The Cognitive Dissonance of Conservative Ben Carson

Democratic Blue Darts wallpaper

Democratic Blue Darts wallpaper

 

Ben Carson Goes On The Offensive, Lashes Out At “Racist” Critics

The noted surgeon and Johns Hopkins University neurosurgery professor has been subject to harsh criticism, including from students and staff at Johns Hopkins Medical School, since he compared gays who support marriage equality to pedophiles and practitioners of bestiality during a March 27 interview on Fox News’ Hannity.

During that appearance, Carson said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition. So, it’s not something against gays. It’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.”

…But on Levin’s show, Carson went on the offensive, saying that the criticism he has received proves that he’s right that “political correctness is threatening to destroy our nation because it puts a muzzle over honest conversation.” He added that “the attacks against me have been so vicious because I represent an existential threat” to his critics, who he says “take my words, misinterpret them, and try to make it seem that I’m a bigot.”

Others have already covered the not just offensive analogy between gays and “pedophiles and practitioners of bestiality”, but pathologically suspect behavior. Carson is wrong about the political correctness. What he said was a gift. He let everyone know here he stands. Had he kept it a secret, lied about his beliefs and radical agenda, and then been elected to some position of authority where he could force his pathology down America’s throat, that would have been a venal farce perpetrated on the American public.

After Levin claimed that Carson has been “attacked also, in many respects, because of your race” because “a lot of white liberals” don’t like black conservatives, Carson replied, “Well, they’re the most racist people there are. Because you know, they put you in a little category, a little box, ‘you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?'”

Carson has been through college and medical school so I’m sure he has at least brushed up against the scientific method.

Introduction to the Scientific Method

The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.

Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, “Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view.” In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing a hypothesis or a theory.
I. The scientific method has four steps

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

While that description pertains to the natural sciences, the social sciences – sociology, psychology, economics and political science have used those methods as well. One studies the evidence, collects data and publishes findings that is logical and verifiable. Where is Carson’s evidence that while liberals hate black conservatives just for being black. I have made it very clear on this blog over the course of eight years that conservatism is a malevolent political movement, that allowed to fulfill its agenda would destroy both democracy and capitalism. With every post I demonstrate how that is true in one way or another. I would be happy to look at the fact sheet, the data, the psychological experiment, the sociological experiment that shows conclusively that while liberals have put him or any conservative, black or white on anything resembling a plantation. That all probably sounds like snark, but it is the best I can do in taking Carson seriously. Listening to him is the same as listening to his mindless brethren;  Limbaugh, Hannity, Mitch McConnell, Michelle Malkin and the hundreds of unhinged conservative bloggers. Carson fits in with the conservative movement perfectly. He lives in a mental bubble that is impermeable to the truth. Unlike Carson and other conservatives I read their side. I read more about what conservatives have to say than liberals, progressives or centrist Democrats. The NYT’s far Right columnist Ross Douthat wrote a column just after the first of the year encouraging both sides to read more of what the other side has to say. It was unintentionally hilarious. If conservatives started reading facts, studies, real history, not the history revisionism industry that has become a major source of wing-nut welfare, conservatism would cease to exist as a political movement. We’d have two parties – centrist conservative Democrats like Obama, and liberals. One of the reasons Carson and before him, Herman Cain are such ridiculous figures is the almost daily exhibitions of racism and misogyny from conservatives. Ross might have encouraged some critical reading of conservatives by conservatives. These are just a few examples, out of hundreds, of conservative racism from TPro,

Caucasian Student In Texas Starts Group To Advance White ‘Beliefs And Objectives’
… racism and discrimination on campus” and help…
Published on March 28, 2013
‘Veronica Mars’ Television Club: Race, Class, Sexism And The Outsiders

… in their lives, that questions of racism, sexism, and class…
Published on March 22, 2013
CPAC Participant Defends Slavery At Minority Outreach Panel: It Gave ‘Food And Shelter’ To Blacks  ( Carson spoke at CPAC. He must have put his ear muffs on when others were speaking)

… the racism on display at this event. CPAC is the marquee…
Published on March 15, 2013
Why Scalia’s ‘Racial Entitlement’ Quote Is Even Scarier Than You Think

… that simply gave Congress free reign to engage in racism…
Published on February 28, 2013
Why We Still Need The Voting Rights Act: Perspectives From Supreme Court Spectators

…. As long as we have racism and bigotry in our country… [in racism at the ballot box], but at the same time…
Right-Wing Columnist Implies Colin Powell Is Anti-Semitic After Defending Hagel

… of racism, or b) he should retract and apologize for his…

O’Reilly: Black Voters Don’t Believe In ‘Self Reliance’ Or ‘American Exceptionalism’

… is latent racism. But in his rebuttal, O’Reilly…

Racist Hate Group To Conduct Nighttime Patrols On College Campus

… “Commander” HeimbachA racist hate group at Towson University…

South Carolina Republican Suggests GOP Opposes Medicaid Expansion Because Obama Is Black

…, and responding positively to, racist emails in support…

Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’

… lawmakers are too afraid to be tarred as racists. His…
RNC Delegate Offended By Presence of ‘Mexican’ At Disney’s Epcot Center

… racist comments. County Commissioner Malcolm Derk told… by racist incidents this week; on Tuesday, two delegates…

GOP Congressional Candidate Accuses His African-American Opponent Of Pretending To Be Black

… of making a racist comment. He then levied an unusual…

And just a few from MM,

20 Inflammatory Comments From State Of The Union Invitee Ted Nugent
February 11, 2013 4:17 PM EST

Rush: Cubans Aren’t “Popular In The Overall Hispanic Group” Because They’re Not “As Dark” And Are “Oriented Toward Work”

Hannity, Carlson Desperately Attempt To Manufacture “Racially Charged Rhetoric” From Obama Video
October 3, 2012 12:38 AM EDT

“Right On”: Conservative Media Applaud, Defend Romney For Birther Comment
August 24, 2012 4:38 PM EDT

Conservative Radio CEO Defends Anti-Asian Comments By Blaming “Political Left”
July 9, 2012 5:47 PM EDT

Huckabee: Hate-Crime Laws Are “A Form Of Reverse Racism Or Reverse Sexism”
April 23, 2012 4:00 PM EDT

Hannity’s Latest Attempt At Race-Baiting: “There’s A Picture” Of Obama With The New Black Panthers
April 10, 2012 12:14 AM EDT

Excuse me for putting anyone in a box, but black conservatives – Cain, Carson, West, Swann, Steele – do all seem to have one thing in common, the remarkable ability not to see and hear the profound and disturbing racism of their movement.

Growing membership in hate groups blame Obama, economy

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper – Is The Ascendancy of Moderate Liberalism Making Republicans Dumber

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper

Winter Woods Snow wallpaper

 

 

As much as I appreciate a clever observation, I do prefer governance that moves things along in the best interests of the country. Since we’re not going to get the good governance, now, or when the Senate comes back from recess, me and everyone else will have to settle for the clever observation, Explaining the Farce of the Hagel Hearings

It’s easy to shake your head and laugh at the incredible things said by some of the nincompoops who occupy the GOP’s backbench in Congress, whether it’s Louie Gohmert ranting about “terror babies,” or Paul Broun (an actual doctor, for whose patients I fear) saying “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” or any of a thousand things Michele Bachmann has said over the years. But as we laugh, we know these people don’t shape policy, so the damage they can do is limited. Not that the rest of the Republicans on Capitol Hill are a bunch of geniuses or anything, but most of those who have that golden combination of crazy and stupid are pretty far down in the pecking order.

But looking forward to the next four years, you have to wonder if Barack Obama is, through little fault of his own, making the entire Republican party dumber with each passing day. Fred Kaplan, a thoughtful journalist who reports on military affairs for Slate, watched Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings and can’t contain his disgust at how little the Republican senators serving on the Armed Services Committee seem to understand about things related to the armed services:

Not to sound like a Golden Age nostalgic, but there once was a time when the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee prided themselves on having an understanding of military matters. They disagreed in their conclusions and sometimes their premises. But most of them worked to educate themselves, at least to the point where they could debate the issues, or ask questions of a general without coming off like complete idiots. The sad thing about this new crop of senators—especially on the Republican side—is they don’t even try to learn anything; they don’t care if they look like complete idiots, in part because their core constituents don’t care if they do either.

Normal people, people who are just a little crazy as most of us are, are not show your ass like baboons crazy. Conservatives see no down side to showing their ass because the conservative base rewards such behavior. It would never occur to them that they lost two major election elections because, among other things, voters had a choice between the level headed black guy and the crazies, and decided that lunacy was not the best course for the country. While many conservative get down on one knee every time Dick Cheney releases a statement to Fox News to give thanks, the current stars of the conservative movement – Paul Broun, Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz are worshiped because their vision for the USA is to abandon everything in the Constitution except their bizarre interpretation of the 2nd Amenedment. I’m not a science fiction writer so I can’t really do that vision poetic justice – one where there is no 1st Amendment protections for freedom of religious conscience, only protection f far Right and corporate speech. No right to petition for grievances, a country where tea baggers can parade with racist signs, but occupiers can’t protest the injustices and greed of Wall Street. A place where a clump of cells has more legal protection than grown women. A conservative America where the 4th Amendment interferes with delivering instance justice. An unregulated America where citizens are thrown into private prisons for profit, while billionaires get away with poisoning working families. If you stand for economic and legal justice you’ll have the please of being branded an anti-Christ Marxist by the Broun-Cruz-Nugent crowd. Do they understand that by saying that anyone who stands up for good, for decency, for ethics is a Marxist, rather than the loyal opposition, they are giving Marxism an undeserved good name.

Another aspect of conservatism that while tiresome from a long time bloggers’s point of view, can be interesting as well, is the conservative base’s perception that they and the Conservative movement are some brand of populism. Whether it is Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Florida Criminal in-Chief Rick Scott or conservative radio pundits, they are all captives of crony corporatism. The Grand Old Jurassic Party

The Republican Party is a presidential election away from extinction. If it can’t win the 2016 contest, and unless it has bolstered its congressional presence beyond the benefits of gerrymandered redistricting—which is to say not only retaking the Senate but polling more votes than the opposition nationally—the party will die. It will die not for reasons of “branding” or marketing or electoral cosmetics but because the party is at odds with the inevitable American trajectory in the direction of liberty, and with its own nature; paradoxically the party of Abraham Lincoln, which once saved the Union and which gives such passionate lip service to constitutionality, has come to embody the values of the Confederacy in its hostility to constitutional federalism and the civil bonds that the founding document codifies. The Republican Party will vanish not because of what its says but because of what it believes, not because of how it presents itself but because of who it is when it thinks no one is looking.

I remember reading similar columns in 2009, only to see the tea party – the nation taking it’s first steps out of a calamitous economic meltdown, an unpaid for three trillion dollar war based on lies, the most morally corrupt administration since Andrew Jackson win the 2014 mid-terms because of unhinged anti-immigrant fever and a story book of evil myths about health care reform. Conservatives can hang on for years as the do as much damage as possible movement. They haven’t had an actual idea – one that would work anyway- ironically since health care reform.

Sometime in the last 30 years, however, the party became a flack to corporate culture at the expense of either freedom or individualism, and as the country grows more economically oligarchic, the Republican Party that best reflects that oligarchy loses political credibility with the public.

What the current party shares in its collective psychosis with the party of the ’60s is its yearning for martyrdom. If it’s true that what hold on power the GOP still has lies in congressional districts more and more resembling outliers—a power that will die off as figuratively as the constituents of those districts die off literally—it’s also true that many in the party are gripped by the death wish that thrills all martyrs and leaves them moist for self-annihilation.

Obama’s ‘Preschool for All’ Plan is a Handout to Lazy Toddlers

And of course, President Obama only supports pre-school for all so that he can breed a bunch of l’il Obamabots who will support him in 15 years, which might make sense in a world where President Obama can run for president again in 2036, but which is — spoiler alert! – not the world we live in:

VARNEY: Look what the president is doing here, it’s a repeat performance of his campaign, which is you raise taxes on the rich and you offer all kinds of free stuff to people who will vote for you in the future. Free preschool education for 4-year-olds, it’s free, here it is. Hand out the goodies.

Varney has a lot in common with a toddler, without the innocence of course. He is right that people follow certain political courses of action because, we hope anyway, they act in their own rational self interests. Conservatives vote for conservative and their point of view because of the corporate nanny state. This is where a disproportionate amount of the nation’s GDP goes into the pockets of people who the hardest thing they’ll do all day is walk to the executive washroom. Top 1% Got 93% of Income Growth as Rich-Poor Gap Widened .And $21 million payday for Goldman Sachs CEO. And Facebook Paid No Corporate Income Tax Last Year, After Making More Than $1 Billion In Profits. While Varney and I differ in our politics the differences between us are far more fundamental. He believes in a reality fabricated from the pocket lent of the Koch brothers.

Lots of coverage of the Russian meteor, but maybe some of you missed this great satellite photo, Satellite Sees Russian Meteor Explosion from Space

The meteor which exploded over the Urals of central Russia was seen by Meteosat-9, at the edge of the satellite view. Hundreds of people were reportedly injured as the meteor’s massive sonic boom caused widespread damage. Image taken Feb. 15, 2013, 3:15 UTC. CREDIT: EUMETSAT

And a reminder that there are conservatives everywhere, Despite advances in scientific knowledge, many of us still want random events and misfortunes to have a deeper significance

Like all random events and misfortunes, we want these things to mean something. The Russian fringe politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, rushed to the microphones to claim that the shower of stones that broke windows with their sonic boom, injuring 400 people, was a dastardly test of a new American weapon.

Dorner case shows folly of arming oneself to combat government

In one recent column, I reprinted some words from a guy who wrote several years ago: “Guns are not for hunting. When will you people figure that out? Guns are for hunting down politicians when they steal your rights away through tyranny. Hello!…

“You can’t protect your freedom when the government has more guns than the people.”

[ ]…”When that redistributionist Marxist [deleted] Obama decides to take away decent people’s homes and businesses and give them to the black criminal gangbangers, the garbage illegal aliens [deleted] and the rest of the low information welfare/food stamp crowd who voted for him, we who have our guns can meet them at the door, loaded and ready.”

And there are many like Bryan, who asked: “What if the German Jews had been well armed” against Hitler?

My answer: They would have been slaughtered by the Nazi Panzer divisions.

The French and Poles were well armed. How’d that work out?

But, insisted Tom, “throughout world history, superior armies with superior fire power have been defeated by well-motivated forces with little more than small arms.”

OK, enough. Suffice that too many people think that private citizens should be sufficiently armed to take on not only the local police, but the Army, the Navy, the Marines and even the Air Force.

They hang onto the words in the 2nd Amendment about the people’s right to bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free state,” but ignore the part about the militia being “well regulated.”

Remember the recent wacky outbursts from Tactical Response CEO James Yeager who threatened to ‘Start Killing People’ if the govmint started doing crazy stuff like better background checks or banning the kinds of assault weapons used in Newtown. Does he really think that if the LAPD came for him he’d fight it out and win. Remember Timothy McViegh and Terry Nichols, the conservative anti-government bombers of Oklahoma City. When the govmint came for them that was the end of the stort despite their military training, guns and bombs. Or remember conservative religious zelaot David Koresh and the Branch Davidans. Conservatives blame all deaths on the FBI, but Koresh stared the fire that burned all those children to death. maybe the government could have handled things better, but at the end of the day when the govmint comes for you, all the ammo and high powered weaponry in the world will not save you. Life is not the movies. If state police or federal officials want to question or arrest you, start a legal fund, not a shoot out.

Democratic Forest Snow wallpaper – Conservatives Still Did Not Build It Or Invent It On Their Own

Democratic Forest Snow wallpaper

Democratic Forest Snow wallpaper.

 

It might happen enough to almost become a scientific law; how often Democrats are vindicated when the conservative smear machine manufactures scandals. Remember when Mitt ‘Values’ Romney and Fox News took one of President Obama’s speeches about how wealth is created in the USA, pretended words were play-dough and created a whole new speech out of their loathsome imaginations, “You Didn’t Build That”: How Fox News Crafted The GOP’s Convention Theme. The president said,

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

For most Americans our life experience bears out these obvious observation.  Business, wealth, education, personal success and day to day social interactions – are all in the context of the community – writ large in terms of governance. This was amid one of the major themes of the 2012 election cycle – whether people achieve success in the U.S. in a vacuum or in the context of progressive public policy. It was not just the ignorant readers over at sites like Breitbart or Free Republic, that pander to and encourage squirrel brain thinking, we had featured editorials in Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ. Conservative  L. Gordon Crovitz decided to rewrite the history of the internet and computer technology. Which one has to concede takes a combination of brazenness and callowness in the internet age. There are so many people that were directly involved in those projects for the government, so many technology historians, so many vigilant tech geeks that any such revisionism was doomed. WSJ mangles history to argue government didn’t launch the Internet

Crovitz is right that Vinton Cerf, along with Bob Kahn, invented the TCP/IP protocol that is the foundation of the modern Internet. But he neglects to mention that Cerf’s early work on the protocol was funded by the US military through its DARPA program.

“Hyperlinks” are not the Internet, and Tim Berners-Lee didn’t invent them. Nor is the World Wide Web the Internet, although the Web has become such a popular Internet application that many people confuse the two. But more to the point, Berners-Lee was working at CERN, a research organization funded by European governments, when he invented the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.

So people do not build businesses on an isolated economic island and every day citizens like you and I contribute to innovation in science and technology via taxes and education. And more vindication via a venture capitalist writing at the LA Times, Venture capital didn’t build it: From railroads, highways to the Internet, it takes government to help drive innovation and economic growth

For more than three decades American venture capitalists have concentrated their activities and earned their returns in a very small number of industrial domains. In booms and in slumps, in bull markets and in bear markets, the information and communications technology and biomedical sectors together have consistently accounted for 80% of venture capital investment.Why has it been in the world of information technology and, secondarily, biomedicine that venture capitalists have been successful? In brief: Only in these sectors did the state invest at sufficient scale in scientific research and in its translation to working technology. In over 40 years as a working venture capitalist, I learned that my colleagues and I and the entrepreneurs whom we backed were all dancing on a platform constructed by the federal government.
[  ]…The scale of research and development funding was substantial. For 25 years through 1978, federal sources accounted for more than 50% of national R&D expenditures and exceeded the R&D expenditures of the other governments in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development combined. From microelectronics and semiconductor devices through computer hardware and software and on to the Internet, development of all of the components of digital information and communications technology reflected state policies for R&D and procurement.

There is a larger lesson here. Over some 250 years, economic growth has been driven by successive processes of trial and error and error and error: upstream exercises in research and invention, and downstream experiments in exploiting the new economic space opened by innovation. Each of these activities necessarily generates much waste along the way, such as dead-end research programs, useless inventions and failed commercial ventures. In between, the innovations that have repeatedly transformed the architecture of the market economy, from canals to the Internet, have required massive investments to construct networks whose value in use could not be imagined at the outset of deployment.

At every stage, the innovation economy depends on sources of funding decoupled from concern for economic return. As economists have long recognized, such funding will not be delivered by competitive markets. Only an active state in pursuit of politically legitimate missions — national development, national security, conquering disease — can play the required role.

This is a good recent example of the kind of yet to be determined market value he is talking about – Excessive Protein Synthesis Linked to Autistic-Like Behaviors, Neuroscientists Find. This is not a cure for autism or a drug to treat autism. Medical treatments and drugs have economic returns. It is fundamental research that opens the door for some kind of gene or drug therapy from which venture capitalists and private enterprise might profit from some day. Battleground America. One nation, under the gun and

3 Officers Wounded After Suspect Opens Fire At Gloucester Township Police Station. How could this happen. The NRA has assured everyone that crazed gunmen will not attack people who are armed.

This is a very good read on how the NRA used judicial activism to twist the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, So You Think You Know the Second Amendment?. These two articles are linked to in that post, Battleground America. One nation, under the gun and this pdf on Constitutional Originalism and the 2nd Amendment

 

Wacky Senator John McCain(R-AZ) has the political consistency of a roulette wheel,

Having succeeded in his smear campaign against UN Ambassador Susan Rice, John McCain has launched a second pre-emptive strike against another would-be Obama cabinet member, former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. But this time McCain’s petty payback against a GOP colleague who supported Barack Obama for President in 2008 may run into tougher sledding. After all, thousands of Hagel’s fellow veterans signed petition in his support last week, followed up by a Washington Post op-ed signed by a bipartisan group of former national security advisers including Brent Scowcroft. And as it turns out, back in 2006 John McCain endorsed as his ideal Middle East peace envoy another prominent Republican who opposed the Iraq surge, encouraged negotiations with Iran and riled some hardline supporters of Israel. That “smartest guy I know” was the man many neoconservatives call James “F**k the Jews” Baker.

I’m not a big Hagel fan. There are two dozen Democrats more than qualified to run the Pentagon. I suspect he was picked in the Obama tradition of reaching out to conservatives. Yet I understand the frustration of the White House. No matter who they pick for whatever post, the radical Right smear merchants gear for another round of character assassination.

And a brief as possible update on the austerity bomb, Cliff movement? Probably not. Congress is headed back to D.C. After the Boehner (R-OH) fiasco don’t expect much. There is no reason for Democrats to cave – cross fingers and hope the White House sees that in terms of long range economic health of the country and the Obama legacy. Robert Reich is correct, Why Republicans Don’t Care What the Nation Thinks About Moral Consequences and the Fiscal Cliff

“Even if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cooperates by not mounting a filibuster and allows the Senate to pass a bill extending the Bush tax cuts to the first $250,000 of everyone’s income, Boehner may not bring it to the House floor.

On a Thursday conference call with House Republicans he assured conservatives he was “not interested” in allowing such a vote if most House Republicans would reject the bill, according to a source on the call.

Democrats are confident that even if the nation technically goes over the cliff January 1, Boehner will bring such a bill to the floor soon after January 3 — once House Republicans have re-elected him Speaker – and it will get passed.

But this assumes Boehner and the GOP will be any more swayed by public opinion than they are now.

Public opinion is already running strongly in favor of President Obama and the Democrats, and against the GOP. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, 48 percent say they’ll blame Republicans if no deal is reached while 37 percent blame Obama. Confidence in congressional Republicans is hovering at about 30 percent; Obama is enjoying the confidence of 46 percent. And over half of all Americans think the GOP is too extreme.

Yet Republicans haven’t budged. The fact is, they may not care a hoot about the opinions of most Americans.

That’s because the national party is in disarray. Boehner isn’t worried about a challenge to his leadership; no challenger has emerged. The real issue is neither he nor anyone else is in charge of the GOP. Romney’s loss, along with the erosion of their majority in the House and Democratic gains in the Senate, has left a vacuum at the top.

House Republicans don’t run nationally. They run only in their own districts — which, because of gerrymandering, are growing even more purely Republican.”

Not news, everyone knows that the demented most malevolent elements of conservatism have taken over the Republican Partay. Between gerrymandering and rigging elections they think they can stay in power. It will be interesting to see how voters respond to a party that only marches to the beat of the Ted Nugents and Rush Limbaughs in 2014.

Yosemite Winter Snow wallpaper – Conservatives Mistake Their Opinions for Reality

national parks, snow, river, forests, american landscapes

Yosemite Winter Snow wallpaper

 

It is not at all odd that some people do not like some things. Some people do like like oysters, some people don’t like horror movies, some people – generally called cranks – do not like much of anything. One can also qualify as a crank by ranting about something you do not like with some factually and logically challenged opinion passing itself off as insightful punditry. The later is very much the case for Iain Murray and David Bier. They seem to be batsh*t crazy eccentrics who, after many hours of assuring each other that their bizarre world views are in fact quite rational, have decided to get America on their dump the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) bandwagon. Which includes the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center. Do We Really Need a National Weather Service?

As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, news stations bombard our televisions with constant updates from the National Hurricane Center.

While Americans ought to prepare for the coming storm, federal dollars need not subsidize their preparations. Although it might sound outrageous, the truth is that the National Hurricane Center and its parent agency, the National Weather Service, are relics from America’s past that have actually outlived their usefulness.

The National Weather Service (NWS) was founded in 1870. Originally, the NWS was not a public information agency. It was a national security agency and placed under the Department of War. The Service’s national security function has long since disappeared, but as agencies often do, however, it stuck around and managed to increase its budget.

Today the NWS justifies itself on public interest grounds. It issues severe weather advisories and hijacks local radio and television stations to get the message out. It presumes that citizens do not pay attention to the weather and so it must force important, perhaps lifesaving, information upon them. A few seconds’ thought reveals how silly this is. The weather might be the subject people care most about on a daily basis. There is a very successful private TV channel dedicated to it, 24 hours a day, as well as any number of phone and PC apps. Americans need not be forced to turn over part of their earnings to support weather reporting.

The NWS claims that it supports industries like aviation and shipping, but if they provide a valuable contribution to business, it stands to reason business would willingly support their services. If that is the case, the Service is just corporate welfare. If they would not, it is just a waste.

First this is an editorial column expressing doubts of veracity by Fox News. When did Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda machine for the rabid right ever care about horrible little things like facts. Second, the claim that “private” enterprises such as Accuweather and Weather.com does a better job. Both those services get their baseline data from the NOAA. Anyone can read about what the NOAA does on its web site. Among its weather tracking activities it flies at least two weather tracking balloons a day, it monitors weather tracking stations not just across the U.S. but around the world – knowing what weather fronts are over Asia helps predict the weather for the U.S. NOAA has its own weather satellite system. NOAA has its own weather radar. Some local TV and radio stations have their own radar, but noone has the kind of comprehensive tracking systems used by the NWS or the NHC. What do Weather.com and Accuwetaher add to the mix. They employ their own meteorologists and their own proprietary weather modeling software to analyze the data they get from the NOAA. Sometimes, according to to this article, they get some local temperature projections a little better  than does the NOAA.

Fox -Murray-Bier state in their column that the weather is a national security issue and proceed as though that should no longer be a consideration. The alternative is to completely outsource an essential part of military intelligence to private contractors. They supply no financial figures or data of any kind to support the monumental shift of privatizing the NOAA. Typically conservative and thus typically arrogant. It is their opinion and that is all anyone needs to know. Privatizing or outsourcing is not always a bad thing, but the least we could expect is a cost/benefit analysis or a link to one. One of the draw backs to privatizing weather is the high probability of politicizing the weather. Joe Bastardi was one of the featured meteorologist at Accuweather and he is also a climate change denial nut – How many major scientific misstatements does Joe Bastardi have to make before In-Accuweather fires him as their chief long-range forecaster?

Just last month, he cooked the books in an official In-Accuweather video to smear some of the nation’s leading scientists.   I called for him to be fired and suggested referring to the company as InAccuweather until it does.  Bastardi did ultimately retract the video but couldn’t bring himself to admit that his accusation of fraud against NSIDC was not merely completely unwarranted but totally inappropriate and in fact based in part on his simple misreading of a graph.

Now he has a new official In-Accuweather video, his weekly “Global sea ice and temperature report.”  In it he claims the Navy believes Arctic ice is getting thicker, when in fact they have testified to Congress that it is getting thinner and will continue to do so.

Bastardi, who occasionally appears on Fox as a climate change denier, has sense left Accuweather to form his own weather forecasting company. Accuweather is not the only example of a preview of the privatization/politicization of the weather. Right-wing libertarians like the Koch brothers have paid “researchers” to create papers that, surprise, deny global warming. Organizations who have produced slews of paid for junk science about the weather include Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis and the Heartland Institute.

Another wing-nut from Forbes tells American, Get Real: Hurricane Irene Should Be Renamed “Hurricane Hype”. Patrick Michaels uses a few antidotes about poor weather predictions to claim that all weather predictions must be privatized because everyone at the NOAA has a political agenda he doesn’t like. The only way around that is to let private weather companies with a clear political agenda predict the weather and decide when and who should evacuate. Michaels is sure he is correct. There can be no doubt that if the country would just get on his broken down mentally challenged 1972 Chevy Vega to the promised land of right-wing weather predictors, it’ll be nirvana in a cloud of cotton candy. In a live update stream from CNN this morning as Michaels was showing off his indisputable wisdom – New York’s East River rising; Holland Tunnel closed

New York’s East River and Hudson River topped their banks Sunday morning, sending water into Lower Manhattan, where hundreds of thousands of people had evacuated and millions more were hunkered down to wait out the massive hurricane centered just a few miles away.

[Update 8:57 a.m. Sunday] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has now closed the north tube of the Holland Tunnel due to flooding, according to a statement. (If any of Patrick Michaels friends are killed in the tunnel – which warnings are over-hyped – just him him the funeral bill)

[Update 8:34 a.m. Sunday] The Hudson River is causing some flooding in the West Village, CNN’s Phil Han reported. Han said part of 10th Avenue has been blocked off and two cars just got stuck in the water.

[Update 8:20 a.m. Sunday] CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Senior Producer Rose Arce report the Hudson River has overflowed its banks in lower Manhattan with flooding occurring as far as a block inland in the city’s meat packing district.

[Update 8:00 a.m. Sunday] The East River in New York City is topping the edge of its barrier wall, CNN’s Ali Velshi reports from river overlook. Rob Marciano in Long Beach, New York, screams to report over massive surf and high winds. The life guard building appears to have been ripped off its foundation. The streets of Long Beach are flooding.  Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said tropical force winds will continue throughout the area for the next two hours.

By Saturday evening, the storm had already knocked out power in more than a million homes, forced more than a million people off the New Jersey shore alone and caused at least 10 deaths.

[Update 5:11 a.m. Sunday] Nearly 3 million customers across the East Coast are without power as Hurricane Irene churns northeast. Utility customers warned that the numbers are expected to go up as the storm swirls north.

Inside the shell of conservative reality there has been no flooding, no high winds, no property damage, no injuries and no deaths – its all “Hurricane Hype”. Facts and weather are well known liberal plots.

In other news:

C.I.A. Drone Is Said to Kill Al Qaeda’s No. 2. For an America hating Kenyan socialist Obama sure does kill a lot of terrorists.

Perry Says He Hasn’t ‘Backed Off Anything’ In His Book, Still Thinks Social Security Is Unconstitutional. Social Security has been challenged all the way to the SCOTUS and found to be constitutional see Helvering v. Davis and Flemming v. Nestor. Social Security keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty. Social Security is a large component of the social safety net. We have it, we need it, because while free markets are generally a good thing, they are not perfect. The right-wing conservative and libertarian position is that people should save and take care of each other. Look around. A lot of descent hard working Americans are out of work or underemployed. Not because they want to be but because market forces that caused them to be in such circumstances are beyond their control. Even before the financial collapse of 2007-2008 millions of Americans worked and yet could only pay their rent and utilities – the working poor. Rather than admit there is something wrong with a system where a full time employee does not make enough money to live on, we have cons and libertarians blaming low income workers for their plight. While there is very little debate about very wealthy people failing over and over again, yet never suffering the way the genuine middle-class or working poor has to pay. We have a free market dog-eat-dog system for the bottom 50% and plutocratic socialism for those at the top.

 

A Poll Tax by Another Name

AS we celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, we reflect on the life and legacy of this great man. But recent legislation on voting reminds us that there is still work to do. Since January, a majority of state legislatures have passed or considered election-law changes that, taken together, constitute the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

[  ]…Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.

Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade. These theories of systematic fraud are really unfounded fears being exploited to threaten the franchise.

 

Republicans and their sugar daddy donors will spend millions, if not billions fighting ghosts, but nothing to fight real injustices. All the while complaining that our historically low taxes are too damn high.

The NYT published some corrections to its profile of one of the most corrupt Congress critters to ever serve Darell Issa(R-CA).

An article on Aug. 15 about Representative Darrell Issa’s business dealings, using erroneous information that Mr. Issa’s family foundation filed with the Internal Revenue Service, referred incorrectly to his sale of an AIM mutual fund in 2008. A spokesman for the California Republican now says that the I.R.S. filing is “an incorrect document.” The spokesman, Frederick R. Hill, said that based on Mr. Issa’s private brokerage account records, which he made public with redactions, the purchase of the mutual fund resulted in a $125,000 loss, not a $357,000 gain.

And the article, using incorrect information from the San Diego county assessor’s office, misstated the purchase price for a medical office plaza Mr. Issa’s company bought in Vista, Calif., in 2008. It cost $16.3 million, the assessor’s office now says — not $10.3 million — because the assessor mistakenly omitted in public records a $6 million loan Mr. Issa’s company assumed in the acquisition. Therefore the value of the property remained essentially unchanged, and did not rise 60 percent after Mr. Issa secured federal funding to widen a road alongside the plaza.

That still lives Issa on the hook for a verity of ethical violations and possible criminal activity, including the earmarks for roads near his property, carrying water for Wall St and treating some people who have appeared before his committee with kid gloves. Where is that Special Investigation Mr. Boehner(R-OH)? And why is Issa allowed to remain as a committee chairman with all of these ethical infractions ?

The Right’s Distortion of the Law and Science to Get Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan once suggested the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) change some wording on the summary of a research paper they did about the extremely rare  use of intact D&Es. A procedure the Right has cowed the media and Congress  into calling “partial-birth abortions”.  This was supposed to be the gotcha moment except they left out a few details – Righties and “Medical Science”: Still at Odds

Somehow, in the fevered imagination of righties, a professional organization representing 90 percent of U.S. board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists was duped by Kagan into telling a lie, or something, and because this wording came from Kagan it must not actually reflect the views of ACOG. Coffin concludes,

Now we learn that language purporting to be the judgment of an independent body of medical experts devoted to the care and treatment of pregnant women and their children was, in the end, nothing more than the political scrawling of a White House appointee.

Miss Kagan’s decision to override a scientific finding with her own calculated distortion in order to protect access to the most despicable of abortion procedures seriously twisted the judicial process. One must question whether her nomination to the Court would have the same effect.

But no scientific finding was “overridden,” just clarified, and ACOG must have agreed with the statement or they wouldn’t have continued to repeat it in their position papers ever after.

Shannen W. Coffin, the writer of the italicized commentary, was a legal hack at the DOJ under Bush. Who better to come forward and subvert both the law and science. Apparently Kagan’s influence, like all Democrats, is nearly god-like in it’s power since the ACOG is still using language very similar to Kagan’s – ACOG Statement on the US Supreme Court Decision Upholding the, Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, For Release:  April 18, 2007

Despite the fact that the safety advantages of intact dilatation and evacuation (intact D&E) procedures are widely recognized—in medical texts, peer-reviewed studies, clinical practice, and in mainstream, medical care in the United States—the US Supreme Court today upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) amicus brief opposing the Ban, the Act will chill doctors from providing a wide range of procedures used to perform induced abortions or to treat cases of miscarriage and will gravely endanger the health of women in this country.

“Today’s decision to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is shameful and incomprehensible to those of us who have dedicated our lives to caring for women,” said Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, ACOG president. “It leaves no doubt that women’s health in America is perceived as being of little consequence.

“We have seen a steady erosion of women’s reproductive rights in this country. The Supreme Court’s action today, though stunning, in many ways isn’t surprising given the current culture in which scientific knowledge frequently takes a back seat to subjective opinion,” he added.

This decision discounts and disregards the medical consensus that intact D&E is safest and offers significant benefits for women suffering from certain conditions that make the potential complications of non-intact D&E especially dangerous. Moreover, it diminishes the doctor-patient relationship by preventing physicians from using their clinical experience and judgment.

I was almost hoping this particular right-wing smear would work since Diane Wood is my preferred choice for Supreme Court Justice and was reportedly the second choice behind Kagan. It has never been the case that the president’s second choice has been rejected by the Senate so the Right would have been due some credit for getting a more liberal Justice on the court.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)  Has ‘No Idea’ Whether He Would Have Voted To Confirm Thurgood Marshall

Moreover, Republicans can’t seem to provide any evidence to support their claim that Marshall was an “activist” judge. Talking Points Memo asked Coburn, Hatch, and Sessions which of Marshall’s opinions best exemplified his activism — “none of them could name a single case.” As the National Urban League’s Stephanie Jones wrote in today’s Washington Post, “Unlike many of his detractors, past and present, Marshall showed the utmost reverence for the Constitution” by defending equal rights for all Americans.

Let’s be fair. The notion that Justice Marshall was “activist” probably came to the three stooges of conservatism in a vision. Isn’t that all the intellectuality depth and honesty America has come to expect from Republicans.

Scientists Call it Peer Review, Conservatives Call it “Suppression”

Peer Review

Whenever the Right claims that have uncovered some kind of liberal conspiracy, do not head for the fall-out shelter, wait for the noise and mindless chatter to clear. Yesterday and even earlier this morning the Right was claiming that a report  by Alan Carlin and John Davidson of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics was breaking scientific news, a nail in the coffin of climate change science. Turns out, no surprise,  they were wrong. “Suppressed” Climate Change Document was Junk Science,

Curiously, while the authors work for the NCEE (National Center for Environmental Economics), part of the EPA, they appear to have rather closely collaborated with one Ken Gregory (his inline comments appear at multiple points in the draft). Ken Gregory if you don’t know is a leading light of the Friends of Science – a astroturf anti-climate science lobbying group based in Alberta. Indeed, parts of the Carlin and Davidson report appear to be lifted directly from Ken’s rambling magnum opus on the FoS site.

[    ]…But it gets worse, what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we’ve discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports….

They don’t even notice the contradictions in their own cites. For instance, they show a figure that demonstrates that galactic cosmic ray and solar trends are non-existent from 1957 on, and yet cheerfully quote Scafetta and West who claim that almost all of the recent trend is solar driven! They claim that climate sensitivity is very small while failing to realise that this implies that solar variability can’t have any effect either. They claim that GCM simulations produced trends over the twentieth century of 1.6 to 3.74ºC – which is simply (and bizarrely) wrong (though with all due respect, that one seems to come directly from Mr. Gregory). Even more curious, Carlin appears to be a big fan of geo-engineering, but how this squares with his apparent belief that we know nothing about what drives climate, is puzzling. A sine qua non of geo-engineering is that we need models to be able to predict what is likely to happen, and if you think they are all wrong, how could you have any faith that you could effectively manage a geo-engineering approach?

Finally, they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid.

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

H/T to TNR, Fake EPA Scandal Of The Day. Not to pick on some over caffeinated rightie bloggers whose missives from mom’s basement might suffer from the lack of fresh air and sunlight, the corporate media have the same lazy habits and seem to have lifted their reports from those bloggers, CBS Jumps a Whale Shark at DKos. A direct link from the DK post,

Just for starters, the contrarian report that CBS accuses the EPA of ‘suppressing’ revives the old zombie lie that a warming sun is to blame for global warming, except when it’s not, then the earth is actually cooling. The old favorite of the fossil fuel industry goes like this: without any of the hundreds of solar observatories detecting it, the sun warmed up in 2004 and 2005 just in time to cause the hottest years in the NASA Global Temperature Record marked by heat waves and monster hurricanes that caused the deaths of thousands of people all over the world. When other historically warm years came along, that’s actually global cooling and the sun again magically cooled off without anyone noticing.

There’s no need to point out that the sun, the most studied object in the universe after earth itself, shows no signs of doing anything of the sort, nor is there any point in presenting data showing unequivocally that the earth is not cooling unless one conveniently cherry picks an interval right after the hottest year on record. Because — now follow along boys and girls — the sun can’t be the sole cause of global warming on a cooling earth. But here’s some data sets just for kicks.

And another direct link via DK, EPA’s Alan Carlin channels Pat Michaels and the Friends of Science

A new uproar in the blogosphere has broken out over the supposed “suppression” by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of an internal review of the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. The review purported to show that the latest “research” calls into question the scientific consensus on climate change. It turns out that the report, written by Alan Carlin, with assistance from John Davidson, of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, is drawn heavily from the contrarian blogosphere, especially Ken Gregory of the Calgary-based “astroturf” group Friends of Science.

And in one case, a lengthy “analysis” of a recent peer-reviewed paper has been lifted, without attribution, straight out of World Climate Report, the climate “news” blog run by uber-contrarian Pat Michaels.

Highly recommend the Deep Climate post who has updated his orginal with more on the corporate astroturf on whose findings the “suppressed” junk science was lifted.

CBS isn’t evil, they and 60 Minutes in particular has done some good work over the years. In a way that is what makes this latest failure in fact checking all that more disappointing.

By way of TPMCafe, San Diego sheriff seeks probe in use of pepper spray at political event

The investigation was ordered after Francine Busby met with Undersheriff Bill Gore to complain about the use of pepper spray at her fundraiser Friday at a home in the upscale Cardiff neighborhood. Busby is seeking her party’s nomination for a rematch next year with Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) in the 50th Congressional District.

[   ]…The deputy called for backup and used pepper spray on the crowd. More deputies arrived. Barman was arrested for allegedly assaulting a deputy, and a second attendee, Pam Morgan, 62, of Rancho Santa Fe, was cited for obstructing an officer.

Busby said today that the deputy “clearly overreacted.”

“There was no noise, there was no problem, these were middle-aged men and women talking very quietly,” she said.

According to the report from TPM a rowdy neighbor who had been shouting expletives at the Busby house and clearly anti-Democrat was the one that called to report all these middle-aged trouble makers – make sure you bring the mace. If this district does not sound familiar, its convicted felon Duke Cunningham”s(R) former stumping grounds.

Antique Map the Americas and Poles 1526. Much like today’s global warming deniers, in 1526 there still would have been a few flat earthers and they could have probably found an odd academic or two to support their case.