Well, I am pretty happy to report that I have found a truly conservative site, known as Free Congress Research and Education Foundation (this site ceased to exist sometime between the article and 11/14/01), that certainly seems to be fighting the same battles that we are. They carry articles calling for more, not less, personal privacy protection in medical records, communications and most all areas where the government's itching to get their fingers into your daily lives.
They also seem to be against one of my pet peeves on the Internet, those blasted cookies that are so demanding, making you refuse them over and over and over as you try to load the page and, in some cases, won't let you even load the page unless you accept the cookie. My reasons for hating those things lies in the fact that whoever sets that cookie now has an opening into your computer and, in some cases, can lift data directly from your hard drive. Most, I'm sure, are just normal, Corporate behavior type demands for an intrusion into your privacy but, I assure, you, not all are so benevolent.
I compare them to a scenario where some company or other, let's use the term Company A, comes to you and offers their catalog and some bit of entertainment. Before you can sit down and see what they have to offer, though, they tell you that they would also like to glue a device to you that will follow you around, every where you go, and report all of your movements back to Company A. The reason for this demand, they assure you, is so that they can offer the very best and most personalized services. Oh, and by the way, would you mind if the device also tracked all of your spending and all of your visits and, well, basically, everything you do so that you can be targeted by only those companies that offer what it appears you want the most. Of course, you must understand (but won't be told) that all of the information that you daily provide will be sold to other companies that want to create a full dossier on you that you will never know about nor have the right to inspect nor correct. You can relax, of course, because we promise that the cookie will only be active until 31 December 1999 at 2359 hours GMT. Then it will magically erase itself from your drive and you won't have to even think about it again until you return to our site at which time ... well, you get the picture.
Would you ever allow such a blatant intrusion into your life? Do you feel that all information about your personal, financial and recreational activities must remain your property and, should any company desire that information, they can pay you directly for it?
Oh, as a useful aside, and a passive way to fight these informational thugs, whenever you fill out a warranty card or whatever that asks for such personal information as your income and the number of children in your family and do you rent or own and on and on, just use these handy answers to insure that your name will most likely never be put on anybody's mailing lists. Your income is always $5,000 per year, you have nine children, you neither rent nor own your home (let them guess), you have never bought any other product, ever in your life, from them or anyone else and then print the whole thing in a childish scrawl with lots of misspellings. No one will waste their money on sending you anything whatsoever, let alone boxes and boxes of junk mail every year.
But wait! Trying to go to the article on "Cookies" results in a warning box that says "Warning! File Contains No Data"! Now, in most circumstances I would take that as just another warning but, since this is a conservative site, it may well be that the file contains lots and lots of words but no data. What do you think?
Okay, got a little side tracked there, didn't we? (I do so love the royal "we".)
Back to the Free Congress Research site. Did I mention that they don't like cookies, either? Oh, I guess I did.
They have a page full of links, too, some of which make my back itch but some I was very surprised to find. They offer a link to F.A.I.R. (Fairness and Accuracy In Media), a wonderful group that exposes the biases of some reporters and even the political committees and ties of the author, information which shows exactly why an article is written with a particular slant).
Wait! Something seems wrong here! This isn't the real F.A.I.R. site! It's a site calling itself The Federation for American Immigration Reform. These folks state that their entire reason for existing is "Working to help the American public convince Congress that our nation's immigration laws must be reformed". God help us but there's that nasty word "reform" again. You and I both know that the only reform that a conservative means is complete and utter destruction and then sweeping away any historical references in order to wipe the collective memory of any facts or opinions on the subject. Pretty sad, I'd say.
Here is a link to the TWA 800 Fact Site where you can find "conclusive" evidence that Flight 800 was blown apart by a Stinger missile. Now, personally, I believe that America has every reason to doubt the conclusions of and statements of any arm of the government for the sole reason that they offer lies and half truths or misleading information far more often that they swallow hard and tell the truth. That aside, I would advise strongly that any Right wing or conservative groups be very, very careful when investigating this opinion/reality because there would only be two places that a terrorist organization could get their hands on American weaponry like the Stinger and both will lead directly back to their God, Ronald Reagan. He gave some twenty of them to Iran in the aborted (I will never negotiate with terrorists) arms for hostages exchange of the early 80's and then provided possibly hundreds of them to the Islamic religious fanatics in Afghanistan who were our dearest friends when they were using them against Russian MIGs but are evil, wicked people when they refused to return the missiles that were left over after the war. That's two very powerful anti-American groups who Reagan armed out of pure stupidity and who could very well be responsible for those deaths.
Lastly, one of the links is to an amazing site called Culture Wars 101 which makes the rather odd statement that "Truth is not partisan" and then offers page after page of Right Wing cant that proves that it may not be partisan but is only the truth when "pro-family, concerned religious conservatives, Christian Right and religious-political extremists" speak it. All of this from the Stanford University's internet network? Wow, so not every single institute of higher learning can be tagged as just another liberal stronghold! My, who would have thought?!?
Well, okay, it does have a listing of every single person in both houses of Congress and provides every available method of contacting them. That's pretty cool, isn't it?
Oh, yeah! I mentioned that Paul M. Weyrich, the founder or president or whatever of Free Congress Research was on CBS 60 Minutes didn't I? Well, that is where I first crossed paths with this group and the reason that I wanted to investigate them a bit further. They were interviewing him over an open letter that he had written to all conservatives in which he very clearly explains that the entire "Moral Majority" (a term he coined and recommended that Pat Robertson call his group back in the seventies) has failed and should be abandoned. While I've provided a link directly to that letter, it basically offers the rather strange opinion that the Christian political movement has failed, not because their demands went against the desires of the vast majority of the American people and so were doomed to failure from day one but, rather, that the vast majority of Americans have no morals nor wish to acquire any so the real Americans who are the only group interested in a far better and more religious future for America should stand back and find new ways to force their narrow-minded and divisive religious opinions down the throats of the vast numbers of Americans who would rather they just go away quietly. Now, that is just my little synopsis of the letter but read it for yourself if you want to form your own opinion.
Claiming that the Political Correctness Movement is only a Marxist movement in disguise (through some truly convoluted reasoning that I think makes sense but may not so I won't bog down this article trying to explain), the group offers six "issues" for their followers to meditate on. Under the heading "Against the Grain", and found at the very end of the aforementioned letter, the explanation is given that "Against the Grain" is an on-going series of six essays aimed at telling cultural conservatives how to secede from a Politically Correct society. Alternatives to government courts, public schools, and other institutes are all presented for the benefit of those who want to know how to guard against a crumbling culture."
The six issues are, in their own words:
1. "Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out: A Cultural Conservative's Survival Strategy for the 21st Century"
2. "To Protect and Serve: Time for Sheriffs to Walk Tall", by Sheriff Richard I. Mack
3. "Storming the Stronghold: Why the Government Education Monopoly Will Come Tumbling Down."
4. Alternative Dispute Resolution & Avoiding Government Courts 5. Avoiding Federal Entanglements
6. The Empire Strikes Back.
While figuring the Timothy Leary is spinning in his little capsule full of his ashes sent orbiting the earth because they ripped off and mangled his motto and is using it for the exact opposite of what he advised an earlier and far more thoughtful generation to do, the rest of the "issues" are basically taken intact from anti-American groups like the Posse Commititus and the Freeman and even the Koresh group in Wacky Waco.
What have I learned about this group and do I still find it a place for intelligent thought and debate? Do I still recommend that my readers visit this site? The answer to both would a very lukewarm "yes". While it became clear that the more I studied what they have to say, the more familiar its arguments sounded, it will always prove useful to hear and understand all opinions on every issue. The fact that they call for a dissolution of the Religious Right and advise that they simply remove themselves from the political arena until they can find some other way to force America down their dark and dirty alley is a message I happily concur with. Their stands against any invasion of a person's privacy is completely in line with my own. Their rather sick fascination with blaming every problem in America on Clinton or Janet Reno and on and on, however, without ever accepting the huge credit that the Republican Congress must accept for the mean and nasty political climate is rather boring and irrelevant, though.
Basically, I suppose I would recommend going here if for no other reason than it is always best to understand your opponent and the history that led up to their becoming your opponent. This site will help you tremendously in that search. Let me know if you find anything useful here. I got tired after a few hours of being told that these folks have all the answers and that the rest of us are simply the problem.
Frankly, though, having been there I doubt very seriously that I'll return. I thought I had found reasonable people but only found another covert fanatic.
Folks, this is a great example of arriving at a conclusion by talking out the issues as you go along. Wait a minute! Does this mean that all of the women in my life who kept trying to get me to talk about "things" were actually on the right track and my taciturn nature was possibly a hindrance to understanding? May it have just possible that I was amiss in my thinking, lo, all these many years? Should I open up more? Nah!!!!!
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