Tag Archives: Analysis

Skeptic Conservative Podcast for this Saturday


Hey, look at that!

Half hour show for Saturday July 11th, 11:00 AM Pacific Time

So this is going to be a very tight show. Yes, it’s been forever, I know. That’s what this post is for, but before I get into that, here’s the related reading for the show, both from Ace of Spades HQ:

You’re Not Going to Believe This, But the Easy-Bake Media Is Once Again Focusing on a Trivial Issue Which Is So Easily Understood That You Need to Have Exactly Zero Outside Reading to Opinionate Passionately About It

Fed Up Conservatives Plot Measures Against Boehner

I’ll remind everybody that website is written with a great deal of fire, but on these issues I sympathize strongly with the blunt takes.

Now, as I mentioned in my last post, rebooting the show is a priority of mine. I can’t say to what extent I can guarantee content release, but I’m going to see how well I can do with Saturday morning quick-takes, the goal being to get something out there while I pursue deeper options.

My intention is to have the podcast be a more rapid-fire affair OR focused on one or two issues/angles. I need to get back into my groove, and while I am very interested in engaging with you, the audience, at this time it’s in my best interests to have those discussions take place here on the blog. Fortunately for you, this means the shows will have either no breaks or only one break in the middle!

At any given time, my priority is to focus on the audience that I have at any given moment. I know for a fact there’s a fair number of you who keep tabs on this site as well as Blog Talk Radio for any blips, and these coming shows will be focused on you.

Please comment and ask questions. I’m considering how to approach what’s been happening lately, and we have a delightful mix of long range things to discuss mixed in with the short-term. Expect to see more writing posts similar to last week’s, at the very least.

Cheers,

Doug

A Reminder to Be Skeptical


Credit goes to The Blaze for bringing this story from the New York Times to my attention.

Now, I know what long time followers will say: Doug! You’re linking the New York Times, bastion of progressive hedonism! What happened?

For once, the New York Times committed actual journalism. I won’t focus too much on the article itself, The Blaze has already done a fine job summarizing the article which is very much worth the read. In brief, an agency from Russia committed an elaborate hoax of a chemical plant explosion in a small american city. Said hoax included staged video of supposed ISIS terrorists claiming responsibility for the attack, hundreds of twitter accounts posting faked photos and video, and duplicate versions of authentic websites meant to trick the unwary.

The main reason I bring this is up is to share my experience as an old hand at consuming news, and in our era of always evolving news reporting there has been a universal constant:

First reports are always wrong.

That doesn’t mean you disregard breaking news. It means you view it with a critical eye. Always, no matter the source. Even when youtube came out, even during the aftermath of the Boston Bombing in which Twitter was the most reliable information source and absolutely creamed the mainstream media in reporting, any self respecting news analyst, amateur or otherwise, took to heart deep down that you always double check, you always triple check, and you verify your information through third parties.

And no, citing twitter and then citing a news story citing twitter doesn’t quite count, that’s ontological sourcing. What first reports are useful for are leads. The broad gist, the smoke in the room that one might chase down in order to find a possible fire. Or, in this case, a foreign country sponsoring a group of professional trolls blowing a tremendous amount of smoke.

I have always encouraged my listeners and readers to do their own homework, and, by and large, the list of websites and broadcasters I draw the majority of my information from encourage their audiences to do the same thing. In the example of the Columbia Chemical hoax, those initially caught up in the thrill of the moment would have verified the non-event by checking CNN, the local radio affiliates, drudge, ABC, state authorities.. the list goes on and on.

Yes, the problem of a legitimate website being ‘duped’ with a fake exists, and took place in that example. But for an event as serious as the one the hoax was trying to push – a major chemical plant explosion on September 11th – you treat those cases with extra scrutiny and make sure they look really good before firing the broadsides of everybody panic!

There are people out there who want to cause mischief. There are cases where they are willing to go to tremendous lengths to do so. Sometimes, those actors are countries, or sponsored by countries. Whatever major conflict happens next to humanity will almost certainly involve informational warfare, and, arguably, one could call this incident a major test-case. It’s in no way my intention to scare or fear monger or anything of the sort.

Merely, this is just a gentle reminder: When you see that sweet juicy story full of blood and guts splattering the windows, make sure the big and little dogs out in the wild actually have something in their jaws. Which you should have already known to do, anyway.

I’ve said in the past that twitter is a decent means of getting a feel for the ‘pulse’ of a current event. By and large, it still is. But now more then ever, if a current event is highly controversial while its unfolding, you’re going to want to take extra time to ensure the tweets you’re following come from verified, trustworthy people. And even then…

Cheers,

TheDougem

Minor housekeeping note:

I am currently exploring options for rebooting the podcast, favoring blogtalkradio but willing to consider other venues. While I would like to reach out to other conservative folks out there I kind of need to earn my street cred back, and what I really need to do is actually start commenting on news articles again, in addition to writing posts about them, on the sites I frequently mention here. (Like Legal Insurrection, Instapundit, and Ace of Spades). 

I’m torn between whether I want to focus on California politics, or my usual schtick of a focus on national issues with whining about California sprinkled in between. Realistically, my entry back will be the short, frantic half hour weekly shows where I don’t have to pay for a BTR subscription, but we’ll see. I am guilty of sometimes overthinking this stuff.

As always thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Caller-Clarifications for Skeptic Conservative 1/6/2012


As I had a sudden influx of fresh faces on last night’s show, a few things were brought up – by one caller particularly – that I felt required further expansion on the blog. That’s why it’s here folks, and I want to continue to foster an air of discussion!

As a general note I’m going to try very hard to address all caller’s questions to the best of my ability on the blog if I feel like I didn’t do the question justice in show. Callers and listeners are encouraged to check in on these posts and ask further questions if needed.

Listen to the show here. More after the jump.

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An Open Response to an Occupy San Diego Sympathizer


No-one responded to my question about whether or not to respond openly to a pm I got – so I decided to go do it anyways! Below is the message in full. I understand it’s a busy week for everybody – but all the same I hope I get you folks on the weekend. The video in question is linked in my previous post

Quick note to site newbies, please read the about tab before jumping to conclusions about how I tick, kay?

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A Souring on the Occupy Movement


Alright folks – I know I do this way too much, but in this case it’s warranted.

I owe you guys an explanation. This content draught has gone on much longer then usual, and before I unleash the full flood gates of what I’ve been up to – allow me to cover one of the reasons I’ve been very quiet over the past two months.

To put it simply, it’s been the Occupy Movement.

Over the past month, I really sat down and dunked my head deep into the mire that is politics. Not only did I absorb news coverage from all angles, I personally went down to Occupy San Diego on its opening day and took over 100 photos and several video clips. I have gone over and collected a few different manifestos, watched countless videos, really sat down and took it in. I published an initial impression of the overall movement. My first take – even after a half a week of thought, me trying to be fair! –  was that the soul of the movement was fueled by anti capitalism, and that troublemakers and professional protesters would hijack any moderates trying to turn it into a tea party like movement.

I have strong reason today to tell you, my audience, that I think my initial impressions were correct.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you a document I received about two weeks ago at the short lived “Occupy UCSD” movement tied in to the broader “Occupy Higher Education” tiied in to the “Occupy Everything” movement. I’ll happily go over – bullet point by bullet point – why their manifesto – one approved by Occupy San Diego and Occupy Wall Street – betrays the initial message of bi partisanship.

This movement has been coopted all along by Big Labor and hard leftists who want to crash the system to bring about socialism. THAT SAID. Believe me, I know that there are libertarians and ordinary minded folks frustraited with the system in this group – but their voices are being drowned out. I contend that all along, the idea has been to get folks hungry and angry through long term occupations, and then wield them as blunt instruments to bring about societal tension. Residents around the occupations get angry. The activists get angry. Inevitably, confrontations happen and they are gleefully embraced by the leaders of the movement.

Observe the videos below.

1) Occupy DC mob Injures elderly Woman at Americans for Prosperity Reagan Memorial Dinner

2) Attack Victims interviewed

How is this supposed to bring about meaningful reform and change? How is physcially intimidating, harrasing, and wounding people you disagree with supposed to color your organization in a good light? The occupy DC group expressely said multiple times that their intent was to bar conservatives from leaving the event. Why? What was that supposed to do? The event was hardly a sinister meeting of the ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ – it was a remembrance of what would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.

I’ll go into more detail on this later – but to sum, my biggest problem with the Occupy movement has been my impression that they act like a mob. They practice mob justice, they circle the wagons and/or excuse most criticism, and they more or less allow the vagrants and violent members to do their thing unchallenged. “We can’t police free speech!” after all. The overall attitude in my eyes is that their flagship inspiration – Tahir Square and the Arab Spring – is misguided. It seems like they feel that all they have to do is camp out for weeks on end, make noise, and get what they want. That is not how politics works.

Meaningful politics involves actual action. Sitting in a square doesn’t count. I’m talking about things similar to Occupy’s teach ins, but done less destructively. Things that local tea party groups around the country (including one I’m getting involved in) do every day. Yes, folks, it is possible to be a political activist while having a life and a job. I intend to prove that over the next several months.

Do I see a crash coming? Yeah. Does that mean I think we should embrace what amounts to socialist anarchy? NOPE. I believe in reaching out to all ideologies in the goal of destroying corruption and bringing back an emphasis on locality in politics. It’s very possible, it’s hard work, and oh yeah – it’s been done. WITHOUT MOBS IN THE STREETS.

Mobs in the streets are bad things, folks, no matter who is part of them. You can have the noblest, most decent people on the planet in a mob – and bad things will happen when bad apples act. I’m not decrying all protests – but I AM decrying protests that are largely aimless, anarchistic, and open ended in nature because the founders of the movement deliberately wanted them to be that way.

Remember that I think that we have elements in power right now who want to create problems so they can force in the solutions of their choosing. Van Jones, here’s looking at you.

-Doug

PS: I will do an audio segment tonight or tomorrow on me and my plans and thoughts. As I’m becoming very fond of saying – We live in interesting times. Take nothing for granted, folks, and keep a careful, skeptical eyes on the news.

The Occupy Movement – A Few Links Worth Sharing


…because ultimately these folks give word to the issues better then I could. Links and more of my thoughts after the jump.

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Israel Vs. Hamas: Analysis



The Skeptic Conservative is having a fun time at college – Classes have started off well, and his new years resolutions include fun things like making this Blog successful, staying in shape – the usual stuff. This will be a busy week for me, but I’m going to hold myself to publishing at least an article a day – we’ll see how long I can keep it up! As always, write – comment – anything! It will make me a happy blogger, and happy bloggers write more.

The war between Israel and Hamas has been going on for over two weeks, with the end drawing near. We’ve seen it dominate the headlines and the debate on the internet, and we have seen a vehement reaction against almost everything Israel has done – which, I suppose, shouldn’t surprise anyone. Briefly, lets take a look at Israel’s actual goals in this conflict:

1) Stop the current rocket barrage

Call them bottle rockets, call them toys, crude instruments being thrown at a massive, technologically superior enemy – the fact remains that these weapons kill, and they disrupt daily life in Israel. It seems many people are fond of romanticizing these rockets, but reality doesn’t quite support them. It has been documented that rather then being simple bottle rockets, these are unguided explosive devices packed with shrapnel. Some are also more sophisticated rockets smuggled in under the Egyptian border, courtesy of Iran. Because of this, whenever they are noticed, all life stops in Israel for a few brief minutes as everyone takes cover and waits for the impact. The damage of this weapon is psychological, and to a lesser extent economical, and anyone who doesn’t realize how someone may be forever changed by a rocket exploding meters behind them and nearly killing them is being blind to the facts. The rockets can’t be allowed to continue, it endangers Israeli civilians too much.

2) Prevent future rocket barrages

This is something I am afraid that Israel may not do good on – but I sincerely hope they are serious this time. The classic problem with Hamas that every time Israel has ceded territory, the rocket barrages have not stopped. There are several ways this can be done – first, Israel could live up to their “Reputation” of being genocidal maniacs and flatten the entire Gazan strip with heavy artillery and carpet bombs. Of course, they aren’t going to do that because they value human life. The other way – and what it seems they’re doing – Is to more painstakingly secure the entire country, obliterate Hamas, and stabilize the country before they leave. That way, quality of life can improve, the Palestinians can realize that Israeli’s really don’t want to kill them all, and they can live without fear of Hamas killing squads executing those seen sympathizing with the Zionists. This cannot last for too long – but it has to happen at some point for the peace process to move forward.

3)Destabilize and De-legitimize Hamas

Sure, Hamas was a popularly elected government – but it is an illegitimate one and the Palestinians made a poor choice in selecting them. Democracy is good – but in this case it failed because an extremist organization was able to seize power in the immediate aftermath of a bloody civil war. The Palestinians were half forced, half incited to vote the way they did, making them the ultimate victims. Hamas has no incentives to make peace in the region since their stated mission is to destroy and conquer Israel, so they simply must be toppled. They do not truly represent the people and their interests, since they do not value their lives.

4) Put a good face on the war

Israel is simply trying to hard here. Before you chew me out, listen – We have already seen that the media is not interested in supporting Israel in the least. Despite showing tremendous restraint in response to Hamas, every case of friendly fire and collateral damage have been blown out of proportion. Israel needs to continue as they have, without fear – if they continue to be righteous, and ESPECIALLY if they help rebuild Gaza, the world will favor them in the long run. For now, no matter what they do, they will be condemned. I’m not saying they should completely shun the press – but they should not let the media and their headlines dictate their policies. It is weakness, and it is exactly what Hamas is seeking.

Hamas’ Goals

Hamas’ simple goals can be summed as follows:

1) Conquer Israel

It should be obvious to people that Hamas has a dedicated vendetta against the existence of Israel the state. It is blatantly, boldly stated in their charter that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. They want to violently reclaim Israel’s territory, and most of all they want Jerusalem. They are not interested in coexistence with moderates, much less Jews. It is simply not possible to make peace with such a group unless you can convince them to change their views with diplomatic means, and as necessary, military means.

2) Maximize Civilian Casualties

Hamas does not value human life. They have demonstrated this time and time again in their struggle with Israel – using human shields is now a common tactic with them. Why shouldn’t they? The media loves to ignore, or sidestep, the fact that Hamas goes out of it’s way to put civilians in harm’s way. Rockets are fired from neighborhoods, Hamas operations are conducted in hospitals, all to guarantee that as rocket positions are destroyed, civilians are caught in the cross fire. Hamas also doesn’t hesitate to kill civilians who oppose their agenda. They even broadcast television shows that seek to brainwash children into hating Israel, Jews, and advocating their violent overthrow. To Hamas, the Palestinian people are useful tools to further their agenda, and nothing more. They do not value their lives much beyond that.

3) Wage Propaganda War Against Israel

This is the number one tactic of Hamas in it’s fight against Israel. Almost all of their public actions are carefully planned and carried out in a way to make Israel look bad. They cater to the West’s disgust of war by making sure Israel is forced to attack “civilian” targets, that women and children are killed, and that civilians get caught in the cross fire. To the mainstream, it seems that they can do no wrong – and they are cast as the David in David vs. Goliath. They also use the internet rather effectively – a tactic that saw widespread use with Al Qaeda in Iraq. They hate the West – but they will not hesitate to exploit the West’s weaknesses in order to fight them.

4) Continue the fight at all costs

Hamas has continually violated cease fires, truces, etc. during this prolonged struggle with Israel. Despite numerous concessions made by Israel, Hamas and their allies have continued the fight. In periods of peace, they smuggle in weapons, consolidate their power and then they begin to provoke Israel into striking back, and ‘breaking’ the truce. You would have to be a careful observer of television news to notice that Hamas had been firing rockets all summer long, despite the truce that had been put in place in July. Hamas cannot be assumed to act in good faith because of this.

In Sum:

Above all else, it is highly essential for you, who are mostly people in the western world, to realize that we are looking at a completely different culture then ours. Hamas takes itself very seriously – they know they are combating a technologically superior enemy that could squash them like a bug, but they are not afraid to go to the horrific lengths that we would not consider. I can almost guarantee that if somehow, Hamas had the strength and military might of Israel, they would not hesitate to massacre the entire nation, annihilate all signs of their presence, and build it over with symbols of their own culture. Hamas practices a branch of Islam that preaches violence, and spreading their religion by the sword. This is a fundamental facet of the ideology we find ourselves battling in Iraq and Afghanistan – to them it is a religious, cultural struggle. It is a sad and unfortunate thing that this branch of Islam has not undergone a reformation like Christianity has – but we must continue to oppose and battle this ideology of hate and oppression. But consider what I am saying carefully – I am deliberately singling out Extreme Islam, not moderate Islam. This struggle – this culture war, is sadly becoming one of the most key struggles in our history, and we must stand strong against it.

EDIT 6/10/13: Light polishing