Tag Archives: Progressives

Political Divisions Between Conservatives, Liberals Have a Genetic Basis

I’ve said this many times:  Conservatives look backwards with fear, while Progressive/Liberals look forward with hope.

Now there seems to be scientific evidence to back up my observations.

All I can say is, if it is Genetic and they can’t help themselves, I will try to be more understanding and accepting….

To do so, all I ask is that they accept the same Genetic basis for homosexuality and be equally as understanding and accepting…

Seems fair to me….

I encourage you to click the link and read the entire article from The Huffington Post:

If you walk away from holiday dinners fuming that conservative Uncle Morton just can’t see your point of view, or that liberal Aunt Betty just doesn’t get it, a new finding may make it easier to cool your jets. According to the study, conservatives and liberals pay attention to their environments differently, meaning the two sides of the political spectrum quite literally don’t see eye-to-eye.

Conservatives pay more attention to negative stimuli compared with liberals, the study found.

“They’re essentially monitoring things that make them feel uncomfortable, which does feel fairly consistent with conservative policies, actually,” study researcher Mike Dodd, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, told LiveScience. “They tend to confront things head-on that they view as threats, things like immigration and so on.” [10 Significant Political Protests]

Dodd was quick to note that the kind of stimuli a person pays more attention to does not make them better or worse than someone of another political persuasion. But the findings could suggest a biological basis for political views.

“Based on your biology, you might be experiencing and processing something in a fundamentally different way from someone else,” Dodd said.

via Political Divisions Between Conservatives, Liberals Mirror Reactions To Negative Stimuli.


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The Evolution of One Southern Liberal or Some Thoughts on Martin Luther King Day

I’ve spent the day on planes traveling on a business trip, but I can’t let today go without commenting on Dr King’s day….

Airline travel is so exhausting, I’m taking the lazy way out and reposting a post from my other blog that I put up last year.

It’s still one of my favorites…


As we approach the Holiday recognizing the contributions of Dr. King, I always tend to think about where we were, where we are and where we have yet to go. To me, this is a day to stop and think. And remember.

As a Southerner of a certain age, I just can’t let this day pass without comment. I don’t see how anyone of my generation can.

I grew up in the South before integration and during the Civil Rights Movement. I’m not sure if I even spoke to a black person, other than our maid, before the schools were integrated when I was in the 5th grade. People seem to forget the South in the early 1960’s was like South Africa under apartheid. It was a very separate and scary place. Everyone–and I mean everyone– had their place and society tried to keep them in it.

I think the late, great Molly Ivins said it best. Molly once wrote: “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point — race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.”

That was certainly the case for me. Realizing the falsities of racism made it possible to question many things, including homophobia, and to grow into acceptance and happiness about who I am today. This realization made it possible to meet and get to know people who have made my life much richer than it would have been without them in it. It made me value the need to learn and explore ideas, people and places that many people I knew wanted to ignore or discount. It made me think and grow.

Dr King once said: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Well said. That was, and sometimes still is, our biggest danger.

But, thankfully, a lot of us asked questions. We still do. Some of us are still trying to learn and figure things out. We have come a long way but have a long way to go. That’s why it’s so vital we ask questions and don’t accept simple answers. That we get to know and talk to people who aren’t like us. We sometimes discover they really are like us. That leads to more questions…

Racism is still very much with us. Don’t ever think the Teabaggers aren’t about racism. They are. They just may not even be able to admit that to themselves. If they could ask questions, they would ask why they weren’t upset about George Bush taking us from a budget surplus to a horrendous deficit. Instead, they blame Obama…

You figure that one out.

I did.


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Ben & Jerry’s Backs Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Another reason to go out and buy some ice cream!

From HuffingtonPost.com:

The Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Board of Directors has announced their support for the Occupy Wall Street protests writing in a press release:

We, the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, compelled by our personal convictions and our Company’s mission and values, wish to express our deepest admiration to all of you who have initiated the non-violent Occupy Wall Street Movement and to those around the country who have joined in solidarity. The issues raised are of fundamental importance to all of us.

Founded in 1977 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s is known for taking social stands.

In the company’s press release, the Ben & Jerry’s team outlined past positions it has taken as a company such as “support for a Constitutional amendment that would limit corporate spending in elections” and “opposition to FDA approval of foods from cloned animals.”

The company is also known for its quirky ice cream flavors like Cake Batter and Phish Food ice cream. The newest addition, Schweddy Balls, was recently reviewed by The Huffington Post.

In 2000, Ben and Jerry’s was acquired by the consumer goods conglomerate Unilever. It is now a subsidiary of Unilever, which trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol UN.

In November 2010, the New York Times quoted the original founders who were no longer in charge and disheartened by the corporate takeover. Founder Ben Cohen was quoted as saying in a BBC 4 radio interview, “What we are learning is, if you are owned by a corporate that, despite whatever words they might say, does not share those values, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain those values.”

Nevertheless, the company has continued to carry take social stands such as this one in support of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

via Ben & Jerry’s Backs Occupy Wall Street Protesters.

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White House on Occupy Wall Street: `We understand’ – The Washington Post

The fact that the mainstream media is finally paying attention and that the White House is having to address this is a really, really big change….

This movement is getting too big to ignore- which is a very good thing!

I knew there was an Anit-Tea Party alternative out there and it looks like the sleeping giant has awakened….

From Greg Sargent in the Washington Post:

The story here is not what the White House said but that it was asked to weigh in on the protests at all — another sign of the remarkable speed with which it has grown from a crowd chanting at police two weeks ago. As for the substance of the White House response, it would have been a mistake for it to go any further than it did here — registering an understanding of economic frustration. Because if there’s one thing that’s growing clearer by the hour, it’s that this is an entirely organic effort, one that’s about nobody but the protesors themselves. In this sense, we’re seeing a replay of the Wisconsin protests. Those ended up falling just short of what activists had hoped to achieve, but their months-long showing was still important — it demonstrated that left wing populism is still alive and well and sent an important message about the mood of the country. The key was that it grew organically with little to no involvement from Beltway Dems and the White House.

If anything, Occupy Wall Street’s lack of outside encouragement from bigfoot Dems has been a strength, rather than a weakness. As major progressive groups debate how they can contribute to strengthening the movement — and how to give it specific direction and a specific agenda — the need to preserve its grassroots nature will remain paramount. Who knows where this will end up, but for now, this is another reminder that the Tea Party isn’t the only voice of popular discontentment over the economy. We don’t necessarily live in Tea Party Nation, after all.

More: White House on Occupy Wall Street: `We understand’ – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.

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Progressives Launching ‘October Offensive’ To Rival Tea Party?

This is starting to get interesting…..

Former White House adviser Van Jones says that progressives are going to launch an “October offensive” to rival the Tea Party, in the spirit of the Arab Spring protests across the Middle East.

“Everybody should hold onto their seats. October is going to be the turning point when it comes to the progressive fight back. You can see it coming,” Jones said this week on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell.

“When Warren Buffett comes out and says, look, we’ve got to do something to raise taxes and to do better by America, and you’ve got these young kids who are going out there on Wall Street,” Jones said, referring to the members of Occupy Wall Street, who have been camped out in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district for the past several weeks, “There’s a generation of Americans who are looking around and saying ‘What is the American Dream going to look like for me?’ They’re going to be standing up.”

“You are going to see an American Fall, an American Autumn, just like we saw the Arab Spring,” Jones continued. “You can see it right now with these young people on Wall Street. Hold onto your hats, we’re going to have an October offensive to take back the American dream and to rescue America’s middle class.”

MORE:   Van Jones Praises Occupy Wall Street, Says Progressives Launching ‘October Offensive’ To Rival Tea Party.

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Anthony Weiner Admits He Tweeted Lewd Photos, Will Not Resign

Personally, I think this is much ado about nothing…

Not a real bright move, but no big deal since this was between consenting adults…

I also think Anthony Weiner is an incredibly effective Progressive politician, with an unfortunate name, who is going to be drug through the mud over this…

The Right Wing wants him out of the fight and they’re going to do all they can to bring him down.

To me, this is an issue to be handled between him and his wife.  This is the type of foolishness that, in the good old days, would not even have been reported.  (Remember JFK, among others….)

He needs to take the heat for a while and ride this out…

Thank god, he a represents New York City district and they’ll probably shrug this off…

Remember, Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana broke the law by playing with hookers and he is still in office….

There are also two probable side effects to this:

1.  This will put an end to the Gay rumors and innuendoes about Congressman Wiener-which I always thought were wishful thinking.


2.  Sarah Palin is probably standing in front of a web cam right now taking topless shots and sending them to Glenn Beck to get the media back to paying attention to her….

From Talking Points Memo:

Anthony Weiner admitted to lying about a lewd photo he sent to a college student in Washington state, telling reporters at a press conference in New York that he concocted a phony hacking story in a panic after deleting the public message.

“Last Friday night i tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle,” he said, fighting back tears. “Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”

He added: “To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent this. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, friends, supporters and staff.”

As for his own future, Weiner pledged to remain in Congress, saying he had not broken any law to his knowledge. “I am not resigning,” Weiner said, telling reporters he would try to convince his constituents this was a “personal failing” and did not alter his record.

via Anthony Weiner Admits He Tweeted Lewd Photos, Will Not Resign | TPMDC.

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Daily Kos: Introducing the People’s Budget

Now, we’re talking…

This is the kind of budget I could really support!

From DailyKos:

One of the complaints the progressive blogosphere commonly levels against the Democratic leadership in DC is about negotiating strategy. Generally, the complaint is that the Democratic leadership in Congress and in the White House make opening bids that are already compromises, which results in final legislative deals skewing further to the right than necessary. Perhaps the most frequent specific example of this complaint is that Democrats in Congress should have started the health care debate by proposing a single-payer plan, and might have ended up with a public option in the final bill as a result.

Whether or not you agree with that complaint in either the general or the specific, if it is applied to the budget fight the Democratic leadership in DC should have started with The People’s Budget (PDF), which the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced today. It’s a budget that produces a surplus by 2021 without cutting services for the poor and middle-class. It thus provides a stark contrast with the recent proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan, and a left-flank to the principles outlined by President Obama.

Here’s a general overview of the People’s Budget:

Reduces unemployment—and thus the deficit—through extensive investment in infrastructure, clean energy, transportation and education;

Ends almost all the Bush tax cuts, creates new tax brackets for millionaires and enacting new fees on Wall Street;

Full American military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other reductions in military spending;

Ends subsidies for non-renewable energy;

Lowers health care costs by enacting a public option and negotiating Rx payments with pharmaceutical companies;

Raises the taxable maximum income for Social Security Withholding

via Daily Kos: Introducing the People’s Budget.

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Reclaiming the Politics of Freedom | The Nation

Another great article from The Nation…

The Conservatives really are PR geniuses.  They also have Street Smarts.

The Democrats have to look to history to frame their arguments in ways that have worked before.  This article has some good advice….

They also have to get over their fear of the GOP yelling “class warfare.”  The Class War is already on and the Middle Class is losing….

We must also change the argument about government. Government need not be a source of constraint, as conservatives claim. Nor is it designed to protect citizens from the vagaries of the market, as many liberals claim—a formulation that depicts citizens as needy and passive and opens liberals to the charge of paternalism and condescension. When government is aligned with democratic movements on the ground, as Walter Reuther and Martin Luther King Jr. understood, it becomes the individual’s instrument for liberating herself from her rulers in the private sphere, a way to break the back of private autocracy.

In forging his realignment, Roosevelt was careful to identify the enemy not as a political party but an economic aristocracy. Throughout the 1936 campaign, he barely mentioned Alf Landon. Instead, he denounced the Liberty League and the businessmen it represented. Realignments in America are like that: Jackson railed against the Bank; the Republicans ran against the slaveocracy; Reagan campaigned against the liberal elite. Part of this is strategic: it’s easier to peel away voters from the opposition if you can show that it is not their party you oppose but the interests it represents, which are not theirs. But part of it is substantive, reflecting a conviction that the task at hand is not simply to defeat a party or win an election but to free men and women from a malignant social form. If we hope to forge a comparable realignment, we must stop talking about the Tea Party or even the Republicans and start talking about the business class that stands behind them.

via Reclaiming the Politics of Freedom | The Nation.

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Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study | The Raw Story

Well, I always knew I never really thought like a Conservative and now I know why…

I’ve always analyzed and dissected complex issues instead of going for the easy solutions….

I question everything.  I always have…

Fear isn’t something I consciously use in my decision but it’s clear the GOP uses it to drive and fire up their Conservative base…

Fascinating article from Raw Story:


WASHINGTON — Everyone knows that liberals and conservatives butt heads when it comes to world views, but scientists have now shown that their brains are actually built differently.

Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology.

“We found that greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala,” the study said.

Other research has shown greater brain activity in those areas, according to which political views a person holds, but this is the first study to show a physical difference in size in the same regions.

“Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual’s political orientation,” said Ryota Kanai of the University College London, where the research took place.

“Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure.”

The study was based on 90 “healthy young adults” who reported their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative, then agreed to have their brains scanned.

People with a large amygdala are “more sensitive to disgust” and tend to “respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions,” the study said.

Liberals are linked to larger anterior cingulate cortexes, a region that “monitor(s) uncertainty and conflicts,” it said.

“Thus, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts, allowing them to accept more liberal views.”

It remains unclear whether the structural differences cause the divergence in political views, or are the effect of them.

But the central issue in determining political views appears to revolve around fear and how it affects a person.

“Our findings are consistent with the proposal that political orientation is associated with psychological processes for managing fear and uncertainty,” the study said.

via Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study | The Raw Story.

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ThinkProgress » Schumer’s Deficit Reduction Steps: Millionaires Tax, Prevent Corporate Tax Dodging, Cut Wasteful Subsidies

Of course this will fail…

It makes too much sense for Congress to pass it….


First, Schumer revived his proposal from last year to institute a surtax on millionaires and billionaires. “I must say I noted with interest that in last week’s Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, the most popular proposal to reduce the deficit — out of 23 options surveyed — was a surtax on millionaires and billionaires,” he said.

Schumer also promoted closing the tax gap by cracking down on tax dodging and income sheltering by big corporations. “There is much we can do in the tax code to crack down on cheaters and vastly improve compliance,” he said. “Any credible deficit plan should tackle the so-called ‘tax gap’ — the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid — which has gotten as high as over $300 billion a year this past decade.”

He also advocated cutting the wasteful subsidies that are handed out every year to industries, including the oil and gas industries, that don’t need them. Schumer expanded on these ideas in an interview today with ThinkProgress:

“All these kinds of subsidies should be on the table, but the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is oil and gas because the entire rationale for it is gone. It was passed, I think, when the price of oil was $17 a barrel, we had low production, and now of course, the price of oil is $100 a barrel. The subsidy, in economic terms, doesn’t mean anything other than to make some people wealthy who are already wealthy.”

via ThinkProgress » Schumer’s Deficit Reduction Steps: Millionaires Tax, Prevent Corporate Tax Dodging, Cut Wasteful Subsidies.

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