Contrast and compare: Tax Day Tea Party in San Francisco (!) vs. “US Uncut”

Zombie has a great photo-reportage up comparing and contrasting two demos in San Francisco (of all places): A sizable, enthusiastic Tea Party rally (in just about the least likely/friendly place for it) and an event by US Uncut that drew a whopping… 45 people and was clearly astroturfed.(Still a succcess compared with the joint event with the “Coffee Party” elsewhere, which drew 20 people.)

Get thee over there. I cannot do the essay justice by selective quoting.

The Tea Party rally was attended by one offensive troll which was clearly identified by “Infiltrator” signs. Guess who was interviewed by the OTMSM media scribbler in attendance?

Using the Oscars to rewrite the history of the subprime crisis

Zombie writes at length on this year’s Oscar winner for best documentary:

Whenever I visit Berkeley — in particular certain upscale areas populated by academics and wealthy intellectuals — practically everyone I see has this creepy look on his or her face. […] In an instant, the Berkeley expression communicates to everyone in the vicinity, “Isn’t it great that you and I and all of us here are morally superior to the rest of the world?” […]

Charles Ferguson’s[…]  winning documentary was called Inside Job, which traces the history of the financial meltdown of 2008, and places the blame entirely on greedy Wall Street insiders who scammed the world out of trillions of dollars. Every year, the Academy voters feel compelled to make some kind of political statement with an Oscar, and this year they chose Inside Job as their statement. Predictable.

I had pretty much already forgotten about the Oscars when I opened my morning paper yesterday to discover an explanation for Charles Ferguson’s instantly identifiable facial expression — he really is from Berkeley!

At first I simply found it amusing that one can pinpoint someone’s hometown simply by their smug expression — just as Sherlock Holmes could identify the village you came from by the color of the mud splatters on your trouser cuffs — but as I continued to read the article, my mood took a decidedly political turn when I encountered this passage:

Robert Gnaizda, former president of Berkeley’s Greenlining Institute, says some of the responsibility lies with the current White House.

“There’s an unwillingness by the Obama administration to effectively criticize ‘too big to fail’ institutions,” said Gnaizda, who is featured in the documentary vainly warning successive Federal Reserve Board chairmen about the kind of doomed-to-fail loans Countrywide Financial and others were making.

Whoa whoa whoa — stop right there. Am I reading this correctly? The head of the Greenlining Institute is in the film warning against subprime loans???

As it happens, Zombie had written an essay in September 2008 on the role that the Greenlining Institute (which really ought to be called the “redlining institute”) had in creating the subprime crisis:

This short post not only posits the exact opposite theory than does Inside Job, but it actually points the finger of blame at Robert Gnaizda’s Greenlining Institute as the ultimate cause of the problem, rather than as the heroes who tried to prevent the crisis.I know I’m tilting at windmills here: the budget of my original post was exactly $0, and I’m up against an Academy-Award-winning film with a production budget of $2 million and which took over two years to complete. Furthermore, the narrative pushed by the film is the narrative favored and relentlessly affirmed by almost the entire media and all of academia, and it is therefore the narrative that the general public has come to accept.

But upon re-reading my own post (which even I had half-forgotten about), I was amazed at how still current it remains, and how the points I made two and half years ago seem to have had been written to specifically rebut the thesis of Inside Job, a film which hadn’t even been made yet.

Rather than paraphrase my earlier essay, I’ll just quote part of it here and let you judge for yourself:

…The Greenlining Institute existed solely to bully banks and financial institutions into giving loans to otherwise unqualified minority borrowers.

There’s been a lot of finger-pointing on all sides about this financial crisis, but much of it misses the point. The off-topic details about CEO salaries and bond markets and mergers and bailouts and who voted for what all chase the horse after it’s already left the barn. The key question is this:

Once upon a time, banks only loaned money to individuals who could qualify for a home mortgage; and then sometime recently, they changed their practices and started loaning money to a lot of people who didn’t qualify and could not afford to pay back the loans. And when they started defaulting, and when real estate values starting dropping, the entire industry collapsed, because there was no equity to pay back the loans. The banks lost money, the customers lost money, and it all went down the toilet. Which, of course, many people had predicted. So the question is: Why? Why did banks start making countless risky untenable loans to unqualified customers?

And the answer is: Because they were afraid of being called racists by the legal bullies at the Greenlining Institute and other similar “community organizers.”

It all started with The Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law originally passed during the Carter administration and then ramped up during the Clinton years, that was originally designed to prevent racist lending practices by banks who wouldn’t loan money to minorities, even if they were qualified. Which was a fine idea. But over time the law was twisted to force banks to make loans to minorities even if they weren’t qualified — which all may sound very peachy keen in Fantasy Utopia Land but which inevitably spells long-term financial suicide for a bank.

The Greenlining Institute’s self-appointed role is to identify those banks which by Greenlining’s reckoning haven’t doled out enough money to underqualified minority borrowers, and then threaten them with lawsuits, protests, and accusations of institutional racism if the banks don’t start opening their wallets ASAP. And the banks caved. Greenlining brags that they have unparalleled access to banking boardrooms, and they successfully squeezed $2.4 trillion (yes, trillion) in “CRA commitments” (i.e. loans to unqualified borrowers) out of terrified banks. Nearly every bank and financial institution you’ve ever heard of seems to kowtow to Greenlining.

[…G]roups like the Greenlining Institute saw the banks as potential agents of economic restructuring: If banks could be forced to grant homeownership to poor people, then that would be the first step for the lower classes to climb out of poverty, since everyone knows that owning one’s own home instills a sense of pride, self-worth, and self-reliance.And so, using the bullying tactics described above (and in the original article which first inspired my post), the Greenlining Institute (and similar groups) twisted the banks’ arms to make risky loans, for the purpose of “social justice,” to use the activists’ own terminology.

A then-young community organizer named Barack Hussein 0bama also features in the narrative.

Forced into this situation, the banks then went to great lengths to disguise the risk they had foolishly assumed; to fob the bad loans off on unsuspecting other investors, they devised convoluted financial instruments that obscured the danger of the investments; and so on.

At this point, the sorry mess developed a momentum of its own, as subprime mortgages became available to everybody (not just the targeted group) and house-flipping became a national hobby. Read the whole thing. And weep.  In related news,

The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).

A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind“.

Incidentally, one of the contenders “Inside Job” beat out was “Waiting for Superman” about the dysfunctional public education system. It was made by the director of “An Inconvenient Truth” but, unlike the crockumentary of that name, actually tells exactly that.  The moviemaker set out to document everything every liberal likes to believe about public schools, found the reality rather… different, and, surprisingly, had the guts to kick against some left-wing houses of the holy. (Education, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, is one cause in which some New Class liberals believe sufficiently strongly that they sometimes find themselves on the same side as conservatives.) Of course, the bien-pensant Anointed “cannot have that”…

Zombie: “Death Channels”

My honorable blog ancestor has been unseen for the past month, which normally is the harbinger of some big cyber-expose. This time around, it was personal business — namely, an experience as “Advance Health Care Directive” executor for a close relative. (S)he writes about the experience in great detail here, in a post entitled “Death Channels”.

Whichever side of the end-of-life-care debate you are on, this article is mind-blowing (and reads like a novella). Read it all, and pass the link to everybody you know.

Gerrymandering 101

Zombie has the first post up on a new series on “gerrymandering”, the drawing of artificial electoral district borders to maximize advantage for one political party.

The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then governor Elbridge Gerry. In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander. … The term was a portmanteau of the governor’s last name and the word salamander.

[…]

The two aims of gerrymandering are to maximize the effect of supporters’ votes and to minimize the effect of opponents’ votes. One strategy, packing, is to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts. … A second strategy, cracking, involves spreading out voters of a particular type among many districts in order to deny them a sufficiently large voting block in any particular district. The strategies are typically combined, creating a few “forfeit” seats for packed voters of one type in order to secure even greater representation for voters of another type.

Of course, there’s been a lot of talk lately about the GOP engaging in gerrymandering because of the way they swept state houses in the recent election.

When commentators blithely note that Republicans will have a “redistricting advantage” next year because of their dominance in state houses, they gloss over the ugly details of what that means. Few are willing to speak The G-Word, but Jonathan Chait at The New Republic takes the plunge:

2. Redistricting. If that’s not a problem enough for Democrats, it’s about to get a lot worse. Republicans had their wave election at a very convenient time, putting themselves in position to control numerous state legislatures and thus control the next round of redistricting, which will last a decade. Partisan gerrymandering can be an extremely powerful tool, and combined with the natural geographic gerrymander, can give Republicans an overwhelming advantage, if not quite an absolute lock.

The reason even most liberals are keeping mute about the horrors of the upcoming Republican gerrymandering is that Democrats have been the most ardent practitioners of it whenever they’ve had the slightest chance. You may have wondered how America overall tends to prefer conservative policies (pollsters like to say “We’re a center/right country”) yet we often have a liberal or at least Democratic majority in the Congress. How can this be? Gerrymandering. It’s so powerful that it has at times fundamentally altered the political slant of our government. Many of the worst gerrymandered districts illustrated in tomorrow’s Part II of this essay (“The Top Ten Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts in the United States” — don’t miss it!) are the handiwork of Democratic politicians, so the Democrats would have no leg to stand on if they were to now turn around and criticize the Republicans for doing what they’ve been doing for decades — centuries, even. The Republicans have done it too, of course, but in the majority of states in recent cycles, the Democrats have had the advantage, and they’ve not been ashamed to use it.

But that brings up a question of morality: Should the Republican class of 2010 continue the partisan cheating? Is turnabout fair play? Just because the Democrats have attempted to skew the national dialogue for decades, does that give the Republicans the right to do so now? And if your answer is “No,” then how can we possibly stop the practice? Because if the Republicans refrain from gerrymandering the 2010 census, then the Democrats’ pre-existing gerrymandering will remain in place, allowing them to remain over-represented in future elections, and when they regain power they’ll continue redistricting the country to their advantage, laughing at the Republicans for not having done the same when they had the chance.

Now how does gerrymandering work in practice? Zombie has some really nice illustrative graphics:

Sample population distribution: each symbol represents a voter in a generic state.
Option 1: A fair and evenhanded redistricting.

“In the illustration to the left you see a schematized state. The new census shows that it has 15 inhabitants, scattered equally throughout the territory; 9 of them are consistent voters for the “redstar” party, represented by red stars; 6 of them are “greendot” party voters, represented by green dots. The time has come for redistricting, and your job is to carve up the state into three congressional districts each containing exactly five voters. What do you do?

“Option 1: Well, a 9-to-6 split in the electorate means that the state is 60% redstar and 40% greendot. So if your goal was to be as fair and evenhanded as possible, you’d draw the district lines as shown in the illustration at the upper right: you’d end up with two districts which were majority redstar, and one district that was majority greendot, and thus the voters of the state overall would get fairly true representation of their political views in congress. (In this example, District 1 would have a 3-to-2 redstar majority, District 2 would have a 3-to-2 greendot majority, and District 3 would have a 4-to-1 redstar majority.)

But what if you were a partisan redstar politician? Your goal would not be to have fair redistricting; your goal would be to shut out your opponents as ruthlessly as possible. And thus we turn to the next possibility: Majority gerrymandering.

Option 2: Majority gerrymandering to ensure complete electoral dominance.

 

 

Option 3: Gerrymandering designed to ensure over-representation for the smaller party.

 

 

“Option 2: If your goal was to ensure that your redstar party won as many seats as possible in upcoming elections, you’d strive to create districts in which redstar voters had a slim majority in every single district. So you could gerrymander the boundaries to look like they do in the illustration at the lower left. In this example, each and every district has been purposely designed to have a 3-to-2 redstar majority, and the end result would be that all three districts would elect redstar representatives, and the 40% of the population who are greendot voters would be disenfranchised — no elected official would represent their views.

And lastly: What if you were an incumbent greendot politician looking at the new census map aghast, noting that demographic shifts had now given the opposition redstar party a 60/40 advantage among voters. What would you do? More precisely, what would you do if you were really really evil, like the typical politician? Why, you’d resort to the most diabolical form of redistricting, Minority Gerrymandering:

“Option 3: Behold the horrors of what gerrymandering can do. In this final option, shown in the lower right illustration, the greendot party, despite having only 40% of the vote, has managed to draw the districting lines in such a way that they end up with a two-to-one advantage in congress! The greendot redistricters achieved this feat by shunting as many redstar voters as possible into a lopsided “electoral ghetto,” in which District 3 has a solid 5-0 redstar majority; this soaks up and wastes most of the redstar voting power, leaving the greendot party with a 3-to-2 advantage in Districts 1 and 2.

“Clear? This is gerrymandering in a nutshell. And once you’ve mastered it, you’re ready to become a politician and thwart the will of the voters”.

(S)he continues:

And don’t assume that if you discovered a district that is, say, 85% Republican, then you have strong evidence of Republican gerrymandering. Quite the opposite. Such districts are almost always the handiwork of Democratic redistricters trying to cram as many opposition voters together as possible, an example of the practice known as “packing”:

The two aims of gerrymandering are to maximize the effect of supporters’ votes and to minimize the effect of opponents’ votes. One strategy, packing, is to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts. … A second strategy, cracking, involves spreading out voters of a particular type among many districts in order to deny them a sufficiently large voting block in any particular district. The strategies are typically combined, creating a few “forfeit” seats for packed voters of one type in order to secure even greater representation for voters of another type.

But these gerrymandering strategies can backfire — as they did in 2010, spectacularly. Which explains how the Republicans managed to win so many seats in a nation significantly gerrymandered by Democrats. What happened is this: Over the years, Democrats in many states created many congressional districts in which they diluted Republican voters to approximately 45% of the electorate, thinking this a safe margin for Democratic politicians to win every future election. But in a “wave year,” enough disgusted swing voters abandon the party in power and (at least temporarily) switch allegiances, and suddenly the 45%-and-no-more squandered Republican vote climbs over the 50% mark. Boom. Gerrymandering has blown up in the politicians’ faces.

Zombie: Barry O, He Go: the Cargo Cult Presidency of Barack Obama

A few days before Halloween, from our favorite Undead American: Barry O, He Go: the Cargo Cult Presidency of Barack Obama. [Wikipedia links added.]

The presidency of Barack Obama is a cargo cult. And Obama himself is the new John Frum.

But unlike traditional cargo cults, which persist despite decades of fruitless prophecies, the Barry O cult is disintegrating before our very eyes, as Hope and Change Airport — built entirely out of hollow bamboo and even hollower promises — has failed to attract the predicted heaven-sent magical prosperity.

Read the whole thing. Relatedly, see Richard Feynman’s definition of cargo cult science.

Zombie and the Heinlein Political Compass

In an otherwise very interesting post on how the original ’60s counterculturists and today’s Tea Party may have more in common than they realize, Zombie proposes yet another version of the political spectrum/compass. As I have never had much use for the simplistic “left/right” or “conservative/liberal” divide, I’ve always been intrigued by attempts to come up with something more thorough.

One can, of course, easily add so many variables that one can no longer see the forest for all the trees. One would end up having to do something akin to what statisticians call “principal component analysis”: trying to explain as much as possible of the variation in a dataset using as few variables (or fixed linear combinations of them) as possible. Many attempts have been made: this Wikipedia article, while it obviously has numerous flaws, is a good starting point for reading.

Actually, if I were to give Zombie’s spectrum a name other than the “Zombie spectrum”, I might call it the Heinlein Political Compass. Its two main axes directly refer to two of my favorite Heinlein aphorisms:

A. “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” (Time Enough for Love (1973) and The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978)).

B. “Correct morality can only be derived from what man is — not from what do-gooders and well-meaning aunt Nellies would like him to be.” (Starship Troopers, Ch. 8 )

This former dictum corresponds to Zombie’s horizontal axis (degree of government control). In the well-known “smallest political quiz” (a.k.a. the Nolan Chart), this variable is split up in two axes, which represent economic and personal liberties. (“The [social] conservative wants the government out of your wallet and in your bedroom; the liberal wants it out of your bedroom and in your wallet; the authoritarian wants it in both and the libertarian in neither”, as the common folksy description goes.)

The latter dictum defines Zombie’s vertical axis, belief in, vs. skepticism about, the malleability of human nature. Stalinists, Maoists, and the Khmer Rouge take one extreme position (best illustrated by the Soviet regime’s approval of the anti-hereditary theories of Lysenko), while Nazism, with its belief in complete racial determinism, takes the other extreme. In more temperate climes one might find, on the upper half of the axis, the liberal who daydreams of people giving up armed conflict or financial self-interest, and on the lower half of the axis, the hard-nosed conservative who may love world peace and lovingkindness every bit as much as the liberal but simply accepts the fact that man isn’t wired that way.

Anyhow, without further ado:

The Zombie/Heinlein chart bears a more than superficial resemblance to Jerry Pournelle’s Political Axes. Pournelle (who has multiple academic degrees) wrote his political science thesis on how people’s political orientations cannot be explained by a single axis. He ended up picking two main ones:

  • “Attitude toward the State”: varying from state worship at one (totalitarian) extreme to the state as the ultimate evil at the other (anarchist) extreme
  • “Attitude toward planned social progress”.

This latter axis, while strongly correlated with the Zombie/Heinlein vertical axis, is not identical to it. One can still believe in some form of planned social progress (such as trying to undo discrimination against certain groups — or for that matter, in favor of specific groups) while being skeptical that human nature will ever fundamentally change. Note, for example, that 200 years ago the idea of slavery being a moral outrage was considered revolutionary, while nowadays, almost nobody would consider buying and selling human beings as anything other than a moral outrage. Yet I would be hard-pressed to say that human motivations and urged changed in any significant way — only the rules by which the game is played have fundamentally changed.

On a Sabbath note: Both Judaism and Xianity are ambivalent on the “malleability” axis. Certain Christian core beliefs (such as that in original sin) would appear to favor the “innate” half-axis, while others (such as the belief in the transformative nature of ‘accepting Jesus’) point in the other direction. Some interdenominational faultlines cross that axis: compare the Quaker insistence on total pacifism with “Just War theory” (originally Roman Catholic), for instance.

Meanwhile, the Jewish belief in “Tikkun Olam” (literally “healing the world”) would seem to fall on the “malleable” half of the vertical axis, and has been (successfully ab)used by some liberal Jewish theologians to sell Jews on the liberal orthodoxy du jour. However, Jewish rabbinical thought is full of statements that point in the other direction, from mundane skeptical attitudes such as “if you are planting a seedling and they come tell you the Messiah is coming, finish planting and then go greet the Messiah” to the fundamental belief that every human being has innate altruistic (“yetzer tov”, literally “good impulse”) and egoistic (“yetzer hara”, literally “bad impulse”) — and that it is good that human beings are this way, as “were it not for the yetzer hara , nobody would marry, build a house, or beget children” (Genesis Rabbah 9:7).

Zombie: Ideological war spells doom for America’s schoolkids

Still totally overwhelmed with relocation and work in realspace, so sorry for the light blogging.

My blog-ancestor has a 5-part series of essays on the culture wars in the US elementary and secondary school systems. Thus far, three four parts are up:

Go and read them all. You may not agree with everything you read (I have some qualms about the bits on Texas), but I agree with his/her basic premise, which is expressed in the title.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW8nh9c1C3ASlayer: Expendable youth (embedding disabled).

Zombie on JournoList and “The week in racism”

Whew. This must be the mother of all Zombie posts. Get thee to the nunnery Zombie’s blog.

Obama’s “post-racial America” has not materialized. Instead, the nation has gone in the opposite direction and become race-obsessed America.

No, that’s not quite right either. We’re not obsessed with race — we’ve become obsessed with accusations of racism. Some of the accusations are true; some, not so much. But what used to be a last-ditch smear tactic used only by the most desperate political operatives, or something which as a society we’d try to ignore in the hopes that it would go away, has instead become a daily occurrence, a standard category in the 24-hour news cycle:
PoliticsSportsBusinessAccusations of RacismWeather

Just a few years ago, shortly before Obama appeared on the political landscape, I wrote this satirical dictionary definition of the word “racist”:

racist – A statement of surrender during an argument. When two people or disputants are engaged in an acrimonious debate, the side that first says “Racist!” has conceded defeat. Synonymous with saying “Resign” during a chess game, or “Uncle” during a schoolyard fight. Originally, the term was meant to indicate that one side was accusing the other of being racist, but once it was noticed that people only resorted to this tactic when all other arguments had been exhausted, it acquired its new meaning of “indicating one’s own concession of defeat.”

Oh, how times have changed, and how quickly. Not only do people now reach for the race card first in almost any political, social, or personal dispute, but sometimes the accusations are even true (or partly true), as public exhibition of racism has become more commonplace. No matter how you slice it — an increase of racism and of false accusations of racism — I see this as a huge step backward for our nation.

The Week in Racism

So many accusations of racism battle for space in your morning headlines, it’s easy to get them all confused. So I’ve created the following scorecard to help you sort it all out.

Here are the Top Ten Accusations of Racism for the last week, along with a handy “Level of Actual Racism” accuracy rating (on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being the most racist) to help determine to what extent each accusation is true, or if the accuser is just crying “Uncle” in a losing argument.

Hurry and read the rest. It’s chock-full of good stuff.

Zombie on Oakland riots

My blog-ancestor is all over what is happening in Oakland (and forecasted this more than a week ago).

Oakland is boarded up.

Fearing the inevitable riots that will erupt if ex-transit cop Johannes Mehserle isn’t found guilty of murder in the Oscar Grant case [UPDATE at top of article: he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter], business owners around Oakland’s downtown and other areas of the city have been busy nailing plywood boards over their shop windows to minimize damage and looting. This essay documents the pre-riot preparations, and also examines to what extent the expected riot is being fomented by left-wing radical groups.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: coverage in the San Jose Mercury News

Zombie: Radicals, Islamists, and Longshoremen blockade Israeli ship

Zombie:

An Israeli cargo ship arriving in Oakland today was forced to sit idle and not offload its containers when longshoremen joined forces with a coalition of communist and Islamist groups who picketed the port in protest against the recent violent incident off the coast of Gaza.

The ship, owned by Zim Lines, was not carrying any controversial cargo, nor is Zim involved in politics in any way; it was targeted simply because the shipping company is based in Israel.

The planned protest and blockade were organized by The Free Palestine Movement (one of the same groups which organized the Gaza “flotilla” in the first place) as well as a rogues’ gallery of nearly every communist, anti-Israel and radical Islamist group in the Bay Area

Read the whole thing. Zombie adds:

Keep in mind that the Port of Oakland is not some minor, backwater city-owned port: it is in fact the fourth busiest port in the country and a major linchpin in the economy of California and the West, serving as the gateway for much of the materials coming from Asia into the United States. A threat to the proper functioning of the Port of Oakland can effect the economy nationwide. It’s not a good sign that fringe groups can dictate which countries get to ship goods into the US. What if someone protested at the port against China’s human rights record? Would the longshoremen stop unloading Chinese ships and bring most West Coast imports to a halt? Obviously not. Pragmatism dictates that you can bully a small trading partner, but not a big one.

As well as:

Today’s blockade of the Port of Oakland by anti-Israel forces, in collaboration with the Longshoremen’s Union (ILWU), is the opening of another front in the war on Israel — economic, politcal, propagandistic, and military — which escalates week by week. Will it ever end? Not according to the masterminds of the flotilla:

Meanwhile, Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian businessman of Palestinian descent who heads the “Free Palestine Organization” and is funding this boat, as well as another that is to carry journalists and parliamentarians, said over the weekend on Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station that he was more and more optimistic that one day these same boats would take “Europe’s refuse [the Jews] that came to my homeland back to their homelands.

“Gilad Schalit should go back to Paris and those murderers go back to Poland, and after that we will chase them until the ends of the earth to bring them to justice for their acts of slaughter from Deir Yassin until today.” Kashlak, a fervent Hizbullah supporter, called Israel a “rabid dog sent to the region to frighten the Arabs. He said he had a message for Israelis: ‘Get on the ships we are sending you and go back to your lands. Don’t let the moderate Arab leaders delude you, [you] cannot make peace with us. Our children will return to Palestine, you have no reason for coexistence. Even if our leaders will sign a peace agreement, we will not sign.’”

Clear enough for you?

Via trackbacks, see also this very relevant article at The Bookworm Room.

UPDATE: more here (via Insty).

Zombie on “peace” flotilla: “Losing is the new winning”

Don’t miss Zombie’s take on this, and his/her tongue-in-cheek take on the kneejerk sympathy for the underdog that motivates people who ought to know better.

The post also embeds a useful video by Shraga Simmons summarizing the evidence:

An earlier Zombie post that ought not to be missed is a photoreportage of an 0bama visit to San Francisco, finding him reviled by left-wing loonbat and “out of the closet” conservative demonstrators alike.

Zombie: South Park is the least of Islam’s problems

A quick introductory tour through the Muhammad Image Archive. Zombie’s comprehensive archive includes images of every type, from illustrations in medieval Muslim literature (!) via depictions in historical mainstream art via depictions on historical ephemera to deliberately offensive cartoons. Never a dull moment.

Zombie: crashing the Tea Party crashers

Various attempts were made to organize ‘Tea Party crashing’ by Moby‘s, i.e., leftist infiltrators posing (in this case) as Tea Parties carrying racist, conspiracy nut,… signs in order to embarrass the legitimate demonstrators (and provide the 0bama water carriersMSM with ammunition with which to delegitimize the Tea Party movement).

As we now know, the Tea Partiers took some rather creative countermeasures, such as a security force “armed” with colored signs with arrows and messages like “Imposter”, “Troll”, “Infiltrator”.

My blog ancestor and favorite undead person, Zombie, has a photoreportage up on Tea Party crashers and countercrashers, followed by a roundup of similar coverage elsewhere. Highly amusing reading.

Zombie reports on “Queers for Palestine” protest

There’s tough competition for the most insane group on the whacked-out looney left, but any shortlist for that dubious distinction must include the gang of kooks going under the moniker “Queers Undermining Israeli Terror”, a.k.a. “Queers for Palestine”, a.k.a. “Chickens for Colonel Sanders”. My blog-ancestor chronicles their latest antics in his/her latest report, which is — believe it or not — against a film festival focusing on “ghey” culture in Israel.

QUIT is accusing Israel of “pinkwashing” its treatment of Palestinians by promoting how gay-friendly the nation is while sweeping under the rug its “apartheid policies” toward Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. I invite you to read QUIT’s manifesto above and try to wrap your mind around their point of view — which may not be an easy task. Note how QUIT in no way disputes the fact that Israel is queer-friendly; nor do they dispute the fact that gays in Palestine generally face immediate execution (by mob violence, government dictate, or even at the hands of their own families) if ever found out. Mostly, QUIT conveniently fails to mention what happens to gays in Palestine, but to the extent that they do mention it, they lay the blame on Israel. QUIT’s “logic” goes like this: Israel has the Palestinians trapped like rats in a cage, and it is this desperate social condition which causes Palestinian society to become so twisted that it oppresses its own people; furthermore, by closing the borders, Israel prevents gay Palestinians from fleeing the horrors of Palestine for the freedom of . . . Israel.

Dizzy yet?

Of course, my analysis is this: The members of QUIT are in a “hipper-than-thou” arms race with other far-left radicals, and realized that if they want to be at the forefront of leftist political activism, they absolutely need to be anti-Israel and pro-Palestine, as that has become a defining feature of far-left ideologies. But as a gay rights group, QUIT was confronted by the deeply unfortunate fact that gays are safe, free and happy in Israel, while being oppressed, closeted and/or dead in Palestine. Other far-left groups coped with this problematic political conundrum by studiously ignoring the whole issue, thus obviating the need to resolve it. QUIT, on the other hand, uniquely has attempted to address the issue head on. Yet in order to somehow justify being pro-Palestine while at the same time supporting gay rights, QUIT necessarily needed to engage in the most ludicrous philosophical gymnastics in order to find some way to reconcile two irreconcilable positions.

But the end result is worse than QUIT could have imagined, because when all is said and done, they are promoting a society in which gays are simply not allowed to exist, and end up championing the grotesquely oppressive Arab/Islamic social order.

If QUIT truly cared about the rights of gays in Palestine and the Middle East, they would celebrate the treatment of gays in Israel and point to it as a model for other Middle Eastern countries to emulate. Instead of fighting for Arab self-rule in Palestinian territories — which would inevitably lead to a complete extirpation of all gay rights if not all gay people — QUIT should take the position that Israel should administer the Palestinian territories, because only under Israeli rule could gay Palestinians have any chance of survival. And instead of advocating that Palestinians continue their violent confrontational stance against Israel, QUIT should absolutely insist on Palestinian non-violence, which would allow the endless Intifada to fade away, quell all terror incidents, and allow Israel to once again open the border to Palestinian day workers and immigrants — and allow gay Palestinians to escape to the freedom of Israeli society.

But no. QUIT does the exact opposite of all those things. Which makes them among the most mystifying, and in some ways, the most loathsome of all leftist protest groups.

UPDATE: a commenter there notes that just one block away, radical Islamists shot a homosexual man near a bar that, ironically, is called “Andalus” (the name Arabs give to the Iberian peninsula, which survives as the name of one region of Spain).

In my day job, I have known some scarily intelligent people that were however unable to distinguish between essentials and particulars, or to prioritize issues to deal with or work to do. (Others do so naturally, yet others have to be taught.) In politics, the way many American Jews of an older generation (generally not themselves looney-left liberal) are easily scared into voting Democrat might be one example. Likewise, at this stage, whatever the beef homosexuals have with residual “homophobia” in Israel is at the level of arguing about interior decoration while the house is on fire. Of course, assuming Q.U.I.T. to be even this rational is giving them more credit than they are worth.

Zombie: A tale of two rallies

My blog-ancestor compares the faces of Tea Party and far-left rallies. , and finds a stark “right”-“left” divide. It’s a study in opposites in every respect (political and social), really — but not in the way the legacy media would let you believe. Go and see for yourself.

Zombie, who made a career out of chronicling the insanity of the extremist left and of the “useful idiots” of Islamofascism,  states not to be affiliated with either the right or the left: in practice, judging from online writings, Zombie is a small-l libertarian who opposes both social conservatism and liberal nanny-statism. (S)he also holds up a mocking mirror to political lunacy and intellectual dishonesty: it is however most often the “left” which finds itself skewered, not only because there is so much more loonbattery on today’s “left”,  but also because Zombie is located in one of its hotbeds. The blogosphere would be much poorer without him/her.

I need brain bleach

… after reading and viewing Zombie’s latest photo-reportage on a San Francisco “anti-war” rally. Does anybody know where I can buy brain bleach wholesale?

But seriously, go and have a look, but don’t eat first and keep throwable objects away from hands’ reach. The most interesting part, of course, is the Konvergence of Kooks — the amalgamation of extremist-“left” and extremist-“right” kookery into one unsavory, if often unintentionally humorous, stew.

The ehcuoRaL whackjobs were there too, complete with pictures depicting 0bama with the world’s most infamous mustache. But since there are no Tea Partiers anywhere in sight that can be blamed, don’t expect the dinosaur media to cover this.

Ringo the Gringo (site appears to be down) has another photo reportage in the same vein.

Zombie: The real reason why Americans hate universal healthcare (repost)

Zombie:

[I originally published this essay in December of last year, before I started blogging for PJM. I was planning to write a new last-minute plea for sanity as we approach the zero hour for the health care vote in Congress — but I inevitably ended up just re-phrasing the ideas contained in my original essay. So rather than repeat myself, I present below a reprise of what many have said is the one and only essay you’ll ever need to read about universal health care.]

Read the whole thing

Zombie’s argument basically boils down to this: a nontrivial percentage of healthcare expenses are due to unhealthy diet, self-intoxication (tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs,…), high-risk behavior (DUI, dangerous sports, unprotected and/or promiscuous sex,…), cultural habits (deep suntanning, first-cousin marriages,…), and the like. All else being equal, a social libertarian would say “live and let live”. But once we get to foot the bill for fixing the damage wrought by somebody else’s irresponsible behavior, this will turn all of us into the type of nannies every social libertarian loathes. “Freedom to do your own thing” or “protecting you against yourself”: pick one.

The question is not whether Zombie envisages a libertarian utopia. (S)he doesn’t. A person who, through no fault of their own, ends up with crushing medical expenses (accident, genetics dealing a bad hand, or just sheer bad luck) is still dependent on the mercy of strangers, and (s)he realizes that as well as any. (S)he merely argues that the ‘solution’ for this problem will involve a price American society is unable and unwilling to pay — not so much in money as in freedom.