Contributors

Showing posts with label GOP. Republicans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOP. Republicans. Show all posts

Friday, March 10, 2017

Basket of Incompetents

When Hillary Clinton made her famous comment regarding Trump supporters as a "Basket of Deplorables," she should have said "Basket of Incompetents." Yesterday's revelation that former NSA adviser Michael Flynn acted as a foreign agent for Turkey during the campaign last year is yet another sign that Trump and his team are completely clueless.

That's assuming, of course, that they didn't know. If they did know, then that pretty much negates all their bitching and hysteria about Hillary Clinton and the pay for play shit with the Clinton Global Initiative. Regardless, I find it hilarious, in a tragic and sad way, that, once again, we see conservatives accusing liberals of doing the very thing they are doing. All of this brings up a larger issue that has crystallized for me recently.

Conservatives are putzes.

A putz is defined as a stupid or worthless person that engages in inconsequential or unproductive behavior That's really their biggest problem. While they hyper obsess over the Clinton Global Initiative and whether or not Hillary got the debate questions ahead of time, they ignore the larger problem of Russian involvement in the election and serious issues like climate change. They take offense and whine about smug liberals who call them names (basket of deplorables) while bemoaning PC culture and safe spaces. I guess they appreciate all that straight talk but only if it's denigrating ideological opponents.

Digging deeper, I think they know they are putzes and that's why we see the poor behavior, including their current leader. They lash out, throw tantrums, spout nonsense, and then whine that we don't understand them. Why? Because they feel inferior, inadequate and insecure (the dreaded three I's!) in the face of intelligent and accomplished people.

I guess we are going to have to pay for this as a nation for a while.


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Totalitarians All Along

For years, conservatives warned of liberal totalitarianism. It turns out it was really them all along that want a state similar to the Soviet Union.

By using the phrase and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Khrushcheva said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.”

Shocking...not...

I've said this for years. Whenever conservatives bitch liberals being ____________, it's invariably them that are being ____________.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Magic R

When you are a Republican, a different set of rules applies to you. You get away with shit that Democrats would be destroyed for. Worse, the very thing that you spend years ripping Dems for, you get to do with zero repercussions.

Last night on Real Time, Bill Maher most eloquently expressed something that has frustrated me for years. Democrats are held to a different standard because they are the adults while Republicans (the adolescents) are given a very wide degree of latitude of words and behavior.

It must stop. Yesterday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Republican Brain Part Eight: Don't Get Defensive

The last time we looked inside Chris Mooney's insightful and amazing book, The Republican Brain, conservatives and how they respond to authority was viewed through the cognitive lens. After the results of the 2016 election, this has never been more important. In fact, all of Mooney's book should be read by Democrats who want to win in the midterms in 2018 and take back the presidency in 2020.

In the next section we will be looking at, "Don't Get Defensive," Mooney cautions that people tend to get defensive when we talk about psychology and neuroscience. Mental health is a very personal issue for most Americans and there is still a great stigma attached to it. Considering that conservatives brains are on display in this book, Mooney spends the next chapter considering the possible outrage over what he has said.

Mooney with an outline of the chapter and summary of what is to come. He wonders whether it's fair to lump all conservatives together. Certainly a libertarian is vastly different from a Christian conservative. And don't conservatives lump liberals together? Can liberals be just as close minded as conservatives? The answer, based on what we have seen so far, is no and it's, once again, because of neuroscience. But what about independents? There sure are plenty of them. Can someone also be converted from left to right or vice versa? Mooney states that the left-right conversion is fairly easy if one employs fear and distraction. So here is Mooney, poking holes into this own research.

Who's a conservative...really? The answers to this question certainly varies from country to country. England's conservatives are ideologically more akin to our moderate liberals. When people answer questions on surveys about their ideology, invariably it's in opposition to something. Given that the word "liberal" has been effectively demonized in the United States, many people claim to be more conservative than they actually are out of fear of being looked down upon. Yet, John Jost's research (here and here) shows that there is a consistency in terms of behavior and political conservatism, even across countries.

What do all conservatives share? This question can best be answered by looking at the common traits, psychologically speaking, that most conservatives share. They are not as open to the world as liberals and fear change. New experiences frighten them and they are resistant to progress. Recall William F Buckley when he declare that the National Review "stands athwart history yelling Stop!!" Mooney, in one has to be an epic foreshadowing, notes, "the change that conservatives seek is not progressive; rather it is in the direction of restoring something they perceive as prior and better."

Like making America great again? :)

Mooney goes on to correctly note that the earlier status quo may not be one that ever existed. As long as they think it did, that's what drives their policies and agenda.

Why aren't we psychoanalyzing liberals too? Well, we are. There are an equal number of studies that show that liberals are more prone to appeasement and indecision than are conservatives. Again, this is merely because of the way their brains are made. Like conservatives, liberals tend to allow emotions affect their decision making process and the result is indecision and appeasement. Mooney notes for us all to remember that belief systems address psychological needs, whatever the ideology may be.

What about the difference between economic and social conservatives? While there are some differences, it's important to note here that both employ the "work hard and you will get ahead" model. Most conservative Christians I know are also die hard capitalists. It doesn't matter that they accept Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest" economically but not spiritually. The root force is still there: pull yourself up by your bootstraps and don't rely on the government.

What about the cultural cognition model? Let's recall the basic traits of conservatives and liberals. Conservatives are generally hierarchical/individual types while liberals are egalitarian-communitarian types. Isn't there something in the liberal personality type that would lead them to reject the science of something like nuclear power or vaccines in the same way that conservatives reject climate change? Not quite, notes Mooney. Cultural cognition models do show us interesting things about liberal reaction to these issues but they still don't react in the same way as conservatives do. They may understate the research or spin it but they don't outright reject it.

What about leftist regimes? Well, they aren't really all that "left" when you think about it. Communist regimes say that they are egalitarian but they usually end up being authoritarian and thus share more in common with a conservative psychological framework.

What about left wing ideologues? Extremism is extremism, right? I hear this all the time. Both sides are just as bad, especially as you move out from the center. Yet the evidence does not support this assertion. Conservatives are far worse in terms of rigidity and inflexibility. Researcher John Jost conducted 13 separate studies and not a single one showed increased rigidity on the left. They ALL showed it on the right, however. In fact, when Jost run more studies, he found that the more extreme one was on the left hand side of the spectrum, the more open they were. Robert Altemeyer confirmed this when he went on a search for the Loch Ness Monster of political psychology-the left wing authoritarian. He found none but did find plenty of right wing authoritarians.

If you stop and think about it logically for a moment, all of this makes sense. Liberals' biggest fault is their penchant for being too flexible and changing their minds often. That is psychologically valid. So, how on earth could they be authoritarian?

Why not better distinguish conservatives from authoritarians? Consider the three basic groups of conservatives: libertarians, status quo folks, and out and out authoritarians. The reason Mooney doesn't distinguish between these three types are that each one still has that fear of uncertainty, rigidity and antipathy towards progress. This gibes with what I have always seen which is that even libertarians have closet authoritarians inside of them:)

What about centrists and independents? Let's take a look at the four types of independents.

Libertarians: Lean conservative.
Post Moderns: Young, hip, secular, pro-environment, not very liberal, in the classical sense, on economic issues
Disaffected: Financially stressed, hate politics (AKA Trump voters)
Bystanders: Young, not politically engaged

In looking at these four types, we can see that these folks aren't really centrist at all. Sure, they don't want to be labelled as a "Democrat" or a "Republican" but libertarians and disaffecteds are really conservatives and postmoderns are more liberal. Psychologically, Mooney's classification system still applies. The libertarians and the disaffecteds are less open to change with the post moderns more flexible and more open to new experiences.

What about political conversions? In the final section of this chapter, Mooney takes a look at the psychological triggers that cause these shifts. Too much authoritarianism may cause some conservatives to shy away from populous shifts within the GOP. Fear invariably causes liberals to become more conservative.

Linda Skitka of the University of Illinois in Chicago set up a study in which both liberals and conservatives were asked to stop and think about what they were proposing to check on fear as a motivating factor. Participants were asked to consider different groups of people who have AIDS and whether or not they should receive government assisted help for their disease. Some of the AIDS victims got through no fault of their own and others got it just because they were careless. Both liberals and conservatives said that the latter group should not get government help but after some considering, liberals' natural psychological tendencies kicked in and they said they should. Conservatives did not waiver. Yet, if liberals were asked to do another task, like listening to music while considering this decision, they behaved just like conservatives.

Mooney also notes a University of Arkansas study in which alcohol and political ideology were studies. Scott Eidelman and his team of researchers literally set up shop outside of a campus bar and found that when people drink, they become more conservative. This makes sense because booze disrupts cognitive reasoning and more emotional responses take over. In looking at the states that went for Trump last November, one can see higher incidences of alcohol, particularly in the Rust Belt, and drug abuse.  I'll have more on this later as I think it directly relates to how Democrats have to connect with disaffected voters who left them and went for Trump.

So, in looking at all these question, research shows we came back with the same answers. The conservative brain responds much differently than the liberal brain despite a critical look. The peer reviewed evidence holds up under scrutiny. But what about the actual physical makeup of the brain? Can we see actual differences between conservative brains and liberal brains? That's the topic of the next chapter. Are conservatives from the amygdala?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Freedom From Criticism

When conservatives whine about freedom of speech and "PC bullshit," what they are really saying is they want freedom from criticism because their precious little egos can't take it. This is certainly true of their hero and our president elect, Donald Trump. Odd, because they also bemoan people that get offended at everything...which they take offense to...:)

A great example of which is the recent Meryl Streep flap which went something like this:

Meryl Streep says, of Trump mocking a disabled reporter...

"It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can't get it out of my head, because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."

Trump responded in his usual way, calling Streep overrated.

Then Megan McCain says... "This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don't start recognizing why and how - you will help him get re-elected."

Right. So conservatives want to be able to say whatever they want...do whatever they want...bully whomever they want...and NEVER be called on it.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Challenge Extended

President Obama has extended a challenge to Congressional Republicans. Come up with something better than the Affordable Care Act and he will publicly support it. I am extending that challenge as well to any of my readers. Post your plan in comments, show me examples of how this has worked more effectively in the past, and I will publicly admit that the ACA has been defeated by a better plan.

My bet is the GOP comes up with nothing and just repeals the ACA out of pure, adolescent spite.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crocodile Tears

Boy oh boy, have we heard a lot of mouth foaming and "See? I told you sos" from Republicans these days regarding the Affordable Care Act. They've even pointed to Mark Dayton's recent comments about rising insurance rates as evidence that Obamacare has failed and stuff.

Today, my esteemed governor has penned an op-ed which offers a more insightful analysis.

As disturbing as the falsehoods is the hypocrisy of some Republican politicians, who are crying crocodile tears over problems with the Affordable Care Act, which they have prevented solving. Time after time, Republicans in Congress blocked changes to the ACA because they want to destroy the law, not improve it — and because they believe that the worse the ACA’s current problems, the better their chances of re-election.

Indeed.

The real challenge with the ACA is that we need more young people to get insurance. They'd rather take the hit on taxes than pay a premium every month. Better marketing, more incentives and perhaps stricter punishment for being uninsured should all be pursued. The rate increases were going to happen anyway and likely be worse without the ACA.

And in that world millions would have been uninsured and thousands would probably be dead. I think I'll take the whining...:)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Quoran Quickie

It's weird how things can go viral on Quora. My answers that I think will generate many views and upvotes invariably don't. The ones I think are just throwaways, like this one, get thousands of views and upvotes.

I guess now that extends to comments. A recent answer on who won the first presidential debate led me to this comment on it.

My hope is that Trump loses by a large margin and the GOP returns to the party of Reagan and Bush 1. Even though I am a Democrat, I want an opposition party that can keep the left in check on some of the more outlandish ideas (all corporations are evil, globalization is always evil etc). They have to get rid of all that anger, hate and fear, though, and I’m not sure how that happens.

As of this morning, it has 129 upvotes, the most I have ever had for a comment and the most I've seen on Quora in a while. It took me less than a minute to write but I guess it had an impact.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Deafening Silence

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The "Final Stand" of the Angry Old White Man

There's a big myth out there that Donald Trump has galvanized a whole mess of new conservative voters that will put him over the top come November 8th. David Wasserman over at 538 breaks down why this doesn't really matter and is, in fact, a myth.

There’s no doubt Trump compelled hundreds of thousands of conservative voters to switch their registrations to Republican to vote for him in closed primaries, accelerating these voters’ exodus from formal Democratic affiliation. But do they constitute a surge of new November voters? Not so much. It’s likely that most of these party switchers were already voting Republican.

He then follows this assertion with quite a bit of data. Check it out!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ya Think?

The mea culpas continue...

Sykes’ many arguments with listeners over Donald Trump’s serial outrages have exposed in much of his audience a vein of thinking—racist, anti-constitutional, maybe even fascistic—that has shaken Sykes. It has left him questioning whether he and his colleagues in the conservative media played a role in paving the way for Trump’s surprising and unprecedented rise. 

Ya think? Sheesh...

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Excellent Summation of Conservatives Today




The question is...are these people reachable? Will they change? I find it incredibly difficult to be tolerant of such intolerance. Honestly, I think we just need to leave them behind..



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Watch The Senate Slip Away

538 has a piece up about how Trump is dragging down GOP candidates for Senate in tossup states.

Check it out


AUG. 3 MARGINAUG. 15 MARGINCHANGE
STATETRUMPGOP SENATE CANDIDATETRUMPGOP SENATE CANDIDATETRUMPGOP SENATE CANDIDATE
N.H.-2+2-11-5-9-7
Illinois-18-1-20-7-2-6
Pennsylvania-6+2-10-2-4-4
N.C.-1+4-5+1-4-3
Wisconsin-9-8-12-11-3-3
Nevada-3+3-4+2-1-1
Florida-4+5-5+5-10
Ohio-4+4-6+6-2+2
Average-3.3-2.8
Trump may be dragging down Republican Senate candidates

At this point, it seems likely that the Dems will take back the Senate. But by how much?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Losing Their Minds


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Really Fucking Bad

Remember a few months back when some pundits were hand wringing over how Hillary Clinton could get Donald Trump? After all, the guy was impervious, right? He bested a "strong" GOP field of 16 other candidates and was all set to take down the Hilz in similar fashion. There was no earthly way she could stop him.

Except she did.

And it was magnificent.

We're still three months away from the election and a lot could happen. In fact, I'm expecting a few bad things to happen to Hillary along the way. Maybe even a really bad one or two. That's politics and no doubt her team is expecting it now that we have the revelation that Julian Assange wants to be the teenager who burns the house down just for kicks. But one thing has became very clear in the last week.

Like any right wing blogger or commenter, it's mere child's play to get to a guy like Trump.

The trap she laid for him with Khans was beautiful. It totally threw him off his game and he spent the week pitching a fit that has now put Georgia, Arizona and possibly Missouri in play for the Dems. Down ballot, GOP candidates are scrambling to saw themselves loose of the dead hooker (Trump) to which they are handcuffed. Consider this handy checklist of Trump's behavior as a result of being pwned by the Khans.

-Foamed at the mouth about fire marshals from Colorado to Ohio.

-Kicked a baby out of an event after saying the baby was OK to stay.

-Took a purple heart from a veteran that he said was real but wasn't and made jokes about it.

-Said that if a woman was being sexually harassed in the workplace, she should get a different job.

-Refused to endorse Paul Ryan or John McCain and then grudgingly did so.

-Called Hillary Clinton the devil (ah, that ol' chesnut..:))

-Called the election rigged (see also: taking ball, going home after ass whupping)

-Claimed that a video existed of the US paying off Iran. He later retracted this statement.

-Claimed that the NFL sent him a letter complaining of the debate schedule. The NFL said they never did so.

Given all of this, here's my latest map...


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com


Now that we have all seen how easy it is to get a guy like Trump, Hillary's debate strategy should be pretty clear. The guy can't resist taking the bait and then making shit up based on the insanity in his head. So, give him the bait.

More importantly, though, I think we are finally seeing just how well the mentality, emotional balance and ideology of right wing bloggers and commenters would do under the spotlight.

Really fucking bad.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Firing Squad

Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire representative who serves on Trump's veterans' coalition and as a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, said in an interview with a Boston talk radio host that Clinton should pay for the 2012 Benghazi attack.

"She is a disgrace for any, the lies she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi," he said on the Jeff Kuhner Show Tuesday. "She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something's wrong there."

"Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason," he continued.

As I have been saying all along, these people are an acute threat to our national security. They need to be put in jail now.

Monday, July 18, 2016