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While Republicans constantly invoke our nation's founders, they and a large number of individuals and organizations who support them, are in violation of one of our founders' earliest proscriptions: Seditious Conspiracy, made illegal through The Sedition Act of 1798.

Seditious Conspiracy as it pertains to the current shutdown of the United States federal government is defined in 18 USC § 2384 of the Criminal Code as:

"[T]wo or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspir[ing] to ... by force ... prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States."

The Code further defines the punishment:

"[T]hey shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."

There is no question but that a large, coordinated plot was hatched and then carried out by a covert group of individuals for the purpose of preventing, hindering, and delaying The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by force using a government shutdown as their weapon.

The damages caused by this seditious act are numerous and immeasurable. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are without ongoing income to support their families. Children are going hungry. Our veterans’ families are being denied death benefits for the loss of their loved-ones in battle. Thousands of families will see their personal credit scores gutted as they are increasingly unable to pay bills that continue while their income has been cut off.

States, cities, and communities are suffering billions in lost revenue from tourism due to the closure of national parks, museums, monuments, and more. They will suffer further as property values in their neighborhoods begin to plunge as more American families are hit with foreclosure when they can't meet their mortgage obligations without steady income from their work.

The reputation and good standing of the United States has already taken a major hit, as institutions are selling off short-term Treasury bonds and demanding higher returns in interest for the purchase of longer-term bonds.

"The yield on the one-month T-bill jumped to 0.27 percent Wednesday, its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis. The yield was nearly zero at the beginning of the month. Money market mutual fund managers don't want to be caught holding U.S. government debt that comes due around the time the government hits the debt ceiling. They fear that the government may not be able to pay back bond holders, said Gabriel Mann at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

"'Investors are buying protection,'" Mann said, referring to growing demand for insurance against the U.S. defaulting on its debt — a security known on Wall Street as a credit default swap. Overnight interest rates in the repo market, used by banks to fund day-to-day lending, shot up to 0.12 percent Wednesday from 0.04 percent at the beginning of the month.

"The increase is partly because some banks have stopped accepting some U.S. Treasurys as collateral, or are requiring more collateral, to borrow."

Short-Term Funds Show Stress as Default Looms

These individuals acting in concert have gone far beyond the free speech protected by the 1st Amendment, protections up to which they are only entitled to the point of causing “clear and present danger.” And with the shutting down of vital services of our government, they have demonstrably caused “clear and present danger” to the United States of America. There is very real, tangible, and dangerous damage being done to our country's economic stability, our reputation throughout the world, and to our national security.

These individuals and everyone in the groups to which they belong — or any other group that contemplates similar actions in the future — must be made to understand the consequences of such conspiratorial acts against the government. And we must hold accountable those whose long-term plotting has already directly caused the damage the country is suffering — and will continue to suffer long after the shutdown ends — it's what The Sedition Act was enacted to punish.

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While the nation's eye is turned to Washington as they move the fight over honoring our promise to pay the debt we have already incurred to yet another day, and with Republicans attempting to tie this obligation to gutting Survival Security programs, we are losing sight of the fact that our debt isn't really our biggest problem in this country; it is merely a symptom. Our lack of will to stand up for average Americans’ right to thriving wages with the same ferocity we fight for the one percent's ability to reap their billions is what has not only created a significant portion of our debt, but is the moral failing that will eventually destroy our economy — and perhaps even our nation — once and for all.

"Let them [who labor] beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them, ‘til all of liberty shall be lost."

These words of warning were issued by Abraham Lincoln in his Annual Message to Congress on Dec. 3, 1861, but could just as easily have been spoken 33 years ago in cautioning against Reagan’s supply-side “voodoo” economics; a policy that would go on to concentrate all of America’s future earnings into the bank accounts of the elite one percent, rendering average Americans powerless in their struggle for economic advancement.

Or they could have been uttered 19 years ago, cautioning against electing a Republican Congress that would not allow workers an increase in minimum wages for two ten-year stretches (1981–1990 and 1997–2007), during which their advancement was, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Or perhaps 15 years ago, cautioning against electing yet another Republican-controlled Congress; one that would force the repeal of the Glass-Steagall safeguards for our savings and investments, leaving us vulnerable to the catastrophic loss of our personal wealth at the hands of Wall Street “banksters.”

At each of these times, we had an opportunity to deny political power to those who continued to “fix new disabilities and burdens upon” us or surrender our own political power to them. And each time, we chose surrender.

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U.S. Map made from guns dripping blood

Let's get this out of the way first:

No one who advocates for new Gun Responsibility Laws wants to strip away anyone's 2nd Amendment rights.

But there's no reason in the universe why we can't regulate the purchase and use of guns in this country just like we regulate the use of any number of other commonly-owned things, even everyday things like cars.

  • If you want to drive a car in this country you have to study for, take, and pass both a written and practical exam; the same should be true for guns.
  • If you want to drive a car in this country you have to register it with the state and pay an annual registration fee — for each car you own; the same should be true for guns.
  • If you want to drive a car in this country you have to renew your license to drive it every 4 years; the same should be true for guns, but annually.
  • If you want to drive a car in this country you have to have it physically inspected for safety periodically, in some states annually; the same should be required for guns.
  • If you sell a car in this country you have to notify the state that you've done so by transferring the title to the new owner, even when the transaction takes place between two private individuals; the same should be true for gun ownership.
  • You aren't allowed to drive a car in this country if you're mentally incompetent to do so; the same should be true for gun ownership.
  • If you own a car in this country, its serial number, or VIN, is entered into a national database so the owner can be tracked readily; the same should be the case for guns.
  • Felons who have committed violent crimes should never be allowed to own a gun.
  • People with mental illness should not be allowed to own a gun, and people who have a mentally ill person (or persons) living in their home should not be allowed to keep a gun in their home.
  • And if you want to drive a car in this country, you have to take out liability insurance in the event you even accidentally injure or kill someone (insurance which often comes with restrictions on where you can keep your car, who can use your car, etc.); the same should be true for guns!

And yes, there needs to be an outright ban on all assault, automatic, and semi-automatic weapons. Even NRA-supported Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia admits he "[doesn't] know anyone in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. [He doesn't] know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting." And they're completely overboard for home protection. We don't let people keep plutonium either; we'll survive with our freedom intact as a nation if we can't own a Bushmaster.

No, these kinds of rules will not prevent criminals from stealing guns and committing crimes with them. But thieves steal cars every day and we don't hear anyone advocating for eliminating vehicle registrations, competency exams, licensing fees, or annual safety inspections just because car thieves are out there "ruining it for the responsible drivers."

It's an absurd argument on its face.

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Professional linguist, Dr. George Lakoff, says, "All politics is moral." As he explained to AlterNet's Joshua Holland in a recent interview about his new book with co-author Elisabeth Wehling, "The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic":

All politics is moral at the base. Any political leader who gives you some sort of prescription of what to do does it because he says it’s right, not because he says it’s wrong or doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks it’s right.
But all this talk of morals can be confusing and frustrating. We tend to think of morals as gauges of "goodness," as much as "correctness." If a person is "moral" they are "good"; if they are immoral, they are "bad." And if someone has more morals than another, they're thought to be a "better person" than one with fewer morals.

So when scientists such as Dr. Lakoff, Dr. Jonathan Haidt, or Dr. Drew Westen try to teach us about the morality of politics, and describe Conservative morality as broader, more complex, or containing more elements than Progressive morality, we bristle. "Conservatives are not more moral than Progressives!" we shout. And we have a tendency to shut out what we don't believe (or don't want to believe), and instead of learning from it, we start arguing against it. Oops!

We at the Winning Words Project agree completely with the experts on this issue, but we'd like to put it in a new frame for you:

All politics is emotional.

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With all the noise and screaming, and the 33 (or is it 34, or maybe 40 by now?) votes by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Patient Protection Act, and the irresponsibly dismal media coverage of this critical issue to all of us; you, a member of the People of the United States of America, have been prevented from learning the truth about how the Patient Protection Act will actually benefit not only you, but your state and everyone else in it, as well.

Bill Frist is not only the former majority leader in the Senate during George W. Bush's presidency, he also has his share of bona fides in understanding how the U.S. health care system operates. Frist is a Harvard-graduated cardio-thoracic surgeon, having specialized in health care policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has practiced medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Southampton General Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he founded the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.

And he wrote an impassioned op-ed, imploring us to actively work to support the implementation of the exchanges in every state.

We bring you both the truth about these exchanges as explained by Dr. Frist, and the absurd letter that 73 Republicans in Congress sent to the National Governors Association that is made up entirely of lies about what the exchanges are, how they'll work, and what they mean for health care administration across the country. ...

Due to differing configuration capabilities between our site and Daily Kos, please see the side-by-side comparison at The Winning Words Project website ».


Jill KlausenI've had some emotionally disturbing encounters in social media over the past few days. Some old friends looked me up and invited me to join them in some conversations about some really important issues we're facing in this country. And in the course of those conversations I met with some of the most derisive vitriol I've ever encountered anywhere ... and this was coming from the privileged people I grew up and went to school with for years.

You're NUTS. The wealthy bankroll this country and you try to make them the evil ones. You're so backward it would be funny if it were not scary.
Employers PAY the workers. Without them the workers are unemployed. Get off your horse trying to make the employers out to be bad guys. They PAY you and me and everyone else. People who try to denegrate successful businessmen are jealous. ... Stop coveting your neighbor's stuff. It really makes you look stupid. Stop drinking the liberal Koolaid and use your own brain.
In the real world, wealthy people start businesses and hire others to do work for them. Those workers gladly take the jobs at the pay rates offered. ... If those workers don't want the job, because they are jealous of their boss, they don't have to take it. There are others there who will.
It was so stunning in its hateful disregard for the average working person, it inspired me to write this.

I'm white; grew up in a solidly middle class family; went to top-notch, well-funded public schools that weren't surrounded by gang violence or other bad influences; had parents in a happy marriage who lived "'til death do they part"; who put a premium on a college education and saved so my sisters and I could attend without having to hold down jobs or take out student loans; I have a name that isn't a barrier to getting job interviews. And most of the people I grew up with had all those same advantages in life, and more.

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taxdodgers.jpgOn Thursday, July 12th, after addressing a group from the NAACP, presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney made the following stunning statement:

"If you’re looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that's what he';s all about, okay? That's not, that's not what I'm about."
1. That statement is grossly offensive.
2. He's dead wrong. He is the guy who's all about giving away free stuff ... to millionaires and billionaires!

Welfare for the Wealthy costs this country trillions of dollars a year, both in government handouts to Mitt Romney and his wealthy elite friends, and subsidies paid to billion dollar corporations and industries. Mitt Romney is actually asking us to elect him, in part, precisely because he wants to further increase the Welfare payments the wealthy are already receiving.

Follow us below the squiggly to see how deeply conservative Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) described this affront in his scathing report titled, "Subsidies of the Rich & Famous," when he appears to have either gotten a pang of conscience or went off-script (emphasis ours):

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... and ring in a New Nationalism a la Teddy Roosevelt.

by Robert Lyon
July 10, 2012

Winning Words on the Progressive Business Message:

Being conservative or progressive has nothing to do with appreciating the role of business in society. The progressive view of business is about responsibility and patriotism, and has a distinctive pro-American flavor. In this edition of the Winning Words Project, we channel President Obama's rhetorical style to present the full-throated progressive message on business.

Readers may recognize the first few paragraphs. President Obama's signature vision of a truly United States of America, where all people and groups hold their duty to country and each other above self-interest — e pluribus unim — applies equally well to American businesses. 

The audience for this message includes moderates and persuadable voters who wonder why Democrats care so much about how much businesses contribute to our society in taxes and workers' wages. This speech makes it clear that it's Mitt Romney's Republicans who are quibbling over how big of a slice of our economic pie goes to Romney and his friends; the Democratic Party cares about how businesses can work FOR America to increase the size of our economic pie to benefit everyone.

Our Obama-inspired business pitch ...

Obama1.jpgTonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our trees, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that anyone with a good idea and drive can start a business, even if they don't inherit a fortune from their wealthy parents.

We have more work to do, for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who lost their union jobs at the Maytag plant that moved to Mexico, and now they have to compete with their own children for jobs that pay 7 bucks an hour.

Now, don't get me wrong, the people I meet in small towns and big cities and diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead. And they do.

Alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people.

It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: "E pluribus unum," out of many, one.

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patientongurney.jpgWinning Words on Healthcare Reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: 
by Robert Lyon

In this edition of The Winning Words Project, we focus on how to reframe and control the conversation around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is now the law of the land. It's not about government, taxes, or penalties– it's about patients. Focus on people. Here's how to take Republican talking points away from them by pivoting to the Patient Protection part of the PPACA. 

In 2009, when Republicans feared President Obama's reforms to health care would pass Congress with support of the majority of the country (because polls consistently showed the majority of Americans wanted reform in our health care model), they turned to their go-to word-master, Frank Lunz. Luntz, known for his "Say This, Not That" and "Never say/Instead say"-style handbooks distributed throughout the Republican party, saw from his focus groups that it would be impossible to fight against the many improvements that people saw as much-needed benefits in the then-pending Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. So his advice to communication strategists within the Republican party was to tell Republicans to lie—to loudly and repeatedly shout about an imaginary "government takeover."

Flash forward to today. The constitutionality of the Patient Protection Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States, yet Republicans are still stuck in repeal mode and lying about the law.  Dave Weigel of Slate noticed this week that Republicans have reprised Lunz's dishonest script from 2009. 

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What is a Thunderclap?

If a tweet falls in the forest...

Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps users be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, that rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.

What message are we trying to blast?
Congress is voting on the new Farm Bill on Wednesday, July 10th, and Republicans have drafted a bill that will reduce Food Stamp assistance by $16 BILLION, which would be extremely detrimental to families and to our economy!

While our nation still reels from the economic crisis brought on by Republican fiscal policies that saw millions of jobs being lost, the middle class being decimated, and a nearly unprecedented rise in poverty rates, our elected Representatives in the United States Senate have already voted to reduce funding in the Farm Bill for the only source of sustenance for millions of impoverished Americans.

Trimming back on eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps are called, would save $4 billion over the decade. Republicans are pushing to reduce that even more. ...

"Is the benefit going to the right people? Is the money being expended wisely?" questioned Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has led efforts to change the program, during a recent Senate speech. "Is it encouraging people to look for ways to be productive and be responsible for their families? Or does it create dependency on a series of government programs?"

Senator Sessions, that question is offensive. It's especially offensive when you recognize that a significant number of Americans who rely on Food Stamps to feed their families, are working full-time but are not being paid enough by their employers to survive on. So of course the benefit isn't going to "the right people," or being "spent wisely," because it's going to line the pockets of billionaires and their billion-dollar corporations!
You can read the rest of this post on our site, here.

We have to let our Representatives in the House know our feelings on this critical issue facing families all across America before they vote. That's why we set up a "Thunderclap" that will help us reach thousands of people (maybe even tens of thousands), which we will need to do if we ever hope to change the narrative on this.

We need our legislators to fight for families, not the Sugar Industry, and the only way to get them to do that is to make ourselves heard. And this is an incredible opportunity The Winning Words Project—and by extension, all of us!—has been granted by the Thunderclap folks (it's a new venture and right now Thunderclaps are by invitation and must go through an approval process—we feel so honored that they think our message is worthy of blasting!).

So will you please, please go to our Thunderclap page and click Support, then share through all your social media?

Thank you so very much!


Jill_LenDebate.pngMy father and I had to agree a long time ago to never, ever discuss politics. The last time we tried to talk politics, it ended in a screaming match and a lot of hurt feelings. But it came up in conversation yesterday when I called to wish him a Happy 4th of July. He asked what was new, and I told him I was excited to have former Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management, Bruce Judson, as a new contributor to my project. I really didn't want it to turn into a conversation about politics—I was just proud and wanted him to be proud of me—but it went there nonetheless. Only this time it ended with him asking me to email him a link to this website so he could read more.

The following are random snippets in no particular order (except the last one), obviously somewhat paraphrased since I didn't record and transcribe our exact words. Here's how I got my father to not only understand the Progressive position on a few issues better, but inspired him to want to find out more.

My Dad:

Progressives hate the Constitution and want to change it. They think it's an outdated document and should be completely rewritten.

What? (This, I admit, was an entirely new one to me.) Where on earth would you get an idea like that? Progressives love and respect the Constitution. Look around my site and you will see numerous references to our Constitution and quotes by our Founding Fathers. Many, if not most, of our Founding Fathers actually were Progressives! That's why they so often referred to "the common good," and enshrined the responsibility of Congress to act on behalf of the "general welfare" of all people above the interests of corporations or other interest groups, into our Constitution.


My Dad:

I'm not going to your site. If you're planning on turning your project into a business then you must be "on the side of business," then! (Unspoken but understood: HA - Gotcha!)
Continued ...
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From a Reuters poll released last week:

The survey results suggest that Republicans are convincing voters to reject Obama's reform even when they like much of what is in it, such as allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

Strong majorities favor most of what is in the law.

The American People want a health care system where people with pre-existing conditions are allowed to buy insurance for themselves and their families and not cut completely out of the market—a full 82 percent of people surveyed, in fact!.

The American People want a health care system where people cannot be dropped from their policies when they become sick.

The American People want a health care system that is affordable for all Americans who need it.

Washington Post/CBS Poll, October, 2009,
before the well was poisoned by political rhetoric.

The American People want a health care system where they don't have lifetime caps placed on their coverage.

The American People want a health care system where routine physicals and checkups are covered without co-pays.

The American People want a health care system where they don't have to be afraid to lose their job, or leave a bad job, because it would mean they would no longer have health insurance coverage.

~ Continued ~

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