Links and Comments: Trump’s would-be theocratic regime; the perfidy of Fox News

How is it Republicans and Christians see no problem with this? Leading SCOTUS Candidate Amy Coney Barrett Claims Bible Precedes Constitution.

[Later edit: well of course the Bible literally precedes the Constitution in the sense that it came first, chronologically. But so what? The Code of Hammurabi precedes much of the Bible. The point is, as the article says, “Specifically, Barrett has written that judges should put their religious faith ahead of the law in certain cases.”]

This is just as outrageous as if Muslim was elected to office and proclaimed that the Qu’an trumped the Constitution. Sharia Law, indeed.

Not just that, but: How Charismatic Catholic Groups Like Amy Coney Barrett’s People of Praise Inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

Trump’s leading Supreme Court candidate, Amy Coney Barrett, belongs to a Catholic sect called People of Praise, in which a husband is called a “head” and a wife is called… a “handmaid.” Just like in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, her dystopian story of a future in which women — the few who remain fertile, following some plague — are subjugated by men to be merely baby-machines, and are otherwise dehumanized. (Catholic sects like this one, perhaps this one in particular, were the inspiration for Atwood’s novel.)

(But what’s up with The layout is terrible. Newsweek was a respectable magazine for decades, but I think is fading.)

EDIT 26 Sep 20: Correction, via Vox: The false link between Amy Coney Barrett and The Handmaid’s Tale, explained.

OK, they’re not directly connected; Atwood based her book on a different Catholic sect with a similar name, that used similar terminology. So, OK then.


And then there’s Mike Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo: It’s “Imperative” to Connect U.S. Foreign Policy to Christianity

And he’s pressing for human rights to prioritize “religious freedom” (which means the right to discrimnate against non-Christians) and… property rights (!).

No one’s denying Pompeo his personal faith. But when he brings it into the workplace, as he’s done time and time again, he’s reminding the world that our nation doesn’t give a damn about people who aren’t conservative Christian.

A secular nation shouldn’t be guided by Christian principles — and it sure as hell shouldn’t be guided by the Christianity that has led this Republican administration to commit countless atrocities against refugees, minorities, and its own citizens.

Is it that Christians are too dumb to understand the idea of separation of church and state? Or do they simply not care, and are comfortable with cheating at every possible opportunity (as Trump and the Republican senators are doing with Supreme Court vacancies) to get their way? Do they not realize how selfish and hypocritical their actions make Christians look to the rest of the world?


And then this about the risible Fox News, which many of us who don’t watch it think is a joke (from everything we hear second-hand), or at best, the prime example of tunnel-vision, motivated reasoning, thinking.

Slate: On Fox News, Conservatives Are the Victims of the SCOTUS Vacancy. Subtitle: “A network built on grievance politics can’t celebrate a fight it’s already won.”

The article quotes conservative commentator Saagar Enjeti with a passage that ends, “The stakes for the election are literally existential right now.” Then goes on:

A lot of people who don’t watch Fox News would agree with Enjeti’s final sentence. But few would agree with his implications—that 1) America’s current existential crisis is posed by Democrats and their antifa puppet masters; and 2) it’s the upright citizens of the GOP who have the most to fear from the aftermath of Ginsburg’s death. Welcome to the Fox News of fall 2020: a fever dream in a fun house mirror in which the excesses, abuses, and cruelties of the Trump era are distorted and reflected back as the sins of the violent, intolerant left. Here, Republicans are always at risk of losing—even, and especially, when they are clearly winning.

Fox News is most effective when it editorializes from a stance of grievance with the fury of the righteous, disempowered outsider. Though it is hard to present as an outsider when you speak for the political party that currently holds the White House and the Senate, Fox does it anyway. In the network’s telling, Normal America is now being held hostage by politically correct elites and professional protest thugs who use rhetorical and actual violence to stifle dissent, intimidate law enforcement, and prevent white people from telling ethnic jokes on Twitter.

This is all very dumb—it’s funny how Fox News’ version of “Normal America” is so easily entranced with risible, xenophobic conspiracy theories—but it is a way of maintaining tribal unity in an era when it might be hard to otherwise rationalize being a Republican. Victimhood is Fox’s superpower.

I’ve suggested many times on this blog that too much exposure to the news, even from the most benign, bland sources, which tend to prioritize the tiny handful of unusual, perhaps upsetting, things going on the world, gives consumers the impression the world is much worse than it used to be (the opposite is true), if not about to end. Fox News does this deliberately. They want to scare you into voting for the party that supports the plutocrats who finance it.

Again about Fox News; “a fever dream in a fun house mirror in which the excesses, abuses, and cruelties of the Trump era are distorted and reflected back as the sins of the violent, intolerant left. Here, Republicans are always at risk of losing—even, and especially, when they are clearly winning.”

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