Thursday, May 26, 2005

Back to School

Salon’s Jeff Horwitz explores the nefarious world of the right-wing brainwashing training institute run by notorious reactionary assclown Morton Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell’s biggest recent claim to fame would be when he handed out those purple heart band-aids at the GOP convention last summer.

He has an institute where he runs seminars to teach the lost art of the political dirty trick, and lately his specialty – getting hold of college students and warping their brains nice and early. Universities, you see, are that last liberal stronghold and he needs to take it down from the inside, doesn’t he?

As an aside, it really irks me when right-wingers complain about liberal bias on college campuses. Did you see the commencement address that Bush gave at Calvin College? Calvin College is a religious school in the western (conservative) half of the state of Michigan, (Ted Nugent country). Even those kids were all up in his grill. You see, it’s not about left and right on campus. It’s about knowledge. Even in a religious school where they teach you to embrace bogus doctrine no matter how absurd, they can’t accept Bush’s bullshit. As we all know too well, everything the Republicans stand for falls apart upon critical analysis or detailed scrutiny. Naturally, in an institution where they teach kids to think for themselves and never take anything at face value, it stands to reason that they would be havens of liberalism. Conservativism thrives in ignorance like bacteria in a Petri dish. (No offense, Alabama, but seriously – open a book.)

Back to the point at hand – DoG sources have obtained top secret documents detailing the courses available through Mr. Blackwell’s institute, and I know you wanna know:

Conservativism 101 – Disregarding Evidence:
The first tenet of being a conservative is to ignore any “facts” that damage your cause. The Catholic Church has been doing this successfully for 2000 years. If the statistics show that condoms prevent the spread of AIDS and teen pregnancy, pull it out of the report; if most scientists state that global warming is a fact, pretend that more study is necessary. Remember that numbers are confusing to people; they would prefer soothing words that reinforce their existing beliefs. By the end of this course you will be able to refute the most solid scientific theories by casting fictional doubt on the evidence.

Conservativism 240 - Hypocrisy (do what I say, not what I do):
In this class you will learn how to tell others what’s right for them, and what’s wrong about them, even when your own behavior displays otherwise. You can support a war, find a way to slither out of fighting in it, and then years later call your opponent a coward for actually going. You can be a massive drug addict and demand that drug addicts be locked up indefinitely. You can use faulty sources to start a war and then blame a news agency for using faulty sources when people die in that very same war. By the end of this course, you will have learned the cognitive dissonance necessary to be a true conservative.

Conservativism 376 - Moral Superiority:
In this class you will learn that you are always right, and anyone who disagrees with you is always wrong. Examples of successful students: Cast judgment on sinners while maintaining a multi-million dollar gambling or prostitute habit. Run on “family values” and drag your crying wife into S&M clubs and demand she service you in front of a crowd. By the end of this course, you will be able to denounce homosexuality, passing laws limiting their freedom while trolling the internet looking for underage boys.

Campaigning 103 - Lying:
There has never been a conservative campaign won on the truth. In order to be a successful conservative, you must master the lie. In this course you will learn the right sort of lie to tell, which is to say the bigger the better. If your opponent is a war hero, find a bunch of your friends who never met him to make it seem as though he is a war criminal. Remember, if it can’t be proven false with a single Google search, then the lie will be printed and reprinted as fact – the media will not do any research of their own. By the end of this course you will be able to tell massive lies so many times that everyone will come to think of them as truth.

Campaigning 201 - Creating Degrading Nicknames/Slogans:
The best part of any campaign is the funny name you give to your opponent. Take a phrase, no more than three words, and throughout the course of your campaign use it as many times as possible until the media takes it up and uses it to describe your opponent themselves. Best case scenario – if your opponent doesn’t have a stark black and white view of the world, call him a flip-flopper. People love yelling flipflopflipflop. By the end of this course, you will be able to make up any degrading nickname for your opponent and stick it on him like flies on honey.

Campaigning 210 - Obfuscation:
The most important thing to remember is that in order to win an election, you’re not going to win by catering to people’s intelligence and noble qualities. You have to stoop to the lowest common denominator. By the end of this course, you will be able to find an irrelevant point that separates people and use it to force people to vote against their own interests.

Campaigning 390 - Push Polls:
Polls are traditionally used to learn the views of the electorate so you can condescend to them more accurately. In some cases however, you can use your polling to change the opinions of the electorate. You will choose any outrageous completely made-up claim and drop it into your poll implying that it has something to do with your opponent. Example: “If you found out that Candidate X was a child molester, would that make you more likely to vote for him, less likely… etc.” This works best with racists (your base). Example: “If you found out Candidate X had a half-black baby, would that make you more likely…” By the end of this course, you will be able to contrive any claim about your opponent and have it stick in the minds of the electorate.

Campaigning 495 - Election Fixing (advanced course):
Being a conservative means standing up for big business and the super-rich. Therefore, you’re not going to be able to get all the little people to vote for you. Half of every winning campaign is making sure that your opponent’s voters don’t actually end up voting. This works best if you can install your campaign chairs into positions that decide who gets to vote and where – governorships, secretaries of state, etc. They can see to it that your opponent’s voters are taken off the voter rolls; that there are fewer working voting booths in your opponent’s districts; in some cases even see to it that all of the votes you don’t want aren’t counted. Note – this course ends with a project wherein you will design electronic voting booths that automatically record votes for you no matter whom the voter chooses. By the end of this course, you will learn how to create conditions such that the will of the people becomes irrelevant.

Communications 102 - Screaming:
In this course you will learn how to manipulate the media. In today’s climate of cable news, actually having legitimate points of debate are less important than yelling as loud as you can using the same talking points over and over again. On a cable news show, they will give equal time to two points of view no matter how ridiculous one point might be. The key is to yell as forcefully and loudly as possible, both keeping your counterpart from speaking as well as creating the impression that whatever nonsense you are spouting is true.

Communications 225 - The Echo Chamber:
If you say something often enough, it will become true in the eyes of the media who will not research any of your claims. As conservatives, we control talk radio, we have our own news channel, and 90% control over the rest of the media outlets. By the end of this course, you will be able to create a short list of talking points (true or not), find out where they must be distributed, and ensure that they are repeated enough times until even that rag New York Times will print them as fact.

Communications 339 - Liberal Media:
Despite the fact that our rich base controls most media outlets, the people still believe that the Jewey Hollywood liberal elitists control the news (see Communications 225). This course teaches you how to manipulate that belief into election victory. By the end of this course you will be able to counter any facts or statistics that you don’t want people to believe with the simple phrase, “liberal media.” This both casts doubt on anything you disagree with and serves to scare media outlets from even reporting those things in the first place.

Governing 350 - Cronyism
No man is an island. You need your friends in high places, and you always need more money for your next campaign. It is important that once you get into office, you offer huge no-bid contracts to your former colleagues in business and that you hire them to work in high-profile government jobs to do your bidding, especially in places that are notoriously independent. By the end of this course, you will learn how to take bribes without getting caught, and how to install your close friends into positions for which they are highly unqualified.

Governing 384 - Ironic Policy Names:
Since conservativism involves doing things that the proletariat would abhor if they knew the truth, it is vital that you give your policy initiatives benign names that without inspection might seem to be a good thing. If you want to create a law that allows your friends to chop down national forests for profit, call your policy “Healthy Forests.” If you want to allow your contributors to pollute more thoroughly, call it “Clear Skies.” By the end of this course, you will be skilled enough to eliminate most civil and human rights simply by using the word “freedom” in the name of your initiative.

Governing 415 - Appointments
Sometimes our policy initiatives are so egregiously against the will of the people, there is no way to enact them and survive politically. In these instances it is important that you appoint your friends and contributors to enforce those laws. For example, if your friends are bilking their shareholders out of millions, make sure that you appoint one of those corrupt CEOs to chair the agency that investigates corporate fraud, while simultaneously cutting the investigative agency’s budget in half. Install a former head of a coal-mining company to the environmental protection agency. Appoint a former logger to head the department of the interior. By the end of this course you will be able to circumvent any laws you don’t like simply by ensuring nothing is ever investigated.

Governing 550 - Starting Wars (graduate level students only):
There comes a time in every man’s life where he needs to invade a country that sticks in his craw. It’s easy to draw up a plan years, even decades ahead of time. But it’s politically infeasible to just run around invading countries without getting the American people behind you. Fear is integral in this plan. You must invent intelligence, lie about your “enemy,” and most importantly of all - foster a climate of fear, xenophobia, and extreme nationalism to rally the people around your cause. If anyone is against you, then he’s the one who wants to kill Americans. By the end of this course, you will be able to give yourself emperor-like power and control over most aspects of government. Investigation of your wrong-doings will become irrelevant, and you will be able to send your soldiers off to die with impunity. Note: this course has a final project wherein you will choose a country without weapons or aggressive action against the United States and develop a PR strategy that will give you the political capital to invade. Neither plans for winning the war nor honesty are not required for this course.
So there you have it. These Republicans are smart; they start early and focus on winning. Winning the next election always takes precedence over what’s right. And that’s why they keep winning. All we have to fight them are actual universities teaching actual knowledge and ethics. We’re never going to win until we give up on those pesky ethics.

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