My latest post at PJMedia is now ready to ruffle some feathers:
What do the Occupy movement, foreskins, an ice rink, international human rights and the world’s largest gathering of naked Santa Clauses have to do with each other?
Find out in my new post, which comes in two flavors:
Choose your comfort level, and get ready for a bumpy ride!
Today we ask the question: Is Occupy Oakland as bad as they say?
Find out for yourself in my latest report:
(Cross-posted at PajamasMedia.)
Sample photo, to pique your interest:
Remember Lovelle Mixon, the serial rapist, child molester and murderer who single-handedly committed one of the worst mass killings of police officers in American history? Yeah, that guy. Well, the anti-police sentiment at Occupy Oakland is so intense that they regard Lovelle Mixon as a hero!! Whatever other crimes he may have committed, if he offed some pigs, then all is forgiven. Fuck the Po-lice! Power to the people!
As you’ve probably heard by now, President Obama is finally withdrawing essentially all American troops from Iraq by the end of this year.
And while you listen to the pundits whinge and bloviate about the end of an era and the significance of this historic moment, keep one fact in mind: We already won the Iraq War almost three years ago, before Obama even took office.
Did you miss the memo? That’s alright — better to hear the good news late than never:
All the points and predictions I made in that post remain true, and I stand by my contention that the United States won the Iraq War, but for political reasons neither party felt it was advantageous to announce the victory.
As I said nearly three years ago:
But where’s the official announcement?
The only reason that the war has not been declared “over” is that the media, which was generally opposed to the war and opposed to any of President Bush’s policies, doesn’t want to give him and his supporters the satisfaction of having been right. The media wants U.S. troops to return home, but only on condition that they do so with their tails between their legs in defeat — not as victorious liberators, which would invalidate five years of subtle and not-so-subtle anti-war propaganda on the part of the left-leaning media. The Bush administration for its part has not declared victory for two probable reasons: first, because they fear that by so doing they would only increase the call by the media and liberal Democrats to “bring the troops home now”; and also by so doing they might invite some last-ditch spectacular terror attack by the few remaining jihadists in order to embarrass the administration. And the incoming Obama administration will certainly never announce victory, since Obama spent over a year campaigning for the Democratic primary as the anti-war candidate. So both sides refuse to say the war is over. Even though it is, in fact, over.
It is up to the American people to declare victory. Which is exactly what we are doing right now.
There never will be an “official” announcement from the government or the media, so you can stop waiting for it.
This is the official announcement.
Does winning a war feel incomplete without a ticker tape parade? Not to worry — here’s one for for all the troops:
My latest report, up at Pajamas Media:
And here’s an excerpt, to whet your appetite:
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.
[Zomblog bonus image, not available at Pajamas Media: Click on the picture above to see the uncensored version!]
Let 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,
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”?
…and read the rest here!
Berkeley Republicans announce a purposely racist bake sale to mock a new Affirmative Action law.
What could go wrong?
(Also cross-posted at PajamasMedia.)
Here’s a video treat from the report, with interviews of Berkeley College Republicans alternating with clips of counter-protesters speaking their minds:
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 X-rated version of this report; if you want to see the G-rated version, in which all the pictures are blurred out, 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.
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?
My new photo essay now up at zombietime (and cross-posted at Pajamas Media) takes a look at the September 17 “Day of Rage” protests across the country:
(PJM version is here.)
A few sample images to whet your appetite:
Feel free to comment on the proceedings!
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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