Bushmaster CEO Speaks on Newtown

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Six months ago, America was horrified by the wholesale slaughter of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a deranged loser names Adam Lanza. Lanza was, by all accounts, insane. He stole his mother’s guns. He stole her car. He drove to the school. He began shooting. No background check was going to stop him, and holding the manufacturer of the firearm responsible for the slaughter is no more logical than holding the manufacturer of the car that Lanza drove to the school accountable for enabling the massacre.

Despite these facts, some agenda-driven, hysterical hoplophobes and their compliant politician lapdogs insisted on blaming everyone from the firearms manufacturer to gun show “loopholes” (Dog only knows how the hell that works, since the guns were stolen from a citizen who legally purchased them) for the massacre.

The CEO of Bushmaster, the company that manufactured the AR-15-style, semi-automatic rifle Lanza used in Newtown, has kept silent, even as he was vilified and blamed for the bloodshed by the likes of Lawrence O’Donnell and the New York Timesuntil now.

“It’s very easy to blame an inanimate object. Any kind of instrument in the wrong hands can be put to evil use. This comes down to intent — criminal behavior, accountability and responsibility,” Mr. Kollitides said in an exclusive interview last week. The killer’s mother, Nancy Lanza, taught her son to shoot and is said to have given him access to the gun safes.

“He killed the gun’s owner, stole her car, stole her gun and then went to a school and killed innocent kids. No background checks could have prevented that. He illegally obtained the guns,” he told me in his small New York office. “Only two things could have potentially stopped him: his mother locking up her guns and an armed guard. Even then, he could have driven his stolen car into a playground full of kids. He was intent on killing, which we know is already illegal.

Enough is enough!

Blaming the implement is, indeed, easy.

The gun can’t speak back or defend itself.

Blaming the head of the company is easy as well. He’s vilified and demonized by so many, that it becomes almost gauche to fight back.  It’s easy to slap someone who is loath to slap back. It’s easy to slap someone who isn’t painted as a victim or simply as an ill person by mental health advocates. He makes a profit. His company makes a product that is in demand and sells it to those who have the means to purchase it. In today’s “profits are evil” environment, it’s difficult to speak up, and you’re expected – as the strong and able – to take the hit for everyone else.

The mentally ill are weak. They need help. It’s not their fault they’re mentally ill. It’s a sickness, and we should treat it as such.

Meanwhile heads of firearms companies are rich. They’re strong. They’re to be vilified.

To me, this is just another means to kick capitalism in the family jewels – to demonize those who make a profit, and who are strong and able enough to lead a company to success, manufacturing goods that are in demand, and for which others are willing to pay.

It seems less mean to demonize them than it is to point the blame where it belongs.

Emily Miller has the rest of the interview in the link above. Read it.

New York & Company – another company that doesn’t know the meaning of customer service

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I’ve been a fan of New York & Company for a long time. I freely admit I probably bought several thousand dollars’ worth of clothes from this company – both online and in various stores. The clothes are fairly well made and inexpensive, as well as nicely suited for office wear.

That’s why I’m supremely disappointed to report that New York & Company will not see a penny more of my money. Ever. Again.

I don’t know what it is with modern companies that don’t understand the meaning of customer service, but as far as I’m concerned, this is getting old. My one resolution for the new year is to ensure that I only shop at places that understand and honor that concept, and that I expose every last crappy company that doesn’t.

New York & Company is one of those.

On Black Friday, Teeny and Redhead decided to head to New York & Company at Tyson’s Corner to pick up a few gifts. I won’t even get into the shitstorm this caused, as they decided to head out at 0300 hrs. without mentioning it to mom. Beside the point…

After having bought some Christmas gifts and unpacking their bags, they realized that not only had the New York & Company sales associate forgotten to remove a security tag from one of Teeny’s purchases, but also that a $50 gift card that they bought and paid for was completely missing from the bag.

They realized it was Black Friday at 3 am, and the sales person was obviously tired, as she had given them the wrong change as well at the time of the purchase, so they weren’t too upset.  They just figured they would stop by and get another card.

A couple of weeks later, we stopped by the store together. Teeny explained the situation and presented her receipt. The security tag was removed. However, it appeared that the manager either didn’t know how to trace the gift card, or just didn’t believe my daughter when she said she never received the card! She told her she would look into the situation and to contact her in two days.

It has now been more than a month, and she STILL hasn’t gotten a new card or her money back! How difficult is it to trace a gift card and see if it was used – especially since she has the receipt and knows exactly when the purchase was made??? She called the store and was informed that they have no other information for her.

Essentially, she lost that money thanks to a tired or incompetent sales clerk, and nothing has been done about it to date!

This is appalling in any case, but even more unconscionable in this one, since Teeny is a minor and has a part time job where she works very hard. This was the first time she was able to buy presents for her family with her own money – money that she has earned, and thanks to this incompetence, she essentially LOST $50!

I emailed the above story to customer service as well as the comments section on NY&C’s website.

I got two replies – one asking for the sales receipt number, transaction number, etc. - information that the incompetent manager at the store already had, because she allegedly photocopied Teeny’s receipt – and the following from their customer service monkeys:

On Dec 22, 2012, at 18:16, “Michael Z.” <service@nyandcompany.com> wrote:

Dear Nicki,

Thank you for contacting http://www.nyandcompany.com.

We greatly appreciate your feedback.  We strive to provide an excellent shopping experience for each customer and constantly look for ways to improve.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and have forwarded your concern to our Retail Customer Service Department.  If you prefer to talk to someone in that department, please call (800) 723-5333.  You will need to choose option 2, then option 2.

You’ll find we’re always adding new products and offers, so please stop by http://www.nyandcompany.com again soon.  We appreciate your patronage.

Sincerely,

JoHari

NY&CO Customer Service
1-800-961-9906

Yeah, I’m thinking your appreciation of my “patronage” ain’t all that hot after this fiasco, but I decided to wait and see. After a few days of complete inaction, I sent them this:

— Original Message —
From: Nicki Fellenzer <n****@comcast.net>
Received: 12/24/12 6:51:17 PM EST
To: “Michael Z.” <service@nyandcompany.com>
Subject: Re: gift card

Well. It’s Christmas tomorrow and my daughter had to go out and buy another gift card just to make up for this screw up. She lost $50 thanks to this, and all I’ve gotten so far is a runaround including having to give information I have already provided about the receipt, which the manager of the store supposedly made a photocopy of.

This is absolutely inexcusable!

All those thousands I’ve spent at your stores and online? They will be spent elsewhere. I’m absolutely disgusted with the lack of action on this.

The “customer service” monkeys are obviously illiterate, or are trained to reply to every mail in the same manner:

Dear Nicki,

Thank you for contacting http://www.nyandcompany.com.

We greatly appreciate your feedback.  We strive to provide an excellent shopping experience for each customer and constantly look for ways to improve.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and have forwarded your concern to our Retail Customer Service Department.  Please allow additional time for a response.

You’ll find we’re always adding new products and offers, so please stop by http://www.nyandcompany.com again soon.  We appreciate your patronage.

Sincerely,
Lakeya

NY&CO Customer Service
1-800-961-9906

You appreciate my patronage, eh? Well, if you do, you’ve just lost it jackasses. After allowing for “additional time,” my final response to them was the following today:

As of today, I still have not heard anything about this gift card.

This was the store’s mistake. They failed to put the card in the bag at the time of purchase, and that was just ONE of the errors that was committed that day!

And yet, I have to go through all this rigamarole just to get a new card?

I am done with you. I am done with your company. And I promise you I will ensure that everyone I know, as well as all my blog readers are made aware of this issue!

You have lost a loyal customer. I hope you’re happy.

So here’s my advice to you: Shop elsewhere. This company obviously doesn’t give a damn about its customers, and while $50 is probably not a whole lot to them, it’s quite a bit to my daughter, who earned it, and for the first time in her life was able to get gifts for her loved ones with money she earned herself.

I’m sure New York & Company won’t go bankrupt from my publicizing this sole incident, but I can certainly ensure that everyone I know makes an informed choice about where to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Lars Christiansen On The Danish Experience With Socialism

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So, last Tuesday, I attended a very interesting lecture at the Heritage Foundation. It was given by a leading investment banker in Denmark, Lars Seier Christiansen. He is the founder of Saxo Bank. The bank still operates in Denmark, although Mr. Christiansen has since moved to Switzerland. More on that later. Yes, I know i should’ve posted this last week. I’m a blog slacker.

Morton Blackwell, one of the heroes of the fight at the Republican National Convention against Ben Ginsberg and the rest of Romney’s cronies, came out and gave a brief introduction of Lars, and told us that we were about to hear what socialism really does to a nation. He wasn’t kidding.

One of the first things Mr. Christiansen pointed out was that when you go so far as Denmark has down the path of socialism, it’s almost impossible to go back when so many become dependent on government handouts. Too many will be looking to get their ‘fair share’ of the loot, and will resist any real efforts to roll back the welfare state. He wryly obsetved that this was perhaps not the most friendly environment for an investment bank.

Next, he gave us a bit of background on his homeland of Denmark. It’s a monarchy, the oldest in Europe, with a standard Westminster-style parliament. If a party wins 2% or more, they are entitled to representation in the parliament. This creates a system where, much like many others of its type, minor parties can hold disproportionate power. There are eight parties that are represented in the parliament, so it is nearly always the case that a large coalition of parties is needed to build a majority. The worst news is that of these eight parties, only one could be described as right-wing in sense; the others express no interest in rolling back the welfare state at all.
Denmark had the highest taxes in the world, until recently being passed (barely) by Zimbabwe(!). The Danes also have the smallest private sector in the West, and one of the largest public sectors. Outstanding combination, no? As a consequence, even the most socialist politicians understand they need capitalists to generate revenue, but view them as very distasteful, sort of a regrettably necessary evil.
He also spoke about a very supervisory tone to Danish society. Hotlines where you can call and see if someone is cheating. Any payment above $1500 can’t be paid in cash. I am NOT making this up. Tax authorities wield exceedingly wide powers. For example, they can intern any kind of private property without court order,  and demand documents. This is not allowed to authorities imvestigating terrorism. Most Danes actually believe that anyone who is rich and successful cheated somehow. This is due in part to the makeup of the Danish parliament. It has almost no one with any appreciable amount of practical private sector experience. Many powerful goverment ministers are under 35, and very, very far left. Only 1.8 million of almost 6 million Danes are not dependent on the government. That’s staggering. And of course, everyone scraps for any entitlement they can get, due to the insane tax rates. Only 28,000 Danes make over a million krones ($150,000 or so). Massive envy and suspicion of these people.

Tax reform and government reform efforts are largely symbolic. “Tax reform” apparently means growing the PUBLIC sector. Six of the eight parties participated in this latest charade. The absolute furthest left party supports abolishing military and police and nationalizing the largest Danish companies, of which Maersk Shipping would be the most recognizable to Americans.

Politicians have walled themselves into having to promise more and more entitlements. Blue collar voters largely support “right” parties. This has all happened since 1960, when Denmark had a tax pressure lower than Switzerland, where Lars moved a few years ago, because of the insanely confiscatory and invasive Danish government. Since 1960, things have gone horribly wrong. No party has incentive to run on a small-government rollback platform,  so he doesn’t see how reforms will happen for a very,  very long time. They’re uncompetitive even with other socialist EU nations, due to high wages and lower productivity. Many young Danish people are leaving, and he figures they’re on the road to where Greece is now.

More fun facts: Property taxes average 3% of the full value of your home ANNUALLY. RIDICULOUS taxes across the board. Insane green taxes. Total tax pressure for upper middle class, he estimates at 80-85%. And he doesn’t see how it can be reformed, with everyone dependent on the government. He worries that we’re (the United States) headed in this direction. He emphasizes that it is NOT a system to emulate. He thinks it will collapse Europe-wide, bit by bit. Also, Euro politicians love the US going more socialist, so they can point it out when arguing against European pro-liberty advocates. He says we need to turn it around, before it’s too late. You can turn around freedom, but not democratic socialism. He believes it’s paramount to nurture free market values at home and in schools, and that may not be possible soon. He thinks European integration has been horrible due to mandates from Brussels, and erosion of national sovereignty, as evidenced by European politicians like van Rompuy.

So yeah, let’s not do that here. The man knows what he’s talking about.

Just what, exactly, IS an MFA in puppetry?

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One has to wonder. A Master’s Degree takes a lot of work. I got mine a couple of years ago, and it was a harrowing experience. I stressed for months and months, studying for my comprehensive exams, and when I finally graduated cum laude with a 3.92 average, I couldn’t have been prouder! All the term papers and exams had finally paid off! And yes, I’m bragging. I drank my way through undergrad at Johns Hopkins, and didn’t even bother graduating with a 3.0.  As a matter of fact, there was one semester (freshman year – spring) that I didn’t even break a 1.0 GPA!  So yeah.  I feel all accomplished.

But my MA is in National Security Studies – it’s a subject with some substance and a lot of literature associated with it. It helped me get a terrific job that I love and a promotion I’d been seeking.

That’s why I just don’t get this guy.

A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city’s school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe’s old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute”; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. “But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position,” he says, “so I’m working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don’t have health insurance…. It’s the best-paying job I could find.”

OK, let me understand this.

This tool left a teaching position that pays AT THE VERY LEAST $45,500 base salary for teacher with a Bachelor’s degree and no prior teaching experience (and that doesn’t even include salary steps and bonuses) to get a Masters of Fine Arts degree in…

Puppetry.

Yes, puppetry. An “art” in which you manipulate (he he *insert Beavis voice here* – she said “manipulate”) dolls with either strings attached to their limbs, or by sticking your hand up their… uh… skirts.

He has a degree – a Master’s Degree – in it!  Puppetry!

This douche spent $35,000 he didn’t have, as witnessed by the fact that he has $35,000 in student loans, to learn how to manipulate dolls, thinking this oh-so-useful skill would help him find a job.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see a big demand for puppeteers. No help wanted ads in any newspaper I’ve ever read ask for guys with a degree in sticking their hands up dolls’ garments. I’m not even sure how this… um… “degree” would make him a better teacher!

So he left a good paying job, got a worthless degree that cost him thousands of dollars, and somehow expected to get hired right back… in this economy… after having spent $35,000 he didn’t have on an MFA in… puppetry.

And now he’s occupying Wall Street, and crying that his poor life choices somehow entitle him to have the rest of us subsidize him.

He’s occupying Wall Street, because he thought that hard work and education would afford him a measure of upward mobility.

Seriously? Hard work in puppetry?

He actually expected the NYC school system to hire him back with a nice $10,000 raise, because he got a Master’s Degree – no matter how useless the topic?

What is it that Joe studied?  What kind of classes did he take?

  • String length: effective techniques to make your puppets’ fist pump of anarchy even more potent;
  • Fingers: how far up is too far?
  • Manipulation techniques;
  • Dance, Puppet, Dance! Interpretive Movement Behind the Curtain;
  • Modern Geniuses: the Artistry of Jeff Dunham;
  • Hand vs. Shadow Puppets: pros and cons
  • The Joys of Puppet Erotica (None Dare Call it Porn!)

What were Joe’s comprehensive exams like?

“I’m sorry, Mr. Therrien, but I saw your fingers move suggestively over that puppet’s butt.  That’s 10 points off.”

Look – it may have been fun to borrow $35,000 to play with dolls, but I can’t imagine this guy actually thought this degree would bring him any kind of upward mobility!

It’s all well and good to make lousy economic decisions in your life. You’re entitled to your mistakes. You can’t blame capitalism, corporatism or anything else for your inability to find work with a degree in doll manipulation.

But don’t complain when faced with the logical consequences of your bad decisions.

 

Do you hear that high-pitched whine?

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That would be the sound of social conservatives sniveling hysterically about how libertarians are taking over the conservative movement.  *sniff*  *WAAAH!*

Now let me say up front that there are some libertarians who have some serious growing up to do. They’re loud, immature, obnoxious and rude. I said as much on my Facebook page when I linked to a story about a band of obnoxious Ron Paul supporters who interrupted an exchange between Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld .

“You know, I’m all about free speech,” I wrote,  “but have some goddamn class! Agree or not with Cheney, Rumsfeld and crew, whatever… but at least have a little fucking decorum. I always said Ron Paul’s biggest challenge is his fans.”

It’s also true that I know quite a few social conservatives. They’re genuinely good people who abide by their faith, who are kind and generous and who believe in every principle I hold dear: independence, personal responsibility, liberty, a strong national defense… you know…

Unfortunately, there are jerks on both sides.  And today I’ll focus on the conservative ones, so if you all want to cue up your howls of protest, please do so…

…and then go away. I don’t want to hear it.

On Monday, after this weekend’s CPAC and RLC meetings, some dillbag named Kevin McCullough penned a whining editorial for Fox News, lamenting how “Disrespectful” Libertarians *insert horrified gasp of indignation here* hijacked CPAC.

Normally, I’d laugh at him and let it go, but apparently this has been a recurring theme after this weekend, with one outraged caller on Hannity even calling for libertarians to just stay away from the GOP and stick to their own party. To his credit, Hannity (whose show I can only take in small doses) told his caller that he disagrees. While he doesn’t support the libertarians’ social agenda of… *insert another horrified gasp of indignation here* freedom and equal rights for all, even Teh EEEEEEVIL GHEYS™, he’s loath to alienate a rather large group of people with whose views on the Second Amendment, the economy and free markets he agreed.

In any case, Rob recommended (well, more like challenged) that I fisk McCullough’s whining diatribe, so…  OK.

The top three winners of this weekend’s CPAC straw poll will not win the 2012 presidential nomination. And if any of the top three do break through to prove that prediction wrong, none of them will go on to win the White House in 2012.

This year’s top three placeholders in the poll were Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney repeat their standing from the 2010 poll as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

If the results of this straw poll do not sufficiently demonstrate the bizarre nature and overall oddity of this year’s gathering of “conservatives,” nothing else can.

That’s a pretty brazenly bold call, especially when it concerns Mittens, whose plastic Edwards-esque hair, liberal (which today is considered moderate) views on health care and gun rights, propelled him to a fairly close contest with Zombie McCain in 2008.

It’s also an interesting proclamation, because all three actually appeal to a broader spectrum of “moderates” than the uber-religious nutjob Mike “…what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards” Huckabee and his ilk.

The “bizarre” label is particularly insulting since conservatives CLAIM many of the same principles that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, in particular, have been espousing since emerging onto the national scene: deficit reduction, paying off debts and fiscal and personal responsibility.  I say “claim,” because many of them go back to the policy of “Politics as Usual” as soon as they secure reelection.

But hey, just because their views and principles more accurately reflect conservatism than those who claim to support fiscal responsibility, but then proceed to claim some kind of divine mandate to use your tax dollars to support programs that fit their religious/personal mold, their good showing at the CPAC straw poll is obviously a bizarre anomaly.

Ron Paul, though technically still a Republican, has given up his GOP identity to embrace the chance to be the poster child for the more libertarian streak that has run rampant through CPAC, largely unabated for the past two years. Mitt Romney, the virtual author of Obamacare, and 2008′s third-place finisher for the GOP nomination, is weighed down by the fact that his universal health care mandate in Massachusetts has largely failed with the exception being the $50 state-subsidized abortions. Gary Johnson was only added to the lineup at the last minute, his presence stoking the flame of immoral libertarianism that actually advocated for legalized pot and the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions.

And what “GOP identity” would that be, Kevin?  The fact that Paul supports tighter border security, opposes amnesty for illegal aliens, birthright citizenship and any form of welfare for illegal aliens? The fact that he opposes membership in the UN? The fact that he voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists after the 9-11attacks?  The fact that he regularly votes against tax increases and increased government spending? The fact that he supports states’ rights, and happens to be one of the most ardent and consistent supporters of the Second Amendment in Congress?  Or is it the fact that he explicitly stated his belief that abortion is murder?

Yeah, sure looks like he’s given up his GOP identity, moron.

Now, to be sure, there are a bunch of things I completely disagree with Ron Paul about, and I do think he’s way too close to the 9-11 Truthers. Of course, there’s not candidate with whom I agree 100 percent, but to claim that Paul has relinquished his Republican creds, because he happens to agree with libertarians on many issues is disingenuous at best and a downright, intentional lie at worst.

As for the “immoral libertarianism” of Gary Johnson… OH NOES! HE SUPPORTS TEH EEEEEVIL GHEYS AND STONERS!

This is where the social conservatives and social libertarians part ways.  We happen to think that there’s nothing immoral about two people of the same gender wanting to spend their lives together and having the same right to do so (and the same marriage tax penalties, to boot!) as two people of different genders.  And we happen to believe that the federal government shouldn’t have a say in what amounts to a socio-economic contract between two consenting adults who want the rights afforded to married next of kin.  McCullough and his socon ilk, despite claiming to support individual freedoms, only do so when it comes to heterosexual couples who only have sex in the missionary position and only to procreate – NEVER for actual gratification. (That last part was sarcasm, assholes. Stop your screeching.)

But since socons loudly proclaim that their religious text of choice not only condemns homosexual relationships, but some claim their Sky Elf of choice actually HATES FA
GS
, anyone who actually supports equal rights for them EEEEEEVIL GHEYS must be immoral.

As for Johnson’s support for legalized pot, he comes at it from a strictly economic and criminal standpoint.  According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Mexican drug cartels make the majority of their profits from marijuana trade. As anyone with a basic grasp of economics understands, when something is illegal, it’s inherently dangerous; when something is inherently dangerous, those who are still willing to engage in its trade will earn a bigger profit, giving criminals a virtual monopoly on the market.

Additionally, the prisons are brimming with stoners who committed the egregious crime of toking up (not necessarily harming anyone with their actions).  How much do you think it costs to keep these losers in prison?

Johnson advocates having a DEBATE on the issue and approaching it from an economic and criminal standpoint: It has never been legal to use any type of drug, including alcohol, and drive or do any type of harm to others.  So, he says, it’s time to discuss legalizing it, controlling it and taxing it.  And for those efforts, he’s called “immoral” by socon buttnuggets, such as McCullough, despite being highly rated by the Right to Life Committee on the socons’ pet issue – abortion.


In other words, this year’s CPAC wasn’t about advancing conservatism. Rather, it exposed the radically disrespectful element of the libertine.

Read: They didn’t advance my moralistic, religious, fundamentalist agenda which seeks to marginalize a large portion of the population that doesn’t think like me and my frothing fundamentalist fruitcake friends!

Apparently in McCullough’s worldview, anyone who actually stands by their principles of personal and fiscal responsibility is debauched, lewd and lustful.  Either that, or he has no concept of the word “libertine.”

It has been the inclusion of the libertarian aspects of the past two years that has thrown the message of conservatism askew in a widely disproportional way.

It is the libertarian in attendance that produced the free pornographic calendar passed out to attendees in 2010. It is the libertarians in attendance who openly promote the inclusion of groups like GOProud, largely as an attempt to silence groups who would speak in strong support of traditional moral values. It is the libertarian in attendance who slandered President George Bush, by claiming his appreciation for the Constitution was best summed up as a “damn piece of paper.” It is the libertarian in attendance that proclaimed the war to prevent terrorists from regathering strength and coming after our homeland as “illegal.” And it is the libertarian in attendance that eschewed, booed, cajoled and screamed “war criminal” to Vice President Dick Cheney, a man who served his country with commitment and still attempts to help the world understand the threat of the radical Islamic element devising plans to eliminate us and our allies.

Wow, anti-First Amendment and gay-bashing in one paragraph!  Pretty impressive.  Yeah, Great Pumpkin forbid we actually include people who support freedom, individual liberty, personal responsibility and fiscal conservatives in our ranks.  We might catch Teh Ghey™!

I would submit people who fear the inclusion of gays, who agree with what they claim are their basic principles, in their “Big Tent” might not be so secure in their sexuality, but that’s just me playing amateur shrink.  Fact of the matter is that pornography is legal. It’s a protected form of speech, as is disagreement with Bush or any other president about foreign policy.  But to McCullough, it appears only speech HE approves of deserves recognition or respect. Anything else is immoral and should be avoided.

Now the libertarians stuffed the ballot box of the CPAC straw poll, and for the second year in a row made it the laughingstock poll in the eyes of the voters. (This year’s voters are perhaps more engaged, more aware and more plugged in than ever before.)

Really, Sparky? Got evidence of that, or are you just too appalled to actually believe that a gathering of liberty-minded people would produce a liberty-minded winner in a straw poll?

In head-to-head polling going back a full year to last year’s CPAC, neither Ron Paul nor Mitt Romney has consistently topped a head-to-head match-up against a greatly weakened President Obama. Romney has only topped the sitting president once in that 12-month period. Gov. Mike Huckabee, a no-show at CPAC for the past years, has beaten the president head-to-head in nearly every poll taken.

Is the goal to elect a liberty-minded president who will respect the Constitution of the United States, or someone who could potentially beat Obama?  Is the goal to elect someone who could beat the current president, even if they’re a theocratic fuckwad and would use the office to push his social and moralistic agenda?  Is the goal to exchange one form of tyrant for another – one who would steal your tax dollars to provide health care for illegal aliens, because they happen to be kids, and that happens to be what Jesus would want him to do?

Yeah, not so much.  The idea isn’t to find someone who would defeat Zero, but would impose his own special brand of dictatorial fucktardery on the nation. The idea is to find someone who respects this country and her laws, not someone who would change the Law of the Land to fit their religious beliefs.

David Keene, the American Conservative Union’s outgoing president, gave a lengthy discounting of this year’s poll in the lead up to it. That should serve as a very clear indicator that next year’s CPAC needs some significant changes if it is to become the great conference it has been in past years.

Because dammit, next year, they’ll stuff the ballot with votes for Sarah Palin, which is much more preferable to stuffing the ballot with votes for Ron Paul.

Libertarians and Conservatives are as different as Libertarians and Liberals. The truth is libertarians are the worst form of political affiliation in the nation. Combining the desire of economic greed, with the amoral desire to promote any behavior regardless of its cost to our culture is a stark departure from the intent of the Founding Fathers.

Really?  All that different?  Fiscal responsibility, ending outrageous entitlements, Second Amendment and strong self defense, individual liberties… Yeah, they’re really different. I guess Mr. McCullough is one of those douchebags who believes that those who believe it’s their right to keep the fruits of their labor instead of having them appropriated by government force and redistributed to fit politicians’ end are evil and greedy?  I would think so.  It’s OK to take your tax dollars to provide health care for illegal aliens, because Jesus says so?  Is that how it goes, Kevin?

If having a fundamental belief that I am the owner of my efforts and that I’m best qualified to judge how my money is spent, not a politician, who cites the Bible or the Communist Manifesto as his justification…

If having enough maturity to let people live their lives without moralistic interference from religious nutjobs and letting whatever God I believe in do the judging is equal to amorality…

I’ll take that over sniffly, moralistic preaching from people who have no understanding of the concept of actual freedom and merely give lip service to liberty while pushing an agenda that reflects their religious views any day of the week.

And it is not consistent with the average conservative voter in America.

Is that the same average conservative
voter who idolizes Ronald Reagan? 

If you analyze it I believe the very
heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism —
Ronald Reagan

Yeah. THAT Ronald Reagan.

The fact that so many faith-based conservatives were missing from CPAC, and are also arguably the most dependable conservative voter in the country only added to the confusing, bizarre, disrespectful and, in many ways, off-putting memories of this year’s event.

Yes, CPAC enjoyed its largest attendance ever. But one could possibly argue that it was smaller than it would have been if the third leg of the conservative stool — social conservatives — had been the key player they have traditionally been in the past.

Maybe it’s because the bigots of the bunch were booed at last year’s CPAC for being… um… rude asshole bigots, hmmmm?  Remember Ryan Sorba? Talk about your rude, insolent little fucks!  Talk about being disrespectful to members of a group that supports freedom, academic and personal liberties and fiscal conservatism for everyone, regardless of the choices they make in life.

And given the fact that the Ron Paul-toting, uber-disrespectful and, in many ways, disruptive ballot stuffing has wrecked the straw poll results, pinging completely unelectable candidates in two of the top three slots, perhaps more significance should be paid to the straw poll to be conducted by the conference that happens in the fall called the “Values Voters Conference.”

Because the ballots will get stuffed in favor of religious zealots there!

If social conservatives are the largest portion of the conservative discussion, no attention should be paid to a poll that virtually eliminates their presence all together.

Many of them chose to boycott CPAC altogether because of the presence of those EEEEEEEEEEEVIL GHEYs!  And guess what! CPAC had a record attendance anyway!  Maybe there’s a reason their presence was discounted!

The reason?  According to that amoral libertarian rag, Human Events, “84% of the voters identified themselves as fiscal conservatives, placing their highest priority on economic growth and restraining the growth of government.”

So maybe the majority of conservatives simply didn’t give a rat’s flying fuck how the Bible tells us to screw.  They’re more worried about becoming another Zimbabwe.

CPAC leaders did the best they could to put on the best conference possible. It wasn’t their fault that the libertarian elements within the attendees equate free speech with animalistic expressions, especially when visiting someone else’s “house.”

They paid to be present at that “house,” asstard. The organizers of CPAC opened it to anyone who supports conservative principles, and as long as they paid their fee, they had every right to express themselves at said house.  Unless, of course, Kevin, you don’t think the First Amendment applies at a gathering of those who claim to support freedom!

Libertarian elements, because of their strange combination of policies that add up to anarchy without moral limits, don’t mix with conservative ideals. And, because of that, perhaps they should have their own conference and let all the pot-smokers and gay marriage supporters come and complain about how the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting terrorists, while they slander public servants.

What you call “strange” is what is commonly known as “consistent.” These people believe in freedom and individual liberty for ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, even if they disagree with said choice. They believe in responsible government spending, even if it makes the hypocritical theocrats shit their underpants at the thought of legalizing marijuana or cutting spending that supports religious initiatives. They believe in a strong national defense without the fraud, waste and abuse that comes with the ever-growing government bureaucracy.  And they believe that if someone doesn’t act like a conservative while claiming to hold conservative views, they deserve skepticism and criticism – not slander, as you claim – even though they have an “R” behind their name. (read: I’ve abandoned my free market principles to save the free market systemGeorge W. Bush)

At the very least, the winner of their straw poll would be somewhat reflective of the title of who they are, and what they believe.

Done and done.

Now why don’t you and your minority theocrat fundamentalist Bible thumpers go cry in a corner somewhere!  There doesn’t appear to be any more room for you under that big tent.

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