Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Free Thought Project Is An Anti-Government Group Supporting The Bundy Militia

Oregon militia free thought project cop block bundyLast week, I revealed to readers how the organization Cop Block was defending the Bundy militia members who have taken over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. Many liberals regularly read and follow Cop Block, along with other groups like The Free Thought Project which pose as advocacy groups, but are not-so-secretly anti-government activists.



On Wednesday, the fire chief of Harney County where the militia takeover has occurred resigned, claiming he didn't like the government's response to the occupation. The website Free Thought Project covered the story with the headline "Oregon Fire Chief Catches FBI Agents Posing as Militia – Quits His Job in Protest" - and claims that the FBI is trying to provoke an armed showdown with the militia members.
Many activists and militia members are now suspecting that the undercover agents were planning to act as agent provocateurs and create trouble in order to frame the protesters for things that they did not do. This theory is supported by the fact these undercover agents were reportedly bothering locals and acting in a threatening manner.

However, mainstream media has reported that militia members were harassing locals, but now that version of events is being brought into question considering the fact that undercover agents were posing as militia. The looming threat of agent provocateurs may be one of the reasons why the refuge occupiers are turning away help from outside militias who have attempted to join the occupation. (Source)
What The Free Thought Project blogger John Vibes conveniently leaves out is that fire chief Chris Briles was sympathetic to the militia in the first place, and that he announced his resignation at a press conference where Ammon Bundy stood with him. This isn't an accidental oversight while blogging from hundreds or thousands of miles away from where the story is happening, it is a deliberate omission of key facts to promote an agenda supportive of the Bundys, and other anti-government groups like them.

Chris Briles is hardly an impartial government official who uncovered some shocking plot against protesters, but a Bundy sympathizer who is promoting conspiracy stories to give credence to the claim that the Bundy militia is simply a group of peaceful occupiers fighting against government tyranny and overreach.

Here's what the local TV station KATU had to say about Chris Briles:
Briels is a member of the Community Committee for Public Safety, which is a local group that's expressed interest in taking over for the Bundy protesters to work to reclaim local rancher's land rights when and if they leave. (Source)
So why would The Free Thought Project leave out these important facts about Chris Briles and the Bundy Militia? If you dig around on their website, you'll find that they promote the same gun confiscation stories that the NRA and gun fanatics regularly repeat, along with false articles about vaccines and other debunked conspiracy stories.

As I've said before, underneath their smoke screen of being police accountability advocates, they're little more than anti-government activists that use well-meaning liberals to spread their message.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Q&A Session December 2015

Here are the results of my Q&A session.

Michael Pettersen: Corned Beef or Pastrami on a Ruben?

Pastrami. I love both but pastrami is where it's at.

Maryse Bonniwell: Is there, really and honestly, a chance Bernie could win. He doesn't get the coverage the others do, he doesn't have the same machine behind him. I know many of us feel like he should, but, in the real world, the one we live in, with apathy as ramped as it is, and racism gaining ground every day with the help of you know who, does he really stand a chance?

Bernie Sanders can win, but I don't know that liberals are ready for him.

Crystal Minarik: What brought you to Louisiana?

A series of unfortunate events. A bad economy in Florida during the housing crisis and a nasty divorce. I lost everything, then eventually became more successful here in my career than I was there.

Lance Burson: What would have to happen for the American south (I live in suburban Atlanta) to become a stronghold for the Democrats?

For people to wake up and realize the GOP is not their friend.

Pam Philpot:
Do you see a relationship between party affiliation and sharing of Facebook hoaxes?

People are dumb on both sides of the aisle.



Patti Casey: Who does Peanut really love most---you or your wife?

Me. He tolerates her but loves me, except when there is food involved.

Donna Schoetker Dunn: What do you enjoy doing when you have some down time?

Fishing or playing poker.

Mack Kirk: Growing up in the south was your political ideology different at one point? Ask for myself having gone through a Libertarian phase into my mid 20s.

I was once a conservative Republican. That has obviously changed. I have some beliefs that are mildly conservative or libertarian now, but I base those on facts instead of popular ideology on the left.

Dan Whitaker: Do you actually believe that if my neighbor plants his fields with GMO corn, and because of prevailing winds his crop cross pollinates my crop, Monsanto can sue me?

No. They have been very careful on that issue.

Leonard Gerber:
What is your real name and why pick such a ludicrous alias?

I don't disclose my name to most people because of the fact that there are both liberals and conservatives who would love nothing more than to torment me and my family. The alias was given to me by a fellow Jewish coworker years ago, and I decided to start writing under this pseudonym as a joke, but now everyone knows by the name Manny Schewitz.

David Matheny: Do you suck the heads on Crawfish?

Of course. That is where all the fat is and it is delicious.

That's it for this Q&A session, I'll do it again soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The 2nd Amendment Isn't A Limitless Right

As I have repeatedly stated before, I am a gun owner. I use guns, I like guns, and I support the right for law-abiding citizens to own and carry the weapons of their choice. This includes concealed carry, and even the ability to own military grade assault weapons - so long as the individual is properly licensed and trained.

Many liberals give me grief for liking guns. In case you're new here, I grew up in rural Virginia, in a very conservative environment. I was given a .22 rifle for my 7th birthday, and I own a number of weapons today - including a handgun. Owning and using guns is part of living in rural America, and I make no apologies for that.



The problem is that the NRA wants any novice to be able to buy an assault rifle, with no training or background check. While they claim that every gun owner undergoes screening, that simply is not true.

When the 2nd Amendment was ratified, America was a country where muskets and cannons were the weapons of the time. Conservatives scream about protecting gun rights, but they are the worst spokesmen for gun rights. Rather than promoting the responsible and lawful ownership of firearms, they have made it possible for anyone who wants to get their hands on a gun, and we're seeing the tragic results of that over and over again in the daily news.

Gun ownership shouldn't a liberal or conservative thing, our nation has a long history with firearms - both good and bad. Unfortunately, our country has a serious issue with gun violence, and all the lobbying by the NRA is making it worse.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Donald Trump Perfectly Illustrates How Stupid Our Political System Has Become

Both Republicans and Democrats are absolutely horrified at the latest remarks from Donald Trump concerning banning Muslims from the United States. Until this election cycle, anyone who proposed any of the things Trump has would have watched their campaign crash and burn. Party officials and political pundits alike would castigate them, but the reaction from the GOP leadership and conservative media has been cowardly this time around.

Remember 2008 Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo? No? That's because he barely registered in the polls, thanks in part to his extreme views on race and immigration. In 2016, Tom Tancredo has told Donald Trump to tone down his rhetoric, which illustrates just how far the GOP has slid to the fringe in the past 8 years. When the GOP's leading candidate is embraced by Neo-Nazis, there's no further doubt that our national political dialogue is in complete shambles.



Donald Trump continues to remain popular, because he is appealing to the most ignorant people in America. If I were to guess, I'd say that the average Trump voter barely understands how politics work, and really thinks if you type "Amen!" under a picture on Facebook, that little girl will be cured of cancer. These people are all around us, we all know at least one person who truly believes and shares stuff from conservative clickbait media sites that claim Michelle Obama is really a man - or that they have the exclusive scoop on President Obama's plan to confiscate guns.

Right-wing politics has always relied on the fear of foreigners, intellectuals, gays, etc. The Know Nothing Party flourished on the hatred towards Irish immigrants and Catholics. The KKK has been reincarnated a number of time to oppose blacks, Jews, communists and immigrants. The John Birch Society is still alive and well today, enjoying the support of Ron Paul devotees and Glenn Beck followers.

However, the internet and social media especially have made spreading hatred and misinformation easier - and more profitable than ever before. It used to be that the unhinged rants of conspiracy nuts were mostly confined to newsletters or low watt radio stations, but now all you have to do is tap your Facebook app and find that your gullible aunt is sharing stuff from David Icke, David Avocado Wolfe or websites claiming you can cure autism with bleach.

In other words, the crazy has gone mainstream. Bloggers have found that they can make a lot of money with headlines along the lines of "Barack Obama DESTROYS Every GOP Talking Point In EPIC Smackdown!" or "The SHOCKING Truth About Guns Liberals Don't Want YOU To Know!" Too many people don't read beyond the headline, and pass an article along as being true, without fact-checking both the story and the source.

As much as liberals want to claim that they are smarter than conservatives, there are many folks on the left who believe that George W. Bush will be tried for war crimes or that the FCC can pull Fox News' broadcasting license - simply because they saw it on a website that calls itself liberal.

The danger of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee or even being elected as our next president should not be laughed off. When you have people claiming to be Bernie Sanders supporters who have stated they will not vote for Hillary Clinton, or Clinton supporters saying they will not vote for Sanders, there is a very real possibility that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could eek out a win in 2016.

Elections are not won based on viral videos or Moveon.org petitions, they are won by educating and motivating voters. Unfortunately, the American public has been dumbed down more than ever before over the last few years, thanks in part to social media. This is how Donald Trump has become as popular as he is, and this may be how the GOP hold on America becomes complete in 2016.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The NRA Is On The Side Of Terrorists, Not Responsible Gun Owners

Once again, there has been another mass shooting here in the United States. According to Vox.com, more Americans have been killed in the last fifty years by gun violence than all the wars in our history. This should press lawmakers to do something to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists and criminals, but the NRA has blocked nearly every gun law across America.

Just today, the Republican-controlled United States Senate voted to block expanding background checks, which comes almost 24 hours after the massacre in San Bernardino which left 14 people dead and even more wounded.



Two police officers were also injured in the shootout with the two suspects who died in a furious battle with police. According to law enforcement, both suspects were armed with assault rifles, handguns, and had thousands of rounds of ammunition.

As bad as this attack was, it could have been even worse. Despite the fact that this is the worst attack on American soil since Sandy Hook, the NRA and their GOP puppets continue to advocate further loosening gun laws across the country.

The NRA does not represent gun owners like myself and the millions of other people who use responsibly use firearms for recreation or personal protection. The NRA does represent the gun lobby and the hucklefuck dumbassery of the most paranoid, delusional conservative base which laps up their constant propaganda about how President Obama and liberals want to take all of their guns.

As long as they continue to block sensible gun legislation which could reduce the number of incidents like San Bernardino, it's safe to say that the NRA is on the side of terrorists, not responsible gun owners.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's Not Easy Being A Liberal In Louisiana

I wasn't always a liberal. Back in my early days, I was raised as right-wing conservative. I was taught that liberals rejoiced in abortions and that gay people wanted to recruit young people like me into their supposedly hedonistic and sinful lifestyle.

Life threw me a number of curveballs as an adult, and through a number of circumstances, I found myself living in extremely conservative Louisiana. After reversing a series of unfortunate choices and student debt, I became political again, especially in the wake of the Tea Party takeover of Congress in 2010.



It's been five years now since I moved to Louisiana, and I've moved ever further to the left in that time. Here, I am surrounded by people who despite being incredibly bigoted towards Hispanics and other non-whites, have a poor grasp of the English language.

Not only is their incorrect use of prepositions and possessives enough to give any English major fits, their understanding of the political process is staggering. This is the state that elected Bobby Jindal twice, and has finally elected a conservative Democrat to take his place rather than David Vitter who was crippled by his own past, along with his attacks on fellow Republican candidates.

In my time here, my newfound interest in politics has presented me the opportunities to make connections with people who love the state of Louisiana and want to reverse the failed conservative policies of politicians like Bobby Jindal and David Vitter. These outstanding individuals include Bob Mann from LSU, Lamar White Jr from Cenlamar.com, and Sean Illing who now writes for Salon.

Turning Louisiana back to the center will not be an easy job. I have no illusions that there aren't massive corporate and political interests that will want to keep the state solidly conservative, and in the hands of the fossil fuel industry.

For better or worse, this is where I belong now. And I will do whatever I have to do to turn my adopted state around.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

In A Stunning Victory, A Democrat Wins Louisiana

David Vitter was the assumed choice to beat his opponents ahead of the primary elections. Instead, he faltered and demonized his fellow Republican contenders Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle. Rather than rally their supporters after the primaries, he lost the endorsement of Jay Dardenne, the current lieutenant governor to Democrat John Bel Edwards,

I've been working tirelessly over the past year to take down David Vitter, as have a number of my friends. Today is vindication for all of our hard work.

With all of the scandals surrounding Vitter, it still seemed as if he would still pull off a victory in Louisiana, because he is a Republican.

With the coordinated effort of many liberal activists and writers like my friends Dayne Sherman, Bob Mann, Lamar White and Sean Illing - we managed to take down David Vitter who has also announced he will not run for Senate again.

When I came here five years ago, I didn't intend to stay long, or to involve myself in Louisiana politics. But after the Tea Party takeover in 2010, I was determined to do something.

Tonight is vindication, Tonight is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people in Louisiana, and they should all be very proud to end the political career of David Vitter,