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An Ethos user recently asked:

Neither of us are good with DA’s. I generally can do T, Inh, and sig, which is what I did all last year. I’ve actually been thinking of solvency points lately, too, which is great… the thing is, though, I’m terrible with DA’s. I’ll get one every once in a while, but I don’t like to count on it. The thing is, my partner reminded me today that he can’t really do DA’s either… do you have any tips for this kind of thing? Maybe there’s nothing we can do short-term… but yeah, anything for long-term too would be great.

Yeah, DAs are tough to get at. But when you do you’ll begin to love them. The toughest thing about them is they require you to really think laterally (about something the other team DIDN’T say). The best short-term strategy I know of is this:

Whoever is 2N should spend several minutes just sitting and thinking up DAs in the round. These can be logical, based on some history/examples, etc… and do not need evidence. If you tell me some of the cases you know you’re going up against I’ll show you how this works on a couple.

But say its naval coop. Okay, hmm…what could we say bad about it. Well, sharing information sure may have its pluses, but without proper safeguards that information could get into the wrong hands! So build up some facts against them…
— India is friends with Iran
— India is much less developed militarily than the U.S.
— India is known for its corruption (a piece of evidence here perhaps)
— Information is valuable, so there’s motive to share it (just look at how even Americans have spied for money or other reasons)
— The case outlines absolutely no safeguards to sharing intelligence or information. Often sharing a piece of data gives away the source of the data simply because no one else could have known, so sharing info with India may mean our sources are compromised or even killed. It could also mean U.S. intelligence practices are made known to Iran and that U.S. military secrets are sold to other countries. This, in the end, could spell death to U.S. troops and units.

There, we just made up a disadvantage that only maybe needed one piece of evidence (the corruption part) and the rest was just stringing facts together.

The long term approach: pick some disadvantages you want to develop and find all the links to them. Structure the rest of the DA (where you go after the links) with how that will push a certain direction and all the bad impacts that would cause. Then you start thinking and listing on paper all the possible links to such a disadvantage. This becomes a pet project of yours and you run it against tons of cases.

Two easy big DAs to adopt are terrorism or economy DAs. Let’s take a look at economy…

Here’s the “rest of the story”
— The U.S. is entering a recession
— The U.S. financial industry is built around layers of “fake” stuff–noone actually makes and sells items, they just shuffle paper around to invent money that isn’t wealth
— Overregulation and government intervention in Freddie and Fannie have caused a tough situation for average Americans
— Any additional foreign economic pressure could push us all the way into recession or even into depression. It’s regrettable that the free market wasn’t used before, but since it hasn’t been, we have to face this fact whether we like it or not.
1) Americans lose jobs
2) U.S. standard of living decreases
3) U.S. cannot do all the good things its doing around the world
4) The entire world’s economy goes down the drain since it is tied to the U.S. economy
(this is all being made up, so it could be like the short-term strategy, but ideally you’d have evidence for all of this)

Then you start developing links…

H1Bs link by bringing in more competition to those emerging from college or in the IT industry
Repealing the nuclear deal links because the nuclear deal promises $100bn in business with the U.S.
then you keep trying to find links to all cases that you can

But when it comes down to it and you hit a tiny case (like your baby trafficking case), then you’re going to be stuck making up DAs if you’ve never heard of the case before.

So practically, I’d suggest writing a list of the cases you know, then writing the short-term DAs out–all that you can think of based on what you know about India.

Oh, and when you get to your long-term strategy, eventually you probably want to pull the Emory switch and start the DAs in the 1NC. But if you can’t think of them until the 2NC for now, then that’s okay.

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