WHEN TRAPPED IN A CORNER OF YOUR OWN MAKING, BLAME THE MEDIA

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This morning (Thursday, 1/5/17), Donald Trump tweeted: “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people.… to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!”

With apologies to readers who can’t stand the sight of Trump, here are screenshots of his actual tweets:

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Trump’s tweets are so full of fallacies that I don’t know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just dive in with several sets of questions.

First, whom is Trump calling dishonest? Why doesn’t he name anyone specifically? Is he, in fact, claiming that every reporter and all news media are dishonest, or is he leaving it to his Twitter followers to blame the ones that he’s attacked in the past? Is the ultimate purpose behind his blanket statements to sow distrust in news media as a whole?

Second, do the dishonest media—whoever they may be—actually say that Trump is “in Agreement with Julian Assange,” or do they do what Trump says he does, that is, “simply state what he [Trump] states” and leave it to “the people to make up their own minds as to the truth”? If he has examples of media quoting him falsely, why doesn’t he cite them? Granted, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, but Trump could add a screenshot of the false claim to his tweet or put links in his tweet to the stories that contain the false quotes—if there are any—or he could cite multiple examples in a series of tweets.

Third, does the following tweet look like the work of a “big fan” of U.S. intelligence agencies to you? Please note that the quotation marks Trump puts around the words “Intelligence” and “Russian hacking” indicate that he’s mocking the U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election.

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Fourth, if Trump is such a “big fan” of “Intelligence,” why didn’t he publicize the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian interference in the election? And if he’s not in agreement with Assange, why did he go out of his way to tweet to his millions of followers that Assange said the “Russians did not give him the info”? (See screenshot of tweet below.) Don’t Trump’s actions indicate that he gives more credence to Assange than to U.S. intelligence agencies?

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So, what is Trump up to here? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that he suffered a narcissistic injury when he—along with rest of the world—learned that all of the official U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia intervened in the U.S. election in order to harm the electoral prospects of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Worse still, the C.I.A. concluded that Russia actively interceded in Trump’s behalf. How humiliating! Well, Trump, who has deluded himself into believing he won a “historic electoral landslide” couldn’t let that stand. So, in a narcissistic rage, he lashed out at the intelligence agencies by publicly doubting their conclusions and having his transition team release a statement that, in effect, called the agencies incompetent.

But now (oops!), the intelligence agencies’ report is about to be released, and Trump has painted himself into a corner. What does he do? He blames the “dishonest media,” of course! He tweets: “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump’s a big fan? Yeah, right!

Let’s not let him get away with it.

 

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Electoral College: SAVE US FROM TRUMP!

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I hope you’ll take a minute to read: “Democrats Can Stop Trump Via the Electoral College. But Not How You Think.” http://wpo.st/dJiK2  The author, Michael Cannon, is a scholar at the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think tank. I rarely agree with libertarians, but I think Cannon’s analysis here is good. Briefly, he’s counseling Democratic electors to pick a Republican—Romney, for instance—vote for him, and then convince at least 37 Republican electors to vote for the same candidate. As Cannon sees it, this is the only way to prevent Trump from assuming the presidency.

Many of my Democratic friends, who are horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency, have told me they’d be okay with some other Republican—almost ANY other Republican. I emphatically agree. So what do you, dear blog reader, think about urging electors (Democrats and Republicans) to vote for a consensus (non-Trump) Republican? Good idea? Bad idea?

Some Democratic members of the Electoral College have formed a group called the Hamilton Electors. They intend to vote for a Republican, whom they will choose by consensus. If you’d like more information about the Hamilton Electors, click here: http://www.hamiltonelectors.com

If you’d like to contact members of the Electoral College directly, #AskTheElectors makes that easy. Check out: http://asktheelectors.org

Here’s a link to another article on the subject by Kathleen Parker, “The Electoral College Should Be Unfaithful.” http://wpo.st/PeiK2

The Upside of the Election of @$&#%

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Rather than allow myself to sink into a deep depression following the election of a certain sociopath* (whose name I’d rather not mention for fear of nauseating all the kind people who read this blogpost**), I’ve been looking for any silver linings that might have attached themselves to this catastrophic event.  So far, I’ve found three:

  1. People will have the opportunity to see what happens when Republicans are in control of all three branches of government. If the past is any guide, Republican policies will drive us into a ditch. This time, however, the Republicans will have a hard time blaming Democrats for their failures; they will be held accountable for just about everything.
  2. During Obama’s presidency, rank-and-file Democrats have generally been passive, trusting that Obama will do the right thing most of the time, and feeling that activism has been unnecessary. With @$&#% as president, more progressives will realize the importance of getting involved in politics and fighting back.
  3. Given that @$&#% denies the existence of global warming and has promised to undo Obama’s environmental regulations, the chance that the U.S. government will address global warming—as long as @$&#% is president and Congress is under Republican control—is near zero, and that, of course, is bad news. But here’s the silver lining: When the government refuses to act and the ecological consequences become increasingly apparent, a growing number of individuals will, of necessity, take responsibility for their own ecological footprints. And that’s good news because bringing the planet back from the ecological cliff will take all of us doing our part whichever party is in power. Besides, the more actively we’re involved, the more likely it will be that politicians will have the courage to do the right thing.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

*  Is @$&#% really a sociopath, or am I exaggerating for comic effect? I don’t have the credentials to say for certain, and I don’t know if http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html has the credentials either, but here’s some of what I found at that website:

Profile of the Sociopath

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning

They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

  • Grandiose Sense of Self

Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

  • Pathological Lying

Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

  • Shallow Emotions

When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

  • Incapacity for Love
  • Need for Stimulation

Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy

Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature

Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability

Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity

Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

Do you think that profile fits @$&#% to a tee?  I do.

** Henceforth, I shall refer to the unnamed one as @$&#%.

WHEN WILL THE INQUISITION END?

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When will Republicans put an end to the inquisition of Hillary Clinton? Will it stop if she loses? Will it go into overdrive if she wins?

I’ve lost track of all the hearings they’ve had concerning Benghazi. Yes, what happened there was tragic. Four Americans were killed. But where were the Republican inquisitors when terrorists killed 241 Marines in their barracks during Reagan’s presidency, and where is their retroactive anger now?

Republican politicians scream bloody murder about Hillary’s emails. They say a foreign power, hostile to the U.S., could have hacked her private server. True, but guess what. Russia did hack a highly secure server at the Democratic National Committee, and Trump and his followers cheered the Russians on. Rather than being outraged, Republicans have exploited the hacked information in order to attack Hillary and other down-ballot Democratic candidates, implying they are guilty by association.

Hillary certainly has faults, but so do the rest of us. Imagine that a large group of people, with virtually unlimited resources, put your life under a microscope. Wouldn’t they find something they could use to make you look bad? Now imagine that they put your spouse under the microscope and made you responsible for his or her conduct, too. Would you think that was fair?

Come on, people. The election is tomorrow. It’s time for the #inquisition to stop.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/us/politics/hilary-clinton-male-voters-donald-trump.html?emc=edit_th_20161107&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26749800

What Underlies the Pipeline Standoff in Dakota Indian Country?

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Have you been following the story regarding the Native Americans’ attempts to block construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota?  Briefly, the Standing Rock tribe and its allies are trying to (1) prevent destruction of sacred lands and (2) protect the purity of their water supply. On the other side, Energy Transfer Partners argues: (1) it has fulfilled all of its legal requirements for building the pipeline; (2) as long as we depend on oil to power our cars, etc., we’re going to need to move that oil around; and (3) a pipeline is the safest way to transport oil.  At bottom, then, the problem is our overconsumption of fossil fuels.  If we use less, we won’t need to move as much of it around.

For decades, we’ve  tackled environmental problems primarily on the supply side of the equation.  In recent years, however, politically powerful oil suppliers have pushed back, demanding fewer regulations and restrictions.  We might be able to reduce the power of the oil-and-gas industry eventually, but, in the meantime, we can’t just stand by and wait for a sympathetic Congress to enact strong new environmental laws.  We must reduce our demand.

Here are links to several articles concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Tribes Across North America Converge at Standing Rock, Hoping to Be Heard

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/tribes-across-north-america-converge-standing-rock-hoping-heard-2/

What Will Dakota Access Protesters Do If Final Pipeline Restrictions Are Lifted?

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/will-dakota-access-protesters-final-pipeline-restrictions-lifted/

Obama Holds Private Meeting As Cops Mass Near NoDAPL Front Lines

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/10/26/police-presence-grows-civil-rights-leaders-join-water-protectors-166226

Mark Ruffalo Delivers Solar Panels to Camp Where Thousands Are Fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline

http://www.ecowatch.com/ruffalo-solar-dakota-access-pipeline-2066031293.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=20ef4ce389-MailChimp+Email+Blast&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-20ef4ce389-85933793

Police Start to Clear Pipeline Protesters Off Private Land in North Dakota

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/police-start-clear-pipeline-protesters-off-private-land-north-dakota/

Another Series of Presidential Debates with No Climate-Change Qs

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Did you notice? None of the debate moderators asked a single question about climate change. Isn’t that odd? As President Obama recently said: “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” So why didn’t this existential threat merit even one question? Are all of the moderators climate-change deniers?
Probably not. My guess is that each of them asked questions on topics the American people find most pressing, and poll after poll shows that only about 1% of Americans name “the environment” (much less “climate change”) as one of the most important issues facing the U.S. today. The Big Q, then, is: Why do so few Americans express concern to pollsters about the environment? One of the reasons, no doubt, is that the news media under-report environmental problems relative to their importance. People discount environmental issues, because the media rarely bring the issues to their attention. Completing the vicious circle, the news media under-report environmental problems because the public seems not to care about those problems.
Here’s a link to a relevant article, which contains links to a number of other relevant articles.

POLITICALLY INCORRECT BRAINS

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Here in the U.S., we’re in the thick of the presidential-primary season, and differences between Democrats and Republicans are stark. During Thursday night’s Democratic debate, for instance, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders praised Barack Obama’s leadership. In last night’s Republican debate, on the other hand, the candidates agreed that Obama is destroying America; they merely disagreed about whether he is destroying the U.S. on purpose or is simply too stupid to realize that’s what he’s doing.

Clearly, conservatives and liberals see things differently. Noting those differences, social scientists have begun asking why. With the aid of high-tech imaging systems, researchers have found actual differences between the brains of liberals and conservatives.

This is just speculation on my part, but maybe both modes of thinking are important to the survival, in a Darwinian sense, of the human species. If so, we would be wise to respectfully consider the insights that the other party offers instead of automatically rejecting it.

Below, I’ve pasted snippets from and links to several articles concerning the differences in the brains of conservatives and liberals.

 

 

RED BRAIN, BLUE BRAIN: EVALUATIVE PROCESSES DIFFER IN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS

By Darren Schreiber, et al., February 13, 2013

Liberals and conservatives exhibit different cognitive styles and converging lines of evidence suggest that biology influences differences in their political attitudes and beliefs. In particular, a recent study of young adults suggests that liberals and conservatives have significantly different brain structure, with liberals showing increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatives showing increased gray matter volume in the in the amygdala.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052970

 

CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL BRAINS MAY BE WIRED DIFFERENTLY

By Amina Khan, November 3, 2014

Think your political beliefs arise from logic and reason? Think again. A team of scientists who studied the brains of liberal, moderate and conservative people found that … the brains of liberals and conservatives may indeed be wired differently….

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/conservative-and-liberal-brains-may-be-wired-differently/2014/11/03/3903c25e-6057-11e4-8b9e-2ccdac31a031_story.html

 

UNCONSCIOUS REACTIONS SEPARATE LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES: Psychological insights might tone down the bitter feuding between Democrats and Republicans

By Emily Laber-Warren, September 1, 2012

According to the experts who study political leanings, liberals and conservatives do not just see things differently. They are different—in their personalities and even their unconscious reactions to the world around them.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/calling-truce-political-wars/

 

LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES RELY ON DIFFERENT SETS OF MORAL FOUNDATIONS

By Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009, Vol. 96, No. 5, 1029–1046

Political views are multifaceted, but a single liberal– conservative (or left–right) continuum is a useful approximation that has predictive validity for voting behavior and opinions on a wide range of issues (Jost, 2006). In terms of political philosophy, the essential element of all forms of liberalism is individual liberty (Gutmann, 2001). Liberals have historically taken an optimistic view of human nature and of human perfectibility; they hold what Sowell (2002) calls an “unconstrained vision” in which people should be left as free as possible to pursue their own courses of personal development. Conservatism, in contrast, is best under- stood as a “positional ideology,” a reaction to the challenges to authority and institutions that are so often mounted by liberals (Muller, 1997). Conservatives have traditionally taken a more pessimistic view of human nature, believing that people are inher- ently selfish and imperfectible. They therefore hold what Sowell called a “constrained vision” in which people need the constraints of authority, institutions, and traditions to live civilly with each other.

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf