With “Non-Stop,” Hollywood doesn’t just jump the shark, it embraces it (BIG TIME SPOILER ALERT)

non_stop_poster-620x356Just yesterday, I pointed you to Roger L. Simon’s post arguing that conservatives are making a terrible mistake when they bail on the movie industry. Our intensely media-driven age, means that increasingly hard-left Hollywood is a superb propagandist that often provides the only information people get on a subject. The beauty of Hollywood propaganda (if you’re a Leftist) is that it’s so subtle. Hollywood doesn’t do clunky Soviet-era posters; instead, as Ben Smith ably demonstrated, it wraps core Leftist messages in rip-roaring good humor, gauzy tear-jerkers, or uplifting homilies. Polemics put people off; entertainment sucks them in.

We’ve gotten used to the Leftist tilt in entertainment over the years. We whine about it to each other (as I have here, here, here, and here), but that’s about all that we do. We accept it as not a necessary evil but an inevitable evil. That attitude encourages a certain passivity.

Sometimes, though, it’s worth making a loud noise, and that’s the case with Hollywood’s newest action flick, Non-Stop. The film has a high-profile star (Liam Neeson), lots of interesting cameos and co-stars, a big budget, and a clever plot about a well-disguised terrorist on a plane who is killing a new victim every twenty-minutes. (Thinking about it, for all it’s flash and newness, the plot is simply a re-hash of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.)

Superficially, it sounds like a fun movie for those who, like me, enjoy a well-produced, fast-paced thriller/whodunnit. Indeed, John Boot, writing at the conservative PJ Media, says that it’s a fun movie, and enjoys the way the ending is unexpected. (He also noticed the Agatha Christie parallel.) It’s that surprise ending, though, that has stirred outrage across the conservative blogosphere. You see, it’s not merely a surprise, it’s a “jump the shark” kind of surprise.

(For the uninitiated, the phrase “jump the shark” originated with the last season of Happy Days, when the show had gotten irrevocably stale. In an effort to jazz things up, they put the Fonz on water skies and had him jump over a blatantly mechanical shark. If a show has to stoop so low, it should already have been put out to pasture. Since then, the phrase is used not only to describe shows that should long-since have been shark chum, but also to describe plot turns that are too stupid to exist even in the magical entertainment universe.)

SPOILER ALERT. NON-STOP’S PLOT DENOUEMENT WILL BE REVEALED BELOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Judging by the movie’s review at Breitbart, John Boot is correct that Non-Stop’s creators managed to avoid having a predictable ending.  They did so, however, only by pushing a hard-Left world view that is going to be swallowed whole by every uninformed adolescent and young person who sees the movie.  That is, while one can appreciate that the ending makes for a good movie, it is so unreal — such a high jump over a such a hideous, faked shark — that it should be soundly castigated, rejected, and ruined.

As I mentioned above, the plot device is Agatha Christie on steroids:  people trapped in an enclosed space with a hidden killer bumping them off.  Today’s headlines say it ought to have been a Muslim, since they’re the ones using terrorism against the rest of the world.  If you’re a filmmaker who wants to add a good twist to reality, you make sure your terrorist is a well-disguised Muslim, along the lines of the British, Christian-born Black Widow who headed the grotesquely violent attack against a Kenyan shopping mall.

Having that kind of ending, however, would have failed to advance the movie’s real purpose:  propaganda.  Breitbart explains precisely what agenda the movie is pushing (and this is your last warning that there are spoilers ahead that will make watching the movie forever unnecessary):

Counting pilots and crew, there are around 150 souls on board. Marks has 20 minutes to figure out which one is the bad guy. Red herrings abound. Is it one of the many actors whose faces we recognize but names we can’t remember? People start to die. Marks is fingered as the hijacker. Who’s doing this? Why are they doing this? What is their motive?

Here’s the answer:

It turns out that the villain is not a hijacker but a terrorist — someone who wants to murder everyone on the plane to further a political goal.

You ready…?

The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.

It gets worse…

After 9/11,  this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.

And now…

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets worse…

The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

It gets worse…

The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.

Screw you, Hollywood.

Non-Stop didn’t stop at just jumping the shark.  Instead, it embraced it and then made mad, passionate love to it.  The filmmakers weren’t going for an element of surprise; they were sending a message to those credulous,  uninformed Americans churned out by America’s public school system:  Americans are bad; Muslims are good.  Ignore the headlines telling you otherwise.*  Hollywood knows better.

So what can you do?  Well, I don’t recommend giving out spoilers unless people ask for them.  Otherwise, you will be deservedly hated.  However, to the extent that word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising any Hollywood movie has, start mouthing off.  If someone you know, in real conversation or on social media, expresses an interest in it, you can honestly state something along the lines of “I heard it was stupid” or “It’s supposed to be really bad.  I’d never pay $14 to see a really bad movie.”

As a sort of tag, given that the movie stars Liam Neeson, I can’t help but remember that in January 2012, Neeson expressed a serious interesting in converting to Islam.  Maybe he’s done it already and this movie marks his coming out.

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*The usual disclaimer:  Not all Muslims are bad.  Most Muslims aren’t bad, but to the extent that almost none of them take a stand against the terrorists in their midst, the silent majority are complicit in the Muslim-inspired terrorism taking place in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Eurasia, the Middle East, and Asia.

Man who lived under a rock for the past 50 years gives positive review to “12 Years A Slave”

The WaPo’s Richard Cohen wants you to know that 12 Years A Slave is an extremely important movie because it gives Americans a surprising new message that they need to hear:  Slavery is bad.

I don’t know under what rock Cohen has been living, but the last major American movie to suggest that slaves didn’t have it all bad was Gone With The Wind, which came out in 1939.  Cohen was born in 1948, nine years after Gone With The Wind hit movie theaters.  He presumably graduated from high school in about 1965, by which time the Civil Rights movement had changed America’s racial paradigm.  His education, moreover, didn’t take place in Ole Miss, or some other bastion of Southern-ness.  Instead, he was educated in New York all the way.

Since leaving college (Hunter College, New York University, and Columbia, none of which are known for their KKK sensibilities), Cohen has lived enveloped in a liberal bubble.  He first worked for UPI and has, for a long time, been affiliated with the Washington Post.

Somehow, though, up until he recently saw 12 Years A Slave, Cohen always believed that slavery was a good thing for American blacks.  No, I’m not kidding.  Yes, that’s what he really said:

I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life. For instance, it was not George A. Custer who was attacked at the Little Bighorn. It was Custer — in a bad career move — who attacked the Indians.

Much more importantly, slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime’s condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children. Happiness could not be pursued after that.

Steve McQueen’s stunning movie “12 Years a Slave” is one of those unlearning experiences. I had to wonder why I could not recall another time when I was so shockingly confronted by the sheer barbarity of American slavery.

Instead, beginning with school, I got a gauzy version. I learned that slavery was wrong, yes, that it was evil, no doubt, but really, that many blacks were sort of content.

Slave owners were mostly nice people — fellow Americans, after all — and the sadistic Simon Legree was the concoction of that demented propagandist, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Her “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a lie and she never — and this I remember clearly being told — had ventured south to see slavery for herself. I felt some relief at that because it meant that Tom had not been flogged to death. But in the novel, he had.

I have no idea whether 12 Years A Slave is a good movie or a bad movie.  Aside from the fact that I almost never set foot in movie theaters, going only when I need to chaperone children or when friends want a Mom’s night out, I have sworn off most movies, especially Hollywood history movies.

Sure Hollywood occasionally gets history right.  Mostly, though, Hollywood gets it wrong, with the wrongness ranging from Oliver Stone’s delusional JFK, to the old-time biopics that had Cole Porter as a nice straight guy (Night and Day), to the saccharine anti-war stuff of Tom Hank’s war movie Band of Brothers.  Hollywood is never interested in truth and never has been.  It’s selling entertainment with an undercurrent of propaganda.  In the old days, it sold entertainment with a wholesome, moralistic twist.  Since the 1960s, Hollywood’s entertaining versions of history simply hate America, and that’s true whether Hollywood expresses that hatred in booming Technicolor or small nuances in Indy pictures.

Without having seen 12 Years A Slave, I willingly concede that slavery is a bad thing.  It was a bad thing when Pharaoh enslaved the Jews and it was a bad thing when the British and, later, the Americans enslaved the blacks.  It’s still a bad thing throughout the Muslim world where devout Qu’ran followers enslave Filipinos, Christians, blacks, and anyone else unlucky enough to end up in their clutches.

But unlike Cohen, I’ve actually paid attention, not just in school, but in subsequent years, so I don’t need to have Hollywood preach the obvious to me.

The way the media designates heroes and villains *UPDATED*

The Koch brothers are the Leftist media’s arch enemies.  Because they donate money to free market think tanks, media coverage routinely vilifies them.  If Satan got the kind of negative press the Koch brothers do, even Satanists would abandon him.

The media’s articles make it appear that the Koch brothers’ sin isn’t in holding their political views but, rather, in using their ill-gotten gains to fund those views.  How dare they use money acquired from capitalism to advocate for their personal causes?

It’s quite a different story, of course, when ill-gotten gains from rampant capitalism end up funding Leftist causes.  Today’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a hagiographic article about Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor (whose money comes from investment banking) and who now devote their time and fortune to fighting climate change — never mind that the climate will change with or without them, as it has always done.  What Steyer and Taylor are really doing is ensuring that nobody else gets the chance to be as rich as they are, since all climate change efforts are fundamentally directed at limiting wealth acquisition in the First World, while transferring some measure of wealth to the economic sinkhole that is currently the Third World

Incidentally, I am not saying that the Third World doesn’t have vast economic possibilities.  As much as anything, it’s a sinkhole because of a toxic combination of homegrown corrupt and/or totalitarian governments and religions, on the one hand, and NGOs and Leftist billionaires, on the other hand.  These two forces work together to keep Third World citizens mired in picturesque squalor.

This is insidious propaganda.  The media doesn’t overtly take a position — it simply vilifies those who stand for principles the media opposes, while swooning over those who invest money in the media’s favorite causes.  The low-information readership doesn’t realize that the article’s targets are ideologies.  They simply start having a Pavlovian response when an ideological position rolls around.

UPDATE: This post makes my point perfectly about the vitriol poured on the Kochs.

Glenn Reynolds is right: conservatives should buy glossy women’s magazines

Vogue cover

One of the books that saw me traverse from Left to Right was Myrna Blyth’s Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America, which exposed the profound Leftist tilt of decidedly non-political magazines. Until reading that, I’d never thought about the politics being slipped in between doses of fashion, make-up, and dating advice.  These magazines, probably more than any other type of publication in America, shape women’s political and social attitudes.  They’re pro-unlimited abortion, pro-union, pro-Big Government, pro-promiscuity, sympathetic to illegal, rather than legal, aliens, and generally pro a whole bunch of other things that don’t align well with conservative values, national security, American economic health, etc.

I’ve talked before at this blog about the way that conservatives cannot win the political debate until they first turn the culture around.  Consistent with Andrew Breitbart’s teachings, I’ve thought in terms of television, movie, and news shows.  But Glenn Reynolds says that we ought to be looking at the even softer underbelly of women’s magazines:

Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.

[snip]

My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.

One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.

Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.

The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.

Please read the rest here.  It’s eye-opening.  Then, write to any billionaires you know and tell them it’s time to get into the fashion and publishing business.

In a sane world, the editor of Vogue Magazine, a publication ostensibly devoted to women’s clothing, wouldn’t be such a political figure that she is being bandied about as the probable U.S. Ambassador to England.   Anna Wintour turned her magazine and her cachet into a Democrat get-out-the-vote machine.  She probably deserves the reward Obama is sending her way, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and accept the status quo.

This and that, from here and there — the good and the evil from today’s news

There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing someone slice and dice Paul Krugman’s latest idiocies.  Randall Hoven does a magnificent job.  The only sad thing about it is that he’s preaching to the choir.  The ones who really should read his article — namely, the ones who think Krugman is actually smart and honest — will resolutely turn their eyes away from anything that doesn’t bear the liberal media’s imprimatur.

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I’ve been feeling smug because, next month, I’m going into San Francisco to hear Stephen Moore speak about his new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America. I’m feeling even more smug now, because the inestimable Thomas Sowell gives it the highest possible praise:

If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

Now I’ve added excitement to my previously existing smugness.

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There’s something wrong with America when it’s Germany that leads the way in announcing that it will not back the formation of a Palestinian state at the UN.  Germany’s absolutely right, of course.  The Palestinians, despite getting Gaza to themselves, have done nothing to create even a semblance of a state.  They have no civil structure, no law, and no economy other than handouts from other nations.  All they’ve got is a thriving genocide-centered terrorism industry.  I wonder when Susan Rice, who currently does occupy the position of the U.S.’s ambassador to the UN, will get on board with this one.

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Speaking of Rice, Republicans on Capitol Hill, and those few RINOs to whom the media grants access, are again allowing themselves to be silenced by the strident Progressive/Democrat bleat that they are “racist” for opposing Susan Rice’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State.  As for me, I hadn’t realized Rice was black.  I’ve seen her pictures, but I just assumed she was darker of complexion than I am.

Frankly, everyone is darker of complexion than I am.  When I was a baby in my stroller, my mom stepped onto an elevator that already held a woman and her young child.  The woman took one look at me, and then pulled her child towards herself, saying “Say away from that baby, Amanda.  She’s a very sick baby.”  I was not sick.  That was me in the pink of health.  I just assumed that Rice was really healthy.  That she self-identifies as black actually surprised me.

But back to the topic at hand, which is the real reasons Rice is unqualified for the post of Secretary of State.  (Although I will say that anyone who takes on the job from Hillary Clinton is in the fortunate position of having  very little shoes to fill.)  For those who lose their brain power every time the word “racist” comes from the Democrat party, Joel Pollak has assembled a list of the top ten substantive reasons to oppose her nomination.  Because I wasn’t really paying attention in the 90s, I didn’t realize that her habit of lying to protect the Democrats is an old habit:

9. Refused to call Rwanda genocide a “genocide,” for political reasons. According to Obama advisor Samantha Power, Rice urged the Clinton administration not to call the Rwandan genocide what it was, for fear of the political impact on U.S. congressional elections in 1994. She and others worked to sanitize references to the genocide, scrubbing government memos to remove words such as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

The other facts in the top ten list are equally damning.  It’s not Rice’s dark skin that means she’s not fit to serve.  It’s her absence of any sort of moral compass.

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And finally, while we’re on the topic of people lacking a moral compass, here’s a short primer on all of the photo and video fraud that Hamas and its media enablers were able to propagate during a conflict that lasted a mere seven days:

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Consider this an Open Thread, and feel free to add your own interesting comments and links.

The first casualty of war is truth, especially when the war is in the Middle East

The first casualty of war is truth . . . and truth is never more at risk than in a war against an Islamo-Leftist enemy.  Since the Israeli offensive began, social media and major news and television sites have been overrun with faked images purporting to show Israeli soldiers caught in the act of brutalizing children or simply showing dead children.

For decades, Israel never took this disinformation war seriously, only to wonder in the war’s aftermath why she had won the actual battles, but continued to lose ground in the war of public opinion.  This year is different.  For the first time that I can remember, the Israeli Defense Forces are taking the disinformation war as seriously as the war itself.  From the first air raid, they explained why they were doing what they were doing, used video footage to show how surgically precise their air raids are and, most importantly, didn’t apologize.  If you act craven, people will assume you’re craven.  This time around, Israel has been behaving as a righteous combatant.

What Israel is also doing is acting aggressively to stem the swift flow of disinformation.  A good example is the IDF’s own website, which debunks a photo purporting to show an Israeli soldier with his foot on a tragic little girl’s stomach and an automatic weapon aimed at her body.  In fact, the whole thing is just as staged as it looks.  It comes from a rally in Bahrain.  The people in the image are actors in the peculiar passion play of the Islamic world, one that has the true child killers attempting to project their own vile practices on the Israelis who work so hard to avoid civilian deaths.

Here’s the heartrending “innocent child” photo:

Pull the camera out a little, and you see that this is nothing but play-acting, with Muslims in both major and minor roles:

Even Leftist water-carrier Richard Cohen is beginning to figure this one out:

Of all the points of disagreement between Israel and Hamas, maybe the most profound is this one: Israel cares more about sparing innocent lives — including those of Palestinians — than does Hamas. Not only have Hamas and other militant groups this year sent more than 700 rockets crashing haphazardly into southern Israel, but also Hamas instigated yet another war where the chief loser will certainly be its own people. If hell has a beach, it’s located in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip is a congested, fetid place. It is densely populated and in the slums and housing blocks, Hamas has hidden its weapons, explosives and rocket launchers. Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. Its air force has used new, highly accurate ammunition aiming for rocket-launching sites and government installations. For the most part, it has succeeded.

For Hamas, civilian casualties are an asset.

Let’s see, though, if Cohen can convince his own employer — the Washington Post — to stop lavishing it’s paper and cyber pages with lovingly delineated photos (many faked) of dead Palestinian children.  Somehow I doubt it.  The narrative is in place, and the MSM is running with it.

I’m posting these debunkings my real-me Facebook page, where 90% of my Facebook friends, culled from my years as a student, lawyer, and parent, are liberal.  I don’t include nasty comments with the post, because there’s no mileage in calling my friends blind or stupid.  Instead, I preface them with the well-known statement that the first casualty of war is truth.  I trust them to be smart enough to draw their own conclusions, I hope that they are honest enough to make the effort.

“Alien Encounters” — The subtle propaganda of a pseudo-documentary

The Science Channel’s Alien Encounters is a two-part pseudo-documentary that interweaves footage of real scientists and novelists talking about possible alien encounters, with faux footage of the world dealing with an actual alien encounter.  Alien Encounters has gotten decent press from the usual suspects.

I disagree.  As a science show, it’s not impressive.  The children, who are sophisticated media consumers, were perpetually confused about what was real and what was faux, and eventually walked out on the show in frustration.  We grown-ups didn’t fare much better, as we kept falling asleep.  A show that induces narcolepsy probably isn’t a very good show.

I did stay awake long enough, though, to be concerned about those children and those adults who stuck it out despite the show’s muddled story line and sleep-inducing presentation.  In addition to having some vaguely scientific content (Cue Twilight Zone music and repeat after me — “We are not alone”), the show has a very strong Progressive tone.  This is stealth politics. A rumination about aliens contacting earth should be about space and science.  As is typical, though, for anything Progressives touch, their politics and biases  just kind of ooze out.

In pertinent part, the plot goes as follows:  The SETI Institute, which was established to monitor the cosmos for other life forms, picks up a signal from space that is quite obviously meant to communicate with earth.  It proves, as the SETI people have long realized, that we here on earth are not the pinnacle of evolution — someone else (or something else) obviously is, because that other culture can communicate with us.

At least, that’s what Jill Tarter, who’s head of the SETI Institution and one of the show’s writers, says.  She also says that we’re not ready for alien contact because we have pollution or wars, or something like that.  (She was a bit muddled there.)  Tarter’s fascination with outer space may have come about because she obviously doesn’t like us here on planet earth.

Tarter’s statements about war and pollution, and her general disdain for humanity, have the virtue of being explicit.  Tucked into the show were other messages, however, ranging from silly to mean.

The first more subtle political message showed itself in the usual “global warming” stuff that is by now par for the course for any non-conservative production.  Indeed, bows to global warming appear in shows with the same frequency as Obama’s “ums” and “uhs” and “ers” when he’s speaking off teleprompter — which is to say, way too often.

In Alien Encounters, we learn that the alien beings have included in their message a code sequence that is light years (pardon the pun) more sophisticated than any computer code ever devised here on earth.  The hip young things paying attention to this cool alien invasion immediately appreciate the ramifications of this code.  The words “reverse global warming” are flashed across the screen at least twice.  (I may have slept through subsequent iterations.)  Yes, the secret to resolving global warming is . . . wait for it . . . an alien invasion.  Woo-hoo!

That’s the obvious propaganda.  It’s heavy-handed, but probably harmless, because it’s just another piece of white noise in the Progressive universe.  Although I must say I find rather amusing that an ostensibly scientific institution (that would be the SETI Institute) so blindly accepts global warming, despite the burgeoning body of evidence to the contrary.  But that’s another story….

The less obvious propaganda is what really irked me.  In an obvious effort to stretch a thin one-hour show into a two-hour show, the writers repeat themes, images and words over and over and over again.  Thus, we hear repeatedly that some people will be excited and open-minded about this invasion, while some will be scared and hostile.

“Scared and hostile” is represented by a moustachioed old white man who sits alone, drinking, and writing “end of the world?” and “danger” on reports about the alien encounter.  Later, he is shown stockpiling booze and weapons for his survivalist retreat.  And still later, the show finally reveals the hitherto cryptic writing on his baseball cap:  “82nd Airborne.”

Yup — the only ones who might be somewhat worried that a vastly more intelligent life form is heading towards our seriously imperfect (and overheated) world are the crazy, drunken, old militarists .  The show hints, although it’s too tactful to say, that drunken old survivalists are the scarier of the two invaders.

I haven’t actually seen the aliens land yet.  When I finally succumbed completely to sleep, they were still making their way to planet earth.  I’ll watch the last half hour tonight on my TiVo and get back to you on whether or not we survive our contact with this fine alien culture.  I do wonder, though, whether these aliens, who clearly have the potential to bring about the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” will bear an uncanny resemblance to Barack Obama.  After all, there are those who have posited that, based upon his fixed smile in official state photos, he might not be of this earth:

Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

Your tax dollars at work: Planned Parenthood video from San Francisco *UPDATED*

Given the current kerfuffle about Planned Parenthood, it seemed worthwhile to remind people that Planned Parenthood isn’t just about abortions. It’s also about advancing an agenda antithetical, not only to Christians, whom it attacks very directly, but to any parents who worry about their children’s safety and morality.

Also, as you watch this circa 2005 video from a San Francisco Planned Parenthood Chapter (i.e., a pre-Obama video), please keep in mind that you, the taxpayer, heavily subsidize Planned Parenthood. This video’s crude propaganda is still shocking — and is a reminder about where your tax dollars go:

(I have to admit, watching this video, that I really wonder whether it isn’t a head fake. It’s hard to believe that, even in the San Francisco chapter, someone would come out with propaganda this crude. Does anyone know more about this video’s provenance?)

Hat tip:  shirleyelizabeth

UPDATE: The inestimable Zombie, bless his (or her) heart, did the leg work for me and discovered that this video is the real deal. Here are the links Zombie sent me establishing that fact:

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character

Dionysus, God of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood’s Most Recent Gaffe

Inside Planned Parenthood Golden Gate’s Building Design

Double Standard : There’s The Left, And Then There’s The Rest Of Us

Oily memes repeat, repeat, repeat!

One lesson of advertising is that, no matter whether true or false, to make a message stick, one must repeat, repeat, repeat. This is how false messages become enshrined into the ideological orthodoxy of the Left and ripple out to the collective consciousness of the masses.

Now, there are many ways to deliberately distort a message. One commonly used tactic is to deliberate omit information that provides necessary context. Thus, the message may be true as it stands, but it misleads by what it does not say.

Here is an article that simultaneously illustrates how the Left establishes talking points for wide dissemination based on distorted information, while demolishing one particular such talking point that was found to reverberate repeatedly on this blog: the claim that the United States uses 25% of all world oil production but contains only 2% of the world’s oil reserves.

Yes, the U.S. has only 2% of the world’s “proven reserves”. However, as defined, “proven reserves” represents only a very small fraction to total reserves. When total reserves are factored in, U.S. petroleum holdings are likely to rival Saudi Arabia’s. Read it all – it really is very clearly presented

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/05/27/energy-myths-of-the-left

The article then goes on to demolish the argument that the U.S. uses a disproportionate amount of the world’s oil production.

Observe, however: the usual response of the Left when confronted with information that proves anathema to developed orthodoxy is to personally attack the source (shades of Galileo!) rather than distort the information (a classic Alinsky tactic). Orthodoxy  must be protected at all costs!

And, rightly so. For once these tactics are exposed for what they are, the credibility of the Left is forever put into question and people go elsewhere for their information.

Whenever any information emanates from the Left, it should be viewed with great caution. Left-wing memes are like highly damaging computer viruses: easy to create and very laborious to detect and remove. Caveat emptor.

Reuters emulating Big Brother to alter history

Charles Johnson is masterful when it comes to exposing media fraud, whether it was Rathergate in 2004, or Reutersgate in 2006 (when Reuters messed with photos of the Israeli/Hezbollah War).  Proving that he wasn’t just lucky back then, but in fact has a genuine knack, Charles has done it again, this time exposing Reutersgate II, with that disgraceful propaganda service excising terrorist weapons and erasing Israeli blood from photographs it published about the terrorist flotilla attack against Israel.

Info about friends of Israel gathering for a counter-protest in San Francisco

Word got out that ANSWER, a Communist front group, is planning a protest at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco today (June 1), so Stand With Us in San Francisco is trying to gather for a counter-protest.  So, the email you see below is from a group friendly to Israel, giving information about ANSWER’s protest, and what to expect:

Of course, everyone is aware of the recent events involving Israel’s interception of so-called “peace activists” on the Gaza flotilla; some of these “peace activists” attacked Israeli soldiers with knives, crowbars and poles which led to deaths and injuries.

Anti-Israel groups led by International ANSWER are holding a protest in front of the Israeli Consulate building in San Francisco (456 Montgomery Street) Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 PM. SWU/SF Voice for Israel is going to be there to counter them. We will have some flags and signs, please feel free to bring your own as well. If you choose to bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians in general. Signs in violation of our policies do not help the pro-Israel cause and will not be allowed.

Please be aware of the possibility that some of the so-called “peace activists” here in the Bay Area may not be any more peaceful than their counterparts on the Turkish boat; use common sense and avoid engaging with those on the other side as you arrive or leave the area.

We will be updating you on the status of protests at Israel in the Gardens as we become aware of them. We hope that the SFPD will recognize the need to keep anti-Israel protestors away from the gates of the festival.

Finally, we are including this excellent summary prepared by the Northwest (Seattle) chapter of StandWithUs as an information resource.

Friends,

As most of you have already heard, there was a major altercation at sea between the Israeli navy and a flotilla of vessels attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

This flotilla was purely a PR effort by groups that support Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel currently allows 15,000 tons humanitarian aid per day into Gaza, more than a ton of aid per person in Gaza every year.

After Israel issued numerous warnings before the flotilla left the Turkish portion of Cyprus that it would stop the flotilla and after numerous warnings at sea by the Israeli naval ships that intercepted the vessels (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4&feature=player_embedded to see a video of the Israeli navy warning the flotilla ships to stop), the flotilla refused to change course. Israel had told the flotilla that if they docked at Ashdod, Israel would transport all the humanitarian aid on their ships to Gaza, but that Israel would not let the flotilla carry the goods to Gaza because it had to inspect the cargo to ensure that there were neither weapons nor weapon-producing or tunnel constuction materials on board.

The flotilla ignored these numerous warnings. After the flotilla continued toward Gaza despite of the warnings by the Israeli navy that they would board the flotilla, Israeli navy commandos did begin to board the flotilla ships.

When the Israeli commandos boarded the ships, demonstrators attacked them with live gunfire as well as with knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators threw at least one of the Israeli commandos from the top deck to the deck below (a 30 foot drop). All the while, the Israeli commandos were yelling to each other “No shooting! No weapons!” Only after what you can see in on YouTube (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU12KW-XyZE&feature=player_embedded#! to see this astonishing video), did the Navy authorize the use of weapons.

Tragically, it is reported that at least 10 demonstrators died and others were wounded. All wounded were flown to Israeli hospitals. Numerous Israeli naval commandos were gravely wounded as well. They, too, were taken to Israeli hospitals. The ships were escorted in to Ashdod, from where any humanitarian aid will be taken to Gaza by Israel.

For StandWithUs’ s statement on the Gaza Flotilla incident, go to http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1444.

For background facts and videos from Honest Reporting Canada showing “Gaza Flotilla” members attacking Israeli naval commandos, go to http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/specialhralert53020.aspx.

For an eye witness account “A Brutal Ambush at Sea,” by Ron Ben-Yishai of Ynet News, go to http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html

For an excellent summary and background, see the materials put together by The Jewish Federations of North America go to http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=221579.

The quivering, whining cowards on the Left *UPDATED*

Okay, I’m not really saying that those on the Left are quivering, whining cowards.  They are, however, working hard to present themselves in that light — or, rather, in the light of helpless victims — in the hope that they can convince ordinary Americans that conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc., are unhinged neo-nazis who are filled with an insatiable blood lust.

To that end, starting on Saturday, they’ve been accusing people opposed to Obama Care of racism, spitting, violence, powder threats, etc.  My suspicion is that (a) many of these alleged threats are imaginary, for propaganda purposes; (b) that those making the threats are often Leftists who are faking the attacks as part of the Alinsky tactic of making conservatives look evil; and (c) a few fringe people who should be ignored, rather than spread out over the front pages.

I’m assembling here a collection of solid posts that expand upon my own suspicions about the Left’s propaganda technique here and that remind us that, even in their wildest imaginings about conservatives, Leftists haven’t managed to come close to what Bush and other conservative politicians suffered through for 8 years.  Without further ado:

Brutally Honest:  The incredible hypocrisy of the “inciting violence” crowd

Patterico’s Pontifications: Leftist Issues Death Threats to Palin and Family on Twitter

Wizbang/Lorie Byrd:  Josh Marshall — Beyond Absurd

Mudville Gazette/Greyhawk:  Rabble rousing, Part I and Part II

Michelle Malkin:  Unhinged:  the mugshot collection

UPDATE:  James Taranto opens his Best of the Web Today with a nice collection of provably false (or, at least, grossly exaggerated) accusations health care supporters have made against the bill’s opponents.

Creating sympathy for illegal immigrants amongst middle schoolers

My daughter’s Spanish class has spent the last couple of days watching a movie.  I know many people who learned English by watching American television, so I don’t have a problem with using movies as a teaching device.  I do, however, have a big problem with the movie chosen — La Misma la Luna — which is a movie that uses the travails of a charming and pathetic little boy to make the case that our laws against illegal immigrants are cruel:

The film tells the story of Rosario (del Castillo), a mother who emigrated illegally to the United States, and her nine-year-old son, Carlitos (Alonso). Rosario and Carlitos have not seen each other in four years, when Carlitos was only five. Rosario, now living in Los Angeles, California, calls her son, still in Mexico, every Sunday. Carlitos lives in a small Mexican village with his sick grandmother. Carlitos encounters two immigrant transporters, Marta (Ferrera) and David (Garcia). When his grandmother passes away, he crosses the border with them. After getting separated, Carlitos continues the journey, pairing up with another illegal immigrant named Enrique. Although Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) initially refuses to help Carlitos, he soon grows a bond with him. One day, Carlitos is sleeping on a park bench and almost gets caught by the police but Enrique throws food at the police, getting caught instead. Carlitos flees and arrives at the bus stop from which his mother called him. He sees her across the street at the payphone, and they are reunited at last.

This is not just me being a conservative contrarian, with a knee-jerk reaction to anything that depicts illegal immigrants  positively or American immigration policies negatively.  Even the New York Times figured out that this movie is pro-immigration propaganda (although, typically, the Times writer seems most upset about the fact that the propaganda is too obvious to be effective):

“Under the Same Moon,” an “Incredible Journey” for the socially conscience-stricken, arrives in theaters trailing a standing ovation from last year’s Sundance Film Festival and more than a whiff of sanctimony. And even allowing that Sundance audiences are notoriously unreliable arbiters of quality — for every “Spanking the Monkey,” there’s a “Spitfire Grill” and a “Quinceañera” — their wholehearted embrace of this manipulative, saccharin product is dispiriting.

[snip]

This is screenwriting by numbers. Unlike, say, Ken Loach’s marvelous “Bread and Roses,” “Under the Same Moon” is too busy sanctifying its protagonists and prodding our tear ducts to say anything remotely novel about immigration policies or their helpless victims. The filmmakers know that middlebrow movie audiences prefer their thorny social issues served lite and with a side order of ham, an opportunity to shed happy tears and enjoy a guilt-free drive home to the (let us hope, legal) baby sitter.

“Under the Same Moon” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has bad white people, hard-working brown people and morally ambivalent people of mixed race.  (Emphasis mine.)

So here we have a movie that is such obvious propaganda that even people who agree with the message are offended by it, and this is the movie our local middle school chooses to show the 11, 12 and 13 year olds who are taking Spanish.

The fact that it’s being taught in a Spanish class is important.  Theoretically, if it was being taught in a Social Studies class, it would be part of a discussion about illegal immigration, national sovereignty, secure borders, social policy, etc.  (I say “theoretically” because, in American schools today, it’s just as likely to be used as a stirring battle cry to man the barricades against the INS agents).  In Spanish class, however, the kids just take it as it comes, all the while identifying with the plucky little boy separated from his mother only by America’s cruel laws.  The only bow to addressing the issue was a question, “What do you think of illegal immigration?” which the kids had to answer in their beginner Spanish.  My daughter, bless her heart, replied, “I think it’s a bad idea.”

The fact is that, whether the issue is illegal immigration, gay rights, or national security, there are always going to be people in a minority situation who do not benefit from the legal status quo and who are, in fact, hurt by it.  I’d be willing to bet that most (although certainly not all) illegal immigrants who come here are decent, hard-working people, who truly want to make a better life for themselves and their families.  Their sad stories, though, don’t change the fact that, collectively, their presence here is damaging to America’s well-being, nor do they change the fact that there is nothing morally wrong or unjust about a country protecting its borders, preserving its national sovereignty, and enforcing its laws.

The Left’s appeal to emotions — especially with kids as the symbol and the target — is what happens when you have a perpetually moving moral touchstone.  I’m reading Paul Johnson’s masterful A History of the Jews right now, and found interesting his discussion about the Jewish belief in a single all-powerful God who articulates huge moral precepts (and a bunch of very specific contractual rules), as opposed to the Pagan gods, who were completely random.  They were not fixed in name, location, principles, or anything.  Morality, such as it was, was always decided by the whim of the moment of the God of the moment.  There were rules, but there was no justice, at least as we understand it.

The same holds true with Leftist political positions, which emanate from feelings, not from fixed principles.  Whoever feels most strongly wins.  Sometimes those strong feelings march with morality, justice, common sense, and societal needs; and sometimes they don’t.  But they’re so seldom grounded in anything more than “I feel your pain.”  (Incidentally, I’m not arguing that beliefs grounded in traditional Judeo-Christian principles can’t and shouldn’t change.  The Jews themselves are a perfect example of moral and doctrinal development over the centuries.  I’m just arguing for fixed points other than “I feel your pain,” at least when we’re contemplating remaking society.)

Emotional angst is an especially good propaganda tool for young people.  Pre-teens and early teens live in a flurry of emotions anyway.  They are reasonable creatures, but that’s not their first response to any situation.  It takes work, patience, information and intelligence to create a fact-based, reasoned argument that will be comprehensible to a very young adult.  On the other hand, pathetic pictures of puppies, big-eyed kids and bad guys are instant winners for the younger set.  I hope that Scott Brown’s victory, which resulted from independent Americans really seeing the Left for the first time, marks a culture shift that has Americans more vigilant about the creeping Leftism, not in D.C., but in every school in America.

(I should add here that I acquit my children’s school of intentionally using this film as propaganda qua propaganda.  For these people, imbued in a Leftist world view, this movie is as American as Superman insofar as it has clearly delineated and, to them, entirely appropriately drawn good guys and bad guys.)

And the indoctrination beat goes on — but at least we now see it happening

The conservative internet is appropriately riled by a video of New Jersey public school children singing a song to the Obama:

Lyrics
========
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand [?]
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
Yes
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama

For people raised in a democracy, and raised on songs about “the land of the free,” seeing a Dear Leader song is deeply, deeply disturbing.  Democracies are not supposed to celebrate individuals in that way, since the worship of an individual is one of the first steps in the march to a statist system.  (It’s funny, when you think about, but “statist” systems are invariably focused on demagogues, rather than the state itself.)

That we are seeing these videos and are able to be so incensed about them is actually a good thing.  The misuse of public schools and the indoctrination of children have always been part of the Democratic/Progressive playbook.  The problem for ordinary Americans is that they didn’t see it.  Thanks to the internet, however, and thanks to the increased confidence Leftists feel now that one of their own is the White House, the rock has been lifted and a spotlight is shining on all of the Left’s nasty little secrets.  Americans no longer drift along unaware of what’s going on.  It’s in their faces and, I suspect, critical masses of them will resent and resist.

Among others blogging on this subject are:

Michelle Malkin

Pierre LeGrand

Lorie Byrd

Political theater *REVAMPED*

One of the hallmarks of a modern totalitarian government is stagecraft.  Leni Riefenstahl made a whole movie dedicated to glorifying a totalitarian government’s meticulously staged extravaganza.  As a child in the 1960s and 1970s, I vividly remember footage of marches in the Soviet Union, with soldiers in perfect goosestep orderChina and North Korea are also much given to elaborate shows and parades, none of which originate with the people, and all of which are aimed at demonstrating the people’s alleged love for their leaders (and for the latter’s policies).

Would you be surprised to learn that Obama’s White House is carefully inching in that direction?  Obama is not doing anything as blatant as mass rallies or inhumanly perfect parades, of course.  In a way, he’s doing something much worse, which is co-opting a fundamentally American democratic institution and, without letting people see, turning it into a carefully staged political show.

The latest example of this propaganda impulse is the President’s “townhall” regarding healthcare.  Americans think of a townhall as a free exchange between a political leader and “ordinary” people.  We’ve learned over the last few years that audience members are more likely than not to be friendly to the candidate or president than not, but we believe that the questions are freely asked and unknown to the politician.  Obama’s changing this game and, worse, hiding that fact from the public.  His upcoming townhall, during which he plans to “sell” his government-controlled health care plan he will take only pre-scripted questions.  This is entirely new and it’s bad — so bad that even Helen Thomas, the liberal doyenne of the White House press corps and the one who never met a Republican she liked, is up in arms.

Obama’s reluctance to expose himself to unscripted moments isn’t surprising, of course.  It was when he went off script that he revealed his belief that the federal government’s purpose is to redistribute wealth.  And even when he’s not redefining the American dream to bring it closer in line with the Soviet dream, his teleprompter-free moments reveal him to be a man of few words, most of which are “uh.”

Thanks to an outraged press corp and the blogosphere, Americans are now learning about the perversion of the traditional townhall concept.  The new administration’s control over content, however, is even worse than staging completely fake question-and-answer sessions with “ordinary” members of the public.  In a move that more closely aligns it with North Korea than with North America, the Obama administration is forcing people to listen to his message, whether they want to or not.  This is the antithesis of the marketplace of ideas.

I have it on very good authority (an employee at US embassy in a major NATO country) that this year, in order to celebrate America’s (not Obama’s, but America’s) Independence day, all embassies have been ordered to install a big screen TV in a prominent location in order to play an endlessly looped Hillary Clinton speech for the duration of the festivities.

My employee contact notes that, at his particular embassy, people are appalled by this requirement.  They see it as “tacky.”  I see it as profoundly un-American.  Indeed, I can think of only two precedents for this kind of thing.  One is found in George Orwell’s 1984. In that book, as you may recall, all party members have in their living quarters TVs that may never go off and that sprout endless party propaganda (not to mention have cameras that watch everyone perpetually).

And lest any readers think to themselves “well, 1984 is just fiction,” think of North Korea’s struggles to ensure that its citizens hear only government-approved propaganda:

Until the mid-1990s, it didn’t make sense to broadcast to North Korea. Authorities since the 1960s had dealt with the “foreign broadcast problem”, which created so much trouble for other communist regimes, by outlawing all radios with free tuning. Radios sold in North Korea had fixed tuning and thus could receive only three or four official channels.

If North Korean citizens purchased a radio in one of the country’s hard-currency shops, which accepted foreign cash and had a wider variety of items, or when overseas, it had to be submitted to police where technicians would “fix” (disable) it, making sure its owners could only listen to ideologically wholesome programs about the deeds of their Dear Leader – Kim Jong-il.

This ban was enforced with remarkable efficiency. It was largely entrusted to the heads of the “people’s groups” or inminban, to which all North Koreans belong. Typically, such group consists of 30 to 50 families living in the same block, and is headed by an official. These low-level officials were required to regularly check all radios in their neighborhoods, making sure that they could not be used to listen to foreign or, more likely, South Korean broadcasts.

The punishment could be harsh. One official said in the 1980s she discovered that a family in the neighborhood under her supervision had a radio that could tune into foreign broadcasts. She duly reported her discovery, and the family was immediately exiled to the countryside.

Ironically, even as that situation has improved slightly in North Korea, Obama’s working on putting it into effect in North America.

I recognize, of course, that an endless loop of Hillary blathering away in the background is not the same as the total content control in either Orwell’s fictional Oceania or Kim Jong Il’s horribly real North Korea.  Nevertheless, the impulse is always the same:  force people to listen to a government message without the opportunity either to avoid the message or to hear alternatives.

Obama’s impulses are totalitarian in nature.  In a fight, although he affects an Olympian detachment, laboring always to position himself in the middle, the straw men he places on either side of himself ensure that his Solomonic cogitations always bring him down on the side of the antidemocratic group, be that Hamas, Chavez, Saudi Arabia, Ahmadinejad, or the American people’s right to tune out from government controlled propaganda.  And on the home front, true to these totalitarian impulses, Obama and his team will constantly search for ways to make his the only voice the American people can hear.

Therapists and non-therapists — a guest post from Ymarsakar

The always interesting, sometimes controversial Ymarsakar, who blogs at Sake White, has contributed another post for your consideration.  In it, he tackles using psychology to disarm us, or to help us understand and combat our enemies.

Since Y didn’t provide a little intro, and because it’s a long post, I’m going to take a stab at an intro, because I think he makes an extraordinarily important point, and one that few people understanding.  Here goes:

Both the entirely of the Left and a large number of decent people in America assume that empathy equals goodness and kindness.  In fact, empathy is a huge weapon in the narcissist’s, psychopath’s, or sociopath’s arsenal.  That he can understand and sense your feelings means that he can manipulate them, either for the pleasure of your pain, or to maneuver you into committing an act in which you normally would not engage (such as killing your Jewish neighbors).  This difference between good and evil isn’t empathy, it’s morality and decency.  The most effective bad guy is highly empathic, but he uses this skill to further his own selfish, and often evil, goals.  Did I get that right, Y?

***************************

I recently read Neo-neocon’s biographical post “Therapists and liberalism”. It sparked an interesting subject matter for me, but not in the sense that she intended it.

In her post she describes the (fake) liberal bias of most therapists in her profession, as viewed from herself and her voyage in life.

So I’ve been thinking about what it is that accounts for the overwhelming liberality of therapists. It’s true, of course, that those in the social sciences, literature, and the arts generally tend to be of the liberal persuasion more often than those in the hard sciences or business; and therapy–despite assertions to the contrary–resembles an art far more than a science, I’m afraid. (It is also a business, but some therapists are in a certain amount of denial about that fact.)

In addition, there are elements within the training and belief system of most therapists that reinforce liberalism of students already predisposed to it anyway. In general, therapists–particularly those who specialize in treating individuals through talk therapy–are taught that they cannot be effective with clients if they start off with a judgmental approach. So they learn to exercise a certain suspension of judgment, a tolerance that even amounts at times to moral relativism, in order to gain the trust of clients and be able to work effectively with them.

I did not come to psychology or therapy from Neo’s perspective. She, as I have often stated, learned the material to directly help others. I learned the material to directly harm others. Technically, of course, it is more intricate than that, integrating civilian and peace time applications with the justice and expedience of war, but in summary you can look at it in the fashion that I have described. [Read more...]

Challenging the monolith of liberal thinking

We often complain here about the futility of arguing with someone who gets information and opinion only from the liberal media.  Thomas Sowell attacks the same problem from the perspective of a parent trying to get through to a child whose entire education has been spent in the liberal school system.  Rather than trying to attack one issue at a time, only to have propaganda spouted at you, Sowell offers this practical advice:

Another approach might be to respond to the dogmatic certainty of some young person, perhaps your own offspring, by asking: “Have you ever read a single book on the other side of that issue?”

Chances are, after years of being “educated,” even at some of the highest-priced schools and colleges, they have not.

When the inevitable answer to your question is “No,” you can simply point out how illogical it is to be so certain about anything when you have heard only one side of the story—no matter how often you have heard that one side repeated.

Would it make sense for a jury to reach a verdict after having heard only the prosecution’s case, or only the defense attorney’s case, but not both?

There is no need to argue the specifics of the particular issue that has come up. You can tell your overconfident young student that you will be happy to discuss that particular issue after he or she has taken the elementary step of reading something by somebody on the other side.

Elementary as it may seem that we should hear both sides of an issue before making up our minds, that is seldom what happens on politically correct issues today in our schools and colleges. The biggest argument of the Left is that there is no argument—whether the issue is global warming, “open space” laws, or whatever.

Some students may even imagine that they have already heard the other side because their teachers may have given them their version of other people’s arguments or motives.

But a jury would never be impressed by having the prosecution tell them what the defendant’s defense is. They would want to hear the defense attorney present that case.

Yet most students who have read and heard repeatedly about the catastrophes awaiting us unless we try to stop “global warming” have never read a book, an article, or even a single word by any of the hundreds of climate scientists, in countries around the world, who have expressed opposition to that view.

These students may have been shown Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth in school, but are very unlikely to have been shown the British Channel 4 television special, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

AP serves as Hamas propaganda arm — again

Here’s a sickening AP story blaming Israel for the “trauma” inflicted on Gazan children.  The story’s only acknowledgment that Hamas itself placed the children in the line of fire is the following paragraph, one that is carefully crafted to make it seem as if it was Israel’s fault that the poor Hamas fighters had to crowd into those child-infested residential areas:

Facing the Israeli invasion, Hamas gunmen often operated from densely populated Gaza neighborhoods, drawing massive Israeli fire that killed and wounded large numbers of civilians, along with fighters. Tens of thousands fled their homes, seeking shelter in U.N. schools.

Even worse, the whole article fails even to mention that Hamas has been raining rockets on Israel for years, with schools as its favorite target, or that it is Hamas that has created a perpetual war culture that puts its children at risk.

The story is a gross piece of propaganda that is entirely consistent with AP’s manifest bias.  And I say all this with due sympathy for the poor children who are victimized, not by Israel — a nation that called in its attacks in advance to give the children time to escape — but by their own countrymen, who gleefully use them as intentional targets precisely so that they can garner this kind of maudlin, dishonest (but sadly far-reaching) press coverage.

Grass roots, my a**!

Dr. Rusty Shackleford has been investigating the myriad smears that sprang into life instantly the moment Palin arrived on the political scene.  The smears appeared to be the result of grass roots efforts from concerned citizens.  Shackleford’s research shows that the opposite is true — that a PR firm has been orchestrating this effort to manipulate the American voter:

Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.

Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.

It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:

  • Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
  • The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
  • Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
  • Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
  • The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
  • This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod’s firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as “astroturfing.”
  • David Axelrod is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.
  • The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe. Our findings follow.

You can read the rest — in which Shackleford carefully backs up each of his claims — here.

The futility of arguing with hardcore Leftists *UPDATED*

Prior to Palin’s appearance on the national political scene, conservatives had long griped about the fact that the media’s narrative was slanted against them, but it was often difficult to point to something obvious that demonstrated this fact.  The media slipped up occasionally in big ways, such as Rathergate, but usually the bias was expressed more subtly, with turns of phrase, and over- or underexposure of issues.  With Palin, though, the ideological Left has abandoned subtlety and given up on any effort to advance actual facts.

I’m not the only one who has noticed the wholesale embrace of absolute falsehoods.  Ace noticed it too and did some investigating.  He discovered that the hardcore Left is encouraging the dissemination of out and out lies as an absolute necessity in the war against McCain and Palin.  Here’s Ace:

That’s a weird thing: Coordinated mass lying. Shit is slipping by us that we’re assuming might be true or somewhat true (those missing months of Bristol’s when she was carrying baby Trig, that “Alaskan Airline crew members stated Palin didn’t look pregnant,” etc.) just because we’re simply not used to thousands of people agreeing to spread deliberate lies to as many people as they can. The fact that multiple people on multiple websites are claiming it, seemingly independently, tricks us into thinking, subconsciously maybe, “Gee, they must have gotten that from some article; they all couldn’t just be lying in unison.”

Or could they?

I’ll print this posting found at DU, tipped to me by the great Larwyn, again:

122. What many here don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. RUMOR IS TRUTH.

The modern laws of media hype and political warfare have a useful tenet:

Repeat ANYTHING or raise false concern over ANYTHING and it is likely to be planted in the conscious/subconscious of many voters.

If people start to think that there might be something fishy with Palin’s last kid (if hers), then that’s FINE. One more doubt (whether tied to reality or not) is another hesitation at the ballot box.

GET WITH THE PROGRAM PEOPLE. The “rising above it” bullshit has served us so well in the past, hasn’t it?

If you have problems with the story, then STFU and get out of the way of Dems who are engaged in MODERN POLITICAL WARFARE. Go tend your garden or some other pedestrian task, because the “concern trolls” are not helping shape the message.

J

By the way, if you’re a student of history, the directive in the last paragraph quoted, the one about abandoning truth in favor of useful lies, may strike you as familiar.  It’s the same technique that Goebbels perfected on Hitler’s behalf.  Goebbels’ theory was that the only “truth” is that which leads to the desired goal.  Or, as he said, “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result.  It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”

Repeat lies, big and little, often enough, and you will convince people of their truth.  Confuse straightforward arguments with myriad irrelevant, and often false, facts, and you will eventually exhaust people.  The good will walk away in disgust; the weak will capitulate and accept your false premises.  Either way, you win.

There is a point to this post beyond the obvious one of highlighting the way in which the Progressives, Liberals and Democrats (and whatever else they’re styling themselves)* have gone after Palin in an attempt to destroy the Republican ticket.  As many of my regular readers have noticed, my comments have been visited with overwhelming frequency by a handful people who oppose Bush and the Republicans, and are supportive of Obama and the Democrats.  Certainly that is their right to hold those views.

However, while their views are rightfully theirs, this blog is mine.  I’ve always encouraged open debate in the comments at this blog, and I’d like to continue to do so.  As long time readers know, some of the most interesting, enlightening and truly civil discussions here have involved people who are not conservative, but who come here with genuine good will and a desire to discuss issues.

My recent liberal commenters, however, seem less interested in reasoned debate, and much more interested in generating confusion and disinformation.  In other words, their tag team approach, demonstrated by an overwhelming volume and immediacy of responses, suggests a concerted effort to “shape the message” in precisely the way described in that DU post Ace describes.  Not only does this hog space, but it turns reading my blog into an exhausting exercise, and makes the blog a hostile environment to my regular, more temperate readers.

If this were a public forum, of course, we would all put up with this noise, since it would be a sign of a healthy public marketplace of ideas.  This is not a public forum, however.  It is my personal blog.  If you, my readers, are enjoying the debate, I will continue to let it flow freely.  However, if the intentional or unintentional tag-team approach that’s playing out now results in my blog being co-opted as a forum for views with which I disagree, let this post stand as warning that I will block commenting privileges — and I will do so by the end of this week.

And please don’t anybody cry censorship.  I’m not the government.  This is not a public space.  This is my intellectual parlor, and I am free to include those I feel enter with good will, and exclude those I feel come with a more nefarious purpose.

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*A propos the way in which liberals keep changing their name: There seems to be a sense among them that one term after another that is associated with them degrades in value.  We know this happens with language.  The most lovely example is the word beldam, which now means an “old hag,” but which comes from the French phrase for beautiful woman.  As the term “liberal” has become degraded from its association with the Left, the Lefter side of the spectrum has abandoned it for the term Progressive.  However, as long as the ideas continue the same, I suspect the title “Progressives,” too, will fall into disrepute.

UPDATE: Old War Dogs has an excellent no troll policy. A little more blunt than anything I would write, but the spirit is dead on correct.

Friends of Obama

I highly (really highly) recommend that you read Paul Kengor’s piece in today’s American Thinker, Return of the Dupes and the Anti-Anti-Communists. In it, he describes a struggle I remember well from the 1970s (when I became politically aware during the end of the Vietnam era) through the 1990s (during which time I was on the Lefter side of the political divide) — The way in which Communists co-opted weak-thinking liberals so that the latters’ strongest beliefs weren’t either Communist or liberal, but were simply hostile to those who had the foresight to be anti-Communist.

As did most of my peers, I hated conservatives, not because of the things for which they stood, but because they were so wrong in being against the Communists and so paranoid. It came as something as a shock to me when I learned about the enormous numbers of deaths at Communist hands, something Kengor describes about students today:

These liberals, particularly after the McCarthy period, came to detest the anti-communists on the right. These liberals were not pro-communist but anti-anti-communist. They saw the anti-communists as Neanderthals, and still do, even though the anti-communists were absolutely right about the 20th century slaughter otherwise known as Marxism-Leninism. This ongoing anti-anti-communism is immediately evident in a quick conversation with your typical liberal in the press or academia. When I lecture at universities around the country, rattling off facts about the literally unparalleled communist destruction in the 20th century — easily over 100 million people died under communism from about 1917-79 — the young people are riveted, clearly having never heard any of this in the classroom, whereas their professors roll their eyes, as if the ghost of Joe McCarthy had flown into the room and leapt inside of my body.

With these facts in hand, I realized that those who stood staunchly against Communists (and that included, prior to 1972, the Democratic party) had been right.  What a shock to the system.

Obama is not someone whose learned that lesson.  Kengor discusses the fact that one of Obama’s early mentors was a large “C” Communist.  We all make mistakes, and a bunch of us neocons have people like that in our past.  If that’s were Kengor’s article stopped, it would merely be interesting.  What elevates his article is the fact that he discusses the fact that Obama, who has never explained these associations, is still being protected by a still-existing reflexive anti-anti-Communism that relies on ignorant, cynical dupes in the media, Hollywood and academia.

By the way, after you read the article, be sure to read the comments, paying special attention to the first one.  It’s quite instructive.

Answering back

One of the things that has infuriated me for years in the roiling battle between Israel and her neighbors is Israel’s utter ineptitude at courting the media.  For decades, after ever single “event,” the Palestinians offered dozens of sympathetic people up for interviews with the MSM, while the Israelis offered terse, uninformative commentaries from tight lipped “military spokesmen.”  It allowed the Palestinians to gain complete control over the dialog.  No matter what was going on on the ground, Israel was steadily losing in the war of ideas.

I’m not the only one, of course, who has noticed this.  Michael Phillips has come up with an idea:  a simple chart that examines, not the facts of every event, but simply the number of times Hamas and its ilk have been caught in lies.  I’m not the only one, by the way, who likes this idea.  Michael got over 3,000 extra daily hits from people interested in the concept.  It might actually impress the Arabs too:  as many have been impressed by Israel’s willingness to go after a corrupt Prime Minister.  It can be very useful to separate facts from ideology.