November 11, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:12 PM


Why Your Brain Lies To You About Change (Chris Murman, September 11, 2017, Solutions IQ)

[I] had always thought I made decisions in a rational fashion. When I am presented with an idea, I weigh all of the data needed to evaluate my options and then make a decision based on that data. Just like we all do, I hope.

Why is it then that we make different decisions based on the same data?

If we're not emotionally comfortable with an activity, the brain invents an excuse not to do it.

According to "The Control Heuristic" by Luca DellAnna, it's because the decision-making process is wired in reverse in our brains. When we are presented with a decision, the subconscious determines that with which we are most emotionally comfortable. Before any information is collected or any rationality is applied, the choice is made. When our brain recognizes this, it fills in the gaps as to why we feel this way without telling us the truth.

In other words: our brain lies to us.

If we are not emotionally comfortable with an activity, the brain literally invents an excuse not to do it. Our brain attempts to establish or regain control over a situation through a variety of behaviors. This is why those considered "bad" become easily explained, such as not going to bed until midnight to have more time to relax, or not buying vegetables because they spoil easily. We don't like bad behaviors, but exhibiting them makes us feel in control and therefore improves our comfort level.

Posted by orrinj at 6:01 PM


Is GOP Witness List For Impeachment Inquiry 'A Cry For Help'? (Cody Fenwick, November 11, 2019, National Memo)

House Republicans' request for witnesses in the impeachment inquiry reads more like a "cry for help" than an actual contribution to the investigation into President Donald Trump's conduct, argued MSNBC's Steve Benen.

He's not wrong. The list includes:

The whistleblower

"All individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her secondhand complaint"

Hunter Biden

Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden

Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS, which directed the work behind the Steele Dossier

Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee employee who reportedly conducted research on Paul Manafort's work in Ukraine

Not one of these people will have information that could exonerate Trump from the mountain of evidence indicating he oversaw a vast bribery scheme aimed at pressuring the Ukrainian government into smearing and opening up investigations into his political rivals.

Posted by orrinj at 5:58 PM


Steve Bannon Says Trump Team Saw Roger Stone as "Access Point" to Assange (Dan Friedman, 11/08/19, MoJo)

[A]ccording to bombshell testimony in federal court Friday, the Trump team did believe that it was collaborating with WikiLeaks, the organization that publicly disseminated Democratic emails that had been stolen by Russian government hackers.

The revelations came during the trial of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who is accused of lying to Congress about his contacts with the Trump campaign. Stone was originally a member of that campaign; he departed in 2015 but remained an informal adviser to Trump. Steve Bannon, who became CEO of the campaign in mid-August 2016, testified Friday that campaign officials saw Stone as their "access point" to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Bannon testified that in the spring and summer of 2016, before he took over the Trump campaign, Stone had "implied" in conversations with Bannon that he was in contact with Assange. "The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, but Roger would be considered if we needed an access point, because he had implied or told me he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange," Bannon said. 

"It was generally believed that the access point to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange would be Roger Stone," Bannon said in prior grand jury testimony read in court on Friday. Bannon appeared under subpoena and said he would not have agreed to testify otherwise.

Posted by orrinj at 5:11 PM


Robert Randolph And The Family Band: Raucous Rock Meets The Gospel Tradition (CARINA GIAMERESE, 11/11/19, NPR: World Cafe)

Today we present Robert Randolph and the Family Band; led by Robert Randolph, the group brings raucous rock and roll energy to the gospel tradition of Sacred Steel. Brighter Days, the literal family band's 8th studio album, was released in August; the record sizzles with the group's signature fusion of blues, rock and gospel. Randolph's anointed pedal steel playing leads the charge in this joyous, uplifting set that brings the party to the dance floor.

Posted by orrinj at 4:56 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:42 PM


A Special Relationship: The British and the Americans--Lessons from the Colonial Period (Mark Kalthoff, Imprimis)

The American political tradition began with the Mayflower Compact. Upon landing at Cape Cod and realizing that they needed to establish a temporary self-government, the 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact (originally called the Plymouth Combination) pledged themselves together into "a civil body politic." Referencing the book The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition by Willmoore Kendall and George W. Carey, Kalthoff argued that the Pilgrims, who identified themselves as British subjects, meant to continue the task already begun in Britain of advancing the Christian faith. To do so, and to act in an orderly way, they took an oath and outlined the ways in which they would carry out the oath; namely, through "equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony." "The Mayflower Compact was another British influence in that it gave Americans the understanding that society precedes government, and that freedom has limits within the rule of law," Kalthoff said. "Within the freedom to self-govern are concomitant duties that involve civic participation and ongoing deliberation." [...]

The British and Americans had a shared understanding of the nature of political liberty. In Barry Alan Shain's book The Myth of American Individualism, he asserts that Colonial Americans understood self-government in terms of English political liberty: "English political liberty describes a political situation in which a majority of the people consent to the laws that would govern them, they are represented in the crafting of these laws, and when they break them they are tried by juries of their peers." English political liberty informed how the colonists lived and ruled. However, the colonists believed that their right to political representation was in the colonial assemblies, not the British parliament. "This stance, this different understanding of the nature and meaning of the British constitution, was ultimately what would sever that relationship that was so special because American liberties were British liberties at this time," Kalthoff said.

The Northwest Ordinance conserved the English inheritance of common law. The final achievement of the Confederation Congress was the creation of the Northwest Ordinance, which set up a constitution for settling U.S. territories north and west of the Ohio River. Comparable in significance to the English Magna Carta, it was a "conserving" law in that it preserved the English legal inheritance. It had American innovations, however; it outlawed slavery, and it guaranteed that every state would have a republican form of government. The Northwest Ordinance also spoke to the truths that the colonists had learned through their relationship with the British, such as providing for religious tolerance and outlining the primacy of education as necessary for "good government and the happiness of mankind." "In this organic piece of law of the United States, there is a fundamental connection between human happiness and civic flourishing and education," Kalthoff said. "The role of education is not merely to impart knowledge, but also to encourage religion and morality."

Posted by orrinj at 4:40 PM


The Moderately Indefensible Career of Rep. Peter King (JIM NEWELL, NOV 11, 2019, Slate)

When King took back the gavel to the Homeland Security Committee in 2011, one of his first priorities was to hold hearings on "radicalization" within American Muslim communities. Trust in King's ability to hold such a hearing with anything resembling neutrality was limited, given that this was the same congressman who had claimed in 2007 that there were "too many mosques in this country, too many people that are sympathetic to radical Islam" and had also said that 85 percent of American mosques were controlled by "extremist leadership." After Trump's election, King recommended to the president-elect that he establish a federal Muslim surveillance program similar to the shameful, disbanded one run by the New York Police Department following 9/11. (King was unyieldingly defensive of any and every thing that any police officer had ever done, and he once compared NFL players kneeling in protest of police abuse to giving Nazi salutes.)

King's maximalist approach to terrorism done by Muslims showed none of the nuance he applied in the 1980s to the Troubles. Before he was Longtime GOP Rep. Peter King, he was Long Island Irish Guy Peter King. In that capacity he was a vocal defender of the Irish Republican Army, serving up such spicy moral-relativist takes as: "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it." This history resurfaced in 2011 as King was prepping his Muslim radicalization hearings, and King defended himself by noting that the IRA's acts of terrorism were over there.

Posted by orrinj at 12:52 PM


Smotrich: Having Arabs in government defies Israel's Jewish, democratic nature (TAMAR PILEGGI , 11/11/19, Times of Israel)

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Monday reacted angrily to unconfirmed reports that Blue and White was working to form a minority coalition backed by the Joint List alliance of majority-Arab parties, whom he accused of being disloyal to the state.

In an interview with Army Radio, the hardline lawmaker said that most Israeli voters opposed creating a minority government that would be led by the centrist Blue and White and supported from the outside by the Joint List and the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu.

"Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, and having a minority government is neither of those things," Smotrich said.

By which he means having minorities in government.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump aides are reportedly worried about John Bolton's meeting notes (The Week, November 10, 2019)

Bolton was a "voracious note-taker," one person who attended several meetings with him told Axios, filling up page after page on a legal pad. On Friday, Bolton's lawyer, Chuck Cooper, sent a letter to the House of Representative's general counsel, stating that Bolton "was personally involved" in "many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed" during the impeachment inquiry.

Bolton, Axios' Jonathan Swan writes, "probably has more details than any impeachment inquiry witness, so far, about President Trump's machinations on Ukraine." 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Sessions Announces Run For Senate: Republicans Haven't Pushed Hard Enough To Advance Trump Agenda (Ian Schwartz,  November 7, 2019, RCP)

Sessions said Republicans in Senate have not pushed "hard enough" to advance the Trump agenda. 

They haven't pushed it at all: it's not Republican.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Donald Trump Jr. walks offstage after being heckled at book event -- by conservatives (The Week, 11/10/19)

The author of Triggered appears to have been triggered.

On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, went to the University of California Los Angeles for an event promoting his new book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. Trump Jr. actually silenced himself, as he refused to take questions from the audience, which led to conservatives heckling him until he finally just walked offstage after 20 minutes.