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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

George Stephanopoulos interviewed Peter Schweizer yesterday in advance of his book “Clinton Cash”.

He asked some decent questions focused on whether Schweizer has any evidence of criminal behavior to which Schweizer basically said "no".

Of course Schweizer has no evidence of criminal behavior. If he did, Clinton would be under arrest. This is a political attack.

The interesting thing about the attack is that Stephanopoulos mimics what we're supposed to do. He gets outraged about a lack of evidence. Or as outraged as George Stephanopoulos can get anyways. Meanwhile the attack gets repeated ad nauseum in the media.

Stephanopoulos feigns the role of protagonist, allows Schweizer to repeat all his claims, and ABC shows some scary graphics.

 photo scary_clinton_zps2x0tap1o.jpg

I've already seen several people repeating the attacks and the book hasn't even been released.

What conservatives don’t realize is that Schweizer is doing us a favor. Here’s how to use his (or anyone else who tries similar) attacks to fight against money in politics.

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Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 11:15 AM PDT

Don't talk about "climate change"

by Wintermute

Reposted from Wintermute by Brown Thrasher

The phrase "climate change" was recommended by Frank Luntz as an alternative to "global warming".  But it deliberately downplays the impact of global warming.

It is time to stop using "climate change".  EVER.  Jump below the orange F5 tornado....

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Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 10:29 AM PDT

Say “Rebate," not "Dividend”

by SusanCStrong

Reposted from SusanCStrong by SusanCStrong
Pollution billows off a gas plant in California.
Say “Rebate," not "Dividend”

by Susan C. Strong

Although there is some good news about growing levels of renewable and energy efficiency worldwide, we still need a much more vigorous climate change response, especially in the U.S. Right now California and the American West are looking down the barrel of a devastating drought with no end in sight. Methane sinks from Alaska to Siberia are thawing, off-gassing their intensely polluting contents. There is even worrisome evidence that sea water in the North Atlantic is being diluted by glacial melt water in ways that could shut down the Gulf Stream, leading to dangerous climate effects.  Here at home we have a climate shock denying Congress, and states that are forbidding staff to say the words “climate change.” Out in the grass roots, we have disbelief in science and fear of being socially ostracized by conservative communities if a member says he or she believes in climate change. At rock bottom it’s all about “future shock,” a concept worth reviewing now. That phrase comes from a 1970 Alvin Toffler book of that name, which seems even more prescient now than when it first appeared.  Confronting and responding to both the actual climate effects and today’s climate deniers does seem like a tall order. But we can do more to empower those who want to speed up the pace of change. To begin with, we can do a better job of framing simple “first aid” solutions in a truly mainstream way. That’s just survival tactics now.

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Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 02:43 PM PDT

Why we have an inheritance tax

by akadjian

Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

The House of Representatives recently voted to eliminate the estate tax. Because of the recent vote, the topic may come up in conversations with people you know.

This is an easy case to “win” because there is such a strong moral case for inheritance taxes and it's also a great opportunity to practice talking about what you believe.

Most of what you’ll see in the media, however, consists of the “strong” moral case for corporate special interest groups and a “weak” response. By weak response, I mean a case that doesn't talk about the morality of the estate tax. A case that is often simply the negation of conservative arguments. A moral case should explain ‘why’ we believe in inheritance taxes.

To start, I believe ...

1. Privilege should be earned (not inherited).

To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks.

Roosevelt said it better:

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered — not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective — a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.
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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

A number of recent comments and posts have talked about how we can become more active. One of the things I’ve heard is that we need to hit the streets and that people here are more interested in blogging than in organizing.

I agree that we should be looking to do more, to run for office, to work with different campaigns, to look for opportunities to get involved, and think this conversation is great.

I also believe that the most important thing we can do is write. Here’s why.

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Reposted from SusanCStrong by SusanCStrong
Chamber (empty) of the U.S. House
Countering the GOP “Sabotage America” Campaign

By Susan C. Strong

As everybody knows, our GOP-dominated Congress is deep into a full scale “sabotage America” campaign. Everything is under massive attack, from our negotiations with Iran to the perfectly legal way Social Security Disability Insurance has always been funded. (More  info here in 1. below.)  Their full scale demolition derby could dismantle almost everything about America as we know it. They are even willing to see the climate disruption radically drying out our American west go unchecked. I’m not going to go into any more detail here—you already know it all of it. The real question is what can we do now, while we wait impatiently for 2016?

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Reposted from SusanCStrong by SusanCStrong
Statue of Liberty
Freedom is our most widely shared value.

My "Speaking American" TEDxVail Video is up on YouTube!

by Susan C. Strong

Friends, my short 1.09.15 TEDxVail Talk video, How Speaking American Can Help Save America, is finally up on YouTube. It’s about how to address those who don’t agree with us. And it includes proof that with the right verbal and social tactics, it’s possible for grass roots Americans to communicate effectively about solving our national problems. Part of my message is based on the pioneering work of an organization called Living Room Conversations. Check them out too!

Here’s the link for my talk:

https://www.youtube.com/...

-----------------------
Susan C. Strong, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of The Metaphor Project and author of our new book, Move Our Message: How to Get America’s Ear.  The Metaphor Project has been helping progressives mainstream their messages since 1997. Follow Susan on Twitter @SusanCStrong.

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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

Chris Christie said on Monday:

You know it’s much more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official. And that’s what we do. But I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.
Rand Paul took things a step further and said vaccines were a matter of “freedom”:
We sometimes give five or six vaccines all at one time [Paul said of immunizations of newborns for Hepatitis B] I chose to have mine delayed....Do I think it's ultimately a good idea? Yeah. So I had mine staggered over several months. I've heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children, who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines. I'm not arguing that vaccines are a bad idea, I think they're a good thing. But I think parents should have some input. The state doesn't own your children, parents own their children, and it is an issue of freedom.
What do Christie and Paul mean when they say "freedom"?

They mean the ability to make a consumer decision in a market-based economy. They mean consumer choice. Rand Paul, following the beliefs of Ayn Rand, literally believes that consumer choice, and selfish consumer choice alone, leads to an optimal society.

Freedom, to me, means something very different. Freedom to me looks more like "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

The freedom I believe in isn't so much consumer choices and marketplace decisions as it is having the ability and resources to pursue our hopes and dreams.

This is why I believe vaccinations are about freedom. The freedom not to get polio. Or diptheria. Or measles. Or mumps. Or smallpox.

 photo 10-measles-full_zpsf819fc1b.jpg
Image courtesy of the CDC.

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Reposted from SusanCStrong by SusanCStrong
This is the archetypal American Barn, raised by friendly neighbors. We can do this together, again, now.
This is the archetypal American Barn, raised by friendly neighbors. We can do this together, again, now.
The “One Big Family” Frame in 2015

By Susan C. Strong

As everyone knows, the most fundamental crisis in America today is the fierce partisan divide we have in government. This situation makes collaboration or cooperation in solving the nation's problems across party lines appear impossible everywhere. Appear? Certainly in national and state politics it's real. But what about at the grass roots level? In 2014 The PEW Research Center did a series of studies about where the real American people are these days. (1) True, they found that the number of those adhering to the extremes has grown since 1994. But their statistics also show that the majority of our people detest partisan conflict and hold so wide range of views that politicians are struggling to come up with messages to reach them all.That finding suggests to me that the “One Big Family” frame is alive and kicking in the grass roots. And I have some other kinds of proof too. (2)  But let’s start with a closer look at the One Big Family frame itself. Here's what I first wrote about it in 2005:

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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

With all of the attacks on public education recently, I wanted to know what our founding fathers thought about education.

I found that our founders believed education was critical for democracy and avoiding an "aristocracy of wealth," that it should be available to all, that is should be free from religion and ideology, that it should be equal for all citizens, that it should be public, and that the investment was worth the cost.

I thought it might be useful to post some of their quotes and talk about what we believe when it comes to public education.

1. Education is critical for democracy

 photo thomas-jefferson-550_zpsa5b28027.jpg

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to George Wythe, 1786:

I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowlege among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom, and happiness.
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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

The mere exposure effect, sometimes called the familiarity principle, refers to a psychological trait where people develop a preference for something simply because they're familiar with it.

The effect has been demonstrated across cultures and with multiple types of stimuli including: faces, Chinese characters, language, and sounds.

It explains decisions by stock traders, distortions in academic journal rankings and quite likely much of the success of chain restaurants and hotels.

The person most frequently associated with the mere exposure effect is Robert Zajonc, a social psychologist who helped found the field of social cognition. Zajonc wrote a paper in 1980 titled “Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences” that challenged the prevailing belief of the day that we are rational thinkers.

 photo feeling_and_thinking_zps817426ce.jpg

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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

John Stoehr at Salon wrote this excellent piece about the media's use of the word "assassination" to describe the recent killing of two NYPD officers.

Stoehr writes:

We have seen “assassination” used to characterize the killing of two New York City police officers. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton that evening said: “They were, quite simply, assassinated.” Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on “Fox and Friends,” said: “What happened yesterday was an assassination.” News media in New York and elsewhere blindly followed suit. Sean Hannity, CBS News, the New York Daily News, USA Today and Newsday all used “assassination” indiscriminately. The San Antonio Express-News ran an editorial with this astounding headline: “No Other Word for It—Assassination.”
The NYPD killings were horrible and tragic. The media and certain public figures seem to be trying to fan them into a political war, however.

 photo jfk_assassination_sm_zps3cd8caa6.jpg

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