Watch Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, question global warming and demur on evolution

Jul 19, 2016

By Chris Mooney

The speculation is over: Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, is Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick.

Recognized as a social conservative, Pence also aligns well with Trump in another way — having a history of dismissing widely accepted scientific findings.

Trump has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” Now watch Mike Pence discuss both climate change and evolution on a 2009 episode of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (the fun begins around minute 6):

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

118 comments on “Watch Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, question global warming and demur on evolution

  • @OP – Trump has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.”

    Anyone who needs to be “a believer”, is clueless about the evidence, the physics, and the measurements!

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  • The Convention last night (Monday), was a horror show.

    True savagery. The politics of fear.

    Manipulative, sick.

    Mother of Benghazi victim said Clinton responsible for the death. Factually incorrect.

    Father of kid killed by illegal immigrant (“rapists, murderers”) spoke.

    Scapegoating protesters. The politics of fear and division – straight out of the manual. And nothing but lies.

    “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”
    ― Joseph Goebbels

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  • Dan

    Mother of Benghazi victim said Clinton responsible for the death. Factually incorrect.

    I was flipping through the channels and came across that woman when she was speaking. It was shocking for the exact reasons you said; she was as manipulative as a snake oil salesman. Did you see how at the peak of emotion the camera panned out to the middle aged women in the crowd? They were all broken down emotionally at the completely ridiculous story that she was telling. They love this overblown emotional drama. How pathetic they are.

    That mother of Benghazi victim had a scapegoat named Hillary Clinton ready to go and then collected her emotions and her own personal “facts” and built them all up in a big framework so she will never have to consider the truth of what happened there or what her son was actually doing there in that place. Just- Hillary Clinton, the devil incarnate who viciously murdered my poor innocent son. She said that Clinton blamed her son’s death on a video. What if it WAS because of that stupid video?

    Dan, did you watch that whole thing? How could you possibly stand it??!!

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  • Laurie, I am angered at the attention of the loss of four American lives when we ignore the Veterans in this country who died waiting for the medical help they were promised and deserve.
    It is a fact twenty two Vets die every day by their own hand. These are only the enrolled VA veterans. There is no way to count the traffic related suicides or the Vets who just disappear.
    Numerous Vets have died just waiting for care.
    Where is the outrage?
    I know about the VA. I am a Vet.

    Who’s life is worth more and what is the exchange rate?

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  • I don’t like it much when people attempt to explain human behavior by invoking such phrases as: “it’s evolution.” To make a science of social behavior (memes) is to my mind inherently dangerous. But it seems to me inescapable that the support of Trump harkens back to the days of early man when tribalism was the order of the day. I do believe in a collective unconscious, but that is not social theory dressed in the the robe of hard science (Haidt, Pinker). The latter should be handled with extreme care – and be ready to err on the side of a curious ignorance rather than hard undisputed fact.

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  • @Alf1200

    “Dan, taking for granted we as a country survive this election, what will this bring for future elections?”

    That depends on who wins the election.

    As Twain said, I am gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I will: I simply do not know.

    If Trump wins and we do survive, then hopefully Nietzsche will be proved right: what does not kill us makes us stronger [and wiser].

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  • Corrected post. (I forgot to put some lines in quotes. They are the words of a friend of mine.)

    I don’t like it much when people attempt to explain human behavior by invoking such phrases as: “it’s evolution.” “To make a science of social behavior [meme]) is to my mind inherently dangerous.” But it seems to me inescapable that the support of Trump harkens back to the days of early man when tribalism was the order of the day. I do believe in a collective unconscious, but that is not “social theory dressed in the the robe of hard science [Haidt, Pinker]. The latter should be handled with extreme care – and be ready to err on the side of a curious ignorance rather than hard undisputed fact.”

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  • alf
    I’m really afraid for the veterans. It’s pretty much common knowledge that when they get back here they don’t get the care and benefits that they deserve. From what I can fathom they don’t get adequate medical care and the ptsd and other psych issues are so neglected that it’s terrifying what is happening to these vets. It’s a national disaster and a disgrace. I hope you’re ok alf. We’re very fond of you around here.

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  • Laurie,

    Be careful what you wish for, my friend.

    “Or maybe we’ll get lucky and the Republican party with go extinct.”

    No more Republicans. (Yay!)

    If we give them enough rope to hang themselves they will go extinct – along with the rest of us.

    Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas is speaking now at the convention. “I am a pro life, gun carrying, Christian conservative woman.” She’s sick. She and the others are slandering Clinton. I feel so enraged. I can’t take it. This convention is a study in collective pathology. Horrifying. I’m not even sure if pathology is the right word. Could it be that there is a Devil? Republicans strike me, at times, as evil – or, if you prefer, sinister. For example, all Republicans (as far as I know) are pro hydraulic fracturing (fracking). (Did you see Gasland?) Is that pathology? I am not sure that that word doesn’t quite does the job.

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  • Be careful what you wish for, my friend.
    No more Republicans. (Yay!)

    Oh yikes! I think you’re right Dan. I’ve been too hasty in my wishing extinction on the Republican Party. Let’s learn a lesson from the world of bacteria. When one sort dies off for whatever reason, then another sort just happily moves right into the empty space. Well, the new sort might be the type that kills you and then you’ll be wishing that you hadn’t woofed down that bottle of unnecessary antibiotics time after time after all. And you’ll be wishing you had the old mildly annoying sort back again.

    I’m pretty sure I’d be happy to get back those old annoying sorts of Republicans that my father admired in his day. Are there any left? I think they’ve been edged out like the normal intestinal flora and are being overtaken by a virulent strain of C. diff.

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  • Laurie,

    Nice analogy. Not exactly what I meant, however. The republicans will not die out and be replaced by something worse; they will simply change, get worse and worse, and then they, along with the rest of the species, will become extinct. So we won’t have anymore Republicans, but there’ll be no more anything either.

    Just heard Ben Carson speak. Inspiring.

    (Re the vetting process, could you please send me an original copy of your birth certificate? It must have a raised seal. And I need copies of your past tax returns going back to 2001. Just doing my job; has to be done. You’ll thank me for it. You want to win, don’t you?)

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  • Alf,

    He started out speaking about the brain, and reason. He told all the Trump supporters to use their reason. I am not qualified to diagnose him, but I’d be willing to bet that he is a psychotic. I actually know someone whose in-laws know him; apparently he did have some kind of serious “break-down” at one point – not long ago.

    These Republicans are scum.

    “We’re very fond of you around here.” —Laurie

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  • The conservative half of us are always with us, dragging us back, demanding purity of institutions, unswerving loyalty acquiescence to our elders and betters. We progressive improvers are always with them, unpicking their treasures, disrespectful of their elders, loyal to change.

    The former have mindsets ideally suited to the stress of insufficient resources (the case for most of human existence). They achieve stability through imposed order. We new breed, born of new richness, provided we remain pragmatic and steer clear of their intituional conservatism can achieve useful improvements that achieve stability through happiness and mutuality, our best mammal traits.

    Both sides have their moments to shine, but for clever us, ours is now. The great risk for us from conservatives is if they have their fearful anxiety buttons pushed by exploiters. The Right attract more intelligent psychopath parasites because of the uniquely exploitable fear button on the back of every conservative. A perfect storm is created in a country where primary and secondary education is poor and very patchy and inequality is rife, pushing that button and creating behaviours amongst the desperate that pushes those fear buttons in others. A society sealed off from reason by a reliance on aphoristic wisdom of trite religious and economic ideologies seals the deal.

    Generational change is the solution and by hook or by crook fixing their experience of inequality of economics and education.

    Even after this half of us will still be conservative relatively, but the move to a more reasonable balance (European, Canadian) may remove the worst of the danger.

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  • I have watched quite a bit of both nights of the Repub convention and I tell ya — it reminds me of Fox News. And there is nothing substantial there — their only agenda is to attack Clinton.

    The modern Republican party and the rise of Faux News and talk radio… it’s depressing. I am surrounded by these people in the Deep South (USA). Most of the people I grew up with are lapping this stuff up. I shake my head in disbelief. So many of these people are SO sure of the nonsense they speak and it nothing but regurgitated Fox News crap. The Dunning-Kruger Effect and confirmation bias are the rules of the day.

    Oh, and by the way, if Melania Trump’s speech was not a perfect example of plagiarism, I don’t know what is. Unbelievable! It’s actually laughable! She was quite elegant and quite charming but if she said she wrote it (I read that she did, have not confirmed), then she’s another kook. None of these people write their speeches. But whomever put this one together, it seems to be an inside job to make them look like idiots, perhaps accomplished by an infidel (to their campaign), lol.

    Truth really is stranger than fiction.

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  • ThankGodForRichard,

    Melania Trump’s speech

    Yes, and that narcissistic plutocrat trump can’t even own up to the fact that, at the very least, a terrible mistake was made. He just blames the media and even Hillary for this.

    “Lock her [Hillary] up, lock her up,” they all chanted last night at the convention. It was like an episode of Twilight Zone – only it’s real, all too real. Terrifying.

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  • Dan #23
    Jul 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Yes, and that narcissistic plutocrat trump can’t even own up to the fact that, at the very least, a terrible mistake was made. He just blames the media and even Hillary for this.

    It seems the truth is coming out at last!

    CLEVELAND — A speechwriter working for Donald Trump’s company identified herself Wednesday as the person responsible for plagiarism in Melania’s Trump convention speech and offered her resignation.

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    Meredith McIver apologized in a statement sent out by the campaign and said Donald and Melania Trump did not accept her resignation.

    The statement comes more than 36 hours after reporters uncovered striking similarities between the two speeches –during which time the controversy cast a shadow over Trump’s nominating convention and distracted from coverage of the lineup of speakers.

    McIver explained that she included the passages from Michelle Obama’s speech after listening to Melania Trump read passages from the 2008 address.

    “Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

    She said the Trump family rejected her resignation, because, “Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences.”

    McIver said she “asked” to put out a statement because she was concerned about how the controversy was “distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”

    “I apologize for the confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused. Today, more than ever, I am honored to work for such a great family,” McIver said in the statement.

    The Trump campaign has refused to acknowledge the incident as plagiarism, instead slamming the media and insisting it was moving on, with no plans to fire any staffers.

    “The speech was very effective and communicated those feelings,” Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.” “The controversy you’re talking about is not meaningful at all. She’s not a candidate for office. She was expressing her personal feelings about her country and her husband and why he’s best for the United States.”

    Manafort on Wednesday agreed Melania Trump’s speech used “similar words” to Obama’s and insisted, “I’m not lying about anything.”

    The Republican National Committee also boosted the Trump campaign’s defense, with its communications director Sean Spicer slapping down plagiarism charges by pointing to similar words and themes in everything from John Legend songs to “My Little Pony.”

    Donald Trump, for his part, pressed forward with the strategy of attacking the media as late as an hour before the campaign statement Wednesday.

    “The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails,” Trump said in a tweet.

    McIver has served as a ghostwriter for the Trumps in the past, helping Donald Trump write some of his books, including “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire.”

    The New York Times identified McIver as a former ballet dancer and English major.

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  • It seems the truth is coming out at last!

    Of course an employee is falling on the sword as usual. Melanoma (sorry, too easy), who earlier implied she wrote most of the speech herself (as if) should have been the one to come out and graciously say that she recited elements of Obama’s speech to a staffer who may have incorporated them into her speech. Alternately she could have furthered the GOP’s agenda of misattribution and said she’d just finished playing with her My Pretty Pony, and mesmerized by its “friendship is magic!” message, recited its magic message to the staffer. Either version would have further humanized these humanoids.

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  • Vicky, was that supposed to help me relax?
    Would someone please adopt me? I don’t eat much, I’m quiet and housebroken. I’ll sleep outside……I just need a dial up connection?……….Just not from the USA……….

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  • Alan (24)

    Again, thanks for the update.


    I know that, Vicki. It’s awful. It’s like the John Birch society meets George Wallace. Pure barbarism, social Darwinism, etc. And no one on TV seems to be calling them out. It’s like they’re all in collusion with them. No real outspoken progressives on MSNBC or even PBS. Chris Mathews, Laurence O’Donnell and Maddow have their moments but why can’t someone speak up?

    (Do you know about the Koch brothers?)


    I agree. Vicki’s mean. (Kidding.) Btw, I’m a nervous wreck too

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  • Vicki

    That party platform is extremely disturbing. I’ll venture a guess that many Americans, including Republicans don’t really know what’s in that document. I hope the Democrats are planning on putting that hate speech on billboards and especially on media spots that the young voters frequent. Do they know how homophobic that party is? Do they know that they want abortion made illegal on a CONSTITUTIONAL level? Do they even know how much worse that is than just passing a law? These fascists need to be called out on this in a very public way.

    It needs to be made clear that these are not just ideas that a few Republican bigwigs like to toss around in the pub. They are statements of intent that are written in black and white and when people say that they are going to do something – believe them!!!

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  • alf
    Canada is sounding really good right about now. Socialized medicine, Gorgeous scenery and a PM that is devoted to progressive reform. They’re going to leave us in the dust.

    So how bout it?

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  • Dan, Vicky isn’t mean. She just insists on subjecting me to reality.
    I’ve had enough of that………..birds and kittens, birds and kittens,,,,,,,,,repeat after me………

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  • Alf

    Forget Japan…they’re pretty strict about not letting you stay there very long. No, stay right here. We need you. And Dan. And Laurie.

    @ Laurie

    “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is not shy about highlighting the idiocies of this election season. She’s having a special tonight, and I believe she’ll be broadcasting from the RNC in Cleveland.

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  • @Dan

    It actually goes beyond that: the neo-cons are unwittingly dismantling our Bill of Rights, and the voting bloc is too stupid to see that.

    Lol…this is in answer to the NEXT post!

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  • Vicki, others

    Now I shall present reality. (Sorry, Alf.) Dickerson speaking out against the GOP on LGBT rights is laudable, but not enough. We are on the brink of ruin, of fascism. We may be entering a truly nightmarish time in American life.

    Hillary has to come through.

    It’s not just about abortion and LGBT rights. The agenda of the Republicans is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the working class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.

    A new gilded age. Social Darwinism, not to mention the minor problems of global warming and nuclear war.

    “We need you. And Dan. And Laurie.”

    Nice thought. Solidarity.

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  • I’ll be voting for Donald Trump, I don’t care if Mike Pence thinks the moon is made of ice cream, I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton.

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  • Steven007 #43
    Jul 21, 2016 at 9:44 am

    What you said, alf1200… No substance, just rhetoric. And the moon is made of cheese, not ice cream – hello.

    The problem is when he diverts the NASA budget away from research into asteroid mining, and on to the Luney ice-cream pipeline and the Luna cheese mines!
    As you know YEC caveman dinosaur claims are based on Flintstone research, while Wallace and Gromit produced the evidence of Luna cheese mining potential.

    Wallace and Gromit land on the Moon to hunt for Cheese in this classic clip from the Oscar winning film, A Grand Day Out.

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  • Alan, since the US spends over thirty million on Ice Cream a year, it might be a good investment.

    As sure as I am of Trump making a “good” president, I am sure there is Ice Cream on the moon.
    (ice cream in caps of course).
    If there is cheese, there must be other milk products……..

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  • Republican Convention
    Wednesday Night

    The mob was shouting “Trump digs coal!” Coal is extremely harmful for the environment. And even so-called clean coal is problematic, according to many of its critics. And it’s also very expensive; so we won’t be seeing much of that.

    These people are truly a mob. “Lock her up!” Interesting how Ms. Clinton and Obama have been scapegoated. I think the real threat of terrorism has been a scapegoat too: “Destroy communism” or “Kill the Jews” or “Kill the radical jihadists”. All the same. The leaders understand the psychology of the mob: blame everything on something else in order to take the focus off the truth, away from the real, the primary, societal issues (such as income inequality and campaign finance and the environment). These issues they must not confront (because to do so would undermine a perennial, maniacal, fiendish pursuit of hegemony and wealth). The leaders are able to rally support through manipulation of the emotions of very malleable (willfully ignorant, frightened, angry) people. The oldest trick in the book.

    It was like an episode of Twilight Zone, as I said, and something out of the novel 1984.

    I have felt intimations of a dystopia, a real one.

    Truth is more terrifying than fiction.

    If the separation of church and state is dismantled – wittingly or unwittingly – then we as a nation will become our own worst nightmare. (The Christian Bible is extremely violent. Not just the Old Testament either.)

    Environmental disasters, the loss of our liberties, the rise of a nuclear threat, the diminution of the right to dissent, a belligerent nationalism, close cooperation between big business and politics, ever growing class and racial tensions, increased disparity…. All this signals to me a colossal accident waiting to happen, a kind of dystopia, a very real one.

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  • Just watching events unfold in the USA from the comparative safety of the other side of the Atlantic here in Scotland is scary enough. I shudder to think what it must be like for rational people over there. It was my friend in upstate NY that originally got me fascinated by American politics in the late 90s but I recall her despair when Bush got re-elected to a second term after destroying the Middle East in his first one as a prelude to sending the entire planet into recession later on. Of course we didn’t yet know that was about to happen but she suddenly stopped wanting to talk about politics at all. It was too painful living over there with Bush in power and she just tried to blot it out from then on. I was no longer allowed to raise it in conversation or text, she just switched off.

    What is happening now could be even worse though. The Republican party has seemingly completed its metamorphosis from political party into religious cult, facts and logic no longer play any part in its belief system, the “enemy” (Democrats or anyone else opposing it) have been thoroughly demonised so that it’s ok to take any actions against them or tell any lies. All pretence at truth has finally vanished. “Noble Cause Corruption” is how lies are deemed ok by the police if it means tricking a suspect into an admission and similarly “Lying For Jesus” is the equivalent in religion.

    As Colbert has so aptly summarised it for so long, it’s only “Truthiness” not truth, that matters to Republicans now. What you feel in your gut because you hate the “enemy” so much. Only truthiness can explain why so many people think Obama is a Kenyan muslim, that Hillary Clinton should be jailed for killing all those people in Benghazi or that building a big enough wall round America will solve its problems.

    Trump is clearly a narcissistic sociopath, devoid of empathy, unable to take even the slightest criticism, unable to recognise any of his own legion faults but he’s tapped into this vein of truthiness that the scared old white men feel in their gut because it’s no longer 50’s America with a freshly painted white picket fence round each house and where all the niggers know their place. For them the niggers are not just in the woodpile now, they’re even in the White House, the spics are crawling over the border to take their jobs and rape their women (although some of them might be good people), the Muslims are coming to suicide bomb them and the Democrats are what’s stopping them doing something about it.

    If they can just build a big enough wall, get rid of the Muslims, get the police to beat up and shoot more niggers until they know their place like in the good old days then maybe, just maybe, America could be great again for old white racist bigots.

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  • The image that keeps coming into my mind when I think of the Republican party nowadays are of those final scenes from Terminator 2 when the T1000 has been pushed into the crucible of molten steel. It’s thrashing in its death throes, contorting into grotesque parodies of all the people it’s killed and gone on to imitate, melting into oblivion after causing so much havoc.

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  • Alan and others, I don’t know if you caught the blip on the Secret Service opening an investigation on the threats made during the convention?
    From MSNBC
    “The Secret Service said Wednesday that they are looking into New Hampshire State Senator Al Baldasaro after he called for Hillary Clinton’s execution for “treason.”

    Baldasaro is an adviser to the Trump campaign for veteran’s issues and has appeared at Trump campaign events…. “The U.S. Secret Service is aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback told NBC News in a statement Wednesday.”
    On Tuesday, Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire Republican who advises Donald Trump on veterans’ issues, called for Hillary Clinton to be “put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Baldasaro, who is also a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention, went on to describe the Democratic candidate as “a piece of garbage.”

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  • Arkrid,

    What is also very troublesome is that the working class are voting agains their own interests. As Chomsky points out – and I thought I’d post part of this this again; I posted it on an old Trump thread – the working class and the wealthy establishment are bitter enemies, historically always have been. And the Republican party represents the wealthy establishment. This might account for some of the divisions within the Republican party. But I really don’t think Trump gives a shit about the working class, the lower middle class, the poor – and the McConnells and the Gingritches and the Ryans and all the rest know that – so they are mostly embracing him now. (Bush and Cruz are thinking about 2020.)

    “Now, the Republicans are just off the spectrum. They have been correctly described by leading conservative commentators, like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, as just what they call a radical insurgency, which has abandoned parliamentary politics. And they don’t even try to conceal it. Like as soon as Obama was elected, Mitch McConnell said, pretty much straight out, “We have only one policy: make the country ungovernable, and then maybe we can somehow get power again.” That’s just off the spectrum.

    “Now, the actual policies of the Republicans, whether it’s Paul Ryan or Donald Trump, to the extent that he’s coherent, Ted Cruz, you pick him, or the establishment, is basically enrich and empower the very rich and the very powerful and the corporate sector. You cannot get votes that way. So therefore the Republicans have been compelled to turn to sectors of the population that can be mobilized and organized on other grounds, kind of trying to put to the side the actual policies, hoping, the establishment hopes, that the white working class will be mobilized to vote for their bitter class enemies, who want to shaft them in every way, by appealing to something else, like so-called social conservatism—you know, abortion rights, racism, nationalism and so on. And to some extent, that’s happened. That’s the kind of thing that Fritz Stern was referring to in the article that I mentioned about Germany’s collapse, this descent into barbarism. So what you have is a voting base consisting of evangelical Christians, ultranationalists, racists, disaffected, angry, white working-class sectors that have been hit very hard, that are—you know, not by Third World standards, but by First World standards, we even have the remarkable phenomenon of an increase in mortality among these sectors, that just doesn’t happen in developed societies. All of that is a voting base. It does produce candidates who terrify the corporate, wealthy, elite establishment. In the past, they’ve been able to beat them down. This time they aren’t doing it. And that’s what’s happening to the so-called Republican Party.”

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #48
    Jul 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Just watching events unfold in the USA from the comparative safety of the other side of the Atlantic here in Scotland is scary enough. I shudder to think what it must be like for rational people over there. –

    If he becomes president he will spread it over here, seemingly expecting allies to pay more towards American military adventures and provocations!
    **Donald Trump has said that if he is elected president he may abandon a guarantee of protection to fellow Nato countries.

    Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Trump said the US would only come to the aid of allies if they have “fulfilled their obligations to us**”.

    Members of Nato have all signed a treaty that says they will come to the aid of any member that is attacked.

    Although the White House has not responded directly to Mr Trump’s comments, spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday the US commitment to NATO was “ironclad”.

    Mr Trump’s comments hit at the fundamental basis of the Atlantic alliance; that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

    Under Article 5 of Nato’s founding treaty, allies are bound to come to the aid of a member under attack.

    The US has long been pressing its European allies to spend more on defence. That is slowly beginning to have an effect.

    But never has there been a suggestion that the US would renege on its responsibilities.

    His comments on Turkey suggest that the Republican contender also seems reluctant to insist upon Nato members maintaining strong democratic principles.

    Mr Trump’s positions will be seen by Washington’s Nato partners as at best eccentric and at worst alarming.

    Asked about Russian aggression towards Nato countries in the Baltic region, Mr Trump suggested the US might abandon the long standing protections offered by the US to such nations.

    The divisive Republican candidate also said that, if elected, he would not pressure US allies over crackdowns on political opposition and civil liberties, arguing that the US had to “fix our own mess” before “lecturing” other nations.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Mr Erdogan to follow the rule of law, amid a crackdown on opposition figures by the Turkish leader in the wake of the coup attempt. But Mr Trump chose not to make a similar statement.

    The Republican candidate also said that he would reassess the costs to the US of long-standing defence treaties, potentially forcing allies to take on those costs.

    Apparently Donald Trump says America should not be concerned about his suggested antics breaking up NATO!

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  • Alf,

    I heard about that Trump delegate.
    Another thing that really bothered me is when Pence quoted Clinton out of context. “What does it matter?” he quoted her as saying about Benghazi , as though she was indifferent to the whole thing. I actually heard her say that when she said it; I heard it in context and that isn’t at all what she meant; she meant let’s not focus on what’s in front of us, do what we can do, and in the process find out as much as we can so we can piece it all together and have some justice as well, etc. instead of quibbling and speculating about whether it was instigated by this or that…
    Taking things out of context like that is completely dishonest.

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  • Meanwhile, today five hundred people were killed in traffic accidents traveling to their jobs and back. They knew it was dangerous.
    The people in Benghazi were doing their job. They knew it was dangerous.

    I’m not sure what the difference is.

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  • Arkrid, Do you have a spare bedroom I could buy? Scotland? Sounds like fantasy land to us here.
    BTW, I think Scotland is safe. Trump probably won’t bomb there. (right away)

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  • ELECTION 2016
    Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
    For decades, Chomsky has warned of the right turn of the Democratic Party.
    By Jake Johnson / AlterNet May 18, 2016

    In an interview with Chris Hedges in 2010, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned linguist and dissident intellectual, remarked that he has “never seen anything like this.”

    By this, he meant the state of American society, relative to the time in which he was raised — the Depression years — and to the tumultuous state of Europe during that same period.

    “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky said. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

    For decades, Chomsky has warned of the right turn of the Democratic Party, which has, in an effort to win elections, adopted large swaths of the Republican platform and abandoned the form of liberalism that gave us the New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

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  • alf 55

    ” … today five hundred people were killed in traffic accidents…”

    It was Hillary’s fault. Many thousands of accidents happened under her watch and since then. Lock her up.

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  • “Alf, you’re a riot!”
    The result of a coma and two strokes ,brain damage,,,,,,,HILLARY!
    And as far as the coma, no, I didn’t see a bright light then all my relatives were there. I do however get asked stupid questions about it by fundies.

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  • alf1200, others

    Alf, you’re a riot! Btw, you asked Arkrid if he had a room to spare. I did the same thing, asked Phil Rimmer if I could move in with him, told him I’d pay handsomely.
    No reply as of yet.
    Correction: The top paragraph of my comment 51 isn’t so hot. (“This might account for some of the divisions within the Republican party.”) I think the opposition to Trump was simply fear that he is unelectable.
    P.S. Watergate, the Vietnam war, the assassination of MLK. HILLARY! I broke my left clavicle skateboarding when I was a kid. HILLARY!
    You saw my post before it posted!
    (So that’s true about the strokes and coma? I wasn’t sure.)

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  • Dan, Yes, but I’m doing ok. I can’t see very well and my right hand gets confused with my left. So when I drive I keep ending up at home…………..bummer………

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  • 63

    “I can’t see very well and my right hand gets confused with my left. So when I drive I keep ending up at home.”


    Corny, but here goes: 🙂

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  • Half of us are nuts but we can pay handsomely. We need to be on the next flight out of here to Scotland. Problem is, we’re sure to bump into our fellow American Trump over there driving the Scots crazy over his golf courses.

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  • “Problem is, we’re sure to bump into our fellow American Trump”
    I don’t think they will let him in anymore. And they will probably try to park a lorrie on him.

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  • 69
    fadeordraw says:

    That the USA people/voters are in the predicament, twitch a clown-bully and a corporate-pimp, that is has come to this for you – all I can say it I don’t know what I’d do. Still, it all seems so far away from having USAers do governance sans religion; I’ve overheard the Republican Convention speeches – governance secularism for the USA seems is the distant future.

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  • Fade or Draw, It also concerning just not for us but for the Earth. This smiling goon is going to start some crap with everybody.
    And we have the greatest military in the world? That really worries me right now.
    Can I immigrate to Aussieland?

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  • I believe our system was designed to prevent such a man from winning. Whether or not those responsible for ensuring it works will do the right thing is way over my head. But I’m encouraged by what seems like genuine contempt for the man by many Republicans.

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  • Sean, IF, I had any confidence in our voting system, you would be correct. However voting suppression is a real problem in the south and midwest.
    Our system is in question. Our morality is down the tubes. Just the possibility of a Trump presidency is an indication of how screwed we are. Fifty percent of us think this buffoon will make a good president.
    That is the damage already done.
    We have two legal systems, two tax systems and two medical systems.
    If you are rich, you can obtain legal representation of the best quality.
    If you are rich, you only pay “investors” tax rate.
    If you are rich, you will live longer and get your medical coverage without question.
    “Our system” is rigged.

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  • fadeordraw #69
    Jul 21, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    That the USA people/voters are in the predicament, twitch a clown-bully and a corporate-pimp, that is has come to this for you – all I can say it I don’t know what I’d do.

    I think that is the consequence of putting political high office, up for sale to whoever can raise the most campaign sponsorship money – in the expectation of offering as pay-back to funding supporters, the best rip-off of everyone else which can be contrived.

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  • @Alan #73

    I think that is the consequence of putting political high office, up
    for sale to whoever can raise the most campaign sponsorship money – in
    the expectation of offering as pay-back to funding supporters, the
    best rip-off of everyone else which can be contrived.

    I think that only scratches the surface. The real problem is the need the voting public has to hitch their fears to a demagogue with the hope of respite, rather than getting to the actual core of their fears. It’s a pretty basic political ploy, but in this case I worry the damage cannot be undone if Trump gets into office. And even if he doesn’t, we are witnessing the ugly underbelly of a frighteningly large portion of the American electorate: this needs to be confronted.

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  • When Republicans speak of “cutting down the size of government’ they are lying. They want BIG…very very BIG government when it comes to peoples sex lives.

    Also, Republicans are quick to send young men into war and spend trillions. However Republicans do not want to spend a dime when it comes to caring for the wounded veterans who come back from their wars. After all, keeping their fiscal image attractive to the voting public, what a better way than to cut any spending for wounded veterans!

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  • Just finished watching Real Time with Bill Maher which is my Saturday morning treat every week. I’m trying hard not to throw up at the moment though. Ex congressman Jack Kingston (R) from Georgia was on again. I’ve seen him a few times and he’s made me nauseous every time but he stooped to new lows last night. About ISIS he proclaimed “well ISIS wasn’t there when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. It came under her watch.” I’m surprised she had time to found ISIS and be responsible for everything it’s done when killing those Americans in Benghazi must have occupied her so much. Disgusting man. This does kind of typify what Republicans like to say these days though.

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  • That’s right, Arkrid. But it’s not just that guy; they’re all saying that. It’s sick. I just heard Hillary speak in Florida (on TV) and it was like night and day. Her VP (Kaine) seems like a pretty solid and decent chap. Okay, he was for deregulating wall street – but he seems pretty good in spite of that, somehow. She correctly pointed out that Trump sounds like a deluded dictator: “I am your voice” and “I alone can fix it.”

    It’s the politics of fear and division. All lies and rhetoric and scapegoating. China, I understand, is already sending messages that they are very wary of this development.

    The Republicans have struck an unprecedented level of degradation. Google Chomsky on Trump. He knows his stuff. Great historian. Uniquely insightful and knowledgeable man.

    I think Trump will lose.

    (These die-hard Bernie supporters are irritating. No vote or a vote for Dr. Klein of the Green Party is a vote for Trump!)

    Norman Mailer said that Democracy is a very delicate thing. He described it as a state of grace. He warned us all about how it can morph imperceptibly (not his exact words) into fascism. Scary. We’re a step away from that, I fear. (Google him too, if you feel like it. A highly gifted man, a prophet of sorts.)

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  • Ardrid, I guess they wanted Hillary to go over personally and stop the ISIS.
    I don’t want Hillary anywhere near a gun and I have no idea what she would look like in fatigues.

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  • Hi Dan, I was talking to the fire chief and a cop friend today.
    They are also pretty disturbed at whats happening.
    There was a guy on a site II was talking to on anti-depressants that stated he was feeling suicidal because of the turmoil.
    I told him he was feeling nothing abnormal and watching this wasn’t healthy for him. (hope I gave the right advise)’
    Everybody is worried, ,,,,,which makes me feel good because that is normal.. Everybody is watching………
    BTW, why are you awake this late?.

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  • Alf, our posts are overlapping. How are you doing, man? You know when Obama, with Hillary’s help, gave the final order to capture and kill Bin Laden, the republicans gave them zero credit; they actually said: “Obama wasn’t in a helicopter. He just gave the order.” Tell that to a general.

    That took tremendous guts. If they had failed, it would have been political death. And they were about fifty percent sure that he was in that compound.

    Why wouldn’t you want her near a gun? She’s a decent woman. I don’t care what they say. She’s decent.

    (Yes, everyone is on edge, except Trump and his supporters. If you get a chance to talk to that guy again tell him that if his thoughts of suicide don’t lift he should call his doctor.)

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  • “Why wouldn’t you want her near a gun? She’s a decent woman.”

    She would be very intimidating armed, and dressed in camo.
    “If you get a chance to talk to that guy again tell him that if his thoughts of suicide don’t lift he should call his doctor.”
    Yes, I will. He seems to have left and didn’t respond yet. If I can reach him again, I will encourage.
    I feel like a counselor today. I was talking to a recovering heroin addict also. Gave some advise, hope he continues. He was raised in a home with abusive religious parents. I told him about my health and told him what I would like to do if I was thirty-one.
    I think he got the message.

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  • Phil, I know I am somewhat flippant at times and not very serious.
    I have not had much “faith” in our election system for years.
    We have never had a true representation of democracy. We have had unfair elections for years and the delegate system is a farce. We don’t even know who these people are.
    Even without voting restrictions in the South and Midwest, it was still false.
    The corruption is rampant and we are coming apart as a country.

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  • @Phil #83

    The GOP has been unable to modify its platform to appeal to a broader voting base, so gerrymandering and voter suppression are the only ways they can get in office–they don’t have the numbers to get elected by popular vote. What their party needs is someone who can bring vision while at the same time be strong enough to shout down the neo-con fringe.

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  • Vicky, sounds like the death throes of a dying species…possible they jerked themselves so far to the right they eliminated most moderates?
    But the interest in Trump is scaring everybody I know. The others, they wouldn’t be coming in my house.
    This country will probably split in the next twenty years or less. .

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  • …possible they jerked themselves so far to the right they eliminated
    most moderates?

    Personally, I think that is a result of being owned by interests that have no need to look beyond their own bottom lines (the NRA comes to mind). Clinton said part of her platform will be to overturn the Citizens United ruling, but I think it would be more productive to enact SuperPac rules and limits.

    It will be interesting, too, to see what changes their mouthpiece will bring now that Roger Ailes has resigned. I foresee an escalation of the neo-con idiocy.

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  • Super PAC restrictions are surely essential. Obscenely wealthy individuals have the ultimate bauble for their collection (a state, a country) almost certainly within their grasp until this is checked.

    US democracy needs a thorough purge.

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  • Dan #78
    Jul 23, 2016 at 2:08 am

    That’s right, Arkrid. But it’s not just that guy; they’re all saying that. It’s sick.

    Sadly there no longer appears to be any penalty or even remorse in American politics, at least in Republican politics, for mendacity. When the truth is inconvenient to your position or message then simply lie. As the Republican party has carried out the change it started in the 1970s and developed under Reagan from a genuine political party into a religious cult then so has “Lying For Jesus” become acceptable practice much as “Noble Cause Corruption” makes their own lies acceptable to the police as I alluded to in a post above.

    The Founding Fathers took great pains to try and ensure separation of church and state and for nearly 200 years this succeeded and religion mainly kept out of politics. In the 1970s two things happened to change this. Roe V Wade finally legalised abortion much to the chagrin of the evangelical community and Bob Jones University v IRS made its way through the courts. BJU was a religious university that didn’t allow black students to enrol on religious grounds. The IRS rescinded its tax free status and sent it a bill for half a million dollars. The Supreme Court finally ruled in favour of the IRS in 1983 on the grounds that 1st amendment rights to freedom of religion did not allow the university to discriminate against blacks. As the case dragged through lower courts during the 1970s though the Reverend Gerry Falwell and other evangelicals started the movement to try and get religion into Republican politics with abortion as its initial hobby horse. They found a willing supplicant in Reagan and got a pro-life platform into his 1980 manifesto. From that point on the Republican party started its transformation.

    For the next 20 years lying too blatantly was still frowned on until in 2001 the Bush administration changed all the rules. For 18 months it lied outrageously about both WMDs and Saddam Hussein’s involvement in 9/11, which of course was zero. In the UK Blair followed the same course to our eternal shame. To the astonishment of most observers there was no apparent penalty for any of this outright mendacity. Every Republican bar one brave man voted for Bush’s illegal war despite the fact that most of them must surely have known it was bogus and Bush even won a second term. Lying was now an acceptable way of doing business. It became so prevalent that an entire fact checking industry came into being around it. For a further while politicans who got caught out responded with “I misspoke” and then even this disappeared. Now they just stick to the lies and repeat them or even double down.

    Hand in hand with this conversion to religious cult has gone the demonisation of the enemy, the Democrats. When the enemy are subhumans it’s much easier to kill them without remorse as every military commander learns and certainly much easier to lie to them, or about them when you’re lying for Jesus which is not really lying in the first place.

    In the last 8 years we’ve seen the Republicans simply refuse to deal with the enemy, the Democrats, even to the point of shutting the government down and then trying to blame it on Obama for being divisive. There is no common ground left any more. To a Brit looking in from the outside the Democrats seem like normal responsible caring people and the Republicans appear to be some sort of alien lizard race whose behaviour is utterly incomprehensible. As they gradually lose popular support, and especially as America slowly grows less religious, they are falling back on voter suppression laws, gerrymandering of voting districts, anti LBGT legislation and just flat out lying about anything where the truth is not convenient.

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  • alf,

    I never think of you as flippant, only as having a welcome lightness of tone when things get a little too grim…pure Life of Brian.

    As for me I am a compulsive glass half full sort of chap, but sometimes….

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  • In the five posts following and including this one we can see why societies may split politically.

    The key issue is how these differences (genetic and early influence) on the political right are explpoited. Until the US (and then the UK) recognise what makes people vulnerable to exploiters (fear and lack of intellectual execrise) the necessary protections and ameliorations will not be put in place.

    Sexism and reasoning

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  • Fear generator (Amygdala) bigger and error detector (ACC) smaller in conservatives.

    Correlation is not causation we must remember.

    But the Right are always with us. We must (as with the credulous and fearful religious) seek out and deal with the shaman sociopath exploiters and work to amend their channels of control (lying/poor education, lying media….the first amenment right to lie, should not be allowed beyond individuals). Targetting the dim and the scared, works in reverse.

    I would like to see studies on groupism and IQ also.

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  • Phil, Vicki

    Why do you say “to what avail”? (83) When I raise that question in connection to reforming Islam you express disdain for my skepticism, and say that it has to be gradual.
    This election is all-important. I don’t think elections, as a rule, are that important; but this one is. We have to prevent Trump from winning. It’s about the trajectory. Trump is a reactionary, wants to privatize everything, doesn’t care about the environment, and in spite of his words suggesting inclusiveness at the convention, he is a xenophobe, appeals to the lowest common denominator, to the emotions. He is a narcissist, and temperamentally unqualified. I am not even sure if he is not a bigot as opposed to a mere opportunist. He is ignorant and megalomaniacal. He appeals to the flag conservatives, the primitive tribal instincts, to blood lust, and the violent impulses, and is forever scapegoating and deflecting.
    Clinton and Kaine are far better. Listen to Kaine’s speech, if you can. It was very good.

    Vicki, why not abolish citizens united altogether? I don’t get it.

    From 2016 article:

    “So we are faced with a political system largely devoted to the needs of organized wealth, which leaves working people anxious, worried about the future, and, as we have seen, very angry. In essence, political elites — on both sides — have created a vacuum into which a charismatic and loudmouthed demagogue can emerge.

    “As Chomsky noted in his interview with Hedges [six years ago] ‘The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has [yet] arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.’ ”

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  • Dan,

    A moments frustation at the effectiveness of this anti democratic shenanigan (do they exist singly?). Obama could have done so much more with a rational Senate. As I commented to alf

    As for me I am a compulsive glass half full sort of chap, but sometimes….

    No. Gradualism plus everything else is called for. Betterism secures change (by rooting in culture) not tricks it by emotional trickery..

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  • Vicki, why not abolish citizens united altogether? I don’t get it.’

    The ruling was based on the right to free speech; overturning it would kick that issue back into court. What Clinton should do is introduced legislation to limit the financial influence of Super Pacs, which is at the core of their problem.

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  • Vicki,

    Wow. You know a lot about politics. I hadn’t thought of that, and I am, admittedly, somewhat confused about this issue.

    But free speech? That’s a travesty. Limit financial influence of super pacs? How?

    Citizens United is obscene! There must be a way of abolishing it on sound legal grounds. It is wrong, and is a threat to the future of our Democracy.

    The Iceman (Trump) cometh not.

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  • Dan, as far as free speech goes, I have an internal conflict.
    Free speech seems to me, abused in this country in the last few decades.

    Several weeks ago, I watched a video about a southern baptist minister who was calling for the “violent expulsion of the native Americans. I was a little shocked.
    Last week as we all witnessed, there was some talk of a firing squad.

    The Fred Phelps of the world have been one of the worst calling for the death of Veterans and gays.

    I am starting to question the enforcement of the limits on free speech. I think we can agree it this were reversed some of the language would be enforced. If a Native American group called for the “violent expulsion” of another group, they would be in court.

    But, as we know, religious influence trumps all. (excuse the reference)

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  • Phil

    Don’t get mad; I’m just presenting a different point of view.

    Fear generator (Amygdala) bigger and error detector (ACC) smaller in conservatives.

    So what is the solution? Genocide? To make a science of social behavior is to my mind inherently dangerous.

    From a book Review:

    And so enters Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfied:

    You’ve Seen The Headlines: This is your brain on love. Or God. Or envy. Or happiness. And they’re reliably accompanied by articles boasting pictures of color-drenched brains — scans capturing Buddhist monks meditating, addicts craving cocaine, and college sophomores choosing Coke over Pepsi. The media — and even some neuroscientists, it seems — love to invoke the neural foundations of human behavior to explain everything from the Berne Madoff financial fiasco to slavish devotion to our iPhones, the sexual indiscretions of politicians, conservatives’ dismissal of global warming, and even an obsession with selt-tanning.

    There is no region in the brain that is the “religion center.” There also is no love center, or hate center. Neuroscientists, for the most part, know this! This is pop-neuroscience. Science has not discovered a “success” center either.

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  • Dan, I’m not sure what comes first, the biological science or social behavior?
    I have had thoughts lately about how arrogance, religion, and crime are related.
    There seems to be a genetic brain difference in some individuals. This behavior is seen in families where one is a psychopath and the rest are unaffected. (I had one in my family, sociopath.)
    Some people seem to latch on to ideas and never release them even in the face of “new” unwavering facts.
    Sound familiar?

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  • So what is the solution? Genocide?

    I gave one….not genocide. Learning how to live with neural diversity is the trick. Hunt down the exploiters and learn how they exploit and fix the channels. Then innoculate their victims against predation by fixing inequality and education.

    I could give you non pop neuroscience but I have the utmost problem retaining anybody’s intterest here when I do…Its complicated stuff in fairness.

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  • Phil, I come here to expand my knowledge,(limited) and if you could get it to us a bit at a time, I would welcome any information.
    It took me years to catch up to where I could even start having a rational question much less an opinion.

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  • Dan and Phil, if you guys start throwing punches, please let me know.
    Last night I was on a site full of so much fighting blood came out of my monitor……I don’ t like changing shirts in the middle of a debate. (sorry guys, I couldn’t help it. My Amygdala had a premature,,,,,,,,,never mind…..)

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  • Alf, Phil

    Three aphorisms:

    My assumption is that whatever is going on in the brain is a product of something more primary that caused it to be there.

    The need to see gave rise to the evolution of the eye.

    The amygdala was formed by the need to feel safe; this need gave rise to the evolution of the amygdala. The “fear generator” did not produce that need. Fear itself and a revolt of the cells produced it. Today, we continue to have fear, and a certain part of the brain (“amygdala”) has been located in connection with it. That is all.

    P.S. I suspect that Darwin himself would’ve agreed with my highly intuitive and thoughtful contention.

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  • The need to see gave rise to the evolution of the eye.

    The need to tell the time of day gave rise to the eye (eventually).

    The amygdala was formed to know best when to scoot, even though you need to spend most of your time feeding.

    A shadow falling on your ocelli (used to tell the time of day) suddenly helped you scoot that little bit earlier.

    Complicated cognising organs start simply to solve very simple problems.

    “Feeling safe” or feeling anything is a bit of a stretch for such primitive animals, way before any inferential higher or even mid brain existed. The amygdala grew from the most simple hard wired coincidence of sensory detections to create reflexive respnses very rapidly.

    I have an anecdote about increasingly nervous snails and evolution, that will have to wait until tomorrow….

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  • Okay, I betrayed my ignorance but you did get the gist of it at least, right? The amygdala didn’t create the need to respond reflexively; nor is anything in nature coincidental; the need to respond in a certain way to stimuli gave rise to the evolution of the amygdala. (I should be a scientist, like my relative Einstein. Science needs more intuitive philosophers.)

    Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, is a first class guy, Phil. I really like this guy. Seventeen years as a civil rights attorney, a mayor, senator, and governor (all three), armed services committee, senate foreign relations committee, for gun control and committed to taking on the NRA, pro-choice and respected by Planned Parenthood (in spite of his devout Catholicism). He has a very accomplished wife who is a progressive attorney, is a family man… And so much more. His inaugural speech as VP candidate (and he spoke in Spanish when discussing immigration, which he learned in Honduras teaching welding) was outstanding. I was very impressed. He seems like a very fine person. Pence will be outclassed big time. And the Republicans are going to have a hard time digging up dirt on this guy.

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  • The amygdala didn’t create the need to respond reflexively;

    A strange idea. We must be careful to distinguish evolutionary pressure in the deep past from the current population variations of its legacy.

    The variation in individuals is the result of poor manufacturing tolerances and quite often early experience. Living with a surplus of cortisol (resulting from an harsh parent or peer bullying or some other stress producing occurrence…religious indoctrination… hell) alters the sense organ and its heuristics. The deep analysis of outcomes with the Romanian orphanage scandal showed the devastating cortisol induced neural legacy of early stress. Rolling this back to the experience of a scary dad or mum would scale nicely to the more modest moral variants we see.

    I have mentioned the different moral capacities of children from different backgrounds here a few times. Whilst all kids show a like capacity to identify and object to unfair treatment of themselves, those from more marginal societies are less likely to identify and complain about unfairness to others. Survival for them may depend on a little personally advantageous unfairness. Fair treatment of the young, conversely, encourages fair treatment.

    nor is anything in nature coincidental;

    This is a popular misconception. Many behavioural artifacts are second order outcomes of an unrelated selection pressure. We have a lot to thank these behavioural, coincidental, spandrels (biology) for. The very complexity of our asthetics the richness of our cultures comes from half a billion years of doing a job just well enough to take the gross (selection) pressure off. The crudeness of our amygdala in judging the fellow in front of us, keeps dramas dramatic.

    Yep. Kaine, good.

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  • The crudeness of our amygdala in judging the fellow in front of us, keeps dramas dramatic,

    and fucks up the judgment of armed police officers, and that of voting conservatives…

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  • @OP – Trump has said that he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.”

    He is however ” a big believer” in telling an audience whatever they would like to hear, whatever will make them fear some problem, or anything sufficiently outrageous to get lots of media coverage!

    He does not have coherent answers to the identified real or imagined problems, but is happy to point out that other people don’t have simplistic answers to these complex problems! answers, as if that added any credibility to HIS non-solutions!

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  • Phil, you are an exceptionally humane and erudite man. I just have a problem with this idea that people are doing bad things because of the amygdala. It turns us into passive beings, locks us in. We will continue to evolve, and new amygdala-type-things will be formed and what is no longer needed will be vestigial. We are influenced by physiology, but physiology is influenced by environmental factors and, above all, the mysterious Will.

    I think we (scientists, philosophers, thinkers, theorists) need to challenge ourselves, be rigorous and open; this cause and effect relation needs to be examined very carefully. Perhaps this analogy is imprecise, but isn’t this like saying that an outburst of anger is caused by the face turning red?

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  • I just have a problem with this idea that people are doing bad things because of the amygdala.

    No. I said people do similar things because genes. We are siblings. People do things different because and often because culture and early experience and random stuff.

    Didn’t you see that?

    A causal chain allows us to confirm these things. I am stunned that

    I just have a problem with this idea that people are doing bad things because of the amygdala.

    could be your take away.

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  • Hello Dan and Phil,

    ” I just have a problem with this idea that people are doing bad things because of the amygdala.”
    My understanding is the Amygdala is responsible for quick responses, somewhat like a batch file.
    If this is correct both bad decisions and good decisions could be affected. However wouldn’t it be likely that the
    errors would most likely come from emotional responses that are overwhelmed by the Amygdala?
    Am I not thinking this correctly?

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  • Thanks, alf. That is a very useful clarification. Amygdalas give direct negative (and positive) reponses to drive fight or flight responses and need to be very fast preconscious judgments. The cortex is sloooooooow. But the amygdala (the amygdala’s effect, via epinephrine release etc as well as direct stimulation of the anterior cingulate cortex) is also a major input to the cortex and can skew its cultural moral processing. Cultural training may allow the ACC to stay the violent response. But if the Amygdala is more powerfully signalling and already pumping adrenalin, the civilising stays will be overwhelmed.

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  • Alan4discussion #113
    Jul 24, 2016 at 9:44 am

    He {Trump} is however ” a big believer”
    in telling an audience whatever they would like to hear,
    whatever will make them fear some problem,
    or anything sufficiently outrageous to get lots of media coverage!

    . . . . and guess what has been discovered about emails in the Trump campaigns and administration? !!

    Jared Kushner used private email account for official business – reports

    Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, used a private email account alongside his official White House account to exchange messages with other administration officials, according to reports.

    The emails included correspondence about media coverage, event planning and other subjects, Politico reported on Sunday. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said his client complied with government record-keeping rules by forwarding all the emails to his official account.

    During the president’s successful 2016 election campaign, he derided Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under Barack Obama.

    Some of those messages were later determined to contain classified information.

    Trump often led crowds in chants of “Lock her up!” during the campaign and vowed in October she would “be in jail” over the matter if he became president. He has since said he would not pursue prosecution.

    Politico said other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn.

    I wonder if there will be a chorus of “Lock them up!”, from the Trumpies? 🙂

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