Category Archives: Politics

Good People Don’t Defend a Bad Man

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Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

At times in this life it can be a challenge to figure out who the bad people are, but sometimes they help you.

Sometimes they do the work for you.

Sometimes with their every vulgar, bitter word from their mouth, they testify to their personal malignancy and they make it easy to identify them.

Generally speaking, there are things that good people do and things good people don’t do.

Good people don’t refer to entire countries as “shitholes”—most notably countries that have given birth to our very humanity; ones that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined of their riches by powerful white men; countries whose people have been enslaved and sold and forced to come and build your country. 

Good people by any measurement we might use—simply don’t say such things.

Of course good people also don’t say they could grab women by the genitalia, either.
They don’t defend racists and nazis and call them “fine people,” days after murdering a young girl and terrorizing an American city.
They don’t brag about their penis size during debates, or suggest protestors at campaign rallies should be roughed up, or crack jokes about captured war heroes, or make fun of the physically disabled.
They don’t.

Good people don’t tweet anti-Muslim rhetoric in the moments immediately following a bombing in order to bolster a position.
They don’t leave American territories filled with brown skinned people without power for months upon months, after publicly ridiculing their public servants and questioning their people’s resolve.
They don’t erase protections for the water and the air, for the elderly, the terminally ill, the LGBTQ.
They don’t take away healthcare from the sick and the poor without an alternative.
They don’t gouge the working poor and shelter the wealthy.
They don’t abuse their unrivaled platform to Twitter-bait world leaders and to taunt private citizens.

Good people don’t prey upon the vulnerable, they don’t leverage their power to bully dissenters, and they don’t campaign for sexual predators.

But this President is simply not a good human being, and there’s simply no way around this truth.

He is the ugliest personification of the Ugly American, which is why, as long as he is here and as long as he represents this nation, we will be a fractured mess and a global embarrassment. He will be the ever lowering bar of our legacy in the world.

And what is painfully obvious in these moments, isn’t simply that the person alleging to lead this country is a terrible human being—it is that anyone left still defending him, applauding him, justifying him, amening him, probably is too.

At this point, the only reason left to support this President, is that he reflects your hateful heart; he shares your contempt of people of color, your hostility toward outsiders, your ignorant bigotry, your feeling of supremacy.

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it.

And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

They will dig their heels in to explain away or to defend, what at the end of the day is simply a bad human being saying the things that bad human beings say because their hearts harbor very bad things.

No, good people don’t call countries filled with beautiful, creative, loving men and women shitholes.

And good people don’t defend people who do.

You’re going to have to make a choice here.

 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here

Oh, What a Tangled Web…..About Those Transition Team Emails…

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Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s transition team is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of unlawfully obtaining tens of thousands of private emails during its investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.   I have a close friend who has been a constitutional lawyer for more than 30 years.  He and I had a long conversation about this issue this morning, and it seems that the Trump team is wrong.  My friend backed up his claims by quoting specific statutes that I do not have on hand, but according to him, nothing untoward took place in the attainment of those emails, and it’s going to be simple for Mueller to justify obtaining them.

Mueller followed the letter of the law.  Therefore, the Trump/FOX panic is yet another of the ridiculous attempted distractions that they’re so fond of.  At this point, only that tiny 32% of remaining Trump followers, the majority of which are uneducated,  are buying it. 

Among the materials obtained by Mr. Mueller were emails, laptops and cellphones for nine members of Mr. Trump’s transition team who worked on national security and policy matters.  Here is a copy of the letter itself, and if you read it thoroughly, I think you’ll find an interesting reveal at the end:  CLICK HERE

Mr. Mueller’s investigators have used the documents during interviews with transition team officials when questioning them about calls between Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the Russian ambassador in which they discussed American sanctions….only while they were being interviewed, they were unaware of the fact that Mueller was in possession of, and that he had already reviewed the emails.

Earlier in 2017, Trump appointed the top attorney at the office responsible for providing all the electronics and email accounts the Trump transition team used.  That attorney was Richard Backler.  This guy was a white collar criminal defense lawyer prior to his appointment.  He aided rich criminals in beating Federal convictions for  the firm of…..are you ready?….Bracewell and GIULIANI!!!

Anyway….so Trump appointed Backler, who assured Trump that he would not allow his organization (the GSA) to provide any of their emails to investigators.  Only problem was that Backler got sick and subsequently died.  Therefore, until Mueller’s team began asking Trump aides about the emails, they had no idea that he (Mueller) even had them, because they believed that Trump’s dirty guy on the inside was running interference for them.  Think about that one for a second. 

Trump and his flunkies thought their friend at the GSA had LITERALLY locked their emails away in a vault somewhere, that only he had access to.  They were wrong.  As a result,  everyone from the Trump team that was interviewed, had a false sense of security thinking Mueller didn’t know what he already knew.  They thought he was fishing, and answered accordingly.  They had no idea he was actually reeling them in.

Now, imagine the freakout that must have occurred in Trumptopia when they realized their cleanup person hadn’t actually erased the fingerprints at the crime scene!  EVERYTHING they believed they’d buried was already in Mueller’s possession in writing! 

The entire Trump orbit just realized that Mueller has a trove that entirely hangs them out to dry, AND brings them down for obstruction and lying to investigators! In other words, Trump appointed a Giuliani shill to protect him from Mueller, and then the guy died just as Mueller was honing in on him. (Trump)   Trust must be losing his mind….what little of it is left……and Jared Kushner must be in even more of a panic, because Trump’s transition told its team members that the emails were privately recorded, and they though they would be promptly destroyed right after the inauguration, but Flynn was already being investigated by the FBI before Trump even hired him.  

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  Trump, the President with the highest disapproval rate of any President in the history of America,  is in deep trouble at this point.  Let’s see how it all unfolds.

 

 

Fake News. Oh, Really?

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Part of donald trump’s strategy to divide and conquer, is to keep everyone and everything around him in chaos and disarray, creating distractions that will divert attention from the current Federal investigations that are being conducted into his misbehavior, both before and after the election.  There are sexual assault and rape allegations against him. Russion collusion allegations, misappropriation of funds, and many other Federal investigations going on right now.

At this point, trump’s followers only consists of a scant 30%, give or take, of the American population. In fact, no other President has ever sunk so low in popularity as the current one.  This demographic is largely uneducated, fundamentalists and generally not very bright, as indicated by their poor reasoning abilities, limited vocabularies and redneck proclivities.  They are very easily swayed, and rather than weighing actual facts, they turn to only trump-sanctioned news outlets for their misinformation.

One of trump’s most highly touted manipulative devices, is to attack what he terms the “lame stream media,” which calls him out for his many misdeeds.  If he can convince the rednecks that they are being lied to, they’ll follow him anywhere.  However, there are problems with trump’s claims.

Donald trump is the person who falsely propagated the following lies, or fake news.  The following list contains a number of his better known lies.  These things have all been debunked over and again, and are things that he placed in the news, which can be termed, “Fake news”.  Mind you, these things are but a few of many, many more lies this man has told.

 

  • 3 million illegal votes were cast in the election
  • Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK
  • Mexico is going to pay for his border wall
  • Thousands of Muslims cheered in the streets right after 9/22
  • He was against the Iraq war
  • The unemployment rate is at 42%
  • Crime is reaching “record levels” in America
  • Global warming is a Chinese hoax
  • Obama was born in Kenya

 

When I was younger, I worked for two different major news outlets. At no time, during that period of time, was  I asked by my editors to lie about any politician, nor any person in general.  I had to thoroughly research everything that I wrote, and like all major news outlets, my writing had to pass the scrutiny of my editors and fact checkers.  I had to empirically substantiate every single word that I wrote.  As a person with first hand experience, I can say without hesitation, that donald trump’s claims about the “fake media” or “fake news” are nothing but lies.

As Noam Chomsky pointed out in “Manufacturing Consent.” all of the major news outlets do trace back to a number of corporations, and each one has an Editor in Chief, who makes the final decisions about what does and does not appear in print.  Someone has to.  However, to make the claim that despite trump’s lies and bizarre behaviors, he is being discriminated against because of a biased news media is simply not true.  His negative behaviors are frequent, severe and are newsworthy.  I know that if trump stopped behaving like this, the news about his behavior would change drastically.

About That Kneeling Thing….

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The REAL Patriots are the protestors.

Donald Trump says that he supports a peaceful protest because it’s an American right….but not the protest about black oppression and racism…..and this is the problem.    Any protest that he, or any conservative, does not agree with, is, according to conservatives, a protest that should be stopped.

Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge.  Young black Americans should have gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter, and college kids in the 60’s had no right to protest an immoral war.

People who served in the military during the Vietnam war ….some of them with injuries that our President would have claimed disqualified them from doing so.  They served anyway, because they loved their country.  Their friends were killed in combat….their brothers. Those people did not die so that you could decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.

The young black athletes are not disrespecting America nor the military by taking a kneel during the anthem.  They are respecting the best thing about America.   It’s a dog whistle to the uneducated, racist rednecks among us to say otherwise.   They, and each one of us, should protest how Black Americans are treated in this country.  And if you don’t think white privilege is a fact, you simply don’t understand America.

The comedian, Chris Rock, says it best.  There’s not a white man in America who would trade places with him….and he’s rich.  It has not gone unnoticed that trump has spoken out against the Mexicans who want to come to America for a better life, against the Muslims, and now, the great black athletes.   However, he keeps his mouth shut for days, about the white men who marched under a Nazi flag in Charlottesville, except to remind us, there were “good people” there.   And when he finally tried to say the right thing, NOT ONE of them was called an S.O.B., nor did he say they should be fired.

We have white men in America who wave the Nazi flag or the Confederate flag, and he’s concerned about taking a knee because it “disrespects” this flag.  We use that flag to sell mattresses and beer. We wear it as swimsuits, and wrap our bald heads in flag bandanas, and stick it in our pants, because we disrespect that flag every single day.

Perhaps we all need to read the Constitution again.  There has never been a better use of pen to paper.  Our forefathers made freedom of speech the first amendment.  They listed 10, and not one of them says, “You have to stand during the anthem,” and I’m pretty sure that those men respected the country that they fought for and founded, a great deal more than the self-proclaimed patriots who are simply ignorant hypocrites, because they want to deny the basic freedom of this great country, a country they supposedly value and cherish so much.

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Here Are A Bunch Of Ways Americans Disrespect Our Flag Daily–And No One Complains About It

CLICK HERE

“Both sides” did NOT start the Charlottesville Riots!

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From someone who was there, as a medic. Don’t want to hear any more about it being two sided.
From a (verified) source who was on the ground at Charlottesville.  Please link to this and/or share it with everyone you know.  This is important information.

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I rarely post politics or anything else on Facebook …. But let me be clear. I was acting as a medic in Charlottesville. “Both sides”-ing about it is absolutely unacceptable. Content note: I’m going to get quite graphic here, because while I understand that there’s quite a range of political viewpoints among my Facebook friends, I want to *get this point through to everyone whatever your politics*.
In the run-up to that weekend, some local counterprotest organizers’ families were forced to flee their homes because of violent threats. Some of them had “bodyguards” – friends escorting them everywhere they went that week, even to the grocery store, work, all the mundane places that people go in their normal lives.
On Friday night, a torch-wielding mob chanting Nazi and other racist slogans (e.g. “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us”), some doing Nazi salutes, surrounded, screamed “White lives matter” and “anti-white” at, a small group of college student counterprotesters who had linked arms around a statue and had a banner. They then threw fuel at them, beat them with lit torches, pepper-sprayed them, and punched them (including pepper-spraying a girl in a wheelchair). The police mostly stood by until the nazis were gone. A medic who was wearing a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) was followed in the dark by one of the nazis, and took it off after that so as not to be targeted. A university librarian who joined the students to try to protect them has now had a stroke. At some point that evening, the torch-wielders also surrounded a black church while chanting racist slogans. All of this not only hurt people that night but set expectations for how the white nationalists would behave the next day.
On Saturday morning, a line of clergy, along with a gradually growing group of other protesters, showed up outside the nazi rally (given the iconography, including swastikas, the Black Sun, and fasces, and the chants, of involved groups, I don’t have a problem using that word, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking these were mainstream conservative groups that are being described hyperbolically), facing militia movement members who were carrying assault rifles. There was shouting back and forth, and a small early fistfight where a nazi punched a nearby counterprotester who spilled coffee on him. Nazis were screaming antisemitic things at rabbis in the clergy line, and chanting “blood and soil” in response to the clergy singing “This little light of mine.” At one point, some clergy did a peaceful blockade of one of the park entrances, which was forcibly broken by an incoming white nationalist group with skulls painted on their shields.
The heavy bidirectional fighting, though, mostly got going after a group of counterprotesters nonviolently blocked the way of an oncoming group of white nationalists, who broke through the blockade with clubs and heavy shields. Some people defended themselves as the white nationalists kept charging and swinging clubs. After that, there were fistfights and club-fights breaking out all around, nazis pepper-spraying and tear-gassing counterprotest crowds, plastic water bottles thrown in both directions. A nazi group that didn’t know where the entrance to the park was added to the street fights.
Some clergy ran to shield vulnerable people with their bodies, and those clergy were protected by antifa-associated counterprotesters – multiple clergy/theologians have said that they would have been “crushed” and maybe killed if antifa had not protected them. This went on for a long time. For most of this, the police stood around. Eventually, they cleared both sides out of the area.
The town’s synagogue is a short distance from the park. Throughout the day, nazis paraded by it doing the Nazi salute and shouting antisemitic slurs. The police had refused to provide a guard to the synagogue for some reason, so it had hired its own armed guard. There were threats of burning it down coming in. It had to cancel a havdalah service at a congregant’s house that evening out of fear of attack.
The march that was attacked with a car by James Fields was that afternoon. What street fighting had happened was long-since over by then. It was a happy march, it was not fighting anyone. The car attack came out of nowhere and the aftermath looked like a war zone. It hit the front of the march as the march was going around a corner, and many people weren’t sure what had happened at first, people were screaming about a bomb. In addition to the woman who died, many people had serious injuries. A medic who was hit had to have emergency surgery to not lose her leg. A 13 year-old girl and her mom were among the injured. The street was covered in blood. The firefighters and paramedics were great. The police, on the other hand, rolled in an armored vehicle and threatened the crowd of survivors with a tear gas launcher. Police officers ordered the medics who were performing CPR on the woman who died to leave her and clear the area. They refused, and bystanders negotiated with the police to leave them alone.
There were several other incidents throughout the afternoon where white nationalists/nazis/whatever were menacing small groups of wandering counterprotesters with their cars, swerving toward them on the sidewalk like they were going to hit them, that kind of thing, including after the car attack. At one point my medic buddy and I were about 50 feet ahead of such a group and heard screeching car sounds and screams, and ran back, thinking for a second that there had been another terrorist attack and that this time we were the only medics on site, but fortunately it was just a scare – the driver then “rolled coal” (intentionally emitting a dark cloud of exhaust) at the people on the sidewalk before driving away. There was also an incident at some point where a young black man was badly beaten by white nationalists in a parking garage.
There is no “both sides” here. I mean, first of all, there is no moral both sides because antifascists and nazis aren’t morally the same, period. Disrupting nazis isn’t the same as being one, period. But there was also no “both sides” even beyond that. Mutual street fighting primarily kicked off by an attack from the opposing side, doesn’t compare to mowing people down with a car, to threatening a synagogue and a black church, to stalking someone for being visibly Jewish, to being part of a Nazi-slogan-screaming mob that surrounds and attacks peaceful college kids and could have easily killed one of them if the fuel thrown on a couple of them had been lit by one of the many thrown or swung torches.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking the Saturday rally was starting out just a rally like others, but with racist assholes.
The people organizing counterprotests, whose families had to flee town, would probably take issue with that. The black church and the synagogue, the synagogue congregant who had to cancel a religious/cultural ceremony out of fear, and the ones who had to leave the building in groups out the back entrance to avoid attack, would probably take issue with that. The people who were physically attacked, on Friday night, by those in town for the Saturday rally, would probably take issue with that.
Don’t elide the difference in the questions of whether hate speech should be criminalized, and how communities and their supporters should protect themselves when people who are already threatening to kill them roll into town to rally and then physically attack community members before their rally while the police don’t stop it. Don’t invoke the Civil Rights Movement to elide it, or tsk-tsk people who were on the ground in Cville. The Civil Rights Movement had its Deacons for Defense and Justice, and similar groups. Just as importantly, many of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement were murdered. If you think the only valid kind of activism in response to racist hate is martyrdom, you need to at least think through the implications of that belief.
I did not have a good weekend and I have no interest in hearing comments about how, despite everything I saw and everything I said here, you think this is a “both sides” thing.

A Note from Elizabeth Warren

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Cratering in the polls, besieged by sexual assault allegations and drowning in his own disgusting rhetoric, Donald Trump has been reduced to hollering that November’s election is “rigged” against him. His proof? It looks like he’s going to lose.

Senior Republican leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from this dangerous claim. But Trump’s argument didn’t spring from nowhere. It’s just one more symptom of a long-running effort by Republicans to delegitimize Democratic voters, appointees and leaders. For years, this disease has infected our politics. It cannot be cured until Republican leaders rethink their approach to modern politics.

 

Anyone with children knows that whining about imaginary cheating is the last refuge of the sore loser. But GOP leaders have served up such a steady diet of stories about imaginary cheating that an Economist-YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Republican voters believe voter fraud is a “very serious problem,” and 46 percent have little or no confidence that ballots will be counted accurately. They hold these views even though there is literally no evidence – none, zero, zip – that widespread voter fraud is a factor in modern American elections. A recent study looked at around a billion ballots cast in the United States from 2000 through 2014 and found only 31 instances of impersonation fraud at the polls.

Republican leaders – and even Trump’s running mate – have tried to tiptoe out of the room when Trump makes ever-wilder claims of a rigged election. But as much as these Republicans would like everyone to believe that this is a Trump-only problem, it’s not.

For years, Republican leaders have pushed the lie that voter fraud is a huge issue. In such states as Kansas and North Carolina, and across the airwaves of right-wing talk radio and Fox News, Republican voters have been fed exaggerated and imagined stories about fraud. Interestingly, all that fraud seems to plague only urban neighborhoods, minority communities, college campuses and other places where large numbers of people might vote for Democrats. The purpose of this manufactured hysteria is obvious: to delegitimize Democratic voters and justify Republican efforts to suppress their votes.

 

The voting-fraud lie has been used to justify the passage of dozens of voter ID laws, typically rammed through state legislatures by Republican partisans. A study by political scientists at the University of California at San Diego recently concluded that strict photo-identification requirements disproportionately suppress turnout by Democratic voters – especially blacks and Latinos. Meanwhile, after a key provision in the Voting Rights Act protecting minority voters from discrimination was unceremoniously declared defective by a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court in 2013, those same Republican leaders who seem so concerned about threats to the integrity of our elections have largely remained on the sidelines.

Trump also didn’t invent ominous appeals for partisans to patrol “certain areas” and “go and watch these polling places” where citizens often vote for Democrats. More than three decades ago, the Republican National Committee was caught orchestrating expansive efforts to intimidate individuals at polling places in minority neighborhoods. Federal courts have barred the RNC from engaging in poll-watching activities relating to “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud” in minority areas ever since.

It’s not just voters, either. Trump’s effort to delegitimize federal officials and political opponents also shares a long-standing Republican pedigree.

After Trump was sued for fraud over Trump University, he attacked the legitimacy of the federal judge with Mexican heritage presiding over the case, claiming that Trump’s own bigotry undermined the judge’s neutrality. Paul Ryan tsk-tsked, but Trump was simply joining a long line of Republicans in Congress who have spent years assaulting the federal courts. For years, the Republicans have blocked scores of nonpolitical lower-court nominees who haven’t pledged their allegiance to the financial interests of the rich and powerful. These attacks culminated in a national campaign of slime against the president’s highly respected choice to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat. It’s no surprise Trump would conclude that federal judges are fair game.

 

Similarly, some Republicans pretended to be shocked when Trump asserted that he would follow two-bit tyrants such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and imprison his political rival after the election. But for years, congressional Republicans have focused most of their resources on finding some way to brand Hillary Clinton a criminal. A party that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on eight separate Benghazi investigations – and shouts itself hoarse attacking an FBI director who served as a senior political appointee in a Republican administration when he concludes that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton over her emails – shouldn’t feign astonishment when its presidential nominee echoes their efforts to criminalize American politics.

 

Democrats and Republicans disagree about a lot of issues. We both fight hard to win elections. But winning isn’t everything. Al Gore understood that when he stood down after the 2000 election. Now Republican leaders seem increasingly concerned that when Trump loses, he won’t follow that example. But Trump’s words and deeds are merely the latest – and loudest – examples in a long line of Republican tactics that are poisoning our political system.

 

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. She wrote this for The Washington Post.

Protected: TRUMP: Pushing Democrates Toward A Solid Win

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Happy Leap Day…well, I think…

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On this, the last day of February, I recall how I used to pity those poor kids who could only celebrate their birthdays on the actual date, every couple of years.  I felt uncomfortable about the ambiguous nature of the leap year birthday. I mean, those poor kids had to hesitate and figure out an understandable response to the question, “How old are you?”.

I have always had a distaste for ambiguity.  Therefore, I ask a lot of questions.  (Liars HATE it that I ask a lot of questions.  I catch them off guard, it seems…)  I ask people a lot of questions, not because I’m nosy but because when I have all the facts about a given situation, I can make better decisions for myself.  It isn’t a judgement issue.  It’s more like:  “If you’re going to do this….then I’m going to do that.”   “If you are going to call back later, I’ll leave my phone on.  If not, I’ll turn it off so I won’t be disturbed while I work.”  It isn’t that I’m asking someone TO call back.  Whatever their decision about this is, will be fine with me.  I just want to know one way or the other so I can take action accordingly.

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Turns out that science has now substantiated why ambiguity bugs me ( or all of us) as much as it does.   The phenomenon  actually screws with our heads.   According to a study published in the Journal of Science, the reason lies in how the brain responds emotionally, and sometimes, even illogically, when forced to make decisions based on conflicting or little evidence.   These so-called ambiguous decisions are different from decisions that we think of as risky decisions.  No wonder the person who is being lied to, for example, appears so nutty to the rest of the world. That person is being fed conflicting information.   The heart hears what it wants to hear, but the head says, “Um….hold on there just a minute….That doesn’t make sense!”

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Wait….If it looks like a duck…then, it IS a duck….but it also looks like a rabbit.  Which do I choose?

When faced with a risky decision, one  is not sure about the outcome of a particular choice but can have a notion about the probability of success. In an ambiguous decision, a person is ignorant of both factors.  Thus, the uncomfortable feeling….the uncertainty, and sometimes illogical and absurd behaviors.

Brain specialists  would say ambiguity is the discomfort from knowing there is something you don’t know that you wish you did.  This probably stems back to the fight or flight area of the brain, the hippocampus, and is a matter of survival.   In the previously mentioned experiment,  subjects were given the opportunity to place  ambiguous bets while their brains were scanned using a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI).  In this part of the experiment, participants  were given the choice between placing a monetary bet  on the chances of drawing a red card from a “risky” deck that had 20 red cards and 20 black cards…that is, where the probability of choosing either color was 50-50, and making the same bet with an “ambiguous” deck where the color composition of the cards was unknown.

In the majority of  cases, the participants  decided  to place the risky bet. Logically, however, both bets would have been equally good because in both cases, the chance of pulling a red card on the first draw was 50-50.

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The brain scans taken during the experiment revealed that ambiguous betters were often accompanied by activation of the parts of the brain known as the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).  These are  two areas of the brain that are involved in the whole emotions processing thing.   The  amygdala has been found to be closely associated with fear, which, again, harkens back to being in survival mode.   If you think about it, a correlation between aversion to ambiguous decisions and activation of emotional parts of the brain makes  perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view.  Do I go into that dark cave or don’t I?  Well, first, I need to know if a saber toothed tiger is in there, right?  And I’m going to be a little nervous about it until I find out.  Should I leave my boyfriend or not….Well, first, I need to find out if he really IS cheating on me.  In the modern human brain, this translates into a reluctance to bet on or against an event if it seems at all ambiguous.

The results of this study could help those of us in the field of Psychology,  understand how humans make decisions in the real world, because the choices people make are often based on very limited information.  (i.e…..All signs point to cheating, but he denies it….or I’m not going to walk into that dark cave if there’s a tiger in there, because it will eat me alive. )

Makes sense to me.

Anyway….Happy Birthday, Leapers…er…Leap Yearlings…um…people whose birthdays are on leap year.  Here’s a nice mug.  Have some coffee.

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No, Jimmy Carter does NOT endorse Trump!

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I opened Facebook this morning and saw about 6 claims from  right wingers, saying that Jimmy Carter now endorses Donald Trump.

It isn’t true.

Jimmy Carter was asked which he would vote for, Trump or Cruz, if he were FORCED to vote for one or the other. He said that under those circumstances, he would go with Trump, because Trump is the more malleable (easily influenced) (as opposed to Cruz being so rigid.)  This was not intended as a compliment toward Trump.   It was meant to infer that Trump is so wishy washy and wants so badly to give the appearance of “winning” (when he actually isn’t winning…) that he refuses to take a firm stand on any issue.   He does back and forth, depending on the demographic to whom he is addressing a given statement.

So NOW, the right wingers have taken those words, twisted them and are misrepresenting what Carter said as an ENDORSEMENT of Trump. Jimmy Carter does not endorse Trump, my friends. I am amazed by the stupidity of the many claims to the contrary that I am seeing across the Internet this morning.

Jeeze! Ain’t lack of education purty?!

Read the whole story HERE.

George Carlin says it best…

 

A Word from our President

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“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely—that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too. Our right to peaceful assembly—that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our unalienable right to life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—those rights were stripped from college students in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers at Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown. First-graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”

– President Barack Obama at today’s White House Announcement on new executive orders

CLICK HERE

 

Why I am a Democrat and not a Republican

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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.26.56 AM Each election, I take my time and decide on my candidates very carefully. 

I watch the Republican debates and I take notes.  I watch the Democratic debates and, again, I take notes.   THEN I decide for whom  I want to vote, regardless of the party he or she belongs to.  I don’t blindly vote for either party’s prime candidate without first doing my homework….and after I do my homework, it somehow always ends up to be the Democratic candidate for whom I vote.  I do not plan to vote for the Democratic ticket automatically.

That said, while  I have fundamental differences in my political views from those of Carly Firoina, I felt she handled herself well during the Republican debates.  She stuck to her view of the facts and did not rise to the battering offered by her opponent, Donald Trump.  There were just things that came out of her mouth that made me stop in my tracks, scratch my head and say, “Whaaaa????”

For the many who are unfamiliar with her record, it is not a strong one. The primary mark on her resume is negative, having run Hewlett-Packard into the ground as CEO. “Call her the anti-Steve Jobs,” wrote Infoworld, who put her on a list of tech’s all-time top 25 fiascoes. During her tenure, the company’s stock lost nearly 50% of its value, thousands of employees lost their jobs to layoffs, and Ms. Fiorina was forced to resign (read: “fired”) by HP’s board. In USA Today, CBS Moneywatch, and Portfolio.com, she was ranked among the “worst CEOs in America.” On the day her departure was announced, HP’s stock went up—and she received a $21 million severance package.

What I saw during the Republican debates was exactly what I see in certain aspects of my personal  life.   I had to sort through the name calling and misplaced “facts” as I watched the republican debates.  I listed to negative comments directed by front runner,  Donald Trump,  toward women’s  appearance, just as I listed to certain members of my family cut one another down based on appearance.  Last night, as Trump watched Carly Fiorina on TV, he said,  “Look at that face! “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” ….as  if that should matter.  And really…..Someone who looks like THIS criticized his female opponent?

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.28.35 AMGive me a break!

 Trump has called Lindsey Graham an “idiot,” labeled Jeb Bush an “unhappy person” who is “out of touch,” and has even  mocked Rick Perry’s glasses.   Recently, after a fundraiser for Scott Walker criticized Trump, the candidate labeled  the event “very dumb” and “not smart.” Just another example of how money simply can’t buy class.   This person thinks he can lead an entire nation?  I beg to differ.  his emotional maturity is at such a low level that he is nothing short of an embarrassment.

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In certain aspects of my personal life, I  must continually contend with statements such as the ones made in the above, angry-looking meme with the quote from R. Lee Ermey….whoever that is…….These are strong claims, ones that, if directed toward someone who is partisan-loyal and does not know how to conduct unbiased research, might be convincing….but how do these claims hold up?

For illustrations sake, let’s start with the claims about the economy. Under our current President,  the economy has actually grown a considerable amount.  It started off rocky for President Obama in 2009. In fact,  that year the economy actually contracted 2.8%, just as he originally predicted that it would.  Since then, however, the US economy has grown substantially under our current President: 2.5% in 2010, 1.6% in 2011, 2.3% in 2012, 2.2% in 2013, and 2.4% in 2014. These figures are very good compared to growth in other developed countries around the world in the last five years.  For 2015 and 2016, the CBO projects that the economy will grow at roughly 3%. If this prediction comes into fruition, then seven out of the eight years of Obama’s presidency will have been accompanied with solid economic growth.   But does anyone on the right give him credit for this.  No.

So the bottom line is this….What I witnessed last night was a group of Democratic candidates who treated one another respectfully.  I saw one major candidate step in an boldly defend his leading opponent, offering support and encouragement about a non-issue that keeps being dragged into the equation to muddy the views of those of us who are trying to stick to the issues.  I read the fact checking after each debate.

Both sides made errors, but as I examined the facts, I realized that many of the Republican candidates (in the midst of taking jabs at one another) told blatant lies.  Trump espoused his views on vaccinations, for instance, with ZERO scientific substantiation and with absolutely no authority as a physician to back up what he said.  As I examined the gaffs from the Democrats, however, I found that most of them were based on the candidates making earlier statements somewhere down the road, the getting new information that could inform their opinions, intelligently adjusting those opinions, and finally arriving at new ones….Hence the right wing cries of “flip flopping”.  I think the intelligent person DOES change opinions as new evidence is gleaned.    I saw some exaggerations by both sides, because, well, this is politics, folks, and that’s what politicians do.

At the end of the day, I am a liberal, and that is a label that I proudly hold.  I have seen it misrepresented and maligned by the right, but I will carry it to my grave with pride and respect.  It is inclusive of everyone….even of the Republicans.

The label “liberal” is against oppression, racism, unnecessary gun violence, the right for a woman to determine medical decisions about her own body, wage equality, race equality, gender equality and equal opportunities for ALL.  My political views are views that embrace, not views that divide and shun.

And yeah…lie about me and I’ll speak out against you,….because that is just….and it is right.  However, at the end of the day, I’m just tired of it…..the greed, the attitudes of entitlement, the name calling, the mean-spirited shunning and shaming, the attitude that one’s religion is the ONLY religious choice in this great country of ours that was founded on keeping religion separate from politics and government…. and that embraces ALL religions.    I’m fed up with that, and for the rest of my life, I will fight for what I believe is right for me…for my life…and for the lives of my children and grandchildren.

Ann Coulter, the Vile Spewer of Hatred, Gets Taken Down a Notch or Seven

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After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:


Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult? I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia

The Sexiest Thing I Have Ever Seen in My Entire Life

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I kid you not.  I almost fainted when I watched this the first time.  It is divine….in every possible way.

On Being Politically Correct

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Lavender for Migranes

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Lavender has been studied recently for several purposes including treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as a number of other things. Its analgesic effect, however, its painkiller effect, is one of the widely studied properties. Surprising, then, that there hasn’t apparently been a single documented clinical trial to study lavender for the treatment of migraine headaches that affects tens of millions of Americans every year. Until now: “Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”

Migraine sufferers were asked to—at the early signs of headache—rub 2–3 drops of the lavender essential oil onto their upper lip and inhale its vapor for a 15-min period of time and score the severity of their headache for the next two hours. In the control group they did the same thing except they used drops of basically unscented liquid wax. Neither group was allowed to use any painkillers. In the lavender group 74% of patients had an improvement in their symptoms, significantly better than placebo. Though in the study lavender wasn’t directly compared to more conventional treatments, lavender appears to stack up pretty well compared to typical drugs. Lavender helped about three quarters of the time, high dose Tylenol only works about half the time, and Ibuprofen 57% of the time. The #1 prescription drug, generic imitrex, is effective 59% of the time, and then the hardcore treatment they use in emergency rooms where they inject you under the skin, 70%. All of these work better than the original migraine therapy, known as trepanning, where doctors drilled a hole in your head to let the evil spirits escape.

Conclusion: The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.

You can buy pharmaceutical grade lavender for $21 HERE.

Why We Should NOT Overcomb

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Why We Should NOT Overcomb

Well, it’s official.  The Dumbass, I mean, The Donald is running for POTUS.  Off the top of my head, I can think of about 5 million reasons why I won’t vote for this man.  However, the reason that comes to the forefront of my mind is his propensity for inconsistencies.  Yes, everyone says one thing and occasionally does another…but this man?  Pure deception.  For instance, he is running as a Republican, but has a history of donating heavily to Democratic causes and politicians, most prominently toward the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York.  He wrote a book called, The America We Deserve, ” but lo!  His current takes on health care, taxes, and abortion are dramatically different from the views he espoused in that book.  And while his contemporary views on issues like immigration are decidedly conservative, he disagrees with other Republicans on topics such as cutting Medicare spending.  The boy just cannot make up his “mind”.

Mexican immigrants are “taking your jobs,” but we should let in Europeans

The Donald’s  position  against immigration reform ebbs and flows depending on his current political considerations. In a 2013 speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee, he  referred to immigration reform as a “suicide mission” for Republicans, and suggested  that said reform would increase the number of Democratic voters. THEN,  he warned us that Mexican immigrants are “taking your jobs and you better be careful.”  Yeah.  Right.  What jobs are they taking exactly?  Seems to be the crap jobs that no American wants.   At the same time, however, he advocated for easier paths to immigration for European migrants, whom he described as “tremendous” and “hardworking.”  Say what?  You’re somehow inferior if you were born in Mexico?  Excuse me, Dr. Bigot.

The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Rubén Hinojosa responded to the Donald’s absurdity by stating,  “His claims that European immigrants should have an easier immigration process than others is at best an ill-informed economic myth and at worst, racist rhetoric.”   Exactly!

Believes wind turbines are “destructive,” backs war for oil

One of Trump’s many examples of pure ignorance, lies in his belief that wind turbines contribute to the war for oil.  Say what??    Earlier this  month , he  lost a case against the Scottish government, which he accused of illegally licensing an experimental wind farm to be built near his golf resort in Aberdeenshire.  Previously, Trump tried — and failed — to block another wind farm from being built on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland.  What is this idiot thinking?!Despite his loss, Trump’s organization issued a statement maintaining his opposition to the “destructive proliferation of wind turbines” around the world. Trump also opposes other renewable energy sources, such as solar power.  I’ll bet he does…because with Trump, it seems to be all about the money.  To hell with the earth!    Instead of focusing on renewables, Trump has, in the past, suggested that the US steal oil fields from countries in the Middle East as “spoils” of war.  Does this man not understand what is happening to the earth as a result of fossil fuel usage?  Does he not read about the floods in Texas?  Does he not note the new fracking-related earthquakes?  How out of tune can a person be?!

He has a secret plan to defeat ISIS (but not ISIL)

Trump claims to have a plan to fight ISIS. He just won’t tell us what it is.  It’s a SEEKRIT.      But wouldn’t you think that a person who is seeking the highest office in the land. Trump could be a little more forthcoming about his big “plan”?  When Fox interviewed him recently, the man declined to specify his plan for dealing with ISIS.  citing a desire for surprise and secrecy. “If I run, and if I win, I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing,” Trump stated. All we know is that Trump’s plan, whatever it is, will defeat ISIS “quickly and effectively.” And that it’s “foolproof.”  The false confidence espoused by this moron is one of his most distinguishing characteristics.  The man do love to gloat!  Reminds me of another gloater who is being made a fool of.

Flip-flop on healthcare: The Donald REALLY wants to “repeal” Obamacare

This man’s position has changed through  the years because it appears he tries to get into favor by taking the trending position of the moment.  In  2000, he supported universal health care as a national necessity: “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.” He suggested that the US model its health-care system on Canada’s, arguing that the ability to treat more patients would be worth risking lower salaries for doctors.  Then, BOOM!   With Obamacare viewed by right wingers as anathema to their party, Trump has come down against universal healthcare. He has called Obamacare a “lie, a filthy lie” and suggested that Congress repeal it as soon as possible and replace it with something “far less expensive — both for the people and for the country.” In particular, he claimed that under Obamacare, people’s insurance deductibles went “through the roof,” and that coverage was hard to find.  In its original form, Obamacare would have been much more beneficial than in its current incarnation.  By the time the right wingers chopped it up and added the pieces to its obstructionist stew, it was barely recognizable, and certainly not what Obama had hoped for.  Still, it has helped hundreds of thousands of people that would not, otherwise, have medical care.

Switched from pro-choice to pro-life

Trump used to support “a woman’s right to choose.”  Not any more!

I have to hand it to him for being honest about this one.  He does admit that he used to be pro-choice, until he heard anecdotes from friends who, after delivering an unwanted baby, found their child to be the “apple of [their] eye.” The switch was greeted with praise but also skepticism from conservative bloggers, who found it difficult to reconcile his sudden traditional values with his serial monogamy and playboy lifestyle.

 The Trumper ignores science and claims that vaccines cause autism … but is still pro-vaccine

In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Trump identified himself as a “huge fan” of vaccines, but suggested that current vaccine doses were too “massive,” leading to “horrible autism.” Most of his reasoning appeared to based on anecdotal evidence of his friends, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has emphasized again and again that vaccines do not cause autism.  OOPS!  The Donald really should spend less time counting his money and more time devoting his energy to actual empirical evidence.

While his stance against vaccines is probably just another of his many vies for attention, Trump later reiterated his point on Twitter, saying he’s “gotten many letters from people fighting autism thanking me for stating how dangerous” vaccines are. “The FDA should immediately stop heavy dose vaccinations and you will see a huge decrease in children with autism.”  Guess the boy doesn’t know the difference between an anecdote and a real scientific study with validity and reliability, eh?

A birther

One of Trump’s most politically popular stances is also his most idiotic . During the 2012 election cycle, Trump was an avid “birther,” questioning whether President Obama really was born in the US.  Obama WAS born in the U.S.   This has been substantiated time and again.    Some believed Trump, until the White House released the president’s birth certificate in late April.   Political surveys after this date find Trump polling at a measly 8 percent of the vote — except with far-right birthers, who stated that they would not vote for a candidate who affirmed Obama’s US citizenship. Within this fringe group, he had 37 percent favorability.  Go get ’em, Donnie!

Just listen to his announcement that he intends to throw his hat into the ring!  He is in favor of Chinese communism, but accuses Mexicans of bringing rapists into the country.  Really?  His only rationale for believing he will be a good President is the fact that he has a lot of money.  Really?    His announcement speech was an insane rant. He went on and on about whatever came to his “mind” and didn’t make a lick of sense.    He  used one quarter of GDP to claim that the economy is horrible and that Obama is lying about the unemployment numbers. Trump said that the American people can’t get jobs because China and Mexico have all our jobs. Trump warned, “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day, and we are getting weaker.”  The man is completely out of touch with reality.  Ignorance feeds ignorance.  He will get some votes….but not the votes of the informed and intelligent.