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.
Skyrocketing costs, looming bankruptcy, nationwide mockery and even a few reticent Democrats could not stop Jerry Brown’s bullet train juggernaut today, as the California State Senate just voted to spend the first $7.9 billion — including $3.3 billion of Federal stimulus funds — on a high speed rail line connecting…Madera and Bakersfield.
This is supposed to be the first leg of an eventual system that will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, but the costs for that plan are so astronomical ($68 billion is the current low-ball estimate, but that goes up by the hour) and it’s so far in the projected future (15, 20 years — who knows?) that no one can can confidently say whether there will ever be a complete SF-LA line, much less when, nor how in the world it might get financed.
No time for worries, it’s full-speed ahead!:
A divided state Senate approved billions of dollars in funding to start construction on California’s ambitious high speed rail line Friday, handing the controversial project $7.9 billion in state and federal money for the first 130-miles of track and a series of local transit upgrades.
The funding measure, which was easily approved in the Assembly Thursday, will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve it. In all, the state Legislature this week authorized the issuance of $4.6 billion in state bond funds – about half of the $9.9 billion approved by voters in 2008 – and opened the door for California to obtain $3.3 billion in federal grants, for a total of $7.9 billion in spending.
It was a key vote: Federal transportation officials had warned that if they money was not made available this summer, they would yank the $3.4 billion in stimulus funds and give it to other states.
Sen. Michael Rubio compared it to President Lincoln’s pursuit of transcontinental rail.
“In the era of term limits, how many chances do we have to vote on something this important and long lasting? How many chances do we have to vote on something that will inject a colossal stimulus into today’s economy while looking into the future far beyond our days in this house?” said Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. “Do we have the ability to see beyond the challenges, the political point-scoring and controversies of today? Are we willing to take some short-term risk, knowing that the benefit to this great state will be, for centuries, enormous?”
The cost of the high-speed rail line – now estimated at $68 billion – has ballooned in size since voters approved the high-speed rail bonds four years ago, and public support for the bullet train has fallen as projected costs rose. The high-speed system would connect San Francisco to Los Angeles with trains expected to run as fast as 220 mph.
Most of the money approved this week – about $5.9 billion – is for construction of the first, 130-mile stretch of railway in the Central Valley from Bakersfield to Madera.
Republicans also attacked the project’s escalating costs — it was estimated at $40 billion when voters authorized the project in 2008. It’s still not clear how the state will pay for later phases of construction.
I’ll fess up: I love trains. I’ve ridden the TGV from Paris to Lyon, the Eurostar from London to Brussels, and it’s a slick way to travel — at least in high-ridership areas with major cities near each other. I’ve ridden steam trains and ratchet-railways and ramshackle locals stuffed with chickens and chain-smoking peasants. No matter how futuristic or retro, I can’t resist a train ride.
But even I, an unapologetic train lover, shake my head in dismay at this vote. The cost isn’t just high, it’s patently absurd, like a script from a Swiftian satire about political boondoggles.
And the first leg to be completed — which the Obama administration insisted upon, because it’s the only portion of the route that isn’t undergoing environmental challenges — essentially leads from nowhere to nowhere. Perhaps the citizens of Bakersfield will protest at being classified as “nowhere,” but the good people of Madera (whose own State Senator voted against the funding) I’m sure are honest to know that their city has minimal (if any) tourist or business-travel appeal. The number of people who need to take high-speed rail from Madera to Bakersfield can be counted on one finger, while the number of people who desperately need to rocket from Bakersfield to Madera is approximately one less than that.
Will the rest of the line ever be completed in my lifetime? Doubtful. And even if it were, as critics have rightfully pointed out from the beginning, the high-speed rail will cover the same route as innumberable commercial air carriers who travel the exact same distance in less time, for less money, with vastly more frequent departures. What motivation would anyone have to take the train, aside from nostalgic old train buffs in goofy conductors’ caps (present company excluded)?
Social conservatives have long predicted that the drive to redefine the family unit would inevitably lead to the normalization of ever more extreme permutations of the nuclear family. First it was the 1992 pushback against the TV character Murphy Brown consciously deciding to have and raise a child as a single parent. Then it was dismay over the spate of “two mommies” and “two daddies” books and shows in the 2000s.
Progressives mocked the social conservative fear that once society discards the mommy-daddy-child archetype, we are opening a Pandora’s Box. Ha ha ha, you Neanderthal rubes, mocked the liberals. Stop with your fear-mongering; you’re just terrified of progress!
But today we found out: The social conservatives were right all along:
California bill would allow a child to have more than two parents
Mom and Dad, same-sex couples or blended families, California law is clear: No more than two legal parents per child.
When adults fight over parenthood, a judge must decide which two have that right and responsibility – but that could end soon.
State Sen. Mark Leno is pushing legislation to allow a child to have multiple parents.
“The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today,” the San Francisco Democrat said.
Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing society by creating new possibilities for nontraditional households and relationships.
Benjamin Lopez, legislative analyst for the Traditional Values Coalition, blasted Leno’s bill as a new attempt to “revamp, redefine and muddy the waters” of family structure by a leader in the drive to legalize gay marriage.
“It comes as no surprise that he would try to say that a child has more than two parents – that’s absurd,” said Lopez, whose group calls itself a leading voice for Bible-based values.
Under Leno’s bill, if three or more people who acted as parents could not agree on custody, visitation and child support, a judge could split those things up among them.
SB 1476 is not meant to expand the definition of who can qualify as a parent, only to eliminate the limit of two per child.
SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child’s biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.
Opponents counter that the issue is complex and that allowing multiple parents in one section of law inevitably raises questions that could spark litigation in other sections.
Tax deductions, citizenship, probate, public assistance, school notifications and Social Security rights all can be affected by determinations of parenthood, notes the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.
“This bill, in our opinion, if passed, will cause significant unintended consequences,” said Diane Wasznicky, the group’s president and a family law attorney in Sacramento.
Assemblyman Donald Wagner, an Irvine Republican who opposes SB 1476, noted it could spark litigation, say, in a case of a wrongful death of a child with four potential parents and determining who has a claim.
Karen Anderson, of the California Protective Parents Association, said the legislation could result in a child being bounced among multiple adults in a bitter family breakup.
“It’s hard enough for children to be split up two ways, much less multiple ways,” she said.
Next up: Group marriages and group parenting.
Then: “It takes a village.”
End game: Brave New World.
CNN apparently at first misunderstood the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare this morning, and blasted a headline to the nation that said “Mandate struck down.” Here’s a screenshot taken at 10:11am EST:
22 minutes later, they realized their blunder and came out with a new headline that said the exact opposite: “UPHELD.” Here’s a screenshot taken at 10:33am EST:
This is embarrassing enough on its own, but it had a major ripple effect across the nation: Since CNN was among the very first news sites to announce the court’s decision, dozens of blogs, news aggregators and other sites repeated CNN’s original assessment, creating all sorts of confusion when other news outlets suddenly contradicted CNN’s original claim.
This post is not about analyzing the court’s decision and its significance — thousands of other pundits are doing that as we speak — it’s just freezeframing CNN’s brief blunder forever, a 21st-century version of “Dewey Defeats Truman.”
“Embarrassing.” “Fucking humiliating.” “Shameful.” A veteran producer jumps the gun, a young correspondent goes too far, and the network’s crisis deepens.
A horrifying child pornography and molestation scandal involving a high profile San Francisco gay rights activist has rocked the city’s political scene; compounding the nightmare, the scandal broke at the worst possible moment, the day after San Francisco’s Pride Parade, which was the culmination of a month-long public relations blitz promoting LGBT equality. The publicity efforts of thousands of people were negated and even reversed by the actions of one man.
The San Francisco Examiner, SFWeekly, the San Francisco Chronicle and various LGBT blogs have all published exposés in the last few hours, each with exclusive information.
WARNING: The following descriptions may be too upsetting for some readers. Proceed with caution.
San Francisco police have arrested veteran gay rights advocate Larry Brinkin in connection with felony possession of child pornography.
Brinkin, 66, who worked for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission before his retirement in 2010, was taken into custody Friday night. He spent the night in jail before he was released on bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.
The district attorney’s office will decide Tuesday whether to file charges. “We’re still reviewing the case,” district attorney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said Monday.
Police say that Brinkin had pornographic images, some that appear to show children as young as 1 and 2 or 3 years old being sodomized and performing oral sex on adult men, in e-mail attachments linked to his account, according to a search warrant served by San Francisco police.
Representatives of America Online contacted authorities after coming across e-mail attachments from one of its subscriber’s accounts containing what they believed to be child pornography.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which was assigned to the case, traced the IP address associated with the account, Zack3737@aol.com, to Brinkin, a San Francisco resident, according to court records. Los Angeles police forwarded the case to San Francisco police.
San Francisco investigators say the account was registered to Brinkin, and that he paid for the e-mail service with his credit card.
Police provided two examples of e-mail messages from last year in which Zack3737 provides disturbing descriptions of the exploitive sexual acts.
The e-mail account also is linked to Yahoo discussion groups on sexual exploitation of young boys and girls, according to the search warrant.
The SFWeekly has more extremely nauseating details:
Police say they arrested 66-year-old Larry Brinkin, the high-profile gay activist, on possession of child pornography on Friday night.
According to the search warrant, SFPD acted after receiving a tip from the Los Angeles Police Department, which obtained from AOL an e-mail exchange between a Los Angeles user and email@example.com. Police say they linked the AOL address to Brinkin’s IP address; he is owner of the account and paid for AOL service with his credit card.
The warrant claims these e-mails contained images of children as young as perhaps a year old being sodomized by and performing oral sex on adult men. Zack3737@aol.com — whom the police allege is Brinkin — provided graphic commentary on the photos of interracial adult-child sex. Comments included “I loved especially the nigger 2 year old getting nailed. Hope you’ll continue so I can see what the little blond bitch is going to get. White Power! White Supremacy! White Dick Rules!”
The AOL e-mail account was also linked to Yahoo! Groups centering around discussions of child porn, according to the search warrant. Investigators say they additionally found e-mails sent from Brinkin’s now-defunct city e-mail account to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Francisco Examiner provides more details about his major role in the gay rights movement:
Larry Brinkin, the iconic San Francisco gay activist who brought the nations first domestic partnership lawsuit in 1982, was arrested Friday on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography, police said.
Brinkin, who has a longtime partner and a teenage son, retired in 2010 after working for 22 years with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
In 1982, he was the first to use the phrase domestic partner in a lawsuit he filed against his then-employer Southern Pacific Railway. He claimed he was denied three days bereavement leave given to married employees after the loss of his partner of 11 years. Brinkin lost the case, which city officials said laid the foundation for marriage equality.
As a city employee, Brinkin helped implement and enforce the landmark San Francisco Equal Benefits Ordinance of 1997, the first in the U.S. to mandate that employers provide equal coverage for domestic partners. He also developed laws protecting against discrimination based on gender identity or a persons height and weight.
Upon his retirement, Dufty introduced a Board of Supervisors resolution declaring the first seven days of February 2010 Larry Brinkin Week in honor of his advocacy.
Brinkin remains president of the board of directors for the California Association of Human Relations Organizations.
The timing could not have been worse for the gay community; news of the scandal began to leak out just as “Pride Week” concluded with San Francisco’s world famous Pride Parade on Sunday. Ironically, Brinkin himself was an Honorary Grand Marshall in previous Pride Parades, as documented on various archived Web pages of SFPride’s own site.
Though he is not well-known to the general public, Brinkin is considered a major historical figure within the gay rights activist community; more details about his career and his accolades can be found in this Bay Times article from 2010.
The Lez Get Real blog was first out of the gate trying to find some innocent explanation for the charges:
There have been incidents where people have been arrested for possessing child pornography on their computer that turned out to be malware using the computer to launder the images. This can often be difficult for people to prove, however.
Do not be surprised that anti-LGBT organizations will use this arrest against the Community; however, it is important to remember that most pedophiles identify as straight, and there are many straight people who have been arrested, charged, and convicted for possession of child pornography.
Brinkin has not yet been convicted of anything, so he is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. But at first glance the evidence against him seems quite strong. If he plans to fight the charges, the “malware” or “it wasn’t me” defenses would be very difficult to prove.
JammieWearingFools has video of Brinkins.
I agree with some of the commenters that the white supremacy talk seemed “too bad to be true,” but since it was reported in reliable papers and was apparently released by the SF Police Department, it was an essential part of the story that couldn’t be skipped.
But if it is the case that it is a “set up,” then it must have been the police doing the setting up. Why, otherwise, would they release to the media the contents of an email that they could not confirm? If this turns out to be completely fabricated by the police, then that itself would become a major scandal.
But notice that there is evidence that years ago he was already using his official city-issued email account to exchange child porn. Did a hacker hack a completely different account of his as well, and somehow backdate it? Doubtful. So the likelihood that he exchanged child porn seems pretty high. If so, that is a serious enough charge — what purpose would there be to add on a spurious extra layer of racism? There’d be no real reason to do that, whether it was the police or some stalker out to get Brinkin. I guess more will be revealed as the case progresses.
Here’s an alternate theory: Perhaps he wasn’t really a racist, but it was a role he assumed in sexual role-playing games.
Strangely, last night this was briefly the top story on all the local papers, but by this morning it was hard to even find any more: The SF Chronicle has now buried it as the very last headline in the “More News” section, and the SF Examiner and SFWeekly have noticeably downgraded its page placement as well. Could be that this will blow over after all. Remember that even some inconvenient facts about Harvey Milk were successfully ignored.
If the email account “email@example.com” really is Brinkin’s email account, then he’s going to have an extremely tough time trying to claim malware or hacking as his defense; turns out that “firstname.lastname@example.org” has a long history of taboo-violating posts dating back for years, easily findable through a Google search.
A couple examples:
31 Thu April 19 2001 – 01:44:04
Are you a fan of rape stories?: Yes
Do you ever feel guilt about liking rape stories?: No
very hot story. especially love the experienced brutal rapists offering to beat and rape the little cunts. hope you’ll do more — younger and rougher the better.
…you get the idea.
Brinkin will have to prove in court that he has never been associated with “email@example.com,” otherwise it will be hard to explain away the account’s long history with violent sexual fantasies about children.
Where’s the concern about how antics (and crimes) of gay activists threaten to tarnish public perception of gay community?
No, most gay people don’t indulge in child pornography. This behavior is not representative of our community. But, given Mr. Brinkin’s prominence, you’d think our leaders would be quick to criticize his actions.
Gay leaders should join  us in asking that the City of San Francisco remove Mr. Brinkin’s name from “Larry Brinkin Week.”
What this man is alleged to have done is far more offensive (far, far, far more offensive) than what Sarah Palin’s daughter once said. But, I could find nothing about it on HRC’s web-page. Or NGLTF’s. Or GLAAD’s.
On June 20, Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News TV show “The O’Reilly Factor” broadcast a segment based on my June 18 PJM essay “Occupy Oakland protests in FAVOR of child sex trafficking.”
The segment featured three photos originally posted exclusively in my PJM essay, as well as using the same video, text citations and overall approach of my post.
You can view the segment here:
It’s rare that a picture-perfect example of classical logic theory happens in real life. But this morning we were treated to an illustration of a logical paradox straight out of textbook.
As many articles noted last night, the world is on tenterhooks anticipating when the Supreme Court will make its ObamaCare ruling, but the Supreme Court always insists that its decisions come out unexpectedly, which is why they work in secret:
Television cameras will surround the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, as they did Monday, anticipating something that may, again, not happen.
The momentous healthcare decision could be announced Thursday. Or not. All we really know is that it is extremely likely to be handed down by the following Thursday, June 28, when the court is expected to end its current term.
The court works in secrecy as it prepares its opinions, and outsiders might be surprised to learn that some of its work is done at the last minute. …
Only a few times in modern history have the results leaked ahead of time, once reputedly from a comment by a justice to a reporter, another time from a talkative printer.
The court is not meeting Friday, so if the healthcare decision does not come Thursday, the next opportunity would be Monday.
Next week the tension will intensify. If the healthcare decision is not announced before the 28th, that day is likely to be wild: It would be the first time reporters and the public would go to court knowing they would witness what could be one of the most significant constitutional rulings of the century.
This is the best-ever real-world example of one of logic theory’s most notorious paradoxes, variously dubbed The Unexpected Exam Paradox, the Prediction Paradox, or the Unexpected Hanging Paradox.
The example given on wikipedia runs like this:
A judge tells a condemned prisoner that he will be hanged at noon on one weekday in the following week but that the execution will be a surprise to the prisoner. He will not know the day of the hanging until the executioner knocks on his cell door at noon that day.
Having reflected on his sentence, the prisoner draws the conclusion that he will escape from the hanging. His reasoning is in several parts. He begins by concluding that the “surprise hanging” can’t be on Friday, as if he hasn’t been hanged by Thursday, there is only one day left – and so it won’t be a surprise if he’s hanged on Friday. Since the judge’s sentence stipulated that the hanging would be a surprise to him, he concludes it cannot occur on Friday.
He then reasons that the surprise hanging cannot be on Thursday either, because Friday has already been eliminated and if he hasn’t been hanged by Wednesday night, the hanging must occur on Thursday, making a Thursday hanging not a surprise either. By similar reasoning he concludes that the hanging can also not occur on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday. Joyfully he retires to his cell confident that the hanging will not occur at all.
The next week, the executioner knocks on the prisoner’s door at noon on Friday — which, despite all the above, was an utter surprise to him. Everything the judge said came true.
The variant I’m most familiar with is “The Unexpected Quiz,” in which a logic professor tells his class of 30 students on April 1 that there will be an unexpected pop quiz one day that month, but the students won’t know which day, so they need to study hard and be ready at all times, because they don’t want to be caught unprepared.
After the professor leaves the room, the stupidest student in the class stands up and reasons thus:
“He’ll purposely delay the quiz until the last day, so we have to spend all month studying.”
But then the second-stupidest student gets a sudden idea, and stands up to say,
“If, as you predict, the quiz is secretly scheduled for April 30, then when it isn’t given on or before the 29th we’ll know for sure that the quiz must be given on the next day, so we’ll all be expecting it; but the professor already said that it will be an ‘unexpected’ quiz, Q.E.D. we can rule out the 30th — it’s logically impossible for an unexpected quiz to be given on the last day. Therefore I expect it on the 29th.”
But then the third-stupidest student stands up and says,
“That may be true, but if the 30th is absolutely ruled out by the rules of logic, that means that the last day the quiz can possibly be given is the 29th; yet if it isn’t given by the end of the 28th, then we’ll be anticipating it on the 29th, which once again means it won’t be unexpected. Thus, the 29th is ruled out as well. I therefore think it will be on the 28th.”
The fourth-stupidest student then gets a flash of inspiration, stands up and says,
“But if the 29th is also ruled out…” and goes through the same reasoning to eliminate the 28th.
And so the students progress through the days of the month, eliminating each one of them in turn, until everyone at last turns to the smartest student, who instead of paying attention to their discussion is furiously studying his textbook. “Don’t you understand, you fools?” he says. “We’ve already eliminated April 2 through April 30. Therefore, the only conclusion is that the unexpected quiz will be today!!”
Panicked, the students all start studying as well. But when the professor returns he does not give the quiz that day. Nor the following day. Each night, the students study, but April 30 rolls around and still no quiz. A minute before the final bell rings on April 30, the professor stands up and says, to everyone’s utter astonishment, “Congratulations: You all passed the quiz! Your task was to figure out that according to the rules of logic, it is impossible for this quiz to be unexpected. Since each one of you expected the quiz on a different day, you put me in a paradox from which there was no escape. Bravo!”
The Unexpected Hanging Paradox has a different resolution than the Unexpected Quiz Paradox, because there is only one prisoner to be hanged and at the start of the process he individually can only expect the hanging on one particular day; but the class in the quiz paradox can operate as a Group Mind, and spread out the “expectation field” to every possible day.
The Supreme Court is now facing the same paradox. As noted in the L.A. Times article (among many others), the justices never announce ahead of time which day they will release any decision — it has to come unexpectedly. But we know they’ll issue a ruling before the end of June, so if it hasn’t arrived by the second-to-last business day of the month, then the entire nation will be camped out in front of the Supreme Court building on the only remaining possible day for the decision to be handed down. Since the justices want to avoid this at all costs, they’re almost certain to avoid June 28, which is the last day of their term. But as the article notes, each preceding day will therefore in turn be the day on which everyone expects the ruling, so the justices are trapped in a logical paradox: Their decision can’t be unexpected. This is why all the networks rushed down to the Supreme Court this morning, expecting (as did the smartest student in the Unexpected Quiz example) that it simply had to be today.
But it wasn’t.
And so every day the court is in session from now until June 28, the same problem will play out, and the justices will be logically cornered by their own announced rules of behavior.
The only possible conclusion is that they never release their ObamaCare decision, because that’s the only way that their actions could remain “unexpected.”
But now we encounter the final problem: I just expected the non-decision, eliminating that possibility as well.
This is why it’s called a paradox: there is no solution. The rules of logic break down.
What will happen next? Will America itself simply wink out of existence, unable to maintain its presence in a universe governed by logic?
Gay activist and the Obama administration’s unofficial anti-bullying czar Dan Savage, who last made headlines when he bullied a bunch of Christian students while lecturing them to not bully people, has struck once again, this time bullying a gay conservative group, calling them “house faggots” and making a crude and humiliating reference to anal sex, as if it was something to be ashamed of:
This morning, the conservative LGBT group GOProud released their entirely expected endorsement of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney (R-MA). Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia stated as part of their endorsement, “The truth is that gay people are living in the disastrous failed Obama economy too,” and cited Obama’s economic record as the reason for the group’s endorsement.
Sex advice columnist, provocateur and the brains behind the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying project Dan Savage took immediate exception to the groups endorsement, Tweeting,
“The GOP’s house faggots grab their ankles, right on cue: [link] …. Pathetic.”
While the co-founders of GOProud are by now used to taking heat from more liberal-minded members of the LGBT community, it’s rare that anyone as prominent as Savage has hurled insults like that. Co-founder Chris Barron, who left the organization last December amidst a minor scandal involving the outing of a gay member of Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) campaign staff, addressed it on his blog this afternoon. “Apparently, faggot is an entirely appropriate slur as long as Dan Savage is slinging it and gay people who you don’t agree with are on the receiving end,” he wrote, adding, “It gets better my ass.”
Here’s a direct link to Savage’s Tweet.
The entire purpose of Dan Savage’s Obama-endorsed “It Gets Better” campaign is to reassure gay kids that bullies will stop taunting them with anti-gay slurs once they grow up.
But it turns out that’s not true: Bullies — in particular bullies like Dan Savage — will indeed continue to hurl anti-gay slurs at you once you grow up, calling you “faggot” and implying that you offer yourself up for anal sex to your abusers — if those bullies notice that you try to have an independent opinion and not cave in to peer pressure.
What flaming hypocrites like Dan Savage really mean by their so-called anti-bullying campaign is that only those gay kids who join Savage’s political clique will receive his protection; all you other gay kids will not only be abandoned to the bullies, but Savage himself will lead those bullies in trying to drive you to suicide.
In the long sordid history of nanny-state enviro-fascism, this may take the prize as the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars and most breathtaking example of leftist bureaucratic insanity:
No, I am not making this up:
To keep the big America’s Cup contest afloat, San Francisco has agreed to spend $150,000 to study whether the racing boats — and their towering sails — will scare birds on the bay.
The study, which will be conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, is part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a group that included former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.
“It’s not that we’re trying to head-shrink the birds,” said Mike Lynes of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “But when they take off because they are frightened, they expend energy, and that can affect their health.“
Oh, the humanity! The poor birds may simply die of exhaustion having to to take flight every time they see a scary sailboat!
I mean, it’s not like seagulls would normally spend 18 hours a day flying around in powerful winds or anything. They are a retiring and sedate species!
In defense of SF’s city government, it wasn’t their idea originally to embark on this worse-than-useless study: they only did so to fend off a lawsuit by extremist environmental groups (headed up, ironically, by a former city supervisor) who goal is to stop the America’s Cup race at all costs, because activities that are fun and enjoyable for human beings are verboten.
But the city should not have caved. They should have called out the “green” activists and refused to accommodate their lunacy. The goal of the nuisance lawsuit is not to actually succeed in legally stopping the America’s Cup, but rather to create such a bothersome gauntlet of expensive legal actions, protests and negative publicity that the boosters who brought the race to San Francisco will simply give up trying in the future, fearful of repeat lawsuits.
If you give an inch to the bureaucratic terrorists, they’ll take a mile, and then your whole territory. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of San Francisco, there are a substantial number of local politicians who openly sympathize with the extreme environmentalists’ agenda, so they were more than happy to waste money, as an object lesson in what happens when you violate Gaia.
Lesson for other local governments: Fight back!
Just how deep in the tank for Obama is the MSM?
The San Francisco Chronicle just uploaded a “new” investigative article for tomorrow’s “Sunday Insight” section, entitled “Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it does weird things to some of us”. Fine. Nothing odd about that. It’s a fairly interesting, if a bit predictable, article about how power corrupts people.
But on page 3, near the end of the article, after we are told that “people who are naturally selfish grow even more selfish if they attain power, while people who are naturally selfless and giving become more so with power,” comes this peculiar fact:
So what is required to remain uncorrupted — to handle power with grace?
The experts say that to remain grounded, it takes a deliberate effort, a sense of humor about yourself and a willingness to become more, not less, reflective. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama says he gains more insights into the needs of constituents by flying in coach.
Say what? Illinois Senator Barack Obama??? A quick check back at the dateline for the article reveals all: Sunday, November 19, 2006.
Why in the world would a major newspaper reprint a 6-year-old article as if it was fresh and new? Is there a shortage of writers and content in 2012? The whole thing seems odd and inscrutable.
Until, that is, you encounter the little Obama tidbit at the end. Suddenly it all becomes clear: They were trying to find some way to remind the public of how selfless and humble Obama is (or was, at least), and the solution was to reprint an old article nonchalantly, as if it was new. Except someone forgot to update “Illinois Senator” to “President” in the editing process. Ooops.
The Solyndra debacle just grows and grows. Now a local Oakland investigative site, the Bay Citizen, did what no national networks would do and filed a Freedom of Information Act request only to discover that Solyndra lied when it said it was only firing 1,100 people at the time of its bankruptcy:
Solyndra layoffs larger than previously reported
Documents show nearly 1,900 people lost their jobs as solar panel maker closed
On the day it closed, Solyndra said it was laying off 1,100 full-time and temporary employees.
But 1,861 workers lost their jobs as the solar panel manufacturer shut its doors, according to U.S. Labor Department documents provided to The Bay Citizen under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents also show the Fremont-based company increased production in 2011, even though it failed to sell all the panels it made the previous year.
By the time it closed last August, Solyndra had an unsold inventory of more than 23 megawatts – enough solar panels to power about 23,000 homes.
Analysts said the revelations are likely to add new fuel to the partisan fire surrounding the demise of Solyndra, which received a $535 million federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009.
If Solyndra was already going bankrupt, why did they (with the collusion of the media) lie about the number of job losses? Were they trying to minimize political damage to the Obama administration?
The full article raises many more trouble questions, such as the possibility that Solyndra’s management was completely out of touch with reality, manufacturing literally mountains of unwanted solar panels despite having very few orders for them:
In interviews, former Solyndra employees said they weren’t aware of the lost orders, but also were not surprised to hear that Solyndra’s production of solar panels far outstripped its sales.
“We would walk into the warehouse and such see piles and piles of pallets of panels, and we also heard stories of off-site warehouses,” said Michael P. Kohlstadt, who worked as a research and development engineer at Solyndra until the company folded.
“We all wondered what was happening there, and some of us asked if there were orders, but we never got a straight answer,” he said.
This gets fishier by the minute. It’s like Solyndra was intentionally trying to burn through all its taxpayer-supplied cash before the bankruptcy hit. Why?
Kudos to Aaron Glantz at the Bay Citizen for doing the footwork that the major news organizations wouldn’t do.
The Hypocrisy Spirit is great with this one.
The Boston Herald did a little investigative reporting earlier today and discovered that Democratic Senate candidate (and self-styled inspiration for the Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist movement) Elizabeth Warren herself spent the 1990s buying up foreclosed homes at rock-bottom prices, and then quickly fixing them up a bit and re-selling them at huge profits — the exact same “predatory” behavior she criticized in others.
Let the Boston Herald tell the tale:
Elizabeth Warren, who has railed against predatory banks and heartless foreclosures, took part in about a dozen Oklahoma real estate deals that netted her and her family hefty profits through maneuvers such as “flipping” properties, records show.
A Herald review has found that the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate rapidly bought and sold homes herself, loaned money at high interest rates to relatives and purchased foreclosed properties at bargain prices.
Land records from Warren’s native Oklahoma City show the Harvard professor was active in the often topsy-turvy real estate market in the 1990s, including:
• Purchasing a foreclosed home at 2725 West Wilshire Boulevard from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $61,000 in June 1993, then selling it in December 1994 for $95,000 — a 56 percent mark-up in just 18 months.
• Buying a house at 200 NW 16th St. for $30,000 in August 1993, then flipping it for $145,000 — a 383 percent gain after just five months.
…continuing with a long list of flipped foreclosures.
Next she’ll tell us that it wasn’t foreclosed houses she profited from, but foreclosed teepees.
Seriously, how can this woman look at herself in the mirror?
The real “War on Women” happens not in America, where women enjoy every imaginable right, safety and legal protection, but rather overseas in countries with Islamic or macho social structures, where women are either informally or officially treated as second-class citizens, or worse.
This is nowhere more true than in Afghanistan, which is both Islamic and macho, and where under Taliban rule women were reduced to the status of chattel slaves.
The 2001 allied attack on Afghanistan started as a war against Al Qaeda, which had found safe harbor in Taliban hands, but quickly accelerated into a war against Taliban rule and extremist Afghan Islamic culture in general; only by changing the fundamental social tenets of Afghan society could we prevent the re-emergence of the Taliban as a terrorist safe haven.
The liberation of Afghan women would have been the most visible result of a new social fabric in Afghanistan. But unfortunately the “old ways” were deep-seated and not so easy to uproot, even after the Taliban were driven from Kabul. While progress in women’s rights, education and status had definitely been greatly improved since the Taliban era, there was still more work to be done.
But President Obama threw away a decade’s worth of social progress and abandoned Afghan women to the Dark Ages once again when he announced a definite timetable for American troop withdrawal. Immediately, the Taliban were emboldened, and started making plans to re-seize power once the last American soldier left the ground.
In essence, through his actions (and inactions) Obama has waged a war on millions of Afghan women, offering them as sacrifices to Taliban cruelty, a small price to pay for a boost in popularity among the anti-war crowd back in America.
His decision is already starting to have negative real-world effects, as noted by even the left-leaning Guardian:
Afghan women leave the country in fear of Taliban return
The threat of a curtailment of women’s rights prompts many to quit before the 2014 handover
A brain drain of bright young women is already taking place in Afghanistan before the 2014 handover that many fear will mean a reversal of advances in women’s rights.
The lack of commitment by the Afghan government to equality and to tackling the high rates of ill-treatment of women in the home and in the workplace is raising real fears they will be at the bottom of the political agenda in the push for power after Nato forces leave the country.
Worsening security for civilians – casualties among ordinary Afghans have risen year on year for the last five years with 3,021 killed in 2011, and women are thought to be suffering disproportionately – has led to rising numbers of women and girls leaving education and the workforce and staying indoors, according to Guhramaana Kakar, a gender adviser to President Hamid Karzai.
Speaking to the Observer, Kakar said negotiations between the government and the Taliban and other insurgent groups were ignoring women’s rights. A recent survey by charity ActionAid suggested 86% of Afghan women were fearful of a return to Taliban-style rule. One in five worried about the education of their daughters but 72% said their lives were better now than a decade ago. …
Growing levels of violence against women and a disregard by many courts for their legal protection has led to horrific stories of children being raped and then imprisoned for adultery, and schoolteachers being attacked for teaching girls. ActionAid’s head of public affairs, Melanie Ward, said the security situation was an enormous threat to women. “Experience tells us that an increase in attacks on women is often an early warning sign that the Taliban is regaining control in an area.” …
“During the first few years after international troops entered the country a lot of things changed in Afghanistan,” she said. “There was positive progress and change in the day-to-day lives of many Afghan women. Unfortunately, since 2007, things changed dramatically as insecurity has increased [and] discrimination against women at all levels has increased. Life has become more difficult for women but they are not willing to be pushed back into the box.
“Why should all the plans for the future of Afghanistan ignore half of its population?”
There is a War on Women. But it is not being waged by fiscal conservatives in America; it’s being waged by Islamic extremists, and their Western enablers.
Three weeks ago I posted about a pre-May Day riot in San Francisco’s Mission District (“May Day violence starts early in SF as Occupy smashes up Mission District“).
Now, the Occupiers responsible for the mayhem have proudly posted to YouTube a video of their rampage, showing them attacking a police station, smashing business windows and car windshields, vandalizing everything in sight and terrorizing diners and passersby, as they chant “Occupy is under attack! What do we do? Stand up fight back!” and “The system has got to die. Hella hella Occupy!”
SFGate has some background details about the Occupy outburst:
In the video, protesters laugh and cheer as windows shatter and windshields are smashed. They move together in the middle of Valencia Street, chanting, “No more pigs in our community” and, “The system has got to die, hella hella Occupy” — a common chant among the Occupy Oakland movement.
About 100 protesters had split away at 9 p.m. from a rally in Dolores Park that was held in advance of Occupy’s May Day actions. Protesters caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage as they marched down 18th Street to Duboce Avenue and Valencia.
The amazing part? The San Francisco police were monitoring the whole thing, and followed behind the Occupy rioters in police vans, and yet did nothing to stop them, even after the mob attacked an officer inside a parked police car.
Occupy Wall Street’s mainstream defenders are trying desperately to distance themselves from the “Black Bloc” anarchists who by now have grown to become one of the largest, if not the largest, group comprising the Occupy movement. Without the anarchist Occupiers (such as the ones shown here) the movement would quickly disintegrate from lack of participants.
The problem for Occupy’s apologists is that this major sector of the movement has transformed into a fascist street gang, and have no intention of “toning things down.” Anyone who thinks that they are substantially different from the Brown Shirts terrorizing Munich in the early ’20s is fooling themselves. Heck the SA logo is even almost identical to the Black Bloc’s logo.
The video really speaks for itself.
Send it to anyone and everyone you know who still expresses sympathy for Occupy Wall Street or who has ever accused the Tea Party of being out of the mainstream:
It’s 11 minutes long, but worth every minute; it gets juicier as it progresses.
Doug Ross has put the “Wayback Machine Internet Archive” to good use and discovered that the Dystel agency is almost certainly lying about the origins of the section in Barack Obama’s author bio claiming that he was “born in Kenya.”
When the bizarre fact was uncovered earlier this week, agent Miriam Goderich furiously backpedaled and stated that the Kenyan birth claim was simply a “fact-checking error.” Luckily, such an error could be corrected in the next edition. Whew!
Except, well, it wasn’t. As Doug Ross carefully documents, Obama (or at least his ghostwriters) repeatedly edited the biographical sketch for 17 years, altering many significant details, and in all that time, the line “born in Kenya” remained intact. That is, until, by sheer coincidence, in the spring of 2007 when Obama declared his run for the presidency, at which point the entry was suddently changed to read that he was born in Hawaii.
As Ross says,
Sometime between April 3rd and April 21st, a member of the Obama campaign staff (or Obama himself) noticed the discrepancy in birthplace that would presumably disqualify the Senator from office.
The immutability of the bio’s “born in Kenya” claim despite numerous edits has been noted by others already, but Ross’s post is the first time that it has been clearly documented with irrefutable screenshots and links.
I’m no birther (I’m convinced Obama was in fact born in Hawaii), but I think this scandal is significant anyway, because it proves that Obama lied about his heritage to give himself more “exotic” origins, in order to score more PC Points.
Bookworm Room has come up with a very interesting theory that Obama was relying on Affirmative Action policies to get into a California college, but the 1978 Bakke Decision ruined his plans, so to get around the new ban on Affirmative Action he concocted an identity as a foreign-born student, which would have given him a leg-up into California colleges, even after Bakke came into effect. He may have lied on his college application that he was born in Kenya, and once that worked, he realized that a foreign birth was the ticket to ever more privileges throughout his academic career, so he kept the lie going — that is, until the day he decided to run for president, when he realized the lie would disqualify him for office.
(Also see Roger Simon’s The Mystery of the Kenyan Birth.)
The scandal is not that Obama was actually born in Kenya, but rather that he lied for his entire adult life about being born in Kenya, for personal gain.
As I reported on Monday, Berkeley’s “Occupy the Farm” protest came to an ignominious end this week. I swung by yesterday to snap a few photos of the aftermath, but it turns out I wasn’t the only one who just couldn’t quit the farm.
Shortly after being booted out by police who dismantled their weeks-long illegal encampment, several Occupiers returned to the farm and revealed to the world what a mature, serious political movement they are:
Here’s an exact transcript of the Occupiers taunting the police who are guarding the farm:
Occupier #1: Real tough guys, yeah, real tough. Go back and get your bikinis on, you fuckin’ Baywatch bitches. Get your little fuckin’ tricycle and the get fuck out of here. You little faggot. C’mon bitch! Yeah, bitch! Yeah, fuck you bitch! Fuck you!
Occupier #2: You wanna suck my dick? You wanna suck my cock? Go blow me! Blow me!
Occupier #3: [Tries to stop the others from using the word "faggot".]
Occupier #4: [Addressing Occupier #3] It’s not the word, it’s who you’re calling it with.
Occupier #1: C’mon, get some right here! Right here! [Grabbing his crotch.]
Occupier #4: Yeah, you heterosexuals!
Occupier #1: C’mon, you’re too small to jerk this.
Occupier #2: [Addressing Occupier #1] You got three balls, don’t you? Joe, you got three nuts?
Occupier #1: [Addressing the police] I got three nuts! That’s three more than you!
The part where one of them tries in vain to stop all the others from using homophobic insults, but is rebuffed with the explanation “It’s not the word, it’s who you’re calling it with,” reveals a great deal about the mindset of the left. They insist on “civility” in discourse, but the rules only apply to their opponents, never to them. You’re not allowed to bully them, but they can bully you. Why? Because they have a Lifetime Immunity Certificate, since they are the “champions of tolerance” fighting against The Man.
Anyway, long after this incident, I myself visited U.C. Berkeley’s Gill Tract farm and snapped a few photos to see what had become of the Occupation.
Police now stand guard at the entrance. Understandably.
Security guards patrol the land. The Occupiers’ pathetic attempts at gardening, or at least the few plants that haven’t yet been plowed under, wilt in the sun.
Tanker trunks and other heavy machinery prepare the soil for the scientists’ experimental plantings.
All traces of the Occupation are otherwise gone.
(Hat tip to Gateway Pundit for unearthing the video.)
“Fauxtography” is a sarcastic neologism coined in 2006 to describe faked or phony images being passed off as news by legitimate media outlets. After a series of public embarrassments and mini-scandals, the major news services seem to have clamped down on the practice in recent years, and nowadays “fauxtographs” can generally only be found in the press releases of totalitarian regimes like Iran and North Korea.
But, as first noticed by user Tanner68 on the Calguns firearms forum, this week Associated Press has apparently let its guard down and unwittingly been duped by one of its own stringers into putting its official stamp of approval on a series of images from Lebanon which seem staged. (I say “unwittingly” here to be generous to AP; unless more evidence comes out that they intentionally perpetrated the hoax, it’s a safe bet that they probably just didn’t notice how phony the images looked.)
1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah [or any other group] and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.
These new Lebanese AP fauxtographs seem to be of Type 2: Fake battle scenes that were staged for the camera by Sunni rebels, photographed by a local stringer, and then submitted to AP, which then released them as legitimate news photos.
Are these images of real gun battles, or simply guys posing for the camera? You be the judge:
Source and official caption: “Sunni gunmen fire during clashes, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Sunday May 13, 2012. Gunfire broke out in the city Saturday and continued through the night primarily between a neighborhood populated by Sunni Muslims who hate Syrian President Bashar Assad and another area with many Assad backers from his Alawite sect. Lebanon’s national news agency NNA said one soldier was shot dead by a sniper in the city early Sunday. Another man was found dead on the side of a road while a third died after a shell landed in a residential neighborhood. Photo: Hussein Malla / AP”
Source and official caption: “(Hussein Malla/ Associated Press) – A Sunni gunman fires during a clashes, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Sunday May 13, 2012. Gunfire broke out in the city Saturday and continued through the night primarily between a neighborhood populated by Sunni Muslims who hate Syrian President Bashar Assad and another area with many Assad backers from his Alawite sect.”
Source (same caption as above).
Source and official caption: “A Sunni gunman moves his position during clashes, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Sunday May 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)”
You can find several more pictures from the same series simply by doing an image search for “Hussein Malla” and “Associated Press”.
Readers with military experience are probably already laughing at the images, but in case it isn’t obvious to everyone else: The gunmen are purportedly taking cover (behind a useless pile of tires) and firing at an unseen enemy, but right next to them are several unconcerned bystanders who are themselves completely exposed to any return fire, and yet making no effort to hide or seek protection. Instead, many of them are standing around calmly and even laughing and smiling (as are the gunmen in some of the pictures), probably at the ridiculousness of the obviously staged battle.
It could very well be that these very same men were indeed involved in real gun battles immediately before or after these photos were taken; but in these specific images they seem to have staged an attempted re-creation of what an heroic firefight would have looked like, if it had been photographed in real time.
Because these pictures were released by Associated Press, the largest and mostly widely subscribed news service in the country, the images were reprinted in hundreds of major newspapers and Web sites. And yet as far as I can tell, no editors expressed doubts about the authenticity of the scene.
As far as fauxto scandals goes, this one is fairly minor and not particularly significant in relation to world events. Most Americans, truth be told, can barely even discern the difference between the different Islamic sects doing battle in Lebanon. Instead of this being an example of fauxtography as political propaganda, it’s more likely in this case that the photographer, Hussein Malla, simply wanted to boost his career and reputation by being the only one to capture exciting battle scenes as they were happening. He slipped these staged images in amongst his real images, and apparently his AP editors didn’t notice.
Prediction: Very few, if any, of these “crops” will ever be harvested, or even grow to maturity.
Well, my crystal ball was correct, as just a few hours ago the U.C. Berkeley police put an end to the Occupiers’ little pretend-farm:
Police cleared out the small group of protesters early Monday who had set up an urban farming camp on UC Berkeley agricultural research land in Albany.
University police officers in riot helmets gave the protesters 10 minutes to leave the Gill Tract before they marched across the fields near Marin and San Pablo avenues at about 6:15 a.m. The few protesters who had not obeyed the police order scurried off the property and onto San Pablo, which officers had closed to traffic. The street was later reopened.
Two protesters were arrested on suspicion of trespassing after they disobeyed police orders to leave the property, said Lt. Eric Tejada, a police spokesman.
Work crews moved in shortly after 7:30 a.m. and began removing activists’ tents and supplies. Several dozen protesters watched from the sidewalk.
The “Albany Patch” site has a few more details:
An Alameda County Sheriff’s Department van exited the farm through University Village, chanting could be heard inside the van. David Grefrath, an occupy the farm supporter, said that occupiers were given a 10-minute dispersal order before 7 a.m. “I’m feeling like all of this is super bizarre,” Grefrath said. “We were already in some form of negotiations with the university, so why do they need 80 to 100 police in riot gear.”
The Patch article also reprints a U.C. Berkeley Press release, which says in part:
Early this morning officers from the UCPD, along with personnel from other UC police departments, began taking the steps necessary for UC Berkeley to regain full control and supervision of our property in and around the Gill Tract. After weeks of patient dialogue, engagement and rejected offers of compromise, we deeply regret that the occupiers’ actions and continued insistence on free and unfettered access to what is an open air laboratory left us no choice but to take this step. As the occupiers said in their statement rejecting our invitation to participate in efforts to sustain urban agriculture, “We’re not ceding control or supervision.”
It is no cause for celebration that the involvement of law enforcement is required to secure our fundamental property rights and protect a core value that is an indivisible part of who we are: academic freedom; the ability of our faculty and students to pursue their scientific interests without interference. We have said from the beginning that we would honor our commitment to protect the university’s rights and values.
The UCPD has been asked to secure the property and, if need be, arrest and detain those who continue to trespass and/or violate other laws of the state. The purpose of today’s action is to ensure our faculty and students can conduct the research projects to which they have devoted much of their academic and professional lives. Over the course of the last three weeks we have consistently stated that the field must be prepared for research crops by the middle of May, and we simply cannot wait any longer lest our faculty and students lose a full year of work. As the dean of our College of Natural Resources, Keith Gilless, has made clear, you simply can’t engage in meticulous plant research with dozens of uninvited, untrained and unsupervised “guests” roaming around what is an open-air laboratory, doing what ever they please.
Of course, cynical observers knew from the start that the Occupiers had absolutely no intention of toughing it out on the farm out for a year, laboring anonymously and in obscurity as unpaid farmworkers just to prove a point, while dozens of more exciting protests beckon. The goal, as is always the Occupiers’ goal, was to steal other people’s stuff, break the law, and make a nuisance of themselves to such an extent that the police have no choice but to arrest them, at which point the Occupiers can posture as victims.
Anyway, let’s hope that the scientists quickly plow over the Occupiers’ patty-cake garden of store-bought seedlings and re-establish their open-air laboratory in time for the growing season.