Instead of hosting planet-friendly dust, Proxima Centauri spews radiation. ... , an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institute who studies debris discs around other stars. " Our solar system has discs, we have the asteroid belt and Kuiper belt, which we think are leftover material from when our ...
As the so-called Arizona election audit continues, Republicans are starting to recognize how foolish they look as a party because of it, explained Washington Post reporter Phillip Bump.
At least one Republican, the Maricopa County Recorder, erupted at his own party while speaking to CNN Tuesday morning.
"It was one thing with the audit when they were looking at UV lights and looking for bamboo fibers in the paper," Stephen Richer said. "But when they just accused us too many times of breaking the law, they defamed our good employees too many times, they've defamed the hard-working people here. We're all humans, and we have our limits!"
Other Republicans took issue with the "bamboo" conspiracy theory that somehow "Asia" brought in 40,000 ballots to help President Joe Biden win. No bamboo was ever found in ballots, but they were convinced it was possible.
"It's time to say enough is enough," said Bill Gates, the vice chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and not affiliated in any way with Microsoft. "It is time to push back on the 'big lie.' We must do this. We must do this as a member of the Republican Party, we must do this as a member of the Board of Supervisors. We need to do this as a country."
Gates along with several other colleagues unleashed in a blunt letter that it's time for Arizona state Sen. Karen Fann (R) to admit that it's over.
At this point, even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has agreed that Biden is the 2020 winner and he's ready to move on.
"To be very clear, there is nothing unusually sloppy or unfounded about the Arizona audit," wrote Bump. "With no obvious exception, all of the allegations of fraud and malfeasance that have emerged since Trump lost six months ago have been equally shoddy and baseless. Each of them has been the product of an under-informed or obviously biased complainant — or, alternatively, has been numeric prestidigitation meant to imply fraud that never actually manifests in any other way."
He closed by explaining that the unusual part of this display is that it has happened through a formal process but based on absurd claims from President Donald Trump, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). The difference is that it's happening at a moment when no one is paying attention and much of the country has moved on. The audit activists are insisting that the Republican officials in place can't do their jobs properly and they're doing it without any form of evidence to justify the claim.
"There probably will never be a 'have you no sense of decency' moment for Trump's effort to argue that the election results were suspect," Bump closed. "But Republicans coming together to identify the flagship effort to undermine those results as biased and sloppy is at least a step in that direction."
More than 60 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower took a break from his busy schedule to answer a letter from a terminally ill World War II veteran. The ailing man, Robert Biggs, had respectfully criticized Eisenhower's recent speeches for projecting a sense of uncertainty, explaining that "we wait for someone to speak for us and back him completely if the statement is made in truth." The 34th president felt that people in democracies should be wary of needing to feel certain about important issues.
"I doubt that citizens like yourself could ever, under our democratic system, be provided with the universal degree of certainty, the confidence in their understanding of our problems, and the clear guidance from higher authority that you believe needed," Eisenhower argued to Biggs. "Such unity is not only logical but indeed indispensable in a successful military organization, but in a democracy debate is the breath of life."
While some debate whether bipartisanship is desirable, a recent study in the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America" (PNAS) reveals that Eisenhower may at least have been correct when he observed that people who feel a need for ideological certainty fuel political polarization. The scientists monitored and analyzed the brain activity of politically engaged people and found that, regardless of whether they were liberal or conservative, they shared at least one trait: If they had a strong aversion to feelings of uncertainty, they tended to become increasingly polarized in their ideology and perception of events.
The scientists recruited a few dozen participants, liberal and conservative alike, to watch video clips that included a nature documentary, a neutral news segment about a politically controversial subject and a segment from the 2016 vice presidential debate. Jeroen van Baar, PhD, a co-author of the study who is now a research associate at Trimbos, the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health & Addiction, explained to Salon that he and his colleagues noted that participants' brain activity looked different as they viewed "a polarizing video clip" from the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence in 2016.
"When participants watched a nature video," van Baar explained, "their brains looked the same."
What exactly does it mean when van Baar says brains "looked" the same or different? The scientists used a technique called "brain-to-brain synchrony."
"If you show two people a video while scanning their brain activity, this activity ramps up and down at different times, depending on how these people feel," van Baar explained. "The brains of people who have similar subjective experiences tend to 'tick together', i.e. show synchronized activity."
The opposite is also true — the brains of two people who have different subjective reactions to the same video will respond "quite differently," according to van Baar.
The scientists learned that people with similar political views had increased synchronization when watching politically charged — as opposed to neutral — content. (That's what van Baar calls the "same-lens effect" at work.) And the team found this synchronization to be increased among people who are also intolerant of uncertainty.
Study co-author Oriel FeldmanHall, an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University, told Salon that being intolerant of uncertainty is a personality trait that can have an effect on everything from a person's willingness to participate in risky behavior to their comfort when meeting new people — and it can exacerbate what FeldmanHall called "neural polarization."
"Two individuals who were intolerant to uncertainty exhibited a greater neural synchrony . . . when watching the same political content, regardless of whether they identify as a Democrat or Republican," FeldmanHall said. "To put it simply, intolerance to uncertainty led to more ideologically polarized brain responses."
The good news here, FeldmanHall explained, is that targeting the fear of uncertainty could help cross divides. That could help make political debate — democracy's "breath of life," as Eisenhower put it — more effective.
"There are lots of different things that one can do to reduce anxiety relating to uncertainty," FeldmanHall said. "And if you can harness these practices, effectively making yourself more comfortable with uncertainty, you are more likely to 'reach' the other side."
Van Baar elaborated on what this might look like.
"A solution would be for politicians—and anyone debating politics—to simplify, simplify, simplify," Van Baar told Salon. "Try to say what you mean in the most concrete and unambiguous terms you can come up with. You may still find that your opponent disagrees with you, but they might for the first time understand what you are trying to say. And mutual understanding may eventually grow trust between political factions."
This brings us back to Ike. The president probably did not intend to dismiss Biggs' concerns when he wrote that letter in 1959, but it appears that he may have wanted to listen to him more closely. Perhaps there is a case to be made for finding a middle ground — in politics and in life — between being overly-certain and not being reassuring enough.
House Democrats want accountability laid bare against Republican lawmakers who continue to indulge in election conspiracy theories and downplay the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection by introducing a measure to censure three far-right GOP members as Republican leadership knocks down a proposed bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.
The censure bill, proposed by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is focused on Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde, Paul Gosar, and Jody Hice, three key players alleged to have aided some organizing ahead of Jan. 6.
"These members cannot be allowed to rewrite history at their convenience by disrespecting the sacrifices made by Capitol police officers and downplaying the violent, destructive intent that rioters carried into this sacred building," Cicilline stated in a letter to fellow lawmakers. "The January 6th insurrection was an attack on our democracy that we must continue to defend against today," he added. As for the exact wording of the resolution slated to be introduced by Cicilline, that remains a work in process.
According to NBC News, the move from Cicilline comes following a hearing last Wednesday from the House Oversight Committee on the Jan. 6th siege where Rep. Clyde argued that the attack was "not an insurrection" but rather a "normal tourist visit."
"There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism," Clyde said at the hearing. "But let me be clear, there was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol, and walk through Statuary Hall, showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures, you know."
Rep. Andrew Clyde's (R-GA) comments today don't hold up well when played side-by-side with insurrection footage, so I made this.
the revisionist history being perpetuated by some Republicans to defend January 6th is disgusting pic.twitter.com/bWdXtU0b4F
— j.d. durkin (@jiveDurkey) May 12, 2021
Late on Monday night, an image from the day of the attack surfaced on social media, showing Clyde attempting to barricade the door to prevent pro-Trump vigilantes from entering. The GOP lawmaker was also seen in another photo screaming.
Andrew Clyde (@rep_clyde), the person screaming at the far left of this photo, is the person who recently likened the brutal, wildly out of control, deadly violent Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol to overthrow the will of the people, to a "normal tourist visit." pic.twitter.com/bs4twxu1lZ
— Bryan Smith (@bryrsmith) May 18, 2021
The Rep. Clyde news reminded me of this:
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., second from top left, helps barricade the House chamber door as rioters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021. pic.twitter.com/ewizgiuwLn
— Tom Williams (@pennstatetom) May 15, 2021
Reps. Clyde, Gosar, and Hice have all since the blowback from the siege attempted to purge the memory of the event from the nation's memory. "It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others," Hice claimed not too long ago. Far-right Rep. Gosar, who enjoys hanging out with white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, claimed that police officers were "harassing peaceful patriots" that day.
Gosar's office didn't immediately respond to a Salon request for comment.
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