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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Never rely on the WashPost to get it correct

This article, about Senator Lincoln's (D-AR) re-election, fails to put any proper context of the national liberal groups scrambling to create their own historical antidote to Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts.

If they can win in Arkansas, the line they'll spin is that:
1. Its general voter dissatisfaction, and not anger at the public option
2. Any incumbent is vulnerable, not just liberals for voting for liberal policies
3. Scott Brown's victory was empty
4. The "real issue" is Democrat leader weakness

All of which are entertaining, albeit false, notions. Despite an overwhelmingly favorable media environment, healthcare is still stalling and importantly stalling not over inaction but likely from too much action too fast, as well as seriously divisive issues like illegal immigration and abortion that the left-wing is entirely mute to listening to, if they really wanted to muddy the waters, and I offer this only because I'm convinced no one really reads this, they would offer "immigration enforcement" and "pro-life" reforms within the bill.

Make the healthcare bill "pro-life" knowing that you can strip those provisions out later. Include an enforcement mechanism against illegal immigrants, knowing you'll just cynically strip it out later. The problem here is that they want to have their cake and eat it too, somewhat pridefully in political policy, they want to enact policy overtly and rub it in the face of the country.

And they're about to pay dearly for that arrogance, and perhaps get set back another 20+ years in nationalizing healthcare.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Classic Stipe, and classic leftist rationalizations

So it seems that the GOP is poised to benefit from the left-wing overreach and the arrogance of the Obamacare debacles. All well and good I suppose, a little swing the other way will be an interesting reaction. Not to be Charlie Contrarian, but I pledged to myself several years ago never to vote Republican again, so count me out. It will, however, be fascinating to watch the rationalizations in two years, after the left loses, as to why they lost. My suspicion is that it will be difficult to muster the 2004 nonsensical line of 'we got out-organized so fund our nearly billion dollars worth of nonprofits, Mr. Soros' so it'll have to be a bit more imaginative, and yet delightfully simple. Perhaps they'll blame it on latent racism, as though America was post-racial 'enough' in 2008 to elect Obama but racist buyer's remorse caused them to re-racinate back to their old racist ways. I really don't know, but it has to be something.

For a little retro throwback to previous rationalizations, enjoy one of my favorite bands, REM, and their ridiculously over-the-top left-wing lyrics. Growing up I was convinced this song, Ignoreland, was pro-GOP simply for how ridiculous it was, I thought they had to be joking. I can remember the faces of fellow debate team members patiently trying to explain to me that this was, in fact, quite anti-GOP in line with the rest of Michael Stipe. Regardless, it's a fun song, and will be a fun lead-in to whatever rationalization takes root to explain 2010:




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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Schieffer carries water for the administration's line about Mass.

In an amazing act of cognitive dissonance, CBS's Bob Schieffer, described Scott Brown's recent victory in Massachusetts as a vote against the 'system' instead of being tied to anything like policy. This is, of course, silly and nonsensical. The histrionics by the media as it related to the election, and the stakes laid out by Democrats and the President that this was a vote for policy and a vote for him undercuts Schieffer's claim. The analysis this aging reporter of a past era provides is fraught with wishing for his conclusion to be true, but that voters want Brown to work with Democrats is not somehow a signal of a neutral vote against "the system", instead its the obvious realization that the Democrats are in control and the people want action.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

While Rome burns, composer Orrin is busy with notes

Notable POS Orrin Hatch has spent his time during the great depression composing odes to Hannukkah instead of, you know, helping the GOP get people elected, battling pork or doing anything productive.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Current TV's "Vanguard" and new media/journalism

I got suckered into watching "Vanguard" thanks to Hulu, not realizing its connection to Current TV and, of course, Al Gore. I stumbled across the "Oxycontin Express" episode, which was great and really well-done. I then turned to the other episodes, finding none of them rising to the quality of the Oxycontin one. Part of this, I suspect, is motivated by the amazingly politically correct answers found in each of the reports. Conventional PC wisdom is never questioned or even subjected to anything more than the most laughable of standards. In their report on water access globally, the reporters stood over a polluted river in China and used that as an example to the entire world, and looked at the recent drought in Nevada to show the Hoover Dam as being 50% depleted. And whether or not those things are histrionics, they lack any credibility because they so clearly match the political agenda of their marionette in chief: Gore. There's no subtlety, there's no critical analysis, there's no introspection and there's no counterpoint. One easy way to know when to dispose of a news report is when it fails to present any potential counterpoint, any credible reason why the situation is the way it is, or the costs of action. It's shameless, shallow superficial journalism, and I guess I'm just ashamed that I ever expected anything more.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama's use of imagery, and what picture it paints as to his priorities

Politico does a good job of exposing the careful photographic constructions of an Obama White House that has time to worry about every photograph but none to figure out an Afghanistan strategy. Obama can say that he hasn't figured out how or when to close Guantanamo, but his staff has time to rearrange the pictures. Now you've even got Foreign Service Officers resigning in protest.

Fundamentally, the inability of Washington to understand what it wants from its foreign policy helps cultivate confusion. Detached from any "national interest", removed from the "war on terror", desiring to placate a political base that wants defeat at any cost, yet no doubt concerned about its global 'image' and 'reputation' as well as the lucrative war industry, coupled with the political benefits to being a 'wartime' president who can expand government, raise taxes and mollify malcontents, Obama is in a quandry. Yet, it's completely of his own making.

If Obama was the leader that his supporters think him, he would elucidate exactly what our foreign policy goals are, how Afghanistan fits within those goals, and will stand tall to end those policies which don't work with those goals. Sadly, though, in Washington no program, agency or policy ever dies.

A White House so concerned with the backdrop of its pictures ought to be able to muster this, and should be courageous enough to take a stand on principle rather than massaging focus group results and polls.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The "V" miniseries, and shifts in art

Many have written about the "V" miniseries that has started on ABC, and even friends have pointed out that their liberal friends have been given a good deal of angst about its anti-Obama overtones.  Now, one feels obliged to point out the original 1980's series was constructed as a critique against Reagan and conservatives, but the media and intellectual play about this show so far has been about how it represents the first major anti-Obama item that made it into the MSM.  And, while I think that's true, I think it represents a slightly more nuanced shift as well, and that is the conscription of art into the forces of the left and its neutering when it comes to the left in power.  The art community perpetually worries about being politicized by the right, failing to recognize the overt ways in which art and artists have been employed by the left to perpetuate awful totalitarian regimes in the last century.  V, then, represents not just an anti-Obama show, but also the breakout of a true critique of left-wing power.  The show may wax and wane against the right, which it undoubtedly will delve into (I can just see it now, a Jerry Falwell preacher who becomes a collaborator, a center-right politician who lines his pockets with Visitor money, etc. etc.), but even comping them the eventual genuflection to the left, they still represent a mortal threat to the foundation of liberal cultural power: the final critique that they have avoided for decades.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Campus Gulag

Campus Gulag, a project long in the making, has finally made its debut at Washington University.

One Russian-borne student tried to argue with another student who was portraying a Soviet-era guard, but the guard stayed in character, shouting non-sequiturs about how the prisoners were happy because they were "well fed" and being "re-educated."
If only I had the time and resources to do this on every campus. Such a wonderful and radical extension of shock educational opportunities. It's eye-opening and so shocking as to demand attention. Socialism comes at a cost, and campus gulag shows the price.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Healthcare and self-interest

Getting a barrage of emails from center-right groups complaining about the impending Obamacare, I'm reminded of Alinsky's admonition to frame things both in a moral sense, but also in a self-interested sense.  Campus groups which I am on the email list keep falling into the trap of combating this proposal by arguing against it on policy grounds, and never on moral grounds.  The closest they get to morality is to say that there are going to be more abortions, but that only works with the people who are already single-issue pro-life, who are likely already firmly against the proposal.

Said another way, this bill will jail 20somethings for failing to buy government insurance.  Put more plainly, this bill will push the premiums paid by seniors to the point where only the rich get good care, destroying the concept of a peaceful retirement, and further degrade care.  If you like 2 hour waiting rooms, wait for government healthcare when you'll find the 2 hour wait as the express lane.  And when the government gets its paws into your healthcare, won't you be overjoyed that there will likely be a strict quota system for who gets to be a doctor in a local area, people appointed not by their qualifications but by how they play into the politician's vote-getting schemes, not to mention their political contributions.  We'll demolish merit as a method of advancement within medicine, and instead, you, the plebian masses whom government couldn't care less about, will be treated to the reordered and restructured system of politics instead of wellness.

The speed, efficiency and pleasantness of the post office is about to come to the emergency room.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Speaking at Morris: Pregnancies, Protesters, Police, Polemics, Passions, Partisans

So, I gave a speech at the Univ. of Minnesota - Morris last night, and I feel compelled to write about it if for no other reason than the local SDS chapter or similar leftists decided to show up and reference this site! I was pretty happy about that, and somewhat flattered. Here I thought all this time that the only people reading my dribble were Marty and Ferro. That said, there were scores of salacious quotes taken from here, that I hated gays and thought they were all pre-verts with dirty minds, that I used "scare quotes" (a term I learned from protester/agitator Jeanette) to describe tranny "rights" (I didn't get a chance to explain that I thought trannies, as human beings worthy of dignity enjoyed all the rights of any other human being and so the idea of "tranny" rights vs. "hetero" rights vs. some other sexual orientation "rights" was a silly "exercise" in using "rights" as a fake semantic substitute in lieu of accurately calling it special political rights that divide us rather than unify us. "oh well"). The speech was about controlling your environment, and working to pro-life victories finding common ground with those across the political spectrum, which didn't work so well with the variety of disruptors (one guy echoing everything I said, a few loudmouth malcontents in the back, though one of the malcontents had a really cute baby with her, and a Maoist "third globalist" or something interrupting). All good fun. It really made for a lively speech and environment, and I can see why center-right people do this for a living: it's a lot of fun. I'm a bit bummed that I didn't get to deliver the said speech, though, which is likely a breach of contract that I have no control over, but I attempted to perform as best I could. The foundation and student group that brought me in deserved more, but the campus police were clearly not going to arrest half the auditorium, so I felt bad that while I condone their actions my sponsors were a bit peeved.

I feel compelled to also note that most of the more extreme stuff on here is obviously meant as a joke. Things brought up, such as that I think Nadine Strossen is the Devil (no offense to the Devil), that I thought Oliver Stone should be jailed (as a fiscal hawk I think we should just execute him) and that I believed in disrupting speeches (hilarious coming from those disrupting my speech, in bizzaro world of irony folding back onto itself and imploding, they even gave out flyers accusing me of being pro-speech disruption, so again the irony of the situation caused my little head to hurt). I could go on and on, but it was really just a night of responding to silly, old-hat pro-abortion arguments (some people grow up to be murderers, what about the hard cases, does life have any value, its okay because a fetus feels no pain or has no intelligence, is no different than eating meat and killing animals, has no rights until born, Planned Parenthood does all sorts of great things, nothing new and nothing exciting), trying to talk to the majority who were kind and great (including several gals who stayed late and were wonderful to speak with) . The tragedy with it all is that there's truly so much agreement between the two groups of non-ideologue camps, and instead of cooperation, it's animosity and conflict rather than constructive solutions. So, in this way, the disruptors made my point brilliantly: that as long as we continue allowing labels and ideology to distract us, as long as we dive into philosophy and not pragmatism, we enable the local abortion regime. By ignoring the woman on campus and wasting our time on differences we won't resolve, we let the panicked woman make bad choices. The environment we create, and the mindset we live by, is the projected will in which kids are killed and we owe it to them, to ourselves and to the future to do something about it.

I hope some iota of this got across, but I suspect the protesters were all too successful in being intolerant, ideological asses. However the URL of this site will hopefully cause a few to read this and get exposed to the point of the speech, and the opportunities they have on campus to change the world and save lives. Here's to hoping.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Disrupting speeches on the cheap

Leftists disrupt speeches by throwing pies, calling names, and chanting stupid stuff.

So uncreative.

Personally I've given advice to disrupt malcontents like Michael Moore using track phones going off with obscenely loud ringers in various locations, as well as a variety of other crazy schemes that I'd rather not go into.

But then it occurred to me what the easiest, simplest and by far the most entertaining idea would be to disrupt a leftist speech, and I'll illustrate with a movie clip and reference:


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Welcome news, sort of

Well, it's somewhat better that the stupid party is somewhat competing in the money race against the treason lobby <http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/10/20/rnc-beats-dnc-in-september-money-race/>.  Don't count me overjoyed at this news, however, as it comes from primarily low-dollar donors.  And it fundamentally presents several realizations and concurrent issues:

1. Where are the center-right major donors?
2. Will this GOP fundraising finance awful wastes of space like Lindsey Graham?
3. Is this low-dollar donor surge reactivating previously upset donors, or is it taking away from other center-right movement issues
4. Is this donor enthusiasm being seen in other center-right groups
5. Will the GOP ever get away from overpriced 'consultants' and idiotic paid media strategies that break the bank
6. Will the center-right ever make serious investments in organizing

Some of these things don't have easy, or perhaps probable, answers, but they should at least be part of the current discussion in light of this article.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Leadership Institute and organizational credit-claiming

James O'Keefe's recent work against ACORN has been amazing. The Leadership Institute, a former employer of both of us, has seen fit to take some degree of credit for this development. But, as the first comment points out, that may well be improper.

As the person who hired James at the Institute, as well as one whom he turned to for help during his final weeks there, I hope to have some minor insight into the whole context of the situation. And without mincing words, the Institute has shown itself, Morton Blackwell has shown himself to be an incredibly tactless, selfish and inconsiderate man.

James has made a name for himself. But the hundreds of others who were similarly hired and so easily discarded by the Institute has created quite an impressive diaspora of conservative talent, people who are broke, discouraged, cynical and burned out. The Institute did that almost on purpose. And why spare the opportunity to name names: Morton approved of everything that happened there, and Mark Centofante as the Vice President of Programs enacted this French Terror of constant employee executions. They delighted in firing people, and did so almost as sport. I suspect that Mark's disinterest in politics but high interest in video games coupled with Morton's insecurities as seen by his incessant references to campaigns that are more than four decades past, have created a perfect storm of inefficiency and mediocrity. Ben Domenech hints at this in a well-written recent column, but of course refuses to name names.

All the good things at the Institute while I was there happened despite the management, or by going around them. I was nearly fired, as was my boss Cong. Steve Stockman, for buying the initial video equipment that James used. It was a maddening place to work, frustrated by reality, exasperated by managerial incompetence but buoyed by hope and ideology that kept people working in the worst of circumstances usually until they were forcibly expelled.

My favorite part were the lies. The lies that the Institute told to donors about actions they had no relationship with, the lies about the number of active field reps when they internally planned on firing 1/3rd less than halfway through, the lies about why people had been fired, the lies about who was about to get fired. I would go into more detail here but it just feels dirty to do so, and remembering my collaboration with a management that would do these things makes me frankly ashamed. I loved that job, I loved the work and looked forward to every moment on the road. But I can't remember ever feeling calm, support or appreciation from the people whom I worked for. It's tough because those were such great years, and allowed me to meet so many people that I feel grateful, but knowing the many people who are close friends who were hurt so needlessly, thoughtlessly and purposefully by Morton and Mark makes me incapable of gratitude.

At least in ideological bloodlettings there's some quirky ideological reason to be betrayed, some deviation from party doctrine which renders you out of favor. At the Institute, they hurt people for fun. Mark and Morton can go to hell, and it's only sad that they've played on the principles of 20somethings to make a workplace hell in the meantime.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bring the troops home, all of them.

A nice semi-isolationist sentiment, quick and dirty:



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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wal-mart and Columbus Day

Leftist unions (walmartworkers@ufcw.ca) have declared that it is their intent to save Columbus Day, yet their ideological fellow-travelers are the ones who put his legacy in jeopardy in the first place.

What's interesting about this isn't how bold and brazen the breach from leftist orthodoxy, but that it is used so shamelessly to punish a perceived enemy (wal-mart) and do so to the benefit of union members. Unions are one membership association, to quote political science interest group theory, that well understands maximizing and ensuring material benefits for their members. Unions would welcome a day off to celebrate "right to work" legislation if they could get it. The Air Traffic Controllers Union would vacation during a Reagan fires Traffic Controllers holiday if they could get it.

Columbus Day Cancelled!

It’s official: Walmart, the world’s largest corporation, is cancelling Columbus Day. It’s nothing personal, of course, but the day commemorating the world’s most famous explorer and his faith in the circumference of the globe just doesn’t jibe with the Walmart monopolization of all circular objects.

That’s right folks, that old circle-grinch Walmart is throwing cold water on all those Columbus Day traditions that you and yours look forward to every year. And, yes, if you’re a federal employee then your boss will be expecting you at work bright and early on October 12.

BUT THERE IS STILL A CHANCE TO SAVE COLUMBUS DAY!

Rally your Facebook friends. Tell them to stand up for global circumference by joining the new Facebook Cause: Save Columbus Day for Free Speech! http://apps.facebook.com/causes/366224/75716640?m=c20bb5a8

Together we stop Walmart and SAVE COLUMBUS DAY!

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Google's Project 100 gives 100 reasons to switch to another company

When Google announced Project 100, it seemed like an ambitious project to drive innovation. Instead of rewarding the inventors, even in the execution of this project, they were going to give the creative talent the satisfaction of seeing their project funded. Now, however, the preliminary winners have been unveiled and its a shameful and disgusting display of ideology over substance. Not a single thing on their list seemed to escape the orbit of their ridiculously left-wing worldview. With a nation at 17% unemployment, there was nothing that drove business, there was nothing that was going to give jobs. Google was founded to ostensibly not do evil but also to digitize the world's information and make it accessible. This is not an ideological goal as much as it is a purely economic one: the reduction of the costs of information. It's an economically egalitarian statement, one not matched by the politically elitist priorities of the topics chosen by their politburo of idea screeners. These projects will not help real people as much as they will function to assuage white guilt among google programmers. Rather than helping people in Peoria, Google wants to curry popularity in Greenwich Village.

That said let me disclose the self-interest, I submitted a very basic idea for a smarter traffic light that would streamline busy intersections to accomodate the laws of inertia to control traffic patterns. This idea may be dumb, but I think it reflects a sincerity about dealing with the real issues that people face rather than the day's latest fad featured in Mother Jones. I shouldn't have expected more, but for some reason, with google, I did.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pro-life media presence

I really like AUL, and think highly of their head, Charmaine Yoest, but I think this recent interview that I ran across through the always wonderful Jill Stanek was very weak:



Yoest is the public face of AUL, and yet she seems very timid, quiet and unassuming. For a group as in-front as they are, I think they would be better served by someone with the panache and flair of a solid media personality like Amanda Carpenter or a more assertive and aggressive female. The time on national television is such a premium, and the real communicative moment so small, that it can't be left to chance or left to the host to get the idea across, Yoest needed more force, more passion and a clear soundbite: i.e. that the Democrats and the President are lying about healthcare abortions.

I suspect many political talking heads assume they can do well because they're good with interpersonal communication. However, just like all things in politics, it's a learned skill. One ought to practice and work on constant self-improvement. In this case, Yoest needs to control her voice better, project more, emphasize one central point and communicate a few key soundbites rather than going off the cuff.

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culture, tattoos and families

Being that it's so rare for me to get "outside" and amongst "people" it was an interesting admission I overheard today.  A young woman in her mid-20s was talking to a man in the same age range, and she started discussing a recent family reunion and get-together.  And it was find, she made it sound as though it was relatively boring, but the most insightful part was at the end when she said that the reason she had gotten some recent tattoos was that after being at the get-together, she felt as though her identity demanded something to make her "different" from them.  So, she immediately went out and got the tattoos.  On one hand, this is the most basic and childish form of rebellion that one would expect, but it provoked two thoughts: 1. how sad it is that anyone feels like they have to be "different" from their family, as though they're always the outsider or that they want to be separate from that identity.  And the second thought is that she felt as though some exterior object could function as that uniqueness, and not the strength of her personality, her passions, interests, etc., some things, as tattoos most obviously are, are just skin deep.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Movies that unintentionally reinforce otherwise good ideas

A brief comment by a friend lately got me thinking, the statement was that said friend knew several people who described their politics as originating from the movie "Red Dawn."  And there are so many good movies that were made by people disposed to dislike traditional values, but perhaps inadvertantly advance them anyway.  Some nominations: Dawn of the Dead and zombie movies in general that reinforce the need for gun rights.  The Island of Dr. Moreau and it's lesson against genetic engineering.  Cheaper by the Dozen and its statement about the value of large families.  I'm sure there are many others I'm neglecting.  If you think of some, email me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Campus Reform

So, former employer LI launched campus reform, which I spoke about briefly before.

Doesn't seem too bad, and looks nice. It's certainly better than the disaster that was their previous websites, and I sincerely wish them the best.

Now, that being said, I want to do a little experiment. And this is an awful thing to do with real people, but here it goes:

Given LI's ridiculously high turnover rate, spurred in no small part to previous horrendous management (some of which has undoubtedly, itself, already turned over), I wonder how long the existing staff will have before they turnover themselves. This could be from overwork, underpay, I won't speculate why, but I will say from having run enough political shops that constant turnover means perpetual ineffectiveness.

So, let's check back at the 6 month and 12 month marker from today: March 18, 2010 and June 18, 2010.

Here's the list of 11 Campus Services Coordinators (if you're one of them and reading this, I am kind of sorry for doing this to you):

Cara Eshleman
Matthew Talancy
Michael J. Thompson
Emily Cochran
Matthew Hurtt
W. Westin Bordeaux
Brian Mullis
Brad Tidwell
Amanda Prevette
Lindsay Souza
Tony Listi

Here's to hoping all 11 are still there in a year.

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Healthcare Independent Expenditure idea

(I wrote this up and sent it to a few friends who I thought could tell me if it was a decent idea or not. Only one responded, and even then without saying whether it was a good idea or not. I'm getting the feeling that I'm either past my prime or unable to get any political scheme funded or people interested anymore. So, I'm posting it here in the resigned defeat of watching another political idea die on the vine.)

Healthcare Independent Expenditure idea


1. Get a voice artist who sounds similar to President Obama

2. Identify and rent lists of elderly likely voters in key areas

a. Senate

Colorado – Bennett
Arkansas – Lincoln
North Dakota – Dorgan

b. House

South Dakota – Herseth
(other potentials)

c. Legal limitations
Check for states where the most favorable regulatory regime exists:
http://winningcalls.com/statelaws.html

3. Record a short spot using the voice artist:

Sterile female voice:
Please hold for a fake message from the President Barack Obama

Obama voice artist:
Good afternoon seniors,
I want to talk to you for a moment about healthcare reform. I know many of you are concerned about losing Medicare and Medicaid benefits and likely cuts to Social Security that will be necessary to pay for my healthcare reforms. However, I want to ask you to end the divisiveness on this issue and support me. I know what’s best for you and even if we do take your benefits, tax your healthcare plan or increase taxes, it will be worth it to provide healthcare to those who can’t afford it. So, please stop opposing me and trust me.
Thank you.

4. Robocall lists with this message. Distribute .mp3 file to other organizations with robodialers.

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Thoughts on basic counterinsurgency theory

Reflecting on my undergraduate thesis and its topic of counterinsurgencies, I was trying to find a way to adequetely express what I perceived to be Gen. Edward Lansdale's difference from conventional military thoughts on the matter.

1. Discover your own sincere values, project those as much as possible
2. Appropriate their values, incorporate, merge or meld them into your own.
3. Appropriate their arguments, solve their concerns, address their real grievances
4. Kill those that remain

The U.S. military seems to have a difficult time letting go of number four, or seeing anything more than four with a sprinkling of three.  They seem incapable of 1 and confused about 2.  

Modern liberals love 2, reject 1 outright, and spend all their time on 3.

Conservatives salivate about 4, reject 3, recoil at the thought of 2 and insist that everything come subsequent to the loudest proclamations of 1 possible.

Libertarians reject 4 mindlessly, have no way to define 1 of course, are confused about 2 and think that their own latent principles in 1 that they refuse to project will solve all of 3 anyway, but end up just ignoring it out of apathy and blind faith in 'teh marketz' to solve all problems.

I'm no expert, I'm a pedestrian observer to these things, so I should add that caveat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A 20 year late review of the television show “Quantum Leap”

A 20 year late review of the television show “Quantum Leap”

Growing up with this show, I have a memory of it that it almost without any historical context, and without any philosophical grounding. I would watch this show as an almost blank slate, unaware at the historical references but also unaware at the not-so-subtle messages it was trying to convey. The show [here on Hulu], starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, jumps through the last 50 years of the 20th century ‘setting right what once went wrong’ and gives an interesting look at various parts of American history.

What occurs to me, many years after the original viewing, is how it becomes the collective societal grief counseling for the horrors of history. It serves as a release valve to the drastic social changes of the 60s and 70s. But in so doing, perhaps saddled with the unbelievably poor and shallow television writing, it lacks any complexity. The story is always simply that of the good and the bad, the wrongs and the right, the entire world is told in black and white.

It seems too simple to argue that the show should have portrayed these moments with a bit more complexity, or with the complications of a world torn between principles that were not necessarily right and wrong, but irreconcilable. The first few years of Law and Order were a brief expression of this idea, and a way of those primarily left-wing writers to treat their philosophical opponents with some grace and humility. Performance art without self-reflection, introspection and humility quickly becomes shameless propaganda, and heavy-handed moralizing. Watching Quantum Leap, despite it being enjoyable for the performances, situations and its embrace of the beauty of history, is still stained by its moralizing.

Even in an episode ostensibly about a sister about to marry a man quite unfit to be a good husband, the sister becomes a Peacecorps devotee, a lover of John Kennedy, rather than a normal girl. It wasn’t enough for her to simply be a good girl deserving of a good man, she had to be a darling of the left. And her jilted fiancée at the end of the episode, obviously beaten and broken, is simply left in the dust as a relatively shallow, disposable character. There is no love for one’s enemies, no compassion towards those who are the ‘bad’ in the show, and no complexity to the situation. Perhaps in a moment where moral clarity was easier, the show could thrive, but today these episodes just seem trite and thoughtless.

It seems as though there are two ways for left-wing people to deal with history, most of which becomes inconvenient to their worldview, either lying about it or ignoring it. While today they prefer the latter, simply to ignore or render it irrelevant, it seems as though, broadly speaking in such a way as to be quite ostentatious, that in the late 80s and early 90s it was more of the former, to lie, to change the ‘interpretations’ of events in order to fit the narrative. It becomes difficult, after all, to simply ignore what Chesterton called the “democracy of the dead” for so long as their voices speak increasingly louder as they are ignored, a haunting of the political establishment solved only through reading and reflection.


If the show were ever remade, one would hope that it would deal more honestly with the complexities of history, one that gave a bit more of both sides. I won’t go so far as to say that all aspects of the vaunted “critical theory” are bad, but at its core any discussion of history ought rightly be a celebration of American history, and not so down and dour as we have become accustomed. Friends reading this are likely expecting a long diatribe here about memorials and public memorials and how all the new ones are tragic, how the old ones were triumphant, and how utterly inappropriate the World War II memorial is, but I’ll spare you while still pointing out its relevance here.

Bill Clinton once said that nothing that’s wrong with America can’t be fixed by that which is right about America. And while I’m sure we differ on the specifics beyond that cliché, I think he’s right. And there are so many good, powerful and wonderful stories worth telling, viewpoints worth capturing and retelling that any remake would hopefully include and leave out the stereotypical divisive moments that have been so ridiculously overplayed already.

This would be to say, of course, that it should be the anti-Howard Zinn. American history doesn’t need to be seen solely through the prism of a left-wing agenda, and the culture of sorrow, shame and guilt is unduly burdensome, and inappropriate. A show that deviates from that aspect of the original, that showed the wonderful and proud moments of American history, would go a long way to reconciling what Pat Buchanan has recently begun describing as the fragmentation of American identity.

The time is ripe for a remake of this series, and one that bridges the divisions rather than exacerbate them, and treats those complexities of history with the respect they deserve.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Unsolicited opinions

The Leadership Institute, a former employer, is launching a social networking site for campus conservatives. Now this of course comes 5 years after facebook and a few years after the College Republicans tried their own device. I haven't seen 'campus reform' but hope that it's great. The one common denominator I've noticed, and this transcends websites and databases, is that these things are structured never with the end user in mind, but rather, with the organization's needs and desires in mind. If one looks at college students, what are their natural wants and desires, what is their self interest, and how does this work towards it or not address it at all? I suspect, and I feel like I'm always debbie downer with this stuff, that this site will be of rather limited use other than to 100 students across the country who self-select into the universe. A better way to handle the situation would be to create information markets for the database, which is a way of using words I just made up to say that the central infrastucture here could feed into the various groups that already do campus organizing - so let's get to clear examples: setting up a new website that ranks professors, and collects both student information and that information about the specific professor. Or, slightly more controversially, offer a site that posts the papers and exams used in the classes as well. Play into the student's self-interest. Offer a bundle of books at cost and not at the enormous markups charged by their campus bookstore. Then, after doing this, collect the data and find out what students are most passionate about. Use these tactics to cast the widest net and then start bringing these people into the general conservative movement afterwards rather than expecting them to have the desire to advance abstract principles.

But again, no one asked me.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

What are the real goals of a redistributive scheme

Broken out by simple liberal/conservative dispositions:

1. Liberals:
a. justice
b. fairness
c. equality
d. diversity
e. individuality (the merit of making everyone constantly start over, against the accumulation of wealth)

Conservatives, of course, very generally oppose such schemes, usually halfheartedly

2. Conservatives:
a. denial of merit and reward
b. denial of history, tradition, culture
c. denial of inheritance schemes, wills
d. denial of individual rights to have inequalities (i.e. it's good to be rich)
e. those with wealth produce more, and provide greater benefits (Gecko's 'Greed is good' speech)

The truth of the matter, at least how I've begun to look at it, is somewhat more along the lines of:

a. the economic remixing of the middle class to dissipate their power against the elites
b. confiscation of wealth
c. the growth of bureaucracies, as an outgrowth of political paternalism
d. the alleviation of lower class political pressure and frustrations with a check cashed with the wealth of the middle class.
e. the containment of the white collar working class into their roles, their position, which is also a way to control white collar wages

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Booklists, Battles and the budding western mind

The National Association of Scholars is compiling a list of political tracts that are widely assigned. I emailed them to note that those academic clowns Eric Schlosser and Jared Diamond were notably missing from their list. One thing this brings to mind, though, is that conservatives have this silly academic notion of being tourists at the zoo, where they peer in on the academy and remark at how many stripes the zebra has or how ugly the monkeys, but they never leap over the cage and start attacking the bears in order to dominate the cage and demonstrate who is boss. They never engage, the battles always take place exterior to what is the central place, the central aspect of college: the classroom. I suppose you could secondarily claim that it's the co-ed dorms, but let's focus on that classroom. The books assigned are trash and almost all, these days, polemic tracts firmly embued with Marcuse's notion of intolerance to anything from the right. If some right-wing book is assigned, it's something mindless from Hannity or some fluff piece of trash, or something mislabeled as 'conservative' such as that awful woman Alyssa Rosenbaum's "Atlas Shrugged" - no, students are never to get what is a cogent analysis of true conservative thought. They read about the enlightenment without de Maistre, they get the revolution (so rarely even then!) without the anti-Federalists. They get wartime dissent from communists and never isolationists, critiques of capitalism from Marx and never from Catholicism and Chesterton. These are the academic battles worth fighting, not rearguard actions of an army in defeat, but standing straight up defending against the onslaught. One is reminded of Soviet General Zhukov's advance towards Berlin in April of 1945, and Himmler had what remained of the German army as the Army Group Vistula to protect Berlin from Zhukov's advance and, instead of actually engaging the oncoming hordes, the Army sat idly aside as Zhukov, wisely, avoided the army altogether and advanced towards Berlin. There was no defense, in the face of a mortal enemy there was nothing but impotence, and millions of Germans and Eastern Europeans died brutal deaths as a result. In the face of the intellectual onslaught of campuses, our 'conservative movement' is as mindless, reckless and impotent as Himmler's defense. They stand idly by and don't fight, they don't even try. The great western battles of Salamis and Thermopylae, Tours, Lepanto, Clavijo, or Trafalgar or Waterloo, our inheritance from that greatness is to stand by as our minds are corrupted from within.

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One-trick pony

That great information superhighway has me, on a Saturday night, trolling the internet and I ran across the Pope Foundation's website. On there, they list ways that a college student can 'stand for their convictions' and take action on campus. They facilitate this by listing a small but strong list of good groups to that effect. Not only do I know these groups, but I've had friends work at most and altogether positive interactions with all. And yet, I'm struck by what a complete lack of interest I have in all of them even though I share their philosophical disposition. It just all seems like such a staggering distraction considering that our society and our people are going through a war against the child and a real struggle for our future fought on the operating tables of abortionists and in the hearts and minds of a people resigned to become the fabled end of history. All of these issues won't matter in 2 or 3 brief generations as the world retreats from civilization because this generation stopped caring about the future. That's really dour and depressing to think about, to dwell upon, but reading this list I can't help but consider how many children could have been saved, how many women served and spared trauma, instead of the pursuit of these rather silly political proclivities.

Best man speech - Jon Burns/Katie wedding

Best Man Speech
Ben Wetmore
August 7, 2009

And so, Mister Lebowski, what makes a man?
Is it doing the right thing, no matter the cost?

Well, what then, of Mr. Jonathon Christian Burns

I met Jon when he was but a boy, weak, brash, immature and obnoxious. I met Jon through his campus activities at Truman and, in fact, the first time I met him in person we immediately hurried off to a disciplinary hearing about his radio show, talkbalk live.

And far be it for this speech to devolve into a cliché of embarrassing anecdotes, I wrote that speech and shelved it for today, and I’ll also spare you the faux praise people get at weddings and funerals.

Because at this hearing, having sat through a hundred of my own that were perfectly similar in tone, condescension and attitude I realized how different Jon was. Because even though he was being attacked because he was obnoxious, which he is, he was standing for something. And no matter how well you think you know him, you have no idea how dearly Jon is seeking his own little war, and how strong his principles. In an age of relativism, Jon is a rock.

Soaked in the moral clarity of numerous Mr. Bruce Willis and Mr. Charles Bronson movies, Jon never negotiates with terrorists, and will always die for his principles. I remember one phone call where Jon had the brilliant idea to just walk up to Senator Harry Reid and start punching him in the face because of what Reid was doing to the country.

And he doesn’t do this because his taxes will go up 650 million and change, even though they will, he feels this passionately because he knows it’s the right thing to do. Here sits a man.

---I left this part out---

I asked Jon to come out to South Dakota with me in 2006 for the abortion ban referendum. Oh sure he bitched, oh sure he moaned, and he does not take direction well, junior. But he went out there. And while others came and went out of their way to mess things up, Jon went out of his way to make things work.

I would come and go, and the referendum lost by 12,000 votes, and I also know that had they run with a plan that Jon devised, a reservation turnout strategy, that could have and would have ended abortion by law in South Dakota. That’s who he is, and it’s not nothing. He makes million dollar deals for breakfast.

---the rest was in---

And Jon’s strengths, his unbelievable assets are his loyalty, fidelity, strength, passion and principles. Things he learned from his wonderful parents, as well as by watching every movie made from 1980-1994, is one that I think will define this marriage, this union. Jon brings total commitment and his love and passion for Katie has never wavered even for a moment. I listen to his rantings for about an hour each night, and his love for Katie is truly the pure love that today’s society cynically believes can’t exist, yet here it is.

But this all, of course, is only half the story, and this is where I think it gets good.

Because where Jon brings such great things to the table, he also brings, let’s be honest, a stubbornness, an obnoxious immaturity that we have all suffered through. And this is where Katie shines, because she tempers his exuberance. She matures his childishness, her grace eases through his obstinance and she truly makes him a better man. My best friend found the perfect woman, and married her today, and they will both be sanctified together, their lives in union will grow and, I hope it’s not too bold to say, complete one another.

Jon’s deficits are completed by Katie. And the product of that union, their future children, will undoubtedly be amazing. Any woman willing to marry a man knowing his insistence that they name their sons Charles Bronson Burns or Bruce Willis Burns or Lee Marvin Burns is a patient woman indeed. And through that patience, in their love together, their marriage will be wonderful. I cannot have imagined a better woman for Jon than Katie.


Thank you.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Secret Histories of America, and other tall tales by Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone is planning to come out with a major production of the secret history of America. And one thing that really bothers me about Stone is how he plays off both ends of this argument or has done so in the past. On one hand he says he's not a historian, he claims that he's just a filmmaker, just an entertainer. And in that regard, sure, obviously, he's right and his films are all very entertaining, if amazingly misleading about their factual history.

But here, all the sudden Stone becomes a historian. He wants both things without the responsibility of either, especially as a serious historian. He wants to tell interesting tales that people tune into because they are so desperate for truth, for clarity about their cultural identity, and then Stone maliciously lies and maligns historical figures because of his twisted ideology. I write ideology and I don't even know that he seriously has one, or if his ideology is just a manner of saying that he enjoys filming lies. I don't think he's "liberal" as much as he's "completely unconcerned with truth" and likes to tell a big tale. He's somewhat infantile in that regard, and many of the things in his personal life suggest a certain childishness that comes through. He's the victim of sexual abuse by his mother, so he claims, and I've read elsewhere that such people often stop their emotional and psychological development at the point when that happens. So, taking that unfortunate fact into account, you can start to see Stone as the prepubescent boy who loves lying so that people listen to his tall tales, the kid who always has an amazing yarn to spin. He's always wanted and desired because he can capture and enthrall people. We're all supporting actors in this 50 year old tragedy of mommy molesting oliver.

And I love Stone's movies, they're all masterful. They're incredibly engaging, they provide and provoke hours of discussion. The man is dangerous and ought to be imprisoned for life, however, and anyone with even a passing interest in either history or films ought to seriously consider if they ought to intellectually consume our modern Gnostic priest of recent American history.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Healthcare proposals

Apparently the administration is going to back down on the commissar's option, the so-called "public option", which is a great thing. A few days ago when this was all still on the table, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wrote this editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which listed out a few fabulous, serious, reforms that would truly benefit the system. A friend sent it to me saying how wise it was. And, surely, it is - but I had also sent this friend my own article from a year ago which said almost exactly the same thing. I need a better platform, or to stop caring.

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Why the selfish love cohabitation, and not their 'lover'

CNN asks if cohabitation is wise, even in the face of scientific studies showing it leads to divorce. Predictably, this woman makes the argument that you want to 'test drive' marriage before you start it "for real."

What I think she doesn't understand, is that cohabitation entails two essential things:

1. it becomes marriage-lite
2. it facilitates the selfish desires of people, and becomes the opposite of commitment

Both of these run parallel to the 'trial run' argument, but she's then operating her life, and her major commitments, as though they were a game with a reset button. Relationships are tough, and are not a game. Breaking up, at least for me, has been an emotional rollercoaster and, often, total trainwreck. It's not something you flippantly do and then renege upon, it's not something you enter into and then decide that one's small eccentricities are too much to handle and you want that 'perfect' someone instead of just a 'good' someone. People who operate in that fashion are serial killers without the murder: emotional sociopaths who are out for number one at all costs.

Listen to how she describes her failed cohabitation situation:

Living together is a two-way street. I'm sure Jeff had no idea that I hated doing dishes, slammed doors when I was angry, liked to eat out for almost every meal, couldn't control myself around his ice cream, and hated to sit around the house doing nothing.


I mean, let's call a spade a spade, this woman is a bitch.

No wonder her boyfriend didn't marry her. She was completely in it for herself, there was no submission of her own desires to the other, there was no unity of the two souls into one. Marriage ought not be an economic arrangement a la Alyssa Rosenbaum's silly notions about relationships, it ought to be the transcendent blending of two souls into one. This is where I think the religious aspects of marriage cannot be factored out, and those who enter into marriage without that understanding, agreement and conviction are really rolling the dice with divorce. And so that brings us back to the cohabitation problem, and its significance for Christian couples, where I think, as with too many other things, Christians have integrated the Pagan ways too much recently, and as it regards cohabitation it enables their own selfishness, materialism, doubts, worries, commitment-phobia and denigration of the ones they claim they love.

Everyone knows the cliches from Corinthians about love, which is read at every single wedding I have ever been to. But they should add to it that love is also neither independent, casual, temporary, short-sighted, child-free, intimacy-lacking, tame, tempered, calm, dispassionate, cold, delaying.

Love is, or at least ought to be, wild and untamed, unpredictable and zealous. Love ought to be full of children because intimacy isn't something planned for birthdays and special treats, but the side effect from being unable to be apart emotionally, mentally and thus subsequently physically. Love is not metered like a utility, or as constant as the sunrise, but wild flares of danger and passion.

Even to write that seems cliche, as though it doesn't exist. Yet, I've felt it before. I know it's out there. I've had a muse or two and not only did they spark me to great things, they still continue to spark me to great things even though we don't talk.

That kind of love should never cohabitate, it should marry, procreate, and live life as it really is, not as a test-run to what it could be. And any love that doesn't fit that bill shouldn't live together anyway, at least not until the people involved can figure out how to really enjoy, embrace and love one another truly, fully, utterly, completely.

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Death Panels image

Something I just made up:



You can also download the photoshop file here.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

The Senate's Sotomayor insincerity

If the Senate GOP were serious about power, they wouldn't have capitulated so easily on Sotomayor. The Senate dem judiciary memos on Miguel Estrada were barely referenced and even then almost only in passing. Even as a losing battle, it could have been titanic to have Estrada in front of the cameras asking why race was a negative for him. Even though they clearly showed that Senate Dems were opposing him solely because of his race, that faux conservative Orrin Hatch decided that his best friend Teddy Kennedy was worth more than his supposed principles. No wonder these guys can't win elections. There were, all along, good people sounding the alarm on these people, people like Manuel Miranda, but they're ostracized and ignored instead of embraced. The noble dissent is the mantra of the Senate GOP, and faced with people who are shameless victors, it's a sad day for sound principles.

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The race against space

Obama bureaucrats have now misdirected space flight in a recent committee decision, pushing it to deep space, 'rendezvous' instead of landings, and aspects of meaningless scientific interest. It was always going to be a true test of the intentions of the environmentalists whether their earthly insanity about 'protecting' the environment would extend even to other planets, and surely, this represents, the beginning of that travesty. Whereas human potential is limitless when given the resources available in our solar system and beyond, now we will contracept, abort and 'control' and 'plan' our way into biological irrelevance. This ought to be a moment of glory for our race, for our people. We can explore the stars, colonize new worlds, extend our people and our culture to heights that previous generations could not have dreamed of... and instead we will be limiting ourselves forever, enslaved to a world simply through our irrational values that elevate a tree above a baby, the wind over history and literal dirt over glory. We have an international space station doing stupid research instead of a moon base collecting tritium to make cold fusion. We have mapping probes instead of a strategy to terraform Mars and Venus. We have cute little rovers instead of intergalactic property rights that would provide the greatest gold rush of all time. Where we need leadership, we have weakness.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

More Copyright Madness

Few things get me as irate as copyright, and it's misuse.

I recently looked into getting this image:



For use by Mass Citizens, as a nice pro-natal, pro-child image. Julia Cameron took the picture, more than 130 years ago (she died in 1879). The copyright has, thus, long since expired. However the actual photograph has been donated to the Eastman House museum and they, of course, restrict access to it and charge hundreds for a one-time use of the real image. Now, of course, libertarians will say that this is only fitting because they are storing the images and have real bills to pay. But what am I really paying for? The financial interest in the picture has long since passed. The author of the work has lost her financial interest in the work, but I'm paying because this museum through a combination of a legal regime of copyright plus their ability to enforce its scarcity, constricting supply. There's no reason I need to pay this amount. There's no reason that the museum couldn't set up a google picasa account and host the images there, and loose themselves of the storage costs. They have an asset and they're milking it for all its worth, even though these are wonderful, cultural treasures.

Okay okay, sure, they're a business, they should be allowed to do this. I understand that, that doesn't change the fact it pisses me off. But that they're ostensibly a museum, but one that restricts access to their holdings demonstrates, to me at least, a degree of hypocrisy that ought to be recognized. Information is meant to be free, and people should not be denied their ability to see these cultural treasures. It would be better were these corporations to change their models to either produce new content, or showcase the existing content in a different way, rather than simply bilking fellow non-profits for reproduction rights to a photograph that is over a century old.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some old ideas, some gems, from an old co-worker

Ah, my Leadership Institute days had some good ideas and some great ideas.

Below are some good ideas for campus organizing.

Original ideas for campus organizing

A weakness of our movement is that all the resources and places where attacks can be issued are within large, expensive non-profit/public policy groups. These companies rely on profits and bottom-lines just like any free enterprise corporation, the effect is a static way of thinking that usually relies on the reliable and cautious. Any employee embracing risk and pushing the envelope will find opposition and eventual removal from these dinosaur organizations. What needs to happen is for a couple low key, non attention seeking organizations to start multiple website companies and watching groups. Low budget and lack of attention will keep these active freedom fighting associations free from the status seeking, infighting and caution of the bigger groups.

Create National Conservative Student Government Parties—develop a 5-10 step program of general steps on how to win.
Act as an “Activism Consultant” for student leaders instead of club building

Teach students to make the establishment play by their own rules with innovative, fun to do, edgy tactics. Make sure that the students are not simply stuck on an issue or generality. Activism requires that there is an enemy—be it a politician, professor, administrator or student leader. Moral indignation, defiance, and the war mindset all come into play when you can articulate who the evildoer is.
Dream-build--Brainstorm with contacts on what the problem is, what they want changed and how to get there. Ask the questions, steer the activists to the “right” conclusion on how to act. Don’t tell them directly what to do if you can help it—remember that you are an advisor and organizer, not a general.
Make sure contacts do most of the work, including the planning, financing, and recruiting. Allow the contacts to have ownership of the project
Cover their victory on your website and in friendly media. The effectiveness of “smashleftwingscum.com” was it motivated contacts to push the limits
Internally, develop a “levels system” a very basic guide showing what level of development our contacts are at. It is not up to us to grow them, they need to take the initiative. This is a good way to allocate limited resources.
“Air support”—we need a list of lawyers who will do pro bono work. We should have a formal letter from one of these attorneys that we can distribute to our people saying that if their rights are violated, an investigation will be done.
Step-by-step guide (could be fashioned to fit into a semester) on how to get a professor fired/punished/impeached. We need to prove the guide works soon so we can have testimonials and issue threats to liberal campuses as needed.
“Prof-Watch” “Starting where Horowitz left off” Make a checklist of professors we want to take down. Depending on who we choose, we will need to form bonds with group leaders at those schools. This page shouldn’t be displayed on the site until we can claim a couple victories.
Media evidence--Database of streaming and downloadable audio (text needs to be provided as well) of leftist professor rants must be on the site.
Language—we must not throw angry slurs or appear out of the mainstream when attacking these professors on the website. The idea is to create a consensus among the student body and relevant community members that this professor is a pariah. Accuse professors of “indoctrinating,” “aggressively suppressing free speech,” “lewd acts of behavior,” etc. Avoid phrases like evil, scum, moonbat, etc.
Monitoring pro-freedom-on-campus legislation.
Congressional and State Government Lobbying--Similar to Freedomworks we should have students lobby Congress for legislation guaranteeing specific rights on campus. We can easily build a long list of grievances that need to be addressed.
Legislative Watch. Have a section of the site showing what pro (and anti) conservative student bills are in congress, federal and state
Donor Wars—This is territory that conservatives have only breached once that I know of. Reaching and effectively communicating with the donors who give money to a liberal college.
Testimonial--Conservative Alumni at UCLA created a community organization that educated college donors on how liberal things had gotten. This group was eventually shut down, after doing a lot of damage. We must find a way to reach the donors.
We need to pick a couple schools and find ways to reach their donors. Distributing literature about how left wing the campus faculty at football games (athletes are donors) might be the best approach.
Build a database of campus donors—and send them a direct mailing letter asking for money as we use the stories of how liberal the professors on their beloved school have become
Get media coverage of left wing professors in paper and have alumni respond.
Set up community based “Concerned Alumni of _________” This group can co-sponsor actions with us and do all kinds of things we cant do on our own, such as destroy campus reputation, lower student attendance, etc. The group can also host town hall style meetings…
Website Idea: Replicate CampusActivism.org in every way possible. Best way would be to design a rightwingactivism.org of some sort. We could use a place to upload resources, share stories, etc
Website idea: Informer’s Corner—Similar to Bureaucrash, though we can do it far better…There should be a section (modeled with a Soviet-style poster look) where conservatives living on really liberal campuses can discreetly send us messages from the underground. . These conservatives will get emboldened to take action as they play into the idea that they are a freedom fighter. It is crucial that the site be graphically and rhetorically designed to create this dynamic
Hate group list from the “Northern Poverty Legal Center.” (closely modeled after Southern Poverty Law Center) The NWLC should actively attack SDS, MEC’cha and other campus affiliated left wing scum groups. Once we develop the lawyer list of pro bono folks, this will be more feasible.
Coalition building guide—every campus student body can be broken down into groups of like minded people. LI has found that pro-life and gun groups get the most attendance. We need to develop an internal study showing what the biggest groups of ideologically similar people are, and have it broken down demographically. With that information at hand, we need to build a profile on each group—who are they, gender, major, fraternity/sorority, etc. This is NOT to be limited to political views and issue positions alone. The study should take other groupings of likeminded people into account like religious affiliation. Within the profile on each demographic, we need to determine what issues, relating to the campus, they would be influenced by. So when our organizers are choosing a tactic, they will be better able to know what enemy to choose, and what issue to incorporate. Coalitions are not fixed alliances, they are created case-by-case. The intel we collect will make who to invite to what more scientific and reliable.
Interactive Conservative Calendar that activists can upload dates of events.

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Movie Review: The Hangover

Hangover Review


I liked this movie. I think I may say that I loved this movie until about 15 minutes before the end, but it was one of the few comedies that is worth seeing. Having given it that compliment, let me add the caveat that it’s worth seeing once.

Comedies usually suck. The talented writers in Hollywood apparently having decided to abandon the field, I find it difficult to laugh at what becomes an exercise in fart jokes, scat humor and sexual innuendo that while perhaps funny at age 12, or funny when I’m over twice as old but want to infantilize myself back to that age, is decidedly not funny having seen the same formula a thousand times.

Hangover binges on real comedy, and it’s the last 15 minutes, the hangover from the substantive laughs, when you start to regret your previous decisions.

For some reason it devolved into sexual slapstick and crude humor. It started with great situational humor, slightly more highbrow than your typical Adam Sandler tragedy, but then decided to light the script on fire for the last half act.

It’s worth noting that all modern movies are tempted by the pied piper of scriptwriting these days, the hard story arc that gives you a taste in the beginning and works through small reveals throughout the story to give you pieces that lead to a worthwhile twist of a finale, and it lends itself to one viewing. Television series that follow this logic, such as the wonderful Battlestar Galactica, fell into this trap and now, upon rewatching, one can’t really do it out of sequence. The totality of the story in the Hangover, that these guys wake up and have no idea what happened and try to piece it together, works decently the first time through, but won’t lend itself to the ridiculous amounts of rewatching one can do with truly classic comedies like Ghostbusters, Woody Allen movies, Chris Farley movies, etc.; and one also is frustrated that, as funny as the movie is and with the comedic talent at their fingertips, no one scene or groups of scenes are truly outlandishly funny.

In ten minutes on screen Jim Carrey consistently delivers comedy in such memorable moments that are altogether lacking in this movie. Which isn’t to call this a chuckle movie, there are certainly significant laughs within, and that’s why it’s certainly worth seeing, but I struggle to think of many Bill Murray or John Candy, or even Steve Martin movies that can’t be watched repeatedly and still, consistently, deliver a fun time.

Perhaps this is to hold these newcomers to an impossible standard. The iconic moments, after all, come only in time and not in the heat of the moment. The first time I saw the Big Lebowski, after all, the only laugh was when the dude crashed his car into the dumpster, and only through rewatchings did I discover the epic redefinition of comedy that it was. Similarly I recall hating Family Guy and Southpark when I first came upon them, only to open up to them in time. Perhaps the same will happen with the Hangover, but I struggle to find the elements present that might give it that potential. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but in the meantime I’d recommend seeing this once, and refrain from binging twice on the Hangover.


B, 84/100, ***/****

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Groups with a field presence

From what little time and exposure I've had to DC, it was always striking to me how few organizations had a true field program. The political science nerd in me would note that this perhaps represents an 'inside' strategy versus an 'outside' strategy, but what ought to be added to the various lobbying strategies is that even an inside/access strategy is dependent on one's clout in the real world, in the outside the political circle world. You can focus on a specific niche or a specific type of person, but that niche/group really has to have a disproportionate impact on the rest of society. This is why I think college organizing is wise because it takes the 50% of people who go to college and starts to narrow the field. Not that there's any difference in the inherent dignity of a person, let me ward off the uber-Catholic friends of mine who will email tirades, but that there has to be some recognition that certain people in society are more influential than others. If one had a choice between converting a pastor or a retiree, one should focus on the pastor simply because of the greater number of people they have access to, and wider array of people they're exposed to.

Politically, it seems, few groups do this kind of 'outreach' or perhaps call it 'organizing' or what have you. And though it's related to communication and marketing, it's not quite the same. The easiest path is, of course, inviting people out to lunch and discussion, but it's not a professional lunch eating course either -- it's the personal connection with an ability to make change in an area, activate and train a motivated individual, and enable them to reach their full political potential.

Most groups, however, if they have a field program at all, seem to limit it to odd objectives. The Leadership Institute has had a strong field program for several years, and they set up center-right campus groups across the country, an admittedly good thing, but many of those groups end up being very transitory and very short-lived. It's not hard to understand why, because they are almost completely disconnected from a national movement. Instead of being a part of something larger, they are the entire political universe for their given topic. While at LI, I suggested taking the largest groups in the conservative 'movement' and then trying to start campus groups that would be affiliated with that separate organization, and then letting them handle the follow-up. You'd essentially be creating a youth movement for others. This fell on deaf ears, probably for a variety of reasons, but I think its essential truth still holds: that it's pointless to organize for its own sake, and that connection and access to a wider, larger movement is also essential for longer-term success.

As another example, most state parties have a field program, and certainly every serious campaign does as well - but to what end? After the election that momentum dies, their cause folds and they lay in wait for another day. Obama's answer to this after his campaign was to start an organization that would simply continue his campaign, Organizing for America, that would essentially lobby to enact his agenda. And that's smart, but I think, a bit greedy and incomplete. The wiser course of action would have embraced a degree of subsidiarity that is perhaps unconscionable to the center-left, and tossed those activists, groups and momentum off to their wide array of interest groups to strengthen them.

There is, I think, on some basic level a disconnect with entrepreneurialism that precludes some of this from their movement, but certainly the growth of recent groups proves that statement to be, at best, half-true. The center-left has grown their activist base, has done a great deal of organizing work, and has done a splendid job tying those people into the whole. Not only is the right unable to compete, but they are unaware of the immensity of the movement against them, and can only muster victories when the challenge should not have been competitive in the first place, and when the conditions are completely stacked against the other side.

The problems with center-right field organizing, then, are really only a minor problem in the grander crisis of a collapsing center-right movement.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The sounds of pro-life over the silence of the supposedly 'pro-life'

Not to be too depressed by the outrageously lackluster performance of the Senate Republicans, one bright spot has been the presence of pro-life agitators. Obviously many may find them obnoxious, but they are people who feel so marginalized, kept out of the media and stifled that they resort to these disruptive tactics. Considering that the Senate GOP can't fall over itself fast enough to lob obvious softballs at this all-but-certain Supreme Court Justice, it's nice that someone is speaking the obvious: that abortion is murder, that the unborn demand justice and that the intellectually dishonest legal abortion regime is the unspoken elephant in the room. The absence of 50 million children, and potentially 277 million through chemical abortions, is so rarely heard that it's fitting that these protesters voice that when their so-called 'pro-life' elected representatives fail them on that account.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Aristocrat Arrogance over Residency Requirements

The disgust with this isn't confined solely to Baldwin's shallow politics and ideology, but that the political elites regard geographic disparity as a mere inconvenience in their desire to rule us. Hillary moves to New York, Alan Keyes to Illinois, Bobby Kennedy to New York, Baldwin to wherever is convenient. These people aren't some local politician redistricted out of their seat due to petty politics who has to move his home a few blocks in order to be eligible, these are the landed estates, the aristocrats and 'global citizens' who are posing as our neighbor with a name on a mailbox in order to rule us from Washington. It's repulsive and disgusting.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Co-ed dorm rooms

The University of Chicago is moving forward with co-ed dorm rooms. Libertarians will say, great, good that they let each decide their own lives. Conservatives will say, awful, that it encourages moral degradation in an environment where it's almost non-existent. However I think something else to consider is the powerplay that it represents, in that the 'rights' of the so-called 'transgendered' become so paramount that everything else gets pushed aside. College has become not only a sandbox for social engineering and experimentation, but also a proving ground for social-political warfare with competing groups angling hard to see how much they can 'get' in their four years. And with already established left-wing groups, the 'transgendered' get to see how far they can push the envelope. Society is sowing the seeds of its own divisions in its institutions of 'higher learning' and its most poignant lesson is hardball identity politics.`

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Late Bloomer: the aged accomplishments of Ben Franklin



This is a snarky little graphic I made for MCFL, for the back page of the newspaper. It's pretty plain, in that the message is pretty simple yet, I hope, profound-- that the depression of everyday life ought to be put in the context of the great things to come. Let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Professor Esolen, reposted



I just can't say how much I loved this speech by Prof. Esolen, and wanted to repost it. Truth is intellectually delicious.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Movie Review: Lone Gunmen tv series

So it's been off the air for 8 years, but I'm finally getting around to watching a few episodes of the "Lone Gunmen" series... and it's absolutely awful. It's an awkward collection of slapstick comedy, drama and intrigue, but it almost purposefully omits the redeeming parts of the X-Files. I'd like it to be better, but it's almost painful in its awfulness. The characters are vapid, the dialogue is so stupid and silly that it wouldn't pass muster as a children's show. I just can't believe that a show as decent as the x-files could be written and produced by relatively the same people.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Theo's story about 'kissing his baby goodbye'

Theo Purington gives his history as his girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes, after getting advice on campus at Boston College from the nursing staff. Many colleges counsel young women into abortion as a 'solution' to pregnancy, not realizing that they're causing them to only compound their problems. A baby is never the 'problem' to solve, and in the most recent issue of the MCFL News you can read about another local university's resources and help offered to female students in such situations.

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Dinosaur Extinction and Baby Extinction



So, this pretty well speaks for itself I suppose. Image links to a higher quality version.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

LTPC: Love Thy Prisoner Campaign

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Field Offices and campus organizing

I've written a few plans and considered good locations for campus organizing, and while there are always a variety of issues to consider, in an ideal world

1. Austin, TX
2. Berkeley, CA
3. Athens, GA
4. Ann Arbor, MI
5. Boston, MA
6. Madison, WI

A few other thoughts: you need someone to manage a small team in these areas, perhaps in their mid-20s, and then the best situation would be to hire 2-3 people straight out of college. The rationale for this is that you don't want these solo operations because it then either becomes a race to promote one's self above everything else, or it leads to a special brand of crazy. For me, it seems, mainly the latter. You would want to target two general types of places: those that are absolute leftist strongholds, and also cities/college towns in swing areas. This is why Austin outranks Boston, and why Madison might be better moved up the list. You want to reach people in these areas to help counteract the effect of a constant indoctrination in the classroom.

There are also some salient issues you could always organize around, issues like culture/heritage/identity, values/family/life/abortion, war/state/bureaucracy that are powerful wherever you go. It's always entertaining to see certain forced agenda topics try and take root in college, and are usually transitory. I recall one while I was an undergrad, where there was a push to be anti-gun. Well, in case you hadn't noticed, there isn't much gun crime in college and, as well, most colleges ban guns anyway. So, it's a loser of an issue. These natural, 'salient' topics, however, should prove organizable in any situation or area.

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Summer movies: barf

The upcoming summer releases are about as impressive as Wesley Snipes doing Shakespeare. I'm sure at the end of the summer they'll blame the economy as to why people aren't going to watch movies, and not, in truth, the absolutely abysmal quality of the cinema.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

For the summer, the winter



so often the moments of life can be so well felt through Vivaldi.

6 thoughts on being drunk

I went out with two friends, one of whom was such a cool kid that he got free drinks at the bar. This meant that an endless series of martinis flowed into glasses and ultimately into my tummy and thus into impaired judgment. I don't get drunk very often, maybe 1-2 times a year and can't say that I much enjoy it. It's usually the result of sweet-tasting drinks that delay the alcohol taste until it's too late.

Needless to say, I have a few thoughts while drunk, mostly inane. But I decided to share them here:

1. Being so drunk that your hair feels different, it's as though it's numbed

2. Unable to focus your eyes but inappropriately

3. A deep desire to drunk dial former lovers

4. Beer goggles that you know are lying, but you just don't care

5. Certain elements of your personality becoming amplified

6. Intoxication may be a sin, but it is the most honest I've felt in months

Movie Review of the "Attack of the 50 Foot Tall Woman"

So I watched this movie last night, thanks again to Netflix. I think my interest came from the well-done poster though when it arrived I did notice that it's 66 minute run time was a bit suspicious. When I looked at the movie's description and premise it seemed:

Outlandish - good
Campy - good
Silly sci-fi - good
Intellectually deconstructable - good



So, I thought, really, how could this go wrong? With a movie premise this silly, it has to be a great movie. And yet, in almost every way, this movie sucked. The writing sucked, the acting sucked, the plot sucked, the effects sucked, and the execution sucked. There are some movies from this period that go a long way on a small budget or put together a wonderful story that is still very basic, as does the Outer Limits and Twilight Zone series. This movie, however, just plain sucked. It's almost unwatchable, and is certainly not worth your time.

F, 5/100, 0/****

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Movie Review of The Machinist

Review of The Machinist

This was a good movie trying very hard to be great. There were moments where I felt like it was part Memento, and yet at other parts as though it was a modern colorized film noir combined with European cinema, a few stark camera angles and purposeful confusion in order to throw you off. This movie was trying very hard to be great, but just doesn’t quite make it.

Christian Bale does a fabulous job, and obviously really delivers. The main deficits of this movie is in a script that was a little too disjointed and striving for artsy and camera work that was more than simple and yet not truly great. There aren’t moments of any shots that were especially daring or any new perspectives that grab you. In an age where every aspect of the movie process is broken down to its elements and the audience has come to expect greatness in every aspect, it simply came up short.

Another movie I watched over the weekend, just for grins, was 1993’s “The Fugitive” and it struck me how plain that movie is, and how basic it is, and yet how strongly it delivers. It’s not pretentious, it’s direct and simple and yet so powerfully entertaining. It makes a script about a falsely accused doctor and makes it so identifiable and puts you in the role of Dr. Richard Kimball so well that each aspect works.

The Machinist isn’t simple, and you don’t identify with the protagonist, there are so many different sequences that are disjointed, relatively unconnected, and brought together at the end in such a way that doesn’t leave the viewer feeling as though it’s an adequate resolution to the various issues presented. And before anyone says that insomnia can explain his various crazy moments and scenes, one should realize that I could, thus, written in a giant duck named Chester who played cards and had the voice of Katherine Hepburn and been just as relevant. If the movie can be made in such a way where the contents don’t matter, then what’s the point of watching a movie, just flash a black screen with white text and tell me what the message is and move on. Skip the song and dance and save everyone the money.

No, even as someone who is, for lack of a good term, “conservative” I thoroughly enjoy even liberal movies, which, of course, they all are, because on some basic level they engage ideas in a way that we refrain from doing in normal life. The movies are a vehicle by which to live life a little more brightly, and so when they go out of their way to be confusing they ought try even harder, as in Memento, to give a perfect delivery and a compelling point. Another way of saying that is that one should not be so flip with the rules until one has mastered the rules. Hemingway wrote in simple sentences, and did wonderfully. Every movie need not be a twist, a change or a new exploration into the movies itself especially if one is not prepared to fully deliver on that promise. Sadly, the Machinist, though somewhat laudable for trying, succeeds best in coming up short.

C-, **/****, 70/100

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Unique readers for this blog in the last week: 721

From my IP stats:

14. - - - Distinct hosts served in last 7 days - - - 721 Hosts

I don't have that many ex-girlfriends, so I'm kind of surprised that number is any higher than 2: Marty and Ferro.

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My new group: LTPC



The "Love Thy Prisoner Campaign" made its debut at the Gay Pride Parade in Boston over the weekend.

People were asked to adopt a detainee, provide a home if they get released, help them with their 'religious needs' and be a friend, a pen pal.

James and I were told that we were "the most truly progressive people here..." and this was at the Boston Gay Pride rally, so, I think that puts us in strong running for the most progressive people in the world.

Fact sheet - Signup sheet

Hopefully you can see where this is going...

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PostSecret



I really enjoy PostSecret, and even listened to a recent NPR program on the site.

Specifically I really enjoyed the above postcard, and thought it was very poignant. The site is filled with, and cards are well-chosen, to give a certain honest humanity and dramatic power that it's so hard to find in the media or even interpersonally. PostSecret tells you a lot about people, even considering that I suspect half of the 'secrets' are really quite embellished.

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This made my day

"Yeah, I agree with you all the time and totally love your blog, you're my non-sexual mancrush."

-Marty Andrade

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

As I was going up the stair
I saw a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

An old activism schedule for four days of content-generation

sadly most of this didn't pan out, but enough did where it should end up being pretty glorious. I tried to be a little obscure with some of these things, so if you're truly curious then just email and ask.

day 1

LTPC Campaign

Adoption

formerly deviant

document parade/march

new media event

day 2

religious audit

set up logistics for marketing

no work union job

day 3

ACLU skit

hit up campus clinics

calling potential funders

day 4

editing, promoting

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

My friend Alyssa

I have had a long-running dislike of so-called "Ayn Rand" and her silly theories and writings. Though she's got kernels of truth in some of them, overall she's just an empty woman.

So, I made this graphic to express my thoughts on the matter and thought you might enjoy it:

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Some mindless images

At the request of a friend, I made the Obama graphic and then after playing around a bit in flash I made it animated:




And then also wishing to get a decent flash background, I made this one for use in message boards:




Both are ridiculous, but it fits a certain blend of absurdist humor that I enjoy.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The progression of Pro-Life disaffection

Having sat through a very mendacious speech about pro-life battles a few months ago, that was all heavy on how pregnancy centers were the only ways in which to save babies in the pro-life movement, a statement that is either woefully ignorant considering Dr. New's wonderful research on the effectiveness of legal restrictions or intentionally deceptive which I believe to be the case, it occurred to me that there must be a generally standard set of steps followed by individuals who become fervently pro-life.

I would write this out in a longer article, but I don't really have the time and don't really think I have the credibility and, pragmatically, the audience, regardless:

1- direct action
2- education
3- legal issues/lawsuits
4- legislation
5- culture
6- pregnancy centers
7- local area, the most micro, solving it one by one level
8- disaffection, burn out, apathy

From what little I can tell, and what I can tell about my own personal experience, that seems to be the steps that happen most often, in that order. People float into one and then slowly float into the next and move along the path until they reach burn out or apathy. The challenge would be to figure out how to contain this, slow it, or ideally stop it among pro-life activists so that they don't burn out and stay active.

I suspect that the best answer would be to highlight their individual successes in a constant, routine basis. The Gerard Foundation's "Life Prizes" which I lightly criticized previously, might be a part of that answer, as is the development of alternative media outlets among other solutions.

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current drafts: 10 mistakes - videotaping - center right moral crusades - 7 quick steps to better recruitment - center right organizing topics

organizing theory
Books on Organizing
Books you ought to read in order to learn how to win.
1/25/09 - Articles/Theory/Training
 
Healthcare Confusions
We've got the winning plan that no one's talking about.
11/21/08 - Articles/Features
 
Setting up an organizational structure
How to set up your organization's hierarchy the right way, for maximum results.
11/21/08 - Articles/Theory/Orgs
 
Restructuring Leftist's Fancy Language
A brief overview on how to rebut those many creative new words that leftists always love to come up with.
11/21/08 - Articles/Theory/Messaging
 
6 Steps to any effective political action
A broad overview of taking your concept and outlining the general steps needed to achieve a direct political result.
10/12/08 - Articles/Theory/Orgs
 
5 Goals for your first campus group meeting
Prevent your first meeting from becoming too boring by keeping focused on these 5 goals.
9/12/08 - Articles/Tactics
 
8 Considerations Before Starting a Petition Drive
Figure out these things before you start, and you'll get more names in a shorter period of time using less manpower.
9/7/08 - Articles/Tactics
 
Basics of Effective Tabling
Recruit scores of new members by simply following a few easy rules.
8/27/08 - Articles/Tactics
 
The importance of setting political demands
Put your mission into tangible goals, and let your members and the world know them
8/27/08 - Theory/Orgs
 
Tactics: Video Sniper Team
Get great content of your opposition in 30 minutes
8/26/08 - Articles/Tactics
 
Activism Event: Foto with a Fetus
Recruit new members by giving them a unique facebook profile photo
8/26/08 - Activism/Abortion
 
Stages of Radicalization
Ways to take members and bring them into greater action
8/25/08 - Theory
 
The Other Side's Arguments for Affirmative Action
Look at a very basic printout of talking points from NOW handed out by an NAACP chapter at an affirmative-action bakesale
7/21/08 - Articles/Theory/Opposition
 
Basics of Webpage Design
A convenient explanation of how internal pages should be laid out
7/20/08 - Theory/Pubs
 
Judicial Shakedown
Dan Flynn explains the inconvenient truth of a liberal judiciary appointed by Republicans
5/20/08 - Blog link
 
The Top Ten Worst Men in America
Feature: None should surprise you.
3/15/08 - Feature
5 Major Challenges for the Movement on the Web
Theory: Make these internets tubes work for us.
3/15/08
 
Old gem: CLP101 and its Update
 
Read about Fighting Back and Recruitment
 

 

 



A discussion about the evolution of conservative philosophy away from the old ideas into neoconservatism, and the effort to return to its foundation.


A documentary analysis of the faux activism portrayed by the left wing, their financial underpinnings, and the same tired half dozen activists whom the media continually glorify.

Zombie Time
A look at the decadent leftists around San Francisco

             
             

Projects:
Radical Poser
Campus Wire
RaceCodes
SloppyScholars
PaleoCon.org Blog

Leftist Authors
Leftist Books

A conservative movement?

Republican party
savetheGOP

Pro-Life
jill stanek

Movement
red state

News:
Drudge

Not news:
Fark

Opinion:
VDare
National Conservative

 

Model activists
James O'Keefe
Ryan Sorba

Model groups
Bureaucrash

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