Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon writes: Don’t say what you “would have done” in a crisis. Your mind believes how you’d respond, but your brain has other ideas

In the wake of the Parkland tragedy last month, the current occupant of the White House — a man who avoided serving his country in Vietnam because his feet hurt— boasted that “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too.” It’s a good thing he’ll likely never have to prove it. Because what we think when we’re safe and cozy and what we actually do when the rubber hits the road are, for a great many of us, two very different things.

Soldiers and first responders go through rigorous training to override our primitive fight or flight responses when the amygdala takes the wheel. When my friends who are combat veterans and EMTs say how they think they’d behave in an emergency, I believe them. Everybody else gets a hard, “Maybe.” Yet panic has a strong pull, even for the pros. Why would anyone be brazen enough to say he’d run into a dangerous situation like Parkland when Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s own armed security guard reportedly did not?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this subject. About the men and women who have come forward with their experiences of physical and sexual abuse and been reflexively told, “I wouldn’t have stood for it. Why didn’t you just leave?” Of parents who brag that if a bully ever said anything like that to their kid, there would be hell to pay. Of elected officials who say a teacher with a gun would be the best defense against a murderer with an AK-15. […]

University of Lancaster psychologist John Leach has extensively explored the subject of survival psychology, and why some people freeze and some people take action. “It is not the ‘will-to-live,’ but the ‘won’t to live’ that matters,” he’s written, citing the powerful role that memory and cognitive function play in response to stressful situations. Thanks to their prior conditioning, certain people will simply physically shut down. And if, say, you’ve just jumped out of a plane, that can be a problem. […]



“The very idea of something going viral is an expression of the mob more than of the individual. The fact that Google partially ranks search results in terms of how many other sites have linked to them reinforces groupthink, not individuality. The entire logic of the Web works toward popularity, not quality, and certainly not toward truth.” ~Robert D. Kaplan



Most grown adults sending me or my classmates hate fail to realize we’re teenagers… high school…who experienced the unfathomable… We’re turning our grief and pain into demanding action and if you’re upset at us for that, then you’re part of the problem

— natasha #NeverAgain (@sighnatasha) March 3, 2018


On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—The Party of Anybody But Lincoln: 

With the Conservative Political Action Committee gathering winding down this weekend, you might think that calling John Edwards a ‘faggot’ would be the signature event of the conference.  But while that clip will probably result mostly in more undeserved attention for the right’s favorite harridan, there’s another message from this week’s events that is interesting for what it has to say about how these people view themselves.  And where better to go for that view than the Fox News of papers, the Washington Times.  After noting the ability of Giuliani to obscure his feelings over all the things that conservatives have been decrying for the last decade (unlike Santa’s pal, this Rudolph spreads fog), Rev. Moon’s paper notes the one thing that really brought the crowd down.

In interviews afterward, some attendees said Mr. Giuliani lost momentum when he heaped lavish praise on Abraham Lincoln.

That’s right. Conservatives can put up with differences on abortion, gay rights, and whether or not its okay for your mistress to live at the White House. What they can’t stand is talking about Abraham Lincoln. What’s bugging them?

While many conservatives regard the Civil War president as the spiritual founder of the Republican Party, others deeply resent him as a man who ruthlessly suspended constitutional rights and freedoms in order to militarily challenge the South’s belief in its right to secede.

A note to the constitutional scholars on the right.  If it’s personal rights you’re worried about, the constitution specifically allows suspension of habeas corpus in cases of rebellion or invasion. But of course, that can’t be what’s bothering conservatives, or they wouldn’t be so eager to support Bush’s usurpation of those rights without justification. It’s the last part of the quote that’s at the heart of the matter: conservatives are still not over the Civil War. Excuse me, the War of Northern Aggression.

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at, and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”


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