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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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 “firstname.lastname@example.org” 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 “email@example.com” 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 “firstname.lastname@example.org,” 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.
Finally, as everyone predicted:
President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.
I’ll let everyone duke it out in the comments section.
The now-infamous “Cloward-Piven Strategy” outlined by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven in 1966 proposed a clear roadmap to socialism: get so many people addicted to government entitlements that the economic system collapses, and in the resulting chaos the populace will demand and vote for a new economic system in which everyone is supported by the state.
Sounds logical (if nefarious), and President Obama seems hell-bent on bringing it to fruition in the United States. The problem for Obama’s inner socialist is that he’s also required for appearance’s sake to attempt a rescue of the American economy using Keynesian principles. This self-cancelling combo-strategy is the underlying cause of our economic stagnation, as outlined in “The Obama-Piven Strategy,” an earlier PJM post I made last year that made some waves. What I noted back then remains true:
I propose that President Obama is simultaneously trying to rescue the economy using the Keynesian/Democratic model while at the same time also trying to destroy the economy through the Cloward-Piven Strategy. His two mutually contradictory plans cancel each other out, rendering all his efforts self-negating, and this explains why the American economy has stalled.
I dub this the Obama-Piven Strategy. And it’s the reason why we remain mired in a deep recession. We are neither recovering, as the Keynesian model predicts, nor is capitalism collapsing, as the revolutionaries hope; the Obama-Piven strategy ensures that we remain in suspended animation between the two extremes.
But something interesting happened on Sunday in Europe: Voters in both France and Greece, two countries ruinously addicted to government entitlements, rejected the “austerity” model of debt-reduction and instead doubled down on unsustainable spending sprees. France elected Socialist Francois Hollande as president, and in his acceptance speech he promised to increase government benefits and amp up “stimulus” spending programs — the exact things that got France into a metaphorical debtors’ prison in the first place. But exactly as Cloward and Piven had surmised, once you get 50+% of the population hooked on “free” government money, there’s no turning back — they will vote for socialists every time. The election of Hollande is the culmination of Cloward-Piven; the strategy worked, but in the wrong country.
(In a similar blunder, it should be noted, Karl Marx predicted that the first socialist revolution would happen in an industrialized country like Germany or Great Britain; instead the exact opposite happened, as two backward pre-industrial nations, Russia and China, were the first to embrace communism.)
Also on Sunday, Greece held local elections and voters rewarded various “anti-austerity” parties and candidates: “Greek voters punish ruling coalition, reward far left,” reads the headline. “Voters angry over austerity delivered a blow to Greece’s ruling parties on Sunday, with neither the conservative New Democracy nor the Pasok socialists winning enough votes to form a government while far-left Syriza took second place.” Even a “neo-Nazi” anti-immigrant party won seats for the first time because they too rejected the “austerity” measures and want to maintain the entitlement state (albeit solely for Greek citizens, in their case).
The message is clear: Once enough voters are on the dole, regardless of your party’s ideology or what label it has, you will win elections if you promise to to keep the free money flowing. This was Cloward-Piven’s point, and they turned out to be frighteningly correct.
Jonn Lilyea of the milblog This Ain’t Hell is at Fort Meade, MD today watching a closed-circuit TV relay of the 9/11 military trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other terror suspects being tried in a military court at Guantanamo Bay. Luckily for us, he’s live-blogging the whole thing, so not only can you get up-to-the-minute updates of what’s happening in the trial, but his account of the proceedings is probably the only version untainted by any MSM bias (which Jonn has already noted by posting a photo of an “Obama 2012″ sticker on a reporter’s car in the parking lot).
So far, the terrorists’ lawyers have spent the entire morning trying to throw a monkey wrench in the trial by arguing about earphones and clothing, while the terrorists themselves refuse to even listen to the proceedings. Their self-evident hatred for the United States leaps off the screen even 11 years after their crimes.
In a sane world, this would be the “Trial of the Century,” but instead it’s just a side-note in the day’s news stream. But at least you can have a front-row seat:
I’ve got two new reports up today:
They’re actually Parts 1 and 2 of the same big report, covering my experiences in Oakland on May Day.
Scanning the photos just now, I noticed that the Occupiers as a group sported a rarely seen complete collection of Communist heroes.
Send this link to anyone you know (such as Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren — people like that) who still claim that Occupy isn’t anti-capitalist.
The Occupy Oakland Communist Pantheon
Ho Chi Minh.
Josef Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung (plus bonus Che and Lenin).
Frederick Engels (plus bonus Marx).
Did I leave anyone out?
All of these pictures were taken at Occupy rallies in Oakland on May 1.
I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t a better Mao picture, because usually he’s a “gimme” at these events, but at least we have a tiny Mao.
Thirsty for more? Check out the sources:
Pete Stark has been representing the Fremont area in congress for so long no one even remembers who was the district’s Representative before him. But that’s OK, because Rep. Stark does not even remember what his district’s most famous resident did for a living.
In a jaw-dropping interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle which was published by Carla Marinuccci today, the following exchange occurred:
Chronicle: You got Silicon Valley in your district, or a slice of it.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA): Do I?
Chronicle: Solyndra’s down by your way, as a matter of fact.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA): Yes.
Chronicle: What specifically are you going to do in the next term to work with the tech sector?
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA): I wish I had big enough expense allowance to get one of those new “S’s” that Solyndra’s going to make down there, the electric car. My 10 year old is after me. He no longer wants a Porsche. He wants dad to have an “S” sedan. They sound wild. I guess they run $60,000-$90,000.”
Severe dementia, severe ideological cluelessness, or some combination of the two?
The May Day protests by OccupySF came to a violent conclusion when one of the Occupiers went berserk and started attacking police with bricks, chunks of concrete and then later iron bars, throwing them from the roof of an “occupied” building at the cops below.
Horrifyingly, his aim was off, so instead of hitting the police, he hit a random bystander, who began to bleed profusely. One inch to the right or left, and that brick could have easily killed the victim.
We have three videos of the incident.
KPIX Channel 5 by chance recorded the exact moment of the assault:
Next, someone in the crowd captured the victim getting hit by the Occupier’s projectile:
And finally, KTVU captured exclusive video of either the same Occupier, or possibly another one (they were all dressed in black and wearing masks, so it was hard to tell), hurling even more dangerous iron bars at police from a nearby rooftop:
This kind of criminal behavior is simply outrageous. Considering what can happen to the human skull when hit by a brick or an iron bar thrown from a rooftop, this assault could easily be classified as attempted murder.
Luckily, the police captured the perpertrator (the first one, at least). Needless to say, an Occupy spokesman immediately distanced the movement from the assailant’s actions, even though:
- He was part of the Occupy protests
- He was one of group of Occupiers who stormed and took over the building from which he throw the objects
- He was dressed like the other Occupiers
- He was targeting the police squad who were following the Occupy protest.
If he wasn’t one of the Occupiers, then he was doing a very good job of imitating one.
The building where this assault occurred (888 Turk), by the way, is the exact same building that OccupySF had seized during their previous “direct action,” as documented at the Fund47 blog. They briefly occupied it again on May Day.
(Hat tip: John, at City Square blog.)
During the May Day Occupy march in New York yesterday, a trio of counter-protesters were assaulted by a screaming mob of left-wing demonstrators. The victims were members of NY ICE, a group that calls for “having our existing immigration laws enforced.”
Apparently, such an opinion is totally unacceptable to the Occupiers, who surrounded, screamed at, threatened, threw liquids and other objects at, and tore the signs from the hands of the counter-protesters.
Amazingly, two videos were recorded of the incident, from opposite angles: the first was recorded by one of the NY ICE members, and the second, which gives a better view of some of the assaults, was shot by one of the Occupiers. Be sure to watch both:
Now, just imagine if any kind of similar behavior happened at a Tea Party rally toward counter-demonstrators.
It would be front-page news for weeks.
But in this case, you’ll likely see it here and nowhere else, because the mainstream media covers up Occupy crimes and misbehavior at every opportunity.
(Hat tip: Urban Infidel.)
Also see: SF May Day Occupier hurls bricks and iron bars at police, injures bystander-live video
Too impatient to wait until midnight, a group of Occupy anarchists rampaged through San Francisco’s Mission District late on the evening of Monday, April 30, as a preview of what they hope to continue in their May Day protests today:
Broken glass littered several streets in San Francisco’s Mission District after protesters vandalized cars and buildings Monday night, including a police station.
The vandals were in a group that marched from Dolores Park shortly after 9 p.m., following a rally in advance of Tuesday’s planned Occupy general strike, police said. Traveling down 18th Street and onto Valencia Street, the black-clad, masked protesters smashed windows with crowbars and signs, threw paint on buildings and spray-painted anarchy symbols on the hoods of parked cars.
“All I heard was, ‘bang, bang, bang,’ and some dude had the valet sign, trying to break our window,” said Adam Koskoff, manager of the Locanda restaurant on Valencia. “I didn’t even see the crowd, and I ran outside and got egged.”
The vandals threw paint and eggs and smashed windows at more than 30 businesses, including Tartine Bakery at 18th and Guerrero streets and clothing store Weston Wear on Valencia.
Both luxury and everyday vehicles along Valencia and Guerrero streets were damaged. An Aston Martin had its windshield shattered, and brown paint covered the hood.
Pink and yellow paint marred the barricaded, cracked glass doors of the Mission police station at 17th and Valencia streets.
“It was like the station was under siege,” said an officer, who asked not to be named.
Although the march sprang from a rally for an Occupy action, other Occupy protesters shunned its participants as outliers. Some business people, however, said Occupy bore responsibility for the damage.
“Occupy is saying it’s not them, but we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Occupy, now would we?” Michelle Horneff-Cohen, a real estate broker, said as she shivered next to the broken window of her workplace, Property Management Systems.
If this is any indicator, today’s Occupy riots are shaping up to be very interesting.
On April 13, a group of Islamists in traditional Muslim garb showed up outside the Melbourne Convention Centre in Australia to protest the Global Atheist Convention.
The atheists, unafraid of confrontation, poured out of the conference to counter-protest the Islamists.
Luckily, the whole thing was captured on video for your entertainment:
Until recently, atheists seem to have mostly defined themselves in opposition to Christianity, but Christopher Hitchens opened a new front in the atheists’ battlefield, making it now OK to challenge Islam as well.
It could be that this scene is more than just a humorous bagatelle, but is instead a preview of the coming global conflict — not between Muslims and Christians, as everyone has long assumed, but between Muslims and secularists.
More scenes of the confrontation can be viewed here.
(And for those who prefer the traditional enemies butting heads, a Christian group posted their own long video of a separate incident in which they preached to the attendees; unlike the Islamists, the Australian Christians at least had a sense of humor about the whole thing.)
The ultimate convergence of America-bashers and capitalism-haters: The Iranian regime, apparently curious about this thing called “Occupy Wall Street” and the odds that it might succeed in toppling the capitalist system, invited several American — or should I say anti-American — professors and “experts” to discuss this glorious new political movement and what it means for Iran.
Although the conference happened two months ago, word of it is just leaking out now thanks to the diligent work of the nonprofit MEMRI, which monitors Middle Eastern television stations round-the-clock and preserves noteworthy broadcasts for posterity. Luckily, “Press TV,” the propaganda wing of the Iranian regime, did various reports about the conference, at which the American feminist/leftist academics were more than willing to wear hijabs to show their anti-western bona fides. MEMRI recorded the broadcasts and uploaded them to both their own site and to YouTube, so the rest of the world can see these American Occupy sympathizers consorting with rank anti-Semites and Islamists, who seem pleased that this new revolution may soon topple our democratic system of government.
Three videos tell the story. Here’s the first:
Here’s a partial transcript:
Imam Abdul Alim Musa, Masjid al-Islam, Washington DC: “The people of [Occupy] Wall Street are not anti-Iranian, anti-Iraqi, anti-Islam: They’re pro-humanity. They feel that all of us are part of the 99%. Right? They are against one government [referring to Israel] killing scientists, engineers, peaceful people, right? So they are naturally against Zionism.”
“And I believe that [Occupy] Wall Street is fighting the monster of the day. The monster is not the Shah, the monster today is global Zionism. You’re using riba [usury] and interest — the tool that they use to control the world, to control each state and each area of the world, is debt.”
Among the academics and experts at the conference, described as “Three American activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement,” were:
• Alex Vitale, of Brooklyn College
• Heather Gautney, of Fordham University
• John Hammond, of City University of New York
(A quick Googling of these three will reveal their far-left anti-capitalist beliefs.)
Joining them were three American religious figures representing the conspiracy-theory wings of the three monotheistic religions:
• Imam Abdul Alim Musa, of Masjid al-Islam, Washington DC (and an infamous anti-Semite)
• Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, of Jews United Against Zionism (and spokesman for Neturei Karta)
• Hank Hanegraaf, of the Christian Research Institute (and who promotes the notion of literal Biblical inerrancy)
Playing host to them (and possibly others not mentioned in the report) were various Iranian Islamist academics.
This additional video features a completely different set of interviews:
The reporter at the end of the clip makes this hopeful prognostication:
Press TV reporter: “Experts here say that the Wall Street movement is putting pressure on the politicians to make policy changes in favor of the movement, and in the long run it can lead to the collapse of the government.”
By “collapse of the government” they don’t mean the ouster of the Obama administration specficially but rather the collapse of the American system of government.
This final video is a shorter compilation of interviews that appear in the first two clips:
Time to call his bluff.
Obama is still harping on the so-called “Buffett Rule” as some sort of miraculous tax hike, despite the fact that it would only pay off 1% of the debt that Obama has added since he became president.
When Obama first proposed the Buffett Rule last year, I made a post called Voluntary Tax Rates and Personalized Earmarks: How to Solve the Debate over Taxes as the true version of the Buffett Rule. Because, you see, Buffett originally didn’t call for a higher tax rate on the wealthy in general; instead he said that he himself wanted to pay more taxes. Sure, he was just using himself as a personal example, but I thought: Hey, he could be on to something here. Why don’t we all decide at what rate we individually pay taxes? That‘s the Buffett Rule: You want to pay more taxes? Fine — pay ‘em. And if you don’t want to pay more, or even want to pay less — well, we have an option for that too.
To that end, I produced a new version of the IRS’s 1040 form which featured (exactly as the post’s title implied) “voluntary tax rates and personalized earmarks.” But that was last August. Who, after all these months, remembered to use those new forms now that Tax Day has rolled around again?
So I have now updated the revised 1040 form for 2011 and am offering it for download today, April 15, for your convenience.
Obama wants a Buffett Rule? OK, fine — let’s call him on his bluff. Download this “Buffett Rule”-adapted 1040 form, and integrate it into the rest of your IRS forms. As I noted in my original post, this new 1040 form makes everybody happy, because not only can you (like Warren Buffett) pay whatever tax rate you prefer, but you can allocate those taxes to whichever part of government expenses you want.
Two final points for you to ponder:
When I first posted these forms, some naysayers claimed it would never work “because everybody would choose to pay 0% in taxes.” To which I replied: If everybody wants to pay less (or no) taxes, then doesn’t that prove that the Tea Party was right all along? And if we all want to pay less taxes resulting in a much smaller federal government, then we’ve all gotten what we wanted — right?
Which brings us to the second point: If low-tax advocates choose to pay fewer taxes under this scheme, but high-tax advocates choose to pay more, then those high-tax advocates will be the ones allocating most of their payments to the federal programs of their choice — which could lead to a federal bureaucracy slanted toward liberal causes, while things like defense would go unfunded. To counter this, people who might otherwise choose to pay less taxes would voluntary pay more, if only to allocate all of it to those portions of the government they wish to see funded. This could escalate into a “tax arms race,” with each ideological side paying more and more to their chosen aspect of government — leading to even greater revenue for the IRS.
Something to ponder, at least.
So, let’s get to it: Download this 2011 “Buffett Rule” 1040 form, and call the president’s bluff:
(The top image shows the front page of the 1040 form with the two new sections in situ; and the bottom image shows just the newly added sections, for extra clarity. In each case, simply click on the image to see a much larger and clearer version of the amended form.)
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…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):
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If you’re a Pat Condell acolyte, you won’t want to miss this one.
And if you’ve never viewed a Condell monologue before, strap yourself in and be prepared for conversion experience.
The topic this time around? Israel, the UN, Arab anti-Semitism, and Western liberal appeasement:
Oh, the pain, the pain, the pain.
(For the uninitiated, Pat Condell is a British atheist comedian and political monologuist. For years, through sheer verbal wizardry, he has completely destroyed the ideological underpinnings of most liberal thought. This latest salvo is just the most recent of a continuous intellectual barrage humiliating the left for the last several years.)
It was bound to happen: The “Wear hoodies in sympathy with Trayvon” and “Wear hijabs in sympathy with Shaima” movements have now officially merged. At 7:30 tonight in Oakland a “Hoodie and Hijab March” in solidarity with not only Travon Martin and Shaima Al Awadhi but also Oscar Grant and Bobby Hutton will pass through downtown and — if things go as planned — degenerate into this week’s scheduled riot:
For those who need a scorecard for this pantheon of politicized victims:
• Trayvon Martin is the African-American teenager killed in a highly controversial and racially charged incident in Florida last month. Sympathizers have taken to wearing hoodies (which Trayvon was wearing when he was shot) as a sign of solidarity.
• Shaima Al Awadhi is an Iraqi-American woman killed in her El Cajon home by persons unknown; a note purportedly found at the scene is being touted as evidence of a hate crime, although police are still investigating and there is some evidence that the killing was not a stranger murder. Even so, activists have encouraged non-Muslims to wear hijabs (which Shaima wore) to show their beliefs that Shaima was killed because of her religion or culture.
• Oscar Grant was an African-American man who died after being shot by a BART police office in Oakland in 2009; although the officer was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison, activists claim that the shooting was intentional, not accidental.
• Bobby Hutton was one of the original members of the Black Panther Party who was killed during a shootout with the Oakland police in 1968.
All four are considered by activists to be victims of politically-motivated violence, though in each case circumstances are unclear and there’s no real proof that any of their deaths had anything to do with bigotry or politics.
Normally I don’t post about events before they happen, but in this case I can state unreservedly that I will not be running through the streets of Oakland tonight in a hijab or hoodie. As luck would have it, I’m having an emergency root canal at 7:30pm, so I guess I’ll have to miss the Hoodie and Hijab March. Shucks!
Last Sunday OccupySF embarked on a long-planned action: To seize and occupy a building belonging to the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and turn it into an anarchist commune that would serve as the Occupy movement’s local headquarters. The Fund47 blog was on the scene and filed this unique report with an insider’s view of how it all went down:
Here’s OccupySF’s press release about the action, revealing their intention to squat in the building permanently:
This action on Sunday is not a temporary protest, but a permanent occupation intended to establish a social center. We will transform this vacant building into a productive and vibrant space, just as we did in the plaza occupation, and we wish others to take similar actions and more.
Wealth inequality is increasing, the environment is being destroyed, the police state and drug war are devastating our communities and social movements, while our foreign wars enrich the 1% at the expense of our troops and innocent civilians. In San Francisco alone, thousands sleep on the street while thousands of houses and apartments lay empty. From Chapel Hill to Seattle, from New York to Oakland, people are rising up to directly change the social and economic system by liberating vacant buildings and reclaiming them for the people.
We are taking this action to bring immediate relief and housing to homeless youth in our community, and to provide a space for assembling, sharing food and healing for all people.
(Left out of their pitiful, adolescent sloganeering is the unfortunate fact that the vast majority of homeless street people in San Francisco have severe psychological or drug-addiction problems and have resisted repeated attempts to house them; many are homeless by choice.)
Housing is a right; free health care is a right; everything is a right in this gimme-gimme 21st century Obama world.
Some of the protesters had shoulder bags glorifying Chairman Mao…
…while others had shoulder bags glorifying President Obama.
Mao, Obama — it’s all good.
Eventually the protesters arrived at their secret destination, a vacant building at 888 Turk Street owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, which the Occupiers immediately dubbed the “SF Commune.”
“Larry in SF,” the author of Fund47′s excellent photo essay, goes into great detail speculating as to why the San Francisco Police at first escorted the unpermitted march, facilitating their illegal blockage of street traffic, and then backed off and allowed the protesters to seize the unprotected building.
“We won! We won! They pepper-sprayed us!”: Proof that the purpose of protests is to provoke a police response
Doesn’t matter what the protest is about. Doesn’t matter who is protesting or what they’re protesting against. All that matters, in modern political activism, is that you provoke a reaction from the police, which you can then spin as an over-reaction, and claim moral victory.
The goal of protests now is to achieve victimhood. Thus, when police arrest, tear-gas, beat, or otherwise try to control an unruly mob, the protesters are ecstatically happy, because that’s why they were protesting in the first place.
But of course you can’t admit this publicly; part of the script is to act injured or sad or angry when the police respond to your provocations. That’s an essential component of your victimhood posturing.
Unfortunately, yesterday a protester at Santa Monica College let the mask slip during a mini-riot at a trustees’ meeting. Over a hundred screaming demonstrators were trying to force their way into the already over-capacity meeting room, and the overwhelmed cops assigned to guard the door felt the only way to drive the rioters back was to pepper-spray them. As soon as this happened, one of the rioters yelled in glee,
“We won! We won! They pepper-sprayed us!”
Here’s the video, with the triumphant statement at 1:09:
Wait — you won? How does getting pepper-sprayed constitute victory? I thought the goal of your protest was to force the trustees to give you a “free education,” as the protesters were chanting? That didn’t happen (tuition fees were not eliminated by the college’s trustees), so wouldn’t that mean that you lost?
Well, the statement wouldn’t make any sense unless the purpose of the protest was in fact to get pepper-sprayed. Which it was.
[I have no new information about this other than what has already been covered in the media, but I thought it merited a place on PJMedia for people to weigh in with their thoughts and with any new leads that folks around the country may yet be unaware of.]
A student at a small, very obscure Korean-American Christian/acupuncture college in an industrial part of Oakland, California went on a shooting rampage today and killed seven of his classmates and wounded three others.
Details are still emerging, but this is what we know so far:
7 dead, 3 injured, suspect caught in college shooting
Authorities are now confirming that seven people have been killed by a gunman at a private university in Oakland.
The gunman opened fire at Oikos University, a Christian school at 7850 Edgewater Road, today at about 10:30 a.m., said Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson. Ten people were hit by gunfire in an attack that set off a manhunt that ended about an hour later when the shooter turned himself in at an Alameda grocery store.
Terrified students ran from the college in the chaotic moments afterward, as police searched the building for the shooter and rescued students, who took cover and hid inside. SWAT units smashed glass windows with sledgehammers to reach the huddling students and faculty.
Watson said authorities detained a suspect, but would not disclose if the man attended the school. Authorities captured the suspect, described as an Asian male in his 40s, more than five miles away in an Alameda shopping mall an hour after the shooting.
Employees at the Safeway told The Chronicle the suspect walked to the customer service desk inside and said, “I just shot some people.”
Feel free to post links/updates/condolences in the comments section.
The shooter’s name is One Goh Ko.
The only info I could dig up about him on the Web was the fact that his brother, Sgt. Su Wan Ko, died in a traffic accident while on assignment for the Army in Virginia almost exactly one year ago.
American photojournalist “El Marco” is currently visiting Spain and a couple days ago witnessed Europe’s latest political outburst, as Spain’s three largest unions tried to shut down all commerce for a day in a “general strike” to protest the government’s new right-to-work laws designed to alleviate the country’s rampant unemployment:
While the general strike pretty much fizzled (as the linked photo-essay reveals), and it’s difficult to get American readers worked up over confusing Spanish politics, an intriguing detail from El Marco’s essay stands out:
Here and there throughout the crowd, in addition to the now de rigueur “V for Vendetta” Guy Fawkes masks, protesters were wearing “A Clockwork Orange” t-shirts and regalia (the orange shirt on the right side of this photo). It seems the nihilistic smash-everything “ultra-violence” depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film version has a new generation of fans seeking some hipster cultural justification for their mindless contrarianism.
What makes this particularly relevant to the American scene is that our Occupy Wall Street movement itself claims it was inspired by and is the direct descendent of the 2011 Spanish youth protests in the exact same Puerta del Sol plaza where this recent protest erupted, which means that “What happens in Madrid does not stay in Madrid,” and that American copycat play-revolutionaries are likely to imitate the fads popularized in Spain, which has emerged as a radical chic trendsetter.
So: Look for “A Clockwork Orange”-themed fashions to join “V for Vendetta” masks and Che Guevara shirts as the unofficial uniform of 2012′s occupy protests.
One final note: “A Clockwork Orange” has many literary themes beyond the scope of this short post, but one of those themes was a condemnation of totalitarianism, as the novel’s fictional government tries to brainwash the unhinged lead character with mind-control techniques. Apparently the unconscious irony of this idiot waving a totalitarian flag while wearing an “A Clockwork Orange” shirt was lost on everyone but the insightful El Marco — and you the reader.
Check out the full photo essay for a full examination of Madrid’s union protests (which went completely unnoticed in American media) and El Marco’s lucid explanation of dizzying Spanish politics.