Call and response

I liked what I wrote on a Facebook post regarding this article so much that I had to share. It’s illustrative of how one side argues with the other on the topic.

My story begins when I saw this reply, by Karl Shipps. He’s not a friend of mine, but in a quick check of his Facebook page it’s noteworthy that he signed a petition called “Don’t Let Myron Ebell Dismantle the EPA.” (Ebell is a noted skeptic of the idea that mankind is a prime driver in our climate.) Shipps wrote:

This story takes you to a climate change denial website. These people are not to be trusted.

So it sounds like this gentleman is denying the “deniers”? Well, that wouldn’t stand with me so I wrote:

Few deny climate change. What they correctly debate is mankind’s impact on it.

So, piling on was another person, Jim Davis – same general tenor, but in his concession was a more emotional appeal. I guess I was already winning.

Yes, it’s hard to say with 100% certainty that the climate change is due or even strongly enhanced by human activity. However, on a planet on which we ultimately WILL run out of fossil fuels, why not reduce the pollution so we can breathe cleaner air (note the recent terrible pollution in major cities around the world) and stop polluting our fresh water. And do we really want to continue to send our children into coal mines?

All right, I decided it was time to set folks straight with some logic. So here we go:

First off, we don’t send children into coal mines. Adults make a conscious decision to work in the field, particularly when the average starting salary can be $60,000.

But to address the main point: it will be decades or centuries before we “run out” of fossil fuels – in truth, the definition of running out is the point where it’s not economically viable to extract them. (Case in point: there was a recent oil find in Texas of 2 billion barrels, but at this time the price of oil is too low to make it economically viable to extract it.)

And the usage of fossil fuels is what global climate change alarmists truly wish to go after. Anyone with any sense knows that our climate is mainly controlled by the sun: near the equator it’s mainly tropical because of the duration of sunshine over the year and close to the poles it’s extremely cold since days are short. And given that the world has endured ice ages and blossomed during warm periods over the last 2,000 years or more, to believe mankind can affect this with his SUVs and coal-fired plants is pure folly. Nor can we claim what we have is the optimum, normal climate: after all, with a degree of global warming it would open up thousands of acres to food production where the growing season is too short now.

Furthermore, trying to predict weather two weeks out is tricky enough, let alone forecasting the temperature trends a century hence. So I have figured out the game, and our economic progress is best advanced when energy sources are cheap and plentiful.

As I said before, few deny there is climate change – we have thousands of years of recorded history to suggest that it does and will continue to do so. What I “deny” is that our lifestyle has any major effect on it, because the “solution” to climate change always seems to be more government mandate, taxation, and control.

So am I wrong, or out of bounds here?

This is why I don’t object to drilling for oil, fracking, or any other attempt to use the resources our nation and world was blessed with. Over time we have found that fossil fuels are inexpensive and reliable sources of energy, unlike the “renewable” sources that either aren’t reliable (we don’t have constant wind or sunshine, and even a river’s flow can be diminished by drought) or not economically viable without government subsidy or artificial market carveout. This is why we have treaties and agreements that mandate carbon reduction because the market would never do this on its own, nor should it.

The best example of this that I can think of is the common farmer. A century ago he would build a windmill to provide power for his farm, but as soon as he could hook up to electricity as utility companies moved into rural areas, he generally did because it was much more reliable. (Much of this was done through a New Deal initiative which also electrified individual homes as a job-creation measure; that was later expanded for communications. Eighty years later, even though practically all the rural areas of the country have long since been connected to electricity and basic telephone service, the program was again modified for energy efficiency purposes. It’s additional proof that government is less about solving problems and more about self-preservation for bureaucrats.)

To me, logic dictates that global climate change is real but not influenced by man, and that distinction removes any excuse for government to be involved.

A pair of Easton events

Our friends on the mid-Shore will get to be a hotbed of conservative political activity next week.

First off, on Thursday evening the fine folks of Heritage Action will host a training session on “How to be an Effective Activist Through Social Media.” It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Comfort Inn in Easton so you should be back home well before the witching hour.

The topics will include:

Online Training: Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube
Twitter Training: Build and deploy a Twitter Army
Legislative Training: Learn how to use the Heritage Action Dashboard to Hold Congress Accountable

All they ask is that you register at this site, show up a little early (they prefer 5:00), and bring their iPad or smart phone. A hankering for Chik-fil-A wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. And say hi to Melody Clarke for me, since she alerted me to this.

Then comes Saturday. Because Easton has a centrally-located Planned Parenthood facility, it will be the Eastern Shore site of “one of over 150 events coast-coast on August 22, in cooperation with a coalition of more than 40 pro-life groups.” This according to the organizers of the local event. I spoke to the folks with the Maryland Pro-Life group at the Wicomico County Fair tonight and they were anxious to be at the protest. (It should be noted that Planned Parenthood is closed on Saturdays. With any luck they will soon be closed more permanently.)

Dubbed the Easton #PPSellsBabyParts Protest, it will run from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 22 at the Easton Planned Parenthood location, 8579 Commerce Drive #102 in Easton. As my notice says:

We may never have a better opportunity to strip Planned Parenthood of their massive $500 million taxpayer subsidy and expose the truth about this corrupt organization.

They may claim “doctored video” and “we provide needed health services” but the fact Planned Parenthood had to hire a Democrat hired gun PR firm means we have them on the ropes – even the PR firm is ashamed to admit it. Pressure from caring Americans can finish this fight.

I can’t make the Thursday event but I will strive for the Saturday one. It will be interesting to see who covers it.

The perils of social media

May 16, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The perils of social media 

I’ve been sitting on this one for about a week, as I’ve had a busy last few days and have been following some other items that placed themselves on the front burner. But way back on the stove was an e-mail I received a week ago that I found interesting enough to reply to.

It was an e-mail from a gentleman who is trying to resurrect a social media site for conservatives. In this case he was looking for a link to his site from mine. (I guess he’s found out I run a relatively conservative political shop over here in the hinterlands.) In return he would build a fan page for me on his site, which is fine with me as far as that goes. In my case, I just read the e-mail and it piqued my curiosity – what happened to the original site?

So I asked this guy, DJ Cohon. Here’s what he said:

We had the site from 2008 to 2011. In the past we had a little over 15,000 members. At the time it was costing us too much money. Then facebook had shut down our fan page which was a major blow. The main reason however was the site was getting completely taken over by people against the Tea Party movement. I was spending too much time deleting blogs that were anti-american to say the least. The final straw was a major ddos attack.

This time we are much more prepared with spam checks and filters in place before the launch. The conservatives of the country need a place to call their own. I read everyday online how FB is removing more and more pages that are right leaning. They are once again trying to shut down the voices of the people. Another fan page for Allen West just had their page taken down because they had a link to a site that showed a picture of Mohammad. They had over 300,000 fans. GoFundMe has also recently taken a stand against right leaning causes. They are doing this in preparation for the upcoming election. I was thinking about bringing the site back after seeing what has been going on. And after receiving many messages through twitter from followers asking to put the site back up I decided it was time.

To each his or her own – if I had 15,000 readers a week I would be floored. So I checked out the site (teapartytown.us) and right now it has is a video, a space to gather e-mail addresses, and a fairly broad range of submenu items which are hit-or-miss – but it looks like a quality, well-done site. There’s already a handful of fan pages, mainly for 2016 presidential candidates but a couple bloggers there, too. It’s on track for a July 4 relaunch.

I realize that the next couple paragraphs are going to assume that Cohon’s story is true. I have no real reason to believe he’s not telling the truth and he’s not going to gain much by lying to me. But if what he said about the demise of the original site is correct, what does that say about the tolerance of the Left to opposing views? It’s anecdotal evidence to be sure, and there are people out there who will believe anything that fits into a particular worldview and narrative, but overall Facebook and other social media sites seemingly only put up with conservatives because they have to at best and are openly hostile at worst. Say something there to defend the right to life or traditional marriage and you run the risk of someone swinging the ban hammer.

But in the back of my mind there’s just something which gnaws at me about the label “TEA Party.” I don’t shun the label myself, but there is a connotation to it that is negative to some as well. As long as Cohon doesn’t envision massive commercial success, though, he should do just fine in the niche of several million Americans who tend to be conservative to libertarian in their outlook. 15,000 people is a nice number, but in the universe of Facebook, Twitter, and so forth it’s like a tiny asteroid. I’ve been to rallies where 15,000 was just the population of the restroom lines.

Maybe the thought occurs to me because, while there may be a need for a group like TEA Party Town, we as a movement can’t be a community insulated from the outside world. To paraphrase an old quote: we may not be interested in war, but war is interested in us. In the minds of many who subscribe to the philosophy of the TEA Party, if government and the world left us alone we would be satisfied with life – but neither is going to happen soon. So we have to deal with the world as is, and that includes the traditional social media.

At my church the sign over the front door tells us we are entering the mission field. It’s worth having a place to preach to the choir and speak among friends – in fact, I encourage the fellowship – but we can’t abandon the rest of the world when doing so.

Running out of steam?

I don’t think anyone else has picked up on this, but in the middle of an otherwise boilerplate appeal for donations I came across this tidbit, from May 8:

The incredible response our campaign has already received demonstrates that Marylanders are ready for a change.

In our first 100 days, we have raised over $533,000 from more than 2,400 donors, raising more — with three times more contributors — than one of the leading Democrats in the race, Attorney General Doug Gansler who raised just $306,000 in the first 100 days of his campaign.

In fact, we have over twice as many donors in our first 100 days than Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown did – proving that with broad grassroots fundraising support, this race can be won.

Let’s roll the tape, shall we? Here was Hogan on April 11:

In the first reporting period of his campaign for governor, Larry Hogan raised $422,000 in mostly small donations from more than 1,800 individuals. The sheer amount of money raised puts the Anne Arundel County business owner and grassroots leader on par with where Lt. Governor Anthony Brown was at this stage of his campaign but with nearly twice the number of donors.

The early haul puts Hogan ahead of where Attorney General Doug Gansler was 68 days after his announcement and approaches the combined amount raised by his Republican challengers in the last calendar year.

If you translate the message as I do, this means he’s still behind Brown and ahead of Gansler. But the latter isn’t as relevant because Doug had much more money available to him when he formally launched a gubernatorial campaign because he was unopposed in 2010.

More importantly, I’ll remind you that Hogan actually raised nearly $454,000 in the first 68 days, according to a published report. (His campaign finance form shows total receipts at just over $487,000, which includes a $100,000 loan to himself and over $30,000 from various other internal sources.) That translates to just under $6,700 per day and makes the income rate over the last month of about $2,500 per day look fairly weak. One would think the frontrunner would be doing better in fundraising per diem as the election gets closer.

This is particularly true because the social media end of Hogan’s campaign continues on its 2014 pace of about 130 new “likes” a day. But those social media accolades aren’t translating as well into checks. And considering Larry spent far more on the race than anyone else during the early days of the campaign, to a point where his cash on hand was probably equal to or somewhat behind David Craig’s, one has to wonder if the wave has crested. Some of the discussion we had on Saturday pondered that very point.

It will be most helpful once we get “apples-to-apples” financial statements at the end of the month. But not participating in debates and assuming all of your grassroots will be covered by social media seems to me an odd method of running a serious campaign. It would be interesting to see the internal polls of the candidates because I’m not convinced that Hogan remains the frontrunner after such a lackluster month.

A social media victory

May 29, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on A social media victory 

In case you missed it earlier tonight – and to be quite honest, most people who don’t follow social media missed it – those on the left were out to protest Senator Ted Cruz and his appearance at a New York Republican fundraiser by bombarding his Twitter account with admonitions on his positions and a hashtag (for the Twitter-illiterate, that’s the “pound” symbol, #) of #youcruzyoulose. Catchy, but certainly irrelevant.

Of course, as we often do, our side caught wind of this “protest” and came up with the idea of Tweeting our support with our own hashtag, to wit:

Senator Cruz was pleased:

 

And the point was made, as #youcruzyoulose had nowhere near the staying power of #cruztovictory, which was the top-trending hashtag on Twitter for part of the evening.

But the question has to be asked: why Cruz? After all, he’s only 1 of 100, the junior Senator from a state which is pretty much owned by Republicans right now. How is he a threat?

Well, he is conservative, but so are a handful of others. He’s also relatively outspoken, although not to the extent of fellow Senator Rand Paul. Maybe it’s because he’s *gasp” a Latino who’s not down with the immigration amnesty bill? (Cue the game show bell, “ding ding ding.”) Yes, that and he’s pro-gun as well.

We don’t need 100 Ted Cruz clones in the Senate, but about 50 others will be fine. Let’s have some more fun with the #youcruzyoulose crowd, shall we? Just another #cruztovictory in the realm of social media.

 

Adding to the pool

April 16, 2013 · Posted in Bloggers and blogging, State of Conservatism · 2 Comments 

You might think I hate competition insofar as having more blogs around, but I really don’t. I feel relatively secure in my place in the pecking order, and let’s face it: the pro-liberty movement needs more good writers to expose what government does, on all levels. Certainly I can’t be everywhere at once and in this case more cooks don’t spoil the broth.

So if you’d like to join me in the wide, wonderful world of internet social media and don’t mind traveling over to Frederick on a Saturday, have I got an event for you. I will let MDCAN – the same people who bring you the outstanding Turning the Tides conference – pick this up from here:

As today’s Patriots, we need more than emails to communicate with each other. We need Facebook! We need Twitter! We need blogs!

Even if you don’t use all the different forms of social media, it’s useful to understand why they are such important tools of communication. Once you understand them better, maybe you’ll decide to give new media a try!

So come join us for the Social Media Workshop on Saturday, April 27, from 2 – 5 PM at the Jekyll & Hyde Tavern in Frederick.

The Leadership Institute is hosting our program, and will teach us how to set up and publish a blog, and how to get started with Twitter. You’ll meet people with whom you can begin to build your online network of followers.

Bring your laptop, tablet or smartphone, and make this a hands-on experience to remember!

Come early for lunch or stay for dinner and drinks afterward, and put the “social” in social media! (Meals and drinks are not included in the ticket price.)

I can tell you from experience that it’s enjoyable to watch someone who was inspired by reading a good website become a member of the new media and expand the pool of information people can dip into. As I was inspired by the late Bill Duvall and G.A. Harrison, I gave my good friend Jackie Wellfonder her initial support.

Don’t get me wrong – the pro-liberty movement still needs the volunteers who will register voters, knock on doors for our preferred candidates, and get people to run for office themselves. (By the way, I missed our oft-delayed Pathfinders seminar here, so I don’t know how successful it was.) But there’s room for people who can craft a message and hold politicians accountable. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this area always seemed to have more than its share of great political sites – until recently when we’ve dwindled down to just a couple. It’s time for a new generation to burst onto the scene and this seminar can help.

And if Frederick is too far for my local readers, why not encourage MDCAN to host an event on this side of the Bay Bridge? I’ve spoken on this before and would be happy to add a few words.

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