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People Need To Buck Up

The biggest mistake many make when trying to sell the Democrats is to call the prospects stupid, and tell them buying the product is the only way they can stop being stupid, apparently thinking the prospects will immediately reach for their wallets and say "where do I sign"?

Of course, that result only happens in salespeople's dreams - and is the reason 90 percent of people who go into sales never make any money at the job.

There is also a (real life) tried and true technique in sales and marketing that the democrats could try: the top sales producers in any industry constantly critique themselves and ask themselves "If I'm not getting the results I want to get, what am I doing to get the results I am getting?"

Instead of asking themselves what they are doing to produce the results they are getting (dropping support) - and they are producing those results whether they want to or not - Democrats and their supporters are taking the easy route of blaming the voters (their prospects) and treating the voters as if they are stupid.

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The Rich Got Richer

From the Street...

The richest Americans are getting richer, according to the latest release of the Forbes ranking of the 400 richest Americans. At a combined wealth of $1.37 trillion, the 400 richest Americans saw their wealth increase by 8% over last year.

Hurrah!

But on the downside, the market for movie stars is collapsing!

Today the actors who used to make $15 million are making $10 million. The filmmakers who used to make $10 million are making $6 million.

And why have salaries for all varieties of Hollywood "talent" declined? Some people blame a 25% decline in DVD sales, and many Hollywood insiders look all the way back to the writers' strike in 1988 as an epiphany for studio moguls, who suddenly realized that money could be made without any talent whatsoever, and the first "reality shows" were born.

But whatever the root-cause or causes may be, the no-talent paradigm of Survivor Vanuatu now extends all the way to major releases!

The end result is a huge recalibration of the money being paid out to talent, especially in an era where a surprisingly large percentage of the biggest hit films, from "Up" to "The Hangover" to "Star Trek" and "Transformers," are star-free movies, potential franchises that involve interchangeable parts.

And when even movie stars have been degraded into "interchangeable parts"...

What kind of individuality remains for you and me?

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Bongo! The Bipartisan Plan for Single-Payer Healthcare

 Two explorers are captured by cannibals. "Death or bongo?" says the chief. "What's bongo?" ask the explorers, but the chief only replies "Death or bongo?" The first explorer chooses bongo, and (without going into the gory details) it's so horrible that the second explorer chooses death.

"Okay," says the chief, "Death! But first... bongo!"

I remembered this old joke when the Census Bureau reported that now more Americans than ever before have no healthcare insurance.

Official estimates by the Census Bureau showing a dramatic spike of 4.3 million in the number of Americans without health insurance in 2009 - to a record 50.7 million.

And...

The jump of 4.3 million uninsured is the largest one-year increase on record and would have been much higher - over 10 million - had there not been a huge expansion of public coverage, primarily Medicaid, to an additional 5.8 million people.

And that is the real bipartisan plan for single-payer healthcare, as more of more of us lose our jobs and houses and sink below the income threshold for Medicaid, and eventually only a thin upper crust remains dependent on private health insurance, which they can easily afford, because they own everything!

"But at least we have Medicaid!" say the millions of formerly middle-class Americans. "Okay," say the chiefs, "And now we cut Medicaid!"

Bongo!

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The Jamarcus Russell of Presidents

There's been no small amount of navel-gazing by the punditocracy, like in the article discussed over here, trying to decide the whole chicken and egg thing of whether it was the economy that makes the Dems November '10 chances so bleak or whether it was the HCR.  A consensus seems to be emerging that "it's the economy, stupid" and I won't dispute that.  But, I will say that even in 1934 - FDR's first midterm - Dems did not get hammered anything like the way they are going to get it this year.  And in 1934, the real bite from economic conditions which would lead to things like the Dust Bowl and farmers getting foreclosed off their farms everywhere were only getting started;  those icebergs were just peeking out of the water and things were still very bad.

Here, in 2010, Real Democrats have been predicting since his election that Obama and the Democratic officeholders would have an exceedingly difficult time of it and giving both very specific reasons why and very specific prescriptions for avoiding the coming debacle.  These warnings and prescriptions have gone unheeded and the predicted result will soon obtain, I suspect.

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More Than One Truth

Crossposted from Antemedius

Glen Ford writing at Black Agenda Report said on Wednesday "We Are Cornered: There's No Way Out Without A Fight": "Obama and his Democratic legislative allies have successfully shielded their Wall Street masters from anything worthy of the name financial reform.", and "The pace of finance capital deterioration quickens, accelerating the timetable of the Right's offensive. As the hunger grows, Wall Street's servants become more aggressive and demanding, and there is nothing in the Democratic Party, as presently constituted, to stop them."

Ford closed his essay with: "One truth remains: only a massed people can defeat massed capital. If the American Left is capable of bearing that in mind in the critical times ahead, it might just escape the cul-de-sac and make some modest contribution to the world."

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An excerpt from an Army Field Manual

Back in the day, when today's colonels and generals were still cadets and young lieutenants, they were taught fundamentals of military law.  It was a part of their curriculum.  Cleaning out a house, I came across a copy of their textbook.  For those who say "no one could have ever anticipated" or "this is totally new" or whatever rationalization they might think is the trendy, latest usage to camouflage torture in some sugar-coated "Enhanced interrogation" wrapper, here is the text from the manual from which those high-ranking officers were taught, as pertains to torture (emphasis added):

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BP's Well Leak : 55 Years Or More Into Gulf Of Mexico?

On June 15, 2010 the US Department of Energy announced that a group of federal and independent scientists convened by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Chair of the National Incident Command's Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) Dr. Marcia McNutt (Director of the U.S. Geological Survey) had developed a new estimate for the amount of oil gushing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico that indicated the leak could be spewing up to 2.52 million gallons of crude oil per day into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from British Petroleum's Macondo Well.

"This estimate brings together several scientific methodologies and the latest information from the sea floor, and represents a significant step forward in our effort to put a number on the oil that is escaping from BP's well," said Chu, who then expanded with "As we continue to collect additional data and refine these estimates, it is important to realize that the numbers can change.  In particular, the upper number is less certain - which is exactly why we have been planning for the worst case scenario at every stage and why we are continuing to focus on responding to the upper end of the estimate, plus additional contingencies."

Estimates from both BP and from the US Government of the amount of oil gushing from the blown out wellhead on the gulf seabed have been almost continually revised upwards since the well blowout and leak began on April 20, with widespread suspicions that BP has deliberately understated the leak rate in attempts to limit liability for the company.

It now appears that Chu may have been somewhat prescient with his statement that "it is important to realize that the numbers can change", and that the estimate of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico may need to be increased again, since an undated internal BP document (.PDF) obtained by Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) was released by Markey on Sunday June 20 showing that BP's own internal analysis believed that a worst-case scenario, based on damage to the well bore, could result in a leak rate from the well of 55,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

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Jackson/Rivers v. Obama/McCain

On one side we have two brilliant strategists and great team leaders, and on the other side there's a telegenic spokes-model and a semi-senile dinosaur.

And unfortunately for all of us, the great leaders are competing for bragging rights about a kids' game, while the bozos are fumbling and bumbling and humbugging our world into oblivion.

The Lakers draft Kobe Bryant. McCain drafts Sarah Palin. Obama drafts Larry Summers.

Harharharhar!!!

McCain and Obama are idiots!

And since it's pointless to ask how we could convert American politics into something more like the NBA, with brilliant leaders instead of clowns in charge, because we all know that isn't going to happen...

We might as well ask how to convert the NBA into something more like American politics, and that would be simpler than you might imagine, because...

All we have to do is make sucking up to the fans the only qualification for coaching, with the proviso that none of the candidates has any kind of record as a coach, or even as a player.

"You/We are the ones we/you were waiting for!"

"I love your values!"

And if you subtracted sucking up to the fans from McCain and Obama, both those clowns would disappear, like smoke blown away from a mirror.

 

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Tips for Effective Argumentation

I've been reading a lot more articles from columnists and pundits lately as opposed to from academics and researchers. I've also been following more mainstream media lately--CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and all points in-between. Across the spectrum, but PARTICULARLY at many partisan political websites and blogs, (Daily Kos, Townhall, Daily Beast, RedState, and others) the articles posted and the comments attached to them drive me up the wall. There are certain common strategies in making a point that should absolutely be avoided when trying to make a cogent, coherent point. Here are some of them:

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A major victory for privacy

Yesterday, there was a major victory for privacy.  Unfortunately, it was not in the US.  The German Constitutional Court threw out as unconstitutional a law which required storage of all flavors of electronic data on everyone.  Further, they required that the databases which had been built to comply with that law be erased.  Immediately.

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Hypocritical Prosecution for War-Crimes in Miami

From the Guardian...

The American-born son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor has been ordered to pay more than £14m in compensation to five people tortured during the West African country's civil war.

A judge in the US made the order a year after the same Miami court sentenced Charles McArthur Emmanuel Taylor, known as Chuckie, to 97 years in prison for his role in one of Africa's bloodiest chapters; he was the first person to be convicted by a federal court of committing offences outside the US.

The 32-year-old led the notorious Anti-Terrorist Unit, a band of pro-government paramilitaries nicknamed the Demon Forces who carried out murder and torture during his father's presidency from 1997 to 2003.

Witnesses at his criminal trial in 2008 spoke of hearing him laugh as prisoners were abused and how the Anti-Terrorist Unit "did things like beating people to death, burying them alive, rape - the most horrible kind of war crimes".

A spokesman for United States immigration and customs enforcement said that it was a "clear message the US would not be a safe haven for human rights violators."

The US isn't a safe haven for war-criminals?

B*llsh*t!

Remember these fine words from Barack Obama?

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

And Eric Holder...

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

The torture memos from Bybee and Yoo cover everybody else, and Bybee and Yoo aren't guilty either! It was just a "bad judgement!"

Abracadabra!

Everybody walks! Nobody goes to jail!

So forget about the "clear message the US would not be a safe haven for human rights violators."

The real message for the torturers of tomorrow is...

Get some wh*re of lawyer (like John Yoo) in your local DOJ to opine that whatever you do is legal, and then you can chop up your victims with no more fear of prosecution than if you were chopping onions.

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What Is the President Supposed To Do?

I missed a recent debate on what left blogs are for (BTD's post on Booman).  I love these sorts of debates but one thing I would like to see cleared up is this:  what is the role of the President?  What are we to expect from him or her?  IMO the different camps in the left blogosphere should explicitly say their piece on that.

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The criminal failures that are sewer systems

The open thread today has a number of comments like this one on the NYT story on failing sewers in the Big Apple.  

I'd like to add my two cents (and a couple more bucks, too) to the discussion.  The failures of government to really fix these problems is, in the colloquial sense, criminal....

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Grassley seeks to censor Webb Bill Crime Commission

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled markup Thursday for the Senator Webb's Crime Bill, S.1714 creating an expert panel to spend up to 2 years suggesting measures to overhaul our criminal Justice system.

Iowa Republican Charles Grassley's Amendment would bar the commission from "considering" "legalization" of presently controlled substances.

Found at LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibion's) copsaylegalize blog

Here's LEAP's automated email to your Senator widget

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Evil, and the Liberal Vocabulary

(This was the very first diary I ever posted on the internet, way back in June 2007, and some of it is dated, but since Dick Cheney has been all over TV recently urging President Obama to stop "dithering" and "do what it takes to win" in Afghanistan, I decided it was worth reposting.)

If you're a liberal, you can say that George Bush isn't very smart, and Dick Cheney isn't very nice, and that's about the end of it. A million liberal blogs and columns grind away at synonyms for "not nice" and "not smart" year after year, but the Republicans still control 49 seats in the Senate, and Fox News still has a license to broadcast.

Bush-Cheney chained up a 78 year-old Afghan man in a fetal position at Guantanamo for more than 24 hours, while he pissed and shat all over himself.  The New York Times and the Washington Post are still a little fuzzy about what to call this procedure, and the rest of the media is even more obtuse. When John McCain sponsored a very weak bill to restrict this method of "interrogation," Dick Cheney ran through every office in the Capitol trying to defeat it, and he succeeded. The same sort of thing is happening at this very moment in a secret CIA prison somewhere, and if you don't know what to call it, I can tell you.

It's torture, Stupid!  

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