Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Right-Wingers Think the Way They Do: The Fascinating Psychological Origins of Political Ideology


Would you like to read more on the topic of science and the Conservative brain?  Chris Mooney strikes again, this time with an article at Alternet.org, "Why Right-Wingers Think the Way They Do: The Fascinating Psychological Origins of Political Ideology," or "Are left and right a feature (or bug) of evolution?."


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(The following story first appeared in the Washington Monthly. )


"If you want one experiment that perfectly captures what science is learning about the deep-seated differences between liberals and conservatives, you need go no further than BeanFest. It’s a simple learning video game in which the player is presented with a variety of cartoon beans in different shapes and sizes, with different numbers of dots on them. When each new type of bean is presented, the player must choose whether or not to accept it—without knowing, in advance, what will happen. You see, some beans give you points, while others take them away. But you can’t know until you try them.

"In a recent experiment by psychologists Russell Fazio and Natalie Shook, a group of self-identified liberals and conservatives played BeanFest. And their strategies of play tended to be quite different. Liberals tried out all sorts of beans. They racked up big point gains as a result, but also big point losses—and they learned a lot about different kinds of beans and what they did. Conservatives, though, tended to play more defensively. They tested out fewer beans. They were risk averse, losing less but also gathering less information.

"One reason this is a telling experiment is that it’s very hard to argue that playing BeanFest has anything directly to do with politics. It’s difficult to imagine, for example, that results like these are confounded or contaminated by subtle cues or extraneous factors that push liberals and conservatives to play the game differently. In the experiment, they simply sit down in front of a game—an incredibly simple game—and play. So the ensuing differences in strategy very likely reflect differences in who’s playing.

"The BeanFest experiment is just one of dozens summarized in two new additions to the growing science-of-politics book genre: Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, by political scientists John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Alford, and Our Political Nature, by evolutionary anthropologist Avi Tuschman. The two books agree almost perfectly on what science is now finding about the psychological, biological, and even genetic differences between those who opt for the political left and those who tilt toward the right. However, what they’re willing to make of these differences, and how far they are willing to run with it, varies greatly.

"Hibbing, Smith, and Alford, a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Rice University who have published some of the most penetrating research on left-right differences in recent years, provide a lively and amusing tour of the landscape. But they mostly just walk up to and peer at the overriding question of why these apparently systematic left-right differences exist in the first place. Their explanation for the 'origin of subspecies,' as they put it, is tentative at best. Tuschman, by contrast, has written a vast and often difficult book that attempts nothing less than a broad evolutionary explanation of the origins of left-right differences across countries and time—and does so by synthesizing such a huge body of anthropological and biological evidence that it’ll almost bury you. Whether the account deserves to be called merely thought-provoking or actually correct, though, will be up for other scholars to evaluate—scholars like Hibbing, Smith, and Alford.

"Let’s begin with the large body of shared ground. Surveying the evidence with a fair mind, it is hard to deny that science is revealing a very inconvenient truth about left and right: long before they become members of different parties, liberals and conservatives appear to start out as different people. 'Bedrock political orientations just naturally mesh with a broader set of orientations, tastes, and preferences because they are all part of the same biologically rooted inner self,' write Hibbing et al. The research demonstrating this is so diverse, comes from so many fields, and shows so many points of overlap and consistency that you either have to accept that there’s really something going on here or else start spinning a conspiracy theory to explain it all away.

"The most rock-solid finding, simply because it has been shown so many times in so many different studies, is that liberals and conservatives have different personalities. Again and again, when they take the widely accepted Big Five personality traits test, liberals tend to score higher on one of the five major dimensions—openness: the desire to explore, to try new things, to meet new people—and conservatives score higher on conscientiousness: the desire for order, structure, and stability. Research samples in many countries, not just the U.S., show as much. And this finding is highly consequential, because as both Hibbing et al. and Tuschman note, people tend to mate and have offspring with those who are similar to them on the openness measure—and therefore, with those who share their deeply rooted political outlook. It’s a process called 'assortative mating,' and it will almost certainly exacerbate our current political divide.


"But that’s just the beginning of the research on left-right differences. An interlocking and supporting body of evidence can be found in moral psychology, genetics, cognitive neuroscience, and Hibbing’s and Smith’s preferred realm, physiology and cognition. At their Political Physiology Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the researchers put liberals and conservatives in a variety of devices that measure responses like skin conductance (the moistening of the sweat glands) and eye gaze patterns when we’re exposed to different types of images. In doing so, Hibbing and his colleagues have been able to detect involuntary physiological response differences between the two groups of political protagonists when they encounter a variety of stimuli. Once again, it’s hard to see how results like these could mean anything other than what they mean: those on the left and right tend to be different people.

"Indeed, here is where perhaps some of the most stunning science-of-politics results arise. Several research groups have shown that compared with liberals, conservatives have a greater focus on negative stimuli or a 'negativity bias': they pay more attention to the alarming, the threatening, and the disgusting in life. In one experiment that captured this, Hibbing and his colleagues showed liberals and conservatives a series of collages, each comprised of a mixture of positive images (cute bunnies, smiling children) and negative ones (wounds, a person eating worms). Test subjects were fitted with eye-tracker devices that measured where they looked, and for how long. The results were stark: conservatives fixed their eyes on the negative images much more rapidly, and dwelled on them much longer, than did the liberals.

"Liberals and conservatives, conclude Hibbing et al., 'experience and process different worlds.' No wonder, then, that they often cannot agree. These experiments suggest that conservatives actually do live in a world that is more scary and threatening, at least as they perceive it. Trying to argue them out of it is pointless and naive. It’s like trying to argue them out of their skin.

"Perhaps the main reason that scientists don’t think these psychological and attentional differences simply reflect learned behaviors—or the influence of cultural assumptions—is the genetic research. As Hibbing et al. explain, the evidence suggests that around 40 percent of the variation in political beliefs is ultimately rooted in DNA. The studies that form the basis for this conclusion use a simple but powerful paradigm: they examine the differences between pairs of monozygotic ('identical') twins and pairs of dizygotic ('fraternal') twins when it comes to political views. Again and again, the identical twins, who share 100 percent of their DNA, also share much more of their politics.

"In other words, politics runs in families and is passed on to offspring. Hibbing and his coauthors suspect that what is ultimately being inherited is a set of core dispositions about how societies should resolve recurring problems: how to distribute resources (should we be individualistic or collectivist?); how to deal with outsiders and out-groups (are they threatening or enticing?); how to structure power relationships (should we be hierarchical or egalitarian?); and so on. These are, of course, problems that all human societies have had to grapple with; they are ancient. And inheriting a core disposition on how to resolve them would naturally predispose one to a variety of specific issue stances in a given political context.

"All of which brings us to the really big question. It is difficult to believe that systematic psychological and biological differences between those who opt for the left and the right in different countries—differences that are likely reflected in the genetic code—arose purely by chance. And yet, providing an evolutionary explanation for what we see is fraught with peril: to put it bluntly, we weren’t there. We didn’t see it happen.

"Moreover, in evolution, some things happen for an explicitly Darwinian 'reason'—traits become more prevalent or fixed in populations because they advanced organisms’ chances of survival and reproduction in a particular environment—while others happen more accidentally. Some complex social traits may emerge, for instance, because they are a fortuitous by-product of other, more fundamental traits laid down by Darwinian evolution.


"A good example of such a trait may be religion. It’s pretty clear that evolution laid down a series of attributes that predispose us toward religiosity, such as 'agency detection,' which refers to the human tendency to detect minds and intentions everywhere around us in the environment, even when they aren’t necessarily there. The evolutionary reason for such a trait seems obvious: after all, better to be safe than sorry when you’re out in the woods and hear a noise. But start thinking that there are intentions behind the wind blowing, or the hunt failing, and you are well on your way to constructing gods. And indeed, religion seems to be a cross-cultural human universal. But does that mean that evolution selected for religion itself, or just for simpler precursors like agency detection?

"You see the difficulty. In this context, Hibbing and his colleagues consider a variety of potential explanations for the stubborn fact that there is large, politically relevant psychological and biological diversity among members of the human species, and ultimately settle on a tentative combination of two ideas. First, they assert, conservatism is probably more basic and fundamental, because it is more suited to a world in which life is 'nasty, brutish, and short.' Being defensive, risk aversive, hierarchical, and tribal makes sense when the threats around you are very real and immediate. As many of these threats have relaxed in modern times, however, this may have unleashed more variability among the human species, simply because now we can afford it. Under this scenario, liberals are the Johnny-come-latelys to the politico-evolutionary pageant; the Enlightenment itself is less than 300 years old, less than an eyeblink in evolutionary time. 'Liberalism may thus be viewed as an evolutionary luxury afforded by negative stimuli becoming less prevalent and deadly,' write Hibbing et al.

"However, Hibbing and his colleagues also consider a more controversial 'group selection' scenario, in which evolution built some measure of variability in our political typologies because sometimes, diversity is strength (for the group, anyway, if not for the individual). The trouble is, it is still fairly novel for evolutionary explanations to focus on the reproductive fitness of a group of individuals, rather than on the fitness of a single individual or even that individual’s DNA. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see why a group of early humans comprised of both conservative and liberal psychologies might have fared better than a more homogenous group. Such a society would have forces in it that want to hunker down and defend, but also forces that push it to explore and change. This would surely make for better adaptation to more diverse environments. It just might enhance the group’s chance of survival.

"Yet it would be going much too far to suggest that Hibbing et al. have a strong or highly developed theory for why biopolitical diversity exists among humans. Avi Tuschman does, though. 'Political orientations are natural dispositions that have been molded by evolutionary forces,' he asserts. If he’s right, a dramatic new window opens on who we are and why we behave as we do.

"One of the most stunning revelations of recent genetic anthropology is the finding that Homo sapiens, our ancestors, occasionally bred with Homo neanderthalensis in Europe or the Middle East some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. These encounters may have been quite rare: just one offspring produced every thirty years, according to one estimate. But it was enough to shape who humans are today. Recent genetic analyses suggest that some modern humans have a small but measurable percentage of Neanderthal DNA in our genomes—particularly those of us living in Europe and Asia.

"The more you think about it, the more mind-boggling it is that this cross-species mating actually occurred. Imagine how strange it must have been, as a member ofHomo sapiens, to encounter another being so closely related to us (much more closely than chimpanzees), and yet still so different. J. R. R. Tolkien buffs can probably visualize it the best, because it would indeed have been something like humans encountering dwarves. Neanderthals were shorter and stronger, with outjutting brows. There is some evidence suggesting that they had high-pitched voices and red hair.


"Knowing how prevalent racism and xenophobia are today among members of the same human species, we can assume that many of our ancestors would have behaved even worse toward Neanderthals. And yet some Homo sapiens bred with them, produced offspring with them, and (presumably) cared for those offspring. Which ones were the lovers, not the haters?

"The answer, hints Tuschman in Our Political Nature, is that it may have been the liberals. For one core of the apparently universal left-right difference, he argues, is that the two groups pursue different reproductive strategies, different ways of ensuring offspring and fitness in the next generation.

"And thus we enter the realm of full-blown, and inevitably highly controversial, evolutionary explanations. Tuschman doesn’t hold back. Conservatives, he suggests in one of three interrelated evolutionary accounts of the origins of politics, are a modern reflection of an evolutionary impulse that leads some of us to seek to control sexual reproduction and keep it within a relatively homogenous group. This naturally makes today’s conservatives more tribal and in-group oriented; if tribalism does anything, it makes it clear who you are and aren’t supposed to mate with.

"Tuschman’s liberals, in contrast, are a modern reflection of an evolutionary impulse to take risks, and thereby pull in more genetic diversity through outbreeding. This naturally makes today’s liberals more exploratory and cosmopolitan, just as the personality tests always suggest. Ultimately, Tuschman bluntly writes, it all comes down to 'different attitudes toward the transmission of DNA.' And if you want to set these two groups at absolute war with one another, all you need is something like the 1960s.

"According to Tuschman, these competing reproductive strategies arise from the fact that there are advantages to keeping mating close within the group, but also advantages to mixing in more genetic diversity. Moreover, there is a continuum from extreme inbreeding to extreme outbreeding, featuring many different reproductive strategies along the way. Thus, we see in other species, such as birds like the great tit, a range in mating behavior, from a high level of breeding with more closely related birds to a high level of outbreeding.

"Outbreeding brings in diversity, which is vital. For instance, diversity in the genes that create the proteins that ultimately come to comprise our immune systems has obvious benefits. But outbreeding also has risks—like encountering deadly new pathogens when you encounter new human groups—even as a moderate degree of inbreeding appears to have its own advantages: perpetuating genetically based survival strategies that are proven to work, increasing altruism that arises in kin relationships, and also, it appears, having more total offspring.

"Extreme inbreeding, to be sure, is deleterious. But Tuschman presents evidence suggesting that there is an optimum—at around third-cousin or fourth-cousin mating—for producing the largest number of healthy offspring. He also shows related evidence in Danish women suggesting that a moderate degree of geographic dispersal to find a mate (measured by the distance between a woman’s birthplace and her husband’s) is related to having a high number of children, but too much dispersal and too little are both related to less overall fertility.

"Returning to the present, Tuschman emphasizes that conservatives, and especially religious conservatives, always want to seem to control and restrict reproduction (and other sexual activities) more than liberals do. It’s understandably hard for an evolutionary biologist not to see behaviors that systematically affect patterns of reproduction in a Darwinian light.


"And it’s not just reproductive patterns: Tuschman also suggests that other aspects of the liberal-conservative divide reflect other evolutionary challenges and differential strategies of responding to them. He traces different left-right views on hierarchy and equality to the structure of families (a move that cognitive linguist George Lakoff has in effect already made) and the effect of birth order on the personalities and political outlooks of siblings. And Tuschman traces more positive and negative (or, risk-aversive) views of human nature on the left and the right to different types of evolutionarily based altruism: altruism toward kin on the conservative side, and reciprocal altruism (which can be toward anyone) on the liberal side.

"But is all of this really … true? Tuschman’s book is difficult to evaluate on this score. It says so much more about evolution than Hibbing, Smith, and Alford do, and yet manages to do so without leaving the same impression about the importance of caveats and nuances. Is Tuschman advancing a group selection theory, or not? It sometimes sounds like it, but it isn’t clear. And most importantly, is the variation among humans of politically relevant traits just part of the natural order of things, or does it itself reflect something about evolution? Again, it isn’t clear. This is not to suggest that Tuschman lacks a view on such questions; it’s just that he synthesizes so much scientific evidence that this kind of hand-holding seems less of a priority.

"In the end, Tuschman’s book attempts a feat that those of us monitoring the emerging science of politics have long been waiting for—explaining the now well-documented psychological, biological, and genetic differences between liberals and conservatives with reference to human evolution and the differential strategies of mate choice and resource allocation that have been forced on us by the pressures of surviving and reproducing on a quite dangerous planet. It may or may not stand the test of time, but it certainly forces the issue.

"In the end, what’s so stunning about all of this is the tremendous gap between what scholars are learning about politics and politics itself. We run around shutting down governments and occupying city centers—behaviors that can only be driven by a combination of intense belief and equally intense emotion—with almost zero perspective on why we can be so passionate one way, even as our opponents are passionate in the other.

"To see politics as Hibbing, Smith, Alford, and Tuschman see it, by contrast, is inevitably to want to stop fighting so much and strive for some form of acceptance of political difference. That’s why, even though not all of the answers are in place yet, we need their line of thinking to catch on. Ideological diversity is clearly real, deeply rooted, and probably a core facet of human nature. Given this, we simply have no choice but to come up with a much better way to live with it."


(Buy these books from Amazon and support Washington Monthly: Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences AND Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us.  Chris Mooney is the author of four books, including "The Republican War on Science" (2005) and "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality,")

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We've always known that "those on the left and right tend to be different people," and that "conservatives actually do live in a world that is more scary and threatening, at least as they perceive it...(and)...trying to argue them out of it is pointless and naive."

And science has told us even more, pointing out another difference: Conservatives are genetically prone to "extreme inbreeding," and Liberals to "extreme outbreeding," leading to "conservatives, and especially religious conservatives, always want(ing) to seem to control and restrict reproduction (and other sexual activities) more than liberals do."

Avi Tuschman's observation that "'Political orientations are natural dispositions that have been molded by evolutionary forces,' leads us to understand how "(t)his naturally makes today’s liberals more exploratory and cosmopolitan."


The final paragraph is particularly interesting:  "To see politics as Hibbing, Smith, Alford, and Tuschman see it, by contrast, is inevitably to want to stop fighting so much and strive for some form of acceptance of political difference. That’s why, even though not all of the answers are in place yet, we need their line of thinking to catch on. Ideological diversity is clearly real, deeply rooted, and probably a core facet of human nature. Given this, we simply have no choice but to come up with a much better way to live with it."

The "better way to live with it" may be to live without it; when science finally comes up with a way to prevent such genetic anomalies such as the Conervative brain from infecting the polity, we will have finally advanced to a point where democracy can move forward once again.



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"Some fellows get credit for being conservative when they are only stupid."

Kin Hubbard. (American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist. 1868 - 1930.)


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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Study: 90% of Criminal Corporations Are Republican


"Study: 90% of Criminal Corporations Are Republican," a story last year by Eric Zuesse for "Buzzflash at Truthout," takes us to the theme of this site - the criminality of Conservatives.

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"Ninety percent of the corporations that were criminally convicted between 1989 and 2000 donated overwhelmingly to the Republican Party in 2012.

"A study by the Corporate Crime Reporter, Russell Mokhiber, found that, 'Ten out of the current top 100 donors to the 2012 political campaign have ple[a]d guilty to crimes.' The criminal-convictions file that was considered in his study included convictions during the ten years between 1989 and 2000.

"An examination of this list, by the present reporter, indicates that nine of these ten big-donating criminal firms gave far more to Republican political campaigns than to Democratic ones. Only one firm, Pfizer, donated more to Democrats; and they contributed only slightly more to Democrats than to Republicans. By contrast, each one of the nine big-donating Republican criminal corporations – Honeywell, Lockheed, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boeing, GE, Northrop, Koch Industries, Raytheon, and Exxon – donated far more to Republicans than to Democrats; and the most lopsidedly political criminal firm of them all, Koch Industries (which organized the 'Tea Party' starting when Obama first entered the White House), donated a whopping 98% to Republicans.

"At least according to this measure, criminal firms prefer Republican politicians overwhelmingly. It is rare, almost unheard of, to find a population that is so lopsidedly favorable to one Party over the other, as this one is: 90% vs. 10%.

"Mokhiber provided the donation-figures, for each of these ten convicted firms, based on federal filings.

"Another and related Mokhiber study, which was published on 3 April 2012, was titled 'No Fault Corporate Crime,' and he quoted there the first-ever statement that Attorney General Eric Holder had made as the U.S. Attorney General that had employed the phrase 'corporate crime.' In this statement, Holder expressed himself as being against prosecuting corporate crime, because he felt that only individuals should be criminally prosecuted. Holder has, however, also opposed criminal prosecutions of top corporate executives as individuals: not a one of them has been even prosecuted, during his term, much less convicted. Mokhiber pointed out that Holder came to his federal office from the elite corporate law firm of Covington & Burling, which defends corporations against criminal prosecutions. Mokhiber also noted, 'And he’s going back to Covington & Burling.' So: Holder’s future income will be derived from corporations that will be hiring C&B to defend them from prosecutions for crimes, and from other legal charges against them. In other words: President Obama, when he had hired Holder, was actually hiring a career defender of corporations; and this person, Holder, has been continuing in this very same capacity while on the federal payroll, during his four-year hiatus from his career, as a professional corporate defender. Holder is, in other words, doing what is in his long-term personal career interest: protecting big-corporate criminals.


"As the U.S. Attorney General, Holder’s policy regarding corporate criminality has been to seek what is called “deferred prosecution agreements” (basically agreements not to prosecute) instead of outright criminal convictions, against criminal firms. This policy has been carried out by Lanny A. Breuer (also from C&B), Obama’s appointed head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Breuer’s chief argument for 'deferred' (or actually non-) prosecutions, has been that after the accounting firm Arthur Anderson & Co. was almost put out of business by being criminally convicted in the 2001 Enron case, the Obama-Holder-Breuer team don’t want to hurt another criminal corporation, in a similar way.

"However, a study that will be published in the Spring 2013 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law will headline 'Arthur Anderson and the Myth of the Corporate Death Penalty: Corporate Criminal Convictions in the Twenty-First Century.' Its researcher, Gabriel Markoff, says there: 'No one has ever empirically studied what happens to companies after conviction. In this article, I do just that.' He summarizes his core finding: 'The Department of Justice’s policy of preferring DPAs [deferred prosecution agreements, as opposed to criminal prosecutions] is insupportable.' In other words: Markoff finds that Obama has, essentially, been hiding behind a bogus argument, in order to protect executive crooks from being prosecuted.

"Furthermore, Obama’s selected Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, has similarly refused to support criminal prosecutions of the mega-bank executives who had created the incentive-systems that produced the enormous fraudulent MBS(mortgage-backed-securities)-marketing bonuses for themselves, and that crashed the U.S. economy in 2008. Geithner, like the other key Obama appointees, comes from a background in which he has served, virtually all his life, the aristocracy that runs the Wall Street firms, and that invests in them; and those executives and investors were bailed out of their 'toxic assets' by the U.S. Treasury, and by the Federal Reserve (i.e., by future U.S. taxpayers). Geithner, as the President of the New York Federal Reserve, had served the Wall Street banks back then, even prior to his being selected by Obama as Treasury Secretary.

"As a consequence, corporate criminal prosecutions have been even fewer under President Obama than they were under the overtly Republican President, George W. Bush – and those convictions were already at historic lows.


"So, if criminal corporations are still donating overwhelmingly to the Republican Party, one might wonder what can possibly be the reason, given that those executives have been getting such a terrific deal from Obama, who (at least nominally) is a Democrat? Perhaps they think that Republican politicians give them an even better deal. For example, Wall Street donated overwhelmingly to the Republican Romney campaign, against Obama, and Romney was (even publicly) promising them the moon.

"When Obama, on 27 March 2009, in a private White House meeting with Wall Street CEOs, had told them 'My administration ... is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,' and he thus analogized those crooked billionaires to the poor Blacks who had been hunted down and lynched by the KKK in the deep South a hundred years earlier, this seems not to have persuaded them, even though Obama actually did follow through on this secret promise he made to those financial elite that day. And Obama-Geithner-Holder-Bernanke and team did also follow through, and they completed George W. Bush’s bailout of them, and of their top crony investors.

"Perhaps what Mokhiber’s study, and others, are indicating, then, is that America’s public is simply spoiling its financial elite, who feel that there is no limit to the privileges that they deserve. Staying out of prison, and even being bailed out by future U.S. taxpayers, isn’t already enough to satisfy them. They want the moon, which Romney promised them. And they almost got it. In the popular vote, at least, Romney lost by only a 2.5% margin. There were evidently lots of Americans who wanted to give the moon to these elite executives."


(Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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It's traditional in the U.S. that presidents take huge hits in popularity by both parties in their second terms.

We haven't discussed any shortcomings of the president or his cabinet members until now, but the evidence against Eric Holder's and Lanny Breur's complicity in the vast rightwing criminal conspiracy is too compelling to ignore.

"(B)eing against prosecuting corporate crime, because...only individuals should be criminally prosecuted" in a world where Conservatism is a crime will not be tolerated, nor should it be now as " 'The Department of Justice’s policy of preferring DPAs [deferred prosecution agreements, as opposed to criminal prosecutions] is insupportable."


See "The Failure of Democracy In America" for a short description of what a country like Iceland does to its corporate criminals waging class warfare on its people: (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2012/07/failure-of-democracy-in-america.html.)

Conservatives are taking us back to the Gilded Age, the age of American feudalism, where the aristocracy rules and a few Democrats are along for the ride as DINOs - or fellow travelers of the criminal capos of Conservatism. 



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"The oil and gas industry gets no subsidies, zero, nothing."

Jack Gerard. (President of the American Petroleum Institute, whose industry gets
$4 billion a year in tax breaks.)

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Why Conservatives Are Willing to Let People Like Charlene Dill Die


"J'accuse!"  Is it sadism, or is it plain old fashioned murder?  In a story by Terrance Heath at Alternet.org, "Why Conservatives Are Willing to Let People Like Charlene Dill Die," we find out.


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"Obamacare didn’t come with 'death panels,' like conservatives claimed it would. So, Republican governors and state legislatures formed their own. Until the death of Charlene Dill, the victims of those death panels were invisible.



"Conservatives constantly say that poor people are lazy. That hardly applied to Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three in Orlando, Florida. Dill worked at three different jobs to support herself and her children, and pay for a divorce from her estranged husband.

"The working poor are a lot like Charlene Dill. They work in low-wage jobs that don’t pay livable wages. Worse, they’re punished for working, because they become ineligible for state assistance programs. Charlene Dill earned about $11,000 a year from her three jobs. It doesn't sound like much, but it was actually too much.

"Dill's earnings were well below the federal poverty rate — $23,850 per year for a family of four. But state governments administer Medicaid and set their own eligibility requirements. Dill earned too much to qualify for Florida's Medicaid program, which puts an income cap on eligibility. Dill needed to earn less than $4,535 per year to qualify.

"Like millions of Americans before health care reform, Charlene Dill was trapped in the 'Red State Donut Hole.' She earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, and to little afford private insurance. So, she lived and worked every day with untreated pulmonary stenosis, because she didn't have health insurance.


"The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, but opened the door for states to reject the law’s expansion of Medicaid. In a show of political opportunism and depraved indifference towards the poor, Republican governors and legislatures in 19 states opted out of the Medicaid expansion.

"The majority of Floridians want the Medicaid expansion. But Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida legislature rejected $51 billion from the federal government to give health insurance to 750,000 low-income Floridians, including Charlene Dill. Republicans claim the federal government won't come through with the money, and Florida can't afford the expansion on its own. But the federal government would pay all the costs of Florida's expansion until 2020 and 90 percent afterwards.

"The states that rejected the Medicaid expansion have the most to gain from it. Some 8.5 million Americans in these states would be eligible for coverage under the expansion. For these Americans, it could be a matter of life and death. A recent study published n the Journal of American Medicine, showed that adults in these states have more health problems. Some — like high blood pressure, heart problems, cancer, stroke and emphysema — can be fatal if untreated.


"Are Republicans literally killing their constituents by refusing to expand Medicaid? No, but they’re letting them die. It’s a stretch to say that Charlene Dill died because Florida Republicans rejected the Medicaid expansion. Dill died because of an untreated heart condition. Even if Florida had expanded its Medicaid program, she might still have died. But access to health care, treatment, and medications would have given her a fighting chance.

"Expanding Medicaid saves lives. A 2012 Harvard University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that when states expanded their Medicaid programs, giving more poor people health insurance, fewer people died. Now, a new study from Harvard researchers, published in Health Affairs estimates that 7,115 to 17,104 people will die needlessly in states where conservatives lawmakers have rejected the Medicaid expansion.

"So why are conservatives so willing to just let people like Charlene Dill die?


"Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said, 'One rationale is sadism. Some people actually enjoy the fact that people are denied the care they need to stay healthy and alive.' Grayson’s next statement sounds closer to the truth. 'I suppose,' Grayson added, 'their ideology instructs them that if you can’t afford health insurance you should’t get it.'

"Ever since the 'Let Him Die' moment at the 2011 Republican presidential debate in Florida, it’s been clear that element of the right does fit Grayson’s description. But what I’ve read from conservatives addressing Dill’s death, the tone isn’t so much sadistic glee as moral concern. Their questions either suggest that 'she would have died anyway' or frame it as her own fault.

Perhaps it’s not quite sadism. Frances Ryan, writing in The Guardian about attitudes towards the disabled in Britain, describes 'a culture of suspicion and cruelty' that 'doesn’t see health problems or people but an underclass, feral and lazy.'


“Poverty is different now,” Ryan writes. “It's been rebranded as personal failure.”

"In the conservative worldview defined by George Lakoff in Moral Politics, material wealth indicates moral strength, and lack thereof indicates moral weakness. Poverty equals poor character. That worldview puts Charlene Dill’s death in the context of her poverty, and expands upon Ryan’s and Grayson’s statements.

"Tyler Cohen spelled out one of the principles of conservative health care reform when he wrote: “We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor.”

"Republican policy reflects a belief that wealth indicates moral virtue while poverty indicates moral weakness. The former must be rewarded while the latter must be punished — or at least not encouraged with government programs to alleviate poverty and its effects.

"Conservatives are willing to let poor and struggling people like Charlene Dill die because they believe poverty itself is a moral failure. Thus saving the Charlene Dills of the world is immoral."


********************


So Conservatives, why did you kill Charlene Dill?  It feels like murder to decent human beings, but apparently not to you.  And this year upwards of 17,000 Americans will die at the hands of American governors.

The author sees a difference between killing someone and just "letting them die," but we submit that when a deliberate action is taken to let people  die -- it's murder.

If Alan Grayson is right that Conservative "...ideology instructs them that if you can’t afford health insurance you should’t get it," than common sense tells us that Sheeplets in Red States are once again shooting themselves in the foot -- or head.


It's the poorest among us that the Conservative governors are killing, and if you're a poor Sheeplet, then you're spouting off on the internets against your own best interests.

If Conservatism is about "a culture of suspicion and cruelty" that "doesn’t see health problems or people but an underclass, feral and lazy," you are the problem too.

And if you don't see that how your Conservative propagandists and leaders tell you to hate people like yourself, you're really in denial.

There oughta be a law.



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"Christianity is a perfect religion for slaves."

Gore Vidal.


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Sunday, April 27, 2014

7 Absurd Right-Wing Follies This Week: Bundy/Hannity Breakup Edition,


We are breaking tradition a bit with Janet Allon's weekly column, bringing her to you on a Sunday with an article at Alternet.org titled, "7 Absurd Right-Wing Follies This Week: Bundy/Hannity Breakup Edition," subtitled, "Racism is MLK's fault and other head-exploding stuff."







********************

"1. Cliven Bundy: Black people were better off as slaves. Now, they put themselves in jail.


"That Cliven Bundy turned out to be a colossal racist is not a hugely surprising twist ending to the ridiculous Hannity/Bundy love affair, media circus and saga that was such a marvel to behold this week. If there is a more perfect example of Fox and the right being exposed as the utterly backward haters they are, we cannot imagine it. The greatest fiction writer in the world would be hard-pressed to come up with a more airtight scenario. Truth cannot only be stranger than fiction; it can be more satirical than satire itself.

"Still, Sean Hannity was shocked—shocked, I tell you—that a man who had previously said perfectly reasonable things, like he did not believe in the existence of the federal government, the face of which just happens to be a black man, turned out also to harbor morally repugnant views about race.

"Good ol' Cliven was not about to let his moment in the Fox-induced sun go by without weighing in on a whole variety of topics. With the microphones on, he waxed lyrical about the 'Negro,' though his actual pronunciation included a short 'I' rather than the long 'e' in that retrograde word. Equally ironic, perhaps, is that he opened this bit of philosophical rumination by criticizing 'negroes' who are on government subsidies, when his cattle are on the bovine equivalent of food stamps, grazing away on federally owned land for zippo.

"For those who missed it, here’s Bundy’s refrain, one more time: 'Negroes abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.'

"Apart from the obvious outrageousness of saying anyone is better off as a slave—much of the rest of this just doesn’t even make sense. Black people put their men in jail—no, that would be the police who put them in jail, often due to racist drug laws. And then that weird causality that Bundy implies, they put them in jail becausethey didn’t learn to pick cotton. How is that causal? Explain.

"Black people are less free now that they are no longer slaves. OK, totally veered off into the realm of absurdity. Demonstrably false, crazy, head-exploding stuff.

"2. Cliven Bundy: If I’m racist, it's MLK's fault.


"Further demonstrating his tenuous grasp on both logic and reality, Bundy elaborated on his deep thoughts on race on CNN later in the week. He was very taken aback that people found his musings on whether black people might be better off as slaves offensive, and so he sought to clarify them, or find someone else to blame. Oddly, he figured it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s fault, for not finishing 'his job.'

"Perhaps someone should break it to Bundy that MLK was assassinated.

"Just as oddly, Bundy thought that the thing that people found most offensive about what he said was that he used words like 'black boys' and 'Negroes,' as opposed to the whole 'better off as slaves' bit.

"Finally, he concluded, 'We need to get over this prejudice stuff.' This puts him in fine conservative company. Conservatives are very upset that people keep calling them racist for doing things like siding with Cliven Bundy, or blaming blacks for their own problems, or in the case of the Roberts Court, for saying that we live in a post-racial society where we no longer need affirmative action to make sure colleges are diverse and educational opportunities are afforded to all.

"In other words, the conservative argument is this: Let’s not do the hard work it takes to make things truly equal between races. Let’s just 'get over' the racism stuff. Say it’s over, and be done with it. If we just stop calling racists 'racist,' we're good.

"3. Sean Hannity: Shocked and appalled at Bundy’s racism, because it reinforces the “ignorant view” that conservatives are racist.


"Well, you know the old expression, if the shoe fits . . . or in Bundy’s case, the boot.

"But, how embarrassing for Sean Hannity that this freedom-fighting, federal-government denying rancher who just wants to keep his grazing fees down so we can all afford to eat a hamburger for heaven's sake, is now reinforcing the 'ignorant view' that conservatives are racist.

"A brief recap of other conservatives or conservative darlings who have reinforced that view:
"Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson: blacks were better under Jim Crow although he seemed unclear about the difference between that and slavery. 
"GOP’s Virginia Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson: 'Welfare hurt black families more than slavery ever did.
"Bill O’Reilly more or less any night, so let’s just cite his recent interview with Kentucky coach John Calipari during which O’Reilly just kept asking how on earth it is possible to coach all those crazy black kids. 
"Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum pact in Iowa in 2011 while running for president which began: 
"'Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.'
"So, Michele and Rick are just wondering if blacks weren't better off....

"4. Alex Jones: The NY Times totally misquoted Cliven Bundy’s words that he actually said on TV.


"Not everyone abandoned Cliven Bundy in his darkest hour when so many media outlets called him racist, including his Fox Fairweather Friends. Crazy conspiracy theorist Alex Jones invited the rancher to clarify his comments about black people and slavery and set the record straight, because, as Bundy has said, he loves all people, and he never said he was prejudiced. He never said it, so how could he be? Because racists always say: Yeah, I’m racist.

"Bundy dutifully clarified that he was just wondering if real slavery was worse than what he calls 'welfare slavery.' And he also clarified that real slavery might have been preferable because black people had chickens and gardens and the men worked.

"Well, when you put it that way, Cliven, chickens and gardens.

"But again, Bundy is 'just wondering.' He's 'not prejudiced.' He never said that.

"Alex Jones chimed in: 'How can people say you don’t want freedom for black people.'

"Bundy: 'I do want that. That’s what our heavenly father wants and that’s what our founding fathers want and that’s what I want.'

"And, let’s remember, Bundy has said he is kind of like the founding fathers.

"Also, Bundy told Jones he’s invited 'ethnic people' to his parties. In fact, he added, 'There’s a black man on my front yard right now.'

"Apparently, he did not mean the offensive statue of a black man holding a lantern, either. This black man in the front yard, Bundy said, was in the militia that is protecting Bundy from the bad old federal government. And that black man seems to be 'very comfortable' and he is "mingling" with Bundy’s family. And he is armed, all of which is very reassuring.

"5. Sean Hannity: If you don’t like Ryan’s budget, sister, you’re a communist.


"Hannity is an equal opportunity asshole, able to be a complete douchebag on a variety of topics, not just scofflaw ranchers, of course. And after Bundy embarrased him so much, Hannity really needed to change the topic. So, he did. He invited Sister Simone Campbell, who has written a book about helping the poor, onto his show, and then he called her a commie. Nice. The reason? She said she did not care for Paul Ryan’s horrifying, safety-net eviscerating, one-percent loving budget.

"Hannity is a Christian, a Catholic to be exact, and he demonstrates over and over again just how fully he has absorbed the message of Jesus Christ when it comes to caring for the poor and serving others.

"So, of course he favors Paul Ryan’s reverse-Robin Hood proposal to cut $5.3 trillion from programs for the poor combined with $4.3 trillion in tax cuts for the rich. Both Ryan and Hannity care about the poor so much, they want to improve their moral fiber, which is always accomplished by taking food away from their children.

"That’s what Jesus would do if he were alive. Help the poor improve their moral fiber.

"But wait, he is alive, eternally. We should ask him.

"And if he doesn’t agree with Ryan and Hannity, then Jesus is a commie, too.

"More here.

"6. LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to girlfriend: Don’t post pictures with black people on Instagram.


"It just may be that Donald Sterling, the charming rich guy who owns the LA Clippers, did not get the memo about this post-racial society we now live in. (Probably MLK’s fault.)

"After his girlfriend V. Stiviano posted a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram, Sterling wagged his finger and said, no. His ensuing argument with her was caught on tape.

"'It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,' he is heard saying. 'Do you have to?'

"Stiviano, who is black and Mexican, wondered if there couldn’t be an exception made in the case of someone like Magic Johnson, whom she thought Sterling admired. So, Sterling very nicely clarified his position on that, at an extremely high volume, to make sure she would hear.

"'I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE F****** LIFE, your whole life, admire him -- bring him here, feed him, f*** him, I don't care. You can do anything. But don't put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games. OK?' Sterling replied.

"Magic Johnson, having heard about Sterling's views, has said he won’t be going to any more Clippers games, shockingly.

"h/t: Huffpo

"7. Cardinal Dolan: My lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-11 or any shop in America and have access to contraceptives.


"Speaking of great Catholics besides Hannity, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, arguably the most prominent Catholic in America, got his facts completely wrong this week, when he decided to speak about the contraception mandate in Obamacare.
"'Is the ability to buy contraceptives, that are now widely available — my lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-11 or any shop on any street in America and have access to them — is that right to access those and have them paid for, is that such a towering good that it would suffocate the rights of conscience?'
"Dolan is not terribly informed on the topic of contraception, which hasn’t prevented him from aligning himself with conservative evangelicals in their fight for employers who don’t want to give insurance coverage to women who don’t want to pop out babies or remain abstinent.

"He also hasn’t been to a 7-11 lately. Yes, they have condoms, but no IUDs, or diaphragms or birth control pills, etc… all of which require doctors' visits and cost quite a bit more.

"Full story: Political Animal"







********************





The Cliven Bundy episode reminds us of how the Conservatives hate being called racists, and we doubt that it's because of guilty consciences.

But why do they get so upset when shown pictures of their fellow bigots at protests and other meetings?  They can't deny that they're racists, and a short list of reasons for the poor babies getting upset might be:

1. They're stupid (or insane) and don't believe that they are racists.
2. They know they're racists, but don't want everyone to know.
3. Both statements are true.
4. Both statements are false.




We think it's number three, a seemingly paradoxical statement, but their objections seem reminiscent of the days when mafioso figures testifying in Congress maintained that they were "legitimate businessmen."




Conservatism is a business, but it ain't "legitimate," it's criminal.












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"You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car."

State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-WN)


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Why Economist Thomas Piketty Has Scared the Pants Off the American Right


Theres' a new book written by a French economist that has taken the best seller lists by storm and Alternet.org's Lynn Stuart Parramore's article, "Why Economist Thomas Piketty Has Scared the Pants Off the American Right," tells us why.


********************

"If you call rigorous economic research on inequality a Communist plot, will it go away?


"Thomas Piketty is no radical. His 700-page book Capital in the 21st Century is certainly not some kind of screed filled with calls for class warfare. In fact, the wonky and mild-mannered French economist opens his tome with a description of his typical Gen X abhorrence of what he calls the 'lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism.'  He is in no way, shape, or form a Marxist. As fellow-economist James K. Galbraith has underscored in his review of the book, Piketty 'explicitly (and rather caustically) rejects the Marxist view' of economics.

"But he does do something that gives right-wingers in America the willies. He writes calmly and reasonably about economic inequality, and concludes, to the alarm of conservatives, that there is no magical force that drives capitalist societies toward shared prosperity. Quite the opposite. He warns that if we don't do something about it, we may end up with a society that is more top-heavy than anything that has come before — something even worse than the Gilded Age.

"For this, in America, you get branded a crazed Communist by the right. In this past weekend's New York Times, Ross Douthat sounds the alarm in an op-ed ominously tited 'Marx Rises Again.' The columnist hints that he and his fellow pundits have only pretended to read the book but nevertheless feel comfortable making statements like 'Yes, that’s right: Karl Marx is back from the dead' about Piketty. The National Review's James Pethokoukis joins in the games with a silly article called 'The New Marxism' in which he repeats the nonsense that Piketty is some sort of Marxist apologist.


"For Douthat and his tribe, the proposition that unfettered capitalism marches toward gross inequality is not a conclusion based on carefully collected data, strenuous research and a sweeping view of history. It has to be a Communist plot.

"The very heft of Piketty's book is terrifying to the Douthats, and no wonder they don't dare to read it, because if they did, they would find chart after chart, data set after data set, and hundreds of years worth of economic history scrutinized.

"Income and wealth inequality have not been comprehensively studied to date, which has to do with the paucity of historical data and the difficulties of making comparisons between countries and populations when there are so many variables. Piketty's contribution is to painstakingly comb over the available data and illuminate trends that would leave no reasonable person in doubt of the fact that capitalism's inherent dynamics create inequality, and that only our express intervention, in the form of things like a global wealth tax, investment in skills and training, and the diffusion of knowledge can lead us to a different outcome.

And you thought trickle-down started with Reagan?
 "To the horror of conservatives, the public is rushing out to buy this weighty economic treatise: the book is #1 on Amazon and has hit the New York Times bestseller list. A public that not only inuits conservative economic nonsense but has the detailed information to back up that gut instinct is just too awful for words.

"Piketty is scaring the right because he is a serious researcher and a calm, disciplined observer who writes in measured tones. But for conservatives who have based the last several decades of economic discussion on mythology, this dose of reality has come at them like a chillling blast of Arctic air.

"Let them have their hysteria. It's a testimony to the utter bankruptcy of their ideas.

"Memo to liberals and progressives: making Piketty into a rock star isn't helping, either. Let's let the facts speak for themselves."


(Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.)

********************


America is sinking, and sinking FAST -- and so a writer begins his book with "what he calls the 'lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism,"' and Conservative propagandists immediately start the name calling with "Marx Rises Again" and "The New Marxism." Typical of the Conservatives rhetoric -- lies, and more lies to keep the Sheeplets aroused and the skeptics appeased as long as they, like the propagandists, don't read the book.

Conservative economics, going by the name of "supply side" or "trickle-down" economics is just a means by the Conservative capos to keep the Conservative patrons and benefactors happy by putting even more coins in their pockets.

From Wikipedia's under their entry, "Trickle-up effect": "...a large gap in the distribution of wealth can lead to a similarly large gap in power and influence, thus making this economic model undesirable. The trickle-down effect is usually used to describe a process by which benefits to the wealthy "trickle down" to benefits for the poor. The trickle-up effect, in a corollary to this, states that benefiting the poor directly (for example through micro loans) will boost the productivity of society as a whole and thus those benefits will, in effect, "trickle up" to benefits for the wealthy."  Degnbol-Martinussen, John; Poul Engberg-Pedersen (2003). Aid. Zed Books. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-84277-039-9. Retrieved 2008-10-11.


When Conservatism is finally criminalized, the only economic theory we'll be working with is trickle-up economics.  Any method of distributing taxes to the People in the form of asset forfeiture and income controls for the rich will be studied; any method proposed that looks the least bit like trickle-down economics, whether it's called trickle-down economics, supply side economics, or Reaganomics, will be discarded in the rubbish heap of Conservative history and declared a criminal act.



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"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this
century's history.  But I didn't live in this century."

Vice President Dan Quayle.


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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stupid Goes Viral: The Climate Zombies of The New GOP


We conclude our series on man-made climate change (for now) with an article from a few years ago by RL Miller at Grist.org, "Stupid Goes Viral: The Climate Zombies of The New GOP."  Filed under climate_change and conservatives_are_stupid, it hints at the divide between the Conservative leadership and the Sheeplets, reminding us of the old saying, "The GOP is made up of a few smart people, and a whole lot of dumb ones."


********************

"After researching the causes of temperature fluctuations on earth, I found the largest factor to be the sun. The earth’s orbit changes. Also the earth’s spin and axis change over time. When areas of the earth are closer to the sun, the temperature is hotter and when they are further away, cooler. The sun also has more activity at times and less at other times. They have been able to map out large changes in the earth’s temperature over time to the sun. Times with no polar ice caps have corresponded to times when we were closer to the sun. Ice ages have corresponded to times when we were further from the sun. We should not punish the people of the United States financially by legislating on pseudo-science that has not been proven."
"That’s no ordinary tea partier. It’s a candidate for Congress. And she’s not alone.



"Meet the Climate Zombies.

"They’re mindless.

"Their stupid is contagious.

"And if they win, humanity loses.


"A couple of weeks ago, the Wonk Room had a story: Every GOP N.H. Senate candidate is a global warming denier. At a candidates’ forum in Portsmouth, N.H., 'all said man-made global warming hasn’t been proven.'

"The epidemic next appeared in New Mexico, where all three Republican candidates for Congress, and the GOP candidate for governor, denied the existence of man-made climate change. The candidates for Congress gave waffling-but-cool answers on a questionnaire, but subsequent digging revealed that all flatly deny the science.

"Intrigued, I began to poke around other states. Virtually all Republicans criticize what they call 'cap-and-tax' as too expensive, but how many actually deny the reality of climate change science? How many have been infected by Teh Stoopid?

"A lot. A real lot. Be afraid.


"I started with two states whose candidates for Senate have made headlines for their statements on climate.

In Alaska, Joe Miller, running for Senate, attributes warming to 'cyclical warming patterns.' So does Don Young, incumbent representative, who derides climate change as the 'biggest scam since the Teapot Dome.' Gov. Sean Parnell, running for reelection, hasn’t said anything, although he dislikes polar bear protection.

"In Wisconsin, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.-01) confuses climate and snowstorms; candidate Chad Lee (Wis.-02) dismisses 'junk science'; candidate Dan Sebring (Wis.-04) speaks of 'the fraud of cap-and-trade'; and Rep. Jim Sensebrenner (Wis.-05) praises 'Climategate' for raising 'legitimate questions.' Only Rep. Tom Petri (Wis.-06) may be reasonable. (I don’t have information regarding climate-related positions of a number of Republicans running in Wis.-03, Wis.-07, and Wis.-08, and for governor, all facing a primary Sept. 14.)

"Ron Johnson, Wisconsin’s GOP challenger to Sen. Russ Feingold famously blames sunspots for climate change: 'I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,' Johnson said. 'It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination.'


"What of other states? eKos leader extraordinaire Patrickz checked out Oklahoma. John Sullivan (Okla.-01) complains about fraudulent data; James Lankford (Okla.-05) complains about the global warming myth; by contrast, Charles Thompson (Okla.-02), Frank Lucas (Okla.-03), and Tom Cole (Okla.-04) merely complain about the cost of cap-and-trade. Gov. Mary Fallin thinks global warming is caused by nuclear attacks. Sen. Tom Coburn considers human-caused climate change malarkey. By contrast, Sen. James Inhofe (R) is a paradigm of reason. One of these statements is false.

"Does the virus only spread from Senate candidates? I turned my attention, randomly, to Arizona. Sadly, the Grand Canyon State is completely overrun with Climate Zombies.

"Trent Franks (Ariz.-02) has yet to see clear and convincing evidence that global warming exists; Ben Quayle (Ariz.-03) states that the planet has warmed and cooled since the beginning of time; Janet Contreras (Ariz.-04) believes that the science has been called into serious question; Jeff Flake (Ariz.-06) identifies himself as a skeptic; and Ruth McClung (Ariz. -07) is tied with Wisconsin’s Johnson in the Stoopid Contest for her comment, above, regarding earth spin. I don’t have quotes from Paul Gosar (Ariz.-01) or David Schweikert (Ariz.-05) yet, but the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity will be pouring money into their races. Jesse Kelly (Ariz.-08) founded the Arizona Tea Party, so is presumed zombiefied. Scorecard: five out of eight GOP candidates have gone on record as doubting the science, and the other three probably will.


"Gov. Jan Brewer has been silent on the subject of climate, apparently because zombies can only be killed by becoming headless.

"Is Sen. John McCain transmogrifying into a Climate Zombie? Long a self-proclaimed maverick who sponsored climate bills, he now tells the Arizona Republic that 'there are dramatic environmental changes happening in the arctic region — whether one believes they are man-made or natural.' Uh, senator? Suddenly the cause of change is in doubt?
Climate Zombie
In conclusion: We sampled four states with a total of 22 representatives, three gubernatorial candidates (excluding Wisconsin), and three senators up for reelection. Four representatives (Okla.-02, Okla.-03, Okla.-04,and Wis.-06) seem to accept the reality of climate science, if not the solution; two (Ariz.-01, Ariz.-05) have been silent to date; three (Wis.-03, Wis.-07, and Wis.-08) haven’t been selected yet; and 13 express skepticism/hostility. Of the three candidates for governor, one is openly hostile a
nd two are silent. Of the three candidates for Senate, two are openly hostile and the third is John McCain.

"Climate zombies are now the Republican party norm.

"This past summer, climate peacocks like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) succeeded in killing the Kerry-Lieberman bill by preening their sincerely held, beautifully articulated concerns about the horrors of climate while simultaneously refusing to find solutions. Those peacocks are going the way of the polar bear. Instead, climate zombies like Joe Miller mindlessly replicate. If you listen carefully, you can hear them moan: 'caaaash!' Or maybe they cry 'kooooch!'"


(RL Miller is an attorney, climate/enviro blogger, runner, quilter, keeper of chickens. If you hate the terms climate zombies and oilpocalypse, blame RL Miller.)

********************


As we jump from the time the post was written to today, the Conservatives are still flailing away at climate change denial but the voters are catching on.  A few of these candidates didn't make the cut, but may will recongnize the "inmates" that have taken over the GOP asylum during the 2012 election.

We must amend the author's statement, "Every GOP N.H. Senate candidate is a global warming denier," to "Every Conservative is a climate change denier." Two simple changes, but it hits much closer to the mark.

It's easy to make jokes about the Sheeplets following their leadership's lead up to the point of extinction, but the truth is that many of the Sheeplets will wake up when it's too late -- as usual.

If science does mark a "tipping point," that moment in time that will be too late to reverse the changes industrialism has made on the globe and its inhabitants, the time when the Sheeplets recognize Conservatism's built-in criminality may come just before that.



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"We know Al Qaeda has camps on the Mexican border. We have people that are
trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists."

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)


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