America’s Fear-Center is Hooked on Fox. It’s Time For an Intervention.

America’s Fear-Center is Hooked on Fox. It’s Time For an Intervention.

Hey there… American Amygdala?

We need to talk.

American Amygdala

Whoa, whoa, whoa, take it easy, big guy! It’s just me. Put down that freaking gun, will ya?

THAT was close. Good thing you opened fire on your own shadow and missed me entirely.

And, uh, looks like you shot some of your other guns. You should think about locking them up for their own protection.

I know I shouldn’t have barged into your bunker without knocking, but this is important.

Could you turn down the racket, for Pete’s sake?… I can’t hear myself think. That’s better.

You had O’Reilly and Limbaugh on at the same time? You’re not helping yourself.

Listen. I know you’re the fear-center and it’s your job to respond to threats but things are getting way out of hand.

No, I wasn’t sent by Obama’s gun-confiscation unit. No, this isn’t a false flag.

This is exactly what I’m talking about; you’re getting paranoid. You’re responding to dangers that don’t exist. Not everything is a threat or a conspiracy.

Look at yourself. Have you been on the roids again?… Cause you look like a twitchy freak-a-zoid.

Oh, you always feel pumped after eight consecutive hours of Fox and Limbaugh? Really gets the rage-juices flowing, huh?

There’s your problem, Amygdala.

All that fear and anger you’re hopped-up on have highjacked America’s mind. We’re running on, like, 90% fear to 10% thinking brain. And mostly you’ve got us thinking about how scared and pissed off we are.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Did you know that intense feelings of threat in the Amygdala, the brain’s fear-center, can actually cause the Neo-Cortex, the rational brain, to shut down?

That’s why you’re so aroused when Sean Hannity says stuff like,“I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens.”

And why you go all 5 alarm nut-job when Fox has an alleged “terrorism expert” on to say, “There are many, many jihadists… who can be mobilized on a moment’s notice… The problem is exacerbated by the fact that we have an administration that’s in bed with these radical Islamic groups…

Remember last year when you hulked out because Obama was going to kill us all with Ebola terrorists?

Well, I do. I believe you ended our discussion on the matter by calling me a libtard.

You’d been listening to a lot of Michael Savage who said Obama was bringing disease to America on purpose. Savage, actually, and on purpose, spat this into a live mic:

Obama wants equality and he wants fairness and it’s only fair that America have a nice epidemic or two or three or four in order to really feel what it’s like to be in the Third World. You have to look at it from the point of view of a leftist.”

Scary! If totally insane. Have you noticed that the federal government’s response to the relatively minor American Ebola outbreak completely worked to stop the disease’s spread? And with U.S. assistance, its being controlled in Africa, too? And there hasn’t been another case in the US since?

Please stop humming. And take your fingers out of your ears.

Demagoguing and sensationalizing instead of educating and informing on important issues makes the Lizard Brain stronger at the expense of the part of the brain where rationality and higher moral reasoning happen.

Yeah, you’re the Lizard Brain. No offense.

Oh, you like being in control over that nerdy Neo-Cortex, do you?

Well, you know that old Star Trek episode where the transporter malfunctions and Kirk gets split into two Kirks? One is the mindless, aggressive side and the other is the overthinking, sensitive side? And after Spock and McCoy have their usual tiff, Kirk’s two sides have to be brought back together or they’ll both die?

No, not the one where Kirk fights the cool Lizard-man. That was “The Arena.” This one was called “The Enemy Within.” Nice Kirk vs. violent Kirk.

At first it seems like violent Kirk will win but the power that nice Kirk has is he can hold on to his reason, while violent Kirk succumbs to fear.


I know it’s a corny premise. But it makes a good point. We can’t live out of balance.

Why do I think you’re out of balance?

I just showed you a picture of a three year old Syrian refugee and you shrieked.

Yes, that was you; there’s no little girl in here.

Put down the gun.

It’s ok, the first step is realizing you have a problem.

Now, why don’t we step out of the Bunker for a while, get some fresh air and sunshine, and calmly talk some things over together.

Sure, I’ll hold your hand.

What are you doing for Carl Sagan Day this year?

What are you doing for Carl Sagan Day this year?

At HearYourselfThink, we’re doing a science book drive for kids for Carl Sagan Day 2015!

You can be a part of it by sending your new or very gently used science-themed children’s books to:

The Hear Yourself Think Project
PO Box 116
Ambridge, PA 15003

Or order your books online and have them sent to us. Here are some sites I found that have a good selection of quality books.

Books will be distributed by us in the community on Novemeber 7th at pop-up locations where we will spread the good word about Sagan Day (which is November 9th) and allow kids to pick their own books. Any books remaining or ones that arrive after the 7th will be donated to Reading is FUNdamental in Pittsburgh.

Carl Sagan

One of the greatest gifts adults can give — to their offspring and to their society — is to read to children.

Carl Sagan

RIF not only allows kids in need to select books of their very own but has teams of dedicated volunteers who read to children in their communities.

We think an important way to honor the life and legacy of Carl Sagan is to make sure that children are exposed to plenty of books that will spark their curiosity about the natural world and inspire a life-long love of science and discovery.

So don’t wait! Send your books today and help us spread the word far and wide about the #SaganDayBookDrive.

It’s Ba-aa-ack! The Return of the 90’s style Clinton-Hit-Machine

It’s Ba-aa-ack! The Return of the 90’s style Clinton-Hit-Machine

Suddenly right-wingers are in love with the New York Times AND government regulations.

The New York Times handed the right-wing media attack machine a big, yummy early Easter egg with their journalistically challenged report on Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail as Secretary of State.

The article was heavy on suggestion but unclear to the point of misleading on whether Ms. Clinton had violated any laws when she forwent a government account and opted for a private system which she used for all official business.

Since then other outlets have attempted to fill in the gaps in the Times report and the consensus is that no laws were broken.

The law pertaining to use of private e-mail that the Times report seemed to be referring to (again, the report was indefinite) was not in place until over a year after Clinton left her post at State. The Times has since come back to say they were referring to other statutes, but if that’s the case, why were they not mentioned specifically in the original reporting?

Colin Powell also used private e-mail during his tenure as Secretary of State but I don’t recall any outcry then. Maybe the Times was too busy at the time churning out false reports on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction that had the effect of helping the Bush administration mislead the nation into war.

It’s not that issues around the use of private e-mail by high-profile public officials aren’t worthy of attention and that concerns around transparency and national security are not involved. They are.

The problem is that the Times’ vague and misleading report raised more questions than it answered and was more about insinuation than facts and hard journalism.

As a result a picture was painted that was a perfect Rorschach, in which the right-wing media smear machine could project all its paranoid conspiratorial imaginings while being able to point back to the alleged credibility of the Times to bolster its case.

But we should not by now be surprised to see the “lame stream media” acting as an amplifier and enabler of Fox/talk radio-style faux journalism. In 2013, 60 minutes’ Laura Logan interviewed an “eye-witness” to the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, whose testimony was then trumpeted by Fox and the rest of the echo chamber as validation of their conspiracy theories and political talking points. 12 days later, CBS was forced to pull the report when serious issues became known concerning the credibility of their source’s claims alleging to be a witness of events that night. In other words, he lied on-air and CBS broadcasted his lies after failing to do due journalistic vetting beforehand.

This is what is so disturbing and dangerous: it seems we can no longer grapple with real issues in the way that is necessary in a democracy because everything becomes fodder for the conspiracy mill of the right-wing media fear & smear machine.

Meanwhile, mainstream outlets that should know better, and that should have the integrity and skill to do better, are more and more succumbing to the paradigm of sensationalism, cynicism, and misinformation that haunts our politics and culture like a curse.

The result is commentators like Bill O’Reilly who, when revealed to be a serial liar, is shielded from consequence because his ratings remain high, reporters like Lara Logan who is given a few months off to let the dust settle before taking up where she left off at CBS, and the New York Times which is now refusing to address the glaring journalistic deficiencies of their “Hillary-gate” reporting.

Fear Goes Viral: Deranged Demagogues and the Epidemic of Ebola Scare-Mongering

Fear Goes Viral: Deranged Demagogues and the Epidemic of Ebola Scare-Mongering

Eric Duncan has passed away in a Texas hospital from the Ebola virus he contracted in Liberia. Two health care workers have tested positive for the disease after an apparent break down of protective protocol for hospital staff attending to Mr. Duncan in his final days. The CDC warns that more health care workers who treated Mr. Duncan may  be at risk of having contracted Ebola.

Meanwhile, the 48 other people that Mr. Duncan had contact with, before it was belatedly realized that he was infected, have continued to be monitored but have exhibited no symptoms of the disease. A deputy sheriff who came down with a fever after spending time in Mr. Duncan’s apartment tested negative for Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak in Texas, while obviously very troubling, in no way poses a panic-worthy threat to the United States and the chances of contracting the disease remain very low. That’s not the impression you would get, however, from much of the media coverage in the country.

Ebola is not an airborne virus, but the media airwaves are being infected by an epidemic of fear, lies and sensationalized misinformation that is transmitted into the homes of millions of Americans.

A well informed and coolheaded citizenry is an essential line of defense against the spread of infectious disease. Panic, misinformation, groundless fear and reckless rumors are the enemy in this fight and must not be allowed to take root in the public imagination.

Distinctly culpable are the bottomlessly irresponsible demagogues of the right-wing-media-noise-machine, whose very reason for existing is to create a self-perpetuating media bubble of hyper-politicized misinformation.

Just as a virus uses the normal functioning of the organism to carry infection and corrupt the health of the body, media demagogues infect the free flow of credible information — the very life’s blood of a democracy — with rhetoric, conspiracy and propaganda designed to inflame the fear centers of its victims and undermine reasoned response.

Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham — along with Fox — have dropped the most bottomlessly irresponsible, intellectually unhinged and morally bankrupt ravings imaginable right into the middle of a public health emergency.

While doctors, scientists and officials are working to maintain public calm and to disseminate facts, they find themselves drowned out by a deluge of noise and nonsense.

Politicizing, distorting and demagoguing on issues where the public understanding requires calm, clarity and trustworthiness are nothing new for the microphone-wielding miscreants of the right-wing echo chamber, but they have now rampaged over a line that must not be crossed.  They cannot not be ignored, denied or tolerated in this regard.

It must be said, directly and firmly, that the monsters of the right-wing media scare machine, in that they traffic in fear and inflammatory misinformation, are the enemy in this fight.

Laura Ingraham, aside from her gigs as radio host and Fox commentator, is also on the payroll as a contributor with ABC News, thus adding a veneer of mainstream credibility to her campaign of malignant misinformation.

Major news organizations, which seek to maintain their credibility and good name, should not be providing journalistic cover for inflammatory and hyper-politicized misinformation which endangers the public health and safety.

You can sign our petition here calling on ABC News CEO, James Goldston, to remove Ingraham immediately.

It has long been obvious that Fox “News” is not news at all, but rather a misinformation machine that exists to promote a political agenda. There is a substantial and growing body of empirical evidence that confirms this truth.

Right-wing, Tea Party politicians who have made a career of amplifying Fox/talk radio misinformation should do the right thing and step up now to condemn the politicization of the Ebola outbreak by these outlets.

Keith Rothfus is the representative of PA Congressional District 12 where I live in Beaver County. Mr. Rothfus has been endorsed by the “Tea Party Express” which itself has been heavily promoted by Fox and right-wing talk radio. At the endorsement rally in Boyce park in 2012, the event MC, Sean Hannity radio fill-in and Fox panelist, Rose Tennent joked with the crowd about the Obama-birther conspiracy as Mr. Rothfus stood by casually, waiting to be introduced.

Many of us are not laughing. Manipulating peoples’ fears and prejudices for financial and political profit isn’t my idea of yuks. And playing around with a public health crisis is my idea of evil.

There comes a time when you have to say, “Enough.”

We should all contact our members of Congress to tell them to publicly call on Fox to stop their hyper-politicized, misinformation campaign on the Ebola outbreak.

It’s going to take a ground swell of public outrage and revulsion to change the course of extremist media in America.

A massive political propaganda operation sewing the seeds of mass panic cannot be allowed to go on disguising itself as a “news” source. But it will unless we push back.

Look up your representative and Senators here: