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We are running out of theories that might logically account for the way republicans are acting. Proposing nihilism feels like a conspiracy theory. The proposal makes me uncomfortable because it feels like something I cannot tolerate when republicans do it. But any other theory I can imagine won't handle the evidence. I am left with the idea that the republican party wants only to ruin everything. It is a horrible situation.

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author

Well said. We’ve never seen anything like this before

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We've also never seen the NYSE so high before, until the next day. These are not unrelated facts, but they also aren't necessarily related the way you "logically" think they are.

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It's not exactly nihilism. The leaders and owners of anti-vax compute that a 3% infection mortality rate is acceptable losses for a loyalty test. They don't even mind the 10% long covid rate, at least the brain-fog part. Those leaders and owners are all vaccinated themselves, because for them loyalty is one-way.

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Another thing they fail to reecognize is the virus' unpredictability. We really don't know who it will kill or who it will permanently maim. When a 24 year old woman requires a double lung transplant, we need to pay attention, especially as covid variations continue to arise.

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Hi Rick, I wrote my comment before I read yours. I see I'm not the only one. I think the press still has its blinders on because I don't see anyone writing about it, possibly because it sounds like a conspiracy theory.

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founding

I am not shocked that they want a theocratic plutocracy. That was evident to me long before Trump was a factor (although I still can’t understand why the mainstream media took so long to realize this). But what makes no sense is that they are destroying their own base/audience with their COVID lies.

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I'm not surprised you assume your conclusion and also can't understand why that conclusion doesn't explain your observations. These are not unrelated facts, but also are not related the way you "logically" think they are.

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It makes perfect sense when you realize entire societies can be destroyed by a catastrophic event such as a pandemic. They don't care who dies because the end game is total destruction of democracy and the country itself, except as a neo-fascist authoritarian state. It may sound crazy, but what else could it be?

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Theories about human behavior that are based on the assumption that they do, can, or even *should* act logically are always false and inaccurate. You've been trained to call however you act "logical", and conditioned to believe that 'logic' is why you act that way, that the word means whatever you agree with because you're so smart and know what is best for everyone. It's an unfalsifiable theory, and if you actually understand how science works, you know that means it is a false theory. I'm not saying vaccines aren't a no-brainer, but actually so is nihilism, which is why it makes you uncomfortable. Trusting the gov't isn't logical, but nihilism is. Righteousness and morality are for the weak; all that matters in this world, logically, is power.

There is a theory that handles ALL the evidence, and yet still is not unfalsifiable, just unfalsified (which in science means it is true) and also doesn't support nihilism. I'd pretend to be confused why nobody is interested in this theory, except of course, that's explained by the theory. Anyone who is interested in learning more should look me up on Twitter.

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Nice to know you enjoyed my unpleasant theory, T. Max, but be careful in your assumptions about how I have "been trained".

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I have been trained over the years, mostly by experience, that I should be highly suspicious of those who claim new discoveries, particularly when they speak in generalities, use scare quotes, and provide no references beyond "look me up".

This post reinforces that lesson.

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I've learned that when people claim skepticism, they almost always mean cynicism, and they're using it as an excuse for refusing to reconsider their assumptions.

You reaction is illustrative. If you'd like lessons in how to remain reasonable and optimistic in the face of unjustified suspicion and contempt, look me up on Twitter.

Thanks for your time. Hope it helps.

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I have welcomed the chance to learn something new my entire life, but have generally found "Look me up on <social media site>" to be the internet equivalent of "Operators are standing by!" You may be the exception. Unfortunately, life is happening and I simply don't have the time to find out.

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I know how it goes, I'm trying to finish writing another book and don't have as much time to spend online as I'd like. So you're not interested in learning, but want to blame it on me, fine. I'll just post a link to a book you can read at your leisure. Or you can just pretend that's another excuse for you to refuse to learn. I'll leave deciding which up to you. 😉

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1613050178/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_6ncNFbG1C3PWZ#

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What a wonderfully passive-aggressive response. Is this where I tell you I've found Alan Watts to be a much better fit?

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Imagine people in the mid 14th century's black death plague being told that the plague could be derailed if they would just follow a couple of simple steps, and refusing to do them because they were told that doing so was "the devil's work." Fast forward 600 years and the rabid clergy has been replaced by rabid politicians. Today we have the same insane approach, and the same reaction by the tragically misinformed. What needs to be asked, as Eric just implied, is cui bono? Why doesn't this pique the curiosity of the MSM editors?

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author

yes, I could def see that in 14th century….watching it happen in the 21st century is what’s so shocking

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Some historians believe that it was the depopulation of the Black Death that caused Europe to become the global epicenter of technological progress and financial prosperity that led to modern medicine, Malthus-defying agriculture, landing on the Moon and the Internet. But yeah, it was shocking at the time, obviously. I have to be honest, though, given the common wisdom definition of insanity, and watching you react the same way over and over again to Republicons doing the same thing they've been doing for half a century, y'all just look like clergy with different robes, to me.

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Look back to 2017, particularly when in March of that year, Trump tweeted one morning that Obama had been spying on him and "wiretaping" him. It was absolutely crazypants but not a single journalist said so. We saw the media in a state of cowardice unsurpassed in any earlier time in our history. It began then, this weird handling of the GOP with kid gloves while the media is constantly hounding Joe Biden and the Democrats. Yesterday I saw a column by Dana Milbank in the WashPost where he calls Rashida Tlaib a racist. Readers beat the hell out of him in the comments, myself included.

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founding

Check out the global warming denying — or pooh-poohing? — column by George Will in today’s WaPo to see more blistering comments.

Speaking of blistering comments Jennifer Rubin wrote a column this week that was blistering in its criticism of the media. I am suprised that Eric hasn’t linked to it since she is echoing things he has said in the past. For example:

“ Journalists at mainstream media outlets are creatures of habit laced with cynicism…… In their deep cynicism about politicians, they routinely scorn those who do not conform to their low expectations. (Too optimistic! Too naive!) Those tendencies help explain why the mainstream media have consistently underestimated President Biden and falsely predicted the failure of his agenda.

Too many reporters, despite Biden’s success in delivering hundreds of millions of vaccines to Americans and passing a $2 trillion rescue plan, have maintained a default setting in their reporting in which Biden struggles to make good on his plans or underestimates his abilities to enact them. The administration, in this telling, is forever in some sort of “crisis,” and negotiations are always on the verge of failure. Whether this “Perils of Pauline” narrative is a deliberate effort to build drama into news or whether journalists fail to comprehend the complexity and dynamics of legislative negotiations, the result is coverage that leaves readers and viewers nearly certain Biden will fail.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/11/biden-defies-expectations-again/

It is very damaging to our democracy that the media always hypes crises and problems but doesn’t report on solutions to those problems and crises; they just move on to hyping the next big crisis.

I just read this article about research showing reporting on solutions rather than focusing solely on problems is actually a very effective approach. The study conducted last September found that “solutions reports” resulted in better ratings and audience approval and had a greater impact than problem focused reporting. I have always read that news people don’t do that kind of reporting because people find it boring which causes ratings to drop. Now there is proof that that is just an exude.

https://sjn-static.s3.amazonaws.com/SmithGeiger2020.pdf

I believe one of the most impactful things the media could do to save our democracy is to adopt a “solutions” focus and drop the hyping of crises and failures, something they could do now. Of course they won’t because of their penchant for “balance”. They would find very few Republican solutions to report on.

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That Dana M piece did not serve him well.

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Colossal greed, fueled by fear and lust for power, drunk on fame and orgasmic at the sound (bites) of their own voices, they are following the example of the criminal fraud who has seen his marks, and rules them still. Until some republicans respected by this sorry mob admits the con and can therefore leave it with pride intact, what we see from the repubs is what we can expect to continue, until the democracy begins to unravel like a ripped doily in a clothes dryer. Unless of course the voters step up in such overwhelming numbers next year to send a message they can't refuse.

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Mr. Boehlert,

You make a serious error in assuming “Facebook Trolls”, “Fox Pundits”, and “prominent members of the Republican Party” do not overlap. It is entirely possible for one individual to fit into all three categories.

I shudder to call it good news; but as deaths skyrocket among the unvaccinated, vaccination rates are climbing. Reality infringes.

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author

Yes, silver lining is that vaccinations are climbing .

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founding

You are right. Republicans have long conducted coordinated behind the scenes smear and conspiracy mongering campaigns which the media has chosen to ignore. Lee Atwater created tactics such as push polls as a way to fly beneath the radar when smearing political opponents. Lee Atwater admitted to these dirty tactics before he died in 1991.

In 2000 a racist push poll implying McCain had had a black child out of wedlock and rumors implying he had been brainwashed by the communist when he was a prisoner helped Dubya win the SC primary. The media accepted Bush’s denial that he had had anything to do with those polls despite the fact that Lee Atwater had admitted that Poppy Bush had lied when he denied being involved in the Willie Horton ad. It was Republican SOP to get “outside” groups to do the dirty work then lie about having coordinated with them. Karl Rove was Lee Atwater’s protege which should have made the media refuse to take Bush’s denial at face value but they bought the excuse just as they later did when Bush denied having anything to do with the Swift Boat liars who were funded by rich supporters of Bush.

Back in the 90s I read that Republicans had a system to get supporters to call into CSPAN’s Morning Journal with talking points to use against liberal guests. Those callers dominated so much that CSPAN had to put in separate lines for liberals and conservative.

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It's because they're all about power and knowing how to use it. And ethics are largely absent from their mindset.

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They’re more ruthless than the left.

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I call them the purists. Grateful Nina Turner lost.

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The purists could well cost Democrats their tenuous control of Congress. They never stop to think, much less care, about how their dogmatic ideology plays among independents and non-urban Democrats.

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Steve Bannon has repeatedly likened himself to Lenin. He has made it clear he wants to burn down the entire establishment and replace it with his radical white nationalism.

And on the other side of the system there are the Nina Turners and Jimmy Dores who also want the country to collapse to bring their radical dreams to reality.

And the DC Press Corpse continues to live in their fantasy where both sides are the same...

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Steve Bannon is evil and he has never hidden his beliefs or his motives. Here is a link to the trailer for American Dharma, a documentary by Errol Morris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7XvQW8HLnI.

Believe them when they tell you who they are. Bannon is a monster. While looking for this clip in You Tube I saw this "nothing to see here move right along" description of him in the media.

Vice: "Steve Bannon is perhaps the most influential political strategist of recent times. In the leadup to perhaps the strangest election in US history we met with Mr. Bannon — along with powerbrokers, voters and experts — to ask how disinformation, chaos and confusion are shaping the American political landscape of the nation."

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I'm beginning to think that the GOP's purpose here is to use covid as a tool in a plan to cause our democracy to collapse. I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I cannot think of any logical reason why they're so hell bent on keeping this virus around to spew variants and kill people. It seems the GOP has been doing its best to destroy the democratic norms by spreading lies, feeding racism and xenophobia and exploiting grievances and resentments. We're quickly moving from "polarized" to "shattered."

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I totally agree with you. The danger isn't just coming from "The Right" however.

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To what end would any political party want to see a health crisis continue? What would be the outcome that they want? Their people are getting sick and dying on ventilators. This is ok with them? The party of pro-life is fine with children hospitalized and their grandparents sent to an early grave? I'm perplexed and mainly depressed.

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author

Perplexing and depressing, indeed

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founding

The perplexing part is that they are killing off their own base just as Fox News is killing off its audience. It has been reported that Jared Kushner was unwilling to have the government respond effectively to the spread of COVID because they though it would be mostly a problem for heavily populated cities in blue states. That is evil but at least there is some logic to it but killing off your own supporters is beyond my comprehension. The GOP really has become a death cult.

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I’m wondering what will happen in FL, TX schools when young kids continue to get sick and die and how frightened parents will respond. When it comes to kids, imo, all bets are off for Rs; mama bears will defend their cubs. Lord, save us from these nihilistic Republican politicians and the deaths they leave in their wakes. I never imagined it would come down to one of our parties encouraging by word and deed the demise of a healthy electorate and it’s citizens. Have they all gone mad?

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The first responsibility of leaders is to keep their people safe. Greed and the hunger for power have replaced those obligations among the Rs. Simply astounding.

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I welcome this article, but I also have to say, the republikkkan party has been guilty of treason for decades. Think of Nixon with the peace talks, Reagan with the hostages, Reagan and Bush with Iran-Contra. Think of congressional republikkkans opposing Clinton and Obama simply because they are Democrats. There should have been prosecutions long ago.

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author

good points! GOP is no stranger to sabotage

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Eric,

There will always be debate about damage resulting from an actual fifth column vs. the fear of a fifth column. I suggest we may not be sure, while conceding your persuasive argument for the former.

Today the WaPo reports Texas Rs are seeking to arrest Texas Ds. The rails are off.

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The old adage “it’s not a recession until you lose your job” could be adapted for COVID — it’s not real til you or someone you care about dies.

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There ought to be a cost to winning by evil means but that seems to escape today's Republicans and to Democrats that signals losing. But "both sides yadda yadda" from the worst of the press. Geesh.

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Whenever Marjorie Steroid Greene opens her mouth I know it's only ever for what she perceives as her own personal benefit. Whether it actually is beneficial or not in the macro sense is clearly secondary to whether it is because it makes her feel good in that moment. The larger GOP issue I chalk up to their decades long belief that they could control every genie they loosed on the world. They couldn't control the religious right nor the Tea Party nor the MAGAs nor, now, the nihilists.

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speaking of "nihilism," since I find it horrific that so many vaccinated Republicans leaders are spreading this propaganda, is it wrong to think maybe they are destroying themselves politically because they'll have fewer voters in a year? I know, that makes me a "terrible" person. What I would like to know, though, is what strategy do we (the little people with no power or platform) have to fight this? I don't want to see more kids die, especially at the hands of their brainwashed Republican parents.

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This is not a new phenomenon. This is what the Republican party has always been about. Nixon committed treason scuttling the peace talks with North Vietnam, only one of countless examples of their betrayals over the last 100 years. America has never had a more dedicated or dangerous enemy than the modern conservative movement. The rest of the country must be made to understand their nature and embrace political violence. They must be disempowered, driven out and destroyed at any cost.

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There is precedent for believing in an actual conspiracy to overthrow the government. Powerful Republican business leaders and others attempted a coup in the 1930's. Here is a link to an article about how General Smedley Butler (author of "War Is A Racket") blew the whistle on the people who attempted to engage him:

https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Navigation/Community/Arcadia-and-THP-Blog/September-2018/Smedley-Butler-and-the-1930s-Plot-to-Overthrow-the

I have to share this comment from the first paragraph that Pressrunners can appreciate:

"While news media at the time mocked Butler’s story, recently discovered archives have revealed the truth behind Major General Butler’s claims." Same as it ever was.

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Since St. Ronnie, the premise of the Republican Party is that the government doesn’t work. The trope is that they then spent the next 40 years proving it.

The vaccine, which was developed by the Private Sector and expedited by the Biden Administration proves that the government works, saves lives, and is essential to our well being.

I don’t think that this is the only reason that the Republicans are killing themselves to own the Libs, but it probably is a contributing factor. 40 years of agitprop down the drain.

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