Patriots Declare: We Shall Not Let Vote Fraud Stand!

These elections are NOT certified yet. The only way to get this investigated, much less recounted or overturned, is through the Secretary of State of each of the five key states: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

What Do Constitutional Conservatives Do Now?

Where do we constitutional Judeo/Christian conservatives go from here? Attitude and Resistance...

Why I'm Happy To (Now) Be A Texan

In honor of @pmbasse, a descendant of one of the original 300 Texas settlers, I want to tell you WHY I LOVE TEXAS. As they say, I wasn't born here but I got here as soon as I could. And for me that was 3 times.

The Good News on Romney's Loss

The 5 stages come quickly in an electronic MTV age when denial and anger morph into depression and acceptance without even having time to bargain for a hopeless outcome. But Politijim is here to help.

The PolitiJim Twitter FF List

The most rewarding and frustrating experience on Twitter has to be the concept of Follow Friday. I have a solution. See where PolitiJim gets his news, and twinteraction from.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Current Conservative Sympathizers

This is in response to the article: 


Obama, Geithner Hold All the Face Cards in Debt Ceiling Fight

The administration will get to choose who gets government checks and who doesn't.
July 29, 2011 - 12:00 am - by Jazz Shaw


It always amazes me how conservatives are so ignorant of history.  Not just recent history, but the history of how this country started.



Few realize that when the Revolutionary War began, public support for outright 'war' against the British was hovering somewhere around 40%.  With the first skirmish that sent the Redcoats running, popular opinion soared - only to crash with humbling defeat after defeat.  But the war wasn't waged by public opinion.  It was to do what was right.


A few - fully committed - to see it through to the end - even if it meant death - and not those who wanted to continue to 'reason' with the British - is why we are the greatest country on earth.


Some would see the message of the 2010 House landslide as a bad spanking or stern warning to government to get it's fiscal house in order.  The fringes of the movement may indeed have seen it that way, but those of us who were moved to tears and action from the first Rick Santelli rant saw it as a declaration of war.


So the question raised here is how do we do it.  This author - and others - are terrified of the consequences of forcing our Executive Branch to make hard choices.  As a student of not only Alinksy, but also Marx, and Clower/Piven - it might even be goal for the President to create utter chaos in government services and blame the GOP.


So what.


The only REAL problem we have is in finding a leader who will not back down as the 'war' is engaged. Without that person, Democrats will continue to treat us as the new prison inmate in the militant gay pod of this political prison.


With the supposed dire threats of Independents sharpening pitchforks minutes after a strong stand by the GOP, the conservative movement for fiscal accountability continues to look like they are not serious about holding not not only our government - but our immediate elected representatives accountable.


It certainly didn't help that Boehner admitted to the Democratic leaders that we would have a 'back up' plan ready in case Cut Cap Balance wouldn't pass the Senate (as he already knew it would not.)  Remind me to invite him to my next poker game. 


How do we know WHAT we can get out of Senate Democrats unless they are pushed to a place where THEY are finally seen as the obstructionists that they are?  This can not be done by continued TELEGRAPHED 'compromise.'


When government services are being shut down and CUT CAP BALANCE are sitting in front of Obama and/or REID - it is THEY who will eventually be on the hot seat IF every GOP representative says NO!  You can not spend anymore.


A key lesson of history and human nature is that opportunists and those not planted in a morally righteous cause are the first to fold under real pressure.


What you do is you what Reagan did to that 'evil' empire.  You blow up all their preconceived ideas how they can (and have traditionally) played us.


If the GOP would have stuck together on CUT CAP BALANCE suddenly putting Reid and the White House in the position of saying they WOULD NOT bring spending into control - we have no idea what concessions we could have achieved.


Instead, Boehner acted like Obama's personal press boy and reinforced the absolutely false notion that sheer disaster would strike if a deal wasn't 'struck' and by August 2nd - a claim that has been proven as complete hogwash.


We haven't even BEGUN to test the stamina of the democrats.  And it is because of the 'fear sympathizers' like this author.


It is embarrassing as a conservative to read articles like this continuing to 'accept' that ANY political pain for the GOP 'brand' is simply off of the table.  When it is clear THERE WILL BE NO FUTURE if the entitlement structural issues aren't dealt with immediately (something folks like Jack Kemp warned of 30 years ago) - at some point REAL Men and Women who want to save the country must risk a battle that could have cost.


I hear the angst of John Adams in the tenor of my own words here as he was frustrated with similar voices (like the Pennsylvania representative of his day) who merely felt they had to play 'devil's advocate' to make sure they were taking all routes before the most dangerous. 


What these people don't understand is that while some are gifted with diplomacy, and others with patience, there are those of us who are gifted with a sense of risk and prophecy.  It is these people who do what people laugh at.  Palin did it in Alaska.  Smith did it with FEDEX.


There will be pain.  And that pain (as it did in 1775) will continue to build and compound the longer we sit around and 'wait' for the right time to save our children's future.  As then, we actually are in a WEAKER position to fight as we wait.  There will NEVER be the right time to enact all of the great reforms we all fantasize about with. 


An appropriate scripture is Ecclesiastes 11:4 - "He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap."


What if we don't win the Senate?  What Obama finds some way to win in 2012?  You are not promised the future.  You take what you have and wage war the best you can with what you have.


Churchill knew this.  The reason he was at the right place, at the right time to lead Britain was NOT because he cautioned to wait until the right time to fight.  No, he advocated the same position to his peers for a decade.  But the jeers and embarrassment of his 'weaker' poltico's changed as the threat HE saw became more and more evident.


What would have happened had they the intestinal fortitude to test Germany's resolve even a year earlier?  Think about that.


Certainly continuing to buy into the liberal argument of the moment (it will disrupt government, credit rating will suffer, GOP wants to take services away from those who need it, etc.) - you will NEVER make a dent in the problem because they will simply change their accusation to blunt whatever objective we pursue at that moment.


Rush Limbaugh, Jim DeMint, Erick Erickson, Michelle Bauchmann and Sarah Palin are courageously playing the role Ronald Reagan played against the establishment media and party by their call to arms.


Quit betraying the cause and be worthy of those Founders who pledged their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor to do not what they felt they could get the other side to agree to - but what is right.


www.streamofjim.blogspot.com

Friday, July 29, 2011

30 year Home Econ Teacher Diagnoses President Obama

A friend of mine sent this to me this morning, in response to the debate over whether to back Boehner and fight another day, or use whatever power the country has given to stop the political shenanigans of band-aids which end up continuing to grow the debt.  She doesn't blog so I asked her permission to put it up here.  It is the most profound thing I've heard in this debate: 

After spending 30 years teaching Home Economics, this is my view of the debt crisis in D.C.:
It is estimated that one in four children in America grows up in a dysfunctional home. That means that one or more family members has a major problem, like alcohol addiction, that is never solved. The addict surrounds himself with friends and family who either have the same addictive personality traits or accept the addiction as part of “loving” that individual. The family members learn to cope by means of denial, escape, or participating with the addict. Many times the family members assist out of “love”. They do things like bail the addict out of jail, put him to bed after he passes out, clean up his vomit, call in sick to work for him, etc. They make excuses for him to make the abuse OK like ”a bad day at work” or “financial stress”.  Any family member who speaks up is quickly shunned and called “cruel and heartless” for speaking the truth about the addict’s behavior. This co-dependency allows the addict to maintain this lifestyle for many years by not accepting the consequences of his actions. Usually it takes a major catastrophe where the family hits rock bottom for them to admit they have a major problem and seek help. For real healing to take place, the family members have to stand strong and stop bailing the addict out or they will all end up right back in the same dysfunctional cycle.

Our federal government is dysfunctional in the same way. Our elected officials have become addicted to borrowing money to fund all the laws they pass. They surround themselves with other politicians who have the same addictive personalities and cry out constantly that “we must spend more money’. They are encouraged by co-dependent persons who want to help spend the money the politicians are borrowing. They make excuses like “…we have to or else someone will suffer…” or “…this is just for one more year…” Any fellow politician who speaks out about the addiction is quickly shunned and called “cruel and heartless” or even worse, “a stupid Tea Partier”. Just like in a dysfunctional home, this behavior allows the addicts to maintain their daily lives in Washington and not deal with the consequences of their actions.

Now Washington is heading for what may turn out to be a major financial catastrophe for the US. Our politicians are so dysfunctional that they want to borrow money to make the payments on past borrowed money so they can keep spending more money on their pet projects. We citizens can keep our nation dysfunctional, stay co-dependent, make excuses for them and bail them out again. We can dig into our wallets and give them more money to throw away so we don’t have to face reality ourselves. Or, we can practice good old fashioned “tough love”. We can say. “No more. It stops here. It is time to get out of this dysfunctional debt cycle.”We can stand behind the members of Congress that are being shunned for speaking the truth. We can allow our nation to hit financial rock bottom. We can stay strong and not bail the politicians out this time. We can force them to admit they have a major addiction to debt and deal with it. It will be hard, just like it is hard on a family when they hit bottom. But if we stand together, we will come out healed and stronger as a nation. We will be able to weed out the addicts and their co-dependents in Washington. We can keep the strong healthy leaders and send them some non-dysfunctional coworkers this next election cycle. Then it will be up to us to keep watch and make sure we never bail out addicts in Washington again, or we will end up back in the same dysfunctional cycle.

Stand Strong,

Colleen Vera


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Put down the Kool Aid, Mr. "industry expert"

My day job is in that of the "green" and energy businesses.  My email inbox is daily filled with messages from NRDC and Sierra Club to Hydrocarbon Processing.  (The spiritual and humor emails keep me sane.)


This morning I was 'blessed' to read an editorial by the editor of ENERGY BIZ - and energy industry insider publication telling the industry how to "SOFT SELL" the climate debate.  You can read this piece of propaganda - I mean - scholarly editorial here.


This man is held in the highest regard including awards from the WALL STREET ECONOMISTS - an impressive sounding organization that looks like it was formed in the past two years.  Anyway - my response:


--------

Ken Silverstein - Kool Aid Drinker

Mr. Silverstein's support for action on 'climate change' could be excused a couple of years ago as many of us 'non-scientists' were trying to sort through the clutter of information overload.  When the U.K. censored AN INVCONVENIENT TRUTH unless 9 core claims were corrected however, I would have expected someone named "Top Economics Journalists by Wall Street Economists" to have stopped - like the rest of us - and wondered first HOW so many errors could have been endorsed by the world's leading climate change evangelist and, more importantly asked, "WHAT ELSE was wrong?"
Then - I was curious why a number of leading CLIMATOLOGISTS (not philosphy professors with doctorates as included in the 'concensus' claim) were not adamant to embrace this data such as Richard Lindzen, of MIT.  In fact they offered caution.
When, however, emails by the very scientists who drove the IPCC report of globabl warming were discovered to admit that even THEY were disturbed by the lack of actual evidence to support their theory - most rational intelligent people were downright (dare I say it) ...skeptical.  That could be why GALLUP reports only 44% of US citizens believe in man made global warming from 71% in 2007.
And yet Mr. Silverstein boldly forges ahead to further weaken our fragile economy with more regulation and onerous tax burden solutions - embracing the need to still 'take action' on climate change.  He says,
"But it would be highly irresponsible to disregard what many acclaimed scientists have said." 
Really?  It is RESPONSIBLE to spend money we don't have on a theory  that is so controversial that 1,000 international scientists openly challenge the concept of man made global warming?  Most of whom now even question data that there is in fact ANY substantial warming AT ALL?
We wake up to headlines this week that, "Arctic scientist who prompted global warming fears for polar bears -- now under investigation for 'scientific misconduct," and with it a critically reviewed paper that gives substantial evidence that nearly all climate models are seriously flawed. Is it  "RESPONSIBLE" to continue to push for a complete restructuring of the world economy and the energy industry?
I have lost all respect for the Wall Street Economists who would give any award to such a person.
On the other hand, when I was offered investment cash for our company based on carbon credits - I declined in the case that indeed, this market was based on sham science.  Yes, it cost us investment capital but I felt it was prudent to protect our company and shareholders from later embarrassment.  Where is the integrity in either journalsim or the energy industry regarding this?
I spoke to one leading energy executive a month ago who admitted he did not believe that CO2 was in ANY WAY harmful.  And yet he freely petitioned the DOE for grant money because 'it was there.'  Perhaps Ben Franklin would prounounce the great American experiment over since it was he who prophesied it would only last until we as people discovered we could vote for ourselves funds from the public treasury.
Yes.  Most of us agree on the dangers and needed actions on particulate pollution, acid rain and toxin groundwater control.  If one does not, i suspect that most of  those NOT in the 'green movement' would label those borderline 'evil.'  But it is now fair to question the motives of people like this author and the holding company that would continue to allow such irresponsible journalism.
How can you NOT cite even one mainstream climatologist who disagrees with your theory?  You even try to "stain" the carbon emission argument by bringing issues such as 'acid rain' into your introductory thought.
Put down the Kool Aid Ken.  The responsible thing to do is to either resign - or start being a bit more accurate and balanced in your editorial comments. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Campus Crusade is the DEVIL!!!



Beelzebub?  No - of course they are not.


Although non-Christians will gleeful take delight in this "family" talk, this is for Christians.  Specifically, knee jerk, gossiping, tongues-setting-forest-fires ones.  (Believe me - you DON'T know who you are).


In case you haven't heard, Campus Crusade for Christ has changed it's name to CRU (complete with hip, modern looking logo). 


And for this THEY ARE GOING TO HELL!!!!!!  ....if you believe some of the protesting Christians.

In case you hadn't paid attention, our scholarly children no longer say, "What is going on with you my collegiate friend," but instead have conveniently shortened it to " 'Sup, bro?"
That's right.  College students too busy studying a cure for cancer have found a better use of time than uttering all six syllables of the christian organization's name.  By the way, they've already been calling it "CRU" now for about, 15 years.  And telling kids to visit cru.org is WAY easier than "CCCI.org" if you ask me.


When Dr. Bill and Vonette Bright started the not for profit back in 1951, the word "crusade" conjured up visions of "Billy Graham," who - among other traveling preachers had popularized the term for massive outpourings of people who wanted to hear about Jesus Christ.


Oddly, in decades prior and since - "crusade" conjures up blood thirsty evangelical Christians invading foreign territories to do harm.  And no, I'm not talking about college football.


Bill had been desiring to change the name for years before his death.  Although he never told this to me (Dr. Bright was very kind to help me start my ministry,) I would also suppose, the great staff of Campus Crusade were tired of spending the first semester of every year trying to convince the foreign students that were not in anyway affiliated with the Spanish Inquisition and did not want to invade their Islamic homeland.


And really, deciding to simplify the name to what EVERYONE is already calling it - somehow is akin to denying the mission AND THE ONLY MISSION you have as an organization? Get Real.  Oddly, it took Federal Express like 5 years and $20 Million in consultants to finally FORMALLY change their name to FEDEX - something the rest of the universe had already been calling them since their 1st year in business.  (And guess what - they aren't denying they still ship faster than any other courier!)


What I really want to focus in on here, is my brothers and sisters in Christ who have decided that; despite the explanation by Bill's surviving wife and co-founder Vonette, despite 60 years of non-wavering devotion to evangelism, and despite declarations to the contrary by the board of directors, executive team, staff,  donors, bookkeepers and even the heathen students who are tired of being invited to bible study - they want to crucify this amazing organization.


It may have not dawned on my brethren, that by doing so, they have broken at least 7 admonishments of Saint Paul and our beloved Savior in the process including that of "NOT BEARING FALSE WITNESS."  (for you noob Christians and heathen - you get thrown into the lake of fire with satan himself to burn in torment for all of eternity for that one).


It is because of YOU Christians that I almost went to hell in the first place!! (part of my hilarious recitation of this is located here.)


I was actually fairly open to the concept of 'church' until I was introduced to those who wanted to micro-manage every thought, action, and word of mine while grading me on a curve against their Sunday school class of nerds.  I many not have ever understood what "freedom in Christ" was but I had a keen notion of what "crucifying my flesh" might be.


When I was in college, if It wasn't until when I was at my lowest of low (overdrawn bank account, jilted by my girlfriend and death of my childhood dog) that I even remotely considered LISTENING to the Jesus Freak who had been begging me to go to church for 3 years.  And I only listened to him because he gave me a ride every morning. (Sorry Bob.) 


But it wasn't even these people - it was the Spirit of God, Himself, and the experience of love, joy and peace in the midst of this despair - that let me know God was real.


So imagine the peer pressure of an entire campus playing to your every lust, desire and hormone - while the misfits want to tell you about, "Jesus the Christ."  This is what Campus Crusade is up against.


Even after I became a Christian, I had a mid-life crisis at the age of 30 (i was always precocious) and did some pretty terrible things.  I REALIZED I was caught in something not good and pleaded for some Christians to help - but they told me I had to give up my vice IMMEDIATELY or they would disown me before helping me.   And they did.  But my 'heathen' friends offered me a place to stay, were sympathetic to the 'emotions' causing me to do my terrible deeds.


If not for the perseverance of one man - I would be lost forever and deprived of the amazing relationship (and it's benefits) I have in Christ.  Steve called me just to see how i was.  About once every 5 calls he would make it clear that what I was doing was not just wrong - but it would inevitably make me even more miserable than I could imagine. What was unique is that he never in a condemning way. It was always out of sincere conviction to see me - ultimately - happy.  His words wove a rope of hope - that eventually gave me a life line back to reality.   Many children are thrilled at the joy of writing checks and buying things with their first checkbook, until those banks start bouncing, right? Thank God for the people that help you see the consequence of the WRONG kinds of pleasure before the banker-man comes to collect.


But does anyone want to risk grabbing the lifeline of someone who wants to make them feel worse first?  I think not.


When the idea of ripping other Christians happened in Jesus time, HE got mad.  "Anyone who isn't against us - is for us." (Mark 9)


Why do you hate Jesus, you people that think it is up to you be the judge of every other Christian?


(and if you think HATE is too strong - read this)


When will Christians finally get it that FAITH works by love and that God's GOODNESS brings about repentance?  it is satan who stands before the throne of God, day and night, ACCUSING THE BRETHREN.  


Who do you want to be like?


Without a demonstration of a supernatural emotional or physical healing , someone who articulates your worst fear (without you telling them), or the unconditional kindness from someone who loves you when you least deserve it -  it is damn tough to cut through the enticement of liquor, drugs, carefree sex and peer pressure that comes on any college campus.


This is what CRU does.  (Yeah, you heard me ... C  R  U)


And who would want to be apart of YOUR group anyway?  Beating up people who are supposed to be ON YOUR SIDE?  I can hear the thoughts now, "Man - if you do that to people who are on your team - what will you do to me?"


Not only will you not have a shot at the 20% who can't get past the word "Crusade" - you now will also shave off another 20% to 50% that simply don't want to be like the uptight, mean, vindictive vipers that would do such a thing to their "own".


Jesus was rarely angry.  He always wanted to help people.  And He didn't get mad at people because they weren't perfect.  (He did get mad at those who mercilessly judged other people trying to follow God and kept putting 'rules' up for them to jump over.] 


So just stop it already!  Cut Cru some slack.


Why don't you let the Holy Spirit do the job of convicting people of their sin - and you just love them.


And next time - why don't you read the frickin' press release of the fellow-Christian you want to condemn?




Ok. I'm done.  Now if you're a good Christian - you have to forgive me for getting on your case.  


LOVE YA!  (no really.  We're cool.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are Conservative Tweeters Cowardly?



This is the screen you get if you try to read the timeline of @EmpowerTexans.  Without warning or knowingly violating any rules of Twitter their account shut down to tens of thousands of followers.  Shockingly, INDIVIDUAL accounts of many of the key people were shut down as well.


As ET mentions in their own article, Twitter routinely shuts down accounts, investigates reasonably quickly, and reinstates.  As of today the only explanation they have received from Twitter is a "a vaguely worded auto-response-style message suggesting the suspension was due to unspecified violations of Twitter policies."


What really shocked me was my experience among conservative tweeters when @TheTonyLee RT'd this from Erick Erickson of Red State last night:


http://twitter.com/#!/EWErickson/status/93865685352054784
When I read this tweet, three thoughts went through my twittering mind.  (Now mind you - I had consumed about 7 cups of stimulant rich coffee yesterday) but my thoughts were:


1. Erickson would not have tweeted this unless he felt it wasn't a casual mistake.
2. This could happen to ANYONE, at any time on Twitter
3. Our response (as a community) will determine if ANY of the social media can do this in the future


Having just watched Glenn Beck's fabulous keynote to Christians United for Israel. I heard his voice in my head saying, "First they came for the communists and I wasn't a communist, so I did nothing..."


Point #2 glared at me. This could have been @melissatweets, or @NotleNC, or ME! If this was politically motivated - Twitter needed to feel pain and quickly.  Erickson's, "PAGING ALL TWITTERERS" to me read, "THE BRITISH ARE COMING, THE BRITISH ARE COMING."  (No, there were no other stimulants in my bloodstream but it was REALLY good coffee).


I asked if anyone had any ideas.  I didn't see any replies so I tapped into one particular caffeinated lobe for three of my own.  First, we could boycott Twitter for a day.  Another idea would be to launch an email/fax bombardment of Twitter offices by us conservative tweeters.  And my last quickly conjured thought was to gather a petition, by Twitter handle and follwer numbers, with an accompanying threat to move to Google Plus if this is not immediately rectified.


After a few minutes I saw only 3 or 4 people actually retweet the Erickson alert.  I directed it to some of the biggest conservative tweeters in my timeline - most who continued their discussions of the latest twist in THE BACHELOR or whatever late night banter was the norm.


My heart was sinking.  Is this what we are?  Our forefathers RAN to the aid of a nearby farm or town at the threat of their neighbors freedom - but a private company eliminates the voice to 20 thousand people without explanation (possibly because of their conservative views) and we aren't even TALKING about it??


Finally I got a reply from a major conservative Washington media player with 8000+ followers.  Now we are cooking!  TO ARMS!  They would start the ball rolling! 


Except....


Their reply made me feel like William Wallace unmasking Robert the Bruce in his last battle.  The tweet read something akin to "Well if Erickson is on it I'm sure he'll keep us up to date."


Really?


I'm curious if we would feel similarly encouraged and unified with our conservative brethren if we suddenly received a page that on OUR account that said:




All the 'writing' about it will do nothing.  Especially if all of us assume someone else will 'take care of it.'  That is a liberals MO right?  Give a speech instead of taking action?

Now, granted.  I am a doer.  Type A.  Over the years I've gotten better at being patient and making sure I have enough facts upon which to base an opinion (I'm not a liberal for God's sake), but I would be devastated if my twitter friends took ZERO action when I had lost my 'voice' in public debate.  .....OK - I personally may not be the best example here since there are likely MANY 'friends' that would feel no great loss at ME specifically), 



...but what if it was @DavidLimbaugh?  What if it was @EWErickson or @Kesgardner?


What if they pull this shenanigan right before a Senate vote on the debt ceiling, or God forbid, at the 11th hour before an election?


It will be a little too late to get upset at that point.


The manager and strategic planner in me jumped even farther.  We could all migrate to Google Plus but we all know (at least in the conservative movement) the questionable political motives of their founders and evidences of collusion with the Administration.


We know Obama has hired Marxists and those who openly expressed little appreciation for the constitutional heritage and rights of freedom.  And more than a few eyebrows have been raised at Executive Order #10995 which allows the White House to take over ALL communications in an emergency.


"OH PolitiJim.  You're acting like a conspiracy theorist!  Google and Twitter and the like wouldn't do anything to hurt their brand...."  except...






So am I saying that this is part of a plot to shut down conservatives on the Internet?  If you had asked me before I learned that Black Panthers carrying weapons wouldn't be prosecuted for intimidating voters but that Border Patrol officers WOULD (for merely doing their jobs) - my answer would have been no.


If you had asked me before I learned that Obama so no problem in intimidating a private business CEO, steal that company's equity from bond holders and investors while giving it to his union buddies all the while sending unauthorized Billions (with a B) of US money to foreign banks without any accountability - I would have said no.


I agree Twitter has a right to do whatever they want with their company.  I like Twitter.  a lot.  More than Facebook and more than Google Plus (so far at least).


But as conservatives, I think we should be doing two things.  One is to begin compiling our networks in multiple ways - including those that can't easily be shut down by the major social networks.  We like the protections afforded us by places like Twitter.  (I mean could you imagine letting HALF the people that read your tweets have your email?  God help us).


But whether it is a conservative held company like gracehope.com or another - we should have backup and quickly.


The other is we HAVE to speak up on behalf of EmpowerTexans.  All media - social or otherwise - have to see that we are unified. If they do it to one of us - they incur the consequence of ALL of us.


I don't have the technical ability to orchestrate any of my three puny ideas even if any were any good.  I guess we could start a petition at EmpowerTexans simply by leaving a comment on their article here.


I wish I knew how to contact the Jay Sekulow's of the world to see if there was any litigation assistance necessary.


But I know this.  I don't want to be the guy that says,


First they shut down EmpowerTexans, but I wasn't one of them,
so I did nothing....


Because I AM a conservative.  I believe in the write to freely assemble and the right to free speech.  I believe a lot of people died bloody deaths and gave their fortunes for that right for me.  I believe that conservatives are not 'all talk,' but that we would all fiercely give whatever time or resources we have for one another if a violation was inflicted on us.


Lord God please tell me I'm not wrong.


--------------UPDATE-------------------------
Michael Sullivan, a leader at Empower Texans had this to say by email to me:

Today has been a whirlwind, with Twitter re-instating us. We're still surveying the landscape, in terms of what happened and how, but it does appear Twitter was "used" -- that is, their flag and suspend system was somehow manipulated. They have not yet said that, but it looks that way to us.


Many will say I should now change my name to Emily Latella.  You know the SNL character played by Gilda Radner who would rant about a subject until finding out she misinterpreted the subject and would respond, "OH.  I didn't understand.. Well... Never mind...."


I am not quite so willing to believe this would address the cancellation of INDIVIDUAL accounts (wouldn't it cancel ALL or none?) but the point to me still stands.


We need backup and we need to be prepared to defend our brothers and sisters if ANYONE's rights are taken away.  I will update this blog and know you can also follow the story at EmpowerTexans.org.


---------------UPDATE 2----------------------
From Michael Sullivan of Empower Texans:

....we were very appreciative of the lengths folks went - tweeting, calling, etc etc. I didn't see any cowardice from anyone. Rather, a full frontal defense of us and our work. I think Twitter, in the end, responded to us and the people calling for the reinstatement. Our friends proved they can move fast to defend each other.
I may be looking more like Gilda Radner, but am very encouraged by this.  I STILL am discouraged by those who were conservative and did NOT pick up the cause at least with a RT or a comment of support.  I realize there are a LOT of battles to fight. I also realize we would have ZERO energy if we were emotionally invested in more than a battle or two at a time.
But if it turns out this was not a mechanical/technical glitch - I expect to see our TwitterVerse more engaged.  And I STILL think it is a good idea to have a backup network that isn't controlled by liberal trolls.  I do.  Really.   .....Ok.  I'm done.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

IS THE UNDEFEATED - DEFEATED?

THE TRUE BOX OFFICE NUMBERS

Much has been made – on both sides – of the opening weekend grosses for SARAH PALIN: THE UNDEFEATED political documentary. There was a cry from blogs and mainstream press that it didn’t even come close to FARENHEIT 9-11 or AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH either in total dollars or per screen averages.  Slate writer David Weigel opined, the new film isn't showing signs of broad-based success.

This is always the first arrow in the Hollywood quiver.  Movie Quality = Box Office Totals.  Ever wonder how Mark Hamill got a third non-Star Wars film after CORVETTE SUMMER bombed?  Or a 4th (remember THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN GEORGIA – nope.  Me neither.  It bombed,) It is all about the Money, honey.

Curiously, when films that endorse their leftist worldview bomb – they will not make the same argument, as a wonderful American Thinker article documents. Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld proved with WILD WILD WEST – talent alone doesn’t make a movie even if rakes in a lot of cash. 

But is there anyone that believes WILD WILD WEST ($114M) was basically as ‘successful’ as NOTTING HILL ($116 M)?  How about ANY GIVEN SUNDAY ($75M) which also was released in 1999?  Heck, even MESSAGE IN THE BOTTLE ($52M) is on TV 10 times more frequently and is ranked far higher in audience approval.

The budget of NOTTING HILL was one quarter that of WWW – and it’s estimated MARKETING BUDGET was closer to 1/7h.  If the return on all costs - including MARKETING is the true judgment of ‘success’ (something a REAL business would use as a measurement) – WWW was an ultimate failure despite having made over $100 Million.  And certainly why there wasn’t a WWW2.  Hollywood DOES eventually have to make money to stay in business afterall.  So actual dollars grosses are a highly distorted measurement.

It is strange then that Mr. Weigel makes his claim AFTER dismissing the movie’s success saying: “This isn't a perfect comparison, because Moore's film had a far bigger paid media campaign and stronger distribution network than Bannon's film. By the standards applied to Moore's film, …

BUT "THE NEW FILM ISNT SHOWING ANY SIGN OF SUCCESS?"

So  Mr. Weigel ADMITS MEDIA and DISTRIBUTION play a large role, and then he proceeds to use a different standard to judge THE UNDEFEATED.   Someone should revoke laptop access code.

If you include the monetary value of the free publicity of FAREINHEIT 9/11 or AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH – it is likely more than millions of dollars to one.  No friendly network morning shows or puffy New York Times pieces even mentioned the opening as far as I know.

PUMPING advertising and pushing radio, tv and news articles WILL succeed in making people aware of your film – even curious.  It will NOT convince them it is any good.  And if a film only makes 20% the SECOND weekend – it is a good indicator audiences didn’t like what they saw.  So ongoing measurements are important.

So can we measure UNDEFEATED’s ‘success’ (or lack thereof) intelligently?  Sure we can by:

-         1. Total financial gross opening weekend
-         2. Total financial gross over the run of the film
-         3. Gross per Screen (opening and total run)
-         4. PROFIT (Grosses minus cost of production and marketing)
-         5. Cinematic Quality
-         6. Entertainment or (in the case of a political documentary) Persuasiveness
-         7. Impact

1. & 2. Clearly – THE UNDEFEATED was no record setter but according to IMDB.com’s category of Political Documentaries, it was #15 of the top 100 in opening weekend grosses REGARDLESS of the number of screens.  Time will tell how it does over the life of the film as the film expands cautiously again this week to an additional 5 SCREENS in 5 cities and 2 additional screens in Atlanta and Phoenix. 

Because so many of these films open and close quickly (often on a single screen so they qualify for DVD distribution) UNDEFEATED would actually be #52 of the top 100 and #15 in TOTAL FILM RUN GROSSES for documentaries opening with 10 screens or more even if it never made another penny.  42 of the top 100 only debuted with 1 screen and half (51) of the top 100 never even made it to 10 screens for the run of the film.  By any measurement the film is ALREADY in the top 50 (52) Political Documentary TOTAL grosses in it’s first week.

As reported in Politico:

One independent film analyst told POLITICO that for a little-advertised documentary with a very limited release, “The Undefeated” did quite well.
“In the most basic sense, anytime a documentary is selling out screens in a movie theater, it’s already successful,” said Phil Contrino, editor of Boxoffice.com.


3. UNDEFEATED comes in #33 of the 100 PoliticalDocs if you go by its $6513 per screen average.  If you take out all openings of less than 10 screens – UNDEFEATED is #2 behind Farenheit 9/11 again – without ANY paid advertising. There is nothing to suggest this is a failure by any box office measurement.

4. Of course it is too early to know how much this film will make. Politico’s Ben Smith quotes industry analyst Bruce Nash as expecting the film to do between $4 Million and $5 Million. And these days theatrical releases only count for 25% to 30% of revenues – the lions share coming from DVD and TV right licensing.

Having directly managed theatrical grass roots marketing campaigns, this is a very good indicator of future success.  The reports of some theaters being ‘empty’ (at midnight no less) line up with my experience of non-advertised releases.  Your turnout is almost directly related to the enthusiasm and awareness of a specific theater community.  If some well networked rabble rouser tells their church members, rotary clubs and even drives the car pool directly there – it will do well IN THAT SPECIFIC NEIGHBORHOOD.  Unlike ADVERTISED film campaigns where a specific (or multiple) demographic groups get the same level of awareness through media  you would expect ticket sales to be more uniform.  But more of one type of moviegoer in a neighborhood (urban comedy for instance) – the higher turnout where there is a concentration of that demographic group or groups.

What is groundbreaking is that THE UNDEFEATED may be the first nationwide release to ONLY be released digitally.  Not only does this save the cost of expensive film prints – it gave UNDEFEATED the ability to be in theaters in 3 weeks from final editing.  The downside, of course is that the groundwork necessary to build ‘buzz’ and in the grassroots model – actual workers on the ground – is extremely limited.  This only adds to the sense that UNDEFEATED has much more power than has been given credit.
It was noted that movies like EXPELLED! (documentary on intelligent design) did well in very liberal urban areas. Leaving aside the obvious media elite bias that anyone outside of New York or Los Angeles is an uninformed, uneducated hillbilly – this actually portends VERY well for UNDEFEATED.  As mentioned in my earlier blog, Camilla Paglia – the well respected liberal New York Times columnist is very intrigued by Ms. Palin.  Again – with the infractions directed at Mrs. Clinton, I suspect there is a broader support for the feminist accomplishments of Palin that what ANYONE would suspect.

Bannon says UNDEFEATED was made for about $1 Million. FARENHEIT was reportedly made for about $6 Million.  For some weird reason Hollywood never wants to include the MARKETING costs or the theater owners cut of the movie ticket but traditionally 30% to 50% of the production budget is spent on marketing. This would bring FARENHEIT to $8 Million or $9 Million not including the millions of free publicity garnered from newsprint, news shows and radio interviews.

We have no idea what the total ad budget was for most of these other documentaries either.  But if indeed Victory Films spent ZERO on advertising for radio, TV (and the minimum required by theaters to list the film in print) as they claim, a 50% to 75% profit prior to DVD release is VERY impressive.  Believe me – just as no executive could explain the success of PASSION OF THE CHRIST (and immediately started developing Christian biopics just in case) – no one can predict where this film will go.  More likely is that at least indie studios, if not mainstreams, will need to rethink their model.  Wouldn’t that be hilarious if the ‘unsuccessful’ UNDEFEATED was actually the first successfully all digital release that executives have salivated over for years?

5 and 6 – I always find it odd in these kinds of debates QUALITY of the film is where the argument is viciously fought.  We might as just as well argue who makes the best hamburgers or whether THE BACHELOR is the worst show on TV.  (Of course my opinion in both of these cases happens to embody the empirical truth). 

Even though THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT looked like crap (and made a crap load of money) – enough people enjoyed it, ‘cinematic’ quality or not to make it one quarter of a billion dollars worldwide.  Yes, Billion. To which we all say ‘holy crap.’
THE UNDEFEATED has drawn vociferous rebukes and recommendations and I am shocked (shocked I tell you) that there is very little intelligent discourse accommodating other people’s views.

Even those which address issues like it’s soundtrack can’t do so without throwing in hysterical proclamations like that of Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy who called it a "documentary stitched together with a thousand sound bites," adding that "this entirely partisan account of the phenomenon that is Sarah Palin looks like a campaign film for a campaign that at least for the moment isn't happening." 

Many made reference to the constant crescendo of the soundtrack and editing cuts.  These are very fair comments I think.  But what is absolutely hilarious by those thinking themselves to be ‘intellectual’ are ascertations made without any evidence whatsoever like in this LA Times article (blog):

And actually, "The Undefeated" may have a larger problem: It doesn’t play that well to the faithful.  The New York Post's Kyle Smith, one of the most conservative mainstream print critics out there today, fiercely disliked the film, calling it a "hopeless, sputtering jumble" and saying he'd "sooner have watched a Michael Moore movie." Worse yet, he doesn't even think it serves its propaganda goals. "The busted logic and narrative chop of 'The Undefeated,’" he wrote, “don’t suggest the phrase, 'spirited new defense of Palin.' They say, 'cyclone landed here.’”

It doesn’t play well to the faithful?  CNN, Fox News, and first hand accounts across the blogosphere suggest EXACTLY the opposite.  Sure a movie can take 1 audience member and try to make it a campaign – but in EVERY city it was screened – there are reports of applause breaking out in the theater.  FOR A DOCUMENTARY.  Here I can only quote the character of Debra from EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.  In a word, “Idiots.”

As someone who has actually MADE a small film and had a small part in the industry my take is simple:

It does the job of telling the story Sarah Palin and her supporters wants told.  

While the music seemed slightly manipulative toward the end, the audience I was with overwhelmingly loved it.  No one is forcing anyone to agree with it or believe it.  An intelligent person  should WANT to know both sides of a story – and it is clearly an indictment on our media that even conservatives truly do not understand the accomplishments of Governor Palin.

As I’m writing this article I’ve been tweeting with an independent film director who comes from a very conservative family – and he was trashing Sarah Palin.  Many of the views he espoused to me were one’s I held before seeing the film myself.  But he wouldn’t moderate his position although he had not read GOING ROGUE or watched the documentary.

No matter how much critics want to say, “she is unqualified,” it doesn’t change the fact she accomplished some historic things.  Wasilla could hardly be called a ‘town’ before she was mayor.  And according to Wasilla residents I interviewed who corroborated the story in the film, she fought overwhelmingly negative (and sexist I might add) forces to make it a thriving industrial town.  Unlike achievements like RomneyCare which wither in luster over time – residents of Wasilla currently enjoy the legacy that Palin nearly singlehandedly wrought.  And they credit HER for it.

It was Palin demonstrating grace and virtue in crediting Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro for her accomplishments although she disagreed with her (severely) on most things political.  Even Dennis Miller is quick to credit President Obama for not ‘taking his foot off of the gas’ on many of the military issues at stake in the war against terror.  Hardly a good/evil diatribe from those with leftist leanings.  Who then is the adult in the room and who should we believe about the film?

For those who want to diminish these types of achievements by misleading people that it is a ‘horrible’ film – they fit the mold of the same people that want to declare Palin a ‘horrible’ person.  For whatever her faults and failures – she didn’t steal government secrets and put US servicemen and intelligence at risk as Mr. Assange did.  She has raised a family, tried to help people where she could and FACTUALLY has helped her city and state in many ways that remain today.

Critics are, after all, notoriously bad for their judgment on what the wider public will believe.  THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST received attacks from TV and print news ORGANIZATIONS as if it was exalting Hitler.  But in the end it made $300 Million worldwide and  - although less than half of the critics judged it ‘good’ - an overwhelming 84% (according to Rotten Tomatoes) disagreed.

7. Which brings us to IMPACT.  The short answer is, of course, we don’t know.  But the other political documentaries to which THE UNDEFEATD is being compared – CAN be measured.  AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did an amazing $70,000 per screen average (4 screens) when it opened and continued to do $12,000 per screen a few weeks later.  But it was so filled with errors that the United Kingdom government has banned it from classrooms unless it carries a disclaimer of nine scientific errors.  Worse, the very emails of the scientists used at the center of the UN IPCC report (upon which the movie was based) admit there was no real evidence for ‘warming’ and now over 1000 scientists openly challenged man made global warming.  Meanwhile the US has spent millions to ‘sequester carbon’ and the DOE/EPA continue to borrow money to justify a science that is at very best ‘unsettled.’ That could be why GALLUP reports only 44% of US citizens believe in man made global warming a stupendous drop from 71% in 2007. Impact = fail.

How about FARENHEIT 9/11?    Clearly targeted at George W. Bush, GWB’s approval numbers continued to plummet through 2004 when F9/11 was released) to historic lows by the end of his Presidency.  Certainly deserved for some who willingly orchestrated the death of nearly 3,000 people, right?   Uhhmm, not so much.  As an example, the film claims Gore had the votes to win the 2000 election but a six-month study in 2001 by a consortium of six major news organizations — the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Tribune Co. (parent of the L.A. Times), Associated Press and CNN; plus two Florida papers, the Palm Beach Post and St. Petersburg Times found otherwise.  And Bush’s poll numbers?  He currently stands at 45% approval (US News) equal to that of Barak Obama.

So what finally to make of the numbers?  From Hollywood’s perspective they begrudgingly have to admit THE UNDEFEATED is not a failure.  They do have to be trusted to report box office news tomorrow.  From the rights’ perspective – it is a very, very big success when conservative movies like I WANT YOUR MONEY made $464 per screen.

Even against movies from Al Franken and Michael Moore’s SICKO – it is a resounding opening week success.  How big is still to be determined - likely by the grassroots forces that want to see Palin run for President.

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