Obamacare is helping a lot of people. Not everyone thinks that’s good news.

Source: WAPO

Author: Paul Waldman

Emphasis Mine

In politics there are some issues where liberals and conservatives share the same goal, but disagree about how to achieve it — we all want to have as little crime as possible, for instance, but there are different ideas about how to accomplish that. Then there are issues where the two groups have different goals — liberals want to preserve women’s reproductive rights, and conservatives don’t. And sometimes, there are issues we think fall in the first category, but actually belong in the second.

Health care may just be that kind of issue, where we talk as though we all have the same fundamental goals, but we actually don’t. There’s an interesting article in the New York Times today on a major success of the Affordable Care Act that demonstrates why we’ll never stop arguing about it. Here’s how it begins:

The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds — including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens — had the sharpest rise in coverage rates.

Hispanics, a coveted group of voters this election year, accounted for nearly a third of the increase in adults with insurance. That was the single largest share of any racial or ethnic group, far greater than their 17 percent share of the population. Low-wage workers, who did not have enough clout in the labor market to demand insurance, saw sharp increases. Coverage rates jumped for cooks, dishwashers, waiters, as well as for hairdressers and cashiers. Minorities, who disproportionately worked in low-wage jobs, had large gains.

Before we go farther, we should remember that the ACA is a complex piece of legislation that affects every area of American health care, but for now we’re going to talk just about insurance coverage. When liberals see a report like this one, they say, that’s terrific — some of the most vulnerable people in America, and those who had the hardest time getting covered before, now have health insurance. They offer this as practical evidence of the law’s success.

But conservatives (not all conservatives, but many of them) don’t see that as a success at all. If the government is helping an immigrant who washes dishes for a living get health coverage, then to them that means means that government is redistributing tax money from deserving people to undeserving people. The two groups look at the same practical effect, and interpret it in opposite ways.

That isn’t to say that the ACA didn’t give benefits to everyone, because it did. Millions of middle-class and even upper-class people were hurt by the fact that insurance companies used to be able to deny you coverage if you had a pre-existing condition, but the ACA outlawed that. And if the payment reforms in the law bring down overall health spending, we all benefit. But the most visible and dramatic parts of the law relate to the tens of millions of Americans who used to be without health coverage but now have it.

This is why Republicans continue to call the ACA a “disaster” and a “catastrophe” despite the good it has done. Liberals hoped that once the law was implemented and its practical effects became clear, the law would become hugely popular. Instead, views of the law divide closely on ideology and partisanship, and that hasn’t changed and won’t change.

That’s because there’s a fundamental clash of values at work, which means that liberals and conservatives will always judge it according to different standards. Because the law did a large amount to bring coverage to those who couldn’t afford it (through both the expansion of Medicaid and subsidies), and because it included a raft of new regulations meant to solve a variety of problems within the health care system, conservatives will always oppose it, whether it succeeds on its own terms or not. To doctrinaire conservatives, a government regulation that accomplishes what it sets out to isn’t a success at all; it’s a moral failure by definition. That’s why liberals will never convince them to support the ACA by pointing to its practical successes.

That isn’t to say that conservatives don’t make practical arguments against the ACA, because they do. But they’re mostly window dressing placed atop their moral objections to government involvement in health care. So yes, they predicted that Obamacare would destroy the economy, and cost millions of jobs, and lead to fewer people with health coverage, and balloon health care spending, and make premiums skyrocket. When they turned out to be wrong about all these things, conservatives didn’t say, “Well gee, I guess this law was a pretty good idea after all.” Because the fundamental moral objection remains, whatever the practical impact.

You can see it in the decision to accept or reject the law’s expansion of Medicaid. The federal government offered states a huge pot of free money to provide coverage to their poor citizens, and though some conservative governors tried to argue that it would be too expensive, those arguments were laughably weak. As one independent analysis after another has shown — from groups like the Rand Corporation, not exactly a bunch of lefties — taking the expansion leads to healthier state finances and better economic growth, on top of helping your state’s constituents. But for many governors, insuring poor people isn’t a moral good at all; just the opposite, in fact. So they were even willing to incur economic damage in order to avoid it (and to give Barack Obama the finger, of course).

Where this all leaves us is that the ACA will never become something we agree on, no matter what it does or doesn’t do in the real world. But even that’s not the whole story, because there are political factors at work. Smart Republicans understand that with each passing year, the law becomes more and more entrenched and harder to unwind, no matter how much they hate it. It’s one thing to keep people from getting insurance, but it’s something quite different, and far more politically dangerous, to take away insurance people already have — and if they really repealed the law, that’s what they would be doing, not just to a few people but to 20 million or so.

That’s why Republicans have so much trouble coming up with their “repeal and replace” plan. It’s not because there aren’t conservative health care wonks who could give them an outline. It’s because any real repeal would be so spectacularly disruptive to the system that it would a political nightmare. Just today there’s an article in The Hill on the efforts of the Republican task force charged with producing the new repeal-and-replace legislation, under the title, “GOP group promises ObamaCare replacement plan — soon.” If you’ve been following this issue, you know that title is a joke. As the piece says:

Coming up with a plan to replace ObamaCare has been an aim for the Republican Party for so long that it’s become a laugh line even in conservative circles. Despite voting more than 50 times in the House to repeal the law, the GOP has not once voted on legislation to take its place.

But every couple of months, they say that they’ll be releasing their plan any day now.

If Republicans actually took the White House and held Congress, my guess is that they’d pass something they called “repeal and replace” but which would leave the ACA largely intact. Just as they propose to privatize Medicare but rush to tell seniors who love it that their own coverage wouldn’t be affected, it would be some kind of time-delayed change that would avoid kicking people who now have insurance off their coverage. And if Hillary Clinton gets elected in the fall, it’ll be another four or eight years before they could even try this. No matter what happens between now and then, conservatives won’t ever decide that the ACA has worked out well, whether it actually did what it was designed to do or not. As far as they’re concerned, the design itself was the problem. But they may decide, as they did with Medicare, that doing away with it isn’t worth the bother — at least not worth bothering to to try all that hard.

Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.


Palin wasn’t “drunk” and her Trump speech wasn’t “stupid”: She’s playing right into the heart of twisted Republican politics

Palin’s impressionistic pro-Trump speech shows how Republicans are getting past the “problem” of logic or evidence


Author: Amanda Marcotte

Emphasis Mine

Sarah Palin knows what she’s doing. I know this is not a popular opinion on the left in the wake of her lengthy roller coaster of a speech that she gave to endorse Donald Trump on Tuesday in Ames, Iowa, but Palin’s speech was actually a bit of political genius. And not just because she got the hated media to spend two days making fun of it, reinforcing her bitter, gun-clinging audience’s victim complex. (Not that this should stop you from making fun of them. It’s not like condescendingly pretending to respect them wins any favors, either.)

No, Palin is the vanguard of a new way of right-wing speechifying, a surprisingly avant-garde method of political outreach for people who think of themselves as the protectors of tradition. Her methods are the most outrageous, but as with most artistic revolutionaries (in this case, with the art of making political speeches), what seems iconoclastic now will swiftly become the norm for those who follow. Her speech was, for Republican politicians, the “Rite of Spring” or the “Salon des Refusés.” And we can already see the signs that other Republicans are walking the trail that Palin blazed.

Right now, the standard reaction, especially on the left, is to make fun of Palin, wondering if she’s an imbecile or merely just drunk. (She could be! Many innovative artists are, though.) The New York Daily News called her “stupid” in a cover that received many accolades in liberal circles.

Sure, Palin isn’t winning any intelligence contests or even junior leagues “Jeopardy!” any time soon, and yet, I don’t think her speech can be dismissed so easily. The main objection to her speech is it doesn’t fit into the traditional norms of political speech-making.

Traditionally, a political speec h is an argument. It has a thesis, which is backed up with examples and organized in a coherent structure so that it has, or at least feels like it has, a logical flow to it. Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate argued that Western capitalism was the best protector of freedom, and was backed up by the example that was West Berlin. Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” speech argued that liberal values of equality and diversity were our nation’s strength, and he backed this up with many examples, including his own biography.

It is true that anyone trying to cram Palin’s speech into these traditional forms will be lost forever. It’s hard, at times, to even know what she was trying to say, as her speech careened around, touching on often unconnected seeming points. Even those trying to argue that her speech was substantive have to do so through heavy annotation and interpretation.

The thing is, Palin isn’t trying to make an argument. That’s not her strong suit, and that’s not what audiences want from her. Her speech was more impressionistic than argumentative. She was there to push buttons and arouse passions, not get people thinking.

Palin understands, probably better than anyone besides Donald Trump, how thinking is the enemy of the conservative populist mission. What she wants is to make you feel, to have those feelings of bitterness and misplaced entitlement wash over the crowds until they are screaming for more blood. In this, she succeeded.

It’s not a surprise, then, that some folks out there are comparing her speech to poetry, with its rhythms and internal rhymes. One blogger broke down notable parts of her speech into free form poetry.

Who are they to say that?


Oh tell somebody like Phyllis Schlafly,


she is the Republican, conservative movement icon


and hero and a Trump supporter.


Tell her she’s not conservative.


How ‘bout the rest of us?

Right wingin’,

bitter clingin’,


proud clingers of our guns,


our god, and our religions,


and our Constitution.


Tell us that we’re not red enough?


Yeah, coming from the establishment.



Or, if you prefer more modern forms, her words have already been matched with hip-hop beats:

“You farm families, and teachers, and teamsters, and cops, and cooks. You rockin’ rollers. And holy rollers!” may not be Walt Whitman singing of “mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong” or the “wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,” but you know, it’s the same gist.

Palin understands what other Republicans are just beginning to get, which is that the conservative base is an audience that is post-argument. Conservatism of the 21st century is an ideology built on sand. Its arguments fall apart upon the briefest of examination and the supposed “evidence” for their beliefs are mostly lies and self-delusions. Sticking with the argument and evidence-based structure in the era of climate change denialism and creationism is a fool’s game and Palin knows it. Better instead to focus strictly on emotions and tribal identity, eschewing not just argument but even structuring your speeches to resemble arguments. Imagistic speeches that arouse passions while silencing doubts is not stupid, but brilliant.

And while Palin is the vanguard of this movement, a careful observer will notice that other Republicans are quickly following on her heels. During the sixth Republican debate, for instance, there was a noticeable scramble away from trying to make actual policy claims and promises, especially with regards to foreign policy, and an embrace of this content-free imagistic language. Like Cruz’s opening statements:

Today, many of us picked up our newspapers, and we were horrified to see the sight of 10 American sailors on their knees, with their hands on their heads.

In that State of the Union, President Obama didn’t so much as mention the 10 sailors that had been captured by Iran. President Obama’s preparing to send $100 billion or more to the Ayatollah Khamenei. And I’ll tell you, it was heartbreaking.

Obviously, the President cannot actually free prisoners by mentioning them in the State of the Union—he freed them by negotiations. But freeing them or not freeing them was not the point of this. The point of this was to invoke an image—soldiers on their knees—to arouse conservative audiences and then slam the President for not trying to rile people up.

While it doesn’t reach the heights of imagistic riffing that Palin reaches, this does come close a Palin-esque non-argument. Cruz riles people up, because riling people up is good, because they enjoy being riled up, and Obama fails at the task of riling you up (because he doesn’t want to rile you up over a non-issue like this, of course). Issues like diplomatic relations or even effectiveness at getting the soldiers back —places where Republicans are weak — are ignored completely. All that matters is the image and the feeling that it provokes. You are invited to ignore all other questions.  (N.B.: framing – invoke images – George Lakoff…)

To be clear, emotion is not always or even usually the enemy of logic. In the traditional political speech, audiences are encouraged to tie their emotions to argument. You are angry, here is the solution. You want hope, these policies will provide it.

But Palin, by eliding the argument-based structure of traditional speeches, is getting past this altogether. Anger is turned into hate is turned into more anger, until it spins off, completely unmoored from any considerations like “why” or “how.” Her innovation helps Republicans get over the logic and evidence problems that plague them. And so we can expect her methods to become more, not less prevalent over time.

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte


How to Become a Conservative in Four Embarrassing Steps

Not that we’d want to. But many Americans, perplexingly, have taken that path in the last ten years.

Source: Alternet

Author: Paul Buchheit

Emphasis Mine

Not that we’d want to. But many Americans, perplexingly, have taken that path in the last ten years, as 27 percent of those polled now consider themselves ‘mostly’ or ‘consistently’ conservative, up from 18 percent in 2004. (Conservatives were at 30 percent in 1994. Liberals increased from 21 to over 30 percent in the 1990s and have remained approximately the same since then.)

The language of true conservatives often turns to denial, dismissal, and/or belligerence, without verifiable facts of any substance. There is also evidence for delusional thinking and a lack of empathy. Here are four ways to be just like them. 1. Ignore Facts

Research shows that conservatives tend to modify facts to accommodate their beliefs and convictions, while liberals are more willing to deal with the complexity of multiple sources of information that help determine the true facts.

In simpler terms, numerous studies (hereherehere, and here) conclude that conservatives are not very smart.

Perhaps the best example of fact-aversion is climate change. Incredibly, even though 97 percentof climate scientists agree that climate warming is very likely due to human activities, 66 percent of Republicans say they do not believe in global warming.

It’s even more incredible that the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, James Inhofe, brought a snowball to the Senate floor to back up his earlier suggestion that manmade global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Tea Party and the Right

How to Become a Conservative in Four Embarrassing Steps

Not that we’d want to. But many Americans, perplexingly, have taken that path in the last ten years.

Photo Credit: Alexeysun/Shutterstock.com

Not that we’d want to. But many Americans, perplexingly, have taken that path in the last ten years, as 27 percent of those polled now consider themselves ‘mostly’ or ‘consistently’ conservative, up from 18 percent in 2004. (Conservatives were at 30 percent in 1994. Liberals increased from 21 to over 30 percent in the 1990s and have remained approximately the same since then.)

The language of true conservatives often turns to denial, dismissal, and/or belligerence, without verifiable facts of any substance. There is also evidence for delusional thinking and a lack of empathy. Here are four ways to be just like them. 

1. Ignore Facts 

Research shows that conservatives tend to modify facts to accommodate their beliefs and convictions, while liberals are more willing to deal with the complexity of multiple sources of information that help determine the true facts.

In simpler terms, numerous studies (hereherehere, and here) conclude that conservatives are not very smart. 

Perhaps the best example of fact-aversion is climate change. Incredibly, even though 97 percentof climate scientists agree that climate warming is very likely due to human activities, 66 percent of Republicans say they do not believe in global warming.

It’s even more incredible that the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, James Inhofe, brought a snowball to the Senate floor to back up his earlier suggestion that manmade global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” 

If there is even a chance that humans are damaging the environment, a thinking person would consider the potential effect on his or her children and grandchildren. But the exact opposite has happened. Half of all carbon emissions have been dumped into the air in approximately the last 25 years. Even the Pentagon, much trusted by right-wingers, has warned that “the danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe.”

2. Make Up Your Own Facts 

This is the opposite of ignoring facts, for in this case conservatives are inventing new ones. A prime example is the stubborn belief in supply-side, trickle-down economics, and in the supposed power of the free market, as summarized by Milton Friedman when he said, “The free market system distributes the fruits of economic progress among all people.”

The “Laffer Curve,” named after economist Arthur Laffer, hypothesizes that tax rate increases will eventually reach a point of diminishing returns for tax revenue. Conservatives have contorted this economic theory into the ‘fact’ that all tax reductions are beneficial.

But there are numerous reputable economists, research groups, and tax analysts who have concluded that the maximum U.S. tax rate can and should be about twice its current level. 

Adherence to supply-side beliefs may help to justify 35 years of trickle-down persistence in the minds of the people getting rich. As conservative analyst Michael Barone once said, “Markets work. But sometimes they take time.” 100 years, perhaps?

3. Display No Empathy for Others 

Conservatives tend to blame poor people for their own misfortunes. Like when John Boehner voiced his perception of people without jobs: “This idea that has been born…I really don’t have to work; I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.”  Almost all healthy adult Americans, of course, want to work. But in 2011 Senate Republicans killed a proposed $447 billion jobs bill that would have added about two million jobs to the economy. Members of Congress filibustered Nancy Pelosi’s “Prevention of Outsourcing Act,” even as two million jobs were being outsourced, and they temporarily blocked the “Small Business Jobs Act.” In April, 2013 only one member of Congress bothered to show up for a hearing on unemployment.

When asked what he would do to bring jobs to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell responded, “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet.”

It gets worse beyond our own borders, where American neoconservatism leads to behavior that is shockingly devoid of empathy. A 13-year-old Yemeni boy told The Guardian about the drones buzzing incessantly overhead: “I see them every day and we are scared of them…day and night…we even dream of them in our sleep.”  That boy was killed by a drone in early 2015.

4. Shout Down Your Opponents 

If nothing else works, belligerence will. Many of the top right-wingers use this strategy. John McCain told Code Pink protestors to “Get out of here, you low-life scum.” Michael Moore has reportedly received death threats from both Glenn Beck and Clint EastwoodBill O’Reilly bashed Mother Jones chief David Corn as a “liar” and an “irresponsible guttersnipe,” and then assailed New York Times’ Emily Steel in an interview about the Falklands controversy: “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”

The bully tactics are especially frightening at the global level. “All of Russia,” notes Paul Craig Roberts, “is distressed that Washington has destroyed the trust that had been created during the Reagan-Gorbachev era.” And as noted by The Nation, “There’s the perception across the Global South that, while the United States remains embroiled in its endless wars, the world is defecting to the East.” Toward China, that is, as their New Silk Road opens doors of cooperation from the far east all the way to Europe.

Our conservative-controlled nation’s self-serving belief in “exceptionalism” is taking us further and further from the rest of the world. And closer to a world of trouble for our children. 

Paul Buchheit teaches economic inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of the Web sites UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org and RappingHistory.org, and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.



See: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/how-become-conservative-four-embarrassing-steps?akid=12865.123424.f8FV99&rd=1&src=newsletter1032964&t=8

5 Things the Science Doesn’t Say About the Conservative Brain

The science of cognition and ideology has been greeted with a number of common myths.


By: Chris Mooney

“Recently here at AlterNet, and around the web, there’s been a lot of discussion of the science of political ideology—basically, the differing psychological or even physiological traits that separate liberals from conservatives. (For a scientific overview, see here.) (For a scientific overview of how strongly personality in particular predicts one’s political views, see here.) The debate tends to produce an odd effect: Liberals are intrigued, but many conservatives seem to take it all as an insult–based on a major misunderstanding of what the research actually means.

It’s time to set the record straight. So herewith, we dismantle five major myths about the science of ideology, and what it has to say about conservatism.

1) No, Scientists Aren’t Calling Conservatives Dumb.

Conservatives seem to wrongly interpret the new science of ideology as a slight to their intelligence. On the contrary, research on the differences between liberals and conservatives has centrally focused on personalities and styles of thinking, which is quite a different thing.

The idea is that there seems to be something about liberalism, with its openness to new ideas and new things, that does make liberals more science friendly, and more willing to change their minds over time. However, this is not at all the same as saying that conservatives are stupid. The personality trait in question,openness to experience, does tend to produce a higher verbal SAT score, but not necessarily a higher math score. And that makes sense—openness is about exploring (including through curiosity and reading), and seeing the world in a nuanced way, but not about raw intelligence.

In other words, to distinguish between liberals and conservatives on this personality dimension of openness is not at all to call conservatives “dumb”—rather, it’s to say they see less nuance in the world and are less tolerant of ambiguity, uncertainty and change. It’s about a style of thinking, not about differences in abilities.

But of course, there’s an irony: Maybe it’s because conservatives see less nuance that they wrongly think their intelligence is being insulted, when it isn’t.

2) No, Conservatives Do Not Have a Brain Disorder.

Just as insulting to conservatives—and just as baseless—is the claim made by some (like pundit Jonah Goldberg) that the research suggests there is something wrong with conservatives’ brains.

On the contrary, this science falls within the boundaries of normal psychology, not abnormal psychology. It appears that human beings fall along a spectrum on any number of personality traits—ranging from neuroticism to agreeableness or politeness. The spectrum itself is normal. However, falling at different places on it has political implications—particularly scoring lower on openness to experience, or higher on conscientiousness (which tends to make one more conservative).

Once again, there’s an irony here. Intellectual conservatives think we should have a healthy respect for human nature, and build our societies to reflect it. Well, this research seems to suggest that conservatism itself is part of human nature–as is liberalism. Both seem a core part of who we are. So if you want to respect tradition and our heritage, like a good conservative, you really ought to be pretty psyched about the science of ideology.

Indeed, we can go all the way back to Thomas Jefferson on the matter, whostated of the political parties of his day:

The same political parties which now agitate the U.S. have existed thro’ all time. And in fact the terms of whig and tory belong to natural as well as to civil history. They denote the temper and constitution and mind of different individuals.

Modern science is suggesting that Jefferson was absolutely right.

3) No, All Conservatives Are Not Closed-Minded.

It is certainly possible to see the lack of openness as equivalent to closed-mindedness. In particular, scoring very low on openness to experience isassociated with traits like authoritarianism, or seeing the world in a black-and-white way with little tolerance of difference.

But even if that’s so, not all conservatives are being tarred with that brush. Once again, we’re talking about a spectrum here. What’s more, we’re talking about imperfect correlations, so it is not like every single liberal is more open than every single conservative. On the contrary, the statistics suggest that you will find many open conservatives and closed liberals—and even some outright authoritarians among Democrats.

Think about it this way: If you were betting in Las Vegas, you’d win money betting that liberals are open, rather than betting they are closed. But you still wouldn’t win every time.

What this means is that it is no refutation of the science to say, “But what about my Uncle Albert, who’s a conservative who loves traveling the world and reading long novels?” There will always be lots of counterexamples, but they don’t refute the overall picture.

4) No, This Is Not Biological Determinism.

Another misconception is that because we’re talking about personalities—and personalities are at least partly genetic—we’re asserting a form of “biological determinism.” In other words, we’re saying that liberals and conservatives are “just born that way” and they can’t change their views.

That doesn’t follow. Genes are the basic recipe for making us who we are—but if you’re baking a cake, you also have to consider the type of oven, the temperature it’s set at, how long the cake stays in, and so on. In other words, genes are just part of the equation, and the “environment” remains crucial. If there’s any determinism, it wouldn’t be solely genetic or biological—it would have to be both biological and also environmental.

No wonder that genetic studies suggest that only about 40 percent of one’s political ideology can be traced to the influence of genes. Forty percent might sound like a lot—and it is—but that still leaves 60 percent up to “experience” and the “environment.”

And that, in turn, leaves quite a lot of room for a lot of conservatives to turn into liberals, and a lot of liberals to turn into conservatives, whatever their basic personalities or their DNA.

5) No, Conservatives Aren’t All Bad People.

Most baseless of all is the assertion that conservatives are being morally judged based on this research. If anything, the science points out many conservative strengths.

If you consider personality, for instance, the research suggests that conservatives have somewhat more extraversion than liberals—meaning, they are probably more outgoing—and more emotional stability—meaning, they’re less neurotic on average. Neither can be called bad news for conservatives. Quite the contrary. Having more conscientiousness than liberals, meanwhile, means that conservatives are more task-oriented, goal-directed and disciplined.

In the moral realm, meanwhile, there are traits like loyalty to one’s group or team that powerfully reflect conservatism. This research suggests that, relative to conservatives, liberals are less loyal, worse team players. (The flip-side of this is that conservatives tend to be more tribal in nature.)

All of these traits, by the way, also suggest that conservatives are likely to be more effective in mass politics—which, the evidence suggests, they indeed are.

The conclusion, then, if you’re a conservative who’s concerned about the science of ideology is …well, you might want to look at it more closely. In reality, there’s plenty of bad news here for liberals as well.”

Chris Mooney is the author of four books, including his latest, “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality.”

Emphasis Mine.

see: http://www.alternet.org/story/155337/5_things_the_science_doesn%27t_say_about_the_conservative_brain?page=entire

Conservatism’s Drown’s to Death in Oil

George Lakoff

Author, The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant! posted: July 16, 2010 09:00 AM

The issue is death –– death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.

Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and that conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf. Conservatism is an ideology of death.

It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology — that maximizing profit comes first — that led to:

  • The corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
  • Minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells
  • The principle that oil companies could be responsible their own risk assessments on drilling
  • Maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!
  • Maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials
  • Maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses
  • Focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong
  • Minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

It is conservative profit-above-all market fundamentalism that has led other oil companies to mount a massive PR campaign to isolate BP as an anomalous “bad actor” and to argue that offshore drilling should be continued by the self-proclaimed “good actors.” Their PR fails to mention that in Congressional hearings it came out that they all outsource risk assessment to the same company that declared that BP had “zero risk.” The PR fails to mention that they all use cost-benefit analysis to maximize profits just as BP did. Cost-benefit analysis only looks at monetary costs versus benefits, case by case, not at the risk of massive death of the kind gushing out of the Gulf at present. Death, in itself, even at that scale, is not a “cost.” Only an outflow of money is a “cost.” This is what follows from conservative laissez-faire market ideology, an ideology that continues to sanction death on a Gulf scale.

But the facts won’t make a difference to dyed-in the-wool conservatives, since the facts will be filtered through their ideological frames: when the facts don’t fit the frames, the facts will be ignored.

he conservative worldview says man has dominion over nature: nature is there for human monetary profit. Profit is sanctioned over the possibility of massive death and destruction in nature. Conservatives support even more dangerous drilling off the coast of Alaska and are working to repeal the President’s moratorium on deep water drilling. Nature be damned; the oil companies have a right to make money, death or no death.

Directness of causation is a rarely noticed property of the conservative worldview. What are the causes of crime? Bad people, lock ’em up, say conservatives. There are no social or economic causes, that is, systemic causes, in the conservative universe. So it is with the Death Gusher. Blame BP, the “bad actor.” Look for the immediate cause, but don’t look any further, at the profit-above-all system in which all oil companies operate, a system idolized by conservatives. Without an understanding of systemic causes, the causes cited above won’t make much sense.

Progressives have been much too kind to conservatives on this matter. They have largely accepted the Bad Actor Frame, criticizing BP but not the whole industry and its practices. No one should be drilling miles under the sea, where oil comes out at 10,000 pounds per square inch. No matter how much profit is involved.

Conservatism gushes death — and not only in the Gulf of Mexico.

see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/conservatisms-death-gushe_b_646488.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=071610&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry

emphasis mine

GOP and Extremists

From John Ridely, HuffPost: “EMPTY of better ideas — of any ideas — of how to REMAIN relevant, the reactionary wing of the conservative movement has chosen to quit faking respectability and get back to doing what they do best: cranking up the HATE to eleven.

This is the week we have lived:

A week when Texas Governor Rick Perry — a man with presidential aspirations — gets comfortable being flippant about the idea SECESSION , raising the specter of both the anti-civil rights movement and the Civil War

A week when Texas Republican State Rep. Betty Brown (what is it with Texas?) told a hearing on voter registration that if Asians wanted to avoid problems at the polls they needed to CHANGE their names to something that’s “easier for US to deal with.”

A week when Illinois Republican Congressman Mark Kirk said he thought the people of Illinois “are ready to SHOOT” anyone who’s going to raise taxes.

A week when the Caucasian Stepin Fetchit Glenn Beck — which is more of a slam against Lincoln Perry than it is Glenn — thought it was humorous to take on the guise of our president and pantomime him pouring gas on the average citizen before setting a match to him…….These may be the last, desperate days of reactionary, anti-American Conservatism. But in the manner of a rabid animal backed against a wall, these are its most dangerous as well.”

see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-ridley/the-conservatives-dangero_b_188514.html