“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:
[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/05/zombie_video_5-2-12.flv image=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/05/zombie_video_5-2-12-title-card-1.jpg /]
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.)
# # #
…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):
# # #
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.
The Republican Party can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, so rather than just waiting around for them to get this idea, I decided I might as well make it a reality myself.
Behold — Gen45:
There was a large political protest in San Francisco a couple days ago. In fact, it was one of the largest ones this year and far out-drew any OccupySF protests since the earliest days of that movement.
And yet, the protest was almost completely ignored by the mainstream media.
Photo courtesy of Larry in SF
Because it was organized by Catholic groups strongly opposing President Obama and his contraception mandate for religious organizations. Any event that opposes Obama is deemed by the media to be irrelevant and trivial, and can safely be swept under the rug.
But thankfully the mainstream media no longer has a monopoly on the narrative, and in this case Larry in SF from the Fund47 blog was once again on the scene to bring us exclusive coverage of the protest, along with photographic proof that it numbered over a thousand people — far in excess of the few dozens that comprise the typical media-saturated Occupy protests these days.
Click to see the full photo-essay:
Here’s what Larry had to say about the numbers:
The crowd of 1000 was about half men, half women, with significant numbers of Hispanic, Asian and African Americans.
Attendance in San Francisco was double that reported by Catholic San Francisco Online, the National Catholic Register or the San Jose Mercury News. High resolution photographs captured by Fund47 reveal at least a 30×30 grid of protesters, with an additional hundred around the periphery. Also, the crowd turned over at a decent clip during the 90–120 minute event, scheduled on a workday, meaning even higher numbers.
The silence by San Francisco mainstream media on the Catholic protest is deafening. I could not find a report in the San Francisco Chronicle online, which recently gave full page coverage to a “bum rush” by 25 protestors (and 30 photographers) on the residence of Wells Fargo’s CEO by an OccupySF splinter group, revealed as utter farce by Fund47. Two weeks ago, a war protest with 15 professional protestors received frothy local TV news coverage.
The event was not unique to San Francisco; it was part of a nationwide protest by groups opposed to Obama’s anti-religious mandates in recent months.
Photo courtesy of Larry in SF
Joining those who oppose Obama on religious principles were several Tea Partiers who oppose Obama’s fiscal policies. Many analysts now see this as a “two-front war” against Obama’s program, putting him on the defensive wherever he turns.
Check out Fund47 for the full story.
Redefining the parameters of narcissism and megalomania, some dude named Barack Obama has renamed an entire generation of Americans as “Gen44″ — that’s “44″ as in the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Gen44er Tina Korbe over at Hot Air takes exception to this inclusion of all young voters in Gen44, whether they voted for Obama or not.
The Twittersphere is already turning the hashtag #Gen44 into an hilarious Obama-bashing fiesta, something I heartily recommend you join if you’re familiar with this newfangled “Twitter” thingamajig.
Michelle Malkin’s new Twitter-trend-folling site “Twitchy” has already compiled some of the more memorable Tweets, such as “I’m not #gen44, I work for a living. I’m #gen1040″ and “#gen44: Because this time I want Obama to win all 57 States.”
Here’s the official diktat from our Eternal Namesake, Il Quaranta-Quatro:
I was thinking various organizations could take this idea and run with it, as a marketing concept.
Abercrombie & Fitch:
The National Rifle Association:
The Republican Party:
Earlier this month, sarcastic Danish TV announcer Thomas Buch-Andersen utterly humiliated President Obama and undid months of his ham-fisted foreign policy attempts by proving that Obama says the same thing — literally, the exact same words — to every single foreign head of state that visits the White House.
A clip of his broadcast was uploaded to YouTube, and now that American viewers have discovered it, it’s starting to go viral.
I only wish this Dane had a job on American TV. Then I might actually turn mine on for the first time in ten years.
Watch and weep:
This really ought to be more of a bombshell story than it has been so far. Public radio’s nails-on-a-chalkboard show “This American Life” in January broadcast a devastating hit piece which exposed Apple as a brutal taskmaster overseeing near-slavery conditions in its Chinese factories. The piece led to innumerable follow-up stories in major media outlets bashing Apple as the new Snidely Whiplash of Capitalism. Liberal Web sites and groups collected signatures for anti-Apple petitions, started Apple boycotts, picketed Apple outlets…
…[dead air for about seven minutes]…
…This American Life just admitted that the whole story was basically faked.
Turns out the “journalist” was a performance artist named Mike Daisey who conceived of his report as a sort of one-man show in which he dreams of how evil Apple
could be ought to be, to match his worldview in which successful companies are always inherently evil.
How did Mike Daisey explain his mendacity? With one of the best non-apologies in the history of lying:
“I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard,” Daisey tells Schmitz and Glass. “My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it’s not journalism. It’s theater.”
Mr. Daisey’s explanation of his serial lying — “a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard” — and This American Life’s eager willingness to embrace his story, could actually be applied to almost all liberal journalism these days. In fact, that’s what they teach in Journalism School now — “Advocacy Journalism,” in which the narrative (generally a sob story with capitalism as the villain) is more important than hewing to the facts. If the narrative and the facts aren’t aligned — go with the narrative.
The fact that Mr. Daisey tried, and almost succeeded, in taking down a major corporation with a pack of lies, which were then parroted by nearly every leftist in the nation, should be the journalistic scandal of the year.
But who controls the media? The same people who ran with Daisey’s narrative. Expect the story to sink like a stone.
Perhaps they should change the name of the show to “This American Lie.”
And by “oil,” I am of course referring to the leftover cooking oil and grease stored behind restaurants, which thanks to rising gas prices has suddenly become popular as a source for biodiesel:
Slick-fingered Bay Area thieves are stealing restaurants’ used kitchen grease, a product that six years ago was so worthless that some restaurant owners would illegally dump it down the drain instead of paying for proper disposal.
The leftover cooking oil, yellow grease, is the easiest material to turn into biodiesel. And as the alternative fuel’s popularity has increased, so has its selling price, making it a target for thieves willing to go through the trouble of pumping or siphoning the grease out of storage barrels.
“It’s liquid gold,” said Daniel Rugg, director of engineering at the Four Seasons hotel in East Palo Alto, where security guards frequently chase away would-be grease thieves.
In 2006, processed or “finished” yellow grease sold for 11.5 cents a pound, said Don DeSmet, vice president of the western region of Darling International, a large grease hauler and renderer. In 2011, the price was 42 cents a pound – a price jump that gave the waste product a new allure.
“People started stealing it like it was nobody’s business,” Levenson said.
Last month, the grease was selling for about 32 cents a pound.
Thieves with a truck, a pump and a handful of 50-gallon barrels can make a few thousand dollars a week.
While some grease thieves are amateurs pilfering barrels with ladles and hoses, others are professional haulers, officials said. Because they’re licensed, it’s hard to prove what has been stolen and hard to punish renderers for buying stolen goods.
Renderers can process the grease with an alcohol to make biodiesel or use it to make animal feed and other products.
The federal government should closely study this news as a picture-perfect example of how a market economy works. If you create an artificial shortage of one product — as the government has done with its refusal to increase or take advantage of North American oil fields — then alternative substitutes will see a price rise as well.
Shortsighted “green economists” were saying just a few years ago that biodiesel was a logical substitute for petroleum-based fuels, since the raw material for biodiesel — leftover kitchen grease — was free!
Well, in a very short period of time, leftover grease went from having negative value — i.e. you had to pay someone to dispose of it for you — to being free, to costing 11.5 cents a pound, to costing 42 cents a pound. Why? Because the price of traditional gas at the pump has gone up. If gas cost substantially less than biodiesel, then there’d be no profit in kitchen grease, and no one would steal it — which is the way things were until recently.
If we take a step back, we can see how this principle applies to all forms of “alternative” fuels. If the only way to make “green energy” economically viable is to intentionally inflate the cost of petroleum-based fuels, then even when we adopt some alternative energy source, its cost will remain inflated to the consumer, due to supply-and-demand pressures on the energy market as a whole. And then poor people, who can least afford the cascading effects of price-increases across the economic landscape due to higher energy costs, will suffer.
Look, I’m all in favor of alternative energy sources, if they can diminish our dependence on foreign oil. But they need to enter the market and become competitive on their own merits and cost. Our fantasies of subsidizing our way to energy independence run straight into the brick wall of market economics; as this story proves, the overall energy market — petroleum-based, alternative, what-have-you — is a unified economic entity, and when you inflate the cost of gas, you inflate the cost of everything, including “green fuels” like kitchen grease.
By now you’ve probably already heard about RutherfordGate — in which President Obama thoughtlessly repeated a bogus quote falsely attributed to President Rutherford B. Hayes in order to slander his opponents and (almost as an afterthought) Hayes himself:
“One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’” Obama said. “That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.”
A quick bit of fact-checking uncovered that the quote — as has been long known to anyone with a passing knowledge of history — is just an urban legend.
But this is not the first time Obama has done this. In recent months, he’s been citing all sorts of fabricated quotes attributed to his presidential predecessors, and then mocking their obvious inferiority to his visionary self. Here are just a few examples overlooked by the media:
January 13, Toledo, Ohio:
“When Bill Clinton first surfed the Internet, he said, ‘Golly, this’ll never be good for anything but porn and cyber-stalking,’” Obama announced. “That’s why he’s now nothing but a disgraced, impeached sex addict in a sham marriage to the worst Secretary of State in history.”
January 24, Panama City, Florida:
“When Harry Truman first learned about the atom bomb, he thought it was a ‘senseless waste of uranium’ and tried to ship a couple to the Emperor of Japan as novelty gifts,” Obama said. “If they hadn’t fallen out of the plane, Japan would still be our ally today.”
February 3, Burbank, California:
“When FDR was shown his first television, he deemed it ‘The Devil’s Toolbox’ and smashed it up with a sledgehammer, accidentally injuring his leg in the process,” Obama said. “He was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and is now known as an elitist 1%er who bankrupted America with a Ponzi Scheme known as Social Security.”
February 17, Baltimore, Maryland:
“When Abraham Lincoln was shown the Gatling Gun, he laughed and said ‘Why would anyone want to shoot more than one bullet at a time?’” Obama scoffed. “That’s why he isn’t on Mount Rushmore.” [Aide hurriedly whispers in Obama's ear.] “Oh, he is? Well, then, that’s why we’re going to replace his ugly face with my classic profile.”
February 28, San Antonio, Texas:
“When Thomas Jefferson first learned of the steam-powered locomotive, he insisted that ‘Nothing will ever replace the horse as mankind’s primary mode of transportation,’” Obama claimed. “That’s because he was a slave-owning rapist who declared an imperialist war on our Muslim brothers. More than any single person he is responsible for developing the supremacist philosophy underpinning this racist Amerikkka, and I have ordered all his portraits removed from the White House.”
NY’s resident citizen photojournalist Urban Infidel is at it again, documenting the latest OWS outbreak in the Big Apple. This time around, the Occupiers attempted to crash a Mitt Romney fundraiser today, but were rebuffed by security and had to settle for an outdoor march:
What makes this report particularly noteworthy are the photos Urban Infidel captured of bored-looking union members arriving at the protest where they were signed in by union reps – undoubtedly so they could pull a paycheck for their day’s astroturfing. Or should I say occu-turfing in this case.
The Left is apparently struggling to find an effective angle for criticizing the milquetoast stand-for-nothing Romney, because they had nothing better than “Romney Kills Jobs” as the theme of the protest. While the narrative lacks accuracy it makes up for it with good visuals:
Authentic OWS “Sub-Humans” in the foreground; astroturfing union members earning an easy day’s pay in the background.
And no protest is ever complete without a ludicrous and self-defeating misspelling.
Check out UI’s full report for plenty more photos and videos!
Expect the union/anarchist/socialist convergence to pick up steam as election day nears.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has transformed the word “occupy” into a catch-all term which they now apply to every conceivable noun: “Occupy education”; “Occupy foreclosures”; “Occupy the future”; and so on. Annoying and essentially meaningless, but catchy.
Yet you can’t copyright a word, so a group of Christians decided to co-opt OWS’s sloganeering yesterday and give Occupy San Francisco a taste of its own medicine.
Shortly after OccupySF re-established an encampment in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street, they were surrounded by Christians holding up signs that said “Occupy Jesus”:
(Photo courtesy of Larry in SF.)
Zing! Take that, Occupiers!
The photo above was taken by “Larry in SF,” proprietor of the Fund47 blog. Larry was on hand to capture all the action of this first-ever Christian re-occupation of the Occupiers, and filed an excellent report:
What I found especially interesting is that when the Occupy Women’s Day march met the Occupy Jesus march coming the other way, the two groups passed though each other like neutrinos through a shadow; instead of the clash turning into a confrontation, the two groups’ ideologies were so far apart from each other that neither side had any way to challenge the others’ narrative.
One point worth noting: The Christian Occupiers who came to SF provide tangible real-world results helping drug addicts kick the habit and get their lives back in order; whereas OccupySF does nothing for addicts except provide a place to congregate and shoot up without criticism; in other words, they facilitate destructive addictions. Regardless of ideology: Which side is benefitting society?
I was not at this particular event, nor was anyone else with a camera except Larry it seems, so Fund47′s report is an exclusive — check it out to see all the action.
(Photo courtesy of Larry in SF.)
Andrew Breitbart doesn’t turn the light on; he turns the dark off.
Andrew Breitbart doesn’t fight; he just allows you to lose.
When the boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks his closet for Andrew Breitbart.
There are no mysteries in the universe — only things that Andrew Breitbart hasn’t shared with the rest of us.
Google automatically fills in “ndrew Breitbart” as soon as you think the letter “A”.
Each hurricane is now assigned a different name because it was just too repetitive to call every one “Andrew.”
There are actually four tenses: past, present, future, and Breitbart.
Sometimes you need to open a can of whoop-ass. Andrew Breitbart is already inside the can.
Andrew Breitbart has a stunt double. For the crying scenes.
Racehorses have to pee like Andrew Breitbart.
When Andrew Breitbart parted the Red Sea, it was hydrogen on one side, oxygen on the other.
Andrew Breitbart does not sleep. He waits.
When ghosts go camping, they sit around the fire and tell Andrew Breitbart stories.
Electricity uses Andrew Breitbart to light its house.
It’s no accident that the alphabet begins “A, B…”.
Andrew Breitbart doesn’t need Twitter; he’s already following you.
If at first you don’t succeed, you are not Andrew Breitbart.
The Bible uses the phrase “fire and brimstone” because “Andrew” and “Breitbart” were already taken.
Niagara Falls went over Andrew Breitbart in a barrel.
There is no such thing as evolution. Just a list of creatures Andrew Breitbart allowed to live.
When Andrew Breitbart is in Rome, they do as Andrew Breitbart does.
If God has a beard, it’s because he wants to look like Andrew Breitbart.
Andrew Breitbart makes Happy Meals cry.
Darth Vader dresses up as Andrew Breitbart for Halloween.
Andrew Breitbart doesn’t need to look at his watch; he decides what time it is.
The sky is not the limit. Andrew Breitbart is the limit.
The movie “Anaconda” was filmed entirely inside Andrew Breitbart’s pants.
The FDA has now declared Andrew Breitbart an essential amino acid.
God may not play dice with the universe, but Andrew Breitbart does.
Only Andrew Breitbart can turn lemonade into lemons.
Andrew Breitbart uses pepper spray as a condiment.
Stonehenge is merely Andrew Breitbart’s building blocks from when he was a kid.
Even when Andrew Breitbart snoozes, he still wins.
Andrew Breitbart tells his GPS where to go.
Andrew Breitbart grew a beard at the age of 16. Months.
Andrew Breitbart has a grizzly bear rug on his floor. The bear is still alive — it’s just too afraid to move.
Andrew Breitbart doesn’t have to face consequences; consequences have to face Andrew Breitbart.
The Earth does not rotate on its axis; that’s just Andrew Breitbart walking.
I mourn the death of Andrew Breitbart. I didn’t know the guy personally, aside from the exchange of a few mutual admiration emails, so I have no further insights into the man or his personality beyond what his many friends and colleagues have already written.
But my mourning is mixed with a sense of frustration. Great men like Andrew Breitbart are not great simply because of their own personal actions and achievements; they’re great because they show us the way to be just like them.
A good father goes fishing and feeds his sons every night. A great father teaches his sons how to fish so they can feed themselves.
A good muckraking investigative journo-activist breaks shocking stories that change the political landscape. A great muckraking investigative journo-activist — like Andrew Breitbart — shows us that anybody can do what he does.
Because that’s the secret of Andrew Breitbart’s career: He rose to the top despite not possessing any unique skills.
He wasn’t a great writer. Not bad; just serviceable. He didn’t have a PhD. He personally wasn’t very handy with a camera. (Though he certainly knew what to do with newsworthy photos or footage once he got his hands on them.) He wasn’t an economic theorist. He wasn’t a beacon of moral purity. He wasn’t a deep philosopher. He wasn’t even a professional journalist.
But whatever he did, he did with gusto. And not just run-of-the-mill gusto: extreme gusto.
When he got the ball, he never fumbled. He sent would-be tacklers flying. And even if his team wasn’t on offense, he’d snatch the ball anyway and score a backfield touchdown before the other guys even knew what happened.
One thing we must learn from Andrew’s life: If Breitbart could do it, anyone could do it. We no longer have any excuse. America’s bloggers and citizen-journalists and new-media mavens need to get off our collective asses and make news happen.
Exactly four years ago, Rush Limbaugh launched “Operation Chaos,” encouraging Republican primary voters to cross party lines and vote instead for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in order to slow down Barack Obama’s march to the nomination.
Now, just a few days ago, inspired by Rush Limbaugh, Democratic activists have launched “Operation Hilarity,” a scheme in which Democratic primary voters cross over and vote for Rick Santorum, in order to throw a monkey wrench into the Republican race and slow Mitt Romney’s march to the nomination.
Some analysts (including the Operation Hilarity oganizers) believe that Operation Chaos backfired, since the drawn-out nomination race “helped President Barack Obama and the Democrats to build a national organization,” which paid off in the general election and helped him to win the presidency.
Similarly, Operation Hilarity may backfire, since in the few days since it was launched, Santorum has surged to the lead in national polls and now the Democrats are simply voting for the Republican current favorite, for no discernible reason.
It seems that neither Operation Chaos nor Operation Hilarity were planned with much foresight, other than the juvenile glee of playing in your rival’s sandbox. But to what end?
The time has come to do this right. I hereby announce OPERATION EQUILIBRIUM. Unlike the previous Operations, it has a clearly thought-out long-term goal, and does not involve crossing party lines. Here’s how it works:
How to take part:
When the Republican presidential primary is held in your state, vote for whichever candidate has the fewest number of delegates up to that point. If the guy in last place is particularly distasteful to you, then vote for the guy in second-to-last place, or third-to-last. But whatever you do, vote against the current leader.
Why? Here’s the rationale:
Just about everybody agrees that the surviving crop of Republican candidates is just plain awful. I myself expressed my opinion of these losers in a recent post entitled “Barack Obama Will Still Be President on January 19, 2017.” But the problem is: They’re all we’ve got. Either Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul will be the Republican nominee in 2012. Right? Right?
We have one final chance to get a different candidate in there and beat Obama in the general election. And that chance comes in the form of a brokered convention.
A “brokered convention” happens who no one candidate wins a majority of delegates by the end of the primary process. This doesn’t happen very often, because primaries almost always devolve into two-person races very early in the season, so that one or the other candidate is sure to top 50% eventually.
But the Republican race this time around still has four candidates in play, and all four still think they have a chance to win the nomination. My opinion (one shared by plenty of folks, especially on the Democrat side) is that none of these existing four candidates has a chance to beat Obama in November, so our only hope is to nominate someone else at a brokered convention — and the only way to get a brokered convention is to ensure an ongoing equilibrium between the current four candidates. Make sure that they all have an approximately equal number of delegates, so that none of them breaks the 50% barrier and wins the nomination outright.
I’m not naming names as to whom you should vote for, since the momentum keeps shifting back and forth. But to be specific about the scenarios:
• If Santorum has the delegate lead and/or the momentum when it comes time for your state to vote in the Republican primaries, then instead vote for Gingrich or Romney.
• If Romney has the lead, then vote for Santorum or Gingrich.
• If Gingrich has the lead, then vote for Romney or Santorum.
(You might notice that I’ve left Ron Paul out of my recommendations. That’s because I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone vote for him, due to my personal dislike for him; but if you already have a hankerin’ for Ron Paul, and he’s already not in the lead, then you can include him in your voting options.)
The goal of Operation Equilibrium is to ensure that we arrive at the end of the nomination process with all the candidates equally split, delegate-wise: Romney 33%, Santorum 33%, Gingrich 33%. That way, no one candidate going into the convention can claim to have a “mandate,” which opens the door for a completely new candidate (Marco Rubio, Allen West, Paul Ryan — I’m looking at you) to jump in and win the nomination on floor votes at the convention. Sure, it’s a longshot, but it’s the only shot we’ve got.
There is so much simmering dissatisfaction among Republican voters with our existing crop of candidates, that I think ushering in a surprise new candidate would be a popular move and would generate excitement unlike what we’ve seen thus far.
So everybody: vote against the current Republican leader in Operation Equilibrium. It’s our only hope!
If you want a prototypical example of how climate science has ceased being true science and instead become little more than an ideological battleground, look no further than a study released yesterday showing that, contrary to earlier claims, global warming has had zero effect on the depth of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Although the study received almost no media coverage (hmmmm, wonder why?), the San Francisco Chronicle did publish an article entitled Study: Sierra snowfall consistent over 130 years. But they covered the study not to give it wider publicity, but rather to give a platform to critics trying to discredit it.
The main thing we learn from this incident is not that snow levels in California have essentially remain unchanged since 1878, but rather that the weak, fallacious and ultimately politically-driven counter-arguments from the critics reveal just how far mainstream climate science has drifted from unbiased truth-seeking.
From the article:
Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada has remained consistent for 130 years, with no evidence that anything has changed as a result of climate change, according to a study released Tuesday.
The analysis of snowfall data in the Sierra going back to 1878 found no more or less snow overall – a result that, on the surface, appears to contradict aspects of recent climate change models.
John Christy, the Alabama state climatologist who authored the study, said the amount of snow in the mountains has not decreased in the past 50 years, a period when greenhouse gases were supposed to have increased the effects of global warming.
The heaping piles of snow that fell in the Sierra last winter and the paltry amounts this year fall within the realm of normal weather variability, he concluded.
“The dramatic claims about snow disappearing in the Sierra just are not verified,” said Christy, a climate change skeptic and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “It looks like you’re going to have snow for the foreseeable future.”
So — what’s to criticize about the study? The Global Warming Alarmists instantly sprang into action and settled on three lines of attack.
Climate experts and water resources officials were immediately skeptical of the report, pointing out that it doesn’t come to a meaningful conclusion and uses data from a ragtag collection of people, many of them amateurs.
Christy’s study used snow measurements from railroad officials, loggers, mining companies, hydroelectric utilities, water districts and government organizations going back to 1878. That’s when railroad workers began measuring the snowpack’s depth near the tracks at Echo Summit using a device similar to a yardstick.
“No one else had looked at this data in detail,” said Christy, a Fresno native who said some of the information will be published in the American Meteorological Society’s online Journal of Hydrometeorology.
Remember: in the 19th century, there were no satellites, no such thing as “climate science,” and no official list of who is or is not allowed to measure snowpack. So the data in the archives is the only data we have about snowpack back then, and thus also the best data on snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. And yet, the climate mafia dismisses a century’s worth of engineers and government officials as “a ragtag collection of people, many of them amateurs.”
By this standard, Galileo was an amateur, Charles Darwin was an amateur, Isaac Newton was an amateur, as was basically every scientist who ever lived prior to the standardization of university professorships in the first half of the 20th century, which officially segregated the world into “amateurs” and “professionals” once and for all.
But this is not mere historical ignorance on the critics’ part. Because when you get to dictate who is and is not an “amateur,” and thus dictate whose data is or is not valid, then you get to control the outcome of any study. You can accept as “reliable” any data that confirms your pre-estabished thesis, and reject as “amateurish” any data that contradicts it.
Yet that’s not how science works. If these critics were true scientists, they would rethink their thesis, not attack the personal integrity of a century’s worth of engineers.
Also note that, until very recently, no one had any political agenda to fabricate data to support or undermine global warming, so left out of the critique is any explanation of why some railroad official would fudge his data. Are the critics seriously implying that the following thought went through someone’s mind back in 1878: “Gee, I’d better lie about how deep this snow is, because I want to trick researchers 130 years in the future into thinking that some theory about global warming that hasn’t even been developed yet isn’t really true. Bwahahahaha!”
Back to the article, where the second line of attack is to dismiss the data as meaningless because no one measured how wet the snow was:
Mike Dettinger, a climatologist and research hydrologist at the Scripps Institute of the U.S. Geological Survey, said Christy is picking and choosing data while misleading people about what climate change scientists are actually saying.
For one, he said, snow depth is not as good a measure of the winter weather conditions as water content and density.
The number of inches or feet of snow on the ground can mean a variety of things, he said, depending on if it is fluffy powder or compacted, wet snow.
Of course, he has no data at all about the water content and density of 19th-century California snow, and no evidence that snow a hundred years ago was drier or fluffier than it is today, but hey, they were all amateurs back then!
Finally, the critics poo-poo the study as irrelevant, since other studies of snowpack elsewhere in North America had different results:
What’s significant in terms of global warming, he said, is the fact that the snowpack has declined over three quarters of the western United States, an area that includes Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. Scripps researchers, in coordination with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists, have concluded that 60 percent of that downward trend is due to greenhouse gases.
“There is a popular conception that the snowpack has declined everywhere, but that is not what the science says,” Dettinger said. “What we’re saying broadly is that across western North America there have been declines in spring snowpack.”
But those other results must have been based on very recent measurements that couldn’t reveal any long-term trends, since they’ve already determined that measurement taken by “amateurs” in the old days don’t count.
Or was 1878 Montana brimming with all sorts of “professional” snow measurers that California lacked?
This is more likely: When old data confirms your thesis of global warming, then it is accepted as valid; but when old data undermines your thesis of global warming, then it is rejected. Simple.
The take-away news here is not that snow levels in California have remained unchanged since the Industrial Revolution. That’s not surprising. What’s newsworthy is that people claiming to be scientists act like true “amateurs” with confirmation bias, who only accept the validity of data which matches their preconceived notions.
What do you get when you cross Van Jones, the Occupy movement, Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom and the rest of the California Democratic Party? Why, a veritable orgy of mutual admiration and clueless self-congratulation.
It all came to a head this weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Diego, where Van Jones was treated like a rock star even as he sang the praises of the Occupiers and engaged in blatant class warfare.
Two articles set the scene. First, a blog post eyewitness account from SFGate’s Carla Marinucci:
Van Jones, the former Obama Administration green czar who resigned in controversy, appears on the fast track to a political comeback — emerging as a star at this weekend’s California Democratic convention and lauded by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as a “leader of the future.”
Jones, who as head of an activist group called “Rebuild the Dream” has become a leading voice of the Occupy movement, was given the star speaking slot to address hundreds at the kickoff Friday night reception here sponsored by state party chair John Burton.
To the cheers of the grassroots activists, Jones endorsed a “millionaires’ tax” as a means of firing up younger voters in the 2012 election, saying “that will get their attention.”
“I’m tired of being accused of being anti-American,” said Jones. “They call it class warfare…if anything, it’s warfare against people who have no class…they won’t even return our phone calls when our houses are underwater.”
The effusive reception given to Jones underscores that the former community activist appears in resurgence since the days after the Obama Administration green czar was forced to resign after controversial statements and ties with grassroots groups that Republicans claimed had radical roots.
Jones apologized for some of his actions, including signing a petition for 911Truth.org which appeared to suggest the Bush Administration “may indeed deliberately have allowed 9/11 to happen.”
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told the Chronicle this week that he was so impressed with Jones that, as the former mayor of San Francisco, “I tried to offer him a job too when they fired him…because I was so upset with Glenn Beck” and other Republicans who demanded his ouster.
Jones, Newsom said, is “passionate and he’s been a leader on the Occupy movement. A strong voice, a rational, reasonable voice on the issue of income and inequality…and he’s as eloquent and effective a speaker as there is is out there.”
If that wasn’t enough proof that the Democrats have thrown in their lot with the Occupiers and Van Jones, an Associated Press report from the same convention seals the deal — as a small band of narcissistic Occupiers protested the very people praising them and enacting their demands, the Democrats wore buttons saying “We Are the 99%”:
About 100 Occupy members protested outside the San Diego Convention Center, where the state party was holding the convention, sounding off on themes similar to those being discussed inside. But protesters said some Democrats had let them down by supporting the indefinite detention of terror suspects and spending millions on political campaigns.
“Don’t just watch us, come and join us,” and “Get up, get down, there’s revolution in this town,” they chanted.
Democratic delegates had to push through the crowd as they returned from lunch, but many stopped to talk to the protesters. Some of them also wore buttons saying “We are the 99 percent” and “Millionaire’s tax of 2012.”
The Occupy movement began as a protest against the widening gap between the very wealthy and everyone else.
Speaking to convention participants, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Democrats owe thanks to the Occupy protesters. The former San Francisco mayor said they drew attention to income inequality, which he called “the greatest threat to democracy.”
On behalf of his two young children, he said, “I want to thank the Occupy movement for stepping up and stepping into this space and doing more than we have in 30 years for putting the focus on the growing income inequality gap.”
Mike Oren of Los Angeles said he was among 34 people who traveled on a bus from Southern California to the convention Saturday morning.
“We’re here to protest the National Defense Authorization Act,” he said.
That law, signed by President Barack Obama in December, authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens suspected of terrorism. Many civil liberties activists believe the law is unconstitutional.
Activists held signs with vulgarities denouncing the law and criticizing Democratic leaders for supporting it. “The Democrats also serve the 1 percent,” said one sign.
It’s absolutely astonishing that the California Democrats are embracing the Occupy movement even long after it has crashed and burned, and even as those very same Occupiers are hurling abuse and vulgarities at the people praising them.
Everyone knows that politicians are a bit slow on the uptake, but I mean this is ridiculous. It’s almost as if the left believes its own propaganda: the media intentionally misrepresents the Occupiers and their behavior and message so as to dupe middle America, even though anyone with one eye half open could see that the Occupiers were nothing but a motley crew of scatterbrained Marxists and smelly bums (and that’s being kind, frankly).
But hey, Dems, go for it: Nominate “ex” (sic) communist Van Jones to the party leadership, muss the hair of your beloved Occupy rascals, and keep turning left, just keep turning left.
Feeling anemic? Maybe you need a megadose of irony:
Gay couple who were the leads plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led the state Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8 are now getting divorced after only three years
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson saw their shared dream come true in June 2008 after years of fighting for marriage equality.
In January, they saw that dream dissolve when Tyler filed for divorce after more than three years of marriage and 18 years of living together.
“It wasn’t a light decision,” Tyler told NBCLA. “It’s very sad.”
The couple pushed for the reversal of Proposition 8 in 2009 by renewing their vows and were lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led the state Supreme Court to strike down the same-sex marriage ban that year.
“We have a right to civil rights, and we don’t have to say, ‘If you give it to us we’re going to be perfect … we’ll try harder than anybody,’ ” Tyler told NBCLA. “We’re just like anybody else.”
On the surface level, this is all very amusing and ironic.
But on a deeper level it speaks to what many “traditional marriage” advocates secretly (or not-so-secretly) believe about the whole gay marriage movement — that most homosexuals either aren’t really interested in getting married or don’t have the personalities for long-term committed relationships anyway. And that the real goal of the movement is to weaken or belittle the concept of traditional marriage, by changing the essential definition of it.
Now, I’m not saying that I myself necessarily think this critique is true, but I’m quite sure that many others think it is true. And even though I myself back in 2008 voted against Proposition 8 (i.e. I voted in favor of gay marriage), since that date I have often second-guessed my vote and now I’m conflicted on the issue. On one hand, my libertarian streak tells me to “live and let live” and “Why should I care who or what you marry? Knock yourself out.” But on the other hand, the more I read essays and manifestos from the early gay movement in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, the more I become convinced that the modern “gay marriage” movement is a very clever attempt to bring an end to marriage altogether.
Back then, the activists were overtly anti-marriage. They felt that traditional family structure was the main pillar of “normative sexuality” and that true sexual liberation could only be achieved through destroying the institution of (straight) marriage itself.
But that didn’t go over too well with the mainstream. So after many behind-the-scenes strategy discussions, a shift took place: The goal of destroying marriage remained the same, but the method of achieving it changed from overt to covert. How to end the concept of marriage? By rendering it so unrecognizable that the former defenders of marriage will themselves call for its dissolution. That is to say, the new goal would be to get traditionalists to say, “We’d rather abolish the concept marriage altogether than allow it to become a stamp of approval for things we disapprove of.”
And indeed, I have already seen the beginnings of such an attitude among some social conservatives who are beginning to adjust to the reality that gay marriage is making serious inroads into American society. And this “destroy the camp rather than let the enemy capture it” attitude is exactly what the gay activists want to hear — in fact, eliciting that reaction is the whole goal.
My suspicions are confirmed not only by today’s news story about the rapid divorce of the very people who overturned Prop. 8 (i.e. did they only “get married” to prove a point?), but by other observations in recent years, most of which I unfortunately can’t write about openly.
An example I can discuss was a scene in a documentary I saw a few years ago praising the beginnings of the gay marriage movement (I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the film, unfortunately). The filmmakers were interviewing two elderly gay men who were considered among the leading pioneers of the gay rights and gay marriage movement. And they described how they got “married” in an unofficial ceremony back in the ’70s. And the film presented them as heroes. But then…as the interview continued they discussed how they “stayed married” even as they both had frequent and transitory sexual relationships with other guys. And that this proved “just how strong our marriage is.”
Without going into details, this exact same behavior pattern has been evident in people I know personally. I’m not noting this because of any personal outrage or disapproval on my part (really, it doesn’t matter to me what you do in your personal life), I’m just noting that it is true: some gay men who are friends and relatives of mine declare themselves to be in long-term relationships, but in every case they are “open” relationships which allow outside partners.
I have no statistics about how common this is, nor do I believe that any reliable statistics could ever be generated on the subject. But from my own personal observations throughout my life, I get the impression that it’s not uncommon. And from what I hear and read from other people (including other gay people), a lot of other folks also feel that it’s not uncommon. Yes, some straight married folks cheat on each other and/or have “open marriages,” but those are regarded as failures or exceptions, rather than the norm.
So this brings us to the real question of what defines marriage. The raging argument these days is over whether marriage is a formalized relationship between (according to the traditionalists) a man and a woman, or instead between two consenting adults of any gender (according to the gay marriage proponents).
But I think that’s the wrong argument.
The actual dispute we’re having is over whether marriage should be defined as either a legally recognized monogamous sexual relationship between two faithful adults or instead an essentially meaningless legal label linking two adults with no expectations of sexual fidelity.
I have the feeling that many “traditionalists” would not object to gay marriage if they truly believed that marriage would lessen the perceived promiscuity in the gay community. But they don’t believe that. They believe that gays (gay men, in particular) tend to have “open relationships,” and that the marriage label won’t change that. So that extending the label of “marriage” to gays will instead do little except to diminish the significance of the term.
In short: The argument is more about sexual fidelity, and not so much about sexual orientation.
I know this is a taboo subject, but in the interests of making implicit assumptions explicit, I think it’s a useful discussion to have, considering the brouhaha over yesterday’s court ruling overturning Prop. 8.
As Bryan Preston noted, Obama has just committed The Mother of All Flip-Flops and now actively encourages people to donate to his re-election Super PAC, a practice he repeatedly condemned for years as unethical.
Compare his unabashed embrace of Super Pacs today with these videos of him:
First, Obama in 2007:
Next, Obama in 2010:
A little dollop of hypocrisy on top of your hypocrisy sundae, Mr. President?