communication

Hartmann Agrees


I think that it isn’t the system that needs reform. It’s the people who are undermining the system who need reform – or replacement. Click for the story – see Item #3.

Not long ago I posted a love note to Millennials and Gen-Zs. It was something of an apology for what we  Boomers have done that threatens them and for the huge pile of political poo we’re piling at their feet. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy. But it’s critical that they grab hold of this mess, shackle it in irons and imprison it for the life of this planet.

I laid out some of the key challenges and let our Ms and Zs know that we believe in them, that they can do this. They can restore what has been stolen, they can take the critically important steps to save our planet and themselves and they have the power to replace our national dishonesty, denial and mindless rage with truth and reality.

It turns out that Thom Hartmann agrees with me and he’s laid out far more clearly the reasons that Ms and Zs are so screwed – his word. I encourage everyone to read his message and see it as a laying out of the challenges that must be met.

These challenges should not be partisan or political, but the sad truth is that they are. There is only one party that tolerates and promotes hatred. There is only one party that fights against the advancement of gun safety.* There is only one party that rejoices in taking away our rights. There is only one party that consistently takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the super rich. There is only one party taking away your vote and working to destroy our democracy and replace it with a fascist autocracy.

There is more bad stuff that they do, of course, but the point is that the Republican Party, the one that used to be conservative, standing up for the values you believe in, no longer exists. They stand solely for enhancing their own power and wealth at our expense.

Read Hartmann’s piece and you’ll understand.

While you’re at it, read The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes, a forehead slapper from The Economist. You’ll understand that one, too.

See? It just doesn’t take that many words. This took 30 seconds to think of and about 15 minutes to construct.

BTW

I’ve pummeled Democrats repeatedly for their astonishingly poor communication skills. They’re nearly always way too wordy, taking what would be said by Republicans in under two dozen words and instead expanding them into unintelligible paragraphs that not even the author can remember and which put readers to sleep.

President Biden’s July 9 essay in the Washington Post explaining/defending his trip to Saudi Arabia was just such a communication disaster. It demonstrates that in 1,387 words. Yes, over 2 pages of dense text!

What are the communications people in the White House thinking?

I did muscle through it on my second attempt. It is boring. It is W-A-A-A-A-A-Y too long. And it feels like an old prize fighter recounting a win from years ago.

“Joe, I want  to hear about how what you’re doing today will help me tomorrow. And I want to hear about it in a maximum of 60 seconds.”

I think Biden is doing a really good job of doing his job. But he and the Ds are so dreadfully, painfully, self-destructively lousy at communication that even Democrats can’t see the good stuff that’s happening right in front of them. Look at this from the New York Times:

Sixty-four percent of Democratic voters prefer a candidate other than President Biden in 2024, a Times/Siena College poll shows.
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That’s happening as we are in an existential battle to save democracy from the Rs who would crush it. If we’re to win that battle and succeed in saving our nation, voters will have to feel good about voting for Democrats.

Crappy communication won’t help.

NOTE: I reached out to the DNC with an offer to help. So far no reply.

Covid Corner – post-video late addition

In an interview with Politico and discussing his retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lightning rod and target of extremist right wing paranoia, said, “If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this.”

A STAT report commenting on Fauci’s interview response reported, “That statement is a concession that we never flattened the curve of cases and we’re instead living with the virus and its variants.”

I’m left gobsmacked by the profound impact 22% of the U.S. population has had by refusing to be vaccinated and by having temper tantrums over masks. “Living with the virus and its variants” is the price we all pay when the fierce independents and the power and money opportunists hold sway over the common good. Read the charts.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were losing 327 Americans per day to Covid. Now it’s up to 417 per day. And 98 – 99% of those who die are unvaccinated. Have a fiercely independent day, Bubba – while you still can.


* “And I believe it is insane that Republicans in the U.S. Senate — who accept the Second Amendment as a death warrant for tens of thousands of Americans each year — will not even agree to legislation raising the minimum age to purchase such weapons of war [AR-15 style assault weapons] to 21.”

“Shame on this country for refusing to take those guns out of the shooters’ hands — or to prevent them from buying those guns in the first place.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, July 19, 2022

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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
Fire the bastards!
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.
.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

DNC Messaging Sucks


I have periodically accused Democrats of having terrible messaging. Turns out, I’ve been too kind.

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In a recent rah-rah fundraiser email from “Team Joe,” written in Biden’s voice, he listed some of his accomplishments. Joe, I know you’re a Democrat because – and let me say this gently and respectfully – your messaging, generally speaking, sucks. This fundraiser piece made me want to pull out what’s left of my hair (see the pic to the right).

The first rah-rah heading in the email was “A massive vaccination effort.” Seriously now, who cares about the administration’s vaccination efforts?

Joe, what we voters care about is that we were protected from this terrible disease, that more of us didn’t die and that the Biden Administration made that happen for us.

They did that in spite of the far right homicidal messages that Americans should refuse vaccines and in spite of Trump insanely telling us to mainline Lysol and take the useless anti-malaria drug Ivermectin. But it’s hard to get across the Biden victory message when Team Joe highlights the administration’s effort as though effort is what’s important.

Note, too, that it’s necessary to read to the end of the second paragraph of that section to learn of any benefits that were delivered to We the Voters. You hid the goodies, Joe!

The next section was “Getting folks back to work,” under which they waved the success flag for the creation of over 7.4 million new jobs. Great!

Below that was this graph:

There are only three problems with this graph. First, they pulled the rug out from under its power by soft-pedaling “in history” in the title.

Second, it says 6.4 million jobs were created, not the 7.4 million named in the text above the graph. Joe, the damned thing argues with your own words!

Third, that skinny little vertical white line on the right doesn’t sufficiently wave the success flag because it’s too hard to find. Plus, it looks like it’s just a right angle extension of the baseline of the chart. Joe, where’s the big, thick, Democrat blue WOW! line?

Here’s the thing, Joe: The creation of millions of new jobs is, in reality, what you and most of us  – even your detractors – call a BFD. But Joe, this fundraiser graph managed to make it look like it’s only an insignificant little D.

This piece sucks just as so many DNC communication efforts suck. For example, Democrats are messing up with school issues. Read If You Think Republicans Are Overplaying Schools, You Aren’t Paying Attention, originally entitled, Republicans Are Winning the School Wars.

And they are. See Gov. Glenn Younkin (not Terry McAuliffe) and his phony school hysteria that won him the Virginia governorship and which continues to rally support for him.

It isn’t that the Democrats are bad for education or that their ideas are poor. It’s that Dems consistently shoot themselves in the foot with terrible messaging. When they do that they hand Republicans (who want to stifle education) easy targets to shoot at. It’s like the people who chant and lobby to defund the police. Why don’t they just take out ads saying that everyone should vote for Republicans?

It seems to me that there are two ways to promote political candidacy. One is to attack the opponent (e.g. “My opponent is lying to you about Critical Race Theory.”). The other is to wave the “I’m just so good for you!” flag.

To illustrate this, watch any commercial for a Disney movie or for their theme parks. They are non-stop listings of benefits. Not characteristics. Not how they do it. Not how hard working they are. Benefits for their customers and visitors. And they always end their theme park commercials with some famous person saying they’re going to Disney World!

Mr. & Ms. voters: Where did you say your family is going on vacation? I thought so.

See, Joe? This stuff works.

More

Ending the CDC emergency public health order that restricts immigration at U.S. land borders because of the Covid pandemic is probably a good idea. But politically it’s suicide.

Instead, Joe, try this “Demand Better!” address to the nation:

“President George W. Bush offered comprehensive immigration reform of our dysfunctional system as a core piece of his campaign for the presidency. Once president, he tried to get something moving, but Congress, in its infinite ability to avoid dealing with challenges, stonewalled his effort. The same thing happened during the Obama administration.

“The net of this is that the challenge of modernizing our immigration system is just another can being kicked down the road by Congress, leaving hopeful new citizen applicants to be used and abused solely for partisan political gain – again.

“Well, that abuse of these people and the self-sabotage of our nation ends now.

“I’m formally challenging Congress to step up to the plate and tackle this vexing issue. I’m doing that specifically because it is Congress’s job to do that.

To jump start the process I will be inviting a bi-partisan select committee of senators, congresswomen & -men to the White House to start this process. And all the resources of the Executive Branch of government will be supporting them.

“Look, folks, We the American People should and must demand that Congress do its job. To make sure that happens I will be reporting to you regularly on the progress of the Immigration Reform Select Committee so that you can hold them accountable. If you’re happy with what you see, call your senators and representative and let them know. And if you aren’t happy with what you see, call your senators and representative and let ’em have it!

“Demand Better!

You see, Joe? It isn’t that hard.

There’s no need for you to put your face in the center of the political shooting range bulls eye. Congress belongs there. Handling this issue in the Demand Better! way means you won’t take heat for their failures. Besides, there’s an outside chance that this way something might actually get better. They might even agree with your CDC to lift the emergency public health order that’s no longer needed.

One last thing: Afghanistan.

Instead of just taking an ongoing beating from Republicans for the debacle at the end, where’s the messaging saying how grateful We the People are that you had the courage to at last do what we all knew needed to be done to end the 20-year disaster?

Where’s the message that the end was always going to look like that? The generals told you and everyone else that’s what would happen. Congress chickened out of doing the right thing for 20 years. You’re the one who had the guts to do what everyone knew needed to be done.

I’m still looking for those victory flags, Joe.

Look, man, this isn’t that hard. Just put on your aviator sunglasses and lay some rubber on the concrete approach to the Capitol Building with your classic Corvette. They’ll get the message. No joke.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

They Aren’t Voting Against Their Interests


Reading time – 2:27 seconds; Viewing time – 4:01  .  .  .

Admit it: You’ve wondered many times why so many people vote against their own interests. Perhaps you’ve included some character assassination adjectives into your question now and then. Well, the simple answer is that nobody is voting against themselves. We all vote for what we feel is most important to us and that isn’t always as obvious as we might imagine it to be.

In a most clear and enlightening article in the New York Times, The Peculiar Populism of Donald Trump, Thomas B. Edsall cites the work of Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris published by the Harvard Kennedy School. The piece makes clear the massive cultural changes that have significantly and negatively impacted millions of people, such that what they care about most and what they deeply fear have shifted, and so has the voting behavior of these people.

Here are some excerpts from the conclusion of Inglehart and Norris’ original work:

“Less educated and older citizens, especially white men, who were once the privileged majority culture in Western societies, resent being told that traditional values are ‘politically incorrect’ if they have come to feel that they are being marginalized within their own countries. As cultures have shifted, a tipping point appears to have occurred.”

“.  .  .  the rise of populist parties reflects, above all, a reaction against a wide range of rapid cultural changes that seem to be eroding the basic values and customs of Western societies.”

“.  .  .  it would be a mistake to attribute the rise of populism directly to economic inequality alone. Psychological factors seem to play a more important role.”

Read the Times piece and it’s likely, you’ll come away with a better understanding of what happened in the last election and you just might find a bit of compassion for “those people.” If you’re feeling ambitious, read the original research.

Just get that we need a heaping majority of citizens to demand better if we are to stop the insanity of killing our democracy and instead create a more perfect union. How we communicate with one another is and will be critical.

Also review No, people really aren’t turning away from democracy and How to stop arguing and actually change someone’s mind on social media.

In Other News

The Republicans in Congress want to do away with restrictions to severely mentally ill people owning firearms. At the same time, Governor Rauner of Illinois wants to make silencers legal. What could possibly go wrong?

From the Chicago Tribune editorial on February 4, addressing National Security Advisor Mike Flynn having warned the Iranians that they have been put “on notice” following their test of a ballistic missile:

“Putting Iran ‘on notice’ sounds like Dean Wormer’s menacing but vague ‘double secret probation’ from the 1978 movie Animal House.”

Just for fun, have a look at what the countries of Europe are saying to President Trump and his Inauguration Day declaration of America First. This started in the Netherlands and offerings are continuing to be posted from more countries. Just click on any flag, sit back and enjoy. Thanks go to LR for pointing out this site.

And finally  .  .  .

Action Alert!

Many people want to stop wringing hands and actually DO something to make things better. Perhaps that describes you. Easy. Go to https://dailyaction.org/ and sign up for the Action Alerts. You’ll receive a short daily text on what needs your attention and the necessary links and phone numbers. It will even dial your phone for you. Saddle up!

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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