Monday, June 29, 2009

A Stacked Deck

On June 28, 2009, the Denver Post printed an Opinion piece by Vincent Carroll:

Carroll: Vindication for Bob Schaffer

By Vincent Carroll
The Denver Post
Posted: 06/28/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

Let's close the circle on a nasty political story from last year. Let's call out those who defamed a man for allegedly putting profits above patriotism now that he has been vindicated by events.
As the campaign for the U.S. Senate in Colorado hit full stride last summer, a spokeswoman for the eventual winner, Democrat Mark Udall, accused Republican Bob Schaffer of engaging in "business activities that made it harder for (U.S.) troops to accomplish that mission" in Iraq.
Michael Huttner of the left-wing outfit ProgressNowAction adopted a predictably harsher tone: He denounced Schaffer as a war profiteer "working against American interests."
Schaffer's sin? The company he'd worked for, Denver-based Aspect Energy, struck a deal in 2007 with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq to explore for oil. And Schaffer had traveled to Kurdistan the year before with Aspect executives.
You might wonder who could possibly begrudge the long-oppressed Kurdish people an opportunity to develop their natural wealth. Well, the Iraqi government, for one, which sought to control all contracts with energy companies. Even the U.S. State Department eventually signaled its displeasure with such deals, although not until after Schaffer's trip.
As part of the smear campaign, a couple of former Reagan administration officials who'd drifted into the Democratic camp were rounded up to sling mud. Rand Beers and Larry Kolb told journalists (including me) that not only were such exploration contracts counter to Iraqi and American interests, but that Baghdad would not consent to Kurdistan dealing with oil companies on its own.
"I think there is a serious question about who Bob Schaffer is," said Beers, doing his best imitation of J. Edgar Hoover.
Now fast forward to this month and let The Associated Press pick up our tale.
"Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region officially started pumping crude oil to the international market on (June 1)," The AP reported, "a development that will boost Iraq's cash-strapped economy."
Indeed, the AP added, production is "expected to reach a total capacity of 250,000 barrels per day within a year and 1 million barrels per day in the coming two to three years . . . ."
The Iraqi oil ministry that would never lift its opposition to Kurdish exports eventually did. The contracts that were supposedly a threat to destabilize Iraq in fact are going to help fill its coffers with desperately needed revenue, as the Kurds share oil proceeds with the central government.
Kurdish oil production may have an even more beneficial effect as it ramps up over time if other Iraqis clamor for better management of their own resources. Iraqi politicians still can't agree to a new national law governing oil and gas production, so exploration elsewhere by foreign companies has been repeatedly postponed. Even upcoming contracts to improve pumping in existing fields are bitterly contested in parliament.
On the day Kurdish oil began to flow, the region's prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, recalled that oil revenues in Iraq once were used to finance "destruction, violence and genocide."
"In another country," he added, "today's event would be only a typical economic and technical achievement. But for the people of Kurdistan Region, it marks a dramatic departure from our recent past."
Not to mention a dramatic departure from the lurid stories about Kurdish oil contracts told in Colorado not so long ago.
I normally would not showcase a column from the Opinion section of a newspaper, but this column is worth visiting. It shows a structural bias inherent in our printed media.

Take a look at the profile I wrote for this blog. You will see characterizations at work to impart impressions and feelings about facts. This is also done in our news reporting. The “news” story will highlight the anti-Republican characterizations, and receive the benefit of “top-of-the-fold” prominence. The “opinion” story will highlight the facts of the story, and be located in a section of the paper that receives less emphasis.

During the 2008 Colorado senatorial campaign, Democrat Mark Udall competed against Republican Bob Schaffer. The Udall campaign characterized Mr. Schaffer as an unprincipled person, using his employment with a small energy company to portray him as “Big Oil Bob.”

Mr. Carroll writes about closing the circle “…on a nasty political story from last year.” His comments add context and understanding to the issue, but the damage is done. People who voted in our election a little over six months ago voted with the slogan “Big Oil Bob” on their minds. Mark Udall is now the Senator from Colorado.

Mr. Carroll performs a needed service by shedding light on the issue, but our anti-Republican culture stacks the deck against him:

Anti-Republican characterizations = News.

Pro-Republican facts = Opinion.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's OK. He's a Republican.

Here's an article from the Web site POLITCO:

Coleman dodges egg with 'Bush move'

By ANDY BARR 4/17/09 4:26 PM EDT

Republican Norm Coleman used a quick George Bush-esque move to dodge an egg thrown at him outside his Minnesota home.

Coleman told police that he heard a thumping on his door Tuesday night and walked outside to investigate. Upon seeing Coleman, a man yelled “I [expletive] can't stand what you represent” and threw an egg at him.

“He said something, some little obscenity, and then he threw another one,” Coleman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I kind of ducked. A George Bush move.”

“I ran after him, but I didn't get him.”

Coleman remains locked in a legal fight with Democrat Al Franken for Minnesota’s vacant Senate seat. A three-judge panel declared Franken the winner earlier this week, but Coleman has vowed to appeal.

What did Senator Coleman do to deserve being attacked by a person throwing eggs?

Did he cheat on his wife?

Does he seem to be engaged in the politics of favoritism?

No, it's simply that he's a Republican.

And our culture allows Republicans to be attacked.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gunning for Hikers

Interested in generating some fireworks at a gathering of friends? Here is a recent political cartoon from Mike Keefe of the Denver Post:

You might ask, “What’s the point?”

The point is that political cartoons require the reader to have an understanding of the issue being represented by the cartoon. Without that knowledge, the cartoon doesn’t make sense.

In this instance, Mr. Keefe is providing political commentary on an amendment to The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (H.R. 627). This Act had an amendment attached to it by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (SA 1067), emphasizing the point that Second Amendment rights of individuals shall not be infringed within National Parks.

What’s interesting is the breadth of issues that are raised by one cartoon:
--Why is a Second Amendment issue attached to an Act about Credit Cards?
--Do we need the Line Item Veto?
--Should Second Amendment rights be restricted in our National Parks?
--Is there an implied contract of Security if your government disarms you?
--Why does America have such a gun fetish?

Maybe I’m reading too much into the cartoon, but I think there is also a dark side to it.

Which political group in America tends to support Second Amendment rights? What was the political affiliation of the Senator proposing the amendment?

If the Senator has a Medical Degree and is sworn to “first do no harm”, what’s he doing supporting gun rights?

When I see a political cartoon, I immediately ask, “What’s the theme?” In this case, the people wearing the “black hats” are not shown, but they are Republicans. And what are these dysfunctional people doing this time?

They are gunning down hikers.

Even in our anti-Republican culture, that’s a pretty strong message.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Alan Berg Legacy

Here’s an excerpt from a recent article that caught my attention. It’s by Kevin Simpson, Jason Blevins and Karen Auge of The Denver Post and commemorates the death of iconoclastic radio personality Alan Berg:

The murder of Alan Berg in Denver: 25 years later
"In a sense, it was one of the opening shots of a truly revolutionary radical right."

By The Denver Post
Posted: 06/18/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 06/18/2009 12:21:31 PM MDT

DENVER—Even after a quarter century, the violent murder of Denver talk-radio icon Alan Berg at the hands of a white supremacist group reverberates amid fresh reminders of hate crimes.

It has been 25 years since Berg was gunned down in the driveway of his Congress Park condominium, and Thursday's commemoration comes just days after a white supremacist allegedly opened fire at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., killing a security guard.

Berg, who was Jewish, gained a strong following in the early 1980s through talk radio, where his liberal views mixed with a combative and often-abrasive on-air persona. In the process, he ignited the anger of The Order, a splinter group of the Aryan Nation white nationalist movement that financed its anti-government goals with bank robberies in the Pacific Northwest—before turning to murder.

Berg's slaying marked an early signpost on the road that led to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.

"In a sense, it was one of the opening shots of a truly revolutionary radical right," he said, "perfectly willing to countenance the mass murder of American civilians for their cause."

Groups such as The Order moved the far-right away from its roots as a restorationist movement and into a violent, revolutionary mindset, Potok said…

Notice the use of the words “radical right” and “far-right” in the last two sentences.

These are characterizations that classify people who tend to be violent (rob banks, bomb public buildings and commit murder) and harbor deep resentment for people of the Jewish faith. But why tie these behaviors to Republicans (people on the “right”)?

It’s because our culture expects it.

It is only through the works of people like Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) that you gain an understanding of how these commonly accepted characterizations reflect our culture.

Take a moment to think which part of the political spectrum embraces Identity Politics? Where do you find groups of people who think they have the right to determine the lives of others?

Republicans embrace freedom. When I think of groups that want to force their will upon others, Republicans don't immediately come to mind.

It’s interesting that Mr. Mark Potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center thinks otherwise.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where We Stand

Our anti-Republican culture has attributes that make it similar to anti-Americanism in Europe and anti-Semitism in the Middle East. Where does our anti-Republican culture stand in terms of its intensity when compared to these other cultures?

CBS and The Late Show with David Letterman give us some insight. With the June 8, 2009 taping of the show, the writers engaged in some Sarah Palin jokes, characterizing the Republican Governor as “slutty” and her daughter as having sex with a Yankees ballplayer at the game. (A pretty good summary of the events is provided by Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times.)

While the characterizations may be offensive, the larger question is “What gave the Letterman writers the go-ahead to create these jokes?”

The answer is NOT the management at CBS. Rather, it is our anti-Republican culture that approves of this behavior. While it would be inappropriate to make similar jokes about other groups or individuals, our culture deems it acceptable when Republicans are the target.

Would it be appropriate for Europeans to refer to American leaders as “slutty”? During a week of D-Day remembrances and a visit from an American President, it probably wouldn’t happen.

Would it be appropriate for people in the Middle East to make such comments about people of the Jewish faith? I’m afraid it is so commonplace that it wouldn’t even make news.

This places America’s anti-Republican cultural fervor somewhere between the anti-American sentiment of Europe and the anti-Semitism of the Middle East

The good thing about this incident is that in the United States, David Letterman’s comments made news. It would NOT be good if the remarks were so accepted that they made no news at all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Teabagging Republicans?

Have you heard of the term “One-Off Characterization”? It’s where you characterize the people in a group through criticism of the group’s beliefs or actions. It’s an indirect type of criticism.

Anderson Cooper is a CNN journalist who takes his calling very seriously. He knows that it is unprofessional as a reporter to continually harp on the failings of Republicans. To give a break to his diatribe, he instead criticizes the types of groups that tend to draw Republicans. Here’s an article from (May 19, 2009) that talks about a sexual slur used by Mr. Cooper to characterize people who attend anti-tax “Tea Parties:”

Anderson Cooper Says "Teabagging" Comment Was "Stupid, Silly"

CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke at UCLA Sunday as part of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture Series, and was asked about his "teabagging" comment last month during the Q&A portion. Here is a video of his response (sic), taken by an audience member.

Calling it a "stupid, silly, one-line aside," he touched on the attention it received. "I think it's an incorrect statement to say I was, in any way, trying to disparage legitimate protests," said Cooper. "I don't think it's my job to disparage, or encourage, which oddly other networks seemed to be doing. Protest is the great right of all Americans, and it's not my job in any way to make fun of people or disparage what they're doing."

Cooper said he regretted making the comment. "If people took offense to that and felt that I was disparagingtheir legitimate right to protest, and what they were doing, then that is something I truly regret, because I don't believe in doing that," he said. "Having this discussion just takes away from the real story."

What is worth noting here is the style of the denial/apology.

First is The Minimalization: “…it was a stupid, silly, one-line aside.” The message here is that the slur was just not that important.

Next comes The Subjunctive: “If people took offense to that…” This takes the event to a hypothetical place where it is possible that the offending remark was not offensive.

Last is The Summation: “Having this discussion just takes away from the real story.” This characterizes the people who are offended as wasting the time of the viewers and the person doing the apologizing/denying. They must move ON!

If you have trouble remembering how the model apology/denial works, just remember “The Subjunctive.” That “if” statement is a dead giveaway.

In our anti-Republican culture, the One-Off Characterization is a good way to drive home the “Republicans are bad people” theme while appearing to be dispassionate and analytical.

It’s a great technique!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Giving 10 million women the right to vote is NOT a “failed policy”.

Use Google to search for “failed policy in Iraq” and you will get over 11,000 hits. Perhaps you read this article or saw this in The New York Times. Americans are reminded over and over that our effort in Iraq constitutes a “failed policy.”

But what if you took the anti-Republican spin out of it? What if you asked 100 people on the street how they would characterize the idea of giving 10 million women the right to vote? Do you think most would see it as a failure?

Put all of this into the context of the Middle East. Does it take on greater significance?

I hope that most Americans (particularly those of the female gender) would not consider the concept of women voting as a failure. Over 4,000 Americans died so that 10 million Iraqi women could vote. That is significant.

Where am I going with this? Our anti-Republican culture portrays Republicans in a disparaging fashion when it comes to women’s rights. Is it true? It might be worthwhile to look back at the women’s suffrage movement in America to gain some perspective.

It was less than 100 years ago, and if you were female, you could not vote in many American elections. The women’s suffrage movement gained support over time, and in a Senate vote on June 4, 1919, a Constitutional amendment was passed by the necessary two-thirds majority. Over three-fourths of Republican Senators voted for it, while just over half the Democrats were in favor.

It’s interesting to note that the Republicans, with their overwhelming support, gave the Senate the necessary two-thirds majority to move the amendment to the states for ratification. Democrats in the Senate actually filibustered against the amendment in the final debate before the vote. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook at Fordham University has a compilation of articles from The New York Times that give details on the vote, along with some interesting discussions that took place.

The Republicans were justifiably proud of their work in getting women the right to vote. Scroll down in the Sourcebook article to see a story from The New York Times, dated February 13, 1920. It covers a kerfuffle over which political party was to take the most credit for giving women the vote:

CHICAGO, Feb. 12 - Party politics overshadowed all other issues on the eve of the fifty-first convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Party lines were being so tightly drawn tonight that the most skillful leadership will be necessary to hold the gathering to a strictly non-partisan course.

The powder was touched off by the Democratic women, who promise to liven several issues that will come up on the floor. Mrs. George Bass, member of the Democratic Executive Committee, and referred to as the "spokeswoman for the Administration," issued a statement sharply criticizing the Illinois Republican Women's Executive Committee for placing a full-page paid advertisement in the program of the convention.

Mrs. Bass's remarks were chiefly directed against the first sentence printed in heavy type at the head of the advertisement, which read:

"To the Republican Party you owe the passage of the Federal suffrage amendment, and it will be responsible for the ratification soon to come."

"In regard to this advertisement I will say I was greatly shocked." said Mrs. Bass. "The Democratic Party in Congress and in the States has done more to give the women in the United States suffrage than any other party, and President Wilson is the only President who has lifted his voice and his influence in the cause of suffrage."

Do you see vestiges of our anti-Republican culture in the quote at the end? Republican Senators and their votes were what passed the Amendment out of Congress and on to the states, but the characterization that Americans remember is, “The Democratic Party in Congress…has done more to give the women in the United States suffrage than any other party...”

It makes you wonder about the expression, “Actions speak louder than words.” While that maxim may be true at the extremes, our political leaders know that words are what matter.

The words “failed policy in Iraq” are destined to characterize an action that gave 10 million women the right to vote.

Friday, June 5, 2009

IN THE BEGINNING, it was called “liberal bias.”

At the dawn of the 21st century, people such as Bernard Goldberg were bringing attention to the political bias in American institutions. In the field of education, very few of the administrators and instructors were registered as Republicans. Similarly, Republicans were a minority in agencies of the federal government and the legal system.

In the entertainment industry, there was a very strong anti-Republican bias. Not only did it exist in the executive offices and trade unions, it appeared in the artistic products themselves. On the television series, Boston Legal, the inappropriate and bumbling head of the firm (Denny Crane) was a Republican. In the series Will & Grace, Republicans were the homophobes targeted by the humor. The message was pretty strong: If you want to be cool, do not become a Republican!

What about the field of journalism? It has been convenient to claim “media bias” in the American press, but that misses the point. The press is simply reflecting our culture. Their reporting is colored by what is culturally acceptable and unacceptable; what behavior is given a “green light” and what is given a “red light.”

Thirty years ago, I spent some time in Utah, flying for the Air Force Reserve. It was at Hill Air Force Base outside of Ogden, and I can remember having talks with many of the pilots who lived in Utah. We divided ourselves into the “commuters” and the “residents.” The commuters were those of us who lived outside Utah and came every two weeks for the training that was part of our Reserve duty.

The resident pilots were concerned about raising their families within the culture of Mormon communities. The pilots who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints spoke of the discrimination associated with getting their kids on soccer teams, or the difficulty of starting a business as a non-Mormon. While integration into the community was possible, there were barriers that made it more difficult for non-Mormons. The culture placed them at a disadvantage.

I’m sure things are changing in Utah, but I make the point to emphasize that there are cultural differences right here in the United States. Culture varies from community to community and state to state. The problem with culture is that it is hard to analyze from the inside. We can look at the Middle East and note that from our perspective, there is clearly an anti-Semitic culture in place. However, if you ask people living there from the non-Jewish population, they will say that there is no particular bias in their culture. The same effect can be seen in Europe. Americans may see elements of an anti-American culture, but the Europeans themselves dismiss it or deny it.

That brings me to the purpose of this Web log (blog). It documents instances of our anti-Republican culture in America. It focuses on material that is easily available on the Web, and tries to work with the more subtle cultural instances. For example, there is no point in chronicling MSNBC episodes of Countdown with Keith Olbermann or The Rachel Maddow Show. These shows are actively engaged in teaching Americans to HATE Republicans. Highlighting their anti-Republican behaviors is too easy.

But there is a certain reward in pointing out examples that are more interesting; examples that illustrate the techniques used to influence our culture. If you see the techniques being practiced, you get a better understanding of what is going on.

And that’s what this blog is about: helping people understand how creating a negative image of a particular group helps the people outside that group feel superior and powerful. The techniques have been used throughout human history, and can be seen at various levels from the playgrounds of elementary schools to the repressive regimes of countries under dictatorship and tyranny. It just happens that in the United States, an anti-Republican culture is being formed right now. It is worth documenting!

How will it work? We will focus on four classifications. (Note that I am bringing you into this effort!) We will look at each one in detail:

--The Themes
--Republicans Under Siege
--The Ministry of Truth
--“So Right and Natural”

The Themes

The Anti-Republican Themes are the perceptions and feelings embedded in a story that may or may not be explicitly stated. From The Cat in the Bag, they are:

--Republicans are bad people.
--Republicans are destroying the environment.
--Republicans are harming our children.
--Republicans are stealing from our Seniors.
--Republicans are shredding the Constitution.
--Republicans are turning the economy into a catastrophe.

The story doesn’t have to overtly mention the theme, but the feeling one derives from the story must convey this impression. Here’s an example from the Denver Post:
Dem shift halts tuition bill
Illegal immigrants would have become eligible for Colorado colleges' in-state rates

By Tim Hoover
The Denver Post
Posted: 04/07/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT
Updated: 04/07/2009 08:22:17 AM MDT

The Colorado Senate on Monday narrowly rejected a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants in-state tuition…

Proponents of the bill said that children of illegal immigrants had no say in their coming into the United States and should not be punished by being required to pay out-of-state tuition two to four times as high as the in-state rate.

Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, said all newcomers to the state had the right to aspire to be something more than "ditch diggers and dishwashers."

And in an at times angry speech, Senate President Peter Groff, a Denver Democrat and one of only two blacks in the legislature, hearkened to the civil rights era and to the country's "dark past."

"I hope we can live with ourselves if we vote no today," Groff said, accusing opponents of the bill of not having the "courage" to do the right thing…

Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, had said he would sign the legislation.

"This is an idea that the governor has supported, so it is disappointing to see the measure fail," said Evan Dreyer, a spokesman for Ritter. "For him, it was really a matter of developing an educated workforce in Colorado."

Tim Hoover: 303-954-1626 or

Can you guess the theme? The quotes are from Democrats, so you have to use inference to determine who the “opponents” are. However, the quotations in this news story characterize the opponents as cowardly (“not having the ‘courage’ to do the right thing”) and vindictive (punishing children using techniques from the “dark past.”)

This is a news story about legislative activities in Colorado, but if you are wondering who are the folks wearing the “black hats”, they are the Republicans, and the theme is that they are harming our children.

Republicans Under Siege

An effective way to diminish a particular demographic group in a culture is to reinforce the point that they are unpopular. You can do this by making them the butt of jokes in various entertainment venues, or by chronicling the futility of their efforts and points of view.

If the individual is a political figure and engaged in political activities (conducting a meeting with constituents; making a public appearance), a good way to point out the unpopularity of his or her views is to hold a counter-demonstration. Here’s an example from Reuters:

Protests greet Bush's first speech as ex-president

Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:59pm EDT
By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - More than 100 protesters chanted "war criminal" and flung shoes in Calgary on Tuesday, angry that former U.S. President George W. Bush was in the Canadian city to give his first speech since leaving the White House…

The reaction was in stark contrast to President Barack Obama's first official visit to Canada last month, when he was fawned on by citizens and politicians alike.

From the headline and lead paragraph, it is clear what this story is about: America’s Republican president remains deeply unpopular, even though he is no longer in office.

This particular news story leads with the demonstration against the Republican figure. Normally, the story will start out with the substance of the event and you have to read through the column to the end where the reporter will note the actions of the counter demonstrators.

Take time to note the placement of the story within the news pages. The story will be given more prominence, based on the strength of the counter-demonstration. If there is no “Republicans Under Siege” component to the story, it probably will only make it to the Opinion section of the paper.

The Ministry of Truth

Have you read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four? It deals with a governmental agency whose purpose is to make sure people maintain the proper point of view. Even if you haven’t read the book, you are probably familiar with terms like “Orwellian,” or down the “memory hole.” Many of the phrases from the book have become a part of our daily language.

The concept behind The Ministry of Truth can be applied to the veneer of policy statements from governmental agencies. These entities let us know when we are in a financial crisis, medical crisis, environmental crisis, etc. However, they often become the vehicle for promoting anti-Republican thought, particularly when the crisis is somewhat abstract.

The Global Warming debate is a good example. If you sample opinion on the issue of climate change, you will find that many Republicans perceive this “crisis” as a hoax. Some news stories on Global Warming events will portray the opponents (Republicans) as “deniers” or people who actively want to destroy the environment. On the money side of the debate (those who expect to receive government grants or contracts) are the “good guys,” who are portrayed as being in the consensus and holding the scientifically correct point of view.

Although there are plenty of examples of anti-Republican sentiment incorporated into the Climate Change debate, time may be running out. As our climate begins its cooling cycle, it becomes harder and harder to make the case for Global Warming. However, here is what the California Office of the Attorney General Web site is saying now:

Global Warming Contrarians and the Falsehoods They Promote

Global Warming Is Real.

We now have a scientific consensus, built over time through professional skepticism and review, that global warming is real, humans are responsible, and the effects of continuing with "business as usual" even for a few more years are dire. (See The Facts About Global Warming.)

In the face of this scientific consensus, a few global warming deniers – many of whom do not have relevant scientific expertise and are funded by industry – kick up dust, cloud the issues, change the subject, and say, "Well, we can’t be absolutely sure. Let’s just wait and see what happens." But if we wait, we may lose the ability to address the problem as certain unstoppable climate change processes are set in motion. We may well become committed to catastrophe.

The Scientific Consensus

The premier body on climate change is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), formed in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. The IPCC, comprised of hundreds of scientists with relevant expertise from throughout the world, evaluates the state of climate science on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature. In 2001, in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, the body expressed the scientific consensus that global warming is real and caused by humans. In its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC concluded, based on all available evidence, that it is very likely (+90%) that human activities are warming the planet.

Since the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, all of the major scientific bodies in the United States with relevant expertise have issued reports or statements that confirm the IPCC's conclusion. These include: The National Academy of Sciences; The American Meteorological Society; American Geophysical Union; and The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other scientific bodies throughout the world have done the same.

This is not to say that there are no open scientific questions related to global warming. We don’t know, for example, exactly how fast future climate changes may occur, or exactly how "feedback loops" might make things worse. But the debate on certain fundamental points is over: global warming is real, it’s caused by human activities, we are already seeing effects, and the risk of future catastrophic changes is substantial under "business as usual."

Keep in mind that this is from the Web site of a governmental agency. It is promoting a particular policy, one that is not particularly related to pressing legal issues facing the California Attorney General, and it is meant to adjust perceptions. What makes this interesting from a cultural perspective is that the California AG has been given a “green light” to put this document on the Web. Jerry Brown feels very comfortable in promoting this policy, and it is because our culture supports it.

“So Right and Natural”

When you are living a culture, it is difficult to be objective. Your perception is colored by the behaviors that are deemed appropriate by the culture.

Here is a link to an acceptance speech at the 2009 Golden Globe awards by Best Supporting Actress, Laura Dern. The excerpt includes an affirmation of the Democratic Party slogan associated with the recent election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

The point to note is that this kind of affirmation and declaration of anti-Republican political allegiance is an accepted part of our culture. It is similar to an athlete pointing to the heavens upon completing a difficult play in a competitive event. Some people may be uncomfortable with it, but the culture approves.

So to summarize, this blog will highlight these four anti-Republican classifications:

--The Themes
--Republicans Under Siege
--The Ministry of Truth
--“So Right and Natural”

When you see them used to promote our anti-Republican culture, send me a note and I will make sure they are documented. Here’s the way it works:

If you see a story about a Middle-East country where a demonstrator is chanting, “I hate Christians,” don’t bother letting me know. Anti-Christian hatred is well-documented. However, if you see a story about someone saying, “I hate Republicans," send me an e-mail right away.

Similarly, if there are demonstrations in Europe, and you see signs saying, “Death to Americans,” I’m not interested. But if you see a comedienne at a major event saying she hopes a Republican figure dies from kidney failure, I want to hear about it.

In the beginning, it might have been liberal bias. Now it has become our anti-Republican culture.

UPDATE 10/4/2010:
It's a month before the Mid-Term Election (11/2/2010) and the post on global warming is still up at the California AG site. Depending on how the election goes, it may not be there much longer. In the meantime, here is a .PDF file that includes an article from Dr. Jack Schmitt, an Apollo Astronaut who documents the recent science on global warming.

UPDATE 2/25/2011:
The global warming post on the California AG site has finally been removed.  Evidently Kamala Harris, the current AG, is comfortable in focusing on the state's legal issues rather than environmental policy.

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