Found on a whiteboard in one of our conference rooms where the computer projector was displaying a message to change the bulb:
An article in Plunderbund I read recently about Diebold and the state of Ohio illustrates perfectly the conservative plan to “create” jobs.
In a nutshell, here’s the situation.
- Diebold receives $100 million, including $56 million in state incentives, to stay in Ohio.
- In return, Diebold promised to keep at least 1,500 employees. At the time of the agreement, the company had 1,900 employees.
A quick bit of math show’s that this lets Diebold eliminate up to 400 jobs while taking in $56 million in state incentives.
What kind of negotiation is this?
It’s a great deal if you happen to be a corporation in the State of Ohio. Here’s all you have to do to game the system.
To qualify for Kasich’s program, your company has to have at least 1,000 employees, agree to make $25 million in capital improvements over three consecutive years, and have received a written offer from another state in 2010.
So the first thing you have to do is see what it looks like to leave Ohio.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t this encourage Ohio companies who may not have even been thinking of leaving to look at offers from other states?
Notice there are also no rules stating that companies have to “create” any number of new jobs or hire any number of employees. They just have to invest in improvements which typically means short term construction jobs.
Diebold Outsources Jobs to India
So is Diebold creating jobs?
Not at Diebold. They wrote the terms of the agreement to state that they only keep 1,500 out of their 1,900 employees.
So it was ok for them to outsource 200 IT jobs to India.
“It will expand our capacity to grow,” said company spokesman Mike Jacobsen.
Grow, yes. Grow in Ohio, no.
In fact, oddly enough, the new Diebold headquarters in Ohio is slated to have a capacity of 1,500.
A Better Way to Create Jobs
Now conservatives will tell you that if you don’t do everything you can for your in-state corporations, they will move elsewhere.
Of course they say this. If you could get the government to chip in $100 million to build you a new headquarters and allow you to proceed with your plans to shift jobs to India, wouldn’t you?
The idea is to get different interests competing against each other to get out of as much of your tax obligation as possible.
And once one company is successful, look for more to follow. American Greetings also received a big John Kasich gift of $93.5 million over 15 years.
Why are we giving in to corporate blackmail?
Wouldn’t we create the same number of jobs if we, instead of giving in to this extortion, simply paid it out to local governments as we had been doing before the Kasich administration?
Then, we wouldn’t have to lay off teachers and public employees.
Kasich’s plan only encourages companies to “threaten to leave” in exchange for government handouts.
Instead of a race to the bottom, if states could work together to ban this practice of low-bid extortion, then we could reduce the practice of companies threatening to move every couple of years just to avoid their obligation to the community.
This is the wrong type of incentive to put out there for companies. It encourages them to consider moving, to play states off against each other, and to avoid their fair share of tax obligation.
If companies don’t want to contribute to Ohio, perhaps we should consider calling their bluff and spending our tax dollars on public projects.akadjian
I’m a fan of their half price appetizers. My mom and I like to meet there early on Sunday evenings for Oriental chicken salad and cheese sticks.
Why is this funny and why the heck am I writing about this?
First, a few other things about me.
I work for a Fortune 500 company.
I like hockey and sports. Particularly the Buffalo Sabres even though they didn’t make it to the playoffs this year.
I have a girlfriend.
I was happy that Yeungling came to Ohio.
I own a house. (Well, technically the bank owns it, but this only gives me more in common with the average American.)
I’m a liberal.
Why am I telling you this?
Because you hear so many lies about me.
You hear that I’m a socialist, communist, Marxist, Weather Underground-loving terrorist.
Or a lazy, dirty, out-of-work, Patchouli-wearing hippie.
Or a hip-hop loving, New Black Panther-crazed, tattoo-covered, hoodie-wearing gangsta.
Or a six-foot-six, Amazon, man-hating lesbian dyke femi-Nazi.
Or a dirty, shiftless, back of a pickup truck, illegal immigrant.
I think you get the picture. There’s a marketing campaign to brand me as fringe. Don’t believe me? Turn on AM radio. Someone is spending a lot of money on anti-liberal programming.
How does it work?
Have you ever watched the television show Cops?
I don’t. But my mom is a huge fan. Most evenings you can find her TV tuned to Fox for Cops. When I call, I often hear it in the background turned up a little too loud.
If you watch Cops and only Cops, you’d think that crime is everywhere. Especially in big cities. Your view of reality becomes skewed because all you ever see is crime and people being arrested.
Then, when you hear about a crime being committed in the city, it reinforces your belief that crime is rampant in the city.
You don’t see the more statistically important calm.
For example, I’ve lived in the city for over 20 years and never experienced a crime. Is there a TV show about that? No.
I think that this is why my mom is a little afraid to visit. She’s heard about a crime in the city and sees nothing but crime on TV and even though she’s never experienced any crime when she’s visited, her perception of the city is “scary”.
Even though bicycles have been stolen right out of her garage in the suburbs, her perception of the suburbs is “safe”.
This is perception. This is marketing.
So back to the subject. How does this pertain to liberals?
There’s a marketing campaign to stereotype liberals as “fringe”. You hear it on AM radio. You’ve seen the books and read the pundits. There is a $50 billion network devoted to marginalizing liberals. You hear the “jokes,” you know the stereotypes, and you know how to talk to a liberal.
The marketing campaign is designed to make conservatives appear “normal” and liberals appear “radical”. It’s well funded and on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you don’t believe me, turn on your television, or your radio, or open a paper. Try to find an example where liberals or a liberal idea are portrayed as the voice of reason. You can, but you’ll find far more examples where liberal ideas are marginalized - called socialist, communist, radical, or scary.
So why all the name calling? Why all the liberal bashing? Why all the books about arguing with idiots?
Quite simply, it’s about voting. More accurately, it’s about identity politics.
When you have ideas you want to pass which primarily benefit large corporations and are hugely unpopular with the voting public (tax breaks and handouts for corporations, cutting Medicare and Social Security, defunding the government), you have to find another way to get those you want elected.
That way is identity politics.
What would your chances of getting elected be if you stood up and said “We stand for paying people less, making them work more, and reducing their benefits”?
Zero. So you focus on branding yourself as “good” and your opponents as “evil” and focus on culture because research has shown that people tend to vote for candidates they like and candidates that are like them.
So when someone tells you that they’re all baseball and apple pie and that their opponent is a Muslim socialist who wasn’t born in America, ask yourself, why?
And beyond that, why are they attacking the person and not the person’s arguments?
So what can you do?
If you’ve ever had to dispute a stereotype, none of this comes as a surprise. You know the frustration.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that, by and large, the people you are talking to, your friends and family, may have bought into the marketing.
Remember, that your real fight is not with them. Your real fight is with the people behind the marketing.
Remember this as your temperature rises. If you feel yourself about to burst, remember you can always agree to disagree and walk away.
Remember that people, your friends and family, are your natural allies. Even if you think of yourself as the leftiest liberal and the other person considers himself a diehard conservative, you probably share 95% of the same beliefs.
Save your anger for the advertisers and the people behind this marketing campaign - I’ll call them the 1%. With your friends and family, show them how similar you are and what you have in common.
On the news the other day, a farmer in Ohio was interviewed about health care.
He talked about how he didn’t like the idea of being “forced” to pay for health care.
The temptation would be to see him as a conservative because of his stated framing of insurance as a mandate. The temptation would be to start an argument and try to tell him that he’s wrong and that the Affordable Care Act is right. The temptation is to get into the Right vs. Left argument.
Yet at the same time, this farmer stated his belief that too many people were without insurance.
Like most people, he has conflicting beliefs. And the beliefs he’s sharing are beliefs shared by almost everyone. No one likes to be “forced” to do something. No one likes to see people suffer or go bankrupt because of a medical problem.
So how would I approach this person?
I’d approach him as I would a friend and share what I agree with him about.
Then I’d ask him how he thinks we could cover everyone. What might a good plan look like?
At this point, you’re not talking about Right vs. Left, Democrat vs. Republican. We’re just talking. As friends would talk. Friends who share similar beliefs.
This conversation can then lead in a number of directions. You can:
- Come up with an ideal solution that the two of you agree on
- Find some areas of common ground
- Agree to disagree
At the very minimum, what you are doing is breaking down any predefined stereotypes. And you are stating your values, what you believe, rather than telling the person he/she is wrong.
But isn’t this obvious?
Read a few blogs. Read how most liberals respond to conservatives. Then come back and tell me its obvious.
Here’s a good (or rather a bad) example from the Huffington Post:
Folks need to recognize that voting for the Regressive party means you will live your life according to their twisted and irrational morals, not your own.
The author implies that anyone who has a differing opinion lives according to twisted and irrational morals. If you identified yourself as Republican, wouldn’t this condescending tone make you angry?
A much better approach would have been to state what the author believes, succinctly and clearly, and help inspire the audience to want to believe the same.
This is the approach I take with my friends and family.
Applebee’s, my love
Many people I know laugh when I profess my love of Applebee’s. My liberal friends make fun of me because it’s a chain restaurant. My conservative friends laugh because it goes against stereotype (I thought all you hippies were Vegan).
It doesn’t make me angry when my conservative friends laugh though. Laughter is good and this also gives me a chance to help reach them.
I’ll say something like this:
All the liberals I know believe in capitalism. We just believe that it works best when people are well informed, when the markets are fair, and when it’s well regulated.
Here’s an example. Would you trust purchasing meat if it wasn’t regulated by the USDA? Don’t you think that many corporations would try to sell substandard product if they could turn a quick profit?
Am I arguing that you need to like Applebee’s?
No. I’m simply making the case that if you want to convince people and win people over to your side:
- You have to like them
- You have to break through the marketing
- And, you have to sell your beliefs
Having better ideas is not enough, we have to do a better job of selling them.
And, we have to do it without constant corporate backing and many media channels so we need as many people working within their immediate circles as possible.
Originally posted to Daily Kos.akadjian
This is a little bit off topic from the usual political fare, but NHL Gamecenter is a perfect metaphor for our current economy- a company that rather than provide a quality service, looks to sell you something which sounds good on the surface until you discover the fine print.
- Stream live out-of-market games or enjoy classic games from NHL Vault™*
- Watch full-length and condensed replays of games you missed
- Keep track of stats, standings, news, and more
Sounds good, right? Up to 40 games a week. Some might be blacked out, but only games which are out of market.
What does “stream live out-of-market games” mean?
The NFL considers a market a major U.S. city. This is evident in their blackout policy for home games which are not sold out. For example, I live in Cincinnati. When our homes games don’t sell out, the NFL blacks out the game in our market.
Let me tell you what NHL Gamecenter means by “out of market“.
They mean that if any network is showing a game on TV in the U.S. or Canada you will not get this game.
If it’s shown on Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC, you cannot get this game. Nevermind if you live in Canada or not. Canada is considered “in market“.
If games are shown on Versus or any other network anywhere in the United States, you cannot watch the game.
If you live on the East Coast, this means that West Coast games because those are considered “in market” if they’re on anything but a local TV station somewhere in the United States. Same for East Coast games if you live on the West Coast.
So on any given night during the regular season, there are typically 1-2 games which you can’t watch. Usually the best match-ups.
What about the playoffs?
Now I could live with that. Here’s what gets me.
ALL PLAYOFF games are televised. This means NO PLAYOFF GAMES are televised on NHL Gamecenter. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
Now NHL Gamecenter doesn’t tell you this when you sign up. You find out out about it when you’re all excited that the playoffs are starting and you turn on your ROKU and try to find a game and none of them are available.
Then you call customer service and the first message you hear is that ALL PLAYOFF GAMES ARE BLACKED OUT.
I would never have bought NHL Gamecenter if I’d of known this. So I contacted customer support to ask for a refund of my final month’s payment (the final playoff month).
Here’s what they told me when I asked about the playoffs:
The playoffs are included, but blacked out for the U.S. and Canada.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the NHL only has U.S. and Canadian teams.
Translation: How the f*ck can they be included if they’re not included in U.S. and Canada?
How’s customer support?
Here is most of my conversation with Customer Support.
Long story short: This service is a complete RIPOFF. If you are thinking about this, it is not worth it. You might as well spend the $160 at a bar watching games. Because you’re going to have to anyways.
They must get a lot of calls about this issues because they have a prepared statement ready:
Unfortunately we are unable to cancel your account at this time. Each subscriber has 5 days to cancel from the day the package was ordered or activated, as agreed upon in the Terms and Conditions. Your activation date was on . The day it was activated counts as one of the 5 days. Your purchase was for the Full Season, but you chose to pay it off in 8 “Monthly Installments”. The NHL does not offer a month to month service that can be canceled at any time, just the full season with the option to pay it in full upfront, or to pay it off on monthly installments. We encourage you to take advantage of your purchase and enjoy the rest of this NHL season. You have been removed from the automatic renewal for the 2012/2013 Season for GameCenter Live, so your account will cancel after your last payment. We hope you enjoy your service with NHL.com.
I’d like to enjoy the rest of the NHL season. Unfortunately, NHL GameCenter, I can’t on your network because you offer such a horrible ripoff of a service.
The media reports what both sides say. What you rarely see the media doing is any type of objective cost/benefit analysis.
Think of this as the perspective you might want to take if you were a business and you were looking at investing your money in a new voter ID program.
You’d want to see what the returns or benefits look like in comparison to the costs.
Basically, is it worth it?
What’s a simple analysis look like?
To start, you want to have reasonable estimates that everyone can agree upon for at least 3 things:
1) Initial costs
2) Current situation
3) Benefit of a new solution
You can also add in ongoing costs. For the purpose of this simple estimate, I’m going to assume ongoing costs are roughly similar between any new solution and current voter ID measures.
I will also state, for the record, that this is a quick and dirty estimate. The idea is not to come up with perfect numbers but to get a sense for whether we’re more or less likely to realize some significant improvements from a new voter ID system.
If you are doing this cost benefit analysis for or with a particular person or audience, check along the way to make sure that you can both agree that the numbers are reasonable estimates.
Another quick reminder: Focus the discussion on the analysis and keep personal politics out of it. The idea here is to:
Work together to analyze a proposed solution using numbers everyone can agree upon.
This sounds simple, but this can be the hardest part of the discussion.
Onto the analysis.
For initial costs, there are a number of programs already in place or under study so it was pretty easy to find some numbers.
Some of the costs include:
- Training for workers on the new process
- A communication process and implementation plan for the new process; how you are going to make it happen
- Public education and outreach programs to explain the changes
- Cost of issuing free IDs to satisfy Constitutional requirements
- Updates to forms and systems
In Indiana, the BMV has issued 771,017 free photo IDs at a total cost of just over $10 million from 2007-2010. In Georgia, the costs to implement the new photo ID system was stated as $1.6 million from 2006-2008. An estimate for North Carolina is $18-25 million over the course of 3 years.
Estimates range from roughly $1 million per year to upwards of $8 million for the first couple years. After the initial couple years, costs drop significantly as changes have been implemented and the public and election workers understand the new requirements.
What’s the current situation look like? How much voter fraud is occurring?
The New York Times reported that from 2002 to 2005, exactly 55 people were convicted of voter fraud.
The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) compiled stats by state on voting convictions from 2000-2010. During the 10 year period, 21 states had only 1 or 2 convictions for voting irregularities.
So as not to be accused of bias, let’s look at the RNLA statistics for the State of Missouri. From 2000 to 2010, 17 convictions for voting irregularities were observed. This is roughly 1.7 voting irregularities per year.
Now let’s assume that we only catch 5% of those people who voted illegally so the 1.7 number is 5% of the total. We likely catch a greater percentage but, for the sake of argument, let’s assume we catch very few people who vote illegally. If we only catch 5%, then there would be roughly 34 cases of illegal voting in Missouri each year.
The total number of voters in Missouri in 2008 was 4.2 million. Let’s say only 30% of these voters vote in an average election for an average voting number of 1.26 million.
The percentage of illegal votes under the current system = 34 / 1.26 million x 100 % = .0027%.
In other words, 500 times less than 1% of the vote in the State of Missouri. This is likely less than the margin of error in the voting system itself. In other words, you’ll likely see more clerical errors than illegal votes.
Benefit of a new solution
Let’s assume the new system works well and that it improves upon the old by limiting 80% of the current illegal votes.
This would mean that the State of Missouri would reduce the number of illegal votes from 34 to 7 (6.8 rounded up) illegal votes per year.
This would reduce the percentage of illegal votes under the new system to 7 / 1.26 million x 100% = .00056% per year.
Summary of Results
Here’s the results of our simple cost/benefit analysis:
|$6-8 million for first 3 years||Reduced illegal voters from 34 per year to 7|
|Percentage of illegal votes reduced from .0027% to .00056%|
For the first 3 years of the program, the cost is roughly $220,000 per illegal vote prevented.
No election I have ever heard of has been within .0027%.
If it were, the laws usually state that you have to have a recount or some type of runoff election.
When you look at the numbers, I don’t see the value of changing the voter ID laws. Even if we use conservative numbers and assume that we hardly catch any illegal voters or that the costs for implementation are lower.
The current system works well, no elections are being influenced by illegal voting, and the changes come with a significant cost.
The real question is, why don’t we see more of this type of analysis in the media?
Its not hard to do, it would help people make better decisions, and full-time reporters, with the ability to do better research, could likely find even more accurate numbers than those I’ve used and validate the analysis further.
I believe that this is because the media, by and large, has adopted a certain view of the news. This view is that “fair and balanced” equals presenting both sides of the story equally without any analysis. Equal media time and coverage as opposed to fair analysis.
This means that if one side said the world was round and the other said the world was flat, we would see equal coverage of the situation. The only thing that you can’t do under these rules, is give less time to one side.
Most report simply quote what each side says.
Any type of analysis runs the risk of disagreeing with one side or another and therefore would be unfair.
This view of the media says that to be fair, we can only print what each side says.
A working media would question the conclusions and help the public understand the methods used and how results were verified. It would question the claims made by both sides. It would perform analysis and ensure that the analysis itself was fair.
If the methods were deemed proper and reviewed appropriately, then conclusions would be trustworthy and non-partisan.
Today’s media disagrees. Fair is printing what both sides say without any analysis of the claims. Any critical analysis which favors one conclusion over another is considered bias.
Is it any wonder that so many people are confused when the media, which should be responsible for vetting claims, merely transcribes what each side says?akadjian
A great post by spocko over at FDL got me thinking about Thanksgiving …
… and the inevitable comments from my conservative Uncle.
What’s he going to bring up this year?
I’ll lay odds that somewhere between the turkey and dressing and the pumpkin pie my Uncle is going to try to bait me by saying something about the violence that has been associating with Occupy Wall Street. I think it might sound something like this:
Why are they [OWS] so violent? How come you never see any violence with the Tea Party?
Spocko lays out one approach to this Thanksgiving Day bait, but here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years about talking with conservatives.
1. Know who your fight is with
Is your fight with your conservative relative? I’d suggest that it’s not.
Your fight is really with those in this country who are influencing Washington. What those in the OWS movement are calling the 1%.
Please note: I’m using the term 1% to refer to the people within the 1% who are influencing our government. I know there are members of the 1% who are actually against this influence. Take “1%” as shorthand for those at the top who believe in buying influence.
This point may seem obvious, but I list it as #1 for good reason. Over the years, I’ve seen countless people forget this rule and get way too emotionally involved in a political fight with a relative or friend.
Remember, this is your relative or friend. You may disagree with them but at the end of the day, you still want this person to be your relative or friend. It’s just a conversation folks.
If you remember that your fight is really not with this person (unless this person happens to actually be a member of the 1% who owns Washington), then it’s easier to have a discussion without turning it into a fight.
2. Know your goal
Is your goal to win the argument?
I’d suggest that it shouldn’t be. Here’s what I believe you should choose as your goal: win people over to your side.
Will this be done by winning an argument? Maybe with some people. But often you’ll only polarize them more against you.
Again, this may seem obvious. But time and again I see liberals getting into head-to-head knock down drag out fights because they want to be right more than they care about their relative or friend.
Here’s a quote that struck me from Mike Murphy, a veteran GOP strategist:
Political satire doesn’t have anywhere near the power you’d think it does. Most people who watch Jon Stewart’s show or a Michael Moore movie have already made up their minds.
Now I don’t bring this up to agree or disagree with Mr. Murphy. That’s not the point.
What I want to point out is that Mike Murphy is a political professional and he’s saying that what’s important is winning people over.
Ask yourself this question when you get into a discussion, do you want to be right or do you want to genuinely win someone over?
If you want to win someone over, you have to treat them with respect and dignity.
Telling them that they’re wrong is going to have about the same impact as satire. You might win someone over who is pretty close to agreeing with you. But someone who has a completely different opinion?
They’re going to think you’re not listening to them and just repeating liberal propaganda.
And yes, I know, they’ve been told this by all the conservative pundits for years and it’s not true, etc, etc.
This doesn’t change the fact that this is what they believe.
If you can’t handle being respectful and you know that what they say is going to drive you nuts, you probably should take the advice of the Gambler, and know when to fold ‘em.
3. Know their tactics
Much has been written about this and you probably know these from their frequent usage so I’m just going to make a few recommendations if you want further reading:
- How to Argue Like a Conservative
- Articles and books by George Lakoff
- Articles and books by Drew Westen
Another good source is to read some conservative literature, listen to some conservative pundits, or find yourself a good person online to practice having discussions with.
NOTE: Just don’t pay for any of this material. I’ve checked out Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh all from the local library. You only have to suffer one or two disapproving looks from the librarian.
4. Hold your ground and know your beliefs
Ok. We’ve set the stage. Now I’m going to tell you one of the strongest strategies to use.
It’s simple in theory, but hard to do in practice.
Almost all conservative tactics have to do with changing the argument.
Straw men, changing the subject, accusation, name calling, moving the goalposts. All of these are designed to change the argument to something else and knock you off your game.
Ann Coulter wrote this in How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must):
You must outrage the enemy. If the liberal you’re arguing with doesn’t become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you’re not doing it right. People don’t get angry when lies are told about them; they get angry when the truth is told about them. If you are not being called outrageous by liberals, you’re not being outrageous enough. Start with the maximum assertion about liberals and then push the envelope, because, as we know, their evil is incalculable.
Why? you ask.
Because they want you to either A) take the bait and start arguing on their terms, or B) as Ann wrote, become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage.
Are you starting to understand the game?
You are trying to have a rational conversation with someone while they are trying to bait you and make you angry.
These tactics likely sound familiar.
What you have to do is know your beliefs, hold your ground, and don’t take the bait.
Keep coming back to your argument.
Here’s an example. In a recent online discussion, I wrote about the Move Your Money movement. I said that I thought it was a great idea.
My online friend, Michale, said this to start the argument:
  And when banks start laying tellers and such??? Will it be a “great idea” then?
His tactic: try and demonize this movement. Now I like Michale. We’ve talked for years and though we disagree on a lot of things, I know he’s a good person.
So first, I joked with him about his “laying tellers” comment because it was funny and we often joke (he meant “laying off tellers” obviously) and then I stated my belief:
 If banks are not offering a good service, shouldn’t we be free to find a better one?
He then went on to say that if I just wanted better service, then it was ok to move my money. But if I was trying to make a statement to the bank, it was “economic terrorism”.
See the emotional cues he’s trying to strike?
At this point, I have to admit, I blew it. I took the bait and started arguing about economic terrorism asking him how moving my money from a credit union was “economic terrorism”.
What I should have done was stick with my original belief.
Fortunately, I was helped out by the site author, Chris, who wrote:
 As an American citizen, I am free to put my money wherever the heck I want, for whatever reason enters my brain. That is freedom, pal. That’s the way capitalism and the free market work, too, by the way.
This was my original argument and I should have stuck to it, but I got sucked in by the emotionally charged term “economic terrorism”. Basically, I was pissed off because it felt like he was calling me a terrorist.
This is what conservatives will try to do. Throw you off your argument.
I could go into much detail on why they’re doing this and why it won’t work for you but here’s the net: they’ve got billion dollar networks pumping out their message, their goal is to confuse any strong message they don’t agree with and then let the media they own get their message out.
Don’t play their game.
When you’ve got a good argument, stick to it.
If you’re interested, you can read our entire argument in the comments section here. Since comments are numbered, I’ve included numbers with the quotes above.
NOTE: I’ve talked with Michale for years and consider him a friend even though we disagree on a number of things. So I tried to follow my own advice and be respectful and remember that my fight isn’t really with him. Unfortunately, I lost it for a bit after his “economic terrorism” comment. I got angry. Fortunately, Michale is big enough not to hold it against me and I give him the same benefit of the doubt when he sometimes gets mad. We know sometimes things get heated, but we also know we can always set it aside to go for beers. This is why he makes a really good person to have politicla discussions with.
5. “No win” conservatives
I’m not sure if it was written in a conservative guidebook somewhere or not, but many conservatives I know seem to have the belief that they should always get in the last word. (Ok, maybe most liberals too.)
We all seem to believe that he who gets in the last word wins.
And with some conservatives, there is no winning because they will fight you to the death rather than admit giving any ground to a liberal.
I’m going to call these people “no win” conservatives”.
If you encounter one of these “no win” conservatives, you have to acknowledge that you will never “win” in the rational, academic sense of winning an argument.
No win conservatives are, from the start, in a war against you that is very close to a religious war. You are the enemy and should be treated as such.
When you encounter these types of conservatives, you need to make some decisions:
- Choose not to engage: This is a very valid strategy that may save you time and energy. Put it into winning over others who are more open.
- Recognize that you’re not going to win in the traditional sense: No matter how much proof you present or how strong your argument, their opinion of you isn’t going to change so you have to change your goal. In this situation, I’d suggest that your goal is to win over anyone else who might be listening. You want to be funnier, more rational, and more logical than your stub-servative friend and you want to play to the audience. If there is not audience, see #1.
If your conservative relative is not a “no win” conservative then feel free to use your regularly scheduled arguments.
6. How to Tell When You’ve Won
If your relative is a “no win” conservative, you will never win as mentioned above.
So how do you know when to quit?
I will usually quit when it’s obvious that the person I’m talking to has said something outside recognized norms.
In the Michale example above, I should have quit shortly after he called moving to a credit union “economic terrorism”.
Because most people are going to think that you should be able to do what you want, when you want to, irregardless of reason with your money.
Once I’ve said that people should be free to do what they want with their money unless this is somehow violating some law, I should have started thinking about ending the argument.
Because at that point, I’ve won over the independents. I’ve won over anyone listening who can be won over.
At this point, you should let the religious look religious and step away from the argument.
A good way to do this would have been to say something like:
At this point, we’re just going to have to disagree. You think I’m an “economic terrorist,” but I believe I have a freedom and a right to move my money. We’ve come to an impasse and there’s little point in discussing further.
7. Don’t make it about Right vs. Left
Conservatives strongly identify with the Right vs. Left narrative. Conservatives vs. liberals. Republicans vs. Democrats.
In fact, they’ve largely invented this narrative. But who plays into it? We do.
We don’t have to.
Conservative radio has showed them how to play this game and one of their favorite things is arguing Right vs. Left.
Instead, pick an argument. And stick to it like above.
An easy way to do this is to say something like:
This isn’t about Right vs. Left. This is about fixing our banking system so that something like the crash of 2008 doesn’t happen again.
They will try to categorize your argument by equating it to some aspect of the “Left” like socialism or communism or some other -ism.
Again, keep them on track, keep going back to the issue, and try to find common ground:
Instead of throwing around names, let me ask you this: Should we have bailed out the failed banks without any consequences to them for causing the crisis?
If you stick to your argument and don’t get sucked into the Right vs. Left game, eventually you might score a point or two and cause someone to think a little differently.
If not, remember that you’re playing for the audience.
8. Remember your goal
I close with this again because I can’t overstate the importance: your goal should not be to win the argument.
If you’re starting off with this goal, you’ve lost from the opening bell.
Your goal is to win people to your side. If it’s your conservative relative, great. If that’s impossible, work on winning your other relatives over.
If there’s one thing that Occupy Wall Street has taught us, it’s that you don’t have to win over everyone if you can convince a few people close to you to join in in winning people over.
Remember that you’ve got a great argument and all you have to win over are a few friends or relatives close to you.
To not leave any threads hanging, what would be my strategy in dealing with the violence question I raised in the intro around Occupy Wall Street?
I would talk about the beliefs of the protesters instead. I would ask questions like: Do you think the protesters have a point when they say banks have gotten too big? Or, that money has too much influence over Washington?
I’d stick to it and ignore the violence question. If it continued to come up, I’d say that I’m against violence in general and ask why the media only focuses on a few violent incidents. Why don’t they focus on the legitimate questions the protest is raising?
I’d say that violence, as in any other situation, is a matter for the police to deal with. And if they asked, how come OWS doesn’t police their own? I’d ask them why conservatives don’t stop other conservatives from shooting abortion doctors.
I might also ask why the police never show up to a Tea Party rally in full riot gear. This might get some thoughts started.
But mostly, I’d try to stick to the beliefs I share with OWS. The belief that our government is owned by corporate lobbyists from the 1% and that we need to do something about it. This is a belief all kinds of people share. Across the political spectrum. It’s a good argument and we should stick keep bringing it up as much as possible.
Happy Thanksgiving folks and if you have strategies or arguments that have worked particularly well please share in the comments!
Would love to hear ‘em.
In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite scenes from the movie Thank You For Smoking:
Joey Naylor: …so what happens when you’re wrong?
Nick Naylor: Whoa, Joey I’m never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But you can’t always be right…
Nick Naylor: Well, if it’s your job to be right, then you’re never wrong.
Joey Naylor: But what if you are wrong?
Nick Naylor: OK, let’s say that you’re defending chocolate, and I’m defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you: ‘Vanilla is the best flavour ice-cream’, you’d say…
Joey Naylor: No, chocolate is.
Nick Naylor: Exactly, but you can’t win that argument… so, I’ll ask you: so you think chocolate is the end all and the all of ice-cream, do you?
Joey Naylor: It’s the best ice-cream, I wouldn’t order any other.
Nick Naylor: Oh! So it’s all chocolate for you is it?
Joey Naylor: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
Nick Naylor: Well, I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice-cream, and that Joey Naylor, that is the defintion of liberty.
Joey Naylor: But that’s not what we’re talking about
Nick Naylor: Ah! But that’s what I’m talking about.
Joey Naylor: …but you didn’t prove that vanilla was the best…
Nick Naylor: I didn’t have to. I proved that you’re wrong, and if you’re wrong I’m right.
Joey Naylor: But you still didn’t convince me
Nick Naylor: It’s that I’m not after you. I’m after them.
[points into the crowd]
Yeah, I know. It’s small. Click on it for the full size image.
This is the client list for the lobbying firm of Clark Lytle Geduldig and Cranford.
Who is this firm and what do they do?
According to their press page and The Hill, “Clark Lytle Geduldig and Cranford know how to kill legislate threats to (their) clients.” (The Hill, April 24, 2008).
In short, CLGC is a lobbying firm with a long list of corporate clients. Wouldn’t you like to know what types of legislation they’ve influenced? And how many other lobbying firms just like them are out there?
Here’s a second picture (I think the first one was enough, but if you’re interested).
Who are these folks?
Sam Geduldig was a former adviser to Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio), the current Speaker of the House, as well as Congressman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), the former Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Steve Clark is a former board member of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce who was cited in 2000 as Ohio’s Most Effective Corporate Lobbyist.
Gary Lytle was senior vice president of federal relations for Qwest and lead lobbyist on all issues involving Congress, the Administration, and the FCC.
And Jay Cranford is another former John Boehner assistant.
Now, for those Democrats out there who will point and say “Look, John Boehner!” CLGC also claims that they are “quick on (their) feet even with Democrats in power.” (The Hill, May 14, 2009).
And a third picture showing some of these testimonials. (Wow, it’s kind of hard to believe they’re this bold about what they do. Basically, hire them and they’ll kill the legislation you don’t want or provide you with the right level of influence.)
They also claim to:
“offer clients an exceptionally well-rounded view of the legislative process.” (Washingtonian, May 23, 2011)
Let me translate that for you from lobbying speak: they can influence Democrats too.
The point is not to say that one side, Democrats or Republicans are better. That’s not the argument I’m trying to make here.
Let me spell it out for you.
The chief problem in Washington is NOT Democrats or Republicans.
The chief problem in Washington is that our government is not our government anymore.
If you pay enough to one of these lobbying firms (apologies for singling you out, CLGC, I know there’s others), you can influence the legislative process.
The main problem is the influence of money on our system.
The main problem is that the industries who are supposed to comply with government regulations for the good of our country are instead writing (or blocking) the rules through the influence of lobbyists such as CLGC.
One picture was never clearer.akadjian
In regards to the Occupy Wall Street protest, several friends I know have asked the question “What are they protesting?” or “What do they want?”
After reading the media coverage, it’s no wonder they’re asking this question. The media, if they’ve covered the event at all, has largely portrayed the protests as scattered, small to non-existent, hippie street freak sit-ins with no goals or objectives.
Yet if I look at recent conversations I’ve had with people from across the political spectrum, the protests seem to be having a more far-reaching impact than this narrative.
The media coverage so far
Tina Susman from the LA Times wrote: “How about some specific demands, a long-term strategy, maybe even … office space?”
Nate Jones in the Metro wrote: “We know the protesters currently hanging out in downtown Manhattan are against Wall Street — that’s right in the name. But what are they for?”
Gina Bellafonte, in perhaps the most disdainful article in the NY Times called the movement “a noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people.”
But at least they’ve written about the movement. The protest has been going on for 3 weeks and the Associated Press only has 2 articles about it (1) (2). One focuses on investigating the NYPD for pepper spraying and the other says little more than “the protest continues”.
The coverage in the mainstream media is largely non-existent or is spreading this narrative about hippie protesters with no apparent goals. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece that discusses this media coverage in more detail.
A movement stirs
Yet something else is happening.
Daily my friends on Facebook are posting links to the protests or information about the protests.
Ann Kruetzkamp, a friend of mine from NY, posted an excellent series of pictures of the event (both this past weekend’s protest at the Brooklyn Bridge and the ongoing protest in Zucotti Park) which tell a different story than the media.
Another, posted this meme which has been making the rounds. The protest also spawned a 100-comment discussion thread amongst my friends on the topic of more equitable taxation.
It seems like people are having conversations again about Wall Street and their role in the financial crisis. Conversations which never really took place in the way they should have after the bank meltdown.
Conversations which may have been held in private but not en masse because our “liberal” media relegates the stories to the back pages.
If the Tea Party sneezes, the media seems to jump on the story about “taxes” or Tea Party influence or the ever-present Republican vs. Democrat story with the new Tea Party twist.
Yet we never really had a conversation about how Wall Street avoided any consequences as a result of the financial meltdown, about how the same people are in charge, or about how Wall Street has returned much as it was before the crisis.
Or even about the influence of money on politics or the increasing inequality of wealth or jobs.
Where is the “liberal” media?
Or is this perhaps what the protest has made absurdly clear? That there is no liberal media.
There’s only corporate media owned by the likes of GE, Disney, Gannett, ClearChannel, NewsCorp, Time-Warner, and Hearst.
And while apparently it’s OK to provide ad nauseum coverage of Tea Party protests, it’s not OK to cover a Wall Street protest in anything but an unfavorable light lest ‘ye offend the “job creators”.
Yet the conversations are taking place anyways. They’re taking place online, at work, and en masse.
And it feels like a breath of fresh air.
If Occupy Wall Street only accomplishes changing the conversation from the officially blessed narrative du jour, it’s been successful.
If we realize from this event that we’re going to have to evangelize and tell these stories ourselves to our friends and family, it’s done something truly significant.akadjian
Could Chris Christie be the Republican savior who swoops in to consolidate the Republican vote?
According to Christie, he’s not running.
So why all the hubbub? Aren’t the current candidates good enough?
With all the speculation, I thought I’d look at what an ideal candidate might look like based on the Republican debates.
Here’s my profile of an ideal Republican candidate:
|Thinks social security is a Ponzi scheme||Says social security is a Ponzi scheme (Perry)|
|Texas, Georgia, Utah||Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania|
|Hates health care mandate||Implemented health care mandate (Romney)|
|Believes blacks are ‘brainwashed’ to vote for liberals (Cain)||Believes in bringing this country together (Huntsman)|
|Hates Obama||Worked for Obama (Huntsman)|
|Believes Federal Reserve is a government conspiracy (Paul)||Believes American foreign policy helped contribute to the 9/11 attacks (Paul)|
|Stands up for our military||Stands up for gay members of our military (debate audience)|
|Last name associated with the Contract for America (Gingrich)||Last name a euphemism for “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex” (Santorum)|
|Believes $70 billion to $120 billion of Medicare and Medicaid is paid to crooks (Gingrich)||Voted for $1 trillion in Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors (Santorum)|
|Believes separation of church and state means that you should ban the Muslim religion from our country (Cain)||Believes in separation of church and state at all (Cain)|
|Called to run by God (Perry, Bachmann)||Called to run by the Brigham Young (Romney, Huntsman) or Ayn Rand (Paul)|
|Godfather’s Pizza||Bain Capital|
|Believes homosexuality is a sin and goes against Biblical teachings (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain) or is a disease like alcoholism (Perry)||Married to a homosexual drag queen (Bachmann)|
|Brags about the number of people put to death in his state (Perry)||Brags about the Texas DREAM Act (Perry)|
|Wants to win the Mexican-American vote||Wants to give Mexican-Americans anything in return for their vote|
|Dinner fundraisers in Iowa (Bachmann, Perry)||Eating a corn dog in front of a Sistine Chapel reproduction (Perry)|
Ok, that last one is Photoshopped, but I had you for a second, right?akadjian
John Kasich’s Ohio budget forecasts that spending in the state will fall from 120.3 billion in Ted Strickland’s last budget to 119.5 billion this year.
This is a drop of $800 million or essentially an unchanged budget (a drop of 0.6% for the mathematically inclined).
With all the cuts proposed in the Kasich budget, this lead me to a simple question: Where are the proposed savings going?
You would think this information would be relatively easy to find, but surprisingly, it’s not readily available.
Here’s my attempt to understand the Kasich budget.
Where are the cuts?
- The Local Government Fund - Cut $555 million (25% in the first year, 50% in the second)
- Reimbursement fund payments to local governments and schools - Cut $1.3 billion (money moved into the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF))
- Not replacing $1.8 billion in federal stimulus funds
- Medicaid funding - Cut $1.4 billion by reducing payments to nursing homes and hospitals
- Cuts in other agencies - Cut $400 million
- Library cuts -$160 million
- Primary and secondary schools - Cut 12.1% in 2012 and 7.6% in 2013
- Higher education cuts - Cut 13.1% each year
The Columbus Dispatch has the best graphic I’ve found that illustrates the Kasich cuts:
What are the privatizations?
- Privatizing five state prisons - Raises $50 million
- Leasing of the state’s liquor distribution network to JobsOhio. - Ran a profit of $228.8 million in 2010. The yearly profits will now go to JobsOhio, Kasich’s privatized Ohio development organization.
Where is it going?
So if overall spending isn’t changing, yet all these cuts are being made, where is the money going?
- Repeal of the estate tax - $333.8 million loss of revenue (2009 statistics). This money only goes to people with estates worth more than $338,333. This money used to go to local governments and schools.
- InvestOhio - $100 million each year in tax credits to people who invest in Ohio small businesses. The credit is good for 10% of their investment and tops out at $1 million each year.
- Bonuses for rich school districts - a special $17 bonus payment per student for school districts that were rated either “excellent” or “excellent with distinction”
- General Revenue Fund shift - $1.3 billion moved into the General Revenue Fund from state and local schools
- Funding for charter and private school vouchers -Estimated $500 million increase. (Note: More charter schools also can be created because of changes in sponsorship rules, but the additional cost is not yet known because the funding is provided per pupil. Last year, charter schools got about $720 million and three different voucher programs got a total of more than $100 million. Based on these numbers I’m a estimating $500 million increase)
Does it add up?
Kasich increased spending from the General Revenue Fund from $50.5 billion to $55.6 billion over 2 years.
This is an increase of $5 billion. This is also supposedly the largest increase in state spending in Ohio’s history.
This is the information that I was able to find. But it doesn’t add up.
First, where are the increases in the GRF going to?
Some seem to be going to Kasich’s JobsOhio private development effort, some to charter/private school vouchers, and some to wealthy school districts. Does that add up to $2.5 billion a year?
Second, how can Kasich claim to be closing an $8 billion gap when he’s increasing spending by $5 billion and only making about $6 billion in cuts. Where are the rest of the spending increases?
As Kasich’s own Budget Director Tim Keen said: “I fully realize that it’s kind of counter-intuitive that we’ve closed an $8 billion shortfall and yet spending is growing.”
Counter-intuitive … is that what you call it?
What’s really going on here?
It sure looks like a shell game where the money is being shifted around.
Kasich’s strategy is:
- Cut funding to local governments and schools and force them to either cut services or raise taxes.
- Privatize state-owned businesses sacrificing long-term revenue for short-term payments.
- Shift the savings to private companies to bribe them to stay in Ohio or move to Ohio. See Wendy’s, Diebold, Bob Evans, and OmniCare.
- Shift the savings to wealthy school districts and to privatization efforts.
When you look at it closely, Kasich’s strategy sure looks a lot like “trickle down” theory. Give to the wealthy and somehow it will “trickle down”.
It doesn’t look like any jobs are being created (according to estimates by Innovation Ohio and the Columbus Dispatch, 50,000 jobs will be lost), but it sure looks like Kasich donors make out well.
And by the way, with people making less money, Kasich’s rosy revenue projections already aren’t working. I can already guess what the response will be, get ready for more cuts.
Why isn’t this information in the news?
Your guess is as good as mine. Though if I had to guess, it’s because people would be really mad if they knew the details about Kasich’s budget.
Most articles tend to be like this Cincinnati Enquirer piece or this Columbus Dispatch piece, which, instead of taking an objective look at what the budget looks like, where the cuts are and where the money is going, presents the Republican talking points and then the Democratic response. With the Republican talking points typically headlining.
They also only present pieces of the puzzle which is why it’s so difficult to actually track down this information.
When you actually look at the whole picture, Kasich’s plan is pretty clear: it’s typical conservative trickle down theory.
- Ohio Legislative Service Commission Budget in Brief
- “Schools, local governments take hit in Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal,” Cleveland.com