|From: Paul Krugman|
Monday, 10 September 2012
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
"The thing about [vice presidential candidate Paul] Ryan is that he has always resided in a counter-factual universe. He is a product of the hermetically sealed right-wing subculture. Many of the facts taken for granted by mainstream economists have never penetrated his brain. Ryan burst onto the national scene with a dense, fact-laden attack on the financing of Obama’s health-care bill that was essentially a series of hallucinations, pseudo-facts cooked up and recirculated by conservative apparatchiks who didn’t know what they were talking about or didn’t care. His big-think speeches reflect the influence of fact-free conservatives and collapse under scrutiny."
— Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine
"At a basic level, what bothers me about politicians who lie, especially at a national level, is that the deceptions are insulting. A candidate who knows the truth, but makes a deliberate decision to deceive, is working from the assumption that Americans are suckers.
And last night [Thursday, August 29, 2012], Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we're all profound idiots who'll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they're packaged well and presented with conviction. Jonathan Cohn suggested last night's address may have been the 'most dishonest convention speech' ever delivered, and I can't think of a close second. It was a truly breathtaking display of brazen dishonesty. Paul Ryan looked America in the eye and without a hint a shame, lied to our face."
— Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog
Thursday, 30 August 2012
"We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." — Romney pollster, Neil Newhouse
|Photo: Michael Hale|
"The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so 'colossal' that no one would believe that someone 'could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.'"
"And the Romney campaign put out a memo Wednesday repeating the claim that Obama gutted the Clinton-era welfare reforms after taking office. So why continue beating this drum? Partly because people believe it.
'We think that the fact that the work requirement has been taken out of welfare is the wrong thing to do,' said Peggy Testa, attending a Tuesday rally near Pittsburgh for Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan.
When told that's not actually what had happened, Testa replied: 'At this point, [I] don't know exactly what is true and what isn't, OK? But what I do know is I trust the Romney-Ryan ticket, and I do not trust Obama.'"
— Ari Shapiro, NPR
Friday, 20 July 2012
|From: Reanimation Library|
— Lee Ann Montgomery, Headline News Bulletin
"The volume of a small brain region influences one’s predisposition for altruistic behavior. Researchers from the University of Zurich show that people who behave more altruistically than others have more gray matter at the junction between the parietal and temporal lobe [TPJ], thus showing for the first time that there is a connection between brain anatomy, brain activity and altruistic behavior. Why are some people very selfish and others very altruistic? Previous studies indicated that social categories like gender, income or education can hardly explain differences in altruistic behavior. Recent neuroscience studies have demonstrated that differences in brain structure might be linked to differences in personality traits and abilities. Now, for the first time, a team of researchers from the University of Zurich headed by Ernst Fehr, Director of the Department of Economics, show that there is a connection between brain anatomy and altruistic behavior."
— University of Zurich
"[...] a brain region known as the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) is highly active when we think about other people's intentions, thoughts and beliefs. In the new study, the researchers disrupted activity in the right TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp. They found that the subjects' ability to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people's intentions — for example, a failed murder attempt — was impaired. The researchers, led by Rebecca Saxe, MIT assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 29. The study offers 'striking evidence' that the right TPJ, located at the brain's surface above and behind the right ear, is critical for making moral judgments, says Liane Young, lead author of the paper. It's also startling, since under normal circumstances people are very confident and consistent in these kinds of moral judgments, says Young, a postdoctoral associate in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences."
— Jennifer Hirsch, EurekAlert!
"As for now, one may wonder if our increasing exposure to ambient electro-magnetic fields has any effect on moral development. Does the magnet really need to be pressed right up against that particular spot in the skull in order to influence morality, or are we all being gradually altered by long-term, constant bombardment from EMF exposure? Does talking on the phone influence moral development, given the EMF exposure near the TPJ? Given that studies show that in workplace environments, EMF exposures often are up to 10,000 times greater than the average exposure, it might explain some notorious corporate scandals so celebrated in the news. In any event, the next time you use a cell phone, you might want to hold it to your left ear, and even at that, you might want to invest in an EMF shielding device, unless you're a moral relativist at heart."
— Jon Barron, Baseline of Health Foundation
Friday, 13 July 2012
|From: The Crawdad Hole|
"Mitt Romney's repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney's own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.
Romney has consistently insisted that he was too busy organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics to take part in Bain business between 1999 and that event. But in the testimony, which was provided to The Huffington Post, Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. "[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth," he said.
Romney's sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor."
— Huffington Post
"Hilary Shelton, who heads up the Washington, D.C., chapter of the NAACP [...] told Ed Schultz on MSNBC Wednesday night that Romney flew in supporters to Houston to applaud him at the civil rights group's annual convention. 'The campaign actually gave me a list of African-American VIPs that they brought in to the NAACP meeting,' Shelton told Schultz. 'So, I’m sure those are the ones they sat down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him.' [...] 'These are people that were actually brought in to provide the cheering for him so there will be some support for him along those lines.'"
— Gene Denby, Huffington Post
"Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate's reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.
But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment."
— David Corn, Mother Jones
"[...] Now, in general, those of us in the pundit class are really not supposed to accuse politicians of lying -- they mislead, they embellish, they mischaracterize, etc. Indeed, there is natural tendency for nominally objective reporters, in particular, to stay away from loaded terms such as lying. Which is precisely why Romney's e so effective. In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot."
— Michael Cohen, The Guardian (via The Maddow Blog)
|Massachusetts State Troopers (from: ginsoaked)|
"'[...] we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, "Wow, that's pretty creepy."And after that, we didn't have much interaction with him," [...]Other eyewitnesses have previously recalled Romney's alleged use of a police or trooper uniform in pranks during his high school years at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Phillip Maxwell, a prep school buddy, told the New Republic in 2008 that Romney had pulled over students from a girls school next door to Cranbrook while wearing a police uniform as a prank."
— John Conason, OFFICER.com
"Glibness and Superficial Charm
Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as 'their right.'
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.[...]"
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
But there's more to it than that. For a portion of its audience I'm sure the allure of the show is all to do with a nostalgia for a Golden Age of sanctioned sexism and self-indulgence.
"... But the creators of Mad Men are in deadly earnest. It’s as if these forty- and thirty-somethings can’t quite believe how bad people were back then, and can’t resist the impulse to keep showing you.
This impulse might be worth indulging (briefly), but the problem with Mad Men is that it suffers from a hypocrisy of its own. As the camera glides over Joan’s gigantic bust and hourglass hips, as it languorously follows the swirls of cigarette smoke toward the ceiling, as the clinking of ice in the glass of someone’s midday Canadian Club is lovingly enhanced, you can’t help thinking that the creators of this show are indulging in a kind of dramatic having your cake and eating it, too: even as it invites us to be shocked by what it’s showing us (a scene people love to talk about is one in which a hugely pregnant Betty lights up a cigarette in a car), it keeps eroticizing what it’s showing us, too. For a drama (or book, or whatever) to invite an audience to feel superior to a less enlightened era even as it teases the regressive urges behind the behaviors associated with that era strikes me as the worst possible offense that can be committed in a creative work set in the past: it’s simultaneously contemptuous and pandering. Here, it cripples the show’s ability to tell us anything of real substance about the world it depicts."
— Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Review of Books
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
|From: David Icke.com|
"Long-term unemployed workers say they were bussed to London to act as stewards for the Queen's Jubilee, told they would be paid for the work and cared for while in town. When they arrived, they were told they wouldn't get paid (this was 'work experience' not a job), and were made to strip down and change into uniforms in public, pitch tents in the rain, sleep under a bridge, and left without toilet facilities for 24 hours. They were told that if they didn't accept this 'training,' they wouldn't be considered for work during the Olympics."
— Cory Doctorow, bOING bOING