Today is the 43rd Earth Day. Unless you live in Ecotopia or Cloudcuckooland you probably didn’t notice, as the artificial holiday still hasn’t gained much traction with middle America, despite decades of progressive attempts to turn it into our pre-eminent annual holy day.
Lest we forget the absurdity on which Earth Day (and everything it represents) rests, Jon Gabriel over at FreedomWorks has compiled a hilarious list of failed predictions made by hysterical environmentalists on the first Earth Day back in 1970 — a list derived mostly from a seminal debunking article written by Ronald Bailey back in 2000.
Jon’s list is making the rounds — deservedly so — and merits spreading far and wide. To that end, the Tatler presents:
The 13 Worst Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970
- “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
- “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
- “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial
- “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
- “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
- “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
- “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
- “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine
- “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
- “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
- “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
- “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine
- “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt
And for dessert, here’s George Carlin’s utterly devastating classic rant about Earth Day and the hubris of the environmental movement:
Breaking news from sources familiar with the investigation reveals a significant new detail about the bombs used in yesterday’s Boston Marathon terror attack — they were made out of pressure-cookers:
The two bombs that killed three people and injured at least 176 at the Boston Marathon on Monday were made from six-liter pressure cookers crammed with shards of metal, nails and ball bearings and stashed in black duffel bags, police sources revealed today.
Why is this significant? Because this exact bomb concept is a signature design used by Islamic groups in the Middle East/central Asia:
The cruelly-designed bombs have ‘frequently’ been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a 2010 Homeland Security Department pamphlet – hinting at the origins of the bombers behind the worst terrorist atrocity in the U.S. since 9/11.
A similar device was used in the failed attempt to bomb Times Square by Faisal Shazad in 2010. It is a preferred weapon of al-Qaeda terrorists and listed as the ‘most effective’ weapon of jihad, according to in an English language terror magazine called Inspire.
To my knowledge, the pressure-cooker bomb design has never been used in the U.S. by any group other than jihadist groups (if you have information otherwise, please post it in the comments section).
The Smoking Gun has digital copies of the Homeland Security press release warning of pressure-cooker bombs, issued in 2010:
I don’t have a Twitter account. Never have, and as today’s events further confirmed, never will.
I realize that makes me an Internet Neanderthal, but it’s not like I’m a Twitterphobe because I don’t know what Twitter is or because I don’t understand it. Quite the opposite. I understand it all too well. And the more I learn, the less I like.
My main beef with Twitter is that 140 characters is insufficient to convey most worthwhile notions. And the format is far too short to disentangle (in any meaningful way) political disputes. Consequently, the Twitterverse is inherently shallow.
And that shallowness corrodes our thought processes, and discourages both the creation and communication of well-formulated intellectual content.
Today’s trending of “#liberaltips2avoidrape” is the best example I’ve seen yet of why I avoid Twitter. Conservatives and liberals are at each others’ throats over this hashtag, and the argument is all based on miscommunication, hive-mind bubble-thought, and everyone’s complete inability (or unwillingness) to explain the origins of the joke and the logical fallacies underpinning the dispute.
Let’s dissect the situation (in far more than 140 characters) to show what I’m talking about.
The topic under discussion is the train-wreck intersection of feminist anti-rape activism and Second Amendment gun rights. The liberal position is that guns should be outlawed, and that includes outlawed for women as well. The conservative retort is that if rapists all know that women are all unarmed, then they’re more likely to attempt rapes; thus, by outlawing guns, liberals are very likely causing more rapes to occur.
Into this mess stepped Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar, who said while discussing how rapes will be prevented on college campuses if all women are unarmed,
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles.”
Now, upon seeing this statement, conservative pundit and humorist “SooperMexican” created the sarcastic Twitter hashtag “#liberaltips2avoidrape” and started pumping out a series of hilarious (if you’re pro-gun) or offensive (if you’re liberal) Tweets, such as
Well, the hashtag caught on, and started to “trend” as they say (“become popular,” for you fellow Neanderthals), as people on all sides of the political spectrum started using it.
But at this point the entire conversation went of the rails.
Conservative gun-rights advocates thought SooperMexican’s joke was a spot-on skewering of brain-addled liberal hypocrisy. But liberals took great offense, not because they didn’t like being mocked, but because they didn’t understand the joke in the slightest.
In response, liberals started tweeting things like
…and posting graphics like this:
OK. So here we are. Both sides think they are pummeling each other with what they think are the best arguments, yet every single punch is missing its target. Because the liberals and conservatives are talking about two completely different things.
Conservatives are addressing how to stop a rape in progress, or how to stop a specific incident of rape from occurring beforehand.
Liberals, on the other hand, are discussing how to stop rape as a concept in general.
“Stopping rape” and “Stopping a rape” are two fundamentally different proposals. But no one — until this post — has pointed this detail out. And the reason no one has pointed it out is because Twitter is quip-centric, and it’s not funny to point out that the entire dispute is based on miscommunication.
But it goes deeper than that. A completely bizarre belief has arisen recently on the progressive side, as clearly evidenced in my recent report on the “1 Billion Rising” anti-rape rally, that we can prevent ALL rapes by creating a “culture of consent.” It is from this worldview that the “offended” #liberaltips2avoidrape Tweets are coming.
The flaw in this plan is that, despite feminist claims to the contrary, we already live in a “culture of consent,” and rapes occur not because American society promotes or accepts rape, but because some men are mentally ill and amoral. (And no, those men did not become mentally ill and amoral because they grew up in a pro-rape culture, but because some people are just plain evil and/or crazy.)
But where could such a bizarre belief come from — that all rapes can be stopped by training all men to be respectful of women? Well, it goes deeper and deeper. At its root this belief derives from the very early communist fantasy that all human traits are cultural artifacts, that we are all born as “blank slates,” there is no such thing as “human nature,” and that as a result society or the government can mold people into whatever shape is desired — to create “the Soviet Man” as it used to be called. (And if you think it’s overblown to bring up Soviet communism in this argument, note that the liberal “Don’t Rape” poster above is based on a famous Soviet communist poster. Full disclosure always helps to clarify things.)
This tenet was essential to early communist theory because totalitarianism requires that people give up or suppress what up until that time seemed like in-born traits (such as individualism, competitiveness, etc.), and if one concedes that these traits are inescapable, then communism fails as a theory.
Fast forward a century or two and the same basic notion — that existing “human nature” is not in-born but is culturally constructed — has now been seized by feminists, who declare that rape is an artifact of living in a “patriarchal” society and that if we completely changed human culture, rape would cease to exist.
While that may seem very nice and utopian and peachy-keen, needless to say it is almost certainly not true; and even if it was true, the transformation of global culture would be so immense and take so long that no one alive now will experience such a rape-free society in our lifetimes, or likely for several centuries after that.
In the meantime, we have to live in the existing patriarchal rape-culture we currently have. That is reality, like it or not.
Conservatives will protest my analysis and claim that liberals know full well that they are “changing the subject” by suggesting a completely ludicrous “solution” to the issue of how to stop a rape in progress (i.e. “Don’t rape!”). Conservatives will say that liberals, facing an argument in which they know they have been defeated, use the tried and true debating method of then ever-so-slightly altering the topic under discussion and then making a devastating comeback on a different subject.
But I’m quite convinced that liberals are not doing this consciously or on purpose. They are so subsumed in liberal groupthink that they literally cannot even grasp what conservatives are proposing, and truly and honestly think that the solution to “rape” is to “Don’t rape.” And conservatives for their part look at this facile non sequitur and in return have no idea what liberals are even talking about.
Further, on a more prosaic level, most liberals never heard about Rep. Salazar’s statement, so they have no idea what SooperMexican is even riffing on, and can’t understand why he suddenly started ranting about rape. Liberals and conservatives to a great extent dwell in separate “fact-spaces,” and consequently can never have a conversation based on facts, since we don’t share facts.
Another key aspect never mentioned in the ongoing Tweet-War is that in the liberal worldview,
Rape = Men = Masculinity = Patriarchy = Conservatism = Conservatives
such that conservatives have no moral authority or even permission to mention rape, since they are all either rapists themselves or at a minimum the defenders of “rape culture” and thus the cause of all rapes.
Anyway, I could go on and on about this debate forever, with an endless stream of words, because it’s rather fascinating in a sociological way, but I think you get my original point, which was:
Try saying all this in a Tweet.
Sure, I could unleash 357 consecutive Tweets to get the same message across, but in that case why not just use the antediluvian form of communication known as “blogging,” in which there is no limit on characters?
The solution to the Twitter problem is “Don’t Tweet.”
Pro-Taliban terrorist tries to blow up Oakland bank — and blame it on the Right — to start civil war
A would-be Islamic terrorist tried to ignite a civil war this morning by bombing a bank in Oakland, California, saying that “he wanted the bank bombing to be blamed on anti-U.S. government militias”; luckily, the FBI thwarted his plan:
A man who was hoping to start a civil war in the United States with a terrorist attack in the Bay Area was arrested early Friday after trying to detonate what he thought was a car bomb at a Bank of America branch in Oakland, federal prosecutors said.
Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, of San Jose was taken into custody near the bank at 303 Hegenberger Road after pressing a cell-phone trigger device that was supposed to detonate the explosives inside an SUV and bring down the building, prosecutors said.
His supposed accomplice was an undercover FBI agent who had been meeting with him since Nov. 30, according to an FBI declaration filed in federal court. The declaration said the FBI had built the purported bomb, which posed no threat to the public.
The FBI agent quoted Llaneza as saying he supports the Taliban and wants to engage in violent jihad.
In the Nov. 30 meeting with an agent who posed as someone connected to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Llaneza said he wanted the bank bombing to be blamed on anti-U.S. government militias, triggering a government crackdown, a right-wing response and a civil war, the FBI declaration said….
Additional details, if any, will appear here as we learn of them.
Here’s a photo of the bank branch at 303 Hegenberger he tried to destroy:
Here is the official FBI press release about the incident, released a few minutes ago:
OAKLAND, CA—Federal agents arrested Matthew Aaron Llaneza, age 28, of San Jose, California, this morning after he allegedly attempted to detonate a vehicle-borne explosive device at a bank branch in Oakland.
Llaneza’s arrest was the culmination of an undercover operation during which he was closely monitored by the FBI’s South Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force. Unbeknownst to Llaneza, the explosive device that he allegedly attempted to use had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public. Llaneza was charged this morning by criminal complaint with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against property used in an activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on November 30, 2012, Llaneza met with a man who led him to believe he was connected with the Taliban and the mujahidin in Afghanistan. In reality, this man was an undercover FBI agent. At this initial meeting, Llaneza proposed conducting a car-bomb attack against a bank in the San Francisco Bay Area. He proposed structuring the attack to make it appear that the responsible party was an umbrella organization for a loose collection of anti-government militias and their sympathizers. Llaneza’s stated goal was to trigger a governmental crackdown, which he expected would trigger a right-wing counter-response against the government followed by, he hoped, civil war.
The complaint further alleges that Llaneza subsequently selected the Bank of America branch at 303 Hegenberger Road in Oakland as the target for the attack. Llaneza ultimately specified a spot next to a support column of the bank building as a good location for the bomb, expressed a desire for the bomb to bring down the entire bank building, and offered to drive the car bomb to the bank at the time of the attack.
According to the complaint, in January and February 2013, Llaneza and the undercover agent constructed the purported explosive device inside a sport utility vehicle (SUV) parked inside a storage facility in Hayward, California. As part of the process of assembling the device, Llaneza purchased two cell phones to be used in creating and operating the trigger device for the car bomb. One of these cell phones was incorporated into the trigger device itself. The other was reserved for use on the night of the attack.
The criminal complaint alleges that on the evening of February 7, 2013, Llaneza drove the SUV containing the purported explosive device to the target bank branch in Oakland. He parked the SUV beneath an overhang of the bank building where he armed the trigger device. He then proceeded on foot to a nearby location a safe distance from the bank building, where he met the undercover agent. Once there, Llaneza attempted to detonate the bomb by using the second cell phone he had purchased to place two calls to the trigger device attached to the car bomb. Federal agents then arrested him.
A few more sickening details at the Huffington Post:
[Llaneza] laughed and hugged the undercover agent after the agent showed him the SUV in a storage unit rented by the FBI. Llaneza also stated he wanted to travel to Afghanistan so he could train Taliban fighters, according to authorities.
Someone with the name Matthew Aaron Llaneza founded an Arizona LLC in 2008 called “Sand Fire Tactical.” The State of Arizona’s official “Arizona Corporation Commission” has scans of the LLC’s Articles of Organization, which you can also see here:
Same guy? Most likely. Does the name “Sand Fire Tactical” have anything to do with his earlier assault weapons conviction? (I.e. does the “tactical” refer to tactical weapons?) He describes his business type as “Internet sales, light manufacturing.” Was he making illegal weaponry and selling it over the Internet? Or was this business completely innocuous?
The Phoenix Fox affiliate is searching for people who might have known Matthew Llaneza, adding to the likelihood of an Arizona connection:
Good afternoon… Kristen Keogh here. We are trying to find someone who knows a man named Matthew Llaneza….KSAZ FOX 10 News myfoxphoenix
Sand Fire Tactical LLC had $58,000 in 2011 revenue (Estimated data).
Still not clear what “Sand Fire Tactical” sold, or if this revenue data is accurate or just a generic estimate.
Someone named Matthew Llaneza graduated from Red Mountain High School in 2003. Anyone who graduated from high school in 2003 would now be exactly 28 years old…the same age as the suspect. And where is Red Mountain High School? Mesa, Arizona, naturally, the same city where Sand Fire Tactical was founded.
Lots of new details in a San Jose Mercury News article published 4 minutes ago:
Court records stemming from a 2011 weapons conviction show that the one-time Marine likely suffered from mental illness that included bouts of paranoia, suicidal tendencies, hallucinations and voices in his head, and had a vast working knowledge of weaponry.
Those same records show that Llaneza’s father long had concerns about his son’s stability, keeping him at arm’s length after he returned to San Jose from several years living with grandparents in Arizona and having abruptly converted to Islam.
During the planning of the attack, Llaneza also allegedly said “he would dance with joy when the bomb exploded.” After the attack, Llaneza had intended to flee by boat to Pakistan and then travel to Afghanistan to train with Taliban fighters….
Records indicate that the U.S.-born Llaneza lived with his grandparents in Mesa, Ariz., until 2011, when he moved back to California to live with his father in North San Jose in an RV parked out front. During his time in Arizona, Llaneza described himself as an “armorist” who was proficient in weapons assembly, and records show that in February 2008 founded Sand Fire Tactical LLC, which he described in its articles of organization as an “internet sales, light manufacturing” firm located in Mesa.
The complaint describes Llaneza as a detail-oriented person intent on an eye-catching act of terrorism that he believed would foment civil unrest. Court records in Santa Clara County seemingly set the foundation for those thoughts after he was convicted in 2011 for illegally having an AK-47 assault rifle and accompanying high-capacity magazines he purportedly purchased and registered in Arizona.
That discovery came out of an emergency call April 17 that year to the home of Steve Llaneza, who had recently allowed his son to live in an RV outside. Appearing under the influence of alcohol and marijuana — with a history of hard-drug use — the son threatened to kill himself and was hospitalized under a mental health hold.
Ensuing investigations by San Jose police led to them finding the assault rifle and magazines, which prompted officers to take Matthew Llaneza out of the hospital and into custody. He was convicted of the weapons offenses, and given a suspended sentence after having served six months in County Jail.
During the investigation and a corresponding preliminary hearing, Llaneza was described as being in and out of mental-health treatment, instead self-medicating with medically-obtained marijuana. He told interrogating officers about suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress from what he said were attempts by Arizona gangs to recruit him, expressing a fear of drug cartels and saying, “Someday you are going to find me dead in the desert.”
By the time of that 2011 arrest, Llaneza told police he was going by the name of Tarq Kahn and that he believed “secret police or government is trying to follow him.” His father told investigators that his son had briefly served in the Marine Corps before being discharged for an undisclosed reason.
Initially, Llaneza proposed attacking the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or another unspecified target. He later decided that there would too much security at the Federal Reserve Bank and instead began scouting Bank of America locations in Oakland — because of the symbolism of the name and his belief of Oakland being a center of protests.
As of 4:55pm, there is absolutely zilch on the Web about the name “Tarq Kahn” aside from that SJ Mercury News article. Could “Tarq” be a misspelling of “Tariq”? If so, there’d be little chance of digging up any info about him anyway, as “Tariq Khan” is an extremely common name.
Here’s the FBI Criminal Complaint and Affidavit leading to Llaneza’s arrest.
(Thanks to reader Paula B. for bringing this link to our attention.)
As noted by Gateway Pundit and Jawa Report, at the anti-Israel protest in San Francisco on November 16 (which I mentioned in my previous Tatler post), the pro-Palestinian protesters went berserk, tore up Israeli flags, screamed “Intifada!” and when they encountered an Israel supporter filming the protest, they brutally assaulted him:
Luckily the police were nearby and apparently arrested the attacker, and, as shown in the video, before he is led away he yells at an Israel supporter, “Fuck you, Jew! Fuck you, Jew!”
Yeah, these protests have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Nothing at all.
Every outbreak of hostilities in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is accompanied by a parallel protest outbreak in the U.S., as supporters of the Palestinian position and the Israeli position face off wherever there is an Israeli consulate or a large Arab-American population (primarily in California, New York and Michigan).
The latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no exception. Last night, San Francisco (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/11/15/18725746.php), New York (http://nycal.mayfirst.org/node/10234) and Los Angeles (http://la.indymedia.org/calendar/event_display_detail.php?event_id=9194&day=15&month=11&year=2012) all saw protests in front of Israeli consulates, although none of them received much if any media coverage.
Luckily, PJMedia contributor Ringo swung by the L.A. protest just as it was wrapping up, and took this video of a Palestinian supporter spitting at the feet of the five pro-Israel supporters on hand, after a passing Palestinian man called the Israelis “Nazis”:
Here’s the spitter, second from the right in the green hijab, smiling with her friends earlier in the protest:
For the last 10 or 15 years, the script for these Near East conflicts and attendant American protests is always the same: Palestinian militants launch mortars, rockets or suicide attacks at Israel; Israel eventually gets fed up and launches a punitive raid to find and root out the attackers; the media (and leftist activists) ignore the original Palestinian violence which precipitated the raid, and dub the incident “unprovoked Israeli aggression”; protesters show up at consulates in major cities around the world and condemn the Israelis but not the Palestinians; everybody accuses everybody else of being a Nazi and a terrorist and a war criminal; the Israelis kill some of the attackers, then withdraw, and everything settles back down to “normal” (i.e. a tense existential standoff).
There is an additional protest scheduled for today in San Francisco, but at the moment it’s pouring rain, so I’ll likely skip it. If any readers have links to coverage of protests in other cities, post them in the comments and I’ll try to keep this post updated with the latest on the “homefront” war.
All photos and video in this post courtesy of Ringo of Ringo’s Pictures.
- NBC Chicago reports “Hundreds Take Part in Anti-Israeli Protest” outside Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters.
- KSDK covered a small protest in St. Louis.
The 2012 election season has produced a bumper crop of pro-Democratic advertisements that are so insulting, juvenile, creepy, violent, obscene, self-defeating and unintentionally counter-productive that just based on these ads alone Romney deserves to win.
Have the Democrats lost their minds? Judging from these seven pro-Obama ads, they haven’t just lost their minds, but their souls too.
If you know any remaining independent undecideds waiting for some advertisement to tell them how to vote, sit them down for ten minutes to watch these seven spots, and I guarantee they’ll not only vote Romney but spend the rest of today volunteering for the Republicans.
If you’ve been a news junkie these last couple weeks then you’ve likely seen all of these before, but for posterity’s sake I’ve gathered them all together in one place so that, whatever the outcome today, historians can pinpoint the moment that politics died.
1. Murdering Republicans Is Funny!
It’s impossible to go any lower than this. Romney voters are gleefully massacred due to their political beliefs, which apparently render them inhuman, therefore allowing liberals to kill them without compunction. Watch and laugh as Republicans are beheaded, shot, blown to smithereens, and have their hearts carved out with chainsaws. If that wasn’t bad enough, all this carnage is enacted by a cast of racist stereotypes.
Needless to say, if a conservative had made an ad like this, he’d be in jail now.
2. Obscene Grannies Threaten to “Cockpunch” Romney Right in the Nutsack
Liberal nonprofit MoveOn.org hired Michael Moore to make this painfully unfunny anti-Romney ad, featuring foul-mouthed grannies threatening to “burn this motherfucker down” if Romney wins and then to “cockpunch” Romney “right in the nutsack.” Presumably, someone, somewhere, read the script for this piece and then saw the rough cut and actually thought it was humorous. And politically effective.
Actually, it is quite effective, but not quite in the way the makers intended. I tried to describe this ad to my own Democratic-voting mother (who doesn’t have a computer), and she absolutely refused to believe that such an ad could exist. So I brought my laptop over to her house and showed her the ad as proof that my description was accurate; she was so repulsed and offended that she announced afterward that she wasn’t going to vote this year because she didn’t want to be associated with that kind of language. Thank you, MoveOn!
Spotted on College Avenue, just a couple blocks from the University of California:
It’s always important to remember a key fact that is rarely discussed in polite company:
The Democratic Party is composed of two factions: Extreme leftists, like the ones who made this graffiti in Berkeley, who hate capitalism, hate America, and want to usher in a socialist revolution; and middle-of-the-road blue-collar Americans who only want the best for themselves but who have been tricked into making an alliance with radicals whose very goal is to destroy the fabric of middle-class society.
The great struggle of the last few decades is between, on one hand, radical strategists who strive to hide their true intent so they can deceive average Americans into facilitating the revolution; and on the other hand, conservative/libertarian strategists who realize that in order to overwhelmingly win every election all they need to do is expose the extremism and clever masquerade of the progressive “vanguard” leading flyover country voters astray.
And with that, we return to your regular programming.
PJMedia contributor Ringo came across these intriguing Obama campaign signs yesterday in front of a house in Hollywood:
Here’s the sign’s stylized Obama portrait visible more clearly:
Now, you’re likely thinking to yourself: “That Obama portrait looks vaguely familiar. Have I seen it somewhere before?”
And the answer is Yes. Because this particular Obama campaign sign portrait was apparently modeled after various iconic portraits of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Not possible? Judge for yourself:
Almost every official portait of Mussolini released by the Fascist Party had the identical facial expression found in the Obama campaign sign.
This 1920′s Fascist propaganda painting of Mussolini also seems to have been an inspiration for the Obama portrait, including the deep-set eyes.
Here are a couple more Fascist photos, just to be thorough — and there are dozens more similar pictures of the unmistakable “Mussolini scowl” easily findable on the Web:
Now, I don’t know where this Los Angeles homeowner obtained this particular Obama sign — did he make it by hand himself? Was it manufactured by some outside pro-Obama group? Or is it an official sign released by the Obama campaign? (Post any tips on its origins in the comments section below.)
[UPDATE: Commenters docweasel and Para point out that these campaign signs are widely available online from various sources and even have their own blog and do seem to be sold by a left-leaning pro-Obama company ("Signs are Union Made. ... Each sign has the authentic Union Shop stamp printed right on it.") but it's still not clear if the "Obama Lawn Yard Signs" company manufactures them or simply distributes signs made by the Obama campaign itself.]
Whoever made it, the Mussolini/Fascist/dictator vibe is undeniable. And even if you were entirely unfamiliar with the famous Mussolini scowl replicated in the 2012 campaign sign, why would any Democrat voter find this particular Obama portrait appealing or impressive? It reeks of Big Brother-ish totalitarianism all on its own, even without an historical precedent. Why depict your lovable candidate as a menacing, frowning tyrant?
Could this be the progressives’ secret love of totalitarianism peeking through once again? Many have already demonstrated the progressive/totalitarian connection. In fact, our own Ed Driscoll previously noted back in the 2008 campaign some extremely disturbing graphic parallels between Obama campaign/cult posters and those of earlier, uh, shall we say movements.
If you are a progressive reading this, you likely imagine yourself the polar opposite of the Fascists, but I ask you to stop and ponder a moment how you, your belief system and your behavior are viewed by others. When we see people demanding greater government power and expressing unquestioned devotion to a charismatic leader, we think “incipient totalitarianism.” You only exacerbate that impression by imitating the very design philosophy of previous totalitarian movements.
Are you sure you’re on the right side of history?
(Obama campaign sign photos all by Ringo of ringospictures.com.)
A lot of pundits and voters have been wondering: What exactly is different between Obama’s 2012 campaign promises and his original 2008 campaign promises? Because to the casual observer, he seems to be running for president as a challenger, as if this was his first time.
A few hours ago I ran across a campaign sign in front of a house in Pacific Grove, California which seemed to sum up Obama’s promised second-term agenda:
Re-use, recycle, rehash!
(In case it’s not clear, this efficiency-minded Obama voter simply took an “Obama ’08″ sign and scribbled out part of the “0″ and part of the “8″ to make it look vaguely like “Obama ’12.”) A perfect metaphor for Obama’s idea-free campaign!
RealClearPolitics publishes a continuously updated average of all major national presidential polls — as of this evening, their chart looks like this:
(Note that the RCP chart is updated frequently, so that by the time you read this, it may be slightly different.)
But whenever I check the RCP average, including today, I notice something odd: The larger the polling sample size, the more the poll favors Mitt Romney.
I’ve copied the RCP data and pasted it in here in a format that I can re-order. First, here’s how RCP organizes the chart, which they do chronologically, with the most recent poll at the top:
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Romney (R)||Obama (D)||Spread|
|RCP Average||10/15 – 10/23||–||–||47.8||47.2||Romney +0.6|
|Rasmussen Reports||10/21 – 10/23||1500 LV||3.0||50||46||Romney +4|
|ABC News/Wash Post||10/20 – 10/23||1394 LV||3.0||49||48||Romney +1|
|IBD/TIPP||10/18 – 10/23||938 LV||3.5||44||47||Obama +3|
|Gallup||10/17 – 10/23||2700 LV||2.0||50||47||Romney +3|
|Monmouth/SurveyUSA/Braun||10/18 – 10/21||1402 LV||2.6||48||45||Romney +3|
|CBS News||10/17 – 10/20||790 LV||4.0||46||48||Obama +2|
|NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl||10/17 – 10/20||816 LV||3.4||47||47||Tie|
|WashTimes/JZ Analytics*||10/18 – 10/20||800 LV||3.5||47||50||Obama +3|
|Politico/GWU/Battleground||10/15 – 10/18||1000 LV||3.1||49||47||Romney +2|
But what if we simply re-ordered the polls not chronologically, but according to sample size, with the largest at the top? This is what it would look like:
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Romney (R)||Obama (D)||Spread|
|RCP Average||10/15 – 10/23||–||–||47.8||47.2||Romney +0.6|
|Gallup||10/17 – 10/23||2700 LV||2.0||50||47||Romney +3|
|Rasmussen Reports||10/21 – 10/23||1500 LV||3.0||50||46||Romney +4|
|Monmouth/SurveyUSA/Braun||10/18 – 10/21||1402 LV||2.6||48||45||Romney +3|
|ABC News/Wash Post||10/20 – 10/23||1394 LV||3.0||49||48||Romney +1|
|Politico/GWU/Battleground||10/15 – 10/18||1000 LV||3.1||49||47||Romney +2|
|IBD/TIPP||10/18 – 10/23||938 LV||3.5||44||47||Obama +3|
|NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl||10/17 – 10/20||816 LV||3.4||47||47||Tie|
|WashTimes/JZ Analytics*||10/18 – 10/20||800 LV||3.5||47||50||Obama +3|
|CBS News||10/17 – 10/20||790 LV||4.0||46||48||Obama +2|
Notice the unmistakable trend?
All polls with 1000 or more respondents favor Romney; all polls with smaller than 1000 respondents favor Obama (or are tied).
Statisticians will tell you that the larger the sample size, the more reliable the poll. This fact is reflected in RCP’s “Margin of Error” (MoE) column, which shows a lower margin of error, and thus a greater level of reliability, for the large-sample pro-Romney polls. Each and every pro-Obama poll has a higher margin of error, and is thus less reliable.
These are the facts as they currently stand, and they’ve been true like this almost every day since soon after the first debate when Romney surged in popularity.
The question we must now ask ourselves is why only the weak polls with low response rates favor Obama.
Romney serenades Obama after tonight’s final debate with a freshly reworded version of Baubles, Bangles and Beads:
Big Bird, Binders and Bayonets
Big Bird, binders,
Biden’s big grin
Big Bird, binders,
simply seem small
to the voters
Big Bird, binders, and bayonets!
Each time you debate me
Next day’s meme starts with “B”
you the Big Boot
that’s what Obama gets –
talking binders Big Bird bayonets.
Here’s a karaoke video of Baubles, Bangles and Beads to sing along with (chosen because it retains the melody’s [and the lyrics'] original and correct waltz rhythm, not found in most pop versions):
Is Obama tone-deaf in the extreme — or is he blatantly rubbing our noses in it?
What else could explain his bizarre decision, after weeks of violence and anti-American rioting in cities across North Africa and the Muslim world, to check into a Las Vegas resort with a North African theme?
As reported by the Business Insider, Obama chose the new Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort to do his debate preparation:
President Barack Obama arrived in Nevada last night to begin three days of debate preparation at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort, a luxurious golf community just a few miles from the Las Vegas strip.
According to the White House pool report, the “resort is a strange mix of desert sand pits, green lawns, palm trees and new homes. We passed a replica of the Ponte Vecchio and some luxurious lakeside estates, also unfinished lots and a browning golf course. The president’s hotel has a Middle Eastern theme and a view of the lake from the lobby.”
Actually, that White House Pool report is inaccurate: Obama’s new hotel doesn’t have a Middle Eastern theme, but rather a North African Muslim theme, with an emphasis on Morocco. From the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa home page click on “Overview” -> “View Hotel Map” to access this detailed pdf of the hotel floorplan, which reveals that just about everything in the hotel or on the grounds is named after North African, Islamic and/or Moroccan places and themes. Here’s the main part of the hotel grounds:
(These names are confirmed by the hotel’s online list of meeting rooms.)
As you can see, most of the hotel’s elements have North African, Moroccan or Arabic names, which are listed here (along with explanations):
Casbah is the name of the Old Town quarter of Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It can also refer to the oldest walled area of any North African city.
Medinas refers to the medinas of North Africa, which are the ancient maze-like urban areas mostly in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Medina is also of course the city where Islam was founded in Saudi Arabia.
Souk refers to a marketplace anywhere in the Arabic-speaking parts of North Africa and the Near East.
Mushrabiya is an architectural feature common in North Africa and elsewhere in the Arab world.
Baraka is Arabic for “Blessing” — and more interestingly is the actual birth name of Barack Obama Sr., who later changed his first name from “Baraka” to “Barack.” So, in a sense, “Baraka” is also President Obama’s first name. (How many Nevada resorts have a gambling casino accidentally name after the President?)
Tajine (usually spelled “tagine”) is a traditional dish served in Tunisia, Morocco, and elsewhere in North Africa.
“Sandsabar” is a pun on the name of Zanzibar, the former Arab slave-trading center on the east coast of Africa.
Moulay refers to Moulay Driss Zerhoun, the town where Islam was introduced into Morocco, and which has a Muslims-only section.
Aleuj refers to a famous gateway in Meknes, Morocco. Interestingly, according to the link, the term “aleuj” means “apostate” and refers to the fact that the gate was built by a former Christian who had converted to Islam.
Menzeh is a place name associated with various locales in Morocco.
Majorelle is a famous garden in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Arabesque is not a place but simply an Islamic art style.
(“Nuala,” “Marssa,” “Skala,” “Andalusian” and “Sultana” just seem to be random words tossed into the mix because they sounded exotic, not because they had any unique connection to North Africa.)
Is Obama trying to send some kind of message? And if so — what message, and to whom?
After the events of the last weeks in North Africa, why – out of all the hotels and resorts in Nevada — would Obama pick the only one in an Islamic North African theme?
Pure speculation from this point on:
Many hotels and resorts in and around Las Vegas have over-the-top “themes,” but it’s all just window-dressing: flamboyant decorations to lure in tourists. In most cases, including the Westin Lake Las Vegas, it seems as if the designers just flipped through a book of images or place names from whichever theme was chosen, and implemented them haphazardly, without ever staying “true” to the theme. Thus, the Excalibur is not actually a medieval castle with medieval plumbing, any more than Caesar’s Palace is made out of hand-chiseled white marble. Slaves did not build the Luxor.
Thus, it’s not as if the Westin Lake Las Vegas is an actual North African-style hotel operating on Islamic principles; far from it. It’s still a typical high-end American hotel, that just happens to have North African decorations. So, if that’s the case, why choose it?
My theory is that Obama wanted to retreat into an “Orientalist” fantasy of what North Africa should be like, a dreamy, exotic and totally non-threatening resort area. Retiring to this particular hotel is Obama’s way of suppressing the ugly reality of what the North Africa of 2012 has become, rife with anti-Americanism, Al Qaeda and out-of-control revolutions, and instead allowing him to drift in haze of hookah smoke through a colonialist’s dreamworld of a North African Neverland.
One of the most amazing — and significant — statistics of this election season has gone almost completely unnoticed:
It has become increasingly difficult to contact potential respondents and to persuade them to participate. The percentage of households in a sample that are successfully interviewed – the response rate – has fallen dramatically. At Pew Research, the response rate of a typical telephone survey was 36% in 1997 and is just 9% today.
The general decline in response rates is evident across nearly all types of surveys, in the United States and abroad. At the same time, greater effort and expense are required to achieve even the diminished response rates of today. These challenges have led many to question whether surveys are still providing accurate and unbiased information.
You read that correctly: In any attempted poll or survey, only 9% of attempted contacts come back with an actual response.
That means 91% of sampled households are NOT having their opinions recorded by pollsters.
Breaking down the numbers a bit, we can see that this is due to two reasons: 38% of the households contacted were unreachable in the first place, leaving only a 62% “contact rate.” But among that 62%, only 14% “cooperated” with the pollsters; the remaining 86% of contactees presumably slammed down the phone or simply refused to answer. Since 86% of 62% of the population are non-cooperators, that leaves us with the astonishing conclusion that…
53% of Americans actively refuse to answer poll questions.
The real breakdown chart should look like this:
38% could not be reached
53% were contacted but actively refused to answer
9% cooperated and answered the polling questions
Or, put another way:
Out of every 7 people contacted by pollsters, only 1 will answer the polling question, while the remaining 6 refuse to answer.
Six to one, people; six to one. Think about that for a second.
What are those 53% thinking — and why would they purposely refuse to cooperate with pollsters?
Furthermore, where are those unreachable 38%? At work? On drugs? Curled up in a fetal position under the couch?
Pew goes on to claim that, despite the appallingly low cooperation rate in 2012, they think their estimates of public opinion are fairly accurate in any case.
That may have been true in past years, but we won’t know this year until after the election how accurate the polls were.
But now also consider these newly released stats showing that distrust of the media has hit an all-time high, and most importantly that Republicans and independents are twice as likely to distrust the media as Democrats:
There’s only one possible conclusion to reach: That the non-cooperating 86% of contactees are twice as likely to be Republicans and independents as they are to be Democrats.
This imputes a HUGE skew into all poll results, a skew that is rarely acknowledged.
Who are the 91%???
Are you one of them?
Did you miss a call from a pollster because you were at work?
Did you refuse to answer a question from a pollster, once contacted?
If so, why did you refuse?
Even if you don’t answer poll calls, do they record your non-response as support for Obama anyway?
We have the stats. Now let’s flesh them out with some anecdotes.
Here’s a summary of some of the anecdotes and reasons for non-response from the comments section below; the number preceding each line is the number of commenters who cited that rationale:
28 – I do answer, but I often lie and give false answers, just to screw with them.
24 – I have caller ID and never answer any call from any number that is either unknown or blocked.
17 – I do not respond because I suspect that callers identifying themselves as “pollsters” are more likely telemarketers, fraudsters or deceptive political operatives engaged in “push-polling.”
16 – I do not respond because of potential privacy violation, that pollsters can correlate my answers with my identity; “I fear that they will use my political beliefs against my family.”
14 – I do not cooperate because I consider the polling industry an arm of the biased media, trying to influence the electorate.
13 – I only answer calls from people I already know; if I accidentally answer a robo-call or a call from a stranger, I just hang up.
11 – I refuse to divulge any personal opinions or data to an anonymous stranger, who could be ill-intentioned for all I know.
10 – “Why should I waste my time talking to these people who will skew the results anyway?”
7 – I’m among the 38% “unreachable” because I do not have a landline.
5 – I’d only cooperate with pollsters if they compensated me for helping them.
4 – It’s just a waste of time; I have better things to do with my life.
4 – I would answer calls from any pollster which I recognize from caller ID as being unbiased, but otherwise I don’t.
3 – I suspect that if I answer once, my number will be added to lists of positive respondents, precipitating more calls.
2 – After I burst out laughing when questioned if I supported Obama, the pollster hung up on me.
2 – I never used to answer pollsters, but recently I have started answering, to counter the inaccuracies in earlier polls.
1 – I hang up if I “don’t like the questions.”
1 – I decline to answer because if I say I’m not voting for Obama they will sneer at me as a racist.
1 – I don’t answer because I think that polls are a corrupting influence on public policy, that political decisions are based on poll results, not on what is actually best for the country.
1 – A pollster questioned me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
6 – I refuse to cooperate with pollsters for all of the reasons above.
The Space Shuttle “Endeavour” took its final flight today over the Bay Area on the back of a 747 on its way to the California Science Center museum in Los Angeles. By chance I happened to be standing in the perfect spot to get a picture of it as it flew overhead at a very low altitude:
The Obama campaign has just released a new design for the American flag (seen here on the right), and already it has drawn howls of outrage and mockery.
Some have keenly noted that the stripes on the new Obama flag look almost exactly like the smeared bloody handprints left by injured American embassy workers during the recent fatal attack in Libya. Others have commented on the breathtaking level of narcissism required to even ponder such an egotistical campaign gimmick.
Turns out the new Obama flag design was adapted from a somewhat larger artwork — and luckily, I managed to track down the original, which appeared in a faded poster for an old horror film:
Also see: Finally a Flag Americans Can Burn
Mitt Romney recently said that 47% of the population pay no taxes while still receiving government benefits. This likely alienated the 47%, who Romney rightly noted are mostly voting for Obama. But it thrilled the 53% who do pay taxes. Because that 53% are sick and tired of moochers calling the shots.
Every statement any politician makes inspires some percentage of the population while alienating the rest. This is unavoidable. The trick is to find the right balance — the sweet spot is to aim somewhere above 50% and below 90%.
Why below 90%? Why not make statements that inspire everyone? Because when promises and speeches become overly broad, they quickly become meaningless and bland. A politician who announces “I like ice cream; don’t you like ice cream too?” isn’t going to win any votes, because the statement is uncontroversial to the point of banality.
Just below that level are the shallow populists, who generally make statements that attempt to please 75% – 90% of the voters, but at the cost of being not particularly believable. “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” sounds very nice in theory, but at this stage in history, vague upbeat promises raise as much skepticism as enthusiasm.
At the other end of the scale, saying things that piss off over 50% of the population is not a wise move for any politician — at least any politician who needs voter approval. Sure, a dictator can get away with seizing all private property and drafting all adults into a pointless war, because he isn’t trying to please anyone and doesn’t need votes to stay in power. Politicians in democracies and republics tend to avoid unpopular moves for this reason.
And so that leaves us with the real sweet spot, between 50% and 75%. Any statement from any politician which inspires or pleases between 50% and 75% of the public can rightfully be assessed as a smart political move.
So when Romney drew a line in the sand between the taxpayers and the non-taxpayers, he was in the sweet spot, because it made him less popular with the 47% of non-taxpayers and more popular with the tax-paying 53%.
Furthermore, he was also correct in his analysis that Obama’s support largely comes from that 47%, as many demographic analyses have shown. The “We want free stuff” crowd votes Democratic, and the “I’m grumpy about paying all those taxes” crowd votes Republican.
Many blogs have linked over the last few hours to “quickmeme,” a user-friendly insta-meme site which allows users to add their own captions to specific photos. Yesterday someone started a thread with the now-classic photo of Mohammed filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula getting arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department — and already there are over 1,000 submissions.
(The photo in its original context can be found here.)
The idea has really taken off, but the problem with quickmeme is that the outstanding efforts — and there have been many of them so far — tend to get overwhelmed by the also-rans.
So, as a service to meme-meisters everywhere, I have plucked what I think are the best of the best from the crowded field and am now presenting them here for your amusement and outrage. (And if you have an idea for a brilliant caption of your own, just click on the site’s “Add your own caption button,” type it in, and paste the resulting URL in the comments section below!)
I encourage everyone to download their favorites from the ones presented here and repost them on your own sites, upload them to your Facebook pages, tweet them to your followers…and spread the meme!
Best Entries in Quickmeme’s “Defend the Constitution” Nakoula Arrest Thread:
Remember the 2008 Democratic primaries when Hillary Clinton released an ad implying that her opponent Barack Obama was not prepared to take that legendary 3am phone call to defuse an international crisis? :
Not only was Obama unprepared to answer that call — he didn’t even pick up the phone.
And in the biggest irony of all, it is once again Hillary herself, now in her role as Secretary of State, trying to manage the crisis which Obama continues to flub with each passing hour.
Eric Holder and Associated Press ID anonymous filmmaker; intentional “outing” puts crosshairs on him. Retaliation for free speech?
This is beyond outrageous:
I will not quote the article because I disagree with its very premise: To name, expose and endanger the life of the man who made the anti-Mohammed film. I am only linking to it to note that the Associated Press and Eric Holder (through a “leak”) are purposely trying to get this guy killed.
Making the film was no crime. Apparently he does have leftover charges relating to a previous check-kiting scheme, but that is unrelated to this film/riot/crisis. And using that as the pretext, our government and media are flagrantly engaging in “the politics of personal destruction,” splashing this guy’s name across the Internet, despite his best attempts to remain anonymous, so that he will either succumb to or have to spend the rest of his life fleeing from Islamic terror squads.
This is the kind of thing that goes on under totalitarian regimes.
I am stunned.
Stunned that our government would betray its own Constitution to side with our enemies.
Stunned that they did this on 9/11, of all days.
Stunned that a culture remains so backward in the 21st century that an embarrassingly amateurish home movie actually poses a threat to their fragile worldview.
And most of all stunned that our government’s betrayal of its own nation isn’t dominating the news and the public consciousness.
The story has come out in fits and starts, so many people haven’t yet pieced together the whole narrative. To clear everything up, here’s everything that has happened thus far, chronologically:
Two Egyptian Coptic Christians, fleeing persecution from Islamic oppression, emigrated to America. Once here, they hooked up with Qur’an-burning preacher Terry Jones and made an amateur video dramatizing crimes against Copts in Egypt, which transitions mid-way through into a serio-comic mockery of Mohammed.
The movie is so bad, on every level — bad script, bad acting, ludicrous set design, weird overdubbed audio, laughable special effects — that it would barely get a passing grade in a high school video production class. But apparently it was on par with professional Egyptian productions, because when a 14-minute trailer appeared on YouTube, Egyptian media and Egyptian fundamentalist imams seized on it, made a dubbed Arabic version, and whipped up the Muslim populace by showing the clip over and over. The entire nation of Egypt took it very seriously.
Here’s the original English version — imagine taking this as a legitimate and serious threat to your existence:
As you’ve surely heard by now, Muslim preachers chose today, 9/11, to incite the faithful to storm the U.S. embassy in Cairo; for the first time ever, Islamic protesters breached the fortress-like walls of the embassy, tore down the American flag, and replaced it with an al-Qaeda flag.
And what was the American government’s response to this?
To condemn the Christians who made the film and to reject the principles of the First Amendment (I took a screenshot just in case):
Here’s the text, with the key portions highlighted:
U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement
September 11, 2012
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
Twice in the official statement (and once more in the headline) the State Department criticizes the Christians who made the film — not the people who committed an act of war against us by invading U.S. sovereign territory (the embassy). This is simply beyond the pale.
I thought we had resolved this issue years ago: The concept of “freedom of speech” is absolute, and if you start restricting speech based on political considerations, or because someone takes offense, then it is not free at all. The very point behind guaranteeing free speech is to protect controversial speech. One doesn’t need a constitution to protect people’s right to say “Have a nice day.”
And yet here is our own government granting a bullies’ veto to our sworn enemies. And it’s no laughing matter when our government says it “condemns” and “firmly rejects” something; it has the power to enforce those opinions. It’s one thing for an essentially powerless private individual to say he doesn’t like something; it’s quite another for that opinion to be backed by the full force of the government.
The Democratic Party today leaked the names of three surprise speakers to appear onstage tomorrow night at the convention: Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington.
Why should we care what they say? Why should three actresses appear at a political convention? Do I have to even answer? Obviously, because they’re attractive:
No one really cares what they have to say. They’re on stage just to be looked at.
The Republicans instead invited crotchedly old actor Clint Eastwood to give a speech, and he’s not going to win any beauty contests, so Fox News had to take matters in their own hands and ramp up the convention’s “babe quotient” by cutting away to an impossibly attractive young Republican during a punch line in Mitt Romney’s speech:
Interestingly, they showed her immediately after Romney joked that he “didn’t want to go to Hell,” implying that her pre-Raphaelite looks could be the temptation that could send him (or any man) there. (To see her in context, see 23:20 – 23:23 in the Fox video of Romney’s full speech.)
But what did she have to do with Mitt Romney or conservativism, other than being a rank-and-file Republican herself? Nothing. Like Scarjo and her fellow actresses, she was just eye candy.
But that brings up a larger question: Why should eye candy matter in a campaign? We’re seking to elect the best leader, not the leader surrounded by the most beautiful ladies.
|Bar Rafaeli: Blithering idiot. Not elected.|
|Golda Meir: Very competent. Elected.|
Bar Rafaeli may make the cover of Sports Illustrated, but she’ll never be elected Prime Minister of Israel. Golda Meir, on the other hand, easily won elections to lead the Israelis, despite not looking anything like a cover model. Why? Because she was competent and strong-minded, whereas Bar Rafaeli is a blithering idiot.
But if beauty, or at least the proximity of beauty, shouldn’t matter in politics, why do the political stage-crafters and media-framers keep shoving beautiful girls at us during inappropriate moments?
Is the presumption that some small but still significant percentage of male American voters out there are so stupid and adolescent that they really and truly will say, “She’s hot — I’m voting for that guy!”
I’ve always assumed, perhaps naively, that politics is the one arena where feminine charm doesn’t matter. If anything, to the average person “attractiveness” is generally inversely correllated to “competence,” and that plain-looking politicians are unconsciously presumed to be better at their jobs than the lookers. And the same effect holds true for the politicians’ cohorts.
So I remain mystified why both political parties and their cheerleaders to this day operate on the “beauty sells” principle, as if political ideologies were like shampoo or sports cars.
Anyway, while we all await Scarlett Johansson’s history-making appearance, help me solve this eternal mystery. I have no answers.
This came out of nowhere yesterday, and within 24 hours a previously unknown ideological rift has erupted: the videos below expose for the first time a fundamental distinction between the leftist/progressive mindset and the conservative/Tea Party philosophy.
As was widely linked yesterday after Drudge featured it, the Democratic Party showed the following bizarre 15-second clip on The Big Screen at the Democratic National Convention:
“Government’s the only thing that we all belong to.”
The conservative blogosphere blew a gasket at the complete reality-inversion of the Democratic worldview. Tea Partiers and small-l libertarians and constitutional conservatives railed We don’t belong to the government — the government belongs to us!
But now a new video has emerged to put the fear of Big Brother in you. The folks at RevealPolitics walked around the convention asking Democratic delegates how they felt about “belonging” to the government. The interviews were probably originally intended to show delegates alarmed and repulsed by their own party’s tone-deaf propagandizing. Instead, what the interviewers came away with was a bone-chilling peek into an alternate universe in which slaves love their chains.
Watch it and weep:
Joe Biden earlier today inaugurated the Democratic Party’s new audience-participation campaign motto:
Let me make something clear, say it to the press: America is better off today, than they left us when they left. And if it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail why I say that…
Obama campaign officials later explained that the president plans to use Biden’s formulation to clarify every single aspect of Obama’s record. While the campaign’s staff speechwriters will supply many of the variants in upcoming weeks, Obama for America 2012 invited voters to submit their own versions; lucky winners will be selected for inclusion in speeches by the president himself.
A White House press release revealed the following examples which Obama plans to use in his convention acceptance speech and on the campaign trail; voters (no ID required) are encouraged to submit their own in the comments section below.
“If it weren’t so hot”: Motto for an Obama Future
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail how four straight years of 8+% unemployment proves that my economic theories have succeeded.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail why plunging the nation $16 trillion into debt is wise fiscal policy.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail about how you didn’t build that.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail about how aborting babies in the ninth month of pregnancy is a popular mainstream position.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail why I support the Islamic extremists who have taken over Egypt.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail about how selling guns to Mexican drug cartels is a good way to safeguard America.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail how I personally helped cause the housing crisis.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail how the grade I give myself for my first 4 years is an ‘Incomplete.’”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail how I promised high energy prices, then got what I wanted, then pretended it was bad news.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail why I recycle the exact same speeches and campaign promises I gave back in 2008, as if I had achieved nothing.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail as to why the entire Senate, including all Democrats, voted down my proposed budgets 99-0.”
• “If it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail about why I can’t run on my record.”
The pro-Obama left is on a frantic hunt for “dog whistle” racism on the part of Republicans — an absurd exercise in amateur mind-reading which they feel compelled to do in the absence of any actual Republican racism. While the debate rages as to whether this is just psychological projection by the race-obsessed left, no one seems to notice the blunt in-your-face unequivocal racism expressed by some of Obama’s very own supporters.
Take, for example, this pro-Obama sign spotted by photojournalist Ringo in West Hollywood yesterday:
“Once you go black, you never go back! Obama 2012,” accompanied by a classic Obama “Hope” portrait.
The phrase “Once you go black, you never go back,” for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a deeply offensive expression meaning “Once you, a white person, have had sex with a black person, you’ll never want to go back to having sex with white people again.” Academics have long argued whether the once-common slang expression is racist toward blacks (by classifying them as sexual beings) or toward whites (for positing their sexual inferiority); or both. One way or the other, the term seems to offend everyone.
And yet, such a racist pro-Obama sentiment can be proudly displayed on a public street, and everyone shrugs, and continues on their way. Meanwhile, anytime a Romney supporter says the taboo terms “angry,” “golf,” “Chicago” or any number of diabolical and sneaky “dog whistle” racist code words, the media goes berserk.
(Photo courtesy of Ringo of Ringo’s Pictures.)
Two incidents happened yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida:
1. Mia Love, an African-American Republican woman, gave a speech and received loud cheers and a standing ovation from almost every single one of the thousands of white Republicans in attendance.
2. Two bozos, of unknown identity, “threw peanuts” at an African-American woman camera operator for CNN, while purportedly saying “This is how we feed animals,” and were ejected from the convention.
Furthermore, there is video proof that the first incident (the standing ovation) happened; while the only evidence we have for the damning details of the second purported incident (at least as of the time of this writing) is the word of a partisan left-wing blog.
Now, considering all this: Guess which incident received the most media coverage?
Bing! You are correct: The peanut-throwing incident (and purported racist comment) is now the hot news story of the day, cited on essentially every liberal site and many MSM outlets as proof of universal Republican racism, while the standing ovation by the entire convention hall for an African-American woman just a few hours earlier got very little coverage, and no headlines.
The peanut-throwing story first appeared in a tweet by liberal reporter David Shuster, and was from there first published as a news story on the far-left blog Talking Points Memo. Because basically everything that appears on TPM is picked up and repeated by the mainstream press, within hours the story became part of the national news feed, and by now has been repeated by basically every news outlet in the country (and around the world):
[ Sung to the tune of "Venus" by Frankie Avalon: ]
Romney If You Will
Hey Romney! Oh Romney!
Romney if you will,
Please nominate a veep who’ll make us thrill.
A veep who’s good at math and six-pack abs
Who’s got the gift of gab,
Romney make him young,
A budget wonk who’s not so highly strung.
Wisconsites are popular this year,
Your choice is oh so clear: It’s Paul.
Ryan, deficit-hawk you may be,
You’re perfect for the job,
You’re such a big heart-throb!
Ryan has a plan
More serious than Barry’s “Yes We Can,”
A fiscal map to stave off bankruptcy
While Biden gaffes and says “Ooopsie.”
Ryan, fearless and confident,
You schooled the President
Over the moon we went!
Ryan add the looks,
Subtract the waste and balance all our books,
Divide your foes and make them all feel blue,
And multiply our love for you.
Hey Romney! Oh Romney!
You made our wish come true!
[ If you've forgotten the tune, here's the original; play it softly in the background and sing the new lyrics over it, karaoke-style: ]
[UPDATE: Many new photos have now been added since this post was first made. Scroll down to see them all!]
Ringo of Ringo’s Pictures is at the Chick-fil-A in Hollywood this evening, documenting the “kiss-in” of gay marriage supporters to protest statements by Chick-fil-A’s owners.
But you know about that already. What you want is the pictures, and Ringo’s got the goods!
Meanwhile, here are the breaking pictures, taken just a short time ago:
[Credit all photos to Ringo of ringospictures.com.]
Good way to win converts to your cause: “Jesus Is a Cunt.”
“I had gay sex at Chick-fil-A.”
Let the kiss-in commence!
My name is Barack Obama, and I’m not yet sure if I approve of this message.
Meanwhile, some Chick-fil-A supporters looked askance at the protesters out on the sidewalk. The guy on the right is doing his best to act casual and observe Chick-fil-A Indifference Day.
Not sloppy enough. More sloppiness!
I’m not sure if this guy is trying to mock polygamy because it is historically associated with Mormonism, or if he is a polyamorous hipster who really truly loves polygamy. The modern world is so confusing!
Things became absolutely fabulous as evening began to fall.
Note the woman on the far left side of the picture, holding a sign that says…
…”Eat More Carpet.” Is this a carpet-munching protest, or a kiss-in?
Some guy showed up dressed as Jesus. I’m not sure whether he was a Christian counter-protester, or a protester mocking Christianity. Hopefully Ringo will clarify matters in his final report on Ringo’s Pictures.
This sign is meant to mock the “God Hates Fags” sign of Westboro Baptist Church. Gay activists often reference the Westboro signs, and intentionally conflate the virulently anti-gay sentiments of the Fred Phelps clan with any opposition to same sex marriage, completely unaware that conservatives despise the Westboro Baptist Church even more than liberals do.
“Freaking out the squares” is the goal: mission accomplished!
The protesters weren’t disruptive — but the media was!
At a Hollywood Chick-fil-A, Police Called To Escort Disruptive Protestors From Premises
Did I Say Disruptive Protestors? I Meant Disruptive Media
August 1 was “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
Today, August 3, is “Chick-fil-A Kiss-In Day,” also known as “Kiss Mor Chiks.”
But Chick-fil-A itself had nothing to do with either of these official “Day”s. The first one, “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” was announced by conservative candidate and talk-show host Mike Huckabee. The second one, “Kiss Mor Chiks,” was organized by progressive activist Carly McGehee. Neither one of these people has any official role in either the Chick-fil-A corporation nor in any established group opposed to Chick-fil-A. They’re both just…people.
Apparently, therefore, it is now acceptable for any random person to declare an official “Chick-fil-A _____ Day.”
So why not me? I’m random.
But here’s the problem:
• I’ve never eaten at Chick-fil-A.
• In fact, I’ve never even seen a Chick-fil-A.
• I actually thought it was pronounced “chick-filla” until about five days ago, as prior to that I had never heard anyone say the name out loud.
• I’m mostly a vegetarian (except at family reunions, where to be polite I’ll eat a few old-time recipes so as not to offend various aunties), so I wouldn’t eat at Chick-fil-A even if I had the opportunity, which I don’t, since there are no Chick-fil-As in my area.
• And in general, I just don’t give a damn about Chick-fil-A, its owner, or its owner’s opinion about marriage, one way or the other.
But how to express all these VERY IMPORTANT POINTS in my official “Chick-fil-A _____ Day”?
I hereby announce
Chick-fil-A Indifference Day
On Saturday, August 4, all across this great nation, I call upon Americans to express their complete indifference to Chick-fil-A and this entire non-scandal. Participants in Chick-fil-A Indifference Day are encouraged to have no opinion whatsoever about Chick-fil-A on Saturday, and to not really think about it at all, and to avoid eating there unless you’re driving by and feel a little hungry and wouldn’t mind a chicken sandwich, in which case you could eat there, but only for non-political reasons, and only if there wasn’t a better place next door.
Join us! Let waves of boredom and indifference about mind-numbing non-scandals wash across America. Our time has arrived! Stand up, speak out, and say nothing!
I’m old enough to remember when liberals found out that the then-owner of Domino’s Pizza was a pro-life Catholic activist who donated some of the profits from Domino’s to Catholic and anti-abortion charities. The reaction was sudden and furious: in an instant there were calls for a nationwide boycott of Domino’s, and of anyone who accepted ads from Domino’s; picket lines sprung up outside pizza shops across the country; and in general things looked grim for Domino’s.
Until, that is, about a month later, when the mob’s attention was drawn elsewhere, and the whole boycott thing evaporated.
What made the flash flood of outrage so mystifying is that the owner of Domino’s had never hidden his beliefs; nothing changed to precipitate the boycott except that the Left for the first time learned about an existing fact.
The exact same process is now happening with Chick-fil-A: it’s not that the owners suddenly came out of the conservative closet. In reality, they’ve been public Christians and openly conservative for their entire business careers. All that happened is that their views entered onto the liberal radar by chance one day, and the word quickly went out on the Alinsky grapevine: This is the next target we will freeze, personalize and polarize.
I’m quite sure that the Chick-fil-A boycott will fade away soon enough, as such things always do, but it raises a larger question: Why become outraged spasmodically like this, in fits and starts? Why not simply made a permanent list of every business’s political preferences, and conduct one’s economic choices accordingly?
Since conservatives as well have on occasion chosen to avoid giving money to famously leftist businesses, we can stop this bipolar boycott binge behavior and just declare a permanent cleavage in America’s shopping habits to match our political preferences. THIS IS WAR!
But the problem is that each side only ever gets obsessed with the other side’s “villains,” and there’s no one-stop bipartisan handy list of whom you should boycott and whom you should patronize, according to your politics.
Time to rectify that!
I hereby declare permanent mutual Economic Civil War between the left and the right. You don’t want your money going to fund ideologies you hate, do you? Of course not!
I’ll get the ball rolling with a few entries on both sides, but please feel free to make suggestions and additions in the comments section, and I’ll be updating the lists to make them more comprehensive throughout the day:
EVIL CONSERVATIVE COMPANIES
If you are liberal, you must forever boycott and shun the following businesses, all of which are known or suspected of either being controlled by conservatives or donating profits to conservative causes, now or in the past:
Industry-wide “general principles” boycotts:
EVIL LIBERAL COMPANIES
If you are conservative, you must forever boycott and shun the following businesses, all of which are known or suspected of either being controlled by liberals or donating profits to liberal causes, now or in the past:
Industry-wide “general principles” boycotts:
Update I: One difficulty in compiling such a comprehensive list is that some companies have changed political orientations over time, and at various phases in history there has been unhappiness in both political camps with certain companies. Disney, for example, was reviled as a “conservative company” for decades, especially in the ’50s and ’60s, since Walt Disney himself was conservative and since Disney cartoons and films and parks promoted all-American values. But that was then; now, Disney is often accused of being too politically correct and of owning media outlets which overtly skew left; and at the same time, liberals still bash Disney for being unashamedly capitalistic. In short: Ya just can’t win.
To avoid this problem, I’m mostly seeking the names of companies which are either currently facing an official or unofficial boycott, or which faced one in the past and have not noticeably changed their politics since then.
Update II: This list is specifically about the political leanings of companies, and not about “bad business practices.” Therefore, excluded from the list will be boycotts called due to poor conditions in overseas factories (Adidas, Nike) except in those cases where there is a claimed or apparent close connection between the bad business practices and the companies’ declared ideology.
Update III: The more extreme anti-capitalist activists essentially hate every corporation, for the mere reason of being a for-profit capitalistic enterprise. Therefore, also excluded from this list will be boycotts declared simply because a company is successful. (Though it could be argued that many of the well-known boycotts originated for just this reason: Resentment of success and opposition to profit comes first, and then later some flimsy justification for a boycott is ginned up as an excuse to protest.)
Update IV: An interesting thought experiment: What would life be like in both LiberalLand and ConservativeLand if all members of each ideology strictly hewed to their boycotts — especially the industry-wide boycotts? Liberals would not only have to live without certain kinds of fast food, various hotels, paper products and fertilizer-grown plants, but also without oil and gas. Conservatives would not only have to forego Google, Facebook and Arby’s, but also films and newspapers. Two different Americas indeed!
Update V: Both GoodGuide and BargainBabe feature an interactive infographic slider which allows you see the political leanings of 153 major consumer brands. Maybe not each one is boycott-worthy, but if you’re trying to decide between Shiseido and Liz Claiborne at the cosmetics counter, it might be useful to know that Liz Claiborne is run by a bunch of commies while Shiseido are fascist reactionaries!
I just couldn’t resist making my own “You didn’t build that” Photoshop, tracing the origins of the phrase:
UPDATE: Full transcript added; more ‘nuance’? ORIGINAL POST: Another Hollywood Millionaire Outs Self as Faux-Socialist Hypocrite
Thanks to commenter “Ben White,” we’ve found a video of Whedon’s exact statements, which start at 54:30 in this video (transcription below):
Questioner: “I’m actually a union organizer by trade, and in a lot of your work you’ve portrayed sort of a corporate ‘big bad’ – that’s appeared in Angel, and Dollhouse. So, in 30 seconds or less, can you tell us what is your economic philosophy?”
Joss Whedon: “Um, y’know, I was raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the ’70s, by the people who thought John Reed and the young socialists of the ’20s were some of the most idealistic people, and that socialism as a model was such a beautiful concept. And now of course it’s become a buzzword for horns and a pitchfork.
And we’re watching capitalism destroy itself, right now. And ultimately all of these systems don’t work. I tend to want to champion the working class because they are getting destroyed. I write about helplessness — helplessness in the face of the giant corporations and the enormously rich people who are very often in power giving those people more power to get even more power.
We are turning into Czarist Russia. We are creating a nation of serfs. That leads to — oddly enough — revolution and socialism, which then leads to totalitarianism. Nobody wins.
It’s really really really important that we find a system that honors both our need to achieve, and doesn’t try to take things away from us, but at the same time honors everybody’s need to have a start, to have a goal, to have a life, to have an income, to have a chance.
The fact is, these things have been taken away from us, sometimes very gradually, sometimes not so gradually, since the beginning of the Reagan era, and it’s proved to be catastrophic for so much of America.
During the writers’ strike I was furious; I remain furious. I’m not always sure what to do about it, I don’t think most of us are.
But I do know that what’s happening right now in the political arena is that we have people who are trying to create structures or preserve structures that will help the working class and the middle class, and people who are calling them socialists.
And nobody has the perfect answer. But I honestly think we are now in a political debate that is no longer Republican versus Democrat or even conservative versus liberal. It’s about people who are trying to make it work because they still remember, they still have some connection to the idea of personal dignity — and people who have gone off the reservation and believe Jesus Christ is a true American.”
Here’s what I think happened:
The Wrap reported somewhat inaccurately on Whedon’s speech, perhaps because the writer was a bit thrilled by Whedon’s populist anti-conservative rhetoric, and so framed their story with various paraphrases to make it seem palatable; then Big Hollywood, not having heard the original video, based their story on what The Wrap had reported, this time viewing their version of Whedon’s sentiments through a critical lens. So we are now already three layers deep in media re-framing.
So let’s wipe that all away and start with the raw transcript: What did Whedon say, exactly?
Well, first of all, it’s quite obvious that he’s very critical of and opposed to the current conservative fiscal philosophy, treating modern conservatives like lunatics who are outside rational debate. And he’s very praiseful of the left-leaning side of the Democratic Party currently in power, as he praises them as trying to preserve the “personal dignity” of the “working class.”
Because he purposely talks a bit obtusely in an attempt to partly disguise what he’s actually saying, it’s not necessarily easy at first to decipher his position; but the giveaway is that the bad guys are the ones accusing the good guys of being “socialists” — in other words the bad guys he’s speaking of are 2012′s conservatives.
But in the middle of the speech he also does the typical Democrat do-si-do: first praise socialism in theory, then say it doesn’t work in practice, and then act like the very notion of socialism is only a Republican conspiracy theory. Hopping to and fro like this, he avoids being pinned down on any particular position.
What he apparently wants is some mysterious unnamed utopian magic solution that somehow manages to preserve private ownership but at the same time forcibly levels the playing field for the “working class” (and why is he using Marxist terminology like this?). This is pretty much the same rhetoric that Obama uses: Pooh-poohing socialism by name, but then not-so-subtly proposing socialist-tinged solutions.
So we have a mashup of minor media malfeasance, misreporting on an intentionally muddled left-leaning populist non-answer from Whedon, whose rabid fans nonetheless eat it up.
Duke it out in the comments section.
Original post below:
As reported in The Wrap and later picked up by Big Hollywood, sci-fi director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Avengers, etc.) uncorked an epic anti-capitalist rant at Comic-Con on Friday, in response to a fan’s question about anti-corporate themes in his work:
“We are watching capitalism destroy itself right now,” he told the audience.
He added that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia” and that “we’re creating a country of serfs.”
Whedon was raised on the Upper Westside neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1970s, an area associated with left-leaning intellectuals. He said he was raised by people who thought socialism was a ”beautiful concept.”
Socialism remains a taboo word in American politics, as Republicans congressmen raise the specter of the Cold War. They refer to many Obama administration initatives as socialist, and the same goes for most laws that advocate increasing spending on social welfare programs. They also refer to the President as a socialist, though this and many of their other claims misuse the term.
This evidently frustrates Whedon, who traces this development to Ronald Reagan – the nominal hero of the modern conservative movement. Since then, Whedon believes the country has changed in way that has made it too difficult for regular people to succeed.
Aside from the direct quotes, it’s a little unclear whether The Wrap is paraphrasing Whedon or simply adding their own background info, but the parts that are definitely his words make his stance clear enough: America in 2012 is like Russia in 1917, when the czarists were swept away by a socialist revolution — something Whedon would obviously welcome. He subscribes to the “end stage capitalism” theory, a communist fantasy (which the far left has been trumpeting for at least three decades now) in which the American system is thankfully on the brink of collapse.
No, Joss Whedon is no socialist. He’s the ultimate capitalist, and he obviously loves to enjoy the lavish comforts that having tens of millions of dollars can bring him.
Joss Whedon is not just the 1%: he’s the 0.000001%. But he thinks he can retain his street cred if he recalls his red diaper baby roots and denounces capitalists like himself.
If you really look forward to a socialist America, Josh, put your money where your mouth is, and sign over your entire personal assets to the central government.
C’mon. We’re waiting.
As was noted widely across the blogosphere last night and this morning, President Obama has just openly embraced the “Lakoff strategy” outlined in my recent review of the Democratic campaign guide The Little Blue Book. In that book (and in previous writings as well), George Lakoff over and over tells Democrats that in order to win elections they need to change their “narrative” and not their policies. In an interview with CBS news yesterday, Obama said this:
“When I think about what we’ve done well and what we haven’t done well, the mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
“Tell a story” = create a narrative.
What’s comical about this is that Obama is like an amateur thespian who reads the stage instructions as part of his dialogue, unaware that he’s not supposed to speak them aloud:
“Alas poor Yorick! Holds up skull. I knew him well, strides to front of stage.”
What Obama has done here isn’t create a narrative, but rather repeated the instructions from Lakoff that he should create a narrative.
Note to Team Obama: It doesn’t work if you announce what you’re doing.