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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weekly conservative stat dump: August 25

Here's your not-so-weekly conservative stat dump :)  Lots of great info - hard numbers to help you beat back the opinionated conjecture of the political Left!

Big Government:
World Affairs: 
Health Care: 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Republicans are 'extreme?'

Here's the latest and greatest NRSC ad...

Via Hot Air:
"The meta-narrative is about Democratic contempt for American public opinion, which of course is why the mosque story has legs. You can debate whether that contempt exists or not, but assuming that it exists (and it surely does, although lefties will deny it in the interest of raw political survival), there’s no debate as to whether it’s a good thing or bad thing. If the GOP convinces independents that the left holds them in contempt — or rather, I should say, if Democrats convince independents of that — they’ll take a beating of Biblical proportions. We’re well on our way."

This is an especially interesting narrative, given recent numbers which indicate that the public thinks the Democratic Party is actually the party that's furthest from center. If you follow this blog regularly, you know how I love hard numbers. The messaging on this, for the RNC, is absolutely spot on. More hard-hitting, fact-using, gut-checking appeals to logos are exactly what Republicans will need in the Novembers of 2010 and 2012.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Ant and the Grasshopper - 2010

Had this e-mailed to me from a friend... it was just too good not to share!

You all know the traditional story of the ant and the grasshopper, right? The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE OLD STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

Well, there's a modern version of this story:
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'
ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome."
Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake.
President Obama condems the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.
The entire nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world down with it.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.

Photo by Vino Wong,
Oh and in completely unrelated news, more than a thousand people gathered Wednesday outside a metro-Atlanta shopping mall in hopes of being placed on a waiting list for federal housing funds. 

Fights broke out, children were reportedly trampled, and police had to stop the crowd from storming a cafe being used by the East Point Housing Authority in East Point, Ga.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Abra Cadabra! A new right!

Political Cartoon by Chuck Asay
For in-depth commentary on the issue of gay marriage that involves neither the manifestation of a new right nor a reference to religious dogma, check out the Intellectual Conservative account of gay marriage.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly conservative stat dump: August 8

Here's about two week's worth of numbers for those among you who are tired of hearing liberals contend that the Right "just doesn't know the facts." Just remember, the Conservative Brawler's here to help you win those political fights ;-)  Nothing delivers a sound K.O. to a liberal opponent like a solid dose of reality.  So here's a whole load of recently uncovered hard numbers, no spin required!

Big Government:
World Affairs:
Military/ War:
Health Care:

Friday, August 6, 2010

The fake "conservative censorship" Digg scandal

Not even a week has passed since Mother Jones let loose its hit piece on the RNC Facebook page, and we're faced with yet another claim that Conservatives are abusing social media - this time, on the part of AlterNet followed by the Guardian.

Truly, this is the new vast right-wing conspiracy. 

It's pretty clear what this is all about. Whether it's violently protesting the mere presence of Ann Coulter, or the fairness doctrine, or trying to silence strong conservative social media voices - it's clear that America's Left will go to any lengths to silence people with whom they disagree.  They're fine with free speech... but only insofar as they like what's being said.

In their panic to justify their exceedingly fast fall from grace, liberals are looking to find scapegoats to blame for "manipulating" public opinion. Of course, what they're calling "manipulation" and "gaming" is nothing more than Conservatives actually... you know... getting involved. It isn't that Conservative's are "manipulating" public opinion, it's that they're winning it. And that, Liberals simply cannot abide.

As William F. Buckley once poignantly noted, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."

That is all these faux "scandals" are about. Liberals are upset that the RNC Facebook page has about 10x the reach of the DNC Facebook page, so they've put out several hit pieces to try to portray the RNC page - and Republicans by proxy - as racist, because that fits the Liberal narrative. No surprise there.

They felt threatened by the massive growth of conservatives on Twitter through the use of hashtags like #tcot, and then relished when the website built around the moniker fell apart.

Now they've set their sights on the handful of Conservatives on Digg - and what a menacing group of Conservatives they've found...

The AlterNet article title reads "Massive Censorship Of Digg Uncovered" and goes on to claim that "A group of nearly one hundred conservatives have banded together on a Yahoo! Group called Digg Patriots (DP), and a companion site at coRanks to issue bury orders and discuss strategies to censor Digg and other social media websites."

Then, when listing these Conservative burying bandits, they can only name about 70 - to include yours truly. But, really, what's a 143% over-estimation amongst friends?  And never you mind where their proof is that most of these people were even in the group... you'll take them for their word and like it!

And what was their crime, these Conservative crusaders of the social media underworld?

Apparently, they committed the mortal sin of sharing links to either "digg" or "bury" through the social bookmarking service known as Digg. What is Digg? It's a place where people either digg-up or bury-down the news stories and headlines they either like or dislike respectively.

How, then, can AlterNet contend that "censorship" has taken place if the group was simply voting as the website allows it to vote?

Are they creating multiple accounts to give themselves more than one vote? No.
Are they creating script to give themselves more than one vote? No.
Are they hacking other people's accounts? No.
Are they deleting other people's accounts? No.

What they were doing... brace yourself... was sharing links in a private Yahoo! group to either Digg or Bury. *gasp* Nixon had nothing on this scandal.

That's right folks, this evil cabal of Conservatives conspired to digg and bury stories on a site where you... get this... digg and bury stories! (h/t 4verageJo3)

AlterNet appears to have listed anyone who's ever been in the link-sharing group known as "Digg Patriots"(irrespective of whether or not they were recently active in it) only to portray the scenario as if all 70 people listed are currently acting as one cohesive unit to silence anyone and everyone with whom they disagree. This simply was not the case.

The entire article centers around the premise that in sharing digg, bury and report suggestions, that these conservatives were "gaming" the system.  Really?

Check out Digg's "terms of use."  I assume the article AlterNet's "oleoleolson" thinks he's referencing is this one:
"By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree not to use the Services with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the 'digg count', comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg's services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg's services."
Emphasis mine.

The rule is that you may not artificially inflate a digg count.  A group of like-minded individuals sharing links of stories with one another that they think they'd like, or sharing links to stories they think ought to be buried because they're inaccurate, or sharing links to instances where certain Digg "trolls" have unleashed some string of vitriol that deserves reporting is NOT an artificial inflation. That's what folks in the business call "grass roots social media."  It's as genuine as it gets - like minded people sharing information.  The votes cast by the "Digg Patriots" - however organized or unorganized they may have been - were authentic votes cast by authentic individuals.

Anyone in DP (or any other group for that matter) who creates multiple accounts to pose as multiple personalities or artificially inflate vote counts was very clearly violating the TOU, and Digg should strongly consider banning them. But to suggest that everyone in the group both knew about these multi-accounts and supported them is just fallacious and illogical.  Guilt by association is neither a valid nor sound argument. Certainly we don't blame all Diggers for the actions of a few people on Digg - so why, then, would it stand to reason that we should castigate all DPers for the actions of a few DPers?  It doesn't, and people shouldn't.

And, I hate to break it to the people hoping that all of Digg's prominent conservatives will get banned for sharing links, but simply being in DP and sharing links does not violate the Digg terms of use.

Beyond all that, I had hoped that I could use my membership to the Yahoo! group to grab some screen shots to dispel the disgustingly inaccurate and out-of-context portrayal that was issued of the group, but it appears the group admins have pulled the Yahoo! group down. So again I say, cui bono?  Seems like this is exactly what the author wanted - to silence conservatives (either through Digg banning them or through coercion).

There is not "massive censorship" on Digg.  If you want to whine about group think, why don't you look at the comments posted by liberal Diggers in reply to the AlterNet story.  Who's the real "bury brigade?"  Even if every single thing AlterNet said were true - and hardly any of it is - there was a grand total of 70 Conservative diggers who even had access to this Yahoo! group.  On average, most stories that make the front page need between 150-250 diggs (depending on how quickly the diggs are issued).

The story contends, "Literally thousands of stories have already been artificially removed from Digg due to this group," but literally provides no proof.  They also gloss over the fact that, though there were "over 40,000 posts" in the group since May 2009, a vast majority of those individual posts were just back-and-forth chatter.  Someone would share a link and various members of the group would discuss the news.  I know, appalling right?

All this story provides any proof of is that 1) there is a group of conservatives who share links in a Yahoo! group... and... well I guess that's all the story proves.  But even on that point AlterNet fails to distinguish between active and nonactive members.  I, myself, had not visited the group in about six months.

And what really gets me about all of this is that it doesn't seem like any of the several quasi-reputable news sources who are linking to/referencing the AlterNet piece are even bothering to check the credibility of the story.  I've yet to be contacted for my side of the story.  For all anyone knows, I (or anyone else listed as being in DP) could have never been in the group at all!  None of us have even been contacted to confirm or deny our participation, let alone to get our perspective.  What kind of journalists simply accept a blog post - which is clearly designed as a libelous smear - as fact and don't even bother to check the validity of the claims made?

Oh yes, it's clear.  The Left isn't looking for a conversation about this - they're simply trying to manifest a story about Conservatives that fits their narrative and, in so doing, simultaneously silence those conservatives and over-represent their influence so as to create an apologist account for the dwindling opinion of liberal talking points throughout various social media populations (namely the Digg community).

My other blog - Conservative Diggs & Buries, which the story references as if it's currently running, hasn't had a digg list posted since January 12 of this year.  And if you visit this blog you'll notice a few things things that disprove - outright - the contention of the AlterNet article that the point of these diggs lists was to "silence" or "censor" those with whom I disagree.  When it came to recommending stories to Digg - I was simply providing a Digg news aggregate for Conservatives.  Anyone who wanted could have simply gone to my Digg profile page and ascertained the exact same information.

As for buries, I'll quote myself directly:
"The task of recommending headlines to bury is a daunting one. Certainly not because there's a lack of crap worth burying on Digg, but because we try to only address inherently false or misleading headlines and stories."  
I might note to you - in case you weren't already aware - that when you click on the "bury" drop-down button, one of the options for the reasons to bury is because the story is "inaccurate."  I can't speak for the other sixty-something people in "Digg Patriots," but I know that, for my own part, I only ever buried stories because I thought they were inaccurate or misleading.  This course of action is/was in no way a violation of the Digg terms of use - otherwise, why would they provide the option?  I might also note that if Digg made a person's bury records public, none of this would even seem so cloak and dagger.

As for the matter of mass reporting, I can't speak with much personal experience.  I never really had the time to engage in the practice.  I do know, though, that from the messages I read last year (when I was active in the group) the only "report" suggestions that ever came up were when someone (usually a repeat offender) said something completely vile.  I'd provide screen shots but, again, the group was pulled down.

I think it goes without saying that those who would bury a post simply because they don't like what it says aren't being intellectually honest with themselves, but they're not breaking any rules either.  As I said, I myself only bury content that's false or misleading.  Nonetheless, insofar as the option to "bury" a story as "inaccurate" remains, there's nothing wrong with utilizing it.  And insofar as Digg is considered part of the "social" media, there's nothing wrong with people pooling together to share information.

As I also said, this fake controversy is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to silence conservatives in yet another medium - social media or otherwise.  Which reminds me, how far along is that fairness doctrine policy?  It's about time we stifled those fat-mouthed conservative talk show hosts!

I feel inclined to mention that I feel confident that most (if not all) of this is motivated by the Digger known as Novenator (i.e. the guy with the Nazi for his avatar).  He has, for as long as I've been aware of him, done nothing but harass conservatives on Digg at every turn.  His paranoid hatred for those who think differently than him was no doubt the cause of this "undercover investigation." If you look at his most recent comments and Diggs - it seems pretty clear that he's trying to facilitate an irrational fear of a handful of conservative Diggers for no other reason than to eradicate any and all conservative influence from the service. If anyone's engaged in "censorious" group think, it's this guy by promoting these absolute lies and libel.

It seems pretty clear that AlterNet's problem isn't founded in any sort of reasonable logic but, rather, in the fact that they just can't stand it that the flow of information is becoming increasingly democratized - and that's bad news for Liberals.

EDIT: Right Wing News has a nice piece which also responds to AlterNet's libel - "The Truth About Digg Patriots
And here's another post from one of the DP accused:  "Digg Patriots - A Response"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mother Jones gets it all wrong
in RNC Facebook hit piece

Mother Jones recently released a ground-breaking report that the RNC knowingly and willingly allowed antisemitism run rampant on it's Facebook wall. As usual, Mother Jones hasn't let facts or reason stand in the way of juicy "reporting."

So, Mother Jones' (infamously proud JournoLister) Nick Baumann contends that one Kevin Anderson desperately tried to convince the evil RNC Facebook staff to remove anti-Semitic content from the RNC Facebook wall, but, apparently, his righteous and noble pleas fell on deaf ears. That sounds totally plausible, right?  I mean, it's not like Republicans support Israel more than Democrats by like a two-to-one margin or anything...

Well... maybe this particular batch of RNC new media staffers just have it out for "the Jews."  That's possible right?

Maybe... except that I'm an RNC Facebook administrator - have been for over a year and a half - and I was never contacted by Kevin Anderson, or anyone else, to take a look at the antisemitic content. 

Apparently, Kevin told Mother Jones that he had contacted RNC staff to remove the content. Really? How did he do that? The admin staff of the RNC page isn't listed anywhere...

But let us take Kevin and Mother Jones for their word and assume that the basic facts of the story are true...

While I am just a volunteer who watches the RNC Facebook discussion boards in my free time through the wee hours of the morning, I can speak with credibility when I say that Mother Jones is way off base here.

First, Facebook administrators - and not specifically RNC admins, but all admins - don't (or at least shouldn't) simply delete the content with which they disagree. Discussion form moderators (in general) are not thought police. Admins enforce the Facebook terms of service/ content code of conduct and, if applicable, their own organization's rules. From just a cursory glance, it appears to me that the anti-Semitic comments (referenced by Mother Jones) that were made were distasteful, rude and downright ignorant nonsense. Clearly the person (or persons) who posted this garbage feel very adamantly about their point of view.  However, none of the examples cited by Mother Jones appear to flatly violate the Facebook TOS or code of conduct.

And, last time I checked, this was America and people are entitled to peacefully voice their ignorance as they please - I reference MSNBC.  What's that old Voltaire quote?  "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." ... but these are just my own personal feelings on how discussion moderation ought be executed - not the official policies of the RNC.

But make no mistake, if the RNC Facebook admins took up Mother Jones' Stalin-esk approach to discussion moderation and started banning every single person who posted something that offended their sensibilities, Mother Jones would undoubtedly produce a column claiming that the RNC was oppressing free speech. I can see the headline now: "RNC FACEBOOK VIOLATES 1ST AMENDMENT."

It might be the most newsworthy thing they've ever produced...

Look, I've personally banned dozens of malicious "trolls" from the RNC forum only to have them reappear. Usually, they reappear with a ghost account (a secondary account created to avoid previous bans). But I've also heard there is a Facebook bug that has prevented certain fan pages from permanently banning some trolls.

Nonetheless, it's not as if the RNC hasn't regularly removed offensive content from it's Facebook wall and discussion forum. I can personally attest to that.

But it's significant to note that the RNC currently has around 165,000 fans who regularly post comments and discussions. So while it's cute that Mother Jones has its "interns review every comment that comes through the system" on their Facebook wall, perhaps they'd be wise to consider the fact that Mother Jones has just over 1/10 the Facebook fan base and traffic of the RNC page.

Where the most recent post on the Mother Jones page has a whopping seven comments, the most recent post on the RNC page has 236 comments. 

It's reasonable, therefore, to understand how the RNC staff might not be able to catch every single inappropriate post that makes its way onto the Facebook wall.  Perhaps that's why they let me volunteer my services...  In any case, I can see why Mother Jones doesn't understand the difficulties of running a wildly successful fan page.  Maybe they need some "empathy," I'm sure President Obma would be thrilled.

And I should reiterate - a post being baseless and sometimes even offensive is a necessary but insufficient reason to remove that content and ban the poster. And, it's generally helpful that when you do take the action to ban someone - they stay banned.

Social media admins are tasked with keeping discussion civil within the reasonable boundaries of the TOS. Like I said earlier, discussion moderators aren't meant to be thought police. If you want to raise an eyebrow at the RNC's handling over this matter your real frustration shouldn't be: "Why didn't the RNC silence these people I disagree with by banning them?" You should instead ask yourselves: "Why doesn't the RNC bother sending someone to those discussion boards to respond to that idiocy so as to distance itself through public interaction- isn't that what social media like Facebook are supposed to be all about?"

The answer to even that question is undoubtedly linked to a lack of human resources available to dedicate to that kind of effort... or maybe it says something meaningful about where two-way symmetric communication ranks on the RNC's priority list.  In either case, anything's more plausible than the asinine assessment that the RNC would somehow willfully allow malicious content on their wall.  Who would benefit from that course of action?  Seriously, cui bono?

So, way to go Mother Jones! Your record for inaccurate, biased, liberal reporting remains intact.

Totally irrespective of my volunteer, unofficial position with the RNC, I think this is a noteworthy and substantive case study of how things like the JournoList and MSM liberal bias come together to silence conservative voices - particularly when it comes to social media, where the power of information is decentralized.  Just look at how a publication as small and insignificant as Mother Jones has bullied the wildly successful RNC page into disabling its user-generated content.  Cui bono indeed!

What are your thoughts? 

P.S. Dear Mother Jones, thank you for your contributions to the JournoList.  Truly, your journalistic ethics are as rock solid as your investigatory skills.

EDITOR'S NOTE: While I have been a volunteer admin for the RNC for over a year and a half, I am not officially an employee of (or in any way compensated by) the RNC. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of the RNC. Kevin Anderson did post on the RNC wall alerting the staff to antisemitic posts a few months ago, and the staff was under the impression that they had taken care of them by banning the person, but apparently the troll and her content didn't get deleted (hence the bug referenced above). The RNC new media department has yet to issue an official policy on what they will or will not ban an account for, but it has been expressed to me that the items Mother Jones cited would certainly qualify for banning under RNC interpretation. Moreover, the RNC contends that their authority to ban or delete is not limited to only violations of Facebook TOS or code of conduct (which of course is true irrespective of whether or not it's the right course of action to take).

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