James Garner on Ronald Reagan

James Garner knew Ronald Reagan well and his assessment of Reagan mirrored observations by people like the late Margaret Thatcher, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain, and many members of Reagan’s own administration.

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Knowing that Reagan had his finger on the nuclear trigger still gives me a chill up my spine.

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Scientists Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative

dragon-sword2Ten years ago, it was wildly controversial to talk about psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Today, it’s becoming hard not to.

You could be forgiven for not having browsed yet through the latest issue of the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. If you care about politics, though, you’ll find a punchline therein that is pretty extraordinary.

The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a “negativity bias,” meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. (The paper can be read for free here.) In the process, Hibbing et al. marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it,” as one of their papers put it).

In other words, the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.

The authors go on to speculate that this ultimately reflects an evolutionary imperative. “One possibility,” they write, “is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene,” when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed. (The Pleistocene epoch lasted from roughly 2.5 million years ago until 12,000 years ago.)

Hibbing and his colleagues make an intriguing argument in their latest paper, but what’s truly fascinating is what happened next. Twenty-six different scholars or groups of scholars then got an opportunity to tee off on the paper, firing off a variety of responses. But as Hibbing and colleagues note in their final reply, out of those responses, “22 or 23 accept the general idea” of a conservative negativity bias, and simply add commentary to aid in the process of “modifying it, expanding on it, specifying where it does and does not work,” and so on. Only about three scholars or groups of scholars seem to reject the idea entirely.

That’s pretty extraordinary, when you think about it. After all, one of the teams of commenters includes New York University social psychologist John Jost, who drew considerable political ire in 2003 when he and his colleagues published a synthesis of existing psychological studies on ideology, suggesting that conservatives are characterized by traits such as a need for certainty and an intolerance of ambiguity. Now, writing in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in response to Hibbing roughly a decade later, Jost and fellow scholars note that

There is by now evidence from a variety of laboratories around the world using a variety of methodological techniques leading to the virtually inescapable conclusion that the cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different. This research consistently finds that conservatism is positively associated with heightened epistemic concerns for order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity, as well as existential concerns such as perceptions of danger, sensitivity to threat, and death anxiety. [Italics added

READ ALL OF THIS INTRIGUING STORY HERE AT MOTHER JONES

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America’s Proto-Terrorists Faking Being Patriots

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America’s proto-terrorists ( a self-proclaimed “militia” group), acting like big, bad, patriots, recently gathered at the border between Texas and Mexico to frighten children trying to find asylum in America. They were greeted enthusiastically by Texas’ Governor Rick Perry, hero of the Glorious Meltdown at the Republican Party’s 2012 Presidential Primaries.

This bit of grandstanding was meant to show up President Obama as weak on border security and to stop children crossing the border. Needless to say, it failed on both counts.

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Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy

 

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This is Christian Conservative hypocrisy at it’s very worst and it was supported by the Republican members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who violated every interpretation of the “separation of church and state”.

America’s Extremist Christians, who have more in common with the Islamic Taliban than real Christians, are trying to push their vile dogmas on the American people and far too many people do not wish to recognize their machinations.

The question I have is: Will American fall to the Christian Taliban before Americans wake up to find that they’ve lost the First Amendment to their Constitution?

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Welcome to the wacko world of Australia’s Abbott government

The right-wing cancer that is Conservative Extremism has spread from America to Australia.

Denial of science, denial of the vital role government plays in a nation, the dehumanizing of the needy,  and sheer stupidity are creeping into Australia on the backs of the Liberal Party.

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This type of irrational and medieval thinking must be resisted at all costs, because Australians and Australia deserve far better than that.

A post from the past: A new kind of birther and death panel insanity explodes

 

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Sinclair Lewis on Fascism

Sinclair Lewis was spot on when he made this statement describing Fascism. It is happening in America, right now, where corporations and far-right Christians are ceaselessly grinding down the freedoms of the American people.

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Source: FunMeme.com

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America’s Right Wing Lemmings

The recent government shutdown and debt-ceiling incidents, initiated by the Tea Partiers and supported strongly by the Republicans, was an exercise in futility. They achieved absolutely nothing, other than endangering the economic well-being of the United States and harming innocent people.

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SOURCE: Mike Luckovich and the Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

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