ideas for inoculating our young against disinformation, conspiracy theories and toxic lies, and Ms. Greene herself becomes a leading champion of the effort.  No one hates an addiction, after all, as much as someone who used to be an addict.  This applies to smoking, alcohol, gambling and drugs…why not for equally addictive conspiracy theories like QAnon?

Worst case?  Greene and her cohorts have to endure an extremely humiliating experience which at least shows the rest of us just how delusional they really are.

Over to you, Chairman Scott.  Read any Machiavelli lately?


Contributing factors to our democratic decline:

From the Right

Truth Decay – Destruction of the Ability to Distinguish Fantasy from Reality

Ever Worsening Demonization of the Media

Manufactured Distrust of Science and Expertise

The Iron Bubble of Disinformation

The Dark Money Conspiracy

Information Warfare Aimed at Us

Domestic Terrorism

Emergence of a Full-blown Cult of Personality

Ongoing Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering

Election Security

Continued Weaponization of Social Media

Toxic Right-wing Pseudo-Christianity


Sexism and a Pseudo-Macho Mentality

Putinism and the International Neo-Fascist Movement

Lack of Education in Civics and Critical Thinking Skills

Destruction of Crucial Democratic Norms

The Collapse of Good Manners and Propriety



From the Left (and Sometimes the Center)

OTT PC (Over-The-Top Political Correctness)

Inept Messaging

Lack of Media Investment


Surrender of Rural America Without a Fight

Failure to Call Out and Counteract Toxic Right-Wing Christianity

Failure to Call Out Right-Wing Racism, Sexism and Fascism for what it is, and Counteract it in Time

Framing Too Many Issues as Being Rooted in Race Rather than Economics and Class

Failure to Recognize Just How Bad Things Can Really Get

Forever Bringing Beanbags to a Knife Fight

Failure to Protect Critical Norms






OTE admin said...

"...surely a large majority of Americans would agree that one of the most pressing needs in our education system is to find a way to improve the critical thinking skills of our children." I get sick and tired of this ignorant trope because the person making the claim has no clue about teaching, learning, or what is actually taught in schools. Yes, children are thought "critical thinking," but they are NOT indoctrinated in your brand of politics, which is not the same thing as knowing the difference between fact and fiction, of developing higher order thinking skills, and so on down the line. They are also not taught esoteric concepts used in philosophy and logic classes because kids are not capable of abstract thinking like adults. Anybody who makes the claim schools don't teach "critical thinking" is basically a liar or an ignoramus.

Joseph Cannon said...

Well, OTE, I have to tell you -- I don't recall any lessons in formal logic until I hit college. Got an A in that class, although I must confess that my professor seemed to have a bit of a crush on me -- my first, and practically only, experience of being on the receiving end of a crush.

But I digress. Steve Allen (remember him?) was a strong advocate for offering mandatory classes in logic to elementary school students. He cited studies which proved that students who had taken such courses improved their grade point averages dramatically. In other words, there were benefits beyond being able to recognize a fallacy from 50 yards away.

He made a good case. And I don't think that what he talked about had anything to do with ideology or indoctrination.

If Mad Marge had taken such a class early on, she might not be so mad. She'd probably still be quite conservative. Fine. Honestly, I would have no problem with that.

I am also the first to admit that many on the progressive left seem to have a phobic reaction to logic. Indeed, there is an infuriating strain of postmodern thought which views logic and science (and anything else that smacks of the hated Enlightenment) as tools of white supremacism.

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Anonymous said...

OT but perhaps interesting. History doesn’t repeat, but maybe rhymes.

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Anonymous said...

@Joe Cannon,

Your new banner image, identifying QAnon-ism or QAnon-ology as Nazism rebranded, is spot on.

For anyone questioning QAnon's NatSoc (National Socialism/Nazism/Hitlerism) origins, I have two articles I want to share with Joe and everyone else here. They both lay bare the fact that the QAnon cult is a NeoNazi cult.

Movie at the Ellipse: A Study in Fascist Propaganda

QAnon is a Nazi Cult, Rebranded

Whoever "Q" is (Coleman Rogers? Jim Watkins? His (Watkin's) son, Ron? Someone else?), they have established the most successful, most pernicious, most dangerous and most extremist Neo-Nazi movement of all time. Full stop.

"Q" must be identified and imprisoned. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. The son-of-a-bitch is responsible for the violence that has been and is to come.

Bob Harrison said...

If you were graduated from high school you had critical thinking classes, though they were usually called literature classes.

Anonymous said...

@Joseph Cannon and readers of Cannonfire,

You may be interested to know that David Cay Johnston has a new book coming out this September. It's called "The Big Cheat" and is a full study and exposé of how DJT turned the White House and the institution of the POTUS into a money making machine for himself while he fucked and fleeced America. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster (recently merged with Penguin Random House and now an imprint of the same). I'm very excited that DCJ has a new book coming. He was the first to leak portions of DJT's tax returns, before Mary Trump and the New York Times. He also exposed DJT's connections to La Cosa Nostra (LCN). You've written about Johnston before, I don't think he'll let you (or me) down with The Big Cheat.

I'm not sure the US has ever had a POTUS that has fucked America so badly as DJT. No doubt we've had corrupt people in that post before (Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson and Richard Nixon being masters of graft, to give three examples). However, none comes as close to plumbing the depths of corruption and cronyism as DJT, essentially rotting the core of the system.

Anonymous said...

Trump would still be president if he had been willing to bomb Tehran, and Biden would have applauded him for it.

Anonymous said...

@Joe and everyone else here,

The Anon posting @12:28 AM is a goon. He promotes the lie that Joe Biden is a warmonger (he is not) and that Donald Trump is a peacenik (which he is not). Donald Trump is not the candidate that hippies, pacifists, anti-war activists, and others should or should have supported. It's all a farse and Trump apologists like the Anon goon @12:28 AM are pushing a completely false narrative. If he loves Islamic Iran, a theocracy that is one of the most authoritarian, oppressive states to ever exist, he is welcome to move there. The United States does not owe Islamic Iran anything, we don't owe them a deal, we shouldn't do any business with them, we should boycott them outright and leave it at that. We don't owe Iran a damn thing, not a deal, not a talk, not diplomacy, not our business, not our markets, nothing.

As for who President Trump got the United States in bed with, let's have a look. Watch this fabulously produced, accurate and informed video presentation by Johnny Harris (formerly a journalist with Vox): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrORwk_RZLM