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Superstorm Sandy was devastating and initial estimates of the cost of the storm are staggering. According to Time Magazine it could reach $60 billion! That is a lot of money. But wait . . .

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So in our great national discourse on the problems of foreign policy the only question that got asked in last night's debate was about the embassy attacks. Mitt Romney's main complaint, it seemed, was that President Obama didn't use the word terrorism soon enough after the attack. But you know who else didn't describe it as an act of terror? Yep, Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, who in all his wisdom, decided to hold a news conference before the President's Rose Garden statement never used the word terror or terrorism himself.

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Romney's remarks in Israel claiming that Israel's higher per capita GDP was the result of cultural superiority has roots in Mormon doctrine. It also goes a long way to explain a lot of his assumptions about wealth distribution in the United States and globally. The narrative of the Book of Mormon essentially tracks the story of a people, the Nephites and Lamanites, that fall in and out of favor with God due to their righteous and unrighteous actions. When they are righteous they become wealthy. However, after they gain wealth they generally forget God and then bad things happen. Unrighteous behavior is typically indicated by dressing inappropriately, focusing on material items, having sex, boozing it up, etc. So wealth to Mormons is a reward for acting righteously, wealth that is used for self adoration, however, is a marker of the unrighteous. This narrative repeats itself multiple times throughout the book.

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Kim Jong-il

Hosni Mubarak

Bahsar Assad

Saddam Hussein

Omar al-Bashir

Islam Karimov

Robert Mugabe

Osama bin Laden

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One of the ways that we assess the stability of the international system is by examining the balance between offensive and defensive weapons. The basic argument is that a system in which offense has the advantage is less stable than a system in which defense has the advantage. Think about it this way: if two countries exist and both only have fixed forts on their own territory then it is impossible for those two countries to go to war against each other as forts can’t move. However, if both sides have mobile units that are highly destructive but easily vulnerable to attack, then both sides have the incentive to strike first as to not be the sucker that relied on the good intentions of the other side.

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Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 08:09 AM PST

Why I support the Blunt Amendment

by Dave the pro

I know that the Blunt amendment is very unpopular around here, but as a large employer and also as someone who is very concerned about the future of the planet I am in full support of this amendment. I will tell you below the fold.

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Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 01:41 PM PST

Why I fear a Newt nomination

by Dave the pro

With all due respect to Markos, I personally fear a Newt nomination. Yes, his unfavorables are extremely high, but this is what we get from a Newt Gingrich nomination:

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Remember the post-election analysis in 2004?  Remember what all the talking heads were abuzz about?  How the election was won by "value" voters.  Who were these value voters?  They have also been called "salt of the earth", "heartland America," "patriotic Americans," "real Americans," holding onto "small town values" and "family values."  They are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly connect to their religious identity as much as they hold onto their national identity.  Their world views have largely been buffered against by Republican leadership, which has perfected the ability to speak in code.  But these voters haven't been listening, to the most part, to Republican leadership.  

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Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 07:31 AM PDT

Anatomy of a Successful Attack Ad

by Dave the pro

A successful attack ad has three components.

  1. It weakens your opponents voting base.  If the candidate has personal habits that are offensive to a large segment of his or her voting base it will highlight those habits and cause apathy in those voters, keeping them more likely to head to the voting booth come election day.
  1. It reinforces a characterization about that candidate that is observable and generally distasteful to independent or swing voters.
  1. It kicks them where they are supposedly strongest.
  1. The viewer doesn't have to think too hard about overwrought explanations or wonky content.

Here is an example of an attack ad against John McCain that I put together last night:

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When John McCain on The View was challenged about putting a candidate on the ticket who has been one of the most aggressive people in the country in terms of going after federal earmarks he responded.  "Not as governor she didn't."

Well, you might want to check your facts there, Senator McCain.

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Look at this document (pdf) put out by the Missile Defense Agency explaining why the Europeans need to put our missile defense systems in their countries (h/t Steve Aftergood).  Be warned, it is very glossy and pretty.  Under the subhead "The Threat is Real and Growing" they write:

The number of states that currently possess medium-, intermediate-, and/or intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (missiles that can reach our friends and allies, and in some cases the United States itself) has increased from five to nine. Clearly, the international security environment is more complex and less predictable since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. (Bold in original)

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