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Politics and Social Justice

What the Pundits Missed

The usual pundits, for all their verbiage, have missed a lot, especially since they have nobody from the cognitive and brain sciences discussing election. Here’s part of what’s been missing from the discussion. First, conservatives have an extensive, but not obvious communications system, with many think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of spokespeople […]

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On Environmental Communication

Today, September 28, 2010, EcoAmerica is hosting an important environmental conference, America The Best, in Washington, DC, for a small group of specialists in environmental communication to see what ideas emerge. Because of the number of distinguished participants, I compressed my ideas to just a few pages. I have written about these issues at length […]

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Why the Democrats’ Response to the Pledge Has Been Inadequate

The Democratic response to the Republican Pledge to America has been factual about its economics. The September 26, 2010 Sunday New York Times editorial goes through the economic details, and Democrats have been citing the economic facts from the Congressional Budget Office. As Dan Pfeiffer reports on the White House blog, the Republicans are proposing:* […]

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Conservatism’s Death Gusher

This originally appeared on The Huffington Post The issue is death — death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; […]

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Double Dividend: Make Money by Saving Nature

Saving nature is the central issue. Carbon fuels destroy nature. The Gulf Death Gusher is the most visible sign. But signs are everywhere. Overall global warming increases hurricanes and floods, destroys habitats for plants, fish, birds, and ground animals, spreads deserts, causes deadly waves, and destroys glaciers and our polar ice caps. The use of […]

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The Death Gusher in the Gulf Should Tell Us to End Offshore Drilling Forever

SAVE, BABY, SAVE! A barrel saved is a barrel not needed — ever! The Death Gusher in the Gulf should tell us to end offshore drilling forever. The reason is simple: Systemic risk! Better regulations won’t end what went wrong: Corporate greed, cutting corners to save money, lack of coordination among subcontractors, unforeseen factors, […]

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Disaster Messaging Could be Fatal to America’s Future

This originally appeared on Daily Kos Here’s a description the typical situation. • The Republicans outmessage the Democrats. The Democrats, having no effective response, face disaster: They lose politically, either in electoral support or failure on crucial legislation. • The Democrats then take polls and do focus groups. The pollsters discover that extremist Republicans control […]

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The Democratic Leadership Doesn’t Understand the Power of Language and Framing, What Two Polls Show

It is a truism that poll results can depend on framing. For example, the NY Times reported last month on a NYT/CBS Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell poll on whether “homosexuals” or “gay men and lesbians” should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats said they support permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly. Fewer Democrats however, just 43 percent, said they were in favor of allowing homosexuals to serve openly. That’s a 36 percent framing shift on the same literal issue, but not surprising since the words evoked very different frames, one about sex and the other about rights. Newsworthy for the NY Times, but hardly earthshaking.

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Winning the Language of Health Care Reform

Life and Freedom are moral issues. It is time for Democrats to talk about health in those terms, beyond just policy terms like health insurance reform, bending the cost curve, types of exchanges, etc.

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