Friday, May 25, 2012

BlogBurst Friday - Spy Novels and Bad Guys

Guilty pleasure confession time: I’m a fan of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels.  For at least fifteen years, I’ve read and reread the exploits of Jack Ryan as he squared off with Soviet agents; I’ve thrilled as agents and spies around the globe dodged danger and threats from other spies and tyrannical regimes.  There are always heart-in-the-throat moments where characters to whom I’ve grown attached are in great peril, and I hang on every word until the danger has passed.  I’ve enjoyed those parts of the stories more than anything else in the books, flipping pages as fast as I can read the words.  There’s a romance to a good spy story; the stakes are the highest you can imagine, and the hero is plunged into ever-more dangerous situations, until he ultimately prevails and saves the day, the girl, the nation, the future.

We’ve had it so easy in a country where we’re free to express ourselves; in spite of Political Correctness and Campaign Finance Reform and other restrictions, we’re still extremely free.  Witness the blogger explosion in the past few years.  Hundreds and thousands of political blogs have emerged, tackling everything from local to national issues.  Twitter has helped publicize even the smallest of blogs, and conservative bloggers build networks at events such as Right Online and Blog Con.  And there’s no tyrannical force oppressing them, censoring them, threatening them.

Or is there?

During a recent extended chat with Liberty Chick on Own theNarrative, I heard about bloggers being targeted for harassment by progressive mischief-makers.  Some attempts sounded like mere nuisances, others more serious.  It seemed like small news at first; so a few bloggers get inconvenienced, that’s not unusual.  But as the story unfolded on the show, and then the following week in blogs, it occurred to me that this was every bit as dangerous as landing in a spy novel. 

A lefty political activist suing and harassing bloggers would have every bit the same effect in the long run as living under the harshest of despotic regimes.  When someone steals a blogger’s reputation, they steal his voice.  They marginalize and silence him.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It also silences others who write, others who speak, others who conduct in-depth research and provide information not available from traditional media, as they shy away from taking risks.  Then follow that to its natural conclusion; a state-directed narrative delivered by a lapdog media with no voices left to challenge it.  The only steps skipped in the mad dash to tyranny are a few state-sanctioned pogroms against the Blogging Class and a conspicuous disappearance of a high-profile blogger or two. 


Not really.  It’s happening now.  Robert Stacy McCain (TheOther McCain) is dealing with this right now.  Several other bloggers have found themselves targeted as well, in gut-punch, sick and horrifying ways.  And in spite of wide dissemination in the blogger community, few people outside the blogosphere are aware of this happening.

So today is BlogBurst Friday, where bloggers all over the internet are drawing attention to the story of Brett Kimberlin, and I wanted to join in and do my part.  I hope you’ll help by sharing these links on your social media.  Post and hit the “share” button on Facebook.  Use the hashtag #BrettKimberlin on Twitter and get it trending. Pin articles on Pinterest and create pinboards devoted to Kimberlin.  Get creative and use every social media platform you can think of.

As I find more posts about Kimberlin throughout the day, I will add them to the linkroll in this post.  Please check back throughout the day and pick up the new ones and spread them around.  It’s a small investment of your time to help make this terrorist and bully a household name, and a pariah. 

The only way to defeat bullies is to stand up to them.  He can’t take on all of us.  Overwhelm him.  Overwhelm the attempt to squelch free speech, from any blogger – right, left, center -  with MORE speech.

We can do this.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bill Kneer Thinks You're Stupid

I could do this all day.

So an Alert Reader linked me to Bill Kneer's Facebook Page.  Bill seems a little put out at having one of his Woodfill Cheerleader posts eviscerated.  So he responded.  Not here, mind you.  Not on my blog.  Not on my Facebook Page.  He didn't even tag me on it, nor did he use my name.  He DID manage to tag Richard Dillon on the post, which is interesting.  He also tagged himself.  No comment.

Because the Patriot Statesmen bunch have a habit of not allowing comments, and of revising posts thinking they will not be caught at it, I reproduce the Facebook Post from Kneer in its entirety:

And the text, because the picture is difficult to read without clicking on it:

it seems that there are a few in Harris County Texas that are afraid of conservatives. One blogger even wrote a piece recently stating that this article that I wrote shows that I want some people to just shut up.

The truth is those who disagree with me should never shut up they should continue to show the world what they stand for or should I say what they will not stand for.

The truth is the Harris County Republican Party is extremely conservative on social and fiscal issues with the tremendous track record of success. And there are a few that because of the success are working to destroy us from within. That's the truth, that is in no way telling people to shut up that is just me stating my opinion which happens to be correct.

There seems to be something fishy about somebody when they refuse to stand up for and push for truth and honesty.

So, since the word for today is eviscerate, let's get out the scalpel fillet knife.

Paragraph One:  

it seems that there are a few in Harris County Texas that are afraid of conservatives. One blogger even wrote a piece recently stating that this article that I wrote shows that I want some people to just shut up.

So first, Bill tosses out a weasel word like "seems."  It "seems" a few in Harris County are afraid of conservatives.  No proof offered, no names, just "Oooooh, someone is scared of conservatives."  One assumes Kneer is talking about himself as the scary conservative, because he says an unnamed blogger said he wants people to shut up.

Interesting thing is, I remember a blogger doing that.  And I also remember that at the bottom of the LAST post of Bill Kneer's that was exposed, these words appear:

I call on all those who continually find fault and complain to man up, shut up, and help us defeat Democrats in November!

I see the words "shut up" in there.  Don't you?  And lest Kneer and/or Dillon try their editing magic again, I've got all of that post screen-captured and saved.  Don't even bother hiding it, Bill:

Paragraph Two: 

The truth is those who disagree with me should never shut up they should continue to show the world what they stand for or should I say what they will not stand for.

Punctuation is important, but I give Kneer a pass on that.  Here Kneer says people who disagree should show everyone what they stand for.  OK, no argument from me.  But that's not what he said before.  And check out the artful wording.  As Kneer is bald-faced lying about telling people to shut up, he's using the phrase "The truth is..."  Irony, thy name is Bill Kneer.

Paragraph Three: 

The truth is the Harris County Republican Party is extremely conservative on social and fiscal issues with the tremendous track record of success. And there are a few that because of the success are working to destroy us from within. That's the truth, that is in no way telling people to shut up that is just me stating my opinion which happens to be correct.
"The truth is..." again.  Bill Kneer has "truth" rather than facts.  Yes, Harris County is extremely socially conservative, and somewhat fiscally conservative.  Houston also has a fiscally irresponsible mayor who lets Occupy camp out for free in the city parks, and who wants to regulate organizations that want to feed the homeless, like churches for instance.  Bill White WON Harris County in 2010, the year Woodfill claims is his greatest victory.  That's important because now the Democrats control the early vote and the ballot board.  This means when provisional ballots are cast, the Democrats will have the deciding vote whether to admit a ballot or not.  

Let me repeat that:

To continue, Kneer claims the successes (which he DOESN'T enumerate) make people want to destroy the party from within.  No evidence, just a heated accusation.  Because Kneer doesn't bother with FACTS.  He's after the TRUTH.  He goes on to remind you that it's the truth, and that it doesn't mean "shut up."  Then here, here's the gem: "that is just me stating my opinion which happens to be correct."  Oh, the arrogance!  Kneer not only tells you to shut up if you disagree with him, but he's established a Ministry of Truth, right here in Harris County!  

Paragraph Four:

There seems to be something fishy about somebody when they refuse to stand up for and push for truth and honesty.

This. Is. Priceless.  Anyone who reads this blog knows I call it Something Fishie.  Kneer thinks he's backhanding me.  He won't SAY who out there is "refusing to stand up for and push for" truth and honesty.  But he can IMPLY that it's me, and that I'm out there somehow blocking all his truth from coming out.  I must be a very powerful Fish.  If I'm so powerful, how is Jared Woodfill even still chair?

So there you have it.  Kneer is all about the "Truth" and yet he won't name names, he won't make clear accusations, he won't offer real proof of any single thing he says.  And he attacks people who dare to criticize his "Truth," but in a way that he can weasel out of should he be challenged.  Go back through his blogs, his Facebook. Take a look for yourself.  you don't need me to show you  - look up Bill Kneer and see, IN HIS OWN WORDS, how this pattern emerges time and again.

Folks, this, THIS is the Third String team that Jared Woodfill entrusts so much of the party duties to.  THIS is the level of competence we're dealing with.  THIS is the team Jared allows so much power and access to.  


Make a change.  Remove the incompetence.   Vote Paul Simpson.

UPDATE:  Bill is very sad.  And is obviously more Jesus than me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere

I realize that it looks like I'm a slacker.  If this blog is your only interaction with me, then it does look pretty pathetic.  But the good news (possibly) is that I write some other places as well.  When something fits better somewhere else, I put it there first.  But I realized I hardly ever link my pieces here, and I decided to rectify that.  Here's some things I put out elsewhere that I hope you enjoy.

On Own The Narrative (with monoblogs - audio files of the blogs):

Dirty Sexy (Local) Politics
Home from the War on Moms
Orrin Hatch Can Kiss My...
One Nation Under Mob Rule
Test Drive the Health Care Plan
Top Ten Reasons I Couldn't Join OWS
Government Regulation
Boobs on the Brain
The Seduction of "Julia" 

On U. S. Daily Review:

Before you Start Using Social Media
Still Wary of Social Media?
Facebook - Not Just Fun and Games
Google Plus - New Kid on the Block 
Linked In - Social Media for the Businessperson

One Hundred Years
What's The Hurry?
Discussing Occupy Wall Street
Team Obama Loses Edge on Social Media
Occupy - The New Tea Party?
The Story of the Little Red Hen
A Very Political Christmas
Ditch the Cape, Save the Country
Is the Party Over?
Occupy CPAC
Who Runs Like Reagan?
Michelle Malkin Launches TWITCHY
The Seduction of Julia

On The Texas Conservative:

The Little Town that Could
Holding the Line for Smaller Government
Texas and Tax Competition
Houston Rain Tax Morphs into Bike Trails
Occupy Houston - Day One 
Immigration and the Texas DREAM Act
The Ads of Texas
Lies, Damned Lies...
Building Bridges
Get your Resolutions Passed at Convention 
Houston's "Feeding Ordinance" Under Fire
RPT Struggles to Plan Primary, Convention
Redistricting Holds Up Convention Process

On Liberty Juice: 

Tea Party Idol
 What I Learned at the Revolution 
Eating the Elephant 
Don't Touch My Junk! 
Texas, Teachers, and Ticked-off Parents 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Public Property, Private Use

As a tea party leader, I've organized several rallies and protests around the Houston area.  When we held our first rally on the grounds of Discovery Green, we paid hundreds of dollars to secure the venue and insurance and the proper permits.

When we held our huge Tax Day Tea Party April 15, 2009 that brought over 11,000 people to Jones Plaza in downtown Houston, we spent thousands of dollars to secure the venue and insurance, as well as pay for off-duty officers to provide security and crowd control.  

When Occupy decided to start a Houston chapter, however, we never heard of permits, or insurance, or security.  Tents sprung up around the park, people camped out, and the group even made use of city power without paying.  That always struck me as wrong and inequitable.

We in the tea party have always been willing, and usually been able, to pay for the use of public property such as parks and public buildings.  We believe in following the rules, and in doing what's right while we call attention to the miserable state of the finances at all levels of government.

So when I saw that the ads from supposed "tea party" District Attorney candidate Mike Anderson were shot in an actual courtroom and NOT on a set, I got a little miffed.  Did Anderson, who retired as a judge but who occasionally serves in that court, PAY for the privilege to use county resources to film an ad for his campaign?  Was that even legal?

It may or may not be, but the principle is what gets me.  

I don't know much about county politics, but I know any D.A. race is contentious; especially so here, after Harris County went through the Rosenthal scandal.  I'm not working on D.A. Lykos' campaign, and there are a few cases where I want to ask some serious questions about her office's policies.  But after paying our way so dilligently for so long, and seeing the Occupy crowd get special treatment from the city, I decided to see if an ordinary citizen can get a hearing on this type of complaint. 

So today I'm filing a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct over this ad.  We'll see what happens.  It may amount to nothing.  But I'm tired of seeing ethical lapses brushed aside with an "Oh, well.  Nothing you can do about it."  Let's see whether Anderson filmed the ad properly by paying for the use of public facilities.  If so, fine.  If not, then I want an explanation.  And possibly a refund.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bill Kneer Wants You to Shut Up

The Patriot Statesman posted a piece this week in response to this article from precinct chair Dale Huls, where Dale made the case for reform of the leadership of the HCRP.  Bill Kneer penned the piece to take up the defense of Chairman Woodfill, which we'll take a closer look at below.  

The article begins by quoting Huls, then offers this: 

While the accusations of the well-intended yet misguided seem to fire up a few against our current leadership the accusations made are just flat wrong. 

The accusations are "just flat wrong" Kneer says.  One expects a point-by-point refutation to follow.  Instead Kneer continues:

So let’s take some time to highlight the positive things that have happened within Harris County over the last decade under the leadership of Chairman Jared Woodfill.
  • 4 out of 5 Republican sweeps within Harris County
  • Well over $10 million raised to support the local party
  • The Harris County Republican Party has remained debt-free
  • In 2010 presided over the biggest victory in the 62 year history of the Harris County Republican Party
  • Under the leadership of Jared Woodfill the local party has stood strong for our conservative values and has never caved in to pressure from the left
Ever the cheerleader, Kneer defaults to the party talking points.  Four sweeps in five terms looks impressive, certainly.  But claiming to have raised over $10 million becomes problematic.  A look at the Texas Ethics Commission reports reveals 80% of contributions in that quarter came from campaigns. The debt-free claim is silliness, because an entity that would lend to the HCRP would require at minimum some kind of accounting or audit, something the leadership runs from.  Moving on to the 2010 election, it would be instructive to see what the HCRP did in order to achieve this.  (There might have been something else going on during 2010 to boost conservative voter turnout, but I can't think what it might have been.  Maybe some original grassroots political movement or something.) 

Now the last item: "stood strong for conservative values" and "has never caved in to pressure from the left."  Kneer can't resist picking up the pom poms again, and attempting to recite platitudes as proof.  Which conservative values?  Fiscal responsibility?  And WHAT pressure from the left?  Pressure to do what?  Kneer, again, never says.  

Kneer tackles one of Huls' points this way: 

These misguided critics would take the great conservative record and spin a different story, “The HCRP leadership has laid bare a record of incompetence and mismanagement with respect to raising funds in the largest voting county in Texas (3rd largest in the nation) to adequately fund HCRP facilities and operations.”
This statement is not only wrong but it is a downright lie. The truth is, that while no one is perfect Chairman Jared Woodfill has done an incredible job at growing our party within Harris County. Under the leadership of Jared Woodfill the County’s political map has become so red that the only chance a Democrat has is being appointed through the courts.

Again with the platitudes, Kneer is short on details.  "Incredible job at growing" the party.  The "political map has become so red" that no Democrats stand a chance.  Perhaps Kneer and company think repeating a lie makes it true.  A quick look at this map and this map show how much in denial they are at Richmond Avenue.  The fact that Democrat Bill White won Harris County in the 2010 election for governor will have long-reaching implications - Democrats are in control of the ballot board and serve as the election judges for early voting.  Ask True The Vote whether they think that's "so red" in this county.

Kneer then jumps back onto the financial picture, repeating "ten million dollars" as if it were a mantra to ward away vampires:

Chairman Woodfill does not ask for money, just to save it in the bank account and collect dust. Chairman Woodfill does the responsible thing. He plans a project, documents the plan, counts the cost, then and only then he goes out and gets the money to complete the task at hand. This is the responsible thing to do and he is done well for the last10 years. Under Jared Woodfill’s leadership our Party has grown and remained debt-free in the process.

Interesting.  I would wager there are members of county party leadership who would beg to differ.  But this also looks like an invocation of Luke 14:28 - "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"  Problem is, without budgets or audits no one can know whether this is true.  You can't COUNT THE COST that you can't see; without audits and budgets there is no way to evaluate this claim.  Kneer claims Woodfill does all these things, then offers no proof but his say-so.  Isn't that remniscent of what Nancy Pelosi wanted Congress to do - approve things and THEN evaluate them?

Kneer next tackles a charge that has not been made.  He sets up his straw man by saying he always hears complaints of Republicans turning into RINOs or weak defenders of conservatism.  But not Jared!

Throughout his lifetime, Jared Woodfill has stood strong for the social and fiscal conservative values embodied in the Texas Republican Party platform. There’s not been one time where Jared Woodfill has caved in and betrayed our commonly held beliefs. He has stood strong in the battle against those on the Left as well as those on the Right who would have us leave the time-tested principles and convictions that have brought us victory.

Again, Kneer has no examples here, merely his word.  But that doesn't matter, because the charge has not been made.  Nothing to see here.

The job of the Harris County Republican Party chairman is not to do all the work by himself. It is to lead our local Party and be the spokesperson of “we the people” that make up the base of our County Party. To spread the vision of the Republican Party to all those who do not know who and what we are and stand for. There’s no one here locally that articulates our conservative message is consistently, and precisely, as Chairman Jared Woodfill.

I would argue that the chairman of the party is supposed to manage, grow, and maintain the party as well.  But going with Kneer's definition of spreading the vision, is this why the Outreach Committee hasn't met in ages?  

Now the pitch: 

Let’s not change generals the night before the battle, and take a chance on losing our nation. Jared Woodfill has been a great leader, a man of honor, integrity, and consistency.

Yes, great leaders never changed generals.  Not Lincoln.  Not Truman.  And this same argument was used in 2010 against the current Republican Party of Texas chair Steve Munisteri; he'd never be able to be ready for the fall election, he'd take too long to learn what he needed to know.  In mere months, however, Munisteri had pulled RPT out of huge six-figure debts, and back into the black in time for the 2010 election.  And notice how Kneer equates a Woodfill loss to a chance at "losing our nation."  What kind of awkward hyperbole is that?  

Kneer closes with this:

Since 2008 I have stood by Jared Woodfill and fought as hard as I could to help grow our local Party and save our nation. And since 2008 I have had the same people consistently nipping at my heels complaining about everything we do while they do nothing.  It is easy to criticize, especially when you do nothing to assist in growing the Party.  Every two years we hear from the same malcontent faction.  After the Primary, we don’t hear from or see these critics offering to lift a finger to help the Party, but come Primary time, they are there prevaricating and criticizing without having served the Party in the interim.
I call on all those who continually find fault and complain to man up, shut up, and help us defeat Democrats in November!

This is the best part of the whole piece.  Kneer charges unnamed critics with being biennial malcontents, only criticizing the party when primary elections roll around.  Who are these non-working malcontents, Bill?  

Would it be Dale Huls, who joined the party as a precinct chair in 2010 and, in addition to working with the Clear Lake Tea Party on their board, has worked on his wife's campaigns for state house, served on the board of Saddle Up Texas, attended Clear Lake Area Republican meetings and has attended Republican conventions as well as conservative rallies in Washington D.C.?

Would it be David Jennings, who has researched and then posted more information about the party than the party itself?  

Would it be Paul Simpson, founder of Conservatives in Action - a group who helps precinct chairs manage voter information in their precincts?  Paul who dares challenge the way HCRP is doing things, and who hopes to improve, strengthen and grow the HCRP?

We don't know, because Kneer doesn't say.  But Kneer DOES say they should shut up.  Bill would prefer critics to remain silent, but why?  Is it not possible to both criticize an organization AND work for its success?  

Aren't the two sometimes the same thing?  

Edited to add - It'd be very interesting to go drop your opinion on to Kneer's article, just to see whether they are moderating comments as well.  Most posts don't have comments, but that could be because they write such crap.  So go on, leave a comment, and report here below whether your comment made it to the light of day!