LEONARD PITTS: MOST BELIEVE WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE

“Maybe you already knew this intuitively. Now you can know it to a scientific certainty. Drew Westen … a professor of psychology at Emory University in Atlanta and author of a new and still-unpublished study test whether people make decisions based on bias or fact. Bias won hands down.

In a key scenario, respondents were led to believe a soldier was accused of torturing people at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The fictional soldier claimed to have been following orders from superiors who told him the Geneva Convention had been suspended. He supposedly wanted to subpoena President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to prove his case. Respondents were asked if he should have that right.

Some were presented with strong “evidence” corroborating the soldier’s story. Others had only his word to go on.

But the strength or weakness of the evidence turned out to be immaterial. Researchers were able to predict people’s opinion more than 80 percent of the time based simply on their opinions of the Bush administration, the GOP, the military and human rights groups. Those who had less affection for the president sided with the soldier even when the evidence was weak. And fans of the president tended to side with him even when the evidence was overwhelming.

We believe what we want, facts be damned.”

link

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The GOP machine understands this and that’s why they almost always win.

Warning – Avoid Crichton’s New Book, "State of Fear"!

Crichton casts environmentalists as villains:

The odious villains who kill, maim and terrorize in Michael Crichton’s new thriller are environmentalists, believers in global warming, proponents of the Kyoto Protocol. Their allies are the liberal media, trial lawyers, Hollywood celebrities, mainstream environmental groups (like the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society) and other blue-state apparatchiks.

[. . .] In Crichton’s ham-handed novel, the dangers of global warming are nothing but a lot of hype: scare scenarios, promoted by shameless environmentalists eager to use bad science to raise money and draw attention to their cause. The ludicrous plot revolves around efforts by radical members of an environmental group called NERF (National Environmental Resource Fund) to trigger a series of natural disasters, including a giant tsunami that would hit California with 60-foot waves. These disasters would be timed to coincide with the group’s big media conference, thereby awakening the public to the dangers of climate change wrought by global warming.

The radical leaders of the environmentalists — including the head of NERF, Nicholas Drake, an ascetic Ralph Nader type — are ruthless control freaks. Their followers are a bunch of bubbleheaded Hollywood types who drive sport utility vehicles while preaching the virtues of gasoline conservation.

[. . .] Half movie treatment, half ideological screed, “State of Fear” careens between action set pieces (car chases, shootouts and narrow escapes from grisly ends) and talky disquisitions full of technical language and cherry-picked facts meant to hammer home the author’s points. And Crichton does indeed have a message, as an afterword titled “Author’s Message” attests. “I blame environmental organizations every bit as much as developers and strip miners” for current failures in wilderness management, he writes.

Don’t give this guy any money. Don’t help this book make the charts.

Merry Little Christmas Now

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the yuletide gay

Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Will be near to us once more

Someday soon, we all will be together

If the fates allow

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow

So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Composed by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane in 1943.

[UPDATE: A comment motivated me to look harder for a complete online version of the original Judy Garland version. I found a fine take. It was recorded soon after the film for which it was written, Meet Me in St. Louis, became a big hit. So presumably the lyrics are accurate. I changed two words above to reflect the lyrics as sung.]

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Boycott The Right’s Funders!

Corporations are some of the core funders of the Republicans and the Right. They have paid no price for doing this while the rewards – removal of environmental, health and safety regulations, tax beaks, government subsidies, outright crony contacts – have been great. But there is a way to hold them accountable and make them pay a price for acting against the interests of the public-at-large.

The owner of the Curves fitness and weight-loss centers for women also funds the worst of the anti-women, anti-abortion right. When word got out about this, many women chose not to do business with them. Now a new campaign takes this to a national level bringing us a way to show corporations and their shareholders that there is a price to pay after all.

The “Buy Blue” and “Choose the Blue” campaigns offer us a way to work to convince corporations that there is a price to pay for meddling with democracy and funding the Right. These websites show which companies have been supporting the Republican Party. If you truly feel that the Republicans and the Right and their lies are bad for the country, you can hit back at some of their big-money supporters by learning who they are and taking your business elsewhere.

So spread the word, publicize this, encourage it. BUY BLUE and CHOOSE THE BLUE! Boycott the funders of the Right. MAKE THEM PAY A PRICE.

Over time this will show corporate boardrooms that there is a price for funding the Republican Party and the Right. Eventually shareholders will ask why tens and hundreds of millions of dollars are going to politics instead of into shareholder pockets.

(Burnt Orange Report was on the Curves story earlier this year.)