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The Future of False Conciousness

False Consciousness Fox News Trump Brexit Tax Policy Health Care Reform Global Warming Denial Media Class

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#21
caltrek

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Trump’s Lies vs. Obama’s

 

https://www.nytimes....o-is-worse.html

 

 

Introduction:

 

(New York Times Opinion) After we published a list of President Trump’s lies this summer, we heard a common response from his supporters. They said, in effect: Yes, but if you made a similar list for previous presidents, it would be just as bad.

 

We’ve set out to make that list. Here, you will find our attempt at a comprehensive catalog of the falsehoods that Barack Obama told while he was president. (We also discuss George W. Bush below, although the lack of real-time fact-checking during his presidency made a comprehensive list impossible.)

 

We applied the same conservative standard to Obama and Trump, counting only demonstrably and substantially false statements. The result: Trump is unlike any other modern president. He seems virtually indifferent to reality, often saying whatever helps him make the case he’s trying to make.

 

In his first 10 months in office, he has told 103 separate untruths, many of them repeatedly. Obama told 18 over his entire eight-year tenure. That’s an average of about two a year for Obama and about 124 a year for Trump.

 

Separately, we have updated our earlier list of Trump's lies, which also includes repeated falsehoods. This article counts only distinct falsehoods for both Trump and Obama.

ledechart-Artboard_6.png

 

In his first 10 months, Trump told nearly

six times as many falsehoods as Obama

did during his entire presidency


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#22
caltrek

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Surprise, surprise.

 

Trump Supporters Are Far More Likely to Read and Share 'Fake News' Online: Report

 

https://www.alternet...s-online-report

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) While President Donald Trump famously complains about “fake news,” a new study shows his followers are far more likely to read and share phony and misleading stories online.

 

Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College, Andrew Guess of Princeton University and Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter embarked on a study analyzing internet traffic gathered from 2,525 Americans.

 

Behavior scientists have been researching the spread of fake news and what people actually remember about what they read from fake news sites. According to the New York Times, this new study offers the first hard data on those who view and spread fake news.

 

The study's first major data point was that fake news sites have an extremely limited reach. At least one in four Americans has seen at least one news story that is false, but conservatives and supporters of President Trump are the largest consumers. “On 289 such sites, about 80 percent of bogus articles supported Trump,” the Times quoted the study. In fact, the far-right—approximately 10 percent of the sample—made up roughly 65 percent of visits to sites that published more than two stories that were false. Trump supporters were three times more likely to read such sites as supporters of Hillary Clinton.

 

Trump supporters read on average five false stories over the course of five weeks. Clinton supporters read just one false story over five weeks.

The irony is that this will undoubtedly be discarded as an example of fake news by Trump supporters.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#23
caltrek

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One of the factors in protecting a vibrant democracy is the free press.  As the article cited bleow indicates, capitalism is now in the process of undermining such a free press.  Especially in its "private equity" form.

 

 

Saving the Free Press From Private Equity

 

http://prospect.org/...-private-equity

 

Introduction:

 

(The American Prospect) There is a standard story about the death of newspapers. After decades of enjoying easy profits from print ad income, publishers were blindsided by the internet revolution. Free information on the web cut into their core audience, especially among the young. The expenses of paper, printing, and delivery—“trucks and trees”—made them increasingly uncompetitive in a digital age. Publishers were slow to adjust. By the time owners figured out how to monetize web content, Google and Facebook had gotten there first, and were taking an estimated 80 percent of digital ad revenues. The crash of 2008 only hastened the decline.

 

A few national newspapers with unique franchises—The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post—have begun to figure out the digital transition, using paywalls, new digital content, and complementary business strategies to realize income from other sources. They will survive, even thrive.

 

But the real tragedy for the civic commons is occurring at the level of regional papers. Local dailies and weeklies are in a slow death spiral. They missed the digital rendezvous. Operating losses cause owners to lay off staff and shrink content, further depressing readership and ad income, leaving little to reinvest in digital. Local web-only media are feisty in a few places, but no substitute for a robust newspaper, whether print, web, or a blend.

 

This story is all too true as far as it goes. But it leaves out one major player: the private equity industry. Private equity has been gobbling up newspapers across the country and systematically squeezing the life out of them to produce windfall profits, while the papers last. The cost to democracy is incalculable. Robust civic life depends on good local newspapers. Without the informed dialogue that a newspaper enables, the public business is the private province of the local commercial elite, voters are uninformed, and elected officials are unaccountable.

shutterstock_713167846_banner.jpeg?itok=


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#24
caltrek

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So, here is some good news related to this topic:

 

 

The public mostly trusts science. So why are scientists worried?

 

Introduction:

 

(Science) Some scientists might be surprised by piece of good news buried in Science and Engineering Indicators, a massive report released by the U.S. National Science Board last month. Overwhelmingly, surveys showed, Americans think that science is a good thing. Since 1979, surveys have shown that roughly 7 in 10 Americans believe the effects of scientific research are more positive than negative for society. Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which publishes Science,  communications expert John Besley of Michigan State University in East Lansing, talked to attendees about why trust in science remains high—and why so many scientists think otherwise.  

 

Besley chatted with Science about his take-home points from the session. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

 

Q: What’s the most important lesson for scientists?

I think scientists need to recognize how much confidence most Americans have in our community. If we keep emphasizing this idea of a decline in trust, we communicate from this sort of defensive position. Instead, I think we should recognize how lucky we are that we get to explore some interesting things, and we should be excited about sharing it with people who might be interested.  

 

Q: Why do you think that the scientific community sometimes uses “defensive rhetoric”?

I think it’s normal to be worried about how others view us, and I think we’re often very attuned to negative voices. It’s possible to forget that the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the most important or common. 

 

 

35468227591_6779ff8305_o.jpg?itok=_hW9pf

Demonstrators at the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#25
Yuli Ban

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I agree. Scientists are worried because the public trusts pop science, which is different from true science. Most of the public is scientifically illiterate, so the news and pop-sci blogs have to dumb it down for them. Problem is, dumbing it down to be digestible actually causes a lot of the science to become flat-out wrong since those little bits of jargon are part of understanding how it works. Most infamously: quantum computers. If you asked any average person how a quantum computer works, you'll hear "it can compute 0 and 1 at the same time."  But that's not quite how it works, and the difference between how it works and how the public think it works is like the difference between ENIAC and TaihuLight.

A good comic explaining it:

Spoiler

 

But most people don't understand that, so they only get a rough approximation of what one is. Just like how most people only get a rough simplified explanation for how climate change works, causing them to think it's much simpler than it really is and lead to things like "Miami was supposed to be underwater 20 years ago!" when no one reputable claimed that was ever going to happen before the 2050s but a few extremists did and the media ran with it. Just like how no one reputable (or in large numbers) claims that climate change will destroy the world in the 2020s or 2030s, but a few very loud alarmists have their voices heard first so you get that feedback loop which leads to skepticism and denialism when it doesn't happen. It's also how you get astrophysicists brought on to talk about artificial general intelligence and bioengineering, when those three fields are nothing alike and involve wholly different expertises. Because to the public, "scientist" means "scientist", the individual fields be damned.

 

 

To put that into an equivalence, that would be like if you got a marine biologist specializing in cetaceans to give a detailed talk about your children's health and why he or she should be vaccinated because "they both involve health and biology". Or if you got a businessman to be president because "they both run stuff with money so it's the same thing."


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#26
caltrek

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Trump’s Great American Whitewash

 

http://prospect.org/...rican-whitewash

 

 

Introduction:

 

(American Prospect) With Donald Trump becoming in spectacular short order our most racist modern president, it must be asked: What are white people getting out of him? I know he does not speak for all white people: One in three voted for Hillary Clinton and millions of white Americans opposed his presidency and policies in 2017, as people marched to support women, science, climate, and immigrants, to name a few Trump targets. After giving 52 percent of their votes to Trump, it is a hopeful sign that white women have taken a decisively dim view of him, with a 37 percent approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

 

But the majority of white men remain undisturbed by comments that get more applause from Klansmen and American Nazis than anyone else. After Trump’s recent “shithole” assault on Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador, 51 percent of white men told the Quinnipiac poll that the statement was not racist, compared with just 43 percent who said it was racist. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll also taken after the latest vulgarities found that while 45 percent of white people think Trump is biased against black people, 49 percent said that he is not.

 

Why do Trump's racist messages have so much appeal? Trump delivers—loudly—what the Republicans have long promised in code. He offers up bonus time for white privilege in a changing America by tilting the Supreme Court in a conservative direction, in order to keep chipping away at equal protections in education, voting, and jobs. He has unleashed bloodhound Jeff Sessions on the Justice Department to hunt down reverse discrimination against white folks and stand down on police brutality against black people.

But Trump’s and the Republican Party’s traditional promises of lower taxes and less taxing government oversight can no longer hide the cost to white people themselves. As Trump continues to scapegoat black and brown developing nations, America has become the doo-doo hole of the developed world.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#27
caltrek

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Hewlett Pledges $10M to Study Social Media and “Fake News”

 

https://nonprofitqua...edia-fake-news/

 

Introduction:

 

Following a relatively brief period of euphoria about the possibility that social media might usher in a golden age of global democratization, there is now widespread concern in many segments of society—including the media, scholars, the philanthropic community, civil society, and even politicians themselves—that social media may instead be undermining democracy (Tucker et al. 2017). This fear extends not just to new or unstable democracies, which are often prone to democratic backsliding, but also to some of the world’s most venerable and established democracies, including the United States. Indeed, in little more than half a decade, we have gone from the Journal of Democracy featuring a seminal article on social media entitled “Liberation Technology” (Diamond 2010) to the same journal publishing a piece as part of a forum on the 2016 U.S. elections titled “Can Democracy Survive the Internet?” (Persily 2017).

—From Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature.

 

Neiman Lab reports that the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will be taking on the “fake news” problem in its own way with a set of a few large grants that fund efforts to look at the role that social media platforms play in the spread of disinformation.

 

“The Hewlett Foundation’s efforts have been focused on improving the performance of democratic institutions, especially Congress. Meanwhile, a ceaseless stream of misinformation is eroding trust in those institutions and eating away at the very idea of our shared political community,” said Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer. “Progress in repairing institutions will not matter if citizens are misinformed about what has been done, misled about why, and deceived about whether democracy can work at all.”


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#28
caltrek

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Why Are Major Newspapers and Magazines Hiring So Many Right-Wing Cranks?

 

https://www.alternet...ght-wing-cranks

 

Conclusion:

 

At the National Review, where you can...encounter the fatuous Jonah Goldberg or the perpetually morally panicked David French, he is very nearly reasonable, even if he still appears slightly mad to those of us outside of the asylum. He’s merely a tedious crank. But a lot of tedious cranks seem to be popping up in the upper echelons of opinion journalism these days, and it does well to ask why.

 

The editors and publishers will tell you that it is so that their overwhelmingly liberal audiences may be exposed to new ideas, as if readers of the Atlantic are unaware that conservatives think affirmative action is bad and subscribers to the New York Times don’t know that there are people who pretend to think that climate change is phony. And if you are the sort of person who complains about these hires online, someone will surely pop into your Twitter mentions to remind you that the outrage machine drives lots of clicks and page views.

 

The truth, though, is that these columnists are all hired as part of a project of desperate make-believe, in which it is possible to imagine that Donald Trump and our present politics really are a singular event, a historic deviation. In their fantasy, there remain two broadly similar and functional political parties whose respective ideologies meet in a nebulous but desirable middle, wherein reasonable men and their reasonable institutions can yet function as they ever have. It’s a fairly rosy portrayal of American political history to begin with, but there was at least a sense that it was superficially, if only superficially, true. This genteel fiction permits the mandarins of respectable media to indulge the most preposterous fiction of them all, which is that the modern conservative movement in America isn't absolutely and irredeemably deranged.

 

This is not to overcredit a deeply compromised and corrupt American liberalism, especially in the form of a Democratic Party that more often than not resembles a finishing school for communications professionals and future Wall Street placeholders. But only if we pretend that a tiny cadre of idiosyncratic urban conservatives are in some way representative of even a plurality of conservative thought in this country can we imagine that at a root level, this all amounts to differing attitudes about market incentives and land use policies—that it was ever about any of that to begin with. If that is not the case, then it throws into stark relief the broader identities of these publications as largely neutral arbitrators of a national conversation, and that might mean they’d face some moral obligation to pick a side.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#29
caltrek

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How Do You Identify Fake News?

 

https://www.propubli...ntify-fake-news

 

Introduction:

 

(ProPublica) At the beginning of the year, we asked ProPublica Illinois readers what they wanted to know about how we do our work. Thoughtful, challenging questions have been rolling in ever since, and we’ve been answering them in an occasional series of columns. ProPublica Illinois web producer Vignesh Ramachandran answers an inquiry about spotting false news.

 

"Can someone please publish an article explaining how to identify fake news? — Rachel Lietz"

 

Remember when 318 people were shot in Chicago on Halloween 2015 and former President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city? Or when Hillary Clinton ran a child sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor? Or when first lady Melania Trump used a body double in public appearances?

 

All these events received news coverage. All were fake.

 

It’s troubling how much traction false news can get. Like when major news sources splashed headlines over the Trump administration’s claims that Chicago’s gun violence was occurring in a “city with the strongest gun laws in our country.” Not true, either. Local media have countered that claim timeand again. The nonpartisan political fact-checker PolitiFact called President Donald Trump’s comments about this “Pants on Fire!” the worst rating on its Truth-O-Meter.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#30
rennerpetey

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https://www.ted.com/...ar_talks_of_all

He High-Fives Al Gore lol



#31
caltrek

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That is right conservatives.  We actually and truly do think that you are nuts.

 

A Psychologist Explains the Thinking Error at the Root of Science Denial

 

https://www.alternet...-science-denial

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) Currently, there are three important issues on which there is scientific consensus but controversy among laypeople: climate change, biological evolution and childhood vaccination. On all three issues, prominentmembers of the Trump administration, including the president, have lined up against the conclusions of research.

 

This widespread rejection of scientific findings presents a perplexing puzzle to those of us who value an evidence-based approach to knowledge and policy.

 

Yet many science deniers do cite empirical evidence. The problem is that they do so in invalid, misleading ways. Psychological research illuminates these ways.

No shades of gray.

 

As a psychotherapist, I see a striking parallel between a type of thinking involved in many mental health disturbances and the reasoning behind science denial. As I explain in my book “Psychotherapeutic Diagrams,” dichotomous thinking, also called black-and-white and all-or-none thinking, is a factor in depression, anxiety, aggression and, especially, borderline personality disorder.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#32
caltrek

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Republican Insider Explains How Religion Destroyed the GOP

 

https://www.alternet...n-destroyed-gop

 

 

Introduction:

 

 

(Alternet) Having observed politics up close and personal for most of my adult lifetime, I have come to the conclusion that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism may have been the key ingredient in the transformation of the Republican Party. Politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes—at least in the minds of its followers—all three of the GOP’s main tenets: wealth worship, war worship, and the permanent culture war.                                                       

 

Edit: There was also a story in the  edition of The Nation that is highly interesting in regards to this theme:

 

 

https://www.thenatio...r-donald-trump/ 


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#33
starspawn0

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I think the recent obsession about "political correctness" and "free speech" is a clue about what's going on.  Part of the message seems to be to not care about insults and falsehoods; they're just words -- let them speak, and don't react.  This desensitizes people, and they become tolerant of odious lies in public discourse -- "They're just words.  I'm sure it'll all get resolved behind the scenes, in private.  Nothing bad will happen.  Just those SJWs worrying about nothing again."


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#34
caltrek

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How Christian 'News' Media Shaped American Politics

 

https://www.alternet...erican-politics

 

Extract:

 

(Alternet) For Americans growing up between the 1950s and the 1980s, religion was not a regular presence on television. Aside from Sunday morning shows or occasional commercials, religious programming issued end-time warnings, sought monetary contributions, or staged faith healings. But it did not cover news.

 

Today is different, however. Not only are there entire networks devoted to religious broadcasting, but also Christian television has moved directly into covering news and politics, reaching millions of Americans daily with a conservative perspective on current events.

 

As a scholar of religion and politics in America, I believe it is important to understand the impact of the medium at this point of time as well as how it came to have such influence.

 

…since the late 1970s, largely fundamentalist Protestant organizations like the Moral Majority took to popularizing Christian conservatism. These organizations rallied national support to influence politicians to oppose abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment, among other causes.

 

…around the same time, beginning with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, conservative politicians started to harness evangelicals as a voting bloc. As a result, many of these politicians began paying closer attention to Christian media for indications of this bloc’s concerns. This gave Christian media further influence in the political world.

cbn_700club_pot_150302a-800x430.jpg?itok

Pat Robertson


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#35
caltrek

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Authoritarians, Plutocrats and the Fight for Racial Justice

 

https://www.counterp...racial-justice/

 

Introduction:

 

(Counterpunch) On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump routinely lashed out at protesters brazen enough to disrupt his choreographed rallies. In Birmingham, Alabama, he shouted, “Get him out of here. Throw him out!” The next day he added, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” In Burlington, Vermont, Trump ordered his security personnel to “Throw them out into the cold…Don’t give them their coats. No coats! Confiscate their coats.” In Las Vegas, Nevada, he told the crowd, “I’d like to punch him in the face” and reminisced about earlier days when demonstrators would be “carried out on stretchers.”

 

Trump’s belligerent stance toward dissent provides context for the National Football League’s decision last week: players on the field will now be required to stand during the national anthem. In adopting this restrictive policy, billionaire owners of professional sports franchises have chosen to serve as Trump’s newest security guards, responsible for keeping all reminders of today’s racial injustice and police brutality as far from the fifty-yard-line as possible. Not surprisingly, Trump was quick to publicly endorse the change: “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

 

Such pronouncements from the most powerful person in the world are jaw-dropping. Yet Trump’s strongman antics haven’t actually changed very much from his days inflaming the crowds —“Lock her up! Lock her up!”—in Birmingham, Burlington, Las Vegas, and beyond. What is different now, however, is that President Trump sees the entire country—over three-hundred million strong—as his own gigantic arena. Those who share his intolerant, racist, and plutocratic agenda are always welcome to participate in his round-the-clock “Make America Great Again” soapbox performances. For anyone else, the gates are closed. The alternatives he offers range from disregard to demonization to deportation.

 

Regrettably, Trump’s divisive language and outlandish policy prescriptions resonate well with the many Americans who give undue and uncritical support to those in positions of power. Excessive deference makes us surprisingly easy targets for manipulative appeals designed to stoke our fear, distrust, and contempt of others who are “different.”

29662314000_b862b5ef94_k.jpg

Photo by Tyler Merbler | CC BY 2.0


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#36
caltrek

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Republican Party Has Turned Into A Cult Under Trump, Expert Says

 

http://samuel-warde....mp-expert-says/

 

Introduction:

 

(Liberals Unite) Cult scholar Dr. Janja Lalich is the founder and director of the Center for Research on Influence and Control, and in an interview with Pacific Standard, she pointed out that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “touched on something important” when he said the Republican Party under Donald Trump was “becoming a cultish thing.”

 

Dr. Lalich told Pacific Standard, “I think there are plenty of similarities—enough to be concerned about.”

 

She said, “The people around Trump, and the Republicans in Washington, absolutely kowtow to him, either out of fear they’re going to anger him or out of adulation. That behavior is very typical of a cult.”

 

Dr. Lalich is a professor emerita of sociology at California State University–Chico. She’s written or co-authored a series of books about the cults and has identified four characteristics of “totalistic” cults: They “espouse an all-encompassing belief system,” they “exhibit excessive devotion to the leader,” they “avoid criticism of the group and its leader,” and they “feel disdain for non-members.”

 

PS writer Tom Jacobs observed those characteristics are “unnervingly similar” to Trump’s GOP, and Dr. Lalich agreed.

zzzxxccvcv-750x417.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#37
caltrek

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Place Your Bets Creep Takes and The Mid-Terms

 

https://thebulletin....d-midterms11933

 

Introduction:

 

(Bulletin of Atomic Scientists) Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous 1980 wager between population scientist Paul Ehrlich and business professor Julian Simon. Ehrlich wagered that, due to population pressures, a basket of five metals would increase in price over the subsequent 10 years. Simon bet that, due to countervailing market forces, prices would stay level or go down. They went down—by 50 percent. Ehrlich looked a little silly.

 

Today, researchers into artificial intelligence and its social impacts are betting on the following proposition: By the end of this year, a “deep fake” video about a political candidate will receive more than 2 million views before it gets debunked. As reported by Jeremy Hsu of IEEE Spectrum, the betters include Tim Hwang, director of an AI-related initiative at Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center, and Michael Horowitz, associate director of Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania (and also a Bulletin columnist). At stake are cocktails. People betting “yes” on the proposition stand to win Manhattans. The “no” folks stand to win tropical concoctions of some kind. (If the wager were structured rationally, of course, the losers would have to drink tropical concoctions while the winners would avoid that fate.)

 

In case you’re unfamiliar with deep fakes, they are AI-manipulated videos that show people doing or saying things that they never did or said.

tropical%20drinks%202.jpeg?itok=ge_O8hns


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#38
caltrek

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How the Right Wing Convinces Itself That Liberals Are Evil

 

https://www.alternet...berals-are-evil

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) If you spend any time consuming right-wing media in America, you quickly learn the following: Liberals are responsible for racism, slavery, and the Ku Klux Klan. They admire Mussolini and Hitler, and modern liberalism is little different from fascism or, even worse, communism. The mainstream media and academia cannot be trusted because of the pervasive, totalitarian nature of liberal culture. 

 

This belief in a broad liberal conspiracy is standard in the highest echelons of the conservative establishment and right-wing media. The Russia investigation is dismissed, from the president on down, as a politicized witch hunt. George Soros supposedly paid $300 to each participant in the “March for Our Lives” in March. (Disclosure: I marched that day, and I’m still awaiting my check.) What is less well appreciated by liberals is that the language of conspiracy is often used to justify similar behavior on the right. The Russia investigation is not just a witch hunt, it’s the product of the real scandal, which is Hillary-Russia-Obama-FBI collusion, so we must investigate that. Soros funds paid campus protestors, so Turning Point USA needs millions of dollars from Republican donors to win university elections. The liberal academic establishment prevents conservative voices from getting plum faculty jobs, so the Koch Foundation needs to give millions of dollars to universities with strings very much attached.

 

This did not begin with Donald Trump. The modern Republican Party may be particularly apt to push conspiracy theories to rationalize its complicity with a staggeringly corrupt administration, but this is an extension of, not a break from, a much longer history. Since its very beginning, in the 1950s, members of the modern conservative movement have justified bad behavior by convincing themselves that the other side is worse. One of the binding agents holding the conservative coalition together over the course of the past half century has been an opposition to liberalism, socialism, and global communism built on the suspicion, sometimes made explicit, that there’s no real difference among them.

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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


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A Neuroscientist Explains How Trump Supporters Are Easily Hoodwinked Because of This One Psychological Problem

 

https://www.alternet...logical-problem

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) In the past, some prominent psychologists have explained President Donald Trump’s unwavering support by alluding to a well-established psychological phenomenon known as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” The effect is a type of cognitive bias, where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. Or, stated more harshly, they are “too dumb to know they are dumb.” This simple but loopy concept has been demonstrated dozens of times in well-controlled psychology studies and in a variety of contexts. However, until now, the effect had not been studied in one of the most obvious and important realms—political knowledge.

 

new study published in the journal Political Psychology, carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, not only found that the Dunning-Kruger effect applies to politics, it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are made more salient. In other words, those who score low on political knowledge tend to overestimate their expertise even more when greater emphasis is placed on political affiliation.

 

Anson told PsyPost that he became increasingly interested in the effect after other academics were discussing its potential role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on social media. “I follow a number of political scientists who marveled at the social media pundit class’ seeming display of ‘Dunning-Kruger-ish tendencies’ in their bombastic coverage of the election.” However, speculation by scientists does not always translate into statistically-significant findings, so Anson began thinking of ways to experimentally test what he described as a “very serious accusation.”

 

In order to have a large representative sample of subjects, Dr. Anson administered online surveys to over 2,600 Americans. The first survey was designed to assess political knowledge, while the second was used to examine how confident they were in their knowledge. Questions quizzed participants on topics like names of cabinet members, the length of term limits for members of Congress, and the names of programs that the U.S. government spends the least on.

 

As predicted, the results showed that those who scored low on political knowledge were also the ones who overestimated their level of knowledge.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


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Evangelical Christians Try to Defend Their Support of ‘Sinner Trump’ in Stunning Interviews: 'We Rationalize the Immoral Things Away'

 

https://www.alternet...-we-rationalize

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) In a deep dive into how Evangelical Christians are able to reconcile their deeply held beliefs with their support for President Donald Trump, the Washington Post discovered a considerable amount of compromise along with a belief that he may be part of God’s plan despite his un-Christian life.

 

As the Post reports, “It was summer, and all over the Bible Belt, support for President Trump was rising among voters who had traditionally proclaimed the importance of Christian character in leaders and warned of the slippery slope of moral compromise. In Crenshaw County, where Luverne is located, Trump had won 72 percent of the vote.”

 

“Recent national polls showed the president’s approval among white evangelical Christians at a high of 77 percent,” the report added. “One survey indicated that his support among Southern Baptists was even higher, surpassing 80 percent, and these were the people arriving on Sunday morning to hear what their pastor had to say.”

 

Interviews with Christian congregants in the Alabama community revealed a stubbornness to attack Trump for his faults, with one member of the First Baptist church remarking Trump is God’s chosen one. According to Jewell Killough, 82, “Oh, I feel like the Lord heard our prayers and gave us a second chance before the end times,” The retiree went on to defend the President from the slings and arrows of  national reportage on his missteps and history of womanizing, saying, “I think they are trying to frame him.” According to Brett Green, 33, he was directed to vote for Trump by the “Holy Spirit.” “That’s why we have the Holy Spirit,” Green explained. Saying his support of the president is “like a gut feeling” despite Trump’s failings. Green went so far as to defend Trump’s Un-Christain comments about taking strangers in, referring to when the president reportedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries coming here?”

 

“Jesus Christ was born in Nazareth, and Nazareth was a shithole at that time,” Green rationalized. “Someone might say, ‘How could anything good come out of a place like that?’ Well, Jesus came out of a place like that.”


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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