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Author Topic: An Onion in the Free State  (Read 22890 times)

alecmuller

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An Onion in the Free State
« on: October 01, 2003, 01:08:47 pm »

I love The Onion(tm) and South Park because they make me laugh even though I sometimes don't agree with their views.

I'd like to start a satyrical online newspaper with articles specific to New Hampshire that make freedom concepts more palatable through humor.

They'd be lighthearted and subtle enough that they're amusing to anyone who appreciates satire - even dyed in the wool statists.  They could be articles, political cartoons, pictures with made-up captions, and maybe even shockwave flash movies.  We could do a weekly or every-other-week, and we could arrange our new issue dates so that they're right between new issues of the Onion.

I don't know anything about setting up web sites, but I've got a couple of articles all ready to go:

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Bi-Partisan Program to Solve Problem of Under-taxed Citizens

Washington D.C. – Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe exuberantly announced today that the state of New Hampshire had made an important commitment to help solve the nation’s ongoing problem of under-taxed citizens.

 â€œFor years now our various states in our great country have been losing revenue to people who don’t pay their fair share of taxes.  While most Republicans have made matters worse by giving tax breaks to these people, Democrats have been working hard to actually solve this problem.  Today I can proudly say we’ve done something; we’ve reached a bipartisan arrangement with the Republican-controlled New Hampshire legislature to take these people off our hands.”

McAuliffe likened the program to the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Project to dispose of high-level radioactive waste in the Nevada desert.  â€œWhen you have something that’s a detriment to society like containers of radioactive waste or people who don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the best thing to do is to round them all up in one place so people everywhere else don’t have to deal with them.  New Hampshire has selflessly offered to take these people, and quite frankly, we’re very happy to be rid of them.”

McAuliffe then went on to extol the benefits of the program.  â€œWhen we’ve gotten rid of these people the first thing we’ll see an immediate reduction income inequality.  Under-taxed people are all pretty well-to-do, so getting rid of them will automatically increase the overall level of equality.  Won’t that be great!?  Next, we’ll pass fair tax laws.”  Under-taxed citizens are the largest opponents to fair tax laws and spent $7.2 million last year lobbying against fair tax laws in California alone.  â€œAs more of them leave we’ll pass more and more fair tax laws and squeeze the rest out,” McAuliffe promised.  â€œIt will be so nice to be able to live and work without these bums mooching off the system,” he added.

Republican New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson said he looked forward to the challenge of confronting the problem in his state.  â€œIt won’t be easy, but I’m confident we can handle under-taxed people.  I’m just happy we could help out the rest of the country by taking these people off their hands,” stated Benson somberly, fighting hard not to crack up.  When asked how New Hampshire planned to attract them in the first place, Benson mumbled something about ‘tax incentives’, said he was very busy, and shooed everyone out of the room.

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Dealing With Free Staters

As many of you already know, the Free Staters are coming to New Hampshire.  What does this mean for Democrats?  I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about this, and I’ve determined that our best strategy will be to marginalize them and rebuff any efforts to find common ground.

Some people point out that Free State Project members are largely in agreement with Democrats on such issues as free speech, same sex marriages, the war on drugs, personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose.  While this is true and they may prove valuable allies against the Republicans in some cases, the fact remains that they’re adamantly opposed to increasing the size of government.  This raises an obvious question – should we work with them on the issues we agree on, or should we spin them as “anarchists” and marginalize them completely?

While accepting Free Staters as allies on social issues will help us pass better laws in these areas, marginalizing them will still help us.  Free Staters are going to vote liberal on social issues no matter what we do, so there’s no point in lending them credibility by acknowledging them.  We’re better off to label them as “extremists” in the hopes that voters will forget about them and continue to choose between Democrats and Republicans.  Better yet, when these people do team up with Republicans on economic issues, we’ll be even better able to paint them all as extremist for wanting to lower taxes.

If we acknowledge Free Staters and work with them on the issues we agree on we will lend them credibility, but if we marginalize them we’ll stand a better chance of expanding the size of government.

If anyone is interested in offering web site help or writing articles, post away.

(p.s. it really is just a coincidence that both of these articles happen to be making fun of Democratic positions - I haven't had a chance to write any War on Drugs ones yet)
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Dalamar49

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2003, 01:57:46 pm »

Hilarious!  :D Your first article was by far the best. Yup, isolate those bloody tax haters!!! hahahaha!

Starting an Onion like publication would be sweet, but much like yourself I have no idea how to operate a website. Thankfully we have a couple years to think about it.
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SteveA

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2003, 11:55:50 am »

I read the second one first and thought it was a legitimate article (oh man, I must be getting old!).  It's incredible but I bet I actually know people who would nod their heads in agreement with the second article (they live here in CA ;)).

I had fun reading them.  Nice work
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alecmuller

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2003, 03:39:41 pm »

War on Drugs a Great Success

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Drug Czar John Walters touted the numerous successes achieved by his department today while petitioning Congress for more money.

“I’m proud to announce that we’re making great progress in the War on Drugs.  As of right now, we’ve got more than a million Americans behind bars on drug convictions, and we’re putting thousands more away every day.  It’s a great start, but with an estimated 70 million Americans who have used illegal drugs, we’ve got a long way to go.  With more time and more money, I’m confident we’ll be able to solve this problem.”

As an example, he sited the stunning success of television advertising in reaching the nation’s youth.  â€œOur anti-drug ads are truly connecting with something in the psyche of young people.  The surveys are coming back with comments like ‘Hilarious!’ and ‘Nice Try’.  I really think we’re getting something here.”

Throughout the interview Walters confidently answered every question that left-wing hippy tree huggers could throw at him.  When asked how much the war was already costing, he replied, “The cost of this war is miniscule compared to the benefits.  By shooting or arresting people in every link in the drug supply chain, we’re helping to drive up the cost so that they’re harder to afford.  Aren’t you happy to be personally paying $70 each year just to know that pot-heads will have to buy their dope from murderous criminals at a huge mark-up rather than in a convenience store at reasonable prices?  I know I am – heck, I’d be willing to pay ten times that much.”

One representative had the gall to compare the War on Drugs to Prohibition, but Walters promptly set him straight.  â€œThis war is nothing at all like the prohibition of alcohol.  While it’s true on the surface that both have been a boon to organized crime, you’re ignoring the fact that using illegal drugs is morally wrong while using alcohol in moderation is not.  People go crazy and lose control of themselves when they use drugs, but not with alcohol . . . (coughing) as much.”   He then continued self-righteously, “Jesus drank wine, but he did not smoke dope,” to which a heckler yelled, “No, he bathed in it,” before being escorted from the building.

Walters concluded the interview with an appeal to the nation’s conscience.  â€œDrugs are evil, and they ruin lives.  Parents lose children to drugs.  Children lose parents.  I have nothing but pity and compassion for drug users and their families, and that’s why I want to lock them up.”
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robertLP

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2003, 12:57:02 pm »

Your "Drug War" one was great.  Of course, there's enough material for you to work with on that subject that you could devote an entire newsletter to it.

A "Libertarian Onion" is a fantastic idea.  Here's one I whipped up quickly; anyone with more time can feel free to improve/expand on it:



Americans With Disabilites Act Wild Success, Say Supporters

Washington, D.C. - Art Thompson had a problem.  He was the Human Resources director for DirectTech, a computer programming firm out of San Diego.  Before him was Rich Huggins, a perfect candidate for a job that Art quickly wanted to fill.  But there was a catch: Rich was wheelchair-bound.

"With all the regulatory costs and unknown legal liability of hiring him, the desicion was easy.   I just had to find a suitable lie to why we couldn't hire him.  I told Rich he was lacking the skills needed for the job, which included writing in BASIC."

"But in the end, the ADA really makes dealing with the handicapped much easier," he says.  "Now we just ignore them whenever possible."

"We're really improving the self-esteem of these people," beams Hillary Clinton, a strong supporter of the legislation.  "Can you imagine the indignity of working at an office where there is a small chance of a co-worker possibly looking at you weird for a second or two?  Now, they have no worries as they can sit home alone by themselves with the comfort of that $350 unemployment check arriving each and every month."
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Dalamar49

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2003, 01:21:10 pm »

LOL!!!! Love it!  ;D
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jgilyeat

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2003, 05:56:19 pm »

*raises hand*
I'm more than capable of running such a site, and I can -probably- talk a buddy of mine into donating the code that is currently running http://www.themensroom.net (marginally work safe...seriously) which I am currently hosting :)

Setting up on a real server won't cost more than 20 or 30 bucks a month (and if it become as successful as the Onion, it -WILL- get expensive to host, and those uber-cheap hosting companies will not be able to cope.  Trust me on this :)).

So like, here's a volunteer webmaster.  Who wants me? ;)

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J
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alecmuller

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2003, 08:48:18 am »

*raises hand*

So like, here's a volunteer webmaster.  Who wants me? ;)

Sounds great!  Do you know how difficult it would it be to have a feedback feature (to get people to tell us which articles are funny and where they stand politically)?  I that would give us a good idea of what's funny and what hits too close to home for our target audience.

Before we go ahead, though, I'd like to make sure that we'll have enough content.  I'd like to have roughly the same volume as The Onion (five or six large articles and columns per week, a couple of pictures with captions, and a few one-paragraph articles).  While there's nearly no limit to the number of ways for us to poke fun of statism, there will be a limit to how fast we can write pieces.  I can handle two large articles per week (or one along with the editing), but if we want to have weekly or bi-monthly issues we'll need several people who are willing to write on a regular basis.

For the short run, I'd like to continue soliciting articles right here until we have enough content for a couple of issues.  By that time hopefully we'll be able to see if there is enough interest to keep it going.

As far as money goes, while it would be great to make a profit I'm not really expecting to.  If the content works out I'll put up the $20/30/month; if it's not earning that much in advertising revenue after a few months I'll pull the plug,  solicit donations, or hand it off to someone else.

So here's my summary:

- libertarian in perspective, but subtle.
- funny, targeted at fence-sitting statists
- 5-6 full length articles/columns, a half dozen pictures and one paragraph articles
- archived issues
- feedback (a, did you think the article was funny, b, what's your score on the advocates for self government quiz?)
- whenever possible, specific to New Hampshire
- enough content for the first two issues (4 articles so far, any more on the way?)
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jgilyeat

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2003, 08:57:12 am »

it almost sounds like using modified Slashcode might work...
*srednop*

We should probably talk privately since it's now getting into implementation level details :)

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J
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alecmuller

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2003, 01:45:10 pm »

Boston Shootings Down 8%, Gun Control May Be Working

Boston, MA – A report released today revealed that a tough new gun control law may actually be working.  According to the Boston Police Department's latest monthly crime statistics, shootings have dropped 8% in just one month.  The month before the law went into force and made it more difficult to own handguns, 82 Bostonians suffered gunshot wounds, 46 of them while attempting to rob other people’s homes and businesses.  In the following month, however, only 75 people were shot, of which 34 were attempting robbery.

Spokespeople from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence claim that although more study is needed, the statistics are proof that gun control can indeed reduce the overall number of shootings.


Relief is On the Way for Unemployed Mainers

Augusta, ME – Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a relief bill today that gives hope to tens of thousands of Mainers who are unemployed.  â€œI’m proud to approve this important piece of legislation,” Baldacci announced this morning as he signed the bill into law.  â€œAs unemployment continues to rise in Maine, it’s the responsibility of the state to help these people make ends meet until they can find a job.  This new law will increase weekly payouts by 4.5% over and above inflation, and will extend the time a person can collect unemployment by six weeks.  All of this will be made possible by a modest adjustment in the insurance premiums paid by businesses that have not yet gone belly up or moved to other states.”



Note:  If people have ideas for non-government related articles, let them rip!  When I look back at what we've got so far it seems to closely focused on the effect of laws.  It would be nice to have some non-legal ideas.
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joe_m

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2003, 08:43:42 pm »

Here is an idea for a name: "The Obedient Citizen." The domain name obedientcitizen.com is available, or was when last I checked.


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alecmuller

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2003, 03:00:02 pm »

France Defends War in Senegal

Paris, France – French President Jacques Chirac spoke to supporters today to defend his administration’s war efforts in the African nation of Senegal.

“For decades the Senegalese regime has been an affront to freedom and democracy the world over.  Through the colonial era, the Second World War, the Cold War, and onward into present times, France has used military and economic force in an attempt to help these people govern themselves, but to no avail.  We have passed U.N. resolutions against them, invaded them, boycotted them, subsidized their enemies and even subsidized them, but our message is still falling on deaf ears.  They simply do not wish to accept our gifts of freedom.”

“While the refusal of Senegal to let us meddle in its affairs has always been a thorn in our collective sides, it did not appear to threaten national security before the fateful events of August 22nd.  The lesson from that day, which we will never forget, is that our enemies hate us and are willing to do what ever it takes to destroy us.  They hate us not because we meddle with their affairs to promote the French way of life, but because they are envious of this way of life.  This envy runs so deep that it has led them to resort to terrorism in the hope of destroying us.”

“I am here today to tell you that we will not let them win.  France will do what ever it takes to defend herself, the rest of the world be damned.  This March, when the Senegalese regime yet again flaunted our attempts to enlighten it through U.N. resolution 1789, we were left with no other option but to mount an invasion.  While there is no evidence to support a link between Senegal and August 22nd, the fact remains that they hate us and will not accept our help.  We were compelled strike preemptively because if evil regimes like the Senegalese ever become capable of threatening us then they will endanger our very right to impose our will on the world.  How could we invade other countries if they were actually capable of striking back?  We would be forced to abandon our interventionism to the detriment of freedom lovers everywhere.”

“Without France to bear the torch of freedom in the world, what would oppressed people do?  Would they overthrow corrupt regimes on their own as we did?  Maybe, but probably not.  Would they migrate to free countries?  No, we'd send them back to be slaughtered by their oppressors just like we do now.  While we truly care about the plight of the oppressed - let's be honest -  would you really want any of them living next door to you?  No, the only hope for oppressed people is for us to give them freedom, no matter how many bombs we need to drop to do it.”

Trump in Awe of Congress’ Business Savvy

New York, NY – In an interview earlier this week, famous financier Donald Trump unexpectedly expressed his envy for Congress’ ability to accurately predict winners and losers in the marketplace.

“The best measure of any investor is whether they’re able to earn attractive enough returns to get people to continue investing money with them.  By this measure, the Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress are hands-down the best investors on Earth,” he exclaimed with admiration.

“They must know something the rest of us don’t because they invest taxpayer dollars in places no banker would ever dream of putting them.”  He then went on to list numerous examples.  â€œI mean look at Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service – how can they know these companies will make a killing?  Or all the farms they invest in.  Do you know they’ve purchased more than a billion pounds of dried milk to stockpile?  The instant that price shoots up they’ll sell it and make a bundle – they must really understand the market there.  Or investing in farming operations in North Dakota instead of South America where the weather is warmer and the labor is cheaper.  How about giving down payments to people who are deemed likely to default on their mortgages?  I would never have thought to put my money in these places!”

“Then there are the corporate bailouts.  Bankers look at a failing airline or an ailing steel mill and they say, ‘No way – we’d be throwing our money down the toilet when we could be investing in other businesses that will actually turn a profit and create jobs,’ but Congress says, ‘Yessireebob! This is just what the economy needs,’ and then do it.  Year after year they go on doing it, and year after year they convince taxpayers to give them more money to invest.    I read all the same reports they do, but I’m just not as good as they are when it comes to investment.  How do they do it?  What made them so smart?”
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Dalamar49

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2003, 03:49:18 pm »

The France/Senegol is your best one yet! Playful way to satire the War in Iraq.  :D
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alecmuller

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2003, 12:35:00 pm »

Here is an idea for a name: "The Obedient Citizen." The domain name obedientcitizen.com is available, or was when last I checked.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, but I was hoping for something a little more subtle.  The goal is to popularize libertarian view points, so I'd like to avoid drawing attention to my bias.  CNN and FoxNews, for instance, try to pose as mainstream and are very careful to avoid pointing out their own Left and Right biases.  While satyrically accurate, I'm worried that "The Obedient Citizen" might scare some potential fence-sitting statists away.

To be honest, I'd be happy with a completely non-descript name like "The Coos County Tribune" or my current personal favorite, "The Sandwich Times" (did you know there's a town of 1300 people called Sandwich, NH?).

Any other ideas for names?  Also, any ideas for non-political humor (I'd like to throw in a little bit just to keep attracting people who are luke-warm on political humor)?

Picture Quotes
Death Toll Mounts as Man on Sporking Spree Continues to Evade Police
Man Dismayed by Bank's Refusal to Accept Martian Property as Collateral
« Last Edit: October 11, 2003, 12:37:36 pm by alecmuller »
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Top Dollar

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Re:An Onion in the Free State
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2003, 02:03:44 pm »

Also, any ideas for non-political humor (I'd like to throw in a little bit just to keep attracting people who are luke-warm on political humor)?

There's plenty of room for parody in the commercial marketing drivel one sees everyday.  

Fast Foods:  a visual comparison of the inviting food seen served in the ads with what one actually receives at the restaurant.  When someone farts, I ask, "Did I hear someone say McDonalds?"

Auto Insurance:  a scene of some cops shaking down a motorist for loose change and kidnapping him with a narrator explaining that this is why you must do business with them.

There are many other examples where it can be pointed out using satire how marketing campaigns play on the herd mentality of the public, using public mind control techniques.
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« Last Edit: October 11, 2003, 02:04:07 pm by Top Dollar »
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