Friday, June 08, 2007

What the right understands: "Words = power" 

In a recent post about Mitt Romney, Josh Marshall remarked "...I find him genuinely frightening."

I believe that those of us on the left need to stop referring to folks on the other side as 'scary' or 'frightening'. Why? No, it's not to be nice. You see when we say that one of their guys is 'frightening', a sizeable proportion of the right thinks to themselves 'good'. You see, frightening is strong, frightening is powerful, frightening is tough.

Calling people frightening gives them a heft, an importance and a power that they don't deserve. By contrast, think about how they refer to our side. 'Kooky', 'nutty', 'the looney left'. Why? Because just as 'frightening' assigns power, words like 'looney' drain power. They are dismissive.

We need to stop giving the right more power than they deserve. We can start by how we think about them and talk about them. Words matter.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The "jobs that Americans won't do" fallacy 

I recently read: "President Bush was right that there are jobs that Americans won't do,..." - Navarrette: Can you make it past my last name? (http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/24/navarrette/index.html) This is, quite simply, a lie and it's time that reporters and commentators quit repeating it. Can anyone really point to a type of job that illegals are doing that hard working Americans are not also doing? No. And the statement by the president (repeated by many) is a real slap in the face to all those Americans who have to compete with illegals for work. It is a question of money. Here is an example: Q. Would you work at a fast food place serving burgers for $5.00 per hour? A. No. Q.Would you work at a fast food place serving burgers for $500.00 per hour? A. Hmm, $20,000 per week? Hell yeah, I would. At the right price, there is NO job that Americans won't do. So the real question is: Why are we allowing businesses to keep their wages down by hiring illegals who will work at jobs for so little that many Americans can't afford to do those jobs. Simply put, if the illegals were not here, businesses would have to raise their wages to attract enough workers. It is time we stop letting the President and all the lapdog press and pundits get away with this lie. They should be saying: "there are jobs that not enough Americans will do unless you pay them more."

Monday, August 14, 2006

The "Voting = Treason" crowd 

Ted Kennedy has a great article about Dick Cheney and the "Voting = Treason" crowd. Here is a roundup of what others have had to say about Cheney's words.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Should we be afraid now or later? 

British wanted to continue surveillance on terror suspects, official says Key quote:
"In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports."
"...while the investigation into the bombing plot began "months ago," some suspects were known to the security services even before the London subway bombings last year."
You might want to put off your fear for a while.

How Ned Lamont Blew it on Primary Night 

I watched the coverage on C-SPAN. Here is what Ned did wrong. 1) Ned needed to realize that primary night is not a night for thank-yous and congratulations. It is, first and formost, the first and most important day of the fall campaign. 2) Ned needed to understand that he was not talking to the people in that room. He was talking to all the potential voters in the state. For many people, this may be the only time they have seen him, and may be the only time they see him until election night in November. Never squander that kind of audience. 3) Timing. Ned needed somebody to make sure he was in front of the cameras as soon as Lieberman was finished (perhaps even just before the end). The tv stations would have been forced to cut to him (after all he was the winner), and deprive Lieberman of that end of rally euphoria, and make sure the audience didn't drift away. 4) Contingencies. Ned should have listened to the Lieberman speech or had someone listen to it and let him know how aggresive he could be. Once Lieberman started into the "we won't quit" talk, and especially launched into criticism of Lamont, Ned should have been given the heads up that the gloves were off. No need to be polite. Time to deal Lieberman the death blow. 5) Talk directly to the Lieberman supporters. Many of them wanted to stay with Lieberman because of a perception that Lieberman, based on seniority, is a big man in the Senate. Remind them that as an independant, he might as well be a freshman. All Lieberman's important committee assignments will go to real Democrats come November, even if he wins.

Friday, August 11, 2006

CNN... Fox News light? 

A group claiming links with al Qaeda and responsibility for the Madrid train bombings said it wants George Bush to win another term in November, but that didn't stop CNN Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena from saying May 27 that al Qaeda prefers John Kerry in the upcoming US elections. Arena, apparently reflecting the Republican Party line, claimed, "there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House." But Reuters reported March 17 that the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings, said it supported Bush in his re-election campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom." http://www.populist.com/04.12.dispatches.html That was in 2004. Now there is this: "And might some argue, as some have, that Lamont is the al Qaeda candidate?” http://thinkprogress.org/2006/08/11/headline-news-lamont/ The more things change...

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Cognitive dissonance... 

The real reason people still back Bush and the war...
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners' current beliefs and "reality". Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go "over the top", leading to two interesting side-effects for learning: if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget's terms. if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are not likely to admit that the content of what has been learned is not valuable. To do so would be to admit that one has been "had", or "conned".

Monday, May 17, 2004

Kerry laying low... 

Josh Marshall is making the point that Kerry should stay out of the way of a self destructing Bush.
Trying to land punches when he's desperate and going down gives him the opportunity to hit back. And in a dire moment that may be all he has. Why give him the opportunity. With all we're seeing in Iraq right now, does anyone really need to 'make the case'? I'd say the case is making itself.
One point I would like to add is the problem with events outside Kerry's control. For example, now there may have been a chemical weapon found in Iraq:
Officials cautioned that field tests had identified traces of sarin but that more sophisticated tests would be conducted outside Iraq. During the invasion of Iraq last year, U.S. forces reported many discoveries of poison gases or germ weapons, but further testing showed they were false alarms.
There will be other surprises, so best not to say things that could come back to haunt him if events change. However, now would be a great time to focus on the big themes of the campaign.
Offer voters a bold moral vision of what America can be. A vision that is bigger than the things that divide us. A vision that brings hope and soul back to our politics and appeals to more than voters' narrow self-interests. A vision that makes America once again a respected force for good in the world.

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