New Democrat intimidation
It will only stop when Republicans do the same
Politicians recognize they give up a degree of privacy when they run for office.
But Democrats are testing the outer limits of that understanding with a practice that raises questions about when campaign tracking becomes something more like stalking.
While most serious campaigns on both sides use campaign trackers — staffers whose job is to record on video every public appearance and statement by an opponent — House Democrats are taking it to another level. They’re now recording video of the homes of GOP congressmen and candidates and posting the raw footage on the Internet for all to see.
That ratcheting up of the video surveillance game is unnerving Republicans who insist that even by political standards, it’s a gross invasion of privacy. Worse, they say, it creates a safety risk for members of Congress and their families at a time when they are already on edge after a deranged gunman shot former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords 18 months ago.
Wisconsin GOP Rep. Reid Ribble, who said he’s also been followed by a cameraman when shopping for groceries, said the home videos cross a line.
“I feel it’s totally inappropriate,” said Ribble, a freshman facing a competitive race for reelection. “It was disturbing to me that they would put that online. I don’t understand any political benefit that can be achieved with that.”
In Ribble’s case, a clip of his northeastern Wisconsin home appeared online June 18. The soundless video — which lasts 38 seconds — is taken from a car sitting just outside the house. The shot pans across the large home, showing it from several different angles.
DeaNa Ribble, the congressman’s wife, said it is deeply unsettling. “I’m more creeped out about this than Reid is, just because I’m home more,” she said. “If they so much as put a foot on private property, I will be the first person to call the police.”
Republicans whose homes have been videotaped say they understand that politics is a contact sport and that every public utterance they make is fair game. But, they argue, filming a home — and posting actual addresses — ought to be off-limits, if only out of respect for their families and neighbors.
“I think your family or your personal life should be off-limits unless it enters the campaign,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci, who said a neighbor informed him that a tracker had been crouching in the bushes taking footage of the first-term congressman’s home. “It’s hard for my neighbors or my family to get comfortable when someone is in the bushes.”
Democrats to blacks: 'Stay Angry, vote Democratic'
By Larry Elder
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., once said: "George (W.) Bush is our 'Bull' Connor -- and if that doesn't get to you, nothing will be able to get to you. It's time for us to be able to say that we're sick and tired, we're fired up and we're not going to take it anymore."
Connor was a racist sheriff who sicced dogs and water hoses on civil rights workers in the '60s. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., says Republicans "want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws."
The tactic is as obvious as it is insulting. Tell black voters that "they" are out to "get them" -- and pull that lever for us Democrats so we can resist their racist attempt to undermine your success.
Never mind that this kind of anger wrapped in paranoia -- assuming that others are out to get you -- is precisely the formula to undermine your own success.
Accomplished entrepreneurs say one of the keys to success is the assumption and the confidence that you can influence the outcome.
Anger is an opponent of success.
The movie "Red Tails" is a fictionalized film of the Tuskegee airmen, the brave black fighter pilots of World War II. They overcame racism and fought for their country in a segregated military that considered them unequal.
In one scene, a Tuskegee pilot goes into an officers' club in Italy. He is taunted and told "whites only." He starts a fight and ends up in a military jail, possibly facing court-martial.
His commanding officer, played by Terrence Howard, confronts the aviator whose anger threatened the mission: "What am I going to do with you? Everything's a fight, isn't it? It must be so goddamned exhausting being you. You know something ... ? You're a punk. You remind me of one of those kids from a comic strip. Walking around, pushing your sleeve up one arm, hand balled in a tight fist. Walking and looking at the world through a squint, always looking to knock something down just because it's standing.
"It's right there," says the CO, pointing his finger to the temple of his officer's head. "It's right there. You really want to knock something down? Try using that. Because I will tell you straight, I don't have anything against you. I have the highest expectations for you. Lieutenant ... I need everyone on this next mission, and you're lucky you're the best damn pilot we've got. Report to your unit."
Rep. Rangel wants anger for votes and power. In discussing the Trayvon Martin case, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, "Blacks are under attack." Under attack? By whom?
The "battle against racism" removes pressure from people to practice what works: personal responsibility, hard work, pursuing an education and a pledge to refrain from having children until capable of assuming the responsibility. Blacks are not helped by the angry, pessimistic rhetoric of those who claim to operate in their best interests. Getting ahead becomes elusive when others train you to think like a victim, that The Man holds you in a trap of weights and barriers.
Black actor Charles Dutton, playing a high school teacher in the movie "Menace II Society," gives to students this dismal "advice": "Being a black man in America isn't easy. The hunt is on, and you're the prey." Have a nice life, boys.
I was blessed with parents with no patience for those who felt sorry for themselves and who allowed others to make them feel inferior. In high school, my literature class read a poem that went something like this:
"While riding through old Baltimore, so small and full of glee,
"I saw a young Baltimorean keep a-lookin' straight at me.
"Now, he was young and very small, and I was not much bigger
"And so he smiled, but put out his tongue and called me 'nigger.'
"I saw the whole of Baltimore from May until September,
"Of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember."
The teacher angrily talked about the permanent damage done to this little boy's psyche. The permanent stain of racism. The denial of the little boy's dignity. The boy, said the teacher, will never be the same. By the time the bell sounded, everyone was angry.
I went home and read the poem to my mom as she prepared dinner. When I finished -- "of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember" -- she took a spoon out of a steaming pot, rapped it on the side, turned to me and said, "Too bad he let something that trivial spoil his vacation."
As Aristotle, in the "Nicomachean Ethics," wrote: "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- this is not easy."
Apparently, Aristotle wasn't a Democratic strategist.
George Lakoff is still going
I hadn't heard of him since I last debunked him some years back but he is still at the same old stall selling the same old secondhand ideas. He has issued a book called "The Little Blue Book: Quotations from Chairman Lakoff"
Lakoff's central "insight" is that you must use distorted Leftist language to have any hope of promoting Leftist ideas. But telling that to people who already call racism "affirmative action" and abortion "choice" must be one of the most unoriginal ideas ever proposed. George Orwell beat him to that idea by half a century.
I suppose that telling people that what they have always done is right might be encouraging to some but that is about all you can say for it. A few excerpts from a critical review of the book:
George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley — and highly regarded Democratic tactician — has just released his playbook for the 2012 election. Titled The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, it purports to be the ultimate insiders’ guide to liberal messaging and left-wing ideology.
But Lakoff is not just any intellectual celebrity: he is deemed one of the most important contemporary philosophers of progressive thought. You know how whenever Democrats lose an election, they invariably blame their “poor messaging” and never ever the content of their policies? Lakoff came up with that. Liberals find it very reassuring: We don’t need to rethink our ideas — we just need to express ourselves more clearly.
As a linguist, Lakoff focuses on the notions of “cognitive frames” and “conceptual metaphors,” which refer to the overarching filters through which each person perceives the world. This academic field in and of itself is politically neutral. But on the other hand, Lakoff is also a hardcore leftist, so he decided long ago to overtly combine his academic interest with his personal politics, to use the study of cognitive frames to promote leftist ideology. This is what makes him such a hero to liberals. The Little Blue Book is Lakoff’s attempt to transform his high-minded theories into nuts-and-bolts instructions for how all Democrats — from the White House to the drum circle and everything in between — should speak to conservatives, undecideds and the media....
And yet his new Little Blue Book is supposed to be an instruction manual on how to convert wavering conservatives and undecideds to the liberal worldview — even though insults and mockery are an integral component of that worldview. To summarize Lakoff’s presentation in one sentence, he essentially says, “Hey, you ignorant yet diabolical rubes, shut the hell up and submit to an incessant barrage of our vacuous euphemistic leftist slogans, because you’re too stupid and evil for an honest debate.”
The eternally vexatious problem which drives Lakoff to distraction and which inspired him to write (along with one of his researchers) The Little Blue Book is that despite their psychological pathologies and awful moral structure, conservatives somehow still manage to occasionally win elections. Lakoff has come to the conclusion that this is due not to the superiority of conservative philosophy, but to superiority in conservative messaging.
I’ve designed a little chart to clearly illustrate what I call Lakoff’s Paradox: Why is it that conservatives still manage to sometimes win public opinion and elections despite being so vastly inferior? Behold:
Everything is going liberals’ way until that last step, where they fumble the ball at the goal line: messaging. Conservatives on the other hand are a miserable lot, but somehow manage to uncork a convincing moral frame to hide their distasteful politics. The Little Blue Book really would have benefitted from having such an illustration; but better late than never.
For example, right in the introduction he puts on his scientist hat and gives us a neutral and dispassionate summary of the liberal and conservative political visions, which he will refer back to repeatedly throughout the book. But the language he chooses to use reveals all: the definition of liberalism contains words like “caring,” “decent,” “moral” and “fair,” while the definition of conservatism contains phrases like “self-interest,” “no commitment,” “corporate interests,” and “sink or swim.”
Every page, every paragraph, every sentence in the entire book could be unpacked in a similar way, an unending pastiche of partisan linguistic bias masquerading as scientific or impartial verities.
Lakoff is also the reason why liberals and conservatives never seem to be able to communicate with each other. This frustrating problem is no accident, nor a natural result of differing ideologies simply not seeing eye to eye. Rather, it’s a conscious behavior explicitly recommended by Lakoff over the years, and one which he hammers home repeatedly in The Little Blue Book. Page 43 contains the book’s core message:
“Never use your opponent’s language….Never repeat ideas that you don’t believe in, even if you are arguing against them.”
So central is this notion to Lakoff’s thesis that his publicist sent out a list of “The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know” with each review copy, and guess what comes in at #1:
“Don’t repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them.”
And many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoff’s recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals can’t seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative “moral frames,” every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.
Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions — it simply ignores them.
A prime example of Lakoff’s ruinous recommendations can be seen in the debate over abortion, which never seems to get resolved despite a trillion words being expended on it every day. The “conservative frame,” to use Lakoff’s language, is that a fetus is a human being who has not yet been born; thus to “abort” the fetus is to kill it, which means a human being has been killed, which is tantamount to murder. In response to this frame, Lakoff recommends — a recommendation that liberals dutifully follow — that those on the left completely ignore the conservative argument, and instead “reframe” the issue with metaphors like “freedom of choice” and “women’s independence” and “reproductive rights.” All those positive words — “freedom,” “independence,” “rights” — recast the entire debate in a different light, allowing liberals to “win” the debate by not acknowledging that the opposing side has even made a statement.
And this is Lakoff’s fundamental flaw, which unfortunately exactly coincides with his fundamental thesis (in other words, his thesis doesn’t have an error — it is an error). By intentionally refusing to challenge, disprove, understand or even acknowledge the existence of the other side’s argument, you allow that argument to grow in strength and win converts.
This would not be true if the other side’s argument were inherently weak or fallacious, which I assume is at the root of Lakoff’s blunder; he must assume that conservatives don’t have valid arguments or positions, but rather nothing more than sneakily effective ways of misrepresenting erroneous or ridiculous beliefs. In Lakoff’s universe, you can extinguish such beliefs by ignoring them completely, thus depriving them of oxygen.
While Lakoff’s foolish insistence that liberals never repeat conservative frames means that conservative notions never get directly rebutted, this insistence backfires in other ways as well. Why? Because conservatives take the diametrically opposite strategy: They seize on every utterance that liberals make, and repeat their “frames” as loudly as possible to demonstrate how deceptive they are. So while liberals studiously avoid analyzing anything conservatives say, conservatives meanwhile are avidly dissecting every single thing liberals say. The end result is that conservatives, to their own satisfaction as least, successfully challenge and de-fang every liberal notion; but liberals never challenge or de-fang conservative notions, instead seeking to snuff them out with a lethal dose of Silent Treatment.
But it gets worse, because it is the very euphemisms and other ludicrous “conceptual metaphors” recommended by Lakoff which give conservatives so much grist for their mill. Every time a liberal talking head gets up and uncorks another howler in the Lakoff style, conservative fiskers and deconstructionists latch on and tear it to pieces, trumpeting it as further evidence of liberals’ cluelessness or mendacity. So not only does Lakoff recommend holding fire against conservative frames, the ammunition he saves only ends up being used against the liberals themselves.
And this man is considered their master strategist?
Lakoff's book does have some vague claims to academic respectability so my dissection of his ideas does include a presentation of the academic evidence relevant to his theories
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)