Setting the record straight on Wood & Douglas, 2013 | The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

http://conspiracypsych.com/2013/07/13/setting-the-record-straight-on-wood-douglas-2013/

Anyway, the damage seems to have been done – the PressTV article has been reprinted on a lot of different websites, forums, and social media thanks to its sensationalised headline and smug triumphalism. I’m ambivalent about this – I like that my research is being recognised since I am inherently a media whore, but I’m less happy about the fact that it’s only seeing wide exposure after having been twisted and misinterpreted by an extremely biased article on Iranian state-run media. Still, the last article that we published was met with headlines like “Psychologists prove conspiracy theorists are all crazy!” (there’s no room for nuance on the Internet, is there?) so I suppose it all balances out. I just hope that some people will read the paper itself rather than taking PressTV’s word for what it says.

The conspiracy to twist the findings of a study about conspiracy theory is underfoot.  Treat lightly, dear reader, there’s a good chance you are already a part of the “traditionalist conspiracy” (the conspiracy that there is no conspiracy).

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The Silly Season of Political Paranoia (and a dose of something else)

It seems as if a certain political sentiment has fully metastasized into the form it will take for the next 7 months.  It goes something like this…as Krugman notes on point..

And it’s not just gas prices, of course. In fact, the conspiracy theories are proliferating so fast it’s hard to keep up. Thus, large numbers of Republicans — and we’re talking about important political figures, not random supporters — firmly believe that global warming is a gigantic hoax perpetrated by a global conspiracy involving thousands of scientists, not one of whom has broken the code of omertà. Meanwhile, others are attributing the recent improvement in economic news to a dastardly plot to withhold stimulus funds, releasing them just before the 2012 election. And let’s not even get into health reform.

Why is this happening? At least part of the answer must lie in the way right-wing media create an alternate reality. For example, did you hear about how the cost of Obamacare just doubled? It didn’t, but millions of Fox-viewers and Rush-listeners believe that it did. Naturally, people who constantly hear about the evil that liberals do are ready and willing to believe that everything bad is the result of a dastardly liberal plot. And these are the people who vote in Republican primaries.

But what about the broader electorate?

Now before you think any of this (or the many, many other examples) are hyperbolic statements about what is passing for “policy discussion” among the dedicated Republican primary voters…here’s an update on what they think is going on…

Seriously…that’s an official Santorum ad.  Wild stuff….BTW…DID YOU NOTICE HOW CRAZY THIS IS?

About :40 seconds in…with the Iranian Boogeyman on the screen…they cut in a shot of the President of the United Stated.

Headshot of Obama interspersed into video of Iranian President

That’s how craaaazy these folks are.  Don’t believe me yet?  Here’s another one, of a thousand, of other examples.

And one that more directly affects real people…

On Monday, the Republican dominated Tennessee Senate passed an anti-evolution bill by a vote of 24-8. The bill, known as HB 368, is sponsored by Republican Senator Bo Watson and “provides guidelines for teachers answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects,” according to Knox News,  ”The measure also guarantees that teachers will not be subject to discipline for engaging students in discussion of questions they raise, though Watson said the idea is to provide guidelines so that teachers will bring the discussion back to the subjects authorized for teaching in the curriculum approved by the state Board of Education.” The bill basically encourages teachers to present scientific weaknesses of “controversial” topics.

[full story]

It’s come to the point of people just flat out not believing what is happening….which while not completely abnormal in political season…has gotten so bad that basic math has become partisan politics.

Thus making rational cost benefit analysis of said policies (while factually true) completely irrelevant.

Beginning in January 2011, the payroll tax withheld from employee paychecks was temporarily reduced to 4.2 percentage points from 6.2 percentage points. The cut was scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, but Congress has continued it through the end of 2012.

My calculationslast year, based on the proposed cut of 3.1 percentage points, suggested that the payroll tax cut “could raise employment by at least a million, albeit the duration of job creation is related to how long the tax cut lasts.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis, payroll employment was 130.2 million at the end of 2010, just before the payroll tax cuts took effect. As of last month, payroll employment was up 2 percent, or 2.5 million, to 132.7 million.

[full story]

And dealing with a growing and more well understood problem that much more difficult…

One of the main changes is the inclusion of more data from the Arctic region, which has experienced one of the greatest levels of warming.

The amendments do not change the long-term trend, but the data now lists 2010, rather than 1998, as the warmest year on record.

The update is reported in the published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

[full story]

And leading to some absolutely tragic decision making abilities…

It seems that this old lady believed many of the deliberate lies which were being put forward by the Fox News anchor, lies directed at President Obama and at his health care policy. She appears to have thought that if she had accepted medical care, following her fall, her medical information and her money would have been sent to Islamic extremists. This is of course completely false, but a reasonable deduction from the lies told by Fox News.

[full story]

Which happens while the system keeps chuggin’ along…

National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.

[full story]

And paying the low inegrity-bright smile types to say whatever it takes to keep it coming…

In February, Common Cause wrote to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, asking for an explanation about an apparently unreported $1,350 gift from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2009. Cantor’s office immediately responded, claiming our inquiry was without foundation, but last week his office quietly amended his financial disclosures to include the gift from ALEC.

At that time, I wrote about Cantor’s failure to disclose:

‘ALEC, the so-called “free market, small government” lobby group underwritten by some of the nation’s largest corporations, reported in its tax filings for 2008 and 2009, making “cash grants” to the recipients of several annual awards. Common Cause has identified 22 legislators who received ALEC awards in those two years, including Rep. Cantor, who ALEC records indicate received $1,350 in 2009 as part of their Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award.’

Cantor responded within hours, saying no cash changed hands, but that he received a bust of Thomas Jefferson from ALEC, pictured above. But, under House Ethics Rules this type of award can only be received by a Member of Congress if it is disclosed, which Cantor did not do. This appears to be a clear ethics violation, and we have asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate. Prompted by Common Cause, Cantor has now very quietly amended his 2009 Financial Disclosure Report to include the ALEC gift. He also amended his 2010 report to include another bust given to him by the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group. We had no idea about this second award, but now we do.

[full story]

Even as another does the math, and realizes that we simply cannot go on like this…

However, Dodd–Frank does not eradi- cate TBTF. Indeed, it is our view at the Dallas Fed that it may actually perpetuate an already dangerous trend of increasing banking industry concentration. More than half of banking industry assets are on the books of just five institutions. The top 10 banks now account for 61 percent of commercial banking assets, substantially more than the 26 percent of only 20 years ago; their combined assets equate to half of our nation’s GDP. Further, as Rosenblum argues in his essay, there are signs that Dodd– Frank’s complexity and opaqueness may evenbe working against the economic recovery. In addition to remaining a lingering threat to financial stability, these megabanks signifi- cantly hamper the Federal Reserve’s ability to properly conduct monetary policy.

They were a primary culprit in magnifying the financial crisis, and their presence continues to play an impor- tant role in prolonging our economic malaise.There are good reasons why this recovery has remained frustratingly slow compared with periods following previous recessions, and I believe it has very little to do with the Federal Reserve. Since the onset of the Great Recession, we have undertaken a number of initiatives— some orthodox, some not—to revive and kick-start the economy. As I like to say, we’ve filled the tank with plenty of cheap, high-octane gasoline. But as any mechanic can tell you, it takes more than just gas to propel a car.

It is imperative that we end TBTF. In my view, downsizing the behemoths over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated across borders is the appropriate policy response. Only thencantheprocessof “creativedestruction”— which America has perfected and practiced with such effectiveness that it led our country to unprecedented economic achievement— work its wonders in the financial sector, just as it does elsewhere in our economy. Only then will we have a financial system fit and proper for serving as the lubricant for an economy as dynamic as that of the United States.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dallas-fed-calls-for-breakup-of-big-banks-2012-3#ixzz1qF2hXi7T

And so the desktop is clear…to watch the world for another couple weeks.

Climate Scientist stoops to using Denier tactics (i.e. lies) to expose Heartland Institute conspiracy against Climate Science

“At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate programme strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it,” Gleick wrote.

“Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues.”

It is sad he did this.  It’s worse that such a conspiracy exists.  It’s much, much worse that so many people have fallen for it, and scientists have to deal with so much crap for presenting data and research that challenges powerful industries.


m.guardian.co.uk
http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/21/peter-gleick-admits-leaked-heartland-institute-documents?cat=environment&type=article

Happy Birther Day, Mr. President!

And an oy and a vey directed right at the heart of America…

Forty-two percent of those questioned say they have absolutely no doubts that the president was born in the U.S., while 29-percent say he “probably” was.

“Not surprisingly, there are big partisan differences, although a majority of Republicans thinks Obama was definitely or probably born here,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Eighty-five percent of Democrats say that Obama was definitely or probably born in the U.S., compared to 68 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans say he was probably not born here, and another 14 percent of Republicans say he was definitely not born in the U.S.”

I love how CNN included a copy of his birth certificate and birth announcement in a Hawaii newspaper on the article.  And included this quote…

On Tuesday, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh quipped on his program, “They tell us August 4th is the birthday. We haven’t seen any proof of that!”

Yet there is ample evidence that defies Limbaugh’s statement and the beliefs of the 27-percent of Americans that, according to the poll, doubt the president’s birthplace. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors.

Hawaii has released a copy of the president’s birth certificate – officially called a “certificate of live birth.” And in 1961 the hospital where the president was born placed announcements in two Hawaiian newspapers regarding Obama’s birth.

The funny thing is, for birthers and the like, CNN debunking the rumors simply means they are in on the conspiracy (as is the State of Hawaii, the Secret Service, the Passport Office, and presumable the CIA and FBI…and they all have been for over four decades…I know…the crazy, it burns).

Aaah, but at least the Republicans are keeping it classy…

Washington (CNN) – On President Obama’s 49th birthday, the Republican National Committee is out with a new website full of electronic greetings intended to slam the president and national Democrats. The Democratic National Committee is hitting back, referring to the RNC’s move as “tired, childish, political games that do nothing to help anyone.”

The new site, baracksbirthdaycards.com, hosts 11 digital birthday cards from which users can choose. All of the cards are mock greetings from various political or governmental figures to the president.

Keeping it Classy

UPDATE:  Saw this comment on the nets, sums it up nicely…

GAT_00

27% of Americans say he ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ was born in another country.
23% of Americans still approved of Bush when he left office.

Just saying.

Michael Phelps Touching the Wall (and goes Super-Saiyan)

This is how you finish

This is how you finish

I found this animated .gif floating around the net. Very nice shot of Michael Phelps winning the gold medal in historic fashion.  What an amazing finish.  I was watching this down at Frankie’s in Uptown and the whole place went silent for the swim and then crazy for the win.

Props to Phelps for his performance, I hope he can finish the deed this evening and make the history he’s been shooting for.   Way to Power Up!!

This is how you power up.

This is how you power up.

Speaking of shooting, the Redeem Team waxed the Spanish this morning to assert their (and our) complete dominance of the sport of basketball.  Keep on flying guys, you are a blast to watch.

UPDATE: They won the 400 IM (for the 11th straight time).  Congrats to Phelps on 8 golden medallions.

Continue reading

Now It Makes More Sense to My Spitzer-Sense

Beach man told FBI of alleged Spitzer sexscapades – 03/21/2008 – MiamiHerald.com

Almost four months before Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex scandal, a lawyer for Republican political operative Roger Stone sent a letter to the FBI alleging that Spitzer ”used the services of high-priced call girls” while in Florida.The letter, dated Nov. 19, said Miami Beach resident Stone learned the information from ”a social contact in an adult-themed club.” It offered one potentially identifying detail: the man in question hadn’t taken off his calf-length black socks “during the sex act.”

Stone, known for shutting down the 2000 presidential election recount effort in Miami-Dade County, is a longtime Spitzer nemesis whose political experience ranges from the Nixon White House to Al Sharpton’s presidential campaign. His lawyer wrote the letter containing the call-girl allegations after FBI agents had asked to speak to Stone, though he says the FBI did not specify why he was contacted.

“Spitzer-Sense” = amount of general suspicion that politico is being brought down because he pissed off the wrong people.

Pirates love whores, so I have no general problem with Spitzer or that GGW he was bangin’.  I’d do his wife in a threesome like they did out in Jew Nersey.