Nel's New Day

September 4, 2018

Kavanaugh, Woodward, Plus More News

Democrats may not win the fight to keep Brett Kavanaugh out of the Supreme Court, but they’re putting up a good show. Only two nominees—Robert Bork and Harriet Miers—had lower poll ratings, and neither one was confirmed. Only 38 percent of people want Kavanaugh on the high court, and 39 percent think he should not be confirmed. Women in particular dislike him in their 46 percent opposition. One reason might be that he tried to imprison a 17-year-old immigrant pregnant from a rape although the Supreme Court has ruled that she had the right to one. Rachel Maddow has a 21-minute segment about Kavanaugh’s behavior on the bench that doesn’t match his assurance to gullible Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” In her opening statement at the hearing, Sen. Diane Feinstein explained how Kavanaugh has already ruled against Roe v. Wade. [visual]

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Kavanaugh started today, less than 15 hours after the White House finally released 42,000 pages of documents about him. In a fit of speed-reading, Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) claimed that he and his staff had reviewed all these documents in less than three hours. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) still withholds 93 percent of the records from the time when Kavanaugh was White House counsel and staff secretary for George W. Bush by invoking presidential privilege although Bush cleared the records for release. Some of these may have had to do with Kavanaugh’s support for torture. The White House alerted reporters to the Democrats’ comments, perhaps to show their obstruction. But instead the message may have been that an unindicted co-conspirator has nominated a justice for the nation’s highest court, one who he hopes will exonerate him by ruling that the president is above the law and refuses to release the nominee’s records.

Kavanaugh may also face questions about his possible lying under oath in an earlier confirmation hearing.

In a bad photo op for Kavanaugh, he refused to shake hands with the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was murdered at the Parkland (FL) high school earlier this year. Feinstein had introduced Fred Guttenberg (left) in the committee chambers so Kavanaugh knew who he was. Kavanaugh stared at him for a short time before he turned and walked away. When Kavanaugh returned, he bragged about coaching his daughter’s basketball team. Footage of the interaction with Guttenberg shows that the White House lied to cover up for Kavanaugh’s rude behavior.

Just when people thought that DDT had stopped fighting with AG Jeff Sessions, DDT spent the last day of his Labor Day weekend lambasting Sessions for the indictments of Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY) for misusing campaign funds/fraud and insider trading/securities fraud. DDT’s objection is that he wants the DOJ to hold off on prosecuting the charged congressional members so that they can win their districts. He is a loser in this argument; almost two-thirds of people oppose firing Sessions and back investigator Robert Mueller.

“So I have another bad book coming out. Big deal,” said DDT in a conversation with Bob Woodward about his new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, about DDT’s time in the White House. DDT spent most of the talk either claiming that he would have liked to talk to Woodward for the book, saying that no one had ever told him, and explaining what a wonderful job he was doing. Woodward told at least six people with access to DDT that he wanted to talk to DDT, but DDT claims that no one except maybe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had mentioned it to him. Kellyanne Conway admitted on the conversation that Woodward had talked with her about an interview with DDT.

Woodward writes that DDT’s closest aides, including Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, hid papers from his desk to keep him from signing them because they viewed DDT as a danger to national security. Woodward reported that Chief of staff John Kelly described Trump as an “idiot” and “unhinged,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said DDT has the understanding of “a fifth or sixth grader,” and former personal lawyer John Dowd called DDT “a fucking liar,” telling DDT he would end up in an “orange jump suit” if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller. Dowd resigned the day after DDT told him that he would be a “real good witness.” DDT called AG Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and a “dumb Southerner”; DDT told Rudy Giuliani what he’s “like a little baby that needed to be changed.” Explaining his strategy in Afghanistan, DDT told his generals, “You should be killing guys.” Fortunately, Mattis didn’t kill Bashar al-Assad in April 2017 as DDT requested. The book portrays DDT as lonely and increasingly paranoid, obsessed with the media’s perception of him and with his base.

Fox analyst Howard Kurtz debunked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ defense by pointing out that sources for Woodward’s book are current as well as past employees.

U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia forces are deliberately bombing dozens of Yemeni civilians—some of them at least 40 children riding on a school bus in Yemen when they were taking a rare field trip. On the day of the attack, the head of the coalition stated that the bus was a “legitimate military target.” Later the report indicated that the attack was “unjustified” but only because the suspect was not on the bus, not that they had killed children. The U.S. sold the bomb to Saudi Arabians after DDT lifted the ban on these sales. DDT has said nothing about the tragedies in Yemen.

Desperate for new headquarters, the FBI lost their chance to move out of downtown Washington, D.C. across DDT’s hotel to the suburbs. DDT likely scuttled the deal to keep another hotel from moving into the area. Federal employees were ordered to not discuss any of his comments. To keep the FBI headquarters in place, officials greatly underestimated the cost of not moving the facility.

The white man who murdered two people at a video game tournament in Jacksonville (FL) and then turned the gun on himself to commit suicide has been described as having a mental illness. His easy access to guns was not responsible for the tragedy according to the state AG Pam Bondi; she blames the gathering of people to play video games, for example the football video game Madden. Intent on wiping out any taint of domestic terrorism by white men in the United States, Politico joined the myth by exonerating Timothy McVeigh of any terrorism. In 1995, the 27-year-old white man bombed a government building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 680 others. Sam Anderson maintains that McVeigh was no terrorist—he was just depressed because his favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills, had started losing. Given his sad life, Anderson claims, “it is easy to imagine how this young man might have been lured into making a bad decision.” The article was abstracted from Anderson’s book Boom Town. Is it possible that the United States could reduce the murder and domestic terrorism rate by banning video games and football?

Pope Francis has a solution for the allegations that he covered up sex abuse by church leaders and lied about knowing nothing regarding his meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. He called for silence.

When he ran for president, DDT’s name was on 19 brands; now it’s on just one—furniture sold by a Turkish company selling Trump furniture.

DDT has reached 60 percent—in his disapproval rating. His approval rating is 36 percent, and 53 percent think that his interference with Mueller’s investigation is obstruction of justice. At 63 percent, an additional ten percent support the investigation. Mueller’s case against Manafort received 67 percent believing it was justified, and two-thirds oppose DDT’s pardoning Manafort. Sessions also gets 64 percent support from being fired, and 61 percent believe that DDT committed a crime if he told Cohen to make hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

DDT makes up his own approval ratings. In a call to a radio talk show, he said that he adds “another 7 or eight points’ to the existing approval rating, and at a rally in North Dakota, he recommended adding 12 to any of his polls.

DDT has greatly helped ratings for MSNBC and Rachel Maddow in particular. In August, MSNBC was the second-most-watched network across all of basic cable, and The Rachel Maddow Show was number one for total viewers on cable TV for the last week of August and top the 25-54 demographic throughout August, beating Sean Hannity. While MSNBC’s ratings rose over that in 2017, both CNN and Fox went down. All the MSNBC shows—Chris Hayes, Laurence O’Donnell, Brian Williams, Ari Melber, Hallie Jackson, Nicolle Wallace, Katy Tur, and Ali Velshi—had substantial gains and record-breaking numbers. Kudos to genuine news instead of screaming people and fake propaganda.

April 30, 2016

Bathroom Laws Endanger Transgender People – Take Action

 

Fear is a driving force for conservatives, according to studies using brain scans. The amygdala, an area related to fear, is larger in conservatives, causing them to be reactionary rather than thoughtful. Other studies examining skin conductance and eye tracking show that conservatives focus on negativity when they walk into a room, searching for anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Imaging that tracks oxygen in the blood can identify racial bias. Identifying these physical differences explains the deep divides among people on hot-button issues such as war, abortion, immigration, and same-gender marriage. And transgender people.

transgender girlChristian Extremist and president of a theocratic law group named Anita Staver, president of the Christian extremist Liberty Council, claims that she will be carrying a firearm with her every time she uses a public bathroom. Texas police officer Tracy Murphree, sheriff candidate in Denton County, said he would beat any transgender woman in a public restroom with his daughter until she lost consciousness. Corey Maison (left) is one of the transgender women Murphree threatens.

Conservatives can get over their fears, but unfortunately, they must overcome their initial reactions, hard to do because of the bombardment of conservative media. Fox network continually stokes fears of sexual assault and misbehavior in restrooms, including a fake story about a transgender student harassing females in her school’s restroom. Other media outlets including The Daily Caller, WMD, and the Media Research Center, promote the myth that sexual predators will use gender-neutral bathrooms to prey on women. Yet the 17 states and 225 cities with nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people have not experienced one situation that the conservative media describes.

As Chad Butler, the District Attorney of Nashville (TN) who has prosecuted hundreds of sex crimes, explained, sexual predators are overwhelmingly “heterosexual men.” Butler added that the bathroom debates distract people from real dangers. “A majority of my cases are fathers, stepfathers, uncles, Boy Scout leaders, coaches, youth ministers, preachers. People that are already close to the family that the family trusts,” Butler said. (Think Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the U.S. House.)

North Carolina’s law further legitimizes harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Since the law passed, transgender suicide hotlines have gotten twice as many calls as usual. When young people are denied access to a restroom that aligns with their gender identity, their rates of suicide go up because these laws perpetuate feelings of isolation and depression. Trans students run a high risk of verbal harassment and physical assault or violence in gender-segregated restrooms. Trying to avoid these problems, about half of them experience a health problem such as a urinary tract or kidney infection. These students also tend to drop out of school because of harassment or become homeless because their parents reject them.

People say that they don’t know any transgender people, but more than two-thirds of all transgender people in the U.S. hide their gender or gender transition to avoid discrimination. The vast majority of transgender people are harassed at work; nearly half say they were not hired because of their gender identity; and one-quarter say they were fired because of who they were.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Actress Nicole Maines (R) and Wayne Maines attend the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for GLAAD)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 02: Actress Nicole Maines (R) and Wayne Maines attend the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for GLAAD)

An excellent book about the trauma of being transgender and conservative parents growing to understand this complex issue is Amy Ellis Nutt’s Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. A conservative couple discover that one of the identical twin boys they adopt is trangender, and they grow to accept Nicole’s transition, to the point of supporting her through a lawsuit against Maine for equal rights at her school.

Nicole’s father, Wayne Maines, wrote the following in response to a vicious attack ad about transgender people from the Ted Cruz campaign after Donald said that transgender Caitlyn Jenner could use any of his buildings’ restrooms that she wants. Cruz spreads the myth that predatory men pretending to be women will be allowed to assault “your daughter” and “your wife” in women’s restrooms.

“Like many people, I have stayed out politics for the most part, being focused on raising my family, working hard, saving for retirement, and helping our country grow. But it is impossible to sit back and watch people not only make mistakes based on their unfounded fears, but use other groups as fodder for political gain at the expense of real peoples’ lives, in this case transgender people. My daughter is one of those people, and Mr. Cruz, you have put her in harm’s way with this ad, just like those in Houston last year and in North Carolina and other states this year. It has to stop.

“I will be honest. It was not long ago I had a hard time saying the word transgender, but watching my child suffer, watching grown men and women lose their perspective because they feared my child, forced me to dig deep into my core and address my fears, educate myself, and get to know more about the transgender community.

“Mr. Cruz, I would be happy to sit down with you and have a ‘non-politically correct’ conversation. Man to man, father to father and if you have the courage to do so, I may help you conquer this fear. I have witnessed young people and adults demonstrate more courage than you and I can fathom, courage that inflicted scars that can be avoided if we have the courage to change. As someone who wants to  lead of our nation, I imagine that is your goal, but for moment forget about politics and think closer to home. This is no game and you are playing with people’s lives.

“I hope that you never have to lay awake at night wondering if your child will be alive in the morning.  Not just one night, many nights.  I am worried about this election and the path you are taking. If anyone should be worried about his or her child in the bathroom it should me. I am worried about my daughter’s safety and her self esteem. I am worried that all of my family’s hard work raising strong and proud young Americans will be destroyed this fall.

“On a larger level, I am worried about a nation that could lose its way as it struggles to make progress for all. I am worried about leaders using fear and misinformation for political gain.  It is ok to ask questions, not understand something you have no experience with, or even be afraid, but keep an open mind. Let’s conquer this fear and get back to fixing our economy, strengthening our military, and helping our children obtain the tools they need to live full and happy lives.

“I left the Air Force in 1981 proud of my service because I believed in our President. President Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.’ I still believe what he said. But it is tempered by life experience. I have learned more about freedom watching people attack a community of Americans that just want live their lives in peace, work, and be with their loved ones.  They are not attempting to break down the American family; they are not trying to pretend to be someone they are not; they are not “confused.” They know who they are and what they stand for. I hope everyone running for President has the courage to dig deep and realize that our family values must continue to adapt to an ever-changing world.”

Maines said, “It is natural to fear things we do not understand. But how we react to those fears is critical.” You can take part in the movement to stop laws that put everyone at risk–both transgender people and everyone else perceived to be of the “wrong” gender that a bathroom.

 

Tell North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to overturn the law.

McCrory’s office phone number: (919) 814-2000

McCrory’s 24-hour “comment line’: (919) 814-2050

Write Gov. Pat McCrory and tell him that his new law is not “common sense.”

Tennessee’s new law allows counselors to deny services based on their “strongly held beliefs.” It is the only state in the country to invalidate the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics.  Tell Gov. Bill Haslam that he was wrong to sign this bill.

Across the nation, over 100 anti-LGBT bills are pending in 22 states. There is a way to stop this discrimination: adding federal nondiscrimination protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through the Equality Act. Democratic House members are calling on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to schedule a hearing on the bill that was introduced last July. When Paul Ryan (R-WI) took over as Speaker of the House, he called on committees to “retake the lead in drafting all major legislation. If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Open up the process. Let people participate.” The Equality Act has over 210 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, including two Republicans. Three years ago, the Senate passed a bill that would have barred discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, but the House never took it up. Tell your representative that you want this bill to go to the floor.

August 14, 2015

Iran Deal: Irrationale Fear Comes from Ignorance

Filed under: War — trp2011 @ 8:40 PM
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Almost 100 years ago, two psychologists wrote about how people can be trained to be afraid, making a calm and even-tempered nine-month-old baby terrified of his previously beloved fuzzy stuffed animals. After researchers constantly matched the objects with loud clanging sounds, “Albert B,” the subject,” would consistently “burst into tears” when he saw these objects. Fired for having an affair with his research partner, the lead in the study moved on to be the vice-president of J. Walter Thompson, a huge advertising firm, where he used more behaviorism to sell products. The study does show that people can be desensitized to irrational fears with the refusal to reward panic based on childish ignorance. Science historian Rob Boddice wrote, “Objects of fear fill the spaces where knowledge and certainty are absent.”

Such is the case of Iran and Republicans. Iran may be scary, but to be ruled by that fear is to stay at the level of animals. Republicans and U.S. Jewish lobbying groups are determined to keep people in the United States at the level of animals in order to control them. Organizations and pro-Israel conservatives like Sheldon Adelson are pouring tens of millions of dollars into television advertising with the goal of making people afraid of Iran. The polls opposing the Iran deal show that this advertising is succeeding.

One reason from conservatives for keeping conflicts alive in the Middle East is the money coming into large companies for the sale of missiles, helicopters, fighter jets, and other war needs:

Boeing: Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates paid $618 million for just two C-17s, and two years ago, Saudi Arabia and UAE gave Boeing part of a $10 million contract for high-tech missiles. Two years before that, a $29.4 billion contract with Boeing provided Saudi Arabia with 84 F-15 fighter jets and upgrades on older aircrafts. Qatar paid $23 billion for 24 Apache helicopters. The list goes on.

Raytheon. Saudi Arabia paid $1 billion for 15,000 anti-tank missiles, and the company made billions for supplying Patriot missiles to Qatar and UAE. Oman got a ground-based defense system from Raytheon for over $2 billion.

Lockheed Martin. This major player provided the UAE with another defense system for $3.9 billion as well as $600 million from Oman for 12 fighter planes. More equipment went to Saudi Arabia for $112 million.

Sikorsky Aircraft. Saudi Arabia got 12 Black Hawk helicopters for $30 million with another $270 million to upgrade UAE Black Hawks. The company plans to sell 400 helicopters to Middle East countries over the next five to 10 years.

Even before they read the Iran agreement, political war hawks spread fear by claiming that “harsher sanctions” would make a “better deal.” They made this claim even before the deal was finalized. When the opposition was asked if they had read the agreement, the frequent response was that they didn’t need to read it because Iran is “evil.” They ignore the reality that the U.S. cannot stop Iran at this time from exporting a million barrels a day to countries such as China. Other countries are also increasingly refusing to support U.S. sanctions, and technological innovation such as deep gas pipelines would make sanctions much more difficult. Refusal of the agreement in place of a hope for “harsher sanctions” would lose the United States whatever standing it has left in the world.

War hawks also ignore the opinion of scholars and military leaders who claim that the U.S. should take the Iran deal. Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter this week urging Congress to support the agreement. The called it “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons” and stated that the U.S. could gain international support for military action against Iran, if necessary, only “if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.” This letter follows one from 29 of the nation’s top scientists–Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms, and former White House science advisers—endorsing the Iran deal. And that letter follows another one from over 100 former U.S. ambassadors, supporting the Iran deal. Retired GOP Colonel Lawrence put it very succinctly when he said, “My political party wants war.”

Even the recent chair of United against Nuclear Iran has decided that U.S. should take the Iran deal. Dr. Gay Samore, scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, stepped down after he declared support for the agreement, and UANI hired Joe Lieberman, Middle East hawk who had said he wouldn’t be a lobbyist before he became a lobbyist. UANI pays for some of the TV ads intended to create irrational fear about the agreement.

During the debate, Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been suppressing opposition from his country’s Intelligence Corps, including those in the research division dealing with Iran. Support for the Iran agreement goes as high as former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy and Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. A Jewish group in the United States also paid for 40 Democrats to visit Israel last week so that Netanyahu can lobby them.

democrats in Israel

With less than a month for conservatives to destroy the agreement, politicians on both sides are carefully counting the votes. The one Democrat senator who has joined the Republicans in opposing the agreement is New York’s Chuck Schumer, yet he appears to have no followers in the senate. Conservatives think that they will have enough votes to pass the opposition to the agreement—two-thirds for an override of President Obama’s veto—and progressives think that the conservatives will fail.

It is tradition during for the past few decades since Ronald Reagan sold weapons to Iran that people in the U.S. love Israel and hate Iran. We have tremendous financial support of Israeli weaponry, and the Judeo-Christian culture has stronger roots in Israel. An examination of the two countries, however, brings up strong differences between Iran and Israel:

Nuclear bombs: Iran lacks these weapons, gives no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program, and has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The theocratic Supreme Leader has forbidden making, stockpiling, and using nuclear weapons. Israel refuses to sign the NPT and has several hundred nuclear warheads, which it constructed stealthily, sometimes through acts of espionage and smuggling in the United States and against the wishes of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Their leaders have openly stated that they are ready to use nuclear weapons.

War: Iran has not launched an aggressive war since 1775, when Karim Khan Zand sent an army against Omar Pasha in Basra in neighboring Iraq. This might have actually been a response to provocation rather than an act of aggression. Israel started wars in 1956, 1967 and 1982 as well as committed acts of aggression in 2006, 2009, and 2014.

Occupation: Modern Iran has not occupied neighbors’ territory and didn’t try to take and hold Iraqi territory after Iraq’s attack of Iran in 1980. The UN Charter of 1945 forbids countries to annex the land of their neighbors through warfare, but Israel occupies Palestinian territory with 4 million stateless Palestinians who are treated as subjected, colonized population. Israel has promised to never give Palestine back its land.

Voting: All the people ruled over by Iran can vote in national elections, and even Iranian Jews have a representative in parliament. Four million of the 12 million people ruled by Israel have no vote in Israeli politics but are ruled by Israel.

Opposition: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not trying to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with his country which states that Iran can have nuclear electricity plants but not nulear weapons. Israel has consistently tried to control U.S. foreign policy through bribery of politicians.

Iranian leadership is dictatorial and puritanical, and Israel is better than Iran in many ways. Détente, however, could make life better for people in Israel, Iran, and the United States. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who may be the most reasonable person in Congress at this time, has written a rationale for supporting the agreement. Reading this information may help people get over the irrational fear the Republicans and Israel are pushing onto the people of the United States.

May 29, 2013

Fear Drives Conservative away from Rational Thought

Recently, my blog about the plight of women prisoners in Arizona received several comments connecting the horrible treatment of women imprisoned for white-color crimes and prostitution to the guilt of Jody Arias, who viciously killed her ex-boyfriend five years ago. Some of the messages seemed to follow the traditional faulty syllogism of (il)logic: Arias is a bad person, and Arias is a prisoner—therefore prisoners are bad people. People who think like this attribute the actions of a few to the whole.

Recently, studies about the difference between conservatives and liberals have proliferated. One essay, “Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains,” cites 16 peer-review studies in describing thought-processing differences between self-identified conservatives and liberals.

Conservatives spend more time looking at unpleasant images, and liberals spend more time looking at pleasant images.

Reliance on quick, efficient, and “low effort” thought processes yields conservative ideologies, while effortful and deliberate reasoning yields liberal ideologies.

Conservatives react more strongly than liberals to disgusting images, such as a picture of someone eating worms.

Liberals have more tolerance to uncertainty (bigger anterior cingulate cortex), and conservatives have more sensitivity to fear (bigger right amygdala).

Conservatives have stronger motivations than liberals to preserve purity and cleanliness.

Conservatives and liberals react similarly to positive incentives, but conservatives have greater sensitivity to negative stimuli.

Conservatism is focused on preventing negative outcomes, while liberalism is focused on advancing positive outcomes. Thus conservatism seeks to regulate society via inhibition, and liberalism seeks to act in the interests of social justice.

Genetics influence political attitudes during early adulthood and beyond.

Compared to liberals, conservatives are less open to new experiences and learn better from negative stimuli than positive stimuli.

Conservatives tend to have a stronger reaction to threatening noises and images than liberals.

Liberals are more open-minded and creative whereas conservatives are more orderly and better organized.

When faced with a conflict, liberals are more likely than conservatives to alter their habitual response when cues indicate it is necessary. Liberals are more willing to accept risk with a tendency to seek out novelty and uncertainty. These characteristics come from the larger anterior cingulate cortex, the region of the brain that helps people cope with complexity. The difference in the liberals’ brains means that they are more likely to accept analytical data and scientific proof, and to reason problems out.

Conservatives are far more afraid than liberals, perhaps due to the conservatives’ larger right amygdale, active during times of fear and anxiety. Fear keeps people from change and learning while magnifying threats. conservatives have far more intense physical reactions to threatening stimuli. Conservatives want a huge system of national defense; in the United States, any threat is considered terrorism except for real threats like domestic violence and sexual assault.

Being fearful may enlarge the amygdale–the more fearful, the greater the increase.  The larger amygdale means the brain’s owner is more emotion-based and more resistant to change. The research about conservatives’ fear explains why there have strong anti-immigration and pro-segregation attitudes. Anyone outside their group cannot be accepted, according to their brain processing.

Conservatives’ fear of the world makes them pro-gun, mostly religious, more hostile to immigrants and all other ethnic minorities, fearful of attacks from other nations, anti-government involvement in their lives, pro-family, anti-welfare (because they see the poor as parasites on success), and pro-wealth. In addition, they hate complexity and compromise.

On the other side of the coin, liberals are more optimistic about the world, consider government as a vehicle for solving problems and improving well-being, want citizen protection left to police, less religious, more welcoming to immigrants, rely more on science and education to solve problems, favor negotiation and consensus-building over wars, willingly pay taxes to improve people’s lives, and are less interested in family ties for personal protection. They also support welfare programs for the poor to reduce social problems, crime, and child poverty; are suspicious of wealth that is inherited or obtained through unethical business practices; and feel that concentrating resources in the hands of the one percent impoverishes everyone else thereby undermining social trust.

One study successfully guessed the party affiliation of a large majority of the subjects. Determining the risk-taking behavior during a gambling experiment monitored by brain scans let the researchers guess those on the right and on the left for 83 percent of the participants. The risks were not necessarily different, but the brain activity varied.

Extreme conservatives, between 1 and 4 percent, have an even larger problem than the standard conservatives. Because their amygdalae are extremely small or inactive, they have absolutely no empathy. These people come under the classification of sociopaths or even psychopaths.

Sociopaths know exactly what they are doing and are very aware of how they are functioning socially. Their characteristics include glibness and superficial charm, narcissism, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, cunning/manipulative behaviors, lack of remorse or guilt, lack of empathy, pleasure in cruelty, need for stimulation, tendency to boredom, parasitic behavior, poor behavioral control, impulsivity, irresponsibility, sexual promiscuity, multiple marriages, and criminal versatility.

These people congregate in leadership roles in both the private and public sector, CEOs and politicians in particular. Sociopaths study people who possess emotions that they can best exploit, and fear is at the top of the list. The sociopathic leader knows how to push all the right buttons of the most fearful and then make false promises of reassurance to get their loyalty. Ayn Rand was a top example of a sociopath—an empowering figure for the frightened masses who leveraged their insecurities and fears to great personal advantage and aggrandizement.

While liberals try to lead with reason and collaboration, conservatives control the debate because they attack the person, not the problem. They deny reason in favor of emotion because they are controlled by the amygdale, the “white matter”  fight-or-flight center of the brain. Liberals try to process the problem through their “gray matter,” the anterior cingulate cortex.

Capitalism today is a prime example of sociopathy in its concept of “I’ve got mine so screw you.” More and more people suffer because of the concentration of wealth and power at the very top. Any attempt to move this to a greater sense of equity brings howls of class warfare, socialism, and government overreach from the conservatives. Any move toward taking away even one of the wealthy class advantages brings more howls of “unfair treatment.”

Homelessness, poverty, hunger, bad health—none of these is the responsibility of the conservatives.

The positive side of this research is that education may help conservatives  become more open and positive. Instruction in history, critical thinking, literature, and art can develop a person’s mind. A greater diversity of experiences in the world and exposure to different cultures can also lessen the fear. Brain change was proved more than ten years ago when brain scans showed the growth of London cab drivers’ hippocami as they spent more time driving and therefore learned more about the city.

The other side of the coin is that increased fear increases the size of the amydala, making people more and more conservative.  That’s the reason that conservative leaders operate on the hysteria of fear. Their mantra is “They’re coming after you!  Be afraid—be very afraid!” They also know that education changes people: that’s the reason that they try to control or block it.

These studies may upset conservatives. But they don’t believe in science so none of them will believe any of this information.

[Additional Note: A recent study shows that Republicans lie three times as much to the people of the United States as the Democrats do! More sociopathic behavior.]

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