Saturday, March 17, 2012

More propaganda masquerading as entertainment

One of the last things America needs is a rehash of the 2008 campaign, but the truth demands constant vigilance. The lies of today easily evolve into the common misperceptions of tomorrow, and if a movement will not defend its own leaders, who will?

Recently, this space discussed the marketing of Game Change, HBO’s account of Campaign 2008, focusing on the selection of Sarah Palin for vice president. The producers are selling it as a serious examination of our political selection process. But this writer missed the trees for the forest. The devil is in the details. It is not the smug, self-satisfied tone of the filmmakers and stars that justify the disgust of every American who esteems truth as the gold standard of political discourse. Simply, the film is a blatant piece of anti-conservative propaganda.

We can all forget the title or plot of a movie, but individual scenes can linger on, coloring our perceptions of specific subjects for a lifetime. Some Hollywood producers are more insidious than politicians — the cover of “art” offers a much broader framework for spreading liberal propaganda than a mere stump speech or daily news soundbite.

The following are the most pertinent scenes from Game Change, though far too many remain to recount here.

Before the opening credits are over, we see that one of the film’s producers is Tom Hanks. Yes, the amiable guy next door and Obama fundraiser of the highest order. His efforts alone don’t preclude an objective look at Governor Palin, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Later, VP nominee Palin counts on British cooperation for concluding the Iraq War because we have always had good relations with the Queen, whom she apparently believes sets policy. The real Sarah Palin has always regarded Margaret Thatcher as a role model, so how likely is it that she would have no concept of the true head of government, the prime minister?

She professes her disagreement with Senator McCain over embryonic stem cell research, but the film omits her actual support of adult stem cell research. Another anti-science, Christian conservative — how original.

In her riveting meltdown scene before she hurls her cell phone at a wall, Sarah tells a campaign aide that, like Hillary Clinton, she must find her own voice. “And you’re just like Hillary,” the aide responds with venomous sarcasm. Therein lays a major tenet of Palin Derangement Syndrome. Hillary, who subordinated herself to her husband’s political ascendency and waited many years for her own turn, is somehow the icon of a woman leader. Yet Sarah Palin, who propelled herself forward by grit and tenacity and by exposing the corruption (mostly of men) within her own party, is a trailer park Evita.

Later at Palin rallies, supporters yell “Kill him!” referring to Barack Obama. These accusations persist, but the Secret Service has reportedly found no evidence to the claims. I attended two rallies and can attest that I heard no such calls.

Sarah whispers to a staff member that she doesn’t want to return to Alaska. Yeah, that’s why this wealthy private citizen still resides there and starred in a reality show celebrating its scenic wonders.

Then there’s Julianne Moore, who fails to capture Palin’s infectious zest and vitality. At least Meryl Streep was Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Julianne Moore is simply Julianne Moore doing a passable Palin impersonation. Moore performs admirably as Sarah with her children, particularly in one poignant scene where Sarah talks to her son Track serving in the Middle East.

But overall, what tripe. Even John McCain is shown using the f-word, which the senator has denied using with the casual frequency portrayed. But in the most telling scene, McCain laments the media’s negative treatment of him. “I thought they liked me.” No, Senator, they like you only as long as you are an impediment to the conservative movement. Any threat to liberal preponderance will be savaged by the media, including the entertainment media.

Ultimately, the outrage of Game Change is not just that it demeans Sarah Palin but that it insults conservatives and the intelligence of its viewers. Not everyone is gullible enough to believe such over-the-top fiction, but its makers are sure banking for success on the ones who are.



The Afghanistan Murders and the follies of Altruism

Two articles were published almost immediately after news of the crime broke, Ralph Peters’s angry article on Family Security Matters (FSM, March 13), Soldiers Murders Afghans – Generals Murder Solders: It was Only a Matter of Time Before One of Our Men Broke Down,” and Daniel Greenfield’s bitter and sardonic Sultan Knish article of March 12, “The Blood Price of Afghanistan.”

By contrast, the MSM reported the killings with an almost palpable tone of glee, a tone of near relief that finally, American troops can be accused of something heinous, and America itself implicated in the crime. CNN decided to quote the dismay of one of the head savages in Afghanistan:

"NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the soldier acted alone and turned himself in after opening fire on civilians. U.S. President Barack Obama called the killings "tragic and shocking," and offered his condolences to the Afghan people in a phone call to his counterpart in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, the White House said."

But no condolences offered for the numerous Americans, Canadians, British, and Australians killed in cold blood by Afghans?

"But the attack is likely to further more anger at international forces following deadly riots over the burning of Qurans by U.S. troops."

Oh, yes, let’s bring up those Korans with the scrawled Muslim marginal notes that were burned. Let’s fuel the anger by mentioning that subject.

"The Afghan people can withstand a lot of pain," Prince Ali Seraj, the head of the National Coalition for Dialogue with the Tribes of Afghanistan, told CNN. "They can withstand collateral damage. They can withstand night raids. But murder is something that they totally abhor, and when that happens, they really want justice."

Really? The Taliban and other Afghans “abhor” murder? But not honor killings, rape, torture, beheadings, ritual disfigurements, beatings, and whippings, all prescribed or sanctioned by the Koran? All a matter of everyday practice in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Libya…well, you know the map. ABC opined:

"In the wake of the Quran burnings, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, visited troops at a base that was attacked last month and urged them not to give in to the impulse for revenge."

The tensions between the two countries had appeared to be easing as recently as Friday, when the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding about the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control -- a key step toward an eventual strategic partnership to govern U.S. forces in the country.

Now, another wave of anti-American hatred could threaten the entire future of the mission, fueling not only anger among the Afghans whom the coalition is supposed to be defending but also encouraging doubts among U.S. political figures that the long and costly war is worth the sacrifice in lives and treasury.

General Allen ought to caution the troops on revenge – but, revenge on whom? Revenge on the politically-correct officer corps that instructs the troops not to fight back, not to show disrespect for the Afghans and their brutal and primitive culture, not to feel resentment for being a mere sitting-ducks “police force” to contain an enemy the policymakers dare not name, not to resent being guinea pigs in an altruistic war to bring “stability” to a part of the world that has never known it and never will?

And, oh, gee, we mustn’t do anything that will unleash another wave of anti-American hatred and murderous anger, like exterminate the Taliban, withhold financial and material aid to a corrupt government, or urinate on Taliban fighters, or even so much as sketch a cartoon of Mohammad in a Koran. No, we, the policymakers and the MSM, will only focus and dwell on American actions, and not Afghan crime, for after all, if we weren’t there, there wouldn’t be any Afghan crime.

Right. Before the Americans arrived, Afghanistan was the playground of the rich and famous, with immaculate beaches, five-star hotels, a friendly and outgoing populace, health spas, ski resorts, and crime statistics so low they put the Amish country to shame.

What are our goals? What is our strategy? We’re told, endlessly, that things are improving in Afghanistan, yet, ten years ago, a U.S. Army general, unarmed, could walk the streets of Kabul without risk. Today, there is no city in Afghanistan where a U.S. general could stroll the streets. We may not have a genius for war, but we sure do have a genius for kidding ourselves.

And the moral code that allows us to kid ourselves is: Altruism. After all, altruism can do no harm. It cannot be corrupted. It cannot corrupt.

Altruism took us to Iraq and Afghanistan, and altruism will be the death of us there (and of more U.S. troops). Purists claim that you can't corrupt altruism, that only good can emanate from it. But, there you are. Mr. Peters identifies with justifiable anger just how that can be and has been done. He puts his finger on the cause of such crimes by excoriating the policies that have governed the conduct of American operations in Afghanistan.

Is it really better to give than to receive? Altruism says so. But all the U.S. has received in return for expending American lives and incalculable wealth in that hellhole is hatred, scorn, and death.

The alleged attack on Afghans by an American soldier in Kandahar, where 91 soldiers have been murdered last year alone, is already receiving the full outrage treatment. Any outrage over the deaths of those 91 soldiers in the province will be completely absent.

There will be no mention of how many of them died because the Obama Administration decided that the lives of Afghan civilians counted for more than the lives of soldiers. No talk of what it is like to walk past houses with gunmen dressed in civilian clothing inside and if you are fired at from those houses, your orders are to retreat.

No, no POTUS, no MSM anchor or pundit, no Charlie Rose or “Washington Week” host will raise those issues. After all, self-sacrifice demands that our soldiers expose themselves to the whim and malice of their enemies. Isn’t that what soldiering is all about? So, please, don’t bore our liberal/left elite with such stories.

Air strikes are for days gone by. The American soldier in the ISAF is expected to patrol and retreat, to smile and reach out to Afghans while they shoot him in the back. After risking his life to hold back the Taliban, he is expected to take it calmly when his government announces that it is trying to cut a deal with the Taliban. As he waits out the final months until withdrawal, seeing his friends lose their limbs and their lives, knowing that the enemy has won, that he has been betrayed and is being kept senselessly on the front line for no objective except the diplomatic position of a government that hates him, that is taking away his health care, his equipment and his job; how does he feel?

Much more HERE


Is There a Conservative Majority?

As we get closer to the upcoming elections, the question of how to best advance the conservative cause presents itself. Some would argue that elections present an opportunity to reach out to more people with the conservative message, while others insist that ideological considerations take a back seat to actually getting sympathetic politicians elected. Sometimes we come across indications that these two objectives are not mutually exclusive pursuits. In a recent American Thinker article by Bruce Walker, such a case is presented. Walker makes the argument that there is a self identified conservative majority out there ready to be mobilized. He draws that conclusion by looking at a series of five Gallup Polls taken over three years, which broke down ideological self-identification by state. According to Walker:

"In August 2009, Gallup data showed that conservatives outnumbered liberals in every single state. In February 2010, Gallup presented polling data that showed the same thing: though the numbers were different, conservatives outnumbered liberals in every state. Six months later, Gallup presented new polling numbers which showed that conservatives outnumbered liberals in every state but Rhode Island. One year ago, in February 2011, Gallup again showed polling data which revealed that in every single state, conservatives outnumbered liberals. Then, in February 2012, the Gallup Poll showed that in every state except Massachusetts, conservatives outnumbered liberals."

Gallup is not the only polling organization to reach this conclusion:

"The Battleground Poll, conducted by George Washington University in collaboration with a Democrat and a Republican polling organization, also has published the ideological self-identification of Americans. The latest Battleground Poll has just been released, and the pattern in the latest Battleground Poll is identical to the previous twenty-one polls over the last ten years."

In the latest poll, 58% of Americans describe themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative,” while only 37% of Americans describe themselves as “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.” The “moderate” or “don’t know” remain as in past polls very small, at 2% for both of those groups. Moreover, conservative Americans are much more conservative than liberal Americans are liberal. So, while 61% of Americans who identify themselves as conservative or liberal pick “conservative,” when asked if they are “very conservative” or “very liberal,” 68% of those strongly ideological Americans are “very conservative” while only 32% are “very liberal.”

Such findings are not often reported widely in the media and the conclusions related to political strategy to be drawn from them are even less often voiced. Instead we are told that conservatives can only win if they water down their conservative convictions and tailor their message to the supposedly moderate majority. What are we make of such advice if the majority of Americans actually self-identify as conservatives?

There are two conclusions to be drawn from this finding. The first is that forming a conservative message is not just a good way to advance conservatism, but it is also a winning political strategy. The majority of self-identified conservatives need to see a message of conservatism clearly articulated if they are to mobilize behind a candidate, or slate of candidates. Or, as Ronald Reagan stated in 1975, conservative politicians need to “Raise a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels”. The other lesson to be drawn from these polls is the enduring nature of conservatism.

Despite the fact that the majority of media outlets arguably lean to the left, not to mention academia, our public school system, the entertainment industry, etc., the majority of Americans still self-identify as conservatives. Conservatives need to encourage this trend by making the conservative message more available to the American majority. Beyond elections, we need to find more avenues with which to promote conservatism.

There is no reason why we should not be able to solidify America’s conservative leaning even further, whether on the Democrat or Republican side of the aisle.




China: New Red Dawn thwarted: "The charismatic Communist Party chief who had led a Maoist revival in the central Chinese city of Chongqing, complete with red flag-waving song contests, was removed from his post Thursday in what is being applauded as a victory for the political reform faction. Bo Xilai’s ouster comes in the midst of a scandal that has riveted Chinese who are unaccustomed to seeing political intrigues played out in a public [sic]."

Complex societies need simple laws: "If you have 10,000 regulations,' Winston Churchill said, 'you destroy all respect for law.' He was right. But Churchill never imagined a government that would add 10,000 year after year. That's what we have in America. We have 160,000 pages of rules from the feds alone. States and localities have probably doubled that. ... So what do the politicians and bureaucrats of the permanent government do? They pass more rules."



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


No comments: