Why Do Paul Ryan and Other Conservatives Cling To Bizarre Beliefs Even Once They’re Confronted With The Truth

Democratic Country Road wallpaper

Democratic Country Road wallpaper



Like the ending to The Wizard of Oz, minus the fun factor, one of the curtains pulled back during the 2012 presidential campaign was that Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) economic credentials were about as honest as the guy who filed Al Capone’s tax returns. Back in August of 2012 some economists noted that Ryan’s numbers didn’t add up. The only thing Ryan was master of was the use of PowerPoint. You can fool some of the people all the time? In the case of House Republicans, 98% of them found a way for 2+2 to equal five with the shear force of belief. They voted for the for the Ryan magical math. Even thought his plan contained less deficit reduction than the Obama plan Republicans said they hated because there were not enough spending cuts. Ryan’s economic vision was based on one thing – lowering taxes by any means necessary for wealthy Americans and cop orations. Despite what so-called moderates like the NYT’s Ross Douthat said, Ryan was not flexible. He was not willing to juggle some revenue increases for spending cuts, and real deficit reduction. 2012 was the year Ryan was stripped of his twin masks of being a genuine economics wonk and a reasonable voice within the conservative movement. So Ryan loses the election, the curtain has exposed him as another voodoo economics pretender. He’s a human being and most of us have had issues in which we have made large ideological and emotional investments. It is difficult for even the most mature and wise to admit that we were wrong and make a change even when the evidence is so overwhelmingly against us. Though a mark of a mature adult and someone who is entrusted with acting in the best interests of their constituents and the country should have the courage and wisdom to acknowledge that maybe a change of course is appropriate at this point. Ryan is not one of those people, Paul Ryan Breaks Down Under Wonkterrogation

Paul Ryan’s great genius has not merely been that he has united conservative Republicans around a single vision – several Republicans have done this before – but that he has simultaneously persuaded moderates that he shares their beliefs as well. That is how Ryan has pitched himself to America not as a rightwing ideologue but as a thoughtful numbers guy.
[ ]…The conversation is worth close examination, because Ryan simply hurls up nonsensical rationales one after another, and finally offers his actual reason when he has run out of gibberish. Ryan begins by pledging his abiding fear of a “debt crisis,” but insists he won’t accept higher revenue, even in return for spending cuts. Ryan replies:

“They already got their revenues,” Ryan said. “So what, we’ll roll over and they get more revenues? That’s not how it works. In the spirit of bipartisan compromise, they’ve gotten revenue increases already. We’ve yet to get anything as a result of it. It used to be 3-1. Isn’t that what Erskine says? $3 of spending cuts to every dollar of tax increase. The president in his own budget last year claimed 2.5 to 1. We’d argue with whether they actually achieved that, but where’s the 3? Where’s the two-and-a-half? Where’s the $1.8 trillion in cuts?”

It is true – there was a $620 billion tax increase at the beginning of the year. On the other hand, there were $2.2 trillion in spending cuts in 2011. So you could just as easily say Republicans already got their spending cuts and there should be no more, right? Ryan replies:

“That was last session,” Ryan said. “We’re going forward now.”

In fact the $620 billion was also last session. In any case, notice how fast Ryan has flipped his logic. First he asserts that there can’t be more revenue because we already increased some revenue. When reminded that we cut spending even more, he says it’s “last session,” and irrelevant.

I have a friend with similar word crutches. If I said you got your spending cuts in that last round of negotiations, more than the cuts you ( and Ryan proposed) so how can you say you did not get your spending cuts, they’ll inevitably say.. well that’s irrelevant. It somehow becomes irrelevant, not because they did not get what they wanted, but because they got what they wanted and now they want more and do want want to consider those very recent concessions part of their new round of demands. In Ryan world every spending cut is agreed to only as a prelude to more spending cuts. When will the federal budget reach the heights of Ryan perfection? When Social Security is privatized and manged by the same hooligans that crashed the economy. We’ll only reach true Ryanism when Medicare is gutted and seniors and the disabled are selling pencils on street corners. We’ll all see the rainbow of Ryanland when they shut down all public prisons, public schools, publicly funded medical research, the EPA is defunded and let the Koch brothers dump their toxic waste in your backyard and the internet is controlled by corporations that can choke off connections to sites they don’t profit from. While at one point during the presidential campaign Ryan (R-WI) said that he had long given up his social-Darwinist beleifs re Ayn Rand, that was also a lie about his ideology. He is still a social-darwinist, still knows more about PowerPoint than economics and still could care less economic policies that maintain a thriving middle-class.

So Ryan having been confronted with facts. Shown that his argument does not make sense, especially if he is arguing that he is a compromiser and having lost his bid for the vice presidency, he is more entrenched than ever in false beliefs. This is typical of most conservatives. Liberals become frustrated because they think that since they have the facts on their side they win. On the contrary. Those people that lean conservatives will look at the truth and claim, well I sill believe the moon is made of blue-cheese anyway. And the more you argue with them, sometimes the more tenaciously they will cling to their beliefs, Why Do People Believe Stupid Stuff, Even When They’re Confronted With the Truth?

What should be evident from the studies on the backfire effect is you can never win an argument online. When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are actually making the opponent feel as though they are even more sure of their position than before you started the debate. As they match your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.

Have you ever noticed the peculiar tendency you have to let praise pass through you, but feel crushed by criticism? A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing.

In a column published around the new Year, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote that to start off the New Year everyone should start reading the other side’s magazines, pundits and web sites. It struck me as funny because I visit conservative web sites, I probably read The National Review as much as Ross. I grew up on far Right ideology. In other words I give the other side more equal time than most conservatives give us. Read the comments at Free Republic, The Gateway Pundit, Hot Air and the Breitbart sites. These people live and breath in their echo chamber. They still believe that Hillary had something to do with Vince Foster’s death, they belive that annie may crashed the economy in 2007, they believe that president Obama went on some kind of apolgy tour, they have woven an intricate insane tale of events at Benghazi,  they believe that if billionaires had their taxes cut down to nothing the economy would thrive. Not that you can’t find Democrats with some wacky beliefs, it is that this deeply held dogma, this massive playbook of wackiness is what drives conservatism. Take away the pixie-dust economics of Paul Ryan and you have an empty suit who got a decent start in life with the help of Social Security death benefits. Take away the morally repugnant correlations that conservatives draw between cause and events, and you just have some bizarro world caricatures, not statesmen and thinkers.

Listeners and employees quit Georgia public broadcasting as mind-control conspiracy theorist takes

Georgia residents have begun canceling their donations to Georgia Public Broadcasting after a recent report revealed that a former Republican state senator — who believes the United Nations is planning to turn the U.S. into a communist dictatorship using mind control — is receiving a salary of $150,000 to run part of the network.

Not every member of the NRA, but that organization’s official position is that guns equal freedom. Does that mean they’ll be gathering up their militias and stopping Republicans from rigging the 2014 and 2016 elections. How Republicans Plan to Rig the Electoral College and Steal the White House

This Republican Plan would reallocate electoral votes so that a maximum of two electoral votes would go to the overall winner of several key blue states. The lion’s share of the state’s electors would then be allocated one by one to the presidential candidate who won each individual congressional district. (see Figure 1) Thus, in a blue state such as Michigan—which President Obama won by nearly 10 points in 2012—Gov. Romney would have received 9 of the state’s 16 electoral votes because he received more votes than the president did in nine of the state’s congressional districts. In other words, the Republican candidate would receive more than half of the state’s electoral votes despite being overwhelmingly defeated in the state as a whole.

Cashing in on gerrymandering

The Republican Plan does not just apply one set of rules in red states and another set of rules in blue states—it also takes advantage of profoundly gerrymandered congressional maps in order to stack the deck even more for Republican presidential candidates. In 2012 Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts. Yet Republican candidates currently hold a 33-seat majority in the House, due in large part to the fact that Republican state legislatures controlled the redistricting process in several key states. Indeed, Republicans were so successful in their efforts to lock in their control of the House of Representatives through gerrymandering that Democratic House candidates would have needed to win the national popular vote by more than 7 percentage points in order to receive the barest majority in the House. Republicans aren’t particularly shy about touting the success of their gerrymanders either: The Republican State Leadership Committee released an extensive memo boasting about how they used gerrymanders to lock down GOP majorities in the House.

Guns do not preserve freedom and you do not need guns to take it away. The biggest threat to freedom is money, corruption and a morally bankrupt agenda.

This is probably the best report on the subject, but easy to get lost in the minutiae, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell Reach Filibuster Reform Deal [UPDATE]

The deal will address the filibuster on the motion to proceed by changing the amount of debate time that would follow a cloture vote from 30 hours to four, speeding up Senate business and allowing more legislation to reach the floor. But the deal still requires Democrats to muster 60 votes to invoke cloture on that motion, despite Reid’s earlier suggestion that he would bar a filibuster on that motion entirely.

Or This TP report condenses it all down – Three Winners And Three Losers In Today’s Filibuster Deal


Circuit Judges, Supreme Court Justices & Cabinet Officials: The senior most Senate-confirmed jobs — justices, court of appeals judges and the most powerful executive branch officials — are still subject to 30 hours of delay.
The Tea Party: The package reduces the number of opportunities to obstruct a bill that is supported by the Minority Leader and at least 7 Republicans, meaning that senators like Rand Paul (R-KY) or Mike Lee (R-UT) will have fewer chances to block progress on matters that everyone but a few Tea Party extremists support.
The Future: The most significant changes in this package — the reduced hours for nominees and the two free amendments for the minority — sunset in two years and thus will cease to exist in the 114th Congress unless reinstated.

These are really the only two wins,

District Judges: Currently, Senate rules allow the minority to force up to 30 hours of wasted time before a single nominee can be confirmed. Because Senate floor time is limited, this leads to many confirmations being delayed for months or killed entirely simply because the Majority Leader cannot afford to budget the time to move the nomination forward. The proposal reduces the amount of time that can be wasted while confirming a federal trial judge to 2 hours, significantly reducing the time cost of such confirmations.
Sub-Cabinet Officials: Meanwhile, the 30 hours of wasted time on sub-cabinet officials’ confirmation votes is reduced to 8 hours.

The 60 vote super majority is still in effect. Why 55 or 56 is not a super majority is a mystery. And the very worse part of what modern political watchers have come to think of as a filibuster is still with us – the silent filibuster. If you’re into old movies Mr. Smith Goes to Washington(1939) is a classic tribute to the everyman, a great and unabashedly liberal movie. In that movie Smith has to perform an actual filibuster, He has to stay on the floor and talk. Talk until your opponent literally gives up or you pass out from exhaustion. Now we have the silent filibuster. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t like a bill or appointee to the federal appeals court, he sends word to Harry Reid (D-NV) to consider that bill or candidate filibustered. The bill is dead or the appointee is dead. This new deal does not include silent filibusters of federal appellate court of major cabinet appointments. That is also a terrible interpretation of the Senate’s constitutional role as a body that advises and consents.

Blue Water Bubbles wallpaper – Conservatism is Clueless, Remorseless and Impotent

Blue Water Bubbles wallpaper. Also looks look upside down, for those who would prefer the dark blue at the bottom of their screen.

Jennifer Rubin belongs in the conservative hack pundits hall of fame. So I use this excerpt with that caution in mind. EXCLUSIVE: Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives By Jennifer Rubin

In a statement obtained by Right Turn, Grenell says:

I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.

No one should be fired from their job because they are gay, Latino, a Caucasian male or have a butterfly tattoo on their thigh. or any other silly reason that has nothing to do with their qualifications for the job. That said i refuse to shed any tears of outrage over the gay male version of Ann Coulter. That hyperbole about President Obama serves as a good example. Other than being gay Richard Grenell is like every other conservative, a hateful ideologue, a cult member of the voodoo economics club, a war monger, a serial liar, someone who holds ideals about integrity in utter contempt, a cheap shot artist incapable of even comprehending the complexities and ramifications of public policy, a dullard who wants desperately to be thought of as cool, a smiley faced right-wing loon and a purveyor of misogyny ( his infamous Tweets deleted to avoid embarrassing conservatives who claim they have not declared war on women). Unlike the average person fired from a job, Grenell will continue to live a lush lifestyle on the conservative welfare circuit churning out sleazy media ads for the next generation of Dick Cheneys. Plenty of things going on in the world that deserve genuine outrage, little Richie’s latest soap opera is not one of them.

Tea Partiers Who Opposed Bank Bailout Take Campaign Donations From Bailed-Out Banks

The 10 freshmen Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee who have Tea Party backing have taken more than $100,000 from the political action committees affiliated with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs…

The big banks are giving to Romney at three times the rate they are giving to President Obama. The tea baggers never stood for change o accountability. They are the ones that succeeded in watering down financial reform. Thus to day we have much of the same too big to fail threats to the economy as we did five years ago.

Barack Obama Killed Osama Bin Laden. Period. It was a bold, even risky decision, but he made it.

The Republicans have glommed on to a neat rhetorical trick: When Barack Obama does something indisputably admirable or effective, simply pretend that he had nothing to do with it.

This ploy was first trotted out in the aftermath of Moamar Qaddafi’s downfall in Libya, when Obama’s former presidential rival, Sen. John McCain, gave all the credit to the French.

Now Mitt Romney, this year’s presumptive GOP nominee, is waving off Obama’s role in the killing of Osama Bin Laden—the president’s signal national-security achievement—by chortling that “any thinking American would have ordered the exact same thing,” even Jimmy Carter.

Two new investigative reports—a book by Peter Bergen, Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, and an article by Graham Allison in the May 7 issue of Time—thoroughly rebut that notion.

Far from the no-brainer that Romney depicts, the secret, high-level discussions leading up to the raid were fraught with intense debate and uncertainty—and Obama’s final decisions, on both whether and how to attack, went against some of his top advisers’ recommendations.

According to Fred Kaplan and his sources even Bush’s former Secretary of Defense and Obama’s current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were worried that sending in a special-ops team might turn into another failed operation like the attempted rescue of hostages in Iran in the 1970s. Romney has literally suggested that he might go to war – start dropping bombs on Iran, North Korea and Russia ( Russia is back sliding into a corrupt authoritarian state, but Romney is under the impression that our relations with them are still at Cold War levels). So those that want to talk – as Mr. Grenell above has – about who is a wise, mature and steady hand on foreign policy, one cannot point to Mittens and say he is talking sane, much less presidential on foreign policy. Just as Romney has plans to double down on Bush/conservative supply-side economic policy, Romney has surrounded himself with neocons from the Bush administration for his foreign policy team.

If I was not so familiar with the shallowness of their honor, the non-existence of their genuineness and the long history of contradictory political philosophy, I would be shocked at conservatives. I would be shocked that they are apologizing to Pakistan and the rest of the world for all the trouble America, President Obama and SEAL Team Six caused for killing on of the worse terrorists in history. I would be shocked that they are showing the world’s terrorists a weak knee America afraid to kill terrorists because it creates a public perception problem for Conservatives. What we are seeing is the back-handed acknowledgement of conservatives that they just cannot cut it on national security and they’re deeply embarrassed. Embarrassment frequently reveals itself as impotent rage:  Republicans Wouldn’t, Couldn’t, Shouldn’t Get Bin Laden

On Friday, the still bitter McCain declared, “Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad.” For his part, the 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney scoffed that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” Unfortunately for the Republican propaganda machine, we know that neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney would have supported the Special Forces strike deep in Pakistan. We know this, because they told us so.

McCain Said He Wouldn’t Go After Bin Laden in Pakistan.
Romney Said We Shouldn’t Go After Bin Laden in Pakistan.
Bush Couldn’t Get Bin Laden, Period.

The record of conservative failure in every aspect of governing from the economy, to education, to job creation, to the environment, to national security, to health care for working Americans might be one of the reasons they have intensified their efforts to have government control of every uterus in the U.S. They cannot seem to be able to succeed at anything except redistributing the wealth of the middle-class and blue-collar workers to millionaires. So maybe they see the uterus as a chance to succeed at something, to finally have command over one thing.

Top Romney Donor Pens Book Arguing We Need More Income Inequality

That income inequality is crushing the middle class and its political power. But don’t tell that to Edward Conard, a top donor to presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who gained notoriety during the campaign as a million-dollar mystery donor who set up a shell company to shield his identity. Conard, a former director at the Romney-founded Bain Capital, is working on a new book in which he argues that income inequality is a good thing, and what the U.S. really needs is more of it, the New York Times’ Adam Davidson reports:

Unlike his former colleagues, Conard wants to have an open conversation about wealth. He has spent the last four years writing a book that he hopes will forever change the way we view the superrich’s role in our society. “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong,” to be published in hardcover next month by Portfolio, aggressively argues that the enormous and growing income inequality in the United States is not a sign that the system is rigged. On the contrary, Conard writes, it is a sign that our economy is working. And if we had a little more of it, then everyone, particularly the 99 percent, would be better off. This could be the most hated book of the year.

Conard instead argues that income inequality helps everyone because investors grow wealthy by creating products that benefit the 99 percent. Though that is certainly true to an extent, Conard’s line of thinking leads to the supply-side policies that are proven failures at “growing the pie” for everyone.

Like every Democrat I know I like money. I think Wall Street is capable of creating good. Conard and many of the greedy crony capitalistic on Wall Street takes things a bridge too far. Conard will not acknowledge that when they started selling derivatives – a form of insurance for investments – that Wall St did so without having the capital to pay off those derivatives if something crazy happened – like the housing market hit a slump. He, Romney and the tea smokers want a Wall St that runs like an unregulated casino. I want one that respects the hard work and savings of all the workers that create the capital that makes every penny of wealth on Wall St possible. Conard and Romney think just alike. They should be treated like bank robbers out on parole, not allowed within 100 yards of a bank, much less the nation’s economy. One of the best responses to Conard and his crony corporatism is from Forbes of all places, Three Reasons Bain Capitalnomics Fails

It’s understandable why the Romney campaign is now distancing itself from Conard’s ideas. Here are three of the biggest intellectual low-lights produced by this Harvard Business School graduate.

1. Income inequality makes the economy work. Conrad contends that income inequality is better for everyone. If this is so, it would help to learn his explanation of why income inequality peaked in the U.S. at two points in its history that preceded the worst economic collapses in the last hundred years — 1928 and 2007.

[  ]…2. Google (GOOG) and Wall Street have the same social benefit. Conard quite seriously conflates the truly beneficial technologies discovered and marketed by Silicon Valley with what Wall Street does. He believes that they both make their executives rich and make consumers better off in the bargain.

This argument is wrong on at least two levels. First, while Google has made people far more productive, Wall Street is a cancer on society — it enriches its executives when times are good, siphons off fees from consumers in exchange for holding on to their money, and when it borrows too much money — which it does every decade or so — government bails it out. ( the very wealthy – Conard belongs to the upper 0.1% are as motivated by ego and power as they say they are by profits. Not creating benefits for mankind – that’s according to studies)

[   ]….3. Statistics are the best way to bag a mate. To find his wife, Conard used a statistical system. This involved several steps: market sizing: calculate the number of potential mates in your geographic area using demographic data; calibration: “dating as many people as you can so that you have a sense of what the marriage marketplace is like;” and selection: picking a permanent mate.

Too bad Marie Antoinette is dead, they would have been a great match – statistically speaking of course – in terms of promulgating the genes of the clueless.