Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I stand by my (a)morals

A common problem among journos who fancy themselves as political commentators is that they confuse satire with personal mockery.

If you're smart (unlike me) you'll try and remain voluntarily ignorant about politics full stop. But try to avoid, at least, thinking that all political bents are the same. Take the 1970's socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky for example. His book Rules For Radicals, a step-by-step handbook on how to rise to power, has been used frequently by various US Democrats.

This useful instructional tome reads like it's a workshop manual for VW Beetles, but with bigger words. It has some marvelous pointers on stuff like; how to discredit and personally destroy your opponents, how to deflect criticism, how to create job vacancies (i.e. "push" people out of your way) and such like. It even contained an "over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: Lucifer". Quite the magnanimous hat-tip coming from a militant atheist.

It has been long since proven that Obama was a student of Alinsky's method to the letter. It shone in his election campaign, and continues to be so in his governance.

Here's one of Alinsky's famous methods, paraphrased somewhat: Force your opponents to live up to their own standards. When they don't, attack them.

Matthew Littman was a Democrat strategist and a speech writer for now-VP Joe Biden (which may explain why Biden so often strays from his script. Tragically, he's even worse at ad-libbing). In an article in the factually-challenged news portal Huffington Post, Littman wrote of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 US presidential race...

I am offended by the attacks on Senator Clinton because there is no question that the slams against her are hypocritical and come because she’s a woman...

Such a nice thing to say albeit where his grammar is slightly awkward because also the lack of punctuation makes the sentence look a little strange and because he can't write quite right.

Yes, as speechwriter for one of Clinton's opponents, it's really quite sweet of him to be worried about Hillary mainly due to her scary woman-parts (that's a feminist term so don't get snarky). I totally agree with him.

But wait. The same Littman, in a recent interview, made comments about resigned Alaskan governor Sarah Palin which were, by his own logic, misogynistic and sexist. And, of all the media-driven twisted, sick and depraved mockery of Palin, Littman excused it, and joined in. The bi-partisan feminist website New Agenda has the story. He even talks down to a female co-interviewee in the most hideously patronising manner, clapping at her like a dog.

Okay, so the guy is a low-brow, bigoted hypocrite who enjoys being nasty. Check. But isn't he running contrary to the much-heralded, Democrat-practised Alinsky method?

Not at all. He's adhering to it fastidiously, actually. Because, like many of his political allies, he has no moral standards at all. So there's nothing to hold him to. In the US, Republicans lose when they have standards, but can't hang on to 'em.

In that light, I would almost have to disagree with the Sarah Palin response to "comedian" David Letterman's jibe about her daughter, were it not for the fact that the media generally incited Palin into responding. You see, Letterman had nothing to apologise for. He has no standards to adhere to. So, building a "joke" around statutory rape of a 14 year-old girl is just another day at the office for Dirty Old Dave.

Likewise, when the leftist gossip site made fun of republican nominee John McCain's daughter recently. Megan McCain was desperately trying to help an unknown person who sent her a twitter message saying that he wanted to kill himself. She contacted Twitter, and even the Seattle Police, such was her concern. mocked her for it, calling her "hyper-emotional" and saying she was going "progressively nuts" for attempting to help some guy who was just "writing some sadsack stuff about wanting to die".

Nope., a gossip site who desperately want you to think that their brand of personal mockery is actually savvy politcal satire, have not done anything wrong. To call anything "wrong" is so yesterday.

That last example resonates somewhat more than usual. You see, down here in Victoria, a 14-year-old girl and former classmate of my daughter's best friend, committed suicide after repeatedly receiving demeaning comments on the internet.

Any suicide is a tragedy. That it was someone so young is exceedingly heartbreaking.

But then, my broken heart is my own fault. If only I didn't have standards....

Chanelle Rae.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Warning: this message brought to you by beauracrats...

I've always struggled with the ever-increasing epidemic of government-sponsored advertising telling us what to be afraid of. The latest climate change alarmist message telling us to "think of the children" is a case in point, along with, don't get me started, most road safety commercials.

It's not enough when then government introduce some new legislation to charge us more money, scare us into doing something/ not doing something or generally burden our lives with more cumbersome nannying. Not only do we have to put up with it, we have to agree with it.

The Centre for Independent Studies have produced some very relevant and pragmatic research on a whole range of topics. A recent CIS article has caught my attention. It deals mainly with the stimulus package and how the government have spruiked it's glorious effect on public infrastructure. However, it also contains some good points on government advertising in general, a subject which alone would warrant pages of (boring) research to make a very salient point. A point which is most probably lost on the majority of TV punters, and that's just how the government likes it.

These (infrastructure) ads do not convey information of direct and immediate relevance to ordinary people’s everyday lives. It is ‘feel good’ advertising and a subtle way of making voters feel more favourably disposed to the party in power.

In which case, why are we paying for these ads?

And so it goes with any fear-mongering advertisement to convince us that they are right to force us into something we don't want, whether it be staring at our speedometers, or turning off our airconditioners when it's 40 degrees.

The only thing we should fear is an even bigger government to do more of this. Article here. It's short and sweet.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Ground control to The New York Times

Mel Gibson once described it as a "beacon of journalistic integrity". No-one does sarcasm like Mel.

The New York Times, otherwise known as the Treason Times for reasons beyond the scope of this post, ran yet another in a long line of baseless drive-by assults on Sarah Palin. This latest piece of hilarity claims the Alaskan Governor is a stressed, underweight basket case with thinning hair. We know this folks, because her hairdresser told us.

They link this, and this alone, to her decision to resign as Alaskan Governor. Hear us, dear readers...clearly she is unhinged by all the criticism...obviously couldn't handle public life...the poor dear... she's sinking slowly...I mean, imagine if this woman was POTUS...geddit? You've uncritically accepted this as fact? Good little sycophants...

It even managed to fire up MSNBC, a network whose integrity I doubt even Mel Gibson could adequately describe. They echoed the piece on TV. Their anchor, the delightful Keith Olbermann who thinks making misogynistic boob jokes for five minutes counts as journalism, was so concerned about poor Sarah's health and wellbeing it was almost touching.

It was yet another in a long line of fashionable hit-and-runs, from those elitists scrambling to gorge themselves on this sadomasochistic anti-Palin orgy before she quits as a public official and is, basically, untouchable.

Never mind that the NYT has, yet again, told an outright lie. You might even ignore the fact that this latest piece of sanctimonious whining is not even worthy to be news even if it was remotely true. If it was, Joe Biden's hair plugs would be on every prime time slot. And have you seen the headline "Concerns for President Obama's mental well-being after disparaging remarks about the Special Olympics..." ?

No, what is gloriously ironic is that they've done it around the 40th anniversary of the first Lunar Landing.

You see, in 1920, the NYT scoffed at the idea that a rocket launched from earth could reach the moon, and lampooned respected physicist Richard Goddard who believed it could, by claiming he lacked "the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools" and that no rocket could work in the vacuum of space.

Aussie columnist Alan Howe looks back with nostalgia at this rather telling indicator as to the credibility of the NYT.

When it comes to Palin and her conservatism they, and their fellow ideologues, are getting more desperate, shrill, infantile and irrational by the minute. One can only wonder why this is so. After all, she's a moron, a lightweight, a joke. She wouldn't even be a blip on the political radar, right? What possible reason could there be?

While you ponder that, I'll close with this totally unrelated and up-to-date Rasmussen Poll on preferred candidacy:

Obama 45% Romney 45%

Obama 48% Palin 42%...

...and climbing...

Hat tip: Red Planet Cartoons


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Killing for the common good

Most civilised people, those who consider humanity, for all it's flaws, to be basically a good thing, would and should find horrifying the notion of any public figure calling for

- Women to be forced to abort their pregnancies
- The world population at large to be involuntarily sterilized by infertility drugs
- Mothers to have their babies seized from them and given away to other couples to raise;
- "Undesirables" to be required by law to exercise "reproductive responsibility", i.e. be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
- A unilateral "Planetary Regime" to arbitrarily control the global population through the above means using an armed international police force to enforce it.

The doomsday industry is alive and well at present, in many forms. The particularly insidious doomsday cult of population control has been festering below the surface for some time. All of these ideals, and many more, are a feature of the 1977 book Ecoscience. These particular words and ideas are the personal work of co-author Dr. John Holdren. Here's some snippets:

compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained …

It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.

Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control.

A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child...might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.

The law regulates other highly personal matters.... Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?

The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region...

All for the environment, of course. After all, it seems every generation is caught up in some man-made environmental catastrophe which will surely cause Armageddon if left unchecked.

Seen enough? Perhaps I'm quoting out of context. Well, perhaps not. The context is worse (available here). Or, perhaps I'm spinning my own yarn by quoting some crackpot fringe fanatic from the 1970's.

How I wish. This chap, who to date has not renounced nor even attempted to deny this ideology, has just been appointed Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, by the Obama administration.

He is in the news for his support on alarmist climate change policies. As if you expected otherwise.

On it's own, this appointment would be alarming enough. But it's not alone. Those of us who truly value human life in all it's forms recognise BHO's Senate voting record on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2001 and 2002. For the uninitiated, go here for more information. If you want to see BHO's reaction to the legislation, read the Senate transcripts for 2001 (go to page 84) and 2002 (go to page 28).

Ideologically speaking, I've always given BHO the benefit of the doubt, and will continue to try. Problem is, the doubt seems to be getting smaller every day...


Monday, July 6, 2009

Desperate Journos

Sometimes art imitates life, sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes people get the two confused.

It would be impossible to document the full depth, scope and scale of the mass-media savagery of former US Republican VP and Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. It would be even more impossible to document the all the evidence which debunks every piece of dirt that has been raked up to bury her. The National Review does a magnificent job of trying, with this standout line on the snobbery of the elite:

"While we rightly argue that the Sarahs of the world, if they are to be taken seriously as leaders, must read and study more, why do we not also suggest that the Baracks of the world could do a little more chain-sawing, run a coffee shop for a summer, or drive a Winnebago cross-country? (Who knows, he might meet a fellow woodcutter who knew there were 50 states or that it was dumb to make fun of the Special Olympics.)

Vanity Fair magazine, whose name alone reminds you that they are better than you, recently ran a drive-by assault on Palin by one Todd Purdum. The piece was called It came from Wasilla. The title of the article, equally, reminding you that they are the self-confessed authorities on pop culture narrative and you must accept their view uncritically, lest you want to feel tragically left out.

Here's the standard pop culture narrative on Palin, or as it is known by those who think somewhat more critically, Palin Derangement Syndrome;

She's a political joke. She said "I can see Russia from my house" (a line parroted by a previously unheard-of comedienne, which many to this day still attribute to Palin...seriously). She didn't know that Africa wasn't a country (an unchecked, unattributed claim "leaked" to a popular blog, totally false, yet adopted by mainstream press)...

She has no experience for the office position, a lightweight (despite having more administration experience than Obama). Everything she says is stupid (yet Democrat VP Joe Biden is seemingly unable to open his mouth without having to change feet)...

(Take a breath) she's a crackpot creationist (even though her Pa was a science teacher, a subject she majored in). And Matt Damon scoffed at this being a concern for someone who "could have the nuclear codes". Yes, that wonderfully cool guy in those Bourne movies. The actor. The one who is paid to be something he's not.

(Another breath) she shoots moose, poisons wolves, and murders salmon. Which means her idea of "Right to Life" extends only to humans. How backwards is that?

And so on. All uncritically accepted, rehearsed and repeated throughout pop culture.

And none of it actually real. Although, like all good lies, based on a (heavily spun) grain of truth.

So, this Vanity Fair piece has Palin with "clouds of tabloid conflict and controversy that swirl around her and her extended clan" and then lists some, in a (vain?) attempt to appear coherent. I do so love it when the media tell us there is scandal, and then promptly fabricate some, often from thin air, in order for their claim to ring true, just in case you actually read past the headline and into the hyperbole.

Here's a taste of Purdum's list, a little light on supporting evidence:-

-a slew of formal ethics complaints against her in her home state.
These included a complaint that she wore a jacket with a small logo relating to her husband's fishing business during an impromptu TV interview. At current count, 15 out of 15 dismissed as frivolous. You'd think this would count as relevant in Purdum's narrative, but relevance has never been a strong point amongst those who are trying to make a strong point.

By the way, this ethics complaint system, born from the right ideas, has turned into a ridiculous hate-fest much like the Victorian Vilification Laws which tried to stop pastors speaking truth here. The complainants pay nothing for the fun of ruining others' lives with baseless lies.

- surprise pregnancies.
This is controversial? Well, I suppose it would be to those who would much rather abort their 5th pregnancy upon learning it's a Down Syndrome child. That's so much more enlightened. And let's face it Vanity Fair readers, having any children is inconvenient.

- the two-bit blood feuds.
Since Purdum is not big on providing references and evidence, it's not entirely clear what is being referred to here. Perhaps he means the "Troopergate" incident, where Palin dismissed a state trooper for Tasering a 14 year old boy. Actually, she offered the trooper a re-assignment and he quit. Purdum doesn't clarify whether or not painfully Tasering a 14 year old boy is considered "controversial". Had Palin dispensed of said trooper using a Moose rifle, Purdum might have had the makings of a valid point.

That one belongs in the standard Palin Derangement Syndrome list. Along with
- "she had over $150,000 worth of clothes supplied during the GOP campaign". Clothes which were returned- washed and dry cleaned I believe.
- The scandalous "Family Travel expenses on the Republican campaign trail". The only thing scandalous there is that she offered to personally reimburse a proportion of them, when the hundreds of other statesmen and women who rack up the same manner of expenses do not.

It's ironic that, like most people, I knew and cared little for the subject of Sarah Palin's VP selection in '08. In fact, I'd heard of Bristol Palin before Sarah. The time elapsed between the announcement of the Republican VP pick and the hordes of media rummaging through her garbage (literally), was about equal to the flight time of a Piper from the Lower 48 to Alaska. At least they had lots of daylight once there to rummage around for dirt.

Nope, I really didn't know much about Palin then. But I'm simply so fond of using pop culture narrative as a barometer of how little truth prevails in the info-tainment media, that I just had to find out. So, thanks to Palin Derangement Syndrome, she has another fan Down Under.

AND Bree Van Der Kamp is a conservative! Purdum's ability to connect the dots is astounding...

Which brings me to my favourite soundbyte from the Vanity Fair piece. Purdum states that "Palin's life has sometimes played out like an unholy amalgam of Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure".

My, how quick are the info-tainment media to use a TV Show analogy. Why? Because that's the world they live in.

You see, serial liar Michael Moore and several other self-righteous activists insisted that Sarah's youngest, Trig, was not actually hers, but was an out-of-wedlock birth to then-16-year-old daughter Bristol, covered up to avoid a scandal. They even demanded to see the birth certificate (this, from people who insist that seeing the birth certificate of the president is not necessary). This fable was echoed on news blogs everywhere, even down here, and by people who didn't care if it wasn't true.

Yes, a plot which comes straight from the script of Desperate Housewives. Perhaps I shouldn't scorn the media so much for creating fantasy. Perhaps I should pity them, as their minds are ruled by their own creations. In layman's terms, they believe their own lies.

I rather like Desperate Housewives. It's fun. The difference is, I know it's not real. On the other hand, Mr. Purdum, Palin's life is quite real. It's your writing which reads like an unholy amalgam of TV soaps, sitcoms and women's gossip magazines.

UPDATE: Alaskan Governor's office announces a 19th "Ethics Complaint" against Palin, one of them illegally published in the media by the complainant, a breach of the very same ethics laws! How apt...

Campaign Spot story here

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