Conservative Filmmakers Raise Money for “Hugging Moore”

Michael Moore, who famously stalked General Motors’ then-CEO, Roger Smith, in his first film, is himself the subject of a new documentary whose makers are seeking funding through rally.org. The film will explore the differences between Moore’s repudiation of capitalism and “the 1%” and Moore’s own lifestyle.

FTR Media and Get Over Yourself Productions have titled the project “Hugging Moore”, referencing Andrew Breitbart’s declaration of Moore as one of his favorite capitalists and declared “I want to give him a hug.” Fingers Malloy and Ben Howe, influential new media and Twitter personalities, are heading up the project.

*Crossposted from ViralRead

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Gayle Trotter on A Woman’s Right to Choose (A Firearm)

“Not all women are going to choose to have a gun to defend themselves, but they should be able to have that choice, to have that essential liberty to defend themselves.”

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Gayle Trotter didn’t set out to be the voice of a woman’s right to choose.  The Washington, DC- based attorney and mother of six has a “special interest in Constitutional law and the liberties that were so costly obtained for us.” She made her first public comments about the Second Amendment in the wake of the Aurora, CO shootings last summer and the public discussions on gun violence and mental illness.

Then, after penning an article slamming post-Newtown gun control efforts and saying “gun control efforts will hurt women the most,” she was approached to testify in a hearing before the United States Senate. Though she pointed out 21 cases in which woman used a firearm for protection from a violent crime, women’s rights advocates and groups went after her, calling her views extreme and out of touch. A man who serves with Trotter on a neighborhood council in Washington, DC even said he didn’t think he would vote for her for chairman again because of these views.

Of these comments, she says, “[the] firestorm of controversy from my testimony I think was driven because I had a pro-woman argument but it came to a different result than a lot of people would like. And so then that was caricatured into a pseudo-feminist argument, when if you really explore what I was saying, it is intended to give women the choice to exercise a fundamental Constitutional right, and we want to make sure that we preserve all the options for women that the Supreme Court has already said they should have.”

Some observers feared that because of the backlash other women would be hesitant to speak out against gun control. Trotter admits that she too was afraid of this immediately after her testimony, but, “I got so many people, strangers, from all across the country reaching out to and telling me, whether they agreed with me or not, how courageous I was. And I was surprised by that reaction, too, because I was just was doing what I had been asked to do and what I felt was the right thing to answer in that circumstance.”

In the wake of the debate stirred up by her testimony, she believes “the tide has turned a little bit, and it’s made people who just reflexively think guns are dangerous, guns shouldn’t be around kids, guns are more likely to cause harm, I think it’s changed that reflex opinion and made them really consider that guns can make women safer.”

Though her Senate testimony focused on examples of how young mothers have chosen to defend themselves using firearms, Trotter believes that gun control harms all women – young, old, single, married, mother or not – even those women who choose not to own a firearm. “I know that women get benefits whether or not they own guns. Some women choose to own guns; some women benefit from others owning guns.”

“Guns make women safer. More than 90 percent of violent crimes occur without a gun, which is a shocking statistic. We’re talking about gun violence, but most violent crime occurs without a gun. The women we’re talking about are not mean, violent criminals, so even if you have a gun it’s going to be a difficult feat. But at least it gives you a chance. Because otherwise you’re stuck with – they have all these things about what to do. You can scream, you can throw something at the person, but is that really going to work? That’s the most ridiculous thing. Hide under your desk?”

As for the gentleman who serves with Trotter on her Neighborhood Council, she has this response. “It’s an uncomfortable truth that guns make women safer. So he has his opinions, but the reality is that guns make women safer, and he can’t understand to the same degree that women can because he doesn’t have the same situation that women do. I really like him a lot. We’ve gotten to know each other a lot the past few months, and I’m not surprised at his reaction, because it’s kind of a jarring wake-up call for people who assume that they know what’s best for women, but in reality it’s not good for women.”

*Crossposted at ViralRead

Update 9/5/13: The California Legislature has passed several gun control bills that limit 2nd Amendment rights and a woman’s right to choose how to defend herself. To urge Gov. Jerry Brown to veto these bills, please visit http://www.demandrights.org and sign the petition – and pass it on!

Frack Nation: A Systematic Takedown of Gasland

Frack Nation

I was one of the millions of people who had seen the footage of the “flaming water” supposedly caused by fracking in Pennsylvania, but had never seen Gasland or really studied the issue in depth. When the opportunity to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Frack Nation arose, I decided to see what the fuss was about. Cinematically and content-wise, Frack Nation did not disappoint.

Frack Nation starts with the same flaming water shot from Gasland that has alarmed environmentalists and the masses and describes the anti-fracking movement’s complaints. What was helpful for a newbie like me was to have the fracking process described in detail.

McAleer interviewed many of the farmers of Dimock, Pennsylvania, the “ground zero”  of this issue. The farmers almost unanimously want the ability to lease their mineral rights to the gas companies for fracking. Many of them are dairy farmers whose land has been in the family for generations. They passionately tell McAleer that they need this money to be able to survive, as farming is a money-losing proposition these days. It is what they love to do, and leasing mineral rights will allow them to do that instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Just as passionately, they state they would never allow anything on their land that harms the environment. Their homes are on this land. Their dairy cows graze on this land. They’ve tilled this land for a lifetime. They are believable – they would not allow any process that harms their asset, the land, just for money.

*Crossposted at United Liberty

A Quick Squeeze for America

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Ladies, have you been performing your breast self-examinations? Turns out there is a secondary benefit to your monthly squeeze.

As reported by MSN, recent study results presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco suggest that compression applied during the initial stages of malignant cell growth can reprogram the cells to grow in a normal growth pattern.

From the original article:

“People have known for centuries that physical force can influence our bodies,” said Gautham Venugopalan, a leading member of the research team at the University of California at Berkeley.

“When we lift weights our muscles get bigger. The force of gravity is essential to keeping our bones strong. Here we show that physical force can play a role in the growth – and reversion – of cancer cells.”

The study involved growing malignant breast epithelial cells within a gel injected into flexible silicone chambers. This allowed the scientists to apply compression during the first stages of cell growth, effectively squashing the cells.

Over time, the squeezed malignant cells began to grow in a more normal and organized way.

Clearly, it is time to take responsibility for breast cancer prevention into our own hands.

Image Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prime Time for Liberty Movement

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How many of these post-mortem soundbites have you heard?

  • Where was the Tea Party this time?
  • All that campaigning from AFP and FreedomWorks wasn’t very effective.
  • Romney lost because people want free stuff.
  • Romney lost because people are uneducated.
  • Romney lost because of voter fraud.

I don’t know why Romney lost. I will leave that to smarter people than me to figure out. I will say, though, that there’s some truth in a couple of those sound bites and none in others.

The analyst in me says those things only matter to the extent we use that knowledge to win hearts and minds (and elections) in the next four years.

We have a golden opportunity right now in the conservative and libertarian movements. Don’t get me wrong, I am afraid for my financial future and the future of civil liberties (1st, 2nd, 4th Amendments for starters) after last night. But it’s the perfect time to regroup and define what I’m going to term the Liberty movement.

Liberty is a winning philosophy. It’s what America is built on. The current GOP loses because they’ve embraced judgmental social policies and haven’t differentiated themselves enough from the Dems on financial and big government-principles. A younger generation, the Paul Ryan generation of conservatives, holds a much more Liberty minded philosophy. It’s time for them to take over leadership positions on the right and start a massive education and outreach movement aimed at the 15 to 45-year-old demographic (and start a preschool and elementary school program too).

Individual liberties plus a small, non-intrusive government is a winning angle. When I talk with so-called “liberal” friends and say, “I believe the government should stay out of my bedroom AND my pocketbook,” it starts a conversation where I can go more in depth about my belief in a government run within the confines of Constitutional mandates.

Some religious conservatives believe that by giving up the GOP planks on abortion and gay marriage they are tacitly approving behavior they find morally wrong. To that I say it is okay, even preferable, to maintain Christian morals in your private life without seeking to codify them for everyone. By separating your religion and your private life you don’t nullify your religious beliefs.

If the current GOP is unwilling to shift, it is time for a new party. Time for the liberty-loving patriots who have worked hard (and for free in a lot of cases) for a group that doesn’t appreciate or listen to their suggestions to create something new.

Other great analyses:

(Cross posted at United Liberty)

Response to 47 Percent

The Twitterverse and political junkies are fixated on a “secret Romney tape” released yesterday where the Republican presidential nominee characterizes 47 percent of Americans as being “dependent upon government…believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

Finally, we have someone willing to tell the truth about the situation America finds itself in – if only he sticks to it and doesn’t wimp out under the glare of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS… whoever.

He told the truth.

His comment brings to the surface the biggest disagreement between the two groups, conservatives and liberals – that being, who best makes decisions for the individual? To whom does the individual look for security, stability, and sustenance? Liberals view the individual as too stupid and helpless to take care of themselves – so a government grant or program has to do it for them.

I can’t believe in less than 250 years our nation has gone from a group of people who conquered a continent to those sitting on their fat asses in front of a doublewide, butt-crack likely hanging out, waiting for a check, a job, food, birth control, you name it. What a group of soft wimps (well, at least 47 percent or so) we’ve become! No wonder people in the Middle East don’t take our warnings or threats seriously – look at our backup! There is none!

People used to come to this country with a few coins (maybe) in their pocket, content with the OPPORTUNITY and FREEDOM to make something of themselves – OR NOT.  Sean Hannity speaks of his grandfather coming to New York from Ireland at a time when most signs said “Irish Need Not Apply” and, through hard work and sacrifice, making something of himself. Romney’s father was a poor immigrant from war-torn Mexico to the United States and worked his way up to becoming the president of a major corporation.  My great-grandparents put themselves and their two children on a boat from Holland to the US – and my grandfather became a successful business owner (of a fishing lodge in Ketchikan, Alaska).

These immigrants didn’t expect anything from the government except for their rights to be preserved. And there was nothing to get from the government – handout programs didn’t begin until the 1930’s and later. Yet these generations built a world superpower. They discovered an entire continent – mapped it, braved the elements to plow virgin ground and create the world’s most productive agricultural economy. They built all of the industry to support it – railroads, steamboats, telegraph, telephone.  They innovated and developed ways to increase productivity – cotton gin, ELECTRICITY.

Yes, all of this happened in America first, not Europe. Why? Because we ENCOURAGED innovation. We REWARDED individuals for their hard work. We didn’t have burdensome taxes and tariffs and fees – that scenario’s been failing in Europe for hundreds of years.

And NEED, not GOVERNMENT DECREE, powered innovation. (See: Solyndra, et al.)

In Europe, the rich lived off the backs of others. There was no way to work hard and become wealthy. Maybe for a few, but not  in general. America, and the promise of equality and freedom, changed that. The only thing you had to do was get there and join the opportunity to DRIVE YOUR OWN DESTINY.

WHAT HAPPENED?

In large part, that opportunity is still here. But as a nation we’ve become soft. We now believe American exceptionalism means we are owed something just because we were born here. We’ve let our government tell us they know better – and clearly they don’t. We trust the government to “fix” some problem – whether through Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Crop Insurance, yada yada – and it never works. It just makes it worse. And recently the current administration has shown us they won’t even protect our government representatives overseas – they’ll just let them be raped and murdered without consequence.

Come on, America! Wake up! We are still the most free society in the world. Freedom drives innovation. Freedom rewards hard work. Those of you in the 47 percent – YOU ARE NOT OWED ANYTHING. It’s not “ask what your country is going to do for you.”  It’s “ask what you can do for your country.” Well, all you’re asked to do right now is take care of yourself! Yes, I know it’s a difficult economy out there. But get off the government teat! Take whatever job you have to to make ends meet.  I have! I work my butt off to provide for myself and my children. As a self-employed single mom it’s not easy… but possible.

Barack Obama and the Democrats don’t believe you can do it. They believe you need a government jobs program, training program, or something else attached to a government handout to make it in the world. Prove them wrong.

 

 

 

Push It Real Good

At the conclusion of a non-commercialized, peaceful Mother’s Day with my boys, I took a quick trip to the Redbox kiosk to return a movie and, on the drive, heard a commercial that raised my blood pressure. It was a local jeweler advertising the options they had for “push presents” for new moms.

“Give her a gift that shows how much you appreciate everything she’s sacrificed for the family… even if your contribution goes unnoticed.”*

What’s a push present? It’s that moment when the hubby/baby daddy whips out a little blue box at the conclusion of childbirth.

As a woman who has birthed three boys — without epidural and with pitocin — you would think I’d be completely on board with that idea. But I’m not. I hate it on a couple of levels.

First, it says horrible things about our society’s need to give a blue ribbon for everything. Pregnancy and childbirth is natural. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s natural. And it has its own reward. Do we really need to take it up a notch and say you need special recognition for it?

Second, it takes what should be a beautiful moment and commercializes it. Did the new mother do something worthy of diamonds? Hell, yes. But it reduces the worth of bringing a new life into the world by equating it with a monetary gift.  If one doesn’t receive a “push present,” is her sacrifice somehow less valuable? Or does the father appreciate it less?

Third, push presents have become such a “thing” that they’re expected. Among younger mothers I know, push presents are discussed and – *horrors* – asked for (<— really, you need to read that link) during the pregnancy! As in, they put it basically in a registry so the dad-to-be knows what’s expected. Yet another way for men to fail and women to hold something over their heads.

Not to mention, how many people can really afford a blingy push present? Wouldn’t a better present be a deposit in a college fund? Or making sure the family has no debt?

As you can tell, the push present thing, to me, is just another symptom of what’s wrong not just in society in general, but in many relationships. Expect, expect, expect. Take, take, take. Me, me, me. Spend money. Focus on keeping score.  Instead, how about this? Treat each other with love and respect during the pregnancy, and then, at the culmination of this miracle – a healthy birth – sit there together as a new family, cuddling that baby, look in each other’s tear-filled eyes, and soak in the moment?

*I couldn’t find the ad audio online so I’m paraphrasing the line that ticked me off so much. Gender wars, anyone?!?

I’m not the first one to write about this (duh) – great post at Trees Flowers Birds

The Steve Jobs of the Conservative Movement

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 “I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and–famously–I enjoy making enemies.” – Andrew Breitbart

The first (and only) time I saw Andrew Breitbart in person, I was sitting in the lobby bar at this year’s CPAC, and the first thing I noticed from across the room was his hair.  It reminded me of Einstein – a fitting head of hair for a crazy genius.

There’s a more modern icon who Breitbart is similar to – Steve Jobs.  Both were adopted, and grew up rebelling against the status quo.

Steve Jobs changed the way the world communicates and processes information. Andrew Breitbart changed the way information is disseminated to the public – and changed WHAT information can be disseminated to the public.

Steve Jobs refused to accept “you can’t do that” or “that’s impossible.”  Andrew Breitbart refused to accept lies, corruption, and media gatekeepers. He refused to accept the premise of liberal conclusions, challenging the paradigm before starting the debate.

Steve Jobs took business risks.  Andrew Breitbart published risky stories that other outlets wouldn’t go near. He wasn’t afraid of any personal repercussions.

Steve Jobs did away with traditional business culture. Andrew Breitbart was instrumental in opening the conservative movement to people outside the WASP Country Club caste. With his irreverent manner and non-traditional methods, he broke down the media gatekeeper barriers so hypocrisy, corruption, and lies could be revealed.

The most important distinction between the two will be their legacy.  As inspirational as Steve Jobs was, his main accomplishments occurred during his time on Earth. Breitbart’s accomplishments in life will be amplified by the accomplishments of the thousands or tens of thousands of people who have been inspired to action by him – and who will carry out his mission of unmasking the lies and hypocrisy of the establishment.

Obviously the talented and fired up stable of journalists and writers who were already affiliated with Breitbart sites will continue the battle.  But there’s also a growing army of young conservative bloggers and activists, many of whom don’t fit the traditional mold of staid social conservatism, who are picking up the torch. @OHConservatism. @FingersMalloy. @Brodigan. @MisfitPolitics @hipstervative @Cnservativepunk. @katearthsis. @rachelveronica. @AiPolitics. @anthropocon. @SisterToldjah. Mom-types like @SmoosieQ @politicsofamy @Mommentator @GaltsGirl and myself.  Gay, straight, white, black, Christian, Jewish, college students, professionals, punk rockers, bikers, artists – Breitbart brought us all together to fight this war.

Andrew showed us that you don’t have to have big money backing or a bully pulpit to make a difference. Just roller blade through a crowd of Occupiers and talk to them. Challenge their beliefs.  Start a website and start publishing. Find like-minded people to ally with, but don’t back away from a debate.

I’m inspired to have a louder voice in the future of our country and the future of freedom and liberty.  No longer will I let excuses get in the way. As Tony Katz said yesterday on his radio show: “You can do it, or you can go about complaining that we have no one to do it.”

“His energy was so overwhelming that I think it will continue beyond his passing….I think that will be his greatest legacy, is that he’s still leading the charge, even from beyond.” – Stephen Kruiser

Branding the Conservative Story

Powerful communicators use stories (or parables if you’re religious) to motivate, to inform, and to teach values.  In schools, homes, and businesses, stories drive home an otherwise dry or hard-to-explain point.

Guess what? The power of a story is a political strategy as well.

We conservatives know this, yet seem to forget so easily – quite possibly because our arguments and beliefs are so darn logical that we mistakenly think no explanation is needed.   The two years that stand out as major conservative victories – 1980 and 1994 – were years in which conservatives seized the message and owned it.

I've introduced my kids to Reagan at a young age... the first two in 2000...

The first President I remember is Jimmy Carter. I remember watching his fireside chats.  I can’t tell you what he was talking about specifically (I was maybe 6 years old) but I remember feeling like he thought we were all losers.  Fortunately I projected the “loser” belief correctly on Carter and didn’t internalize it…

... and the youngest in June 2004, right after the funeral.

When Ronald Reagan came along, I was 8 years old and mesmerized.  The story he told – that it was Morning in America – gave me hope that my unemployed father could find a job and that everything would be okay. He did, and everything was okay. During his time as President, Reagan came to be known as The Great Communicator because he could employ the power of story, or positive messaging and branding, so masterfully.

Although it’s hard to picture now, at one time Newt Gingrich wasn’t an evil person bent on destroying America.  In 1994, while the media was attempting to portray him as such, Gingrich and the GOP successfully pitched the Contract With America during an economic downturn and even delivered the goods in spite of the super popular Democratic president.

What happened after that? There are a few different theories and reasons, but one of them is that we forgot branding and marketing.  We let ourselves be branded by the opposition.

Telling the story OUR way is what we must do again to win the hearts and minds of the “undecided” and give self-proclaimed liberals a reason to reconsider their beliefs.  I believe that many of my generation who call themselves liberal have just listened to MSM talking points about mean, greedy Republicans and haven’t really thought about it.  Because who can be against freedom of choice?  Freedom to choose your course in life, what job you have, what you’re going to put in your child’s school lunch…

When we brand our story correctly misconceptions are dispelled, and a bond or shared experience is created with the audience. Because we’ve built upon shared beliefs or experiences, listeners are more likely to think, “Hey, look at that – she’s a conservative and she lives in a house just like me.  She doesn’t have horns and isn’t eating babies.  No way!”

Because as Americans, we’re really not all that different.  Believe it or not, liberals want a secure, stable life and a better one for their children.  They just believe in a different way of getting it.  Our job is to show them the merits of the conservative way.

So how do we do that?  Frame it positively. What will be the result of electing a conservative Congress and President?

It’s not just saying the negative won’t happen.  You see, the brain does a funny thing.  When you say “Don’t crash the car” to your child, what sticks is “crash the car.”  Does that mean they’re going to crash the car? No.  But that is the part that sticks.  Similarly, by saying, “If we elect conservatives, terrorists won’t strike on American soil,” what they’re thinking about is terrorists striking on American soil.  Scary.  What about rebranding the “peace through strength” motto?

It’s also not about citing numbers and statistics.  They’re not warm and fuzzy.  Unless you’re a math nerd (and that’s okay) they don’t make you feel good.

What are the positive messages conservatives can send about America?

We believe in protecting your right to pursue happiness, to bear arms, to worship God (or not) as you see fit.  We believe in your right to parent your child as you see fit.  We believe that you are smart enough to take care of your own body and not be told that you have to exercise.  We believe that what you do with your life is your choice.  (But the consequences aren’t.) We believe that if the government gets out of the way, American innovation and hard work will get us through this recession.  We believe that what you do in your own bedroom between consenting adults is your own business.  We believe you shouldn’t be forced to pay for the education and healthcare of illegal immigrants.  We believe you shouldn’t be forced to purchase healthcare.  We believe you shouldn’t subsidize farmers or student loans.  We believe you can be smart and take care of yourself.  Et cetera, et cetera.

Yes, some of the above is simplistic – but outside of the blogosphere people don’t spend time reading a bunch of political talk.  Most people haven’t read the Constitution.  So if we as conservatives think about how we’re approaching discussions with our friends and neighbors, we can get them to think.  Don’t be scared by the first mainstream media talking point that gets hurled back at you.  Take a deep breath and see how it can be reframed.  Think about the beliefs you have in common and build upon it – show how the conservative view will benefit them.

Ideally the leaders of the movement would be doing a better job standing up and articulating these beliefs.  Since they’re not, and even when they are their comments are taken out of context and twisted, we will have to start at the grassroots level – in person, on our blogs, on our Facebook posts, and on Twitter.  We can do this!

Sunday Thought: Finding Peace

In my former life as a court reporter, I had the opportunity to be a part of 15 murder trials – some very high profile capitally tried and some not.  Some of the victims were total losers, the dregs of humanity who kinda deserved it, and it was easy to be emotionally detached during those trials.

It was hardest to sit there and do my job in the cases where people were murdered by someone they loved and trusted – the ultimate betrayal.  The names of those victims and the tortured faces of the ones they left behind will stay with me forever.  By the end of my time as a court reporter I noticed a huge difference between the families who were able to forgive and those who weren’t.

This morning, for my Sunday devotional, I’m thinking of the family who introduced me to the Prayer of St. Francis.  Their 17-year-old son had been murdered by four of his “friends” who lured him to an abandoned home, kept him there for days, got him so drunk he passed out, and then put a plastic bag over his head and zip tied it shut as he vomited.  After the mastermind of this disgusting plot had been found guilty of first degree murder, the parents had a chance to speak, and they taught me a lesson on forgiveness.  The mother was able to look at the Defendant and, with tears in her eyes, tell him she forgave him and loved him and prayed for him.  After she spoke, she hugged the Defendant’s mother, who had lost a son too, after all.

The victim’s father then spoke.  He told stories of his son’s gift for peacefulness and his love for everyone.  He closed with the words of his son’s favorite prayer, the Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

The words spoke to me so powerfully that I could barely take them down.   For the first time, I felt the Spirit in a courtroom… not the place where you would ordinarily find it.  None of us will ever forget that moment in time, when the peaceful spirit of this young man and the Spirit of the Lord entered and granted healing.