June 3, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 8:35 PM

ALL COMEDY IS CONSERVATIVE:


Posted by orrinj at 6:58 PM

TO BE FAIR, EVERYONE WANTS TO UNSEAT OURS:


Posted by orrinj at 6:23 PM

EAU DU DONALD:

 Trump's lying seems to be getting worse. Psychology suggests there's a reason why. : To psychologists interested in the science of lying, Trump's increasing mendacity presents an interesting question. (Tali Sharot and Neil Garrett, May.23.2018, Think)

[O]ur research points to yet another intriguing explanation -- a biological process called emotional adaptation.

Emotion plays an important role in constraining dishonesty. If we feel bad when we lie, we are less likely to do so. But if this uncomfortable feeling were to magically disappear, research suggests we would in turn lie more. In one study, students who were given a pill called a beta-blocker, which reduces emotional arousal, were more likely to cheat on an exam than students who were given a placebo. In other words, without that uncomfortable physiological feeling that accompanies dishonest behavior, people were more likely to cheat.

Research we conducted at University College London with our colleagues Dan Ariely and Stephanie Lazzaro, which was published in 2016 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, showed that the intensity of the emotional response people experience when they act dishonestly is reduced every time they lie. And this reduction (which scientists call emotional adaptation) makes them likely to lie more over time.

In our experiment, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Center for Advanced Hindsight, we gave a group of 80 individuals the opportunity to lie again and again in a financial task in order to gain money at another person's expense. We found that the volunteers started with relatively small lies, cheating by only a few cents, but slowly over the course of the experiment lied more and more. While they were doing so we recorded their brain activity using a brain imaging scanner. We found that the emotional network in the brain responded less with each additional lie. The greater the drop in the brain's sensitivity to dishonesty, the more people lied the next time they had a chance.

Repeated dishonesty is a bit like a perfume you apply over and over. At first you easily detect the powerful scent of a new perfume. But over time and with more applications you can hardly sense its presence, so you apply more liberally. This happens because neurons in your olfactory bulb desensitize to the smell of the perfume. Similarly, it appears that our response to our own acts of dishonesty is strong at first, but over time decreases. Like students taking beta-blockers, your capacity for being dishonest increases.

The picture becomes more alarming when we consider that individuals adapt not only to their own dishonesty but also to that of others. Research Harvard professors Francesca Gino and Max Bazerman shows that people are less likely to criticize the unethical actions of others when such behavior increases gradually over time. Politically speaking, this suggests that voters (and perhaps even the president's own advisors) may desensitize to the president's falsehoods in the same way that they do to overused perfume, making them less likely to act to correct this pattern of behavior. The absence of sanctions could in turn be interpreted as a "green light" by the president.



Posted by orrinj at 7:58 AM

FIRST, DO NO HARM:

For Some Breast Cancer Patients, The Chemo Decision Just Got Easier (SARA KILEY WATSON, 6/03/18, NPR)

A study published Sunday finds that many women with early-stage invasive breast cancer could safely forgo chemotherapy, if they score in the midrange or lower for risk that their cancer will recur, as measured by a commonly used genomic test

The study, published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that patients who fall in the intermediate risk zone do as well with hormone therapy alone as with chemo plus hormone therapy after surgery. "[The findings] are both important and significant, and also practice-changing," says, Dr. José Baselga, a medical oncologist and physician in chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who was not involved with this research. "Basically, it's going to spare a lot of unnecessary chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer."

Posted by orrinj at 4:42 AM

TREAT HIM LIKE HIS PAL VLAD:

Trade sanctions against America won't work. Sanctioning Trump himself might. (Scott Gilmore May 31, 2018, Maclean's)

As I've pointed out before, the President can be successfully engaged, and countries like Ukraine, China, and Qatar have demonstrated this. When they want something from the United States, they skip the State Department, and even the White House staff. Instead of approaching their problem state-to-state, they go state-to-man. These countries focus on what Trump wants on a personal level - to enrich his family. So Beijing granted Ivanka trademarks, Qatar invested in one of Jared's office towers, and Ukraine, with Slavic candor, simply wired half a million dollars to the President's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

For the most part, the western allies understand that if we want the U.S. to do something we must negotiate with the man himself. What we have not grasped yet is, as strange as it sounds, the President of the United States is more concerned about promoting his interests than defending America's.

Consider that Trump refuses to censure Russia for interfering in the election, because while it may have hurt America, it helped him. And even though these new tariffs will likely cost the U.S. over 140,000 jobs (according to the conservative Heritage Foundation), he will not repeal them because they make him look strong to his base. Other countries that have figured this out have begun to openly bribe the President to get the foreign policy decision they need.

America's erstwhile allies must also recognize that the President has adopted previously unimaginable new rules, and play accordingly. But, instead of bribing him with personal carrots, I would suggest we consider applying personal sticks. Instead of asking ourselves how we can help the President or his family, we should ask: How can we hurt him? And, Trump has already given us an answer.

Until this President, every previous modern occupant of the White House divested their assets upon assuming office. This eliminated the possibility personal business interests might benefit from political decisions. Conversely, it prevented others from threatening the President by attacking those assets. Trump, by refusing to give up his businesses, and by flagrantly violating the emoluments clause, has inadvertently handed us the perfect stick.

I propose that instead of taxing the import of American serviettes, we tax Trump. In the spirit of the Magnitsky Act, Canada and the western allies come together to collectively pressure the only pain point that matters to this President: his family and their assets. This could take the form of special taxation on their current operations, freezing of assets, or even sanctions against senior staff. Canada could add a tax to Trump properties equal to any tariff unilaterally imposed by Washington.  The European Union could revoke any travel visas for senior staff in the Trump organization. And the United Kingdom could temporarily close his golf course.



Posted by orrinj at 4:36 AM

WELL, WE ASKED FOR BREAD AND CIRCUSES:


Posted by orrinj at 4:22 AM

NOT THE rIGHT:

For Heitkamp, a Lift From an Unlikely Source: The Koch Brothers (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, June 1, 2018, NY Times)

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the centrist Democrat from North Dakota who is fighting a pitched battle to save her seat, has gotten a lift from an unlikely source: the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.

Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch, unveiled a digital ad campaign on Friday thanking Ms. Heitkamp for her support of recently passed legislation that loosened regulations on small and medium-size banks that were swept up in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The ad is the latest evidence that the brothers, often at odds with President Trump, may be moving away from strictly partisan work on behalf of Republicans in favor of initiatives that will advance their libertarian-leaning legislative priorities, including free trade, immigration legislation and access to medicines, regardless of party affiliation.

Posted by orrinj at 4:15 AM

THE TIGHTENING NOOSE:

Trump lawyers say he 'dictated' statement on Trump Tower meeting, contradicting past denials (Marshall Cohen, June 2, 2018, CNN)

"You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.," the letter said, according to The New York Times, which published a copy of it.[...]

The misleading statement, issued in July 2017 to The New York Times, obfuscated the true nature of the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, which was attended by Donald Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is now a senior White House adviser, and a group of Kremlin-tied Russians.

One of those Russians, lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, brought up the Magnitsky Act at the meeting, a 2012 American law punishing Russian human rights violators that she has lobbied extensively to overturn. She reached out to Trump's team after he was elected to try to lobby on the Russian sanctions, CNN has reported.

While the premise of the Trump Tower meeting was for the Russians to deliver damaging information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the statement initially put out in Trump Jr.'s name said the participants "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" and omitted mention of Clinton.

After the initial statement came out, news outlets reported Trump was involved in preparing the statement. Some reports said he helped draft it, others said he personally "dictated" the words. Trump Jr., meanwhile, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in private testimony in September, released last month, that he didn't speak to his father about the statement, but that the President "may have commented through Hope Hicks," the then-White House aide, and that some of those comments might have made it into the statement.

In their public responses to the news reports, however, Sekulow and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied Trump's role.

Posted by orrinj at 4:06 AM

THE PARTY OF CONSERVATIVES, NOT THE rIGHT:

GOP Moderates Rebel on Immigration  (Alan Fram and Nicholas Riccardi, 6/02/18, Associated Press)

Across the country -- from California's lush Central Valley to suburban Denver to Curbelo's district of strip malls, farms and the laid-back Florida Keys -- moderate Republicans such as Curbelo are under hefty pressure to buck their party's hardline stance on immigration. After years of watching their conservative colleagues in safe districts refuse to budge, the GOP middle is fighting back -- mindful that a softer position may be necessary to save their jobs and GOP control of the House.

"Members who have priorities and feel passionate about issues can't sit back and expect leaders" to address them, Curbelo said. "Because it doesn't work."

Curbelo, 38, is seeking a third term from a district that stretches from upscale Miami suburbs to the Everglades and down to eccentric Key West. Seventy percent of his constituents are Hispanic and nearly half are foreign-born. Those are among the highest percentages in the nation, giving many of them a first-hand stake in Congress' immigration fight.

Curbelo and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., whose Modesto-area district thrives on agriculture powered by migrant workers, have launched a petition drive that would force House votes on four immigration bills, ranging from liberal to conservative versions. Twenty-three Republicans have signed on, two shy of the number needed to succeed, assuming all Democrats jump aboard.

Another supporter of the rare rebellion by the usually compliant moderates is Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a former Marine who learned Spanish when his district was redrawn to include Denver's diverse eastern suburbs. In an interview, [...]

The centrists favor legislation that would protect from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. They back a path to citizenship for these immigrants, who have lived in limbo since President Donald Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, called DACA. Federal courts have blocked its termination for now.