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US Military 1 — Occupy Movement 0

October 9th, 2011 - 3:14 pm

The “Occupy” movement claims to represent 99% of the people (hence their motto, “We Are the 99%”).

The US military stands for everything the Occupiers oppose; it is after all the force which imposes the evils of capitalism on the nation and the world.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, as an experiment, we arranged to have the Occupy movement and the US military each hold events in the same city on the same day — and then see which one drew more visitors? If the Occupiers truly represented the 99%, and if the military really were the musclemen for the corporations, then it’d be no contest — right? And what if we even held the competition in the nation’s most left-leaning city, just to give the Occupiers home field advantage?

Well, we don’t have to imagine any of this, because it happened yesterday, in San Francisco. The “Occupy SF” protest group held yet another shindig in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street. And as luck would have it, San Francisco was at the same time hosting “Fleet Week,” an annual celebration of all things military and patriotic, including performances by the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s aerobatic team. Since the “Occupy SF” group was having a protest at the exact same moment as the Blue Angels show, this would be a perfect test case: Which is more popular?

It’s 2pm on Saturday, October 8, 2011: Let the showdown begin!


We start our duel at the Occupy SF encampment on Market Street, where the “greeter” stood stark naked with a sign welcoming visitors to the occupation.


Lest we ever forget how significant and popular they are, a row of Occupiers held up signs reminding everybody that they represent the views of 99% of Americans.


Important questions were asked — such as “My Mom has lupus…Why can’t she have an American dream?” Indeed. Powerful stuff.


Love and bloodshed,
Love and bloodshed,
Go together
until corporate greed’s dead.
This I tell you brother,
You can’t have one without the other.


Moms of America: If your daughter got sick, would you prefer that she visit a licensed physician, or instead curl up in agony with a shaved head and a sleeping kitten on a urine-soaked sidewalk in the “Occupy SF Infirmary”?


Wait — there’s a good way to be smelly? I’m so behind the times.


Only at a San Francisco protest could there be a freak so freaky that even the naked guy would look at him aghast.


As usual, the deep-seated fundamental schizophrenia of the “Occupy” movement was on full display: Half the protesters were of an anarchist bent who wanted to “decentralize everything”…


…while the other half had a communist bent, declaring “Marx was right” that we should have a state-controlled economy — in other words, the belief that we should “centralize everything.”

Centralize, decentralize — it’s all good!


The usual political remoras came along for the ride: Anonymous wannabes, whom I like to call “Wannanymous”…


…the so-far-right-that-they’re-far-left anti-Fed conspiracy theorists of Alex Jones’ Infowars…


…and, no, it simply couldn’t be — the last Coffee Party member in the country! I thought they went extinct!


Weirder still, standing right behind her was Barack Obama, half-heartedly disguised in an SF Giants cap, trying to see for himself what these Occupiers are all about.

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The Ongoing Occupation of America

September 29th, 2011 - 11:25 am

Remember the whole “Day of Rage” thing a couple weeks ago, in which the American populace would rise up and “occupy” Wall Street and various other financial centers around the country until the people’s revolution triumphed?

Well, we made fun of it back then as “Day of FAIL” when the whole thing seemed to fizzle — but now the joke’s on us! Because it turns out the revolution is still in the process of happening, and when the first “occupations” didn’t work out so well, the protesters reserved the right to try and try again until America is properly occupied.

Not only did the revolutionaries not skulk away in humiliation after the first flop, they’ve doubled, tripled and quadrupled down with an ongoing series of new occupations from coast to coast. The new motto of the movement is: “No, we mean it — this time it’s for real!

Occupations have been taking place every day since the original “Day of Rage” on September 17, and more occupations are scheduled practically every day for the foreseeable future. There’s a new one happening in San Francisco later this afternoon; and there’s another one in L.A. planned for two days from now; and probably one in your neighborhood too, whether you realize it or not.


Of the 37 world-changing revolutions that have happened in San Francisco over the last two weeks, I visited only one, last Saturday in Union Square, just to keep tabs on how the future government is shaping up. The first order of business was to display a big map showing some of the “Major City Occupation Movements Across the United States.” In case you haven’t noticed, the following cities have been occupied by the revolutionaries: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Phoenix, Cleveland, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, Orlando and Miami.


The revolutionaries seized the symbolic heart of the city, Union Square. Witness history! That’s them in the distance, somewhere. San Francisco: Consider yourself occupied!


Once the territory was successfully seized, everyone gathered in an egalitarian circle and the reluctant not-really-a-leader leader-type guy said we all needed to break up into “committees” to address the many tasks of revolution.


I considered joining this committee, but a different guy was acting all patriarchal and taking charge and stuff, and that pissed me off, so I went in search of something more appropriately leaderless.


I considered joining the more free-form “Supply Division and Personell” committee, but I suddenly started itching all over and thought better of it.


This committee was too intellectual, with people making all sorts of important points and engaging in healthy self-criticism. I get enough criticism from the real world already!


“As you can see by this balloon thing I’m wearing on my head, I’m making a serious point here!”

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The U.C. Berkeley College Republicans struck a national nerve today by holding a bake sale with racially discriminatory pricing: Higher prices for white and Asian students, lower prices for black, Hispanic and female students. Why the intentional discrimination? To protest a pending new statewide law, SB 185, which attempts to re-introduce Affirmative Action into university admission standards, something that was banned years ago with California’s Proposition 209, a popular constitutional amendment requiring race-neutral admissions.

The purposely inflammatory gag was very clever: the goal was to make everyone point out how racist the cupcake prices were, at which point the young Republicans reply, “Exactly! Racial discrimination is unfair. Thanks for making our point for us!”

But the leftists on campus and around the state instead flew into a blind rage: The joke was too effective, so Affirmative Action proponents simply pretended to “not get it.” Accusations of racism flew back and forth and before anyone knew it we had a major FUBAR situation on our hands.


The Berkeley College Republicans set up their table on U.C. Berkeley’s legendary Sproul Plaza, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and the place where all campus clubs host recruitment tables. By the time I showed up at 10am, there were already hundreds of protesters swarming around the table.


The cupcakes were very “diverse” in their coloration. Will the mockery never cease?

This 7-minute video montage contains several short interviews with various people at the protest, and really contains almost everything you need to know about the event. I alternate back and forth between College Republicans explaining their point, and counter-protesters trying to explain, uh, well, something or other. Almost all of these clips are “piggybacking” on interviews that other reporters did of the various people shown; whenever one camera would come out to record an interview, several additional cameras would usually appear out of nowhere to get a free ride. Some of the clips were taken by me, and some by others who sent their videos to me.

However you slice it — it’s video gold not to be missed!:


The Berkeley College Republicans were not all “white” as most people assumed; they included members of all races.


One of the young Republicans carried a sign with the discriminatory menu. Shocking!


Ward Connerly, the godfather of the anti-Affirmative Action movement, showed up took a seat at the bake sale table, where he was interviewed by various media outlets.

He calmly pointed out to all comers that the pending bill, SB 185, waiting to be signed or vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was patently unconstitutional, since California voters had already amended the state constitution with Proposition 209, which plainly says “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” He predicted that SB 185, even if signed, would be thrown out by the courts. The only way to undo Prop. 209 would be to re-amend the state constitution to allow discrimination (highly unlikely), or to have the United States Supreme Court declare the whole thing federally unconstitutional, something which they’ve never done, despite having several opportunities to. So it looks like non-discrimination is here to stay, to the great dismay of the Affirmative Action advocates.


Several different counter-protest groups showed up. By Any Means Necessary, the leading radical Affirmative Action advocacy group, had a major presence. “BAMN,” as they are commonly known, take their name from a famous Malcolm X speech.


Someone brought some “Get the fuck/GOP out!” shirts and invited people to personalize them with their own messages; someone upgraded one of the shirts with “Fuck White Supremacy,” and laid it on the ground in front of the bake sale.

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In recent months it has become increasingly common to see men walking around San Francisco’s Castro District completely naked. You might assume this is illegal, but no — there is no law against public nudity in San Francisco, unless that nudity also involves “lewd thoughts or acts.” (In practice, what that means is that unless you have an erection or are masturbating, it is OK to expose yourself in San Francisco.)

But the ever-escalating recent increase in public nudists spurred S.F. supervisor Scott Wiener to propose new legislation requiring naked people to sit on towels when using public facilities, and also to cover their nether regions while eating in restaurants — so that other residents won’t have to come into contact with whatever bodily excretions that might result from sitting down pants-free.

Well, as luck would have it, the more politically-minded of the public nudists had already scheduled a pro-nudity protest just on general principles, but the timing was perfect to make it into a photo op for the newly proposed towel law.

Needless to say, I was at Saturday’s protest, camera in hand.

I had originally intended to make this a lighthearted post, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt the protest merited serious analyis.

So, below, you will find discussions about the purpose of clothing, public hygiene, exhibitionism, community standards and morality — and lots of pictures of naked men. If you don’t want to see the pictures, stop reading now.

(Note: This is the G-rated version of this report, with all photos blurred out where appropriate; if you want to see the X-rated version, in which all the pictures are uncensored, click here.)


The protest was held in a small plaza at the intersection of Castro, 17th, and Market streets in San Francisco. While the Castro District is well-known as a sort of outdoor gay-themed tourist attraction, it is still a “real” part of the urban landscape, just like any other part of the city, with street lights and gas stations and trolley tracks and laws. Traffic streamed by as the nudists (all men) began to assemble, several of whom were carrying protest signs saying things like “Nude is not lewd” and “Get your hate off my body.”


It was cloudy and a bit chilly, but that didn’t stop about 40 or 50 men from standing around naked, and posing for the phalanx of photographers who had assembled across the tracks.


Local alternative newspaper The Bay Guardian saw a chance for a publicity stunt and produced “Butt Guardian” towels so that everyone could be in compliance with the new anti-excretion ordinance.


Bay Guardian employees handed them out to all takers; if you want one of your own they even have an online version you can print out “to soothe the heebie jeebies induced in some shrinking violets about stray hairs and other hysterical anal imaginings covering the seats of our fair city.”


The quote above got me thinking about the very purpose of clothing, something I had never really pondered until now. Humans wear clothing, obviously, to keep us warm in cold climates. But clothing has several other functions as well:

1. To protect the wearer from the elements — cold temperatures, blazing sun, wind, etc.;
2. To cover up various body parts which cultural norms have deemed taboo;
3. To advertise one’s status, role, class or position in society;
4. To prevent the transmission of potentially unsanitary excretions and fluids by enclosing the anal and genital regions.

And this is the source of the conflict: Wiener’s law merely addresses the issue of public hygiene in point 4 above — but the nudists are protesting the cultural norms in point 2. Yet no matter how successful they are in smashing cultural norms, they still can’t escape the general consensus that day-to-day urban nudity has pubic health consequences.

The nudists’ reply is that the “pubic health” argument is merely a smokescreen to justify puritanical repression. The anti-nudity advocates are being dishonest, the protesters argue; opposition to public nakedness is not based on concern about transmissible diseases, but rather on old-fashioned prudery.

While that may be true, I counter with this: The San Francisco public nudists are also being dishonest; there is indeed a sexual component to their behavior, and they are exhibitionists using politics to justify their thrill-seeking.

Want proof? Keep reading.


The naked protest originally had nothing to do with the hubbub over the new towel legislation; it was in fact basically just a launch party for the Folsom Street Fair (advertisements for which were visible all around the intersection, as seen in the photo above):

The event, which had been scheduled before Wiener’s proposal was announced, was part of the unofficial celebrations leading up to the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish event.


Now, I didn’t cover this year’s Folsom Street Fair (held yesterday — too cold!), but I have covered it in the past, and — trust me on this — it is a free event held on city streets at which people unabashedly have sex in public. (Actually, you don’t have to trust me — you can simply click on my EXTREMELY NSFW report about the 2007 Folsom Street Fair and see the proof for yourself.)

In that report, as part of a caption for a series of photos showing a man masturbating in public, I made the following observation:

The Folsom Street Fair is primarily a festival of sexual fetishes — bondage, sado-machochism, animal fantasies, and so on — yet the pre-eminent sexual fetish at the Folsom event is the one least discussed: exhibitionism. This man, for example, is an exhibitionist, as were a great many others at the fair. Exhibitionists derive sexual pleasure from having people watch them engage in sex. You, the observer, are a participant in their sex act, whether you want to be or not. That’s the point, the source of the “thrill.” If you attend the Folsom Street Fair, to a certain extent you are knowingly agreeing to be “visually raped” and to participate in the exhibitionist sex of others, just by being there to view it. Almost always, when someone at the fair began to masturbate, a crowd would form to watch: and by so doing would voluntarily become second-hand participants in the solo sex act — just as you the viewer are doing right now.

But does the same argument apply when the exhibitionist is not actively masturbating and doesn’t even have an erection? Could he be secretly getting a thrill and involving passersby in his sexual fantasies anyway?

No, according to The Bay Guardian, which has leapt to the defense of the public nudists.

In response to a San Francisco Chronicle columnist who wrote,

If these guys were opening a trench coat and exposing themselves to bystanders in a supermarket parking lot we’d call them creeps. But if they sit on public chairs and expose themselves to bystanders, they’re defenders of free speech. Here’s some free speech – when moms and dads walk their kids to school, they don’t want to see you naked.

The Bay Guardian had this to say in reply:

Actually, I’ve often walked my daughter to school along Castro Street, and I don’t care whether people are naked or not. Neither does she. My kids are San Francisco city kids; it’s all a big Whatever. And the naked guys in the Castro, mostly middle-aged men, aren’t “exposing themselves” in the way of a sex offender who gets off on it; they don’t confront anyone, or jump in front of anyone, or try to force anyone to look at them. They aren’t fucking in the streets. They’re just walking around (and sitting down) without clothes on.

Whatever.


The Bay Guardian‘s argument basically comes down to this: If these guys aren’t parading around naked for the thrills, then they aren’t deriving any sexual pleasure from it, and thus there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. And that is also exactly what San Francisco’s extremely lax laws about pubic nudity say: unless you are engaging in “lewd thoughts or acts” then you can be naked in public.

But hang one one minute. It’s pretty easy to identify a “lewd act,” but how can we judge whether someone has a “lewd thought” while showing his naked body to you? Presumably, this is a legal euphemism for “getting a hard-on”: If a guy has an erection, the law presumes he is engaging in “lewd thoughts”; and (here’s the key) if he doesn’t have an erection, that’s proof that his thoughts are pure.

But there’s another way we can assess their motivations aside from measuring the engorgement levels of their penises. Look at the sign above and the sign in the first photo; both reveal that the protest was organized on a Web site called nude-in.blogspot.com. If you visit the site (mild NSFW warning), you’ll see that the protest’s Web page — and hence the protest itself — was actually masterminded by Bare Naked in Public, which according to the protest page’s own sidebar “is the most all inclusive male exhibitionist destination on the Internet.”

And if you dare to click on the VERY NSFW Bare Naked in Public home page, you will finally see the truth (and a whole lot more) revealed: San Francisco’s urban nudists are exhibitionists who derive sexual thrills from exposing themselves in public.

There. Someone had to say it.

And if that’s true, then they are indeed breaking the city’s anti-nudity ordinance because they do think “lewd thoughts” while parading around naked.


Common sense tells us the same thing. As this picture shows, the spot chosen for the nude protest is basically on a traffic island in the middle of an extremely busy intersection; trolley cars filled with commuters and tourists run immediately adjacent to the “park,” while a six-lane major traffic artery runs along the other side; and one of the city’s most crowded pedestrian streets leads right to the same intersection. Why choose that particular spot, not just for Saturday’s protest but for daily nudity year-round? The goal quite obviously is to be seen by as many people as possible. The nudists claim they just want to be left alone and be free to go about their daily lives with no clothes on. But if that were the case, they wouldn’t purposely congregate in crowded places.


La de da. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just standing here!


Furthermore: San Francisco is not a particularly warm town. To quote Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” No one in their right mind under normal circumstances would want to be naked in San Francisco. You’d have to have a reason — like being an exhibitionist.

If you truly just wanted to be naked, you can be naked at home. Or at San Francisco’s city-sanctioned nude beach (Baker Beach). If if you wanted to be naked amongst other naked people, there are several nudist colonies in the Bay Area and northern California. But no. These protesters and urban nudists don’t simply want to be naked in private or be naked around other naked people; they want to be naked around clothed people. Because that’s where the sexual thrill originates; violating a taboo. Being naked where nakedness is normal doesn’t count; eliciting shock or interest from unwitting strangers is the whole point.


To end on an upbeat note: one of the protesters set up an easel right on the corner of Castro and 17th and began painting.


His masterwork depicted UFOs landing and naked humans running out to meet their alien saviors. On the table next to his easel (directly behind him in this photo) were several books about extra-terrestrials and UFO invasions.

Now, see, this guy might legitimately claim that he is naked in public for a completely non-lewd reason — to welcome our alien brothers when they arrive. But the other protesters have revealed not just their genitals but their real motivations.

One final point: What is the feminist position on all this?


Last month I covered yet another San Francisco protest, this one called Slutwalk, where this photo was taken. And the message at that protest was “Unwanted Exposure to Scrotum Is Never OK!

Why are only feminists allowed to point this out?

September 17 was supposed to be the Day of Rage, the starting point of an anti-capitalist revolution that (in theory) was going to sweep the country coast-to-coast. As I noted yesterday, “The plan is to protest in state capitals and major cities across the nation, but the focus of the revolution will be in New York, where a hoped-for 20,000 anti-capitalists will ‘occupy’ Wall Street.”

I dutifully sent my operatives out to cover what were to be three of the largest Day of Rage protests — in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles — so humanity would have a full record of this pivotal moment in history.

Really, I should have learned my lesson by now: The bigger the build-up to a protest, and the more grandiose the promises, the louder the sound of the bellyflop onto the dustbin of irrelevancy.

In other words: “Day of Rage” was a massive FAIL.

This photo essay includes photos from all three protest sites (NY, SF and LA) integrated together, to give you the feel of the fizzled revolution as a whole.

The photographs in this essay are by:
Urban Infidel (New York);
Ringo (Los Angeles);
and Chicken Kiev, juklux, and zombie (San Francisco).
All credit goes to them.


In New York, a disappointing crowd of only about 1,000 people (a mere 5% of the predicted attendance) gathered around Manhattan’s Wall Street to protest against capitalism. But right off the bat, the protest’s completely mixed message was glaringly apparent. Half the protesters wanted more government (as exemplified by this satirical “capitalist pig” cutting the “social safety net”)…


…while the other half wanted less government, an attitude succinctly summarized here as “FUK DA GOV.”

So — which is it?


Over in San Francisco, where a mere 90 protesters showed up (OK, 100 to be generous), the exact same self-negating mish-mosh of a non-message prevailed; half the protesters, such as these “US Uncut” activists leading the march, wanted more taxes and more of a welfare state; while the other half…


…wanted to “Decentralize everything,” which is the polar opposite of a state-controlled economy.

Basically, the distinction is between communist theory and the anarchist approach.

In American politics there are two strong currents of anti-capitalist thought: Marxism/communism/socialism versus Anarchism/far-left-libertarianism. The problem is that these two ideologies are fundamentally at odds; one advocates hyper-centralization of political and economic power, while the other advocates hyper-decentralization.

In earlier times, the communists and the anarchists hated each other; they are natural enemies. But in recent decades they have formed an uneasy and deeply unstable alliance; since they both hate the status quo of American capitalism, they feel they ought to band together and smash the system as a unified front, and worry about how to pick up the pieces later.

But the Day of Rage revealed that this alliance can never succeed, because it can never offer a consensus philosophy; it’s impossible to draw the sympathy of the great masses when you offer two completely divergent philosophies as your “unified message.” In truth, there is no unified message, and there never can be; that’s why the “Day of Rage” organizers couldn’t even decide on what their one single demand would be at the protest.

I feel this is a turning point in the anti-capitalist movement; the failure of the much-hyped Day of Rage proved that the communists and the anarchists never will be able to smooth over their differences, and the far-left will necessarily fracture in two. The anarchists will break free of their socialist bedmates and drift more toward honest extreme libertarianism and anti-authoritarianism; while Team Marx will no longer feel the need to temper their collectivist message with a bunch of dishonest slogans about freedom and independence.


The Los Angeles Day of Rage crew made the peculiar decision to hold their event in the city’s Olvera Street, the touristy Mexican-themed pedestrian marketplace near the site of the original Spanish settlement. Despite all the promotional hoopla, a completely humiliating 20 people showed up.


But none of the organizers bothered to find out in advance that September 17 was Fiestas Patrias on Olvera Street, “the largest Mexican Independence Day celebration in the State of California at the birthplace of Los Angeles; Placita Olvera. 200,000 attendees expected.” Oooooooooops!


As a result, the tiny protest was completely overwhelmed by the non-political festival-goers. And, irony of ironies, the fiesta was packed with corporate sponsors, who set up glitzy and well-attended promotional tents all along Olvera Street. So much for the anti-corporate message!

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Solyndra for Dummies

September 9th, 2011 - 2:01 pm

Confused by the Solyndra scandal?

This five-panel cartoon explains it in terms everybody can understand:

Solyndra for Dummies


(Credit: Art and lettering by buzzsawmonkey; Concept by zombie)


Here’s the same cartoon laid out old-school newspaper-style; click to enlarge:

Green vs. Tea, Round 1: Party Battle Napa

August 30th, 2011 - 10:56 am

The Green Party faced off against the Tea Party on Saturday in Napa, California.

Democrats? Republicans? Snort. What do you think this is, the 20th century?

Neither of the dinosaur parties were much in evidence as the nation’s two new emergent parties did battle for the heart of America.

Green or Tea, which shall it be?

The catalyst that triggered this political firefight was the arrival in Napa of the Tea Party Express buses; Saturday, August 27 was the day the media-savvy group kicked off its coast-to-coast Reclaiming America Tour, culminating on September 12 in Tampa, Florida, at the CNN/Tea Party Express Debate between various presidential primary candidates.

Grassroots Tea Party groups from the region — the Wine Country, the North Bay, and nearby — converged on the Napa County Fairgrounds for a brief two-hour visit by the Tea Party Express buses and their accompanying CNN cameras.

But the Green Party simply could not let this stand. Word went out across the land that the Greens would be waiting with a “massive anti-tea party rally”:

Green “Tea Party” (massive anti-tea party rally)

The Napa County Green Party invites you to participate in a momentous and historic Green “tea party” on Saturday, August 27, 2011, at 10:30 AM in Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of Main and Third streets in downtown Napa. Come help us unwelcome the Tea Party Express to Napa and instead show the public a positive Green Party alternative.

This Green Party counter-rally is being held simultaneously with the Tea Party’s kick-off of its national tour. The Tea Party has steered our nation further toward the reactionary right, undermining workers’ collective bargaining rights, attacking human rights such as access to health care, damaging our environment through attacks on regulation, and fostering an anti-diversity agenda that scapegoats Muslims, immigrants, and the LGBT community.

As the dominant parties acquiesce to this reactionary current, the Green Party stands apart as the healthiest alternative to the corrupt two-party system; a “duopoly” that has given rise to this right-wing shift. …

This Green “tea party” will be a chance for Green Party members and our progressive allies from across the state to unite in opposition to the negative Tea Party agenda by affirming positive Green Party values such as grassroots democracy, social justice, respect for diversity, nonviolence, community-based economics, and sustainability. …

Our rally will culminate in a progressive solidarity march from Veterans Park to the Napa Valley Expo Fairgrounds just across the river to protest the Tea Party Express event being held there.

The gauntlet has been thrown!

Meanwhile, the various local Tea Party groups didn’t seem to publicize the event much; in fact, I only heard about it because I was on the Green mailing list! The much-ballyhooed decentralized nature of the Tea Party sometimes has its drawbacks; and there was also a certain undercurrent of grumbling about the overly slick prepackaged glitziness and old-school establishment connections of the Tea Party Express group. Would anyone show up at all?

Maybe the counter-rally would be bigger than the main rally itself.

Ding!! The “momentous and historic” match has begun!


I showed up shortly before 11am and decided my first stop should be the Green Party’s “massive anti-tea party rally” scheduled to begin at 10:30am in Napa’s Veterans’ Park. But when I showed up, this is what greeted me: about 20 people milling around an empty plaza. Hmmmm….


I drifted around looking for answers. Several of the people there were from various socialist groups, like the ISO (International Socialist Organization), whose signs were about the Middle East, not “green” policies.


The MDS (Movement for a Democratic Society), another ultra-far-left group, comprised another significant portion of the attendees. Boring. I want individual opinions! I went in search of the unaffiliated at the rally.


Now we’re talkin’. This guy compared the Tea Party to the “John Birh” Society.


His sign merits a close-up of its own:
TEA PARTY SAME STUFF nEW nAME = John BIRH Society SocIEty They ARE are WACKO.”


After a while, the crowd swelled to around 35, as a Green Party speaker at the podium raised his arms in triumph.

It quickly became obvious that the planned march on the Tea Party event wasn’t going to happen any time soon. So I bailed out early and headed over to the fairgrounds by myself. Instead of accompanying the invading army as an embedded journalist (my original plan), maybe I could watch the invasion from the Tea Party side.


On the way there, I encountered a small group of counter-protesters already leaving the Tea Party site. I had gotten my first inkling that something was awry.

Note how these counter-protesters are all white, fairly old, and carrying a flag. Despite that, they carried a sign accusing the Tea Partiers of being…


“Tea Baggers: Old White people Who Wear Flags.” Someone needs to introduce these folks to a mirror.


As I drew close to the fairgrounds’ front gate, I encountered a small stream of union members arriving with anti-Tea Party signs. What’s going on?


Ten or twenty union members lined up outside the entrance, but the Tea Partiers who were filing past them mainly ignored the spectacle.

And here’s where the confusion began.

Thinking that this was just some small-potatoes wildcat counter-protest, I shrugged my shoulders and entered the Tea Party event as well. But apparently, either while I was inside the fairgrounds, or perhaps before I even showed up in Napa, there was a somewhat larger union-organized protest that I somehow managed to miss. Or that’s what the media reported:

Police and newspaper estimates placed the crowd at the Napa Valley Exposition at about 600, with another 200 Green Party, Democratic and union activists demonstrating in opposition outside the Expo fence.

However, Alex Shantz of the Napa County Green Party said the size of the counter-demonstration was closer to 300.

While the protesters outside chanted, marched, waved signs and even briefly displayed a giant inflatable rat, the tea party rally on the Expo grounds featured heavily-amplified singers and speakers, two gleaming “Tea Party Express” buses and a mammoth American flag.


In addition to the giant inflatable rat was this sign: “Kill All Humans.” (I didn’t take this photo, but I wish I had; the original is part of the “Napa Patch” article linked above; direct link to the photo here.

Could it be that the anti-Tea Party forces were completely discombobulated? It seemed that there were two separate counter-protests planned — one by the Greens, and another by the unions — but neither was aware of the other. So instead of coordinating forces for a more effective unified full-frontal assault, each group independently staged small ineffective confrontations. What else could explain why the Greens were still assembling over at Veterans’ Park, while the unions were already protesting at the front gate?

The Numbers Game
You may have noticed that the crowd estimates quoted above are wildly at odds with the photos shown in this report. I was pretty stunned by the media’s estimates as well, and tried to find verification; all I could come up with was this image showing the elusive combined union/Green counter-protest that I somehow managed to miss, showing 45 protesters grouped together and ready to march. But where are the other 255, to reach the claimed 300 total? Let’s be generous and double that 45 up to 90, then round it up again to 100. We’re still 200 short. (Anybody who can provide me with a photo showing more than 100 counter-protesters, please post the link in the comments!)


Meanwhile, the same article estimates the Tea Party crowd at only 600, only twice as large as the counter-protest. I walked into the Tea Party event, stood approximately in the middle, and took this picture. To my right, out of the frame, is the CNN camera platform, which was on the centerline of the event facing the stage. Further off to my right are several booths and tables with people browsing. In the distance straight ahead, out of sight, there is a wine-tasting area and dozens more booths; and also a central midway with throngs of people coming and going; out of the frame to my left are several additional rows of seated Tea Partiers; and then the stage area itself; and finally, behind me is the entire other half of the event, maybe not quite as crowded as what you see here, but equal in area at least. And despite all that, I counted (took me 15 minutes, but I counted) about 500 people (or parts of people) visible just in this image alone, even though it only covers maybe 30% at most of the whole event. (For those obsessed with crowd estimates, I have made the full-resolution version of the photo available; just click on the image to see it, and start counting yourself; get ready for eyestrain.)

Based on this image, and my general impressions of the day (including the fact that people were arriving and leaving throughout the event so that the overall crowd size stayed the same but included new arrivees), I would personally estimate the size of the Tea Party crowd at closer to 2,000, and 1,500 at a minimum.

CNN makes no estimate of the Tea Party crowd, but says there were only “several dozen” counter-protesters, which seems far more accurate than the “Patch” article linked above.

AP give a generous 100 estimate for the counter-protesters, but limits the Tea Partiers to “several hundred.”

The S.F. Chronicle guesstimated “dozens” of counter-protesters and “hundreds” of Tea Partiers, which is probably the closest to being accurate.

My estimate? About 90 counter-protesters (half of them Green Partiers, the other half union members), and about 2,000 Tea Partiers. (Any evidence either way is welcomed in the comments section.) And since I hate the whole crowd-estimation numbers game, and am only doing this because of the media misreporting, that’s the last time I’ll mention it!

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Aldous Huxley’s classic dystopian novel Brave New World envisions a deeply disturbing one-world totalitarian state in which hypersexuality and loveless promiscuity are considered normal — even for children. Twenty-six years after its 1932 publication, Huxley wrote Brave New World Revisited to marvel at how many of his book’s outlandish futurist predictions had already come true — things like in vitro fertilization and psychopharmacology.

But if Huxley were alive today, he’d have to write Brave New World Re-Revisited to account for the new elementary school curriculum in Basel, Switzerland. Because what Huxley predicted would happen by 2540 A.D. has already come true in 2011 — 529 years ahead of schedule.

To prepare yourself for the Basel kindergarten lessons, first read this excerpt from Chapter 3 of Brave New World:

Outside, in the garden, it was playtime. Naked in the warm June sunshine, six or seven hundred little boys and girls were running with shrill yells over the lawns, or playing ball games, or squatting silently in twos and threes among the flowering shrubs.

In a little grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather, two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with all the focussed attention of scientists intent on a labour of discovery, a rudimentary sexual game.

“Charming, charming!” the D.H.C. repeated sentimentally.

“Charming,” the boys politely agreed. But their smile was rather patronizing. They had put aside similar childish amusements too recently to be able to watch them now without a touch of contempt. Charming? but it was just a pair of kids fooling about; that was all. Just kids.

“I always think,” the Director was continuing in the same rather maudlin tone, when he was interrupted by a loud boo-hooing.

From a neighbouring shrubbery emerged a nurse, leading by the hand a small boy, who howled as he went. An anxious-looking little girl trotted at her heels.

“What’s the matter?” asked the Director.

The nurse shrugged her shoulders. “Nothing much,” she answered. “It’s just that this little boy seems rather reluctant to join in the ordinary erotic play. I’d noticed it once or twice before. And now again today. He started yelling just now …”

“Honestly,” put in the anxious-looking little girl, “I didn’t mean to hurt him or anything. Honestly.”

“Of course you didn’t, dear,” said the nurse reassuringly. “And so,” she went on, turning back to the Director, “I’m taking him in to see the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. Just to see if anything’s at all abnormal.”

“Quite right,” said the Director. “Take him in. You stay here, little girl,” he added, as the nurse moved away with her still howling charge. “What’s your name?”

“Polly Trotsky.”

“And a very good name too,” said the Director. “Run away now and see if you can find some other little boy to play with.”

The child scampered off into the bushes and was lost to sight.

“Exquisite little creature!” said the Director, looking after her. Then, turning to his students, “What I’m going to tell you now,” he said, “may sound incredible. But then, when you’re not accustomed to history, most facts about the past do sound incredible.”

He let out the amazing truth. For a very long period before the time of Our Ford, and even for some generations afterwards, erotic play between children had been regarded as abnormal (there was a roar of laughter); and not only abnormal, actually immoral (no!): and had therefore been rigorously suppressed.

A look of astonished incredulity appeared on the faces of his listeners. Poor little kids not allowed to amuse themselves? They could not believe it.

“Even adolescents,” the D.H.C. was saying, “even adolescents like yourselves …”

“Not possible!”

“Barring a little surreptitious auto-erotism and homosexuality—absolutely nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“In most cases, till they were over twenty years old.”

“Twenty years old?” echoed the students in a chorus of loud disbelief.

“Twenty,” the Director repeated. “I told you that you’d find it incredible.”

“But what happened?” they asked. “What were the results?”

“The results were terrible.”

Science fiction you say? Well, maybe it was science fiction in 1932, but in 2011 it’s reality:

‘Sex box’ to get new name as parents revolt

Officials in Basel have agreed to rename the “sex box” after receiving some 3,000 letters of protest from parents angered by the controversial trove of wooden penises and fabric vaginas set to be used in a new sex education programme for playschool and primary school kids.

Christoph Eymann, Basel education minister and member of the liberal democrat party (LDP), responded to parent’s protests in an interview with SonntagsBlick.

It was no doubt stupid to call it a ’sex box’ – we will change that. But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents,“ he said.

Many parents say they do not understand why sex education needs to be taught to children as young as four.

“There are usually two reasons why sexuality becomes a topic in kindergarten: either the teacher is pregnant or one of the children will soon get a new sister or brother. In such cases, it is correct that the teacher can respond”, Eymann told SonntagsBlick.

Eymann said he understood that one line in the programme, “touching can be enjoyed heartily”, could be misconstrued, but insisted: “It is not about ‘touch me, feel me’. We want to tell the children that there is contact that they may find pleasurable, but some that they should say ’no’ to. Kids can unfortunately can become victims of sexual violence already at playschool age.“

Eymann said he would prefer if sex education was taught to children at home but argued that education officials needed to respond to the realities of today.

We currently live in an oversexualised society. There is uncontrolled distribution of pornographic material that can reach young children. Some primary school children know the TV schedule until 2am. We would like to offer these children firm support, which is often not available in the family. The box is only an aid. I trust the teachers to approach the material with care.”

Despite this, Eymann said he takes critics’ arguments seriously, and has ordered the contents of the box to be examined after finding the cover of previous teaching material tasteless.

Some parents have called for their children to be exempted from sex education. Eymann says he is strictly against exemptions, although he is aware this will not make him many friends:

“Primary school may be the only big audience that our society has. The shared values that it teaches are very important. I would definitely like to keep this. The explanatory lesson can be portrayed in a way that doesn’t offend“, he said.

Critics of public school sex education have been warning of this for decades: Once you start down the slippery slope of teaching kids about the mechanics of sex, it will invariably (in some school districts at least) eventually lead to advocacy for sex. Combine that with the relentless drive to introduce sex ed at lower and lower grades, and you end up with what’s happening in Switzerland: Telling four-year-olds how pleasurable sex is and leading them in classroom activities that are tantamount to public masturbation:

‘Sex box’ for Swiss kindergarteners has genitalia toys: will teach sexuality is pleasurable

Kindergarten children in Basel, Switzerland will be presented this year with fabric models of human genitalia in a “sex box” to teach them that “contacting body parts can be pleasurable.”

The kit for teachers to give sex-education lessons to primary school children uses models and recommends having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, accompanied by soft music….

I can no longer deny what I’ve long merely suspected: That many “progressive” educators use mandatory public school sex education specifically for the purpose of indoctrinating entire generations of children into being promiscuous as early as possible. Why? To cause the breakdown of the nuclear family, to pave the road for a Brave New World.

Yesterday, it only happened in fiction. Today, it happens in Switzerland. Tomorrow — coming to a school near you.

[Here are some more photos of various Sex Box materials, found on this page:]

UPDATE: I didn’t know until after writing this article that just a few days ago President Obama visited a Martha’s Vineyard bookshop while on vacation and was seen buying a copy of — you guessed it — Brave New World.

One can only hope that he interprets the book as a warning — and not as an instruction manual.

Submitted for your approval: The perfect solution to America’s national debate over taxes.

This proposal is completely serious. Below you will find my suggestion for an amended IRS 1040 form. As you will see, it contains two new sections: “Voluntary Tax Rate,” in which each American can individually determine his or her own rate of income taxation; and “Allocation,” in which taxpayers can apply their personal tax payments to specific federal expenses.

It’s simple, it’s completely non-partisan and even-handed, and it allows for total individual autonomy and personal freedom.

Will it lead to a complete restructuring of the United States government? Possibly. And if it does, will that be a good thing? Most definitely.

Read on to see how this new idea came about.

Problem #1: “Raise my taxes!” vs. “Don’t raise my taxes!”

Recently, billionaire investor Warren Buffett publicly announced that he wants the government to raise his taxes, because, he feels, he just isn’t paying enough. Soon after, fellow billionaire Donald Trump joined Buffett in announcing the he too would at least be willing to pay more taxes if necessary. Then millionaire TV host Jerry Springer joined the chorus of wealthy Americans demanding that their own tax rates be raised.

These high-profile champions of increased self-taxation are simply the most visible members of an entire sector of the American public who demand that we as a nation raise our own taxes to pay for our ever-increasing expenses. (Many of these high-tax-advocates of course pay few or no taxes of their own; what they really want is other people to pay more in taxes. That’s why actual taxpayers like Buffett and Springer make headlines when they join the call for higher rates.)

On the other side of the coin, groups like the Tea Party have quickly ascended into political prominence by charting the exact opposite course, insisting that the economy can only be rescued by an across-the-board lowering of taxes nationwide. Critics portray the Tea Party lower-tax platform as nothing more than “greed” — the selfishness of people who want to keep their own money, and not share it with the rest of us. Defenders of the low-tax-advocates point out that it’s not greed but a desire to kickstart a stalled economy: lower tax rates generally lead to increased economic growth.

Until recently, the argument was limited to two sides, each seeking to dictate terms to everyone else: liberals said, “We want all of you to pay more taxes!”, while conservatives said, “We want all of you to pay less taxes!” But Buffett and Trump and Springer changed the parameters of the debate; instead of demanding that everyone else pay more taxes, these wealthy high-tax-advocates’ new twist is to announce, “I personally want to pay more taxes!”

» Solution #1: Voluntary Tax Rates

This seemingly intractable debate gave me an idea. Both the liberal and the conservative positions are ethically untenable: No one should have the right to force anyone else to pay more or less taxes than they prefer. These billionaires have hit upon a brilliant concept: Instead of everyone trying to force everyone else to conform to this or that view of tax rates, let each person voluntarily set his or her own tax rate!

Thus if Warren Buffett wants to pay more in taxes — he can do so! And if a Tea Partier want to pay less in taxes, she can do so as well. And if liberals think the tax rate is too low — well, under this new system they are free to pay at whatever higher rate they can afford.

It’s as simple and streamlined as can be, and everybody gets what they want. (See the amended 1040 form below for how it would work.)

Problem #2: “I’d willingly pay taxes for those government programs I like, but can’t tolerate paying for programs I hate.”

Both liberals and conservatives have this exact same problem: They’re more than happy to pay for their favorite government departments and expenses, but it drives them crazy when they’re forced to subsidize stuff they hate.

Liberals and anti-war activists, for example, have long insisted that their taxes not be used for war; so (especially when a Republican president is in office and/or during wartime), you will frequently hear them demanding that their taxes not be used for “the war machine,” or for certain weapons systems (like nuclear missiles) or for any number of things they deem distasteful (e.g. drone attacks, harsh interrogations, foreign combatants in military prisons, etc.). Conversely, conservatives frequently complain that their taxes are used to support “freeloaders” who spend their entire lives as recipients of the welfare system, and who as a result never contribute to society. So conservatives bristle at the thought of paying for overly lax welfare programs, not only because they see themselves as shouldering most of the burden, but also because they think the welfare system fosters a culture of depedency, leading to a downward cycle of fewer and fewer people paying more and more of the taxes.

And what drives both liberals and conservatives to distraction is when they discover that their tax dollars are being used for programs or procedures which they deem morally wrong; liberals, for example, don’t want their taxes to pay for the federal government to break up immigrant families by deporting the illegal parents while allowing the natural-born-citizen legal children to stay; while many conservatives find it intolerable that their tax dollars are used to pay for abortions in federally subsidized clinics — a procedure which they feel is tantamount to murder.

Yet the problem is, we’re all paying into the same big pie, and we don’t get to determine what our personal tax contributions are used for. Thus liberals end up paying for war crimes, and conservatives end up paying to murder babies, and everybody’s unhappy.

» Solution #2: Personalized Earmarks

Why are we still using this outdated system that leads to universal dissatisfaction? If each person was able to “earmark” the specific aspects of government which he or she deems acceptable, then no one would feel that their taxes were used for programs which are either unhealthy for the soul or for the national economy.

The solution to this problem is obvious: Simply amend the tax code to allow each taxpayer to individually allocate which governmental expenses receive funding from that person’s tax payments. Presto! Everybody’s happy, because nobody is being forced to pay for things they don’t like anymore.

But would this create a lot more paperwork for the IRS? Somewhat. As for re-designing the 1040 form, I’ve already done that part, so nothing to worry about there. As for totaling up the calculations of how much each government department gets from each taxpayer — well, sure, that would require more bean-counters, but the overall amount of extra IRS employees needed for the task would be tiny compared to the number of bureaucrats in most other areas of government, and this minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for fundamentally reorganizing the tax code in such a way that is pleasing to everyone.


Below you will find my proposed amended IRA 1040 form; the top image shows the full front page of the 1040 form with the two new sections in situ, as they will appear to taxpayers; 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.)

Don’t like my proposal? Feel free to add your own revisions, critiques or alternate suggestions in the comments section below. Let the debate begin!

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…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):



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Deconstructing SlutWalk

August 9th, 2011 - 3:58 am

San Francisco hosted its first SlutWalk on Saturday, August 6, and I — along with two fellow sluts — simply had to go check out this latest protest fad.


For those not familiar with the concept of a “SlutWalk,” this sign pretty much sums it up: Unwanted Exposure to Scrotum Is Never OK! At SlutWalks, feminist desmoiselles trying to look both sexy and intimidating gather in public for a communal howl against rape and victimhood. Sometimes — as in this example (one hopes) — they have a great sense of humor; other times, not so much.


The crowd assembled in San Francisco’s Dolores Park for a march through town. In case you’re wondering what’s so controversial about rape that it needs to be protested against — well, you accidentally just hit the nail on the head. Because, in truth, basically everybody on all sides of all political spectrums already thinks that rape is among the most evil of crimes. So: why a protest? For that answer, we must plumb deep.

The SlutWalk concept started earlier this year at a crime prevention conference in Canada (yes, Canada) where a clueless Toronto policeman, invited to instruct assembled students how to not become the victims of rape, concluded his talk with one extra bit of advice: “Women should avoid dressing like sluts.”


Result: Outrage. Implicit in his statement, the Canadian students felt, was the insinuation that rape victims who dressed provocatively are partly to blame for what happens to them. This Toronto constable opened a Pandora’s Box! A few months later, Canadian feminists organized the first “SlutWalk” to protest against the very principle of this “don’t dress like a slut” attitude, and from that day forward SlutWalks have erupted in cities all over the globe. The only surprising part is that it took four months to reach San Francisco. We’re not used to being this far behind the curve!


Dressing for a SlutWalk is a delicate balance. The goal is to be as enticing and as repulsive as possible — simultaneously. Sometimes this is accomplished by exposing as much flesh as you dare, while sporting angry man-hating political diatribes, often inked directly onto your body, as we see here.

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