Back in August, 2008, I travelled to Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention (at which Barack Obama was nominated). I produced and published many well-received and newsworthy reports of the convention…but for various reasons, none of those reports ever appeared at zombietime. In fact, they’ve never even been mentioned or linked on the main zombietime page.
Although it’s about four and a half years after the fact, I’ve finally gotten around to compiling in one place a thorough list of all the reports I made in Denver in 2008. I’m posting links to them all here in one place for the first time, and I’ll link to this post from the main zombietime page, finally filling in the last missing section of what is supposed to be the “complete list” of zombie reports.
I hereby present:
All zombie reports from the Democratic National Convention, Denver, August 25-28, 2008
Live from DNC: It’s Zombietime! (Day 1) (August 25, 2008)
Live from DNC: It’s Zombietime! (Day 2) (August 26, 2008)
Live from DNC: Zombie Knee-Deep in Convention Chaos (August 27, 2008)
Zombie Witnesses a 9/11 Truth March at the DNC (Updated) (August 29, 2008)
Zombie’s Anatomy of a Video: Fabricating Police Brutality (August 31, 2008)
Zombie’s DNC Protest Roundup: 1968 Recreated? (September 2, 2008)
The Denver Games – Opening Ceremony (Aug 25, 2008)
Prisoners’ Rights “Recreate 68” Protest – Mini Report (Aug 25, 2008)
Update: Riot in Denver City Center (Aug 25, 2008)
Liveblogging from the Kos Tent with Dan Rather (Aug 26, 2008)
The Mosque in Denver’s Civic Center (Aug 26, 2008)
Pro-Hillary March (Aug 27, 2008)
Scenes from a Convention (Aug 27, 2008)
The Democratic Convention Giant Puppet Parade (Aug 28, 2008)
I Went to Invesco and All I Got Was This Lousy Report (Aug 28, 2008)
9/11 Truth March at the Democratic National Convention (Aug 29, 2008)
Anatomy of a Video – Democratic Convention 2008 (Aug 31, 2008)
Denver – The Final Roundup (Sep 2, 2008)
My new post is up documenting the “Rally for Nudity” (just like it sounds) that happened in San Francisco last Saturday.
You have two choices:
Choose your poison!
If you can’t handle this photo, choose the PJMedia version. If you want more like it, choose the zombietime version.
[Note: It's been a while since I've posted here, but that's only because I'm too busy posting at PJMedia and too short of time to always cross-post here at zombietime. To rectify matters, here's my latest essay:]
President Obama’s instantly infamous “You didn’t build that” speech is a major turning point of the 2012 election not because it was a gaffe but because it was an accurate and concise summary of core progressive fiscal dogma. It was also a political blunder of epic proportions because in his speech Obama unintentionally proved the conservatives’ case for limited government.
This essay will show you how.
When Obama implied at the Roanoke, Virginia rally that some businessmen refuse to pay for public works from which they benefit, he presented a thesis which, like a three-legged stool, relies on three assumptions that must all be true for the argument to remain standing:
1. That the public programs he mentioned in his speech constitute a significant portion of the federal budget;
2. That business owners don’t already pay far more than their fair share of these expenses; and
3. That these specific public benefits are a federal issue, rather than a local issue.
If any of these legs fails, then the whole argument collapses.
For good measure, we won’t just kick out one, we’ll kick out all three.
“Small Government” Is Not the Same as “No Government”
Progressives critique the fiscal conservative/Tea Party/libertarian position by purposely misrepresenting it as anarchy. When fiscal conservatives say “We want smaller government,” progressives reply, “Oh, so you want no government?”
“Government” in this particular discussion is shorthand for “communal pooling of resources for mutual benefit.”
Fiscal conservatives have never called for no government — that’s the anarchist position, and contemporary anarchism is actually dominated by extreme leftists, not extreme conservatives. Instead, fiscal conservatives clearly and consistently call for limited government, or for smaller government — but not for the absence of government altogether.
So when President Obama and his mentor Elizabeth Warren justify their call for tax hikes by pointing out that all entrepreneurs benefit from communal infrastructure, they’re committing the classic Straw Man Fallacy by arguing against anarchy — a position that their opponents do not hold.
Here’s the shocking truth: President Obama and Elizabeth Warren are correct — we all benefit from certain taxpayer-funded collectivist government infrastructure projects and programs. And here’s the other shocking truth: Therefore, we should limit government expenditures to just those programs. Why? Because most of the other government programs either
• hinder, constrict or penalize entrepreneurial activity; or
• benefit some people to the detriment of others; or
• waste money on bureaucracy, overhead or ill-considered expenditures that end up indebting the nation and by extension all Americans.
Below are videos and transcripts of Obama’s speech as well as the Elizabeth Warren speech that inspired it. First watch or read both speeches, and then we’ll list all of the programs that they both mention, and see what percentage of our taxes goes toward those programs.
Here is Obama’s game-changing speech from Friday, July 13 in Roanoke, Virginia:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
And here’s Elizabeth Warren’s original 2011 speech, upon which Obama’s was based:
And the transcript:
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you!
But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea — God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.
But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
OK, now that we have both speeches in front of us, let us list the exact government programs and projects that Obama and Warren use to justify their position:
• Education (Obama: “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.” Warren: “You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.”)
• Transportation (Obama: “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.” Warren: “You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.”)
• Public Safety (Warren: “You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” Obama: “There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.”)
• The Internet (Obama: “Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”)
…and that’s it.
OK. Fine. Let’s absolutely concede this point to Obama and Warren: There are some government activities that benefit us all, including business owners.
And for the sake of argument let’s just allow for a moment that the federal government is the best, most efficient and only supplier of these benefits. You win, Elizabeth and Barack.
But having conceded this central point, let us now ask the key follow-up question, which is the first leg of their three-point hypothesis: What percentage of the federal budget is devoted to these universally beneficial public works?
And if you’re a progressive reading this, you’d better get off the stool because it’s about to fall down.
Here is the Federal government’s budgetary breakdown for a recent fiscal year:
What percentage of this is devoted to education, transportation, public safety, and creating the Internet (i.e. basic research)?
I’m going to be as generous as possible to the progressive position and include ALL of defense spending in their column, since defense aids both basic research and public safety. Highways and roads are covered by the Department of Transportation. The Department of Education covers, well, education. And various other smaller departments — Department of Justice, National Science Foundation, etc. — contribute in varying degrees to public safety, research, and so forth.
Ready? Here we go:
Below is a list of all government expenditures, with Obama’s and Warren’s “public benefit” programs highlighted:
Social Security 19.63%
Department of Defense 18.74%
Unemployment/welfare/other mandatory spending 16.13%
Medicaid and SCHIP 8.19%
Interest on the national debt 4.63%
Health and Human Services 2.22%
Department of Transportation 2.05%
Department of Veteran’s Affairs 1.48%
Department of State 1.46%
Department of Housing and Urban Development 1.34%
Department of Education 1.32%
Other on-budget discretionary spending (1.8%): $149.67
Other off-budget discretionary spending (1.3%): $108.10
Department of Homeland Security 1.21%
Department of Energy 0.74%
Department of Agriculture 0.73%
Department of Justice 0.67%
Department of Commerce 0.39%
Department of Labor 0.38%
Department of Treasury 0.38%
Department of the Interior 0.34%
Social Security Administration 0.27%
National Science Foundation 0.20%
Corps of Engineers 0.14%
National Infrastructure Bank 0.14%
Corporation for National and Community Service 0.03%
Small Business Administration 0.02%
General Services Administration 0.02%
Other agencies 0.56%
Other off-budget discretionary spending 2.97%
So, let’s clear away the irrelevant government expenditures and list just the ones noted by Obama and Warren:
Department of Defense 18.74%
Department of Transportation 2.05%
Department of Education 1.32%
Department of Homeland Security 1.21%
Department of Justice 0.67%
National Science Foundation 0.20%
And that, of course, is being absurdly generous to the Obama position, since in reality huge portions of the defense budget, the Department of Education budget, and so on, have basically nothing to do with promoting public safety or educating workers. And let’s be even more generous and round that 23.4% up to 25%, or one-fourth of the budget.
So what Obama and Warren are really stating is this:
Only one-fourth of your federal tax dollars go to projects and programs that benefit the general public and entrepreneurs; the other three-fourths are essentially a complete waste, or are at best optional.
Which of course is exactly what fiscal conservatives have been arguing all along.
So yeah, I agree with Obama: Let’s slash the federal budget by 75%, and only fund services and programs that directly serve the public good.
The first leg of their argument has snapped, and the stool has toppled over. Since the essential programs aiding “the commons” are only a small percentage of an overall bloated budget, we don’t need to raise taxes to fund them.
And now for the second leg.
The Wealthy Already Pay Far More Than Their “Fair Share”
Are you ready for the happy news? If we stick to Obama and Warren’s “essentials only” budget, we can eliminate all taxes for 99% of Americans, and even lower taxes for the top 1%, and still have enough to pay for defense, transportation, public safety, education and all the rest. How? Because the top 1% of all taxpayers — the wealthy elite businesspeople who benefit from roads and schools and firefighters — pay about 37% of all federal taxes, far more than enough to cover the essentials, plus interest on the debt and plenty of extras besides.
Clonk. That’s the second leg hitting the floor.
Kicking Out the Third Leg: Education, Public Safety and Roads Are Covered by Local Taxes, Not Federal Taxes
The final component in Obama’s thesis is far and away the weakest, but for some reason few pundits have noted it. Obama and Warren have intentionally conflated local taxes with federal taxes. In most localities across the country, public education, police and firefighters, and street repair are primarily paid for by property taxes, local sales taxes, and state taxes. Federal grants can supplement local funds, but rarely is a school district or a police department propped up entirely with federal money.
So if we revisit Obama’s and Warren’s speeches, they’re actually making an argument for increased local taxes. And yet they and their audiences somehow imagine that the arguments given are a legitimate rationale for increased federal taxes.
As I said at the beginning of this essay, Obama has just unintentionally proved the conservatives’ case for limited government, and for decentralization and local control.
The stool is now in pieces on the floor. But I just can’t stop kicking.
Obama’s Fallacy that the Goal of Government Research Is to Benefit the Private Sector
“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Now, everybody agrees that a great number of scientific and engineering breakthroughs have happened as a result of “government research,” primarily military research: not just the Internet but nuclear power, GPS systems, jet aircraft, and many more. But Obama is sorely mistaken in claiming that the Internet was created “so that all the companies could make money” off it. Actually, the Internet was created to facilitate defense-related research as well as to strengthen military command-and-control capabilities. It was most definitely not created “so that all the companies could make money,” as a very early ARPANet handbook explained:
It is considered illegal to use the ARPANet for anything which is not in direct support of Government business….Sending electronic mail over the ARPANet for commercial profit or political purposes is both anti-social and illegal.
In this instance as well as almost every other instance, government-funded engineering or scientific breakthroughs were originally and exclusively for military purposes; it was only much later that entrepreneurs came along and found a profit-generating and society-benefitting civilian use for military hardware.
Similar contravening facts undermine other aspects of Obama’s and Warren’s emotional arguments. Take transportation, for example. Prior to 1956, the vast majority of roads and highways and rail lines in the United States were built either privately, by local communities, or by states. It was not until the arrival of the Interstate Highway System in 1956 that the federal government became deeply involved in building roads — and even then, as with the Internet and most other massive federal projects, it was originally for defense, not for commerce.
But the highway system is by now already in place. And the cost of maintaining it and building whatever new highways are needed is a tiny fraction of our federal budget, far less than even 1%. And the business owners who benefit from roads are already paying more than enough taxes to cover their cost.
Progressives have been so intoxicated first with Warren’s speech and now with Obama’s that I’m not so sure they’re even aware that anyone has presented a criticism; progressives probably think that conservatives just avoid this whole topic because the entire arc of Warren’s and Obama’s line of reasoning is so convincing and devastating that it’s best to change the subject. But I predict that the pushback against this speech will grow so large that eventually word of it will reach the far left, and when that happens they may come back with the following retort:
Warren and Obama were just presenting a few examples, not a comprehensive list of public benefits from taxation. These were just off-the-cuff speeches, not policy papers. There are many other federal programs from which business owners benefit and toward which they should therefore contribute.
If so: Let’s see that list. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Did businesses benefit when in cities across the country HUD built massive housing projects which instantly turned into pre-fab ghettos?
Do businesses benefit when the EPA awards itself unilateral power to impose its interpretation of environmental laws, with no hearings and no warning?
Will businesses benefit when they are forced to abide by byzantine, onerous and expensive Obamacare regulations?
The progressive stance might be: “But we all benefit when everyone is healthy, when global warming is stopped, when children have high self-esteem, when no American goes hungry!”
But by this stage we’ve already passed from measurable physical benefits like roads to fire-fighting to vague claims about intangible potential benefits for which there is no proof. Obama said, “Somebody invested in roads and bridges” because the audience could understand a concrete example; he didn’t get up and say “Somebody invested in high self-esteem” because it would expose the slippery slope underneath this line of reasoning.
Should businesses pay enough taxes to support the nation’s basic physical infrastructure? Yes. Of course. And they already do. But should they pay taxes to fund every progressive social fantasy? That’s open for debate, and that’s not the point Obama and Warren were making. Overtly, at least.
We should thank President Obama for finally revealing the central justification for his economic policy. Now that we see what’s at the heart of his fiscal philosophy, we can demonstrate that he has only ended up proving the opposite of what he intended.
Others Debunking Obama’s Speech
This wouldn’t count as a comprehensive takedown if I didn’t note and link to some of the other pointed critiques of Obama’s speech. Here are some of the best, many of which cover points I didn’t even mention here:
Are you ready for the most ridiculous and pointless Occupation ever?
Last week, on Earth Day, the Occupy movement illegally took over an entire farm and transformed it into…a farm!
So proud are they of this revolutionary act that they showed off the farm to the media yesterday, so naturally I had to check it out.
The farm they seized was not a working farm per se, but rather a “research farm” for the University of California, near its Berkeley campus. The only difference between the way the farm used to be (prior to a week ago) and the way it is now is that the Occupiers have transformed what was essentially a well-maintained and important open-air laboratory into a disheveled and ultimately purposeless pretend-farm for trustafarian dropouts.
The struggle over the farm is not just a struggle over land; it is a Battle of Narratives. The “Occupy the Farm” group (loosely affiliated with Occupy Cal and Occupy Oakland, but a new separate group) has already put up a slick web site called “Take Back the Tract” which explains the “philosophy” justifying their behavior:
We are reclaiming this land to grow healthy food to meet the needs of local communities. We envision a future of food sovereignty, in which our East Bay communities make use of available land – occupying it where necessary – for sustainable agriculture to meet local needs.
…followed by a raft of conspiracy theories involving Whole Foods and senior centers and baseball fields.
The university, on the other hand, has fired back with a devastating press release of its own, dismantling Occupy’s ludicrous theories and moral gymnastics:
• The agricultural fields on the Gill Tract that are now being occupied are not the site of a proposed assisted living center for senior citizens and a grocery store. The proposed development parcel is to the south, straddling the intersection of Monroe Street and San Pablo Avenue, and has not been farmed since WWII.
• The existing agricultural fields on the Gill Tract are currently, and for the foreseeable future, being used as an open-air laboratory by the students and faculty of our College of Natural Resources for agricultural research. Their work encompasses basic plant biology, alternative cropping systems, plant-insect interactions and tree pests and pathogens. These endeavors are part of the larger quest to provide a hungry planet with more abundant food, and will be impeded if the protest continues. And, they are categorically not growing genetically modified crops. We have an obligation to support their education and research, and an obligation to the American taxpayers who are funding these federally funded projects.
• The university has been actively participating in a collaborative, five-year long community engagement process about our proposed development project with hundreds of hours of meetings, hearings and dialogue. We have a great deal of respect for all those who have been involved and regret that “Occupy the Farm” appears to have little regard for the process or the people who have participated in it.
• We take issue with the protesters’ approach to property rights. By their logic they should be able to seize what they want if, in their minds, they have a better idea of how to use it.
To clarify matters for those not familiar with the area:
The University of California has its main campus in the center of Berkeley, but that’s not the only property it owns. Scattered around the East Bay, the university also owns several other large tracts of land, used for housing, office buildings, research facilities, storage, and so forth. One of these properties, known colloquially as “Albany Village” because it’s in the adjacent small town of Albany, is home to a housing complex for students who are married (and/or who have children) which is called “University Village”; and nearby on the same property is an experimental farm technically known as the “Agricultural Research Fields” but more commonly referred to simply as “the Gill Tract,” named after the Gill family which farmed the land originally.
The Gill Tract, about the size of a city block, is used by researchers and graduate students in UC’s College of Natural Resources to study biology, crop yields, plant diseases and genetics — often with an eye toward ecologically friendly, sustainable and organic practices.
Here’s one of the few articles in the mainstream media about Occupy the Farm, giving the basic facts and also pointing out that the biological researchers need access to the land immediately for their experiments because of the spring planting season.
The scientists themselves are for the most part royally pissed off at the Occupiers and some may have years of work ruined by the Occupiers’ juvenile prank.
Now that you know the whole story, let’s look around the Gill Tract today, shall we?
COMPOST CAPITALISM! In this context, is “Compost” a verb, or an adjectival noun? Are we supposed to compost capitalism, i.e. throw it on the compost heap; or is Occupy engaging in the practice of compost capitalism, a form of free trade based on the compost standard? Only your Marxist knows for sure.
Working in the hot sun. The thrill of breaking into gated property and “liberating” land is exciting; the tedium of then spending endless hours over the next year in the blistering heat, in order to legitimize your actions and prove you’re not just jacking everyone around — not so fun.
Prediction: Very few, if any, of these “crops” will ever be harvested, or even grow to maturity.
Before the Occupation, the Gill Tract was an agricultural research farm where twenty-somethings getting their PhDs would work the fields to grow crops, as they researched biology or how to raise better, healthier plants. But now, after this incredible revolution by Occupy, the Gill Tract has been utterly transformed into a farm where twenty-somethings work the fields to grow crops. The only difference is that before, the farm served a scientific function to improve society, and was managed by experts and hard-working students doing meaningful research; but now, it’s run by a bunch of smug amateurs and dropouts who plant store-bought seedlings in the middle of what once was a controlled research environment. Meet the new farm — same as the old farm, except worse.
Just as in collective farms in Russia and China, the first order of business at the occupied farm was to set up an open-air lecture space so the “workers” (necessarily with sarcastic quote marks in this case) can receive their daily political instruction.
Only a handful of rows, right near the entrance, were planted all along their length, from end to end. Soon enough, those rows gave way to other rows with just a few plants near the walkway, seemingly just for show, while the rest of the row went unused.
Many rows’ plantings were pretty pitiful, or perhaps just symbolic; in this case, for instance, a single full-grown leek was stuck in the ground at the start of one row, to simulate the concept of “farming leeks.”
The vast majority of the tract had been Roto-tilled but still remained unplanted as of yesterday.
Elsewhere around the acreage here and there were various ill-considered haphazard zones of a few transplanted seedlings. The plant with the label near the center is a young citrus tree, bought at a nursery, and stuck in the soil at this essentially random spot. Since it takes citrus trees several years to mature enough to bear fruit, this sapling will be growing here for quite a long time before it becomes a producing tree. Had Occupy really thought out the location of this tree, for the long-term — or was it (as I suspect) just some dude who stuck it there without much (or any) foresight; and since he won’t be around three years from now to tend it, why should he care that it will likely interfere with other uses for that part of the tract?
Wait, what — “our” lot? Suddenly you’re in favor of private property and ownership, now that you’ve stolen it? How is that lot yours any more than it was the university’s before you took it?
Hypocrisy, thy name is Occupy. When society draws boundaries, builds fences, and makes rules, Occupy gets to violate them at will. But once they’ve seized control, Occupy immediately starts making new rules and new boundaries that everyone else is supposed to honor. Perhaps that’s the new Occupy motto: “Rules for thee, but not for me.”
Despite several signs in the area declaring that the Gill Tract Occupation was not a “tent city,” as detractors had worried, but was instead devoted entirely to farming, in reality a tent…well, let’s just call it a “tent eco-village” has sprung up in the fields. This is not a tent city! Who do you trust — me, or your lying eyes?
Some leftist U.C. professors are lecturing today at the farm to show their solidarity with the Occupiers (and to thoughtlessly reveal their antagonism against fellow faculty members whose research at the farm was interrupted/spoiled by the Occupation), including Laura Nader (Ralph Nader’s older sister, famous for helping to lead the field of anthropology toward self-critical Political Correctness); Gill Hart, a Gramscian anti-capitalist; and Paul Rabinow, a deconstructionist anthropologist. What do any of these professors know about farming, or plant biology? Nothing. But hey, they know about the significance of what it means to spout off a bunch of revolutionary socialist verbiage while absconding with stuff that isn’t yours. And that will make the Occupiers feel ever so snug in their smugness. Group hug!
Because the Gill Tract occupation only began a week or so ago, there was no time to grow plants from seed — not that the Occupiers would have the patience for that anyway — so their version of “farming” means buying* (with daddy’s credit card) flats and six-packs of sprouts from local nurseries, and then transplanting them into the ground. Wow! That is some major farming.
( • Or “liberating” or getting donations of pre-grown six-packs. )
In response to the “occupation,” the university turned off the water at the Gill Tract. As a result, the “Occupiers” have to truck in giant tanks of water, which they sprinkle from bottles onto the seedlings. Sustainable! Eco!
Out in the field, the Occupiers had placed two scarecrows; this one in particular really emulated the Occupy “style,” as it were. Or maybe that was one of the Occupiers, after a really rough night?
Whether made of straw or flesh-and-blood, the scarecrow wore Occupy and Anonymous buttons.
The other wore a hat made of a big funnel. Unfortunately, it resembled a coolie hat, costing the Occupiers -15 points on their colonialist sensitivity rating.
Occupy Law #1: Smiley-faces and peace signs make theft OK.
Amendment to Law #1: Framing your crime in a heart shape transforms it into a “cause.”
Occupy Law #2: Everyone — even the dorkiest dorks — instantly becomes cool with the addition of an Anarchy tattoo.
Visit Amy’s tent for an individual stress-relaxation “hypnosis” session which she guarantees will have a “happy” ending.
The Occupiers heavily advertised their “Children’s Village,” unveiled on Saturday so the media could film it. Some parents brought their kids to the festivities.
A man sat alone in the weeds, wearing a shirt that used the word “far” as a verb.
Most of the action was in the sanitary — really, it was very very hygienic, I swear — Occupy Kitchen area, where Occupiers clustered around and ate food produced by agribusiness and corporations.
To justify their theft of publicly owned land, the Occupiers produced this magnificent manifesto explaining the moral underpinnings of their action, and then posted it at the front gate of the farm. It might be a little hard to read at this size, so click on the image to see it in full-size high resolution. Here’s a transcription:
This Poster Comes Out of the Gill Tract Occupation
On April 22, 2012, students, activists and neighbors came together to reclaim the last untouched tract of soil in the East Bay. This piece of public land has been (mis)managed by the University of California Regents for private interest for generations. On Earth Day, the land was liberated; transformed into a living, breathing space for the community to know food and stories.
This farm embodies what we envision as an alternative to the profit-drivern educational system. With bolt-cutters, shovels, Roto-tillers and thousands of plants: we reclaim our right to shape our communities, our universities + our minds + bodies.
Love the Land!
This is what the ecstatic wonder of a truly public education looks + feels like.
Isn’t that precious? Pin it on the bulletin board next to the turkey-hand tracings and the construction-paper collages.
As always happens with Occupations, the Occupiers spend almost all of their energy on the day-to-day business of occupying, and rarely have much time to actually do whatever it is they claim they’re doing at that particular Occupation. Thus, in this case, as I witnessed out in the fields, not much in the way of actual farming has happened yet; as the camp’s official volunteer sign-up sheet reveals, nearly 80% of the activities at the “farm” have nothing whatsoever to do with farming, but instead are political and/or household chores. Of the 51 volunteer man-hour time-slots listed, 40 (79%) are non-farm activities (“parking/trash transport,” “table crew for workshops,” “kitchen,” “Porta Pottie cleaning,” “trash can monitor,” “security (creepwatch),” “MCs,” “movie set-up,” “childcare/art,” “media tent,” and “info desk,” while only 11 (21%) are farm-related (planting, watering, permaculture, and to be generous “clucking,” which may have something to do with chickens).
Because, prior to the Occupation, this tract of land was used exclusively for agricultural research (and not establishing a grunge encampment), there’s actually less farming going on now than there was before.
But that fact gets in the way of The Narrative, so it must be vigorously discarded and ignored.
Cross-posted at PJMedia.
Now up at PJMedia — my latest photo essay:
My latest essay is now up at zombietime:
Also cross-posted at PJMedia.
The title (and the photo) tells you everything you need to know: an insider’s peek into the world of educational indoctrination.
Comment here, or at the PJM link.
New Rules for Old Farts
If you remember when health insurance was optional, you are an old fart.
If you are polite to strangers, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever changed a typewriter ribbon, you are an old fart.
If there was only one fat kid in your class, you are an old fart.
If you think “Occupy” is a verb and not a noun, you are an old fart.
If you just want to be left alone, you are an old fart.
If you remember when only sailors had tattoos, you are an old fart.
If you remember when civil rights meant equal rights, not reverse discrimination, you are an old fart.
If you’ve never uploaded naked photographs of yourself, you are an old fart.
If you know how to spell, you are an old fart.
If you ever waited to hear your favorite song on the radio, you are an old fart.
If you remember when being radical meant hating the government, rather than relying on it, you are an old fart.
If you know how to get there better than that GPS contraption, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever felt shame, you are an old fart.
If you still feel a twinge of dread seeing a phone number with a lot of “9″s and “0″s, you are an old fart.
If you think a nice warm day is just a nice warm day and not proof of impending doom, you are an old fart.
If you ever paid for your own condoms, you are an old fart.
If you know how to fix mechanical devices, you are an old fart.
If the phrase “turn of the century” makes you think of the year 1900, you are an old fart.
If you had a blue mohawk in 11th grade, you are an old fart.
If you remember when Top Gun actually sat in the plane, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever bought something with cash, you are an old fart.
If you don’t go all the way on the first date, you are an old fart.
If you remember when being a Democrat meant being anti-communist, you are an old fart.
If you remember when “books” were made of paper, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever played pinball, you are an old fart.
If you remember when sex scandals would ruin a starlet’s career, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever gotten on an airplane without first being searched, you are an old fart.
If you even know the meaning of the word “bipartisan,” you are an old fart.
If you you don’t have a Facebook page, you are an old fart.
If you do have a MySpace page, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever used the word “gay” to mean carefree or joyous, you are an old fart.
If you still haven’t scraped that “I believe you Anita!” sticker off your bumper, you are an old fart.
If you kept a few leftover French francs and German marks the last time you visited Europe, you are an old fart.
If you think self-esteem is earned rather than a birthright, you are an old fart.
If you remember when the media at least pretended to be impartial, you are an old fart.
If you ever ate at Sambo’s, you are an old fart.
If you still have some bell-bottom pants way back in your closet from the first time they were cool, you are an old fart.
If you remember when every quarter had an eagle on the back, you are an old fart.
If you hold the door open for ladies, you are an old fart.
If you remember when tech support answered without an accent, you are an old fart.
If you can’t remember why you used to laugh at the phrase “You bet your sweet bippy,” you are an old fart.
If you remember when being on welfare was embarrassing, you are an old fart.
If you know what VHS stands for, you are an old fart.
If you admire successful people, you are an old fart.
If you know what “the blue dress” refers to, you are an old fart.
If a teacher ever smacked you on the knuckles with a ruler, you are an old fart.
If you ever paid for pornography, you are an old fart.
If you think school should be taught in English, you are an old fart.
If you still think music comes on these black vinyl disks called “records,” you are an old fart.
If you played with toy guns when you were a kid, you are an old fart.
If you’ve ever visited a public library, you are an old fart.
If you remember when Apple was a small struggling company, you are an old fart.
If your debate coach taught you to see both sides of an argument, you are an old fart.
If you still have some of those 8-track tapes in the garage, you are an old fart.
If you love your country, you are an old fart.
If you remember when budgets were measured in billions, not trillions, you are an old fart.
If you want to go back to measuring budgets in billions like we used to, you are really an old fart.
If you remember when campus revolutionaries fought against The Man, and weren’t yet The Man themselves, you are an old fart.
If you’d welcome a death panel at this stage, frankly, you are an old fart.
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!