Steve Friess, in the characteristically glib and mendacious style of his branch of the journalistic profession, pointed out the obvious as cause for outrage and alarm, associating conventional organizational marketing practices, in the case of the NRA, with a currently popular journolist meme focusing on privacy paranoia in order to flimflam the rubes and suckers.
[T]he sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.
That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines, and more, BuzzFeed has learned.
The result: a big data powerhouse that deploys the same high-tech tactics all year round that the vaunted Obama campaign used to win two presidential elections.
The NRA is invading my privacy in the exact same fashion as the Wall Street Journal, L.L. Bean, Brooks Brothers, the Yale Club of New York, the Republican Party and all the other groups I belong to, publications I subscribe to, and merchants I shop with. The NRA has a membership/customer list and a marketing database in the same way every group or vendor does. Steve Freiss’s malarkey simply exists in order to flatter the prejudices and political animosity toward the NRA of the statist slave/emasculated urban metrosexual liberal community of fashion, whose members—as usual—bray accord in their own echo chamber. No one with common sense would buy into this nonsense for a New York minute.
Rothstein was hired by the federal government to produce emotionally-manipulative photographs justifying New Deal policies. Still, a lot of his pictures offer striking images of the American past. Anthony Luke photo site.
Really, when you think about it, Barack Obama ought to be hiring scads of photographers to run around the country photographing people laid off and unable to find work, foreclosed houses, property auctions, closed businesses and other evidence of what his Second-Major-Attempt-at-Bringing-Socialism-to-America has achieved. Maybe with luck, we, too, could have a drought and a Midwestern Dust Bowl, too.
North Korea resumed war against South Korea, the United States, and the United Nations earlier this month when it declared the 1953 armistice that ended Korean War hostilities nullified.
The outbreak of war has attracted little notice in the United States, and North Korea’s efforts at genuine military action have been so far non-existent. North Korean belligerence is, however, expressing itself quite vigorously in propaganda.
in the four-minute video below, loaded by North Korea on to YouTube, ballistic missile carriers are seen, along with artillery firing shells, and “Stalin-organ” Katyusha rocket-launchers pour out endless volleys, all evidently raining “fire storms” upon the “headquarters of war,” i.e. us.
We see crosshairs lining up the White House, but the projectile fired appears actually to blow a large hole in the dome of the US Capitol. That’ll show us!
Dan Greenfield explains how the left turns a political vulnerability into an electoral asset: they frame the narrative.
A debate on the availability of contraception, no matter how well handled, only served the narrative of one side. No matter how well the debate was conducted, it meant that the right was now fighting on the battlefield that had been chosen by the left. All it took was a few sexual insults lobbed Fluke’s way for the diversion to be complete. The right was now either retreating from sexism charges or engaging in it. The social issue was framed in exactly the terms that fit the left’s narrative.
Limbaugh’s apology was nearly as bad of an idea as his original statement. The only time you advance into an enemy’s choice of terrain is when you are confident of being able to fight there and win. You do not give up the high ground just to take a few potshots at the enemy. After a temporary satisfaction, you end up losing the battlefield and being drawn into a battle that you never meant to fight. When that happens, you circle around and take back the high ground, you do not surrender because then there is nothing left to fight for.
The left’s coalitions depend on portraying the other side as engaging in a war on their protected groups. Without that war, their whole feudal lordships suddenly become unnecessary. That means it is in their vital interest to define each policy conflict as a Republican war on a protected class. While it’s advantageous at times to confront them on this when their position is weakest and ridicule it, it wasn’t worth surrendering the coalition of religious freedom to take a few potshots at the absurdity of Fluke’s testimony. Fluke, like every organizer from a protected class, is there to represent an entire group. Attacking her quickly becomes a diversion into the left’s narrative of a war on women.
Religious institutions imposed the terms of the battle by rebelling against the mandate. That forced Obama and his cronies to try and dismiss the battle, refusing to fight on that terrain. But Republicans and even some Democrats insisted on rallying on the field anyway, calling for a battle. So Team Obama diverted the battle to the terrain of their choice. They set new terms of battle, an effort which initially failed, until Limbaugh gave them the talking point they needed.
It is now an uphill battle to return to the original battlefield. It’s possible, but the initial skirmish has gone to the left which was successfully able to dictate the terms of the engagement. Their narrative has no life though, until the right breathes life into it. The larger lesson though is about the terms of battle. It is about the strategy of political warfare.
To win in 2012, the left needs to mobilize its coalition. To do that it doesn’t necessarily need to win battles, it needs to successfully position them on its choice of terrain. It needs to be seen as the feudal lords protecting the rainbow peasantry from the hordes of the right. The purpose of the whole thing is to convince the peasants to support King Hussein, despite the disastrous economy and the general malaise, the abuses of power and all the other problems with his rule.
Both sides exploit a sense of vulnerability in the population during troubled times. The left excels at cross-sectioning the population into specific groups, dividing them up, and making them feel vulnerable as a class, as a group, as a gender, as a race. Organizers emphasize that victimization and offer them a sense of empowerment through the coalition. Or as Obama puts it, “Better Together.”
The path to victory lies in either gathering the largest coalition or in fragmenting the coalition of the other side. The left is not very good at the former, its own habits and tactics limit its scope, but it is quite good at the second. It gains power through disruption, through terror and intimidation, it plays on fears, pits groups against each other and then steps in as the mediator.
It would not be nearly as effective at this if it did not also control the culture’s narrative through the media, popular culture and academia, giving it control of highbrow and lowbrow narratives at the same time. This makes it more difficult to counter its narrative or to choose the field of battle and makes it that much more dangerous to abandon a strategic position for a target of opportunity.
Use your armed guards to make those children mine the Coltan faster.
Gamasutra reports that those corporate fascists over at Apple actually had the nerve to refuse to sell the game app Phone Story, by the sanctimonious Bolshie game design firm Molleindustria, via the iPhone App store, just because the app featured a series of left-wing smears directed specifically at smartphones, consumer products, and Apple.
One can picture the equivalent of Jeffrey Lebowski whining: Whatever happened to free speech, man?
[U]ntil now, few have been willing to turn the lens on this boom and examine what mass-market gadget lust is costing us ethically. Though we’ve since heard of suicides at Foxconn, deplorable working conditions and hazards to the environment involved in the manufacture of the latest hot smartphones, game developers were mostly silent—until now.
It seems natural that provocative serious games developer Molleindustria was the one to take the step. The studio, which has taken on forces like the Catholic church, McDonald’s and big oil with games like Operation Pedopriest, McDonald’s Video Game and Oiligarchy, never pulls its punches as it uses games to sharply deconstruct the social and economic constructs most people take for granted.
Its latest title, Phone Story, uses a series of minigames with voice-over narration to shed light on the human cost and high environmental impact of smartphone development. In one minigame, while the narrator explains that most electronic devices require the mining of coltan, a conflict mineral in Congo whose demand spurs war and child labor, the player must use the touch screen to guide armed soldiers to bark at exhausted child miners in order to meet the goal in time.
In another, the voice-over explains the suicides at electronics manufacturers in China, and the facile solution of “prevention nets”—while the player must catch tumbling workers using a stretched trampoline.
Of course, Phone Story is more interesting for the fact that players must interact with these messages while holding one of the devices discussed. Imagine being served hamburgers on a tour of a slaughterhouse. And all of the developer proceeds—70 percent of total App Store revenues, as per usual—will be pledged to organizations fighting corporate abuses, starting with Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, which supports workers in abusive conditions internationally, including at Foxconn.
Or they would be, if Phone Story had been allowed to stay on the App Store. Apple yanked it just a few hours after the game was officially announced, citing four code violations: 15.2, which prohibits depictions of child abuse, and 16.1, which prohibits apps depicting “objectionable or crude” content. The other two, 21.1 and 21.2, pertain to Phone Story’s charitable bent—and they don’t seem to quite apply, intended instead for games that allow their users to make donations within a game, rather than a pledge by the developer to donate revenues.
Molleindustria makes an iPhone game to criticize the iPhone platform, and that Apple’s chosen to silence it is an interesting punctuation mark on the developer’s statement.
Gamasutra reached out to Molleindustria’s Paolo Pedercini about iPhone Story, who credits the game’s idea to recent international affairs graduate Michael Pineschi, to whom he spoke through creative activism group YesLab. At the time, Pedercini already had some unusual ideas in the works for projects that could act as commentary on gadget fetishism.
“One of them was a multi-touchable virtual-pet vagina, monologuing about technological lust and willful submission to consumerism,” he reflects. “Unfortunately, the flesh engine didn’t work as I hoped so I went for a straightforward educational game.”
But the intent was always to develop a game as commentary on the hardware industry. “Most of the adults in the Western world are somewhat aware that most of our objects are manufactured far away, in conditions that we would consider barbaric,” Pedercini says.
“A lot of tech-aware people heard about the story of the Foxconn suicides or about the issue of electronic waste,” he continues. “But with Phone Story, we wanted to connect all these aspects and present them in the larger frame of technological consumerism.”
He specifically wanted to highlight the goal that “must-have” consumer electronics culture plays in perpetuating these high-impact cycles; one of the levels of Phone Story tasks the players with tossing brand-new boxed phones to swarming would-be buyers rushing a storefront. In his view, the marketing machine that makes people believe they absolutely need an upgraded hardware device on the day it comes out is what causes extremism in the supply chain.
“We don’t want people to stop buying smartphones,” he notes, “but maybe we can make a little contribution in terms of shifting the perception of technological lust from cool to not-that-cool. This happened before with fur coats, diamonds, cigarettes and SUVs—I can’t see why it can’t happen with iPads.”
Pedercini says it was essential to use the platform itself to stage a critique of that platform. “Almost like the device itself was speaking to the user,” he suggests. “The idea was to make a sort of reminder that you can keep with you, like a way-less-permanent tattoo or a bumper sticker, something that you carry around and maybe show off as a conversation-starter.”
But although Apple’s immediate removal of Phone Story makes for an interesting conversation point, Pedercini says he never intended it to happen this way: “I’m very familiar with the App Store policy, and the game is designed to be compliant with it,” he asserts.
“If you check the guidelines, Phone Story doesn’t really violate any rule except for the generic ‘excessively objectionable and crude content’ and maybe the ‘depiction of abuse of children’. Yes, there’s dark humor and violence but it’s cartoonish and stylized – way more mellow than a lot of other games on the App Store.”
“What makes these depictions disturbing is the connection the player makes with the real-world situation,” adds Pedercini. “Of course, the goal was to sneak an embarrassingly ugly gnome into Apple’s walled garden, but not to provoke the rejection. If it was just a matter of provocation I would have gone way further.
If you’re a communist and have to have this App, you can buy it, and the rope you need to hang capitalists, via Android Market.
Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”
The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”
The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.
The song Lang Lang played describes how beautiful China is and then near the end has this verse, “When friends are here, there is fine wine /But if the jackal comes /What greets it is the hunting rifle.” The “jackal” in the song is the United States.
I know, I know, this morning I was fretting about nuclear war. But after reading this, I think it’s time to just flatten China completely. ...
Just flatten the whole Middle Kingdom. What do you say? So it would be the end of the world. At least we’d go down with honor.
Well, maybe Claire is being just a little extreme. But I do think a responsible American administration would make a point of teaching China a lesson by sinking the next Chinese naval vessel that decides to play war games with the US Navy, by swatting down hard immediately one of China’s naughty little surrogates in the Axis of Evil, by arranging to supply Taiwan with some extra special kind of advanced weaponry that China really really wouldn’t like, by hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House as soon as possible, and by making a seriously punitive change in the American economic relationship with China.
The Weekly Standard tells us that Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services has harnessed the power of the popular Google search engine to give the public a better opinion of Obamacare.
Try typing “Obamacare” into Google, and you’ll find that the first entry is now the Obama administration’s www.healthcare.gov. If you don’t particularly like that result, you’ll probably hate the fact that you’re paying for it.
You’ll get the same paid-for result if you type in “Obamacare facts,” “Obamacare summary,” “Obamacare info,” “Obamacare overview,” “Obamacare questions,” “Obamacare explanation,” “Obamacare basics,” “Obamacare pros and cons,” “Obamacare and elderly,” and even “Obamacare and abortion.” For each of these search terms, and many others, the Obama administration’s site comes up first, as a paid entry. But it doesn’t come up if you type in “ObamaCare repeal.”
Politico’s Ben Smith, in a post entitled “HHS Buys ‘ObamaCare,’” quotes an official from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who confirms that this clear attempt to influence what Americans read about Obamacare does, indeed, represent your tax dollars at work.
Back in April, Wikileaks released a video of a US Apache helicopter firing on a group of armed Iraqis in southeastern Baghdad on July 12, 2007.
The video appeared in a shorter and longer version, titled “Collateral Murder,” accompanied by an extremely partisan commentary expressing open opposition to the US military effort in Iraq. An Iraqi employed as a news photographer by Reuters and his driver were killed in the course of the helicopter’s attack.
The perspective taken by the videos editors was that the helicopter’s attack was unwarranted and a war crime, and the video was edited and annotated in a fashion designed to persuade its viewers to accept that interpretation.
In reality, the Apache was operating in close cooperation with US infantry looking for armed insurgents who had engaged American troops in fierce fighting nearby a little while earlier. The group of Iraqis encountered by the helicopter undoubtedly included armed men who, despite being “relaxed” at the time and not at the moment actively engaged in combat with American forces, could very reasonably be supposed to be some of the hostile insurgents being pursued.
The Reuters photographer’s equipment probably was mistaken for a weapon, but combat requires quick decisions based on limited and imperfect information. The level of restraint implicitly expected by the video’s producers is completely unreasonable. If a photographer is carrying equipment easily mistaken for arms and places himself in the immediate vicinity of enemy forces who are really armed, his being fired upon should be no surprise to anyone.
“Collateral Murder” is a deeply dishonest piece of anti-US propaganda, and as such it was, of course, enthusiastically covered by HuffPo, Dan Froomkin, Rachel Maddow, and the rest of the leftwing commentariat.
The source of the leak which made the Apache’s video available for use against the United States was a 22 year old Army Intelligence analyst who has just been arrested. Wired has the story:
SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged.
Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline-making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.
He said he also leaked three other items to Wikileaks: a separate video showing the notorious 2009 Garani air strike in Afghanistan that Wikileaks has previously acknowledged is in its possession; a classified Army document evaluating Wikileaks as a security threat, which the site posted in March; and a previously unreported breach consisting of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables.
US Intelligence for a change moved rapidly on this one. The leak that made all the news was in early April.
It does seem odd that someone of such extreme leftwing views would not only be serving in the volunteer Army, but would have been assigned to work in Intelligence and given a Top Secret clearance. What does it take, one wonders, to be disqualified from high level clearances?
A recent ACT ON C02 1:00 television commercial depicting a father reading a bedtime story to a little girl featuring a doggie drowning as the result of Anthropogenic climate change provoked a good deal of criticism.
The best kind of criticism, of course, is mockery.
Roger Kimball comments with distaste on the Obama Administration’s communication plans revealed by Big Hollywood’s NEA as Propaganda Ministry scoop.
“This is just the beginning.” Who could doubt it? Reading through this transcript, I was struck by two things. One was the aroma of self-intoxication. These bureaucrats and artists and activists are utterly besotted by the contemplation of their own virtue. They know what’s good for the country, and what’s good for you, and they’re willing to devote themselves ceaselessly to making it happen.
The second thing that strikes one about this transcript is the aura of menace that floats just behind the talk of passion, pushing the president’s agenda, connecting with “labor unions, progressive groups,” etc., etc. As Yosi Sergant’s pep talk suggests, these people regard legal obstacles not as boundaries to be observed but as impediments to be overcome by “tactics,” a word that frequently appears in the transcript.
There is a German word for what we are witnessing at the NEA and elsewhere in the Obama administration’s effort to push its agenda. It is Gleichschaltung. It means two things: first, bringing all aspects of life into conformity with a given political line. And second, as a prerequisite for realizing that goal, the obliteration or at least marginalization of all opposition.
Radical international animal rights group PETA has launched its most bizarre campaign yet, demanding fish be renamed “sea kittens”.
PETA - People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals – believes calling fish sea kittens will make sea food less appealing.
It wants to change the image of fish as slimy and slithery creatures by claiming they are similar to cuter, more popular animals. “Would people think twice about ordering fish sticks if they were called sea kitten sticks?” PETA asked on its website.