Monday, April 07, 2014

In Reply: There is no intolerance in saying "I disagree with that"...

In reply to Brendan Eich Firing Called Fascism by Conservatives | New Republic:

Yep... There's no fascism here... This is a guy making a donation to a cause he supports, other people deciding they don't want to work for or support a company that would hire a guy who made that particular donation, and the company (and by some accounts, the original guy, too) deciding that the controversy over his donation is bad for the company. (And now, a whole bunch of different people deciding they don't want to support a company that would force or allow that original guy to go... Stay tuned...)

That's all free speech (in the general sense), free association, and free market...

And while we're at it, the toleration meme--that one is forced by some odd notion of "tolerance" to passively accept whatever nonsense (bigotry, lies, false information, ...) comes out of any other American's mouth (or keyboard, or free speaking wallet) or one is a baaaaad liberal--is another one for the debunked dung heap. There is no intolerance in saying "I disagree with that" (that idea, that political belief, that notion about marriage), or with saying "I will not shop in a place (or work in a place) where the CEO of the company expresses that point of view."

And while I know this'll probably hit the "we never claimed to be tolerant" buzzsaw, I wonder where their tolerance is for the board's decision, or for the ideals of the people who were boycotting Mozilla last week, as they boycott Mozilla themselves this week?

Where indeed...
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Posted Monday, April 7, 2014, 11:30 PM

In Reply: Free speech means that the folks who disagree with you get to respond to what you say with speech of their own.

In reply to the following comment by LtColO at the post: ‘Bastion of intolerance and punishment’: Tammy Bruce shreds Mozilla for caving to ‘gay gestapo’ | Twitchy:
"I'm just curious when Silicon Valley will get REAL righteous and start ousting all these Muslim engineers that are busting out code for them on the daily? I mean, that's a faith that doesn't tolerate ANY acceptance of the gay "lifestyle" whatsoever. So go for it! Be consistent! And don't give me the dodge, "Well, being a CEO is one thing" because there are plenty of critical leadership roles below CEO that are held by Muslims. I want to see the gutsy Leftists really walk the talk."
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Maybe you should highlight one of those critical leaders and start a boycott...if that's not too anti-free speech. (Or should that be "if it's only anti-free speech when folks who disagree with you boycott.")

Deciding which products and services you will and will not use is the very essence of free speech--even if you decide based on things that the CEO, board of directors, or "critical leaders within the company who are muslim" (or who are associated by their religion with actually-guilty others) have said or done.

With very few exceptions, the "traditional marriage" people boycotting Mozilla this week are not behaving any differently than the "marriage equality" folks boycotting them last week, and neither group are fascists or opposing free speech by behaving as they are. Free speech means that the folks who disagree with you get to respond to what you say with speech of their own.
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Posted Monday, April 7, 2014, 9:34 PM

In Reply: No... That ain't fascism you're smelling... It's freedom.

In reply to the following comment by ztitans1 at the post The absurdity of the Mozilla boycott - WashingtonExaminer.com:
"That is a slippery slope if you justify someone being driven from their employment due to their socio-political beliefs. I say you and those who think like this better get prepared for when the pendulum swings. Retribution may be swift and violent. People wil not react well as their liberties cocontinue to be taken away by the PC crowd. Tolerance of other people's views used to be part of the liberal philosophy, when did they crossover to tyranny?"
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I believe in the public's right to decide which companies they do and do not give their money to, and to decide that based on whatever criteria they choose, including the socio-political beliefs of the CEO of the company...or their board of directors. Every conservative who is deleting their Firefox browser is behaving like they believe that too, in spite of their words calling such behavior FASCISM!! or a slippery slope.

No one's saying a person or corporate entity cannot have and express whatever views they wish...but if they take positions on controversial issues, there will be people--sometimes a whole lot of people--who will not do business with them based on those views. That is as true of the traditional marriage folks boycotting Mozilla today as it was the marriage equality folks boycotting them last week. That is what free speech and freedom in general is all about...

Honestly, I don't believe you really disagree with that, your vague but dire warnings to the contrary...

Tolerance of other people's views means live and let live, not limiting the legal rights and opportunities of certain people because you have a moral objection to how they live and love. If Brendan were tolerant, he wouldn't've financially supported a law that would refuse to allow or recognize marriage equality, and would retroactively strip the rights of legally married couples. Tolerance of other people's views does not mean one must passively accept whatever nonsense someone expresses. (If it did this conversation wouldn't be taking place; either you'd be "tolerating" my views, or I'd be "tolerating" yours... All that would be left to figure out is what omnipotent overlord gets to decide which of our views deserves "toleration" and which does not.)

I believe in free speech and the marketplace of ideas... You don't have to agree with me (or even tolerate me--at least the way you're defining it), I don't have to agree with (or tolerate) you, and each of us can decide which companies we will and will not spend our money supporting, based on whatever ideas and ideals we have and hold.

No... That ain't fascism you're smelling... It's freedom.
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Posted Monday, April 7, 2014, 5:35 PM

In Reply: Boycotters Are FASCISTS!!! (unless I agree with 'em...)

In reply to the following comment from ztitans1 at the post The absurdity of the Mozilla boycott - WashingtonExaminer.com:

"Free speech includes making political donations. So says the SCOTUS. He has a right to make a political donation without being a victim of a political witch hunt."

You had me...and then you lost me. He has the legal and societal right to speak (whether by voice or cash). He does NOT have the legal or societal right to be free from others responding with speech of their own...not even if some call that speech "a political witch hunt."

When one reaches a certain level of public attention and scrutiny, the things one does and says begins to matter. And when one becomes the face of a major company, taking a position on controversial issues--even if one did so in one's past, and does not deftly handle that controversial opinion in the present--is likely going to alienate a portion of that company's customer and employee base. It's not that such people CAN'T take a position on divisive issues, but that they are courting divisiveness among the general public when they do.

And sadly, once the division starts, it's hard to stop... One side will boycott because they disagree with what a CEO said or did, unless and until the company responds positively to their boycott. And the other side will boycott if the company does whatever it is the first side asks for. To paraphrase a line from a movie from my youth, "The only way to win is not to play."

That isn't to say that a CEO and company cannot decide the controversial words or deeds are worth the cost; I admire Dan Cathy at Chick-Fil-A for the way he runs his business--especially his commitment to being closed the sabbath, which I wish every company would do--even as I disagree with his / his company's stand on marriage equality, and therefore continue to refuse to spend money there. (Full disclosure: This isn't a big sacrifice for me; The closest Chick-Fil-A location is over 50 miles away. But my heart's in the right place.)

But to deny there is a cost, or to claim that those who choose not to do business with a company because they disagree with what the CEO--or the board of directors--says or does are against free speech, or worse, are FASCISTS!! is absolute nonsense. The thing about free speech is that everyone gets to speak freely, including the people who use theirs to disagree with what what you said using yours.

(And my wonder is this; Should Mozilla respond to the "pro-traditional marriage" boycott by sacking the board of directors who "caved" to the "pro-marriage equality" boycott, will these people also call that "FASCISM!!" and stand for those poor fired souls? I suspect not...)
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Posted (in two parts) Sunday, April 6, 2014, 11:45 PM (or so) and a little bit later'n that.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

In Reply: It IS in large part about the word Marriage. Let's solve that...

In reply to the following comment at the post Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance.:
I don't opinions have changed that much. I think that people are afraid to tell the truth or they are just quiet about it. I have some gay friends and I couldn't love them more. But I don't agree with their way of life. I just feel that the best way to handle it is to live and let live. My only real problem is that they want to call their union marriage. That is a christian word for a man and woman getting married. Let's us find another word that is for a man and man getting married or a woman and woman getting married. Look marriage up in the dictionary.
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On the point about the word marriage, I'm with you.

The name of a religious sacrament has no place in secular law and never did. For me the answer isn't to relegate gay folks to only having "civil unions," but to replace the word "marriage" in all laws with the term "civil union" and to recognize the sacred act of marriage as one way of getting civilly united under federal, state and local law.

That puts marriage and it's definition back in the hands of one's Creator and place of worship, while giving straight folks and gay folks the same access to the secular rights and responsibilities attendant to those united according to US law.

(I fully understand that this is never going to happen, btw, and that the confusion and struggle between "sacred marriage" and "secular marriage" will continue... but just because it won't change doesn't mean it shouldn't...)
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Posted Saturday, April 5, 2014, 7:44 PM

In Reply: Free Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Critical Response (In fact, free speech ENCOURAGES it.)

In reply to: The absurdity of the Mozilla boycott | WashingtonExaminer.com

He wasn't forced out for his beliefs. He was forced out for donating money to those trying to make it a law that everyone--even folks who disagreed with him--had to live according to his beliefs, for not changing his mind--or at least acknowledging that this law forcing everyone to live according to his beliefs hurt real people--and, because that has turned out not to be such a popular thing to do, especially in his industry, for being a potential financial and media drain on the company that'd just made him their public face.

The thing about free speech (in the broad sense--by this point everyone is aware that this was not government action and is therefore not a 1st A issue) is that it does not protect you from other people using their free speech to criticize what you said using yours. He spoke his mind (money being speech, n'all), a lot of folks used their speech to disagree with him and seek remedy, and the free market had it's say, as well...

Those writing posts and deleting their FireFox browsers and other Mozilla products over this guy's resignation are not doing anything different that the folks who support marriage equality were doing a week or more ago because he was hired. I did not participate in the boycotts against the guy, and I don't personally believe he should've been forced out either, but my opinion, like those who're all up in arms now, did not prevail. They saw the landscape and made a corporate decision.

There's nothing wrong with folks who're passionate about an issue voting with their wallets and their feet, whether it's the marriage equality folks for the last few weeks or the traditional marriage supporters in the last few days. Sometimes it actually works.
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Submitted for moderator approval Posted Saturday, April 5, 2014, 6:50 PM (or so...)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In Reply: "George Zimmerman substantially contributed to the altercation that occurred and set the events in motion that lead him to fire his weapon and kill that kid."

In reply to the following comment at the Politico.com post "Who are the real thugs? - Roger Simon":
"Fair enough, but the dispatcher wasn't. This is the same guy the local police invited to wear a uniform and patrol the neighborhood in a patrol car (strangely ZImmerman the vigilante declined). Talk about mixed messages. But the whole premise is silly, when i was a teenager, older folks were always seeing what i was up to, following me in a store, etc. The idea that you cant follow a guy you claim you saw peeking into windows in the rain in a neighborhood with a lot of thefts is absurd." - markbuehner
I didn't say you can't... I said it was foolish to do so. That suspicious individual--if he thinks you're some kinda creep looking to do HIM harm (and if you don't think that some unknown creepy adult following him, first in his car and then on foot, likely appeared just as suspicious and up to no good to Trayvon as Travon appeared to George--and really MORE suspicious, because Trayvon thought George was targeting him, not intimate objects in a townhouse where no one was home--you're willfully deluding yourself), or if he actually IS up to no good--may well react violently. The risk isn't worth the reward. Unless someone is in imminent danger of being harmed, approaching--or worse, actually confronting an unknown individual that you believe may be up to no good is just stupid.

I agree with the ultimate legal verdict--though I did want there to be a trial--but when it comes to common-sense blame, George substantially contributed to the altercation that occurred and set the events in motion that lead him to fire his weapon and kill that kid.

From the time they first saw each other, Trayvon spent most of his time moving away from the suspicious individual he saw. George spent most of that same time moving toward the suspicious individual he saw. Were it not for the actions George took--following Trayvon in his car and on foot (legal, but stupid)--neither of them would've been hit or shot, and we'd likely never've heard either of their names.
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Posted Thursday, February 20, 2014, 1:31 PM

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In Reply: "Neighborhood watch generally instructs their volunteers not to follow, interact with, or confront anyone suspicious."

In reply to the following comment at the Politico.com post: Who are the real thugs? - Roger Simon:
"No- dispatch said they didnt NEED him to, they have a legal and civil liability if he were to be hurt (which he was). On the other hand, the burglar that was caught earlier in that neighborhood was seen by construction workers who called 911 and were ASKED to follow and see where the suspect went. And its an odd position you take that neighborhood watches instruct members not to watch." - markbuehner
Neighborhood watch generally instructs their volunteers not to follow, interact with, or confront anyone suspicious. If the behavior is serious or suspicious enough to call the police about, it's serious enough that the volunteer should not insert himself into the situation, even accidentally. (Also, they instruct their volunteers not to carry firearms while patrolling.)

((And yes, I know Zimmerman was just going to/from the store, and not formally patrolling... There's also some question as to whether he was even a part of the neighborhood watch, anymore...))

As for dispatch, the intent was pretty clear to me, anyway, but it would've been better if the "advice" was more direct. (The dispatcher in the Zimmerman / Scheibe dispute where he broke her iPad was MUCH more clear when speaking to the girlfriend:
"I want you to stay away from the house right now until we get there. We need to see the situation."
If only Zimmerman's dispatcher had been as clear...
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Posted Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014, 1:29 PM

Friday, January 17, 2014

X-Post: The Wisdom of Walking Away: Avoiding the need for self-defense IS self-defense

In support of Law of Self Defense – Legally-Sound Self-Defense Strategy Rule #1: KEEP OUT OF TROUBLE IN 1st PLACE

A few excerpts:

To guide the crafting of a legally-sound self-defense strategy, I offer five basic rules:
Keep out of trouble in the first place
Minimize your legal exposure if trouble does start
Foster the confidence to act decisively when necessary
Diminish your perceived legal vulnerability
Facilitate acceptance of events
I know what you’re thinking: what’s with that first rule about “keeping out of trouble in the first place”? I don’t need to be told that, I’m the good guy, I don’t go getting into trouble.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of cases I see where an otherwise law-abiding armed citizen finds himself in legal trouble for having used force against another person, it is precisely because they failed to simply keep out of trouble in the 1st place. In talking with such folks I always ask, “looking back, were there any warning signals early on, that if you’d heeded them might have allowed you avoid the fight entirely?” The almost invariable answer, is “yes.”

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As an armed citizen, however, Reeves–and all of us who arm ourselves in public–don’t have the luxury of having “bad days,” nor acting childishly. I never had a proper religious upbringing, but my wife is a good Christian lass, and when through her I cam across this passage from Corinthians I thought it really fit my philosophy of CCW:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a[n armed] man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13
To put it another way, too many people when first arming themselves feel as if, “Hey, now that I carry a gun, I don’t have to take BS from anybody.”

The truth could not be more the opposite. For those of us who carry a gun, we have to take BS from everybody. Except the felony aggressor. He we can defend ourselves against. But the merely obnoxious, bullying types that roam this earth–well, my advice is to simply avoid them.
I urge you to read the whole post, which discusses the recent shooting in a FL movie theatre.

The author has it exactly right. There are things worth killing or dying over...but not many, (and certainly not an argument over texting, somebody looking at you the wrong way or insulting your favorite football team or choice of political candidate, a dent in your car bumper, ...) There are lots of times when letting an asshole "win the argument" and walking away is the far smarter course of action, and doing so may even save your life...or his.

I read a great article set of comments at a gun rights blog about a year ago (I think) saying a very similar thing as regards George Zimmerman. Their argument was that, whatever the law decided, Zimmerman foolishly put himself in the position that lead to his firing his gun at Trayvon Martin and was no second amendment or gun rights hero. (Of course I can't locate the article now, but my searching wasn't a total loss (See below)... And if I happen to find it later, I can always add it in. UPDATE: I think it may've been several comments, beginning with this one, at THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT, PART 1. Yes, I misremembered; The author of the post, Massad Ayoob, disagrees with that assessment. But for a VERY thorough look at the whole Zimmerman case from a gun rights perspective, offered just post verdict, Ayoob's multi-part series cannot be beat, whether you ultimately agree with his take on the specifics or not.) I don't believe the author of the piece above, Andrew Branca, shares that view of Zimmerman either, but that doesn't take away from the wisdom of his current post.
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...my searching wasn't a total loss...

While I was looking for the post I described, I rediscovered one of the best arguments I've ever read in favor of gun rights. Since I both found it originally and rediscovered it via Stogie at Saberpoint, I'll give him the h/t: An opinion on gun control | Monster Hunter Nation. It is still possible to argue for increased / improved gun control laws even after reading his post--I myself still favor thorough, universal background checks, even if that means it takes longer to complete the purchase of a firearm--but Larry Correia doesn't make it easy.
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A Wingnuts and Moonbats x-post

Monday, January 13, 2014

To the guy who deserves it (though he'll probably never see this post), thanks.

Needed to hear it, and I'm glad you said it.

I owe you...

W James Casper
(repsac3)

Friday, January 10, 2014

X-Post: I Defy Anyone to Defend, Justify, Or Try To Rationalize This Creepy, Creepy Threat Made By Donald Kent Douglas

I defy anyone sane and decent--and that includes some of Donald Douglas' biggest supporters, and especially anyone who has ever been swatted, or who chose to leave their home to protect their family from possible bad behavior by those they blogged about--to say that the post below is not very creepy, or that doxing someone with whom you disagree over the internet is EVER justified.

I have already contacted my local police precinct (just so they have a record; there is obviously nothing they can do, so far) and alerted my neighborhood watch block captain and one of my closest neighbors, and intend to take more security precautions tomorrow morning. (No harm in adding another camera or two outside, as well as taking other steps it'd be better if I kept to myself.)

[Legally advised to remove screenshot that was here, as well as certain information from quoted paragraph below.]
"...you never can be too careful."

Years ago, a reader of my blog had resources from one of those background research sources that for a fee will provide personal information on people. The reader sent me a file on Repsac. I think it even included a photo of his home in [city, state] which I gather is ------ (or that included a link to a photo online). If I recall it was an older one story home, apparently on a street corner, with a large-trunk tree on the front lawn. The place looked kinda run down. That's the basic description, if memory serves me. Not sure. There was a street address as well. There was other information too, about family members. I already know where Casper went to high school and (surprisingly, because he's so retarded) college. Some of this information is easily found just by a quick search for "Repsac3" on Google. But some is definitely proprietary. Basically, hate-addled Walter James Casper's ripe for a doxing. And not just a quick Internet search doxing. We're talking about a full professional investigation-style doxing. All this is speculation, but hey, stalkers do face consequences sometimes, and if anyone deserves the honors it's the universally reviled Repsac3. Frankly, what pisses people off is not only that Repsac's a despicable troll (truly evil, in fact), but that he maintains a stalking hate-blog along the lines of Breitbart Unmasked.

These are all just ruminations and speculation, but you never can be too careful.
-- Donald Kent Douglas

UPDATE: Pertaining to the paragraph quoted above (and posted at original site):












































"face consequences," "deserves the honors," "you never can be too careful" (& from next day) "No one cares what happens to him. He deserves whatever malicious fate awaits him. I couldn't care less..."

I hope this information is perfectly clear.
The Illegal Activity of “Doxing”: Revealing “documents or personal information” about a person, without their permission, with the intent to Threaten, Harass, Intimidate, Shame, Humiliate or Place at Risk…. | The Last Refuge

('nuff said, I hope.)
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Look, if you want to make fun of my egg-shaped, seasonally shaved head, have at it.

(But trust me, it's all been said before, and probably better--including by me. The first year I shaved it at a St. Baldrick's Foundation event, pretty much everyone I know laughed at me and with me (hopefully more of the latter...) about my Humpty Dumpty fatass head. The "new" twitter user avatar comparison is common. From my point of view, it's all old news, and I don't disagree... My head is egg-shaped. I have an egg-shaped head. Ha-friggin'-Ha.)


But really... Go after my looks, my politics, my intelligence...
Call me a retard, if that's what gets you off (but let's hope Sarah Palin--or anyone who has a developmentally challenged child, sister, uncle, or friend--is not listening to you use that word as an epithet).
Imply I'm a faggot, or no better than a sissy-girl, if that's your thing. (There's a lot of that going around, lately.)
Impune my religion, or claim that I have none.
There's a lot of shit you can say if you really want to try to hurt my feelings or disparage me. (As long as I don't value your opinion--which probably applies to all the folks who would say shit like this in the first place--it won't have the desired effect, but have at it, anyway... Do what you gotta do, crazy diamond...)

But this is a whole other level of creepy, and I have little doubt that almost everyone that Donald or I have ever interacted with online will agree it's the most stalker-like thing that either of us have ever posted about the other. (I also have no doubt that a scant few of Donald's most creepy sycophants will think I deserve whatever trouble he can drum up by doxing me, and whatever happens to me, my home or my family as a result. He has a few really scary "friends.")

To be clear, I include(d) Robert Stacy McCain and everyone else fighting Team Kimberlin in court or online to be in the former group. It would shock me if McCain or any of them were anything less than clear in saying that this is not normal acceptable decent behavior...no matter what deeds I am in fact responsible for as regards Donald Kent Douglas (or whatever deeds they falsely believe I'm responsible for, as a result of Donald's many lies..

Whatever happened before this post is water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned...
Maybe McCain and those who read his blog really didn't know. (I don't blame them for that. I can't say that I was aware Donald was capable of this level of creepitude, myself.)
I can understand why a friend would take the word of a friend and offer him support without checking to see whether his story held water. (Good friend. Shitty journalist.)

Now that he knows, though...


...I would hope that McCain would set the patently dishonest hit post right--though I could forgive him if he chose not to
...or add a paragraph to the hit post making it clear he stands against the threat as well as the act of doxing one's online enemies, even by his friends. Hopefully he will, but if not, OK. His position on doxing in general is pretty clear to anyone who reads his blog, and whether he chooses to make it clear again in this instance or not, his position is well documented.

But to take up the cause of Donald Kent Douglas in his absurd war against me after today, one has to defend and justify this threat. If Robert Stacy McCain (or almost any of his or McCain's online friends and supporters, but especially the ones for whom BomberSuesBloggers is a thing, ever does that going forward, I will be very, very surprised...

(And I am... Very, very surprised... So yeah... I had to edit out the Bomber Sues Bloggers donation link. While the cause is non-partisan and all about the free speech of bloggers, too many (though not all) of the "bloggers" in question are partisan ideologues who use this cause as a hammer with which to beat on liberals, or lie about and demean the very folks on the left who're supporting their free speech. (In other words, people like me.) If you really want to help, I'm pretty sure Ken White (see link below) maintains a Popehat Signal Fund to help defray costs for pro bono free speech cases. (And if you really want to help these particular bloggers/v/bomber, some of 'em have the same link I deleted here on their own sites.)
~~~
"This is what is known as “doxing.” Doxing is always illegal, whether it is done against a federal employee, a state employee, or a regular person. There are federal and state laws that specifically address doxing government employees. With regular citizens, doxing falls under various state criminal laws, such as stalking, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, and other such laws, depending on the state. Since these doxing threats and activities are made on the internet, the law of any state may be invoked, though most often an investigator will look to the state in which the person making the threat is located, if this is known, or the state in which the victim is situated. A state prosecutor can only prosecute violations of the laws of his or her own state, and of acts that extend into their state. When acts are on the internet, they extend into all the states.

Misinformation was spread that doxing is legal. I am not sure how or why anyone fell for that misinformation. Surely, people must understand instinctively, even if they were misled about the law, that if they are threatening someone or putting them at risk, or tormenting or harassing the other on the internet, that this must be illegal. Common sense would tell you that bullying or jeopardizing another would be illegal in some way. So yes, doxing is illegal, no matter who the target."
- Sue Basko - Subliminal Ridge: Understanding Barrett Brown's Case
~~~
"UPDATE: By the way, we should be extraordinarily grateful to Sue Basko for her common-sense explanation of why “doxing” is always illegal. This prompts the question, as she says, of why anyone ever fell for the “disinformation” that it was legal.
I’ve got a hunch that this mistaken belief originated in the anonymous/pseudonymous world of hackers and trolls, where nobody’s “real life” identity is known and where, behind the presumed protection of anonymity, people do all kinds of things they would never do publicly under their own names."
- UPDATE: Walker v. Kimberlin, Et Al. (Also: Why ‘Doxing’ Is Always Illegal) - Robert Stacy McCain - The Other McCain
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UPDATE, Friday, 1/10/14, 7:10 PM:
Excerpts from Donald Douglas' next hate-rant, showing...well, you folks decide for yourselves what to take from what he says:

"Walter James Casper's a despicable lying half-wit douchebag --- which is to say, he's a regressive leftist. No one cares what happens to him. He deserves whatever malicious fate awaits him. I couldn't care less..."
That Donald feels this way is obvious...and more than a little disturbing. (I mean fine, he really seems to believe I wronged him online somehow...but that justifies his threatening to release personal information about me and my family, and believes that we deserve whatever bad thing that may happen to us as a result?)

Get a life, Casper. I suggest you start by closing up shop at your stalking "jihad" blog American Nihilist, which clearly is the source of all your problems.
I believe the technical name for this is #shutuppery, and is very likely the real reason behind all of Donald's attacks. He wants this blog gone...badly, and if that means someone has to break a few eggs (including that big one on my neck), than so be it. That's what we get for making him mad on the internet.

Honestly, I don't care what my co-bloggers think or do. They're not being stalked by an obsessive-compulsive hate-troll who's allied with and abetted vicious personal attacks on me them, my family their families, and my their livelihoods.

FIFY

And I'm willing to bet that there are several of Donald's "co-bloggers" (by which I think he means fellow con-bloggers) for whom this would be VERY GOOD NEWS...if it were only true. (I'm thinking' RS McCain and Aaron Walker, would be particularly thrilled, for instance... And then there's Patterico, Ken White, John Hoge, Lee Stranahan, Mandy Nagy, ...)

But the world revolves around Donald Douglas, and it's little surprise that he is the only one he sees...

UPDATE: Saturday, 1/11/2014, 7:00 AM:

So apparently, I was wrong:



Conservative hypocrisy from the daddy figure in Donald's online life... Whodathunkit?

I don't regret thinking better of McCain than his actual worth. I have seen him do the right thing in the past, including admitting he got the facts of a story wrong (and yeah, even when it went against his partisan politics), but I guess telling the awful truths about a lying megalomaniacal fellow "co-blogging" douchebag he considers a friend was more than he could do. Journalism be damned... ...and sometimes, doxing is just another tool in the partisan attack toolbox. IOKIYAAC.

Oh well... Shit happens. All I can do is tell the truth. There are always going to be assholes who'll do everything they can not to hear it... (...and some who'll actually lie about you, too.)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

In Reply: Standing up and speaking out against on and offline bullies is about encouraging us not to passively accept their nonsense and to protect and defend ourselves and each other.

Revised and extended a little, in reply to the following comment at the intentionally lyin'assed Other McCain post "Portrait of a Stalker Troll: @Repsac3, Also Known as Walter James Casper III," by "journalist" Robert Stacy McCain:
Actually, no...that's exactly what it's like within fandom communities. Politics, fandom...it's generally the same online because the Internet is like never leaving junior high.

And...you missed my point. But I think I know what the problem is. I'm sure you know what the Streisand Effect is. (My personal favorite example is the now infamous Charles Carreon) So here are a few helpful guides. (Sorry for the language, folks)

The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck.
The actual advice in here is a little questionable, but the important thing is the point that people are going to believe things about you that you don't think are true, and no amount of "setting them straight" is going to change that, like our friend Girl B's situation. She just wants people to hear her side, too. Does it work, though? Nope. The only thing you can really do is Not Give a Fuck. And as the writer notes, most people neither know nor care. I certainly didn't, and I can tell you this fact right now: if you hadn't responded, I would have forgotten about you already. Really.

My guide to not giving a fuck // Alden Tan.
This one, IMO, has more practical advice, primarily because he's pointing out that bitching on social media won't solve anything. Seriously, I don't even use it to vent. Private journals are a wonderful thing.

And finally, my personal favorite:

wadewilson: Internet Drama And You.
Though this is centered around that wacky subset of fandom known as roleplayers about whom I plead the Fifth on knowing anything about, it's still good advice about this issue. (So you can skip the whole "Pretendy fun time games" bit...unless you want to apply that to political discussions online. Because really, is anyone in any position to do anything even paying attention to us? Ha...big bag of NOPE.) But the big point here is that even though you might not start Internet drama yourself, you can end it.

Oh, and have I been there? You bet your ass I have. Someone on one of these commiseration spirals had badmouthed a good friend of mine. It hurts even worse when one of these spoiled little girls insults someone I care about, but part of learning to not give a fuck was learning that their opinion of her wasn't even worth the thought I was giving it. They weren't going to change their single functioning collective brain cell over it, so I had to make the hard choice to just drop it. Was if fair? HELL NO. Did I have a right to defend her? Sure I did. Was it worth it lowering myself to their level? Not even remotely. But ultimately, I just wanted these mouthbreathers to leave us alone, and they did. The price of that was allowing their short attention spans work in my favor. That's pretty much the universal Internet currency of peace of mind: letting people forget about you.
- La Pucelle

All I can say is we disagree... In my opinion you put entirly too much responsibility on the people being attacked, and virtually none on the people doing the attacking. I would never want to live in a world where people--victims, potential victims, and good people everywhere--don't stand up to bullies, online or off. Standing up and speaking out isn't about convincing the bullies; with very few exceptions, they're a lost cause. It's about encouraging the rest of us not to passively accept their nonsense and to protect and defend ourselves and each other.

You certainly can ignore a single isolated incident or two (and yes, it probably is in your best interest to do so, for exactly the reasons you describe.) But follow McCain's link to Donald Douglas' behavior over the last year or so one more time. These are not single, isolated incidents and they are not motivated by anything I do or do not do. The behavior shown at that link is Donald Douglas' responsibility and cross to bear. That he has chosen to make me the object of his "affections" has nothing to do with me, and my pretending that he isn't behaving the way he is isn't going to make him stop behaving the way he does toward me.

In any case, adding the guy's posts to a list the way I do may not be your solution, but it surely isn't stalking, harassment, or trolling, either. I trust you can see that. (If it helps, think of the list as my tiny contribution to Dr. Douglas' own little Streisand Effect. His attempts to obfuscate his responsibly for his strange behavior, and instead accuse me, is just as deserving of that sort of pushback, is it not? I mean, it's not like you're saying no one should've posted about Charles Carron's (or Babs') bad behaviors, right?)

Thanks for the conversation, though... I appreciate your thoughts, even though I don't entirely agree with 'em...

Personally, I'm glad you haven't "forgotten about me already"... Aside from the enlightening conversation, your willingness to discuss it with me renewed my longstanding belief that, even here on the internet, not every partisan from the "other" side (or "our" side, for that matter) is obligated to behave like all is WAR!!! While I don't plan to spend much time in McCain's comment sections, I hope to run into you again.
--

Posted Thursday, January 9, 2014, 10:25 AM (or thereabouts)
--

When I was posing La Pucelle's links here, I took the time to read them more thoroughly than I did initially. The following, from The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck, actually argues for my position, and I'm sorry I didn't notice it until long after I posted my reply comment to him on McCain's site. (It may also explain why he found some of the advice there "a little questionable."):

STEP 4. Tell the truth.

You don’t need to be an asshole, but the world does not need another conflict-avoidant, evasive person. No one wants another individual who steps in line with everyone else. The status quo is doing fine without you, so it’s up to you to call bullshit if you see it.

X-Post: In Reply to @rsmccain (Robert Stacy McCain)'s Fact-Averse Hit Piece for His Ideological Brother-in-Arms, Donald Kent Douglas

Portrait of a Stalker Troll: @Repsac3, Also Known as Walter James Casper III : The Other McCain



Professor Donald Douglas has spent years fighting one particularly obsessed troll, Walter James Casper III, who might actually out-rank Bill Schmalfeldt in the Stalker Hall of Shame, because Casper has been cyberstalking Douglas for more than five years.
First off, the photo, which McCain and several of his readers have delighted in attacking like junior high mean girls. This is where it came from: James Casper | A St. Baldrick's Participant. That's right, I had just (in 2011) shaved my head for a charity for cancer kids. And yes, McCain... It does look like an egg.
(There's one from another year where I grew and kept a big bushy beard so I looked like yer average Wooly Willy character for the day we did the St Baldrick's event, to amuse my preschool-aged niece and nephew... Dr Douglas seems to like posting and making fun of that one a lot, too.)

As for "stalking" (or later, "trolling" or "harassing,") there's a reason that both of McCain's links suggesting he's offering evidence of my supposed bad behavior online go to a search of Donald Douglas' blog posts about me over the last year or so, rather than my posts about him; The results would show that:

The last time I posted about Dr. Douglas on my blog was on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013.

The last time I posted something about Dr. Douglas that wasn't a response to his posting or tweeting about me a day or two earlier? I don't even know... (I went back over a year, and couldn't find one.)

What Donald is upset about (and McCain is unquestioningly, unthinkingly regurgitating here on behalf of his blog buddy) is that I read Dr Douglas' blog without his permission. That's what Dr Douglas (and McCain) are labeling "stalking."
Among the significant characteristics of cyberstalkers is the disproportionality of their obsessions. Professor Douglas is not an academic celebrity or influential media personality. He’s a professor of political science at Long Beach City College in California. It is not as if he’s at Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, Yale or some other big-money “prestige” school, and yet the fact that Professor Douglas is (a) conservative and (b) a blogger is sufficient to justify in Casper’s sick mind the most insane forms of stalking behavior.
"Stalking behavior" like what, exactly?

Reading his blog?

Responding when he posts about me?

What is McCain talking about?
Another characteristic of cyberstalkers is their resort to psychological projection: They are not obsessed with you — no! — you are obsessed with them, and don’t you dare accuse them of harassing you — of course not! — you are instead harassing them.

The facts are there... Every post where I've mentioned Donald Douglas in well over a year has been in response to his posts and tweets about me. From the time he stopped posting about me back in August until his unprovoked and unwarranted attack just before midnight on January 6th, I haven't said word one to or about the guy. This isn't rocket science...
This kind of “accuse the accusers” tactic serves two purposes for the troll: First, it is a psychological rationalization by which he justifies his behavior and, second, it serves to obfuscate the situation in the eyes of law enforcement or other authorities.
Again, the record is pretty clear... While much of what McCain says here about trolling online is likely true, he's backing the wrong horse... It's not that the authorities that Dr Douglas reported me to are confused, McCain... It's that his allegations don't stand up to the slightest scrutiny (which McCain would know, had he bothered to look).
Something else: The conflict between Casper and Professor Douglas is not about politics, nor is it about Professor Douglas.

That is to say, Casper’s espousal of left-wing political ideas is not the reason for his behavior, but simply a pretext, and if he weren’t harassing Professor Douglas, he’d be harassing some other target, selected more or less at random. There is, of course, a specific history to the conflict between them, but it is ultimately irrelevant. There are plenty of people every bit as left-wing as Casper who are not obsessive stalkers, and there are other conservative bloggers who might just as easily become targets for stalking, if ever they attracted the attention of such a grotesquely deformed personality as Casper.
Again, all of this is true as regards the person lashing out...but that person ain't me. Donald Douglas doesn't behave the way he does because he's a conservative; he behaves this way because he's Donald Douglas.
Walter James Casper III has spent years smearing and harassing Professor Douglas, trying to get him fired from his job. This could (and in fact, often does) happen to any blogger who has a day job.
...but rather than provide links to any tweets or blog posts in evidence of this, McCain links to Donald's posts about me on his blog over the last year or so... Why do you think that is? (FWIW, I do the same thing on the sidebar of American Nihilist, believing Donald Douglas' posts are evidence of his bad behavior, not mine. Wonder what McCain's thinkin'?)

Not only did I never try to get Donald Douglas fired from his job, I regularly spoke out against anyone attacking bloggers offline for online behaviors, whether the victim or perps were conservative or liberal. And that includes the guy I once blogged with, who left the blog over our disagreement on the subject. There is no comment or post anywhere where I excuse or condone such behavior. Donald is lying, and McCain is mindlessly parroting Donald's lies. (And yes... The incident that Donald and McCain are talking about occurred in 2009. Really.)
To get an idea of the pathetic nature of Casper’s obsession, he has devoted an entire blog, called “American Nihilist,” to his anti-Douglas jihad. In the past six months, that stalker site has attracted an average of about 15 visitors a day. By contrast, Professor Douglas’s blog has averaged nearly 2,000 visitors daily.
In other words, the readership for Casper’s anti-Douglas rantings is less than 1% of the readership of Professor Douglas’s blog and yet, despite such clear evidence that no one else shares his obsession, Casper continues doing what he does, apparently with no other purpose except to annoy the target of his weird fixation.
As to the origins of American Nihilist, I've posted it many times:
I hate bullies. For well over a year, I read as Donald Douglas excoriated liberal blogger after liberal blogger, often in pretty nasty terms. I found him to be wrong politically, of course, but that wasn't it. My problem with Dr. Douglas was that he was pompous and kinda mean as well as being wrong.

Also, I was mystified by this whole nihilist thing. See, everytime he called me a nihilist, I asked him--a professor of political science--to back what he said with evidence of my nihilism. I'd challenge him to choose any dictionary, copy the definition of the word "nihilism," and then show examples, in the form of quotes from me, that support the notion that I am a nihilist. When he labeled some other blogger, I challenged him to do the same with quotes of that person. And while he was very free with the label, he has never actually shown that any liberal blogger has ever expressed a nihilist thought. In fact, he has never even tried.

As Donald attacked other bloggers on his site or theirs, labeling them no good nihilists everywhere he went, this whole "nihilist" schtick of his became kind of a joke around the liberal blogosphere, and folks began to know him as the wingnut who goes around calling everyone nihilists, like the boy who cried wolf... He practically made the word meaningless through repetition...

So one night I was bored, and created a blogspot blog that was a funhouse mirror of American Power. Where he used black I used white, and where he used white I used black. I intended it to be a one-off joke, where I'd do one or two posts calling everyone and everything "nihilist," and that'd be that. I sent authorship invitations to a few of the bloggers that Donald had recently attacked as being nihilists, figuring we'd all have a good laugh... But instead, a few of 'em accepted the authorship positions and started writing posts, in character. And the rest, as they say...

Authors have come and gone, but the blog is still here, still dealing with Donald's many attacks on others, and yes, launching a few on him, as well. The blogroll is made up of blogs/bloggers that Donald has attacked on his blog. Any of 'em are welcome to become authors here, anytime they wish. Other than illegal acts or items that threaten the continued existence of the blog, I don't censor anyone's writing. They're all adults, and thus each author is responsible for defending or apologizing for his own posts. (Yes, I know that Donald would prefer that I treat them like children, and only allow posts that I personally would approve of, but I see that as being far too "nanny state" for me. Should Donald ever run a group blog of his own, he is free to censor it any way he sees fit, but I believe that each individual author is capable of dealing with/defending their own posts.)

That in a nutshell is why I expose the foolish and the dangerous or nasty things Donald Douglas says on his blog. I don't like bullies in general, and I specifically don't like the way Dr Douglas treats the folks he doesn't agree with, so I decided to do to him what he was doing to others. Should he ever stop mistreating people, I'll stop calling him out for it. In the meantime, we'll all be here, Donald in his place, and we in ours...
As Donald became more focused on me, individually, I stopped making jokes (and eventually, posting original pieces regarding him at all) and started using it to respond to his posts and tweets about me. When he started threatening legal, law enforcement, or government action, I began keeping track of who posted what when, visible for anyone interested (or potentially involved in such action) to see...

As for the numbers, it helps to consider that aside the one page and sidebar where I keep track of Dr Douglas' attacks on me, I haven't posted anything there since August. The other blogger there posts about once a month. And frankly, no one at AmNi is much into treating our blog stats like freshmen boys comparing dick size in the locker room. Don's got a big blog penis. McCain's is even bigger than Donald's. So, why should anyone (aside them, perhaps) care? Does it make what either of them say any more right or wrong, honest or dishonest?

The answer folks, is no.

I can appreciate that Robert Stacy McCain felt obligated to defend his little blog brother Donald Douglas. He and his readers' attacks on my appearance and whatnot is par for the course (and in my opinion, speaks more to who they are than who I am...) Partisans attack because, hey, this is the internet, and ya gotta support your "team."

On the facts though, McCain's post is no better than most of Donald's obsessed, fact-free rants... I stopped doing anything to Donald Douglas that one could even spin into "stalking," "harassment," or "trolling" well over a year ago... (...and even before that, the overwhelmingly vast majority of what I did would be called "blogging" by most fair-minded internet users.) When Donald lashes out at me, I respond by adding the post or tweet to the list with a few comments--and occasionally (read, "last August...up until this post here"), by posting in response, too. Other than that, I do nothing more than read the poor guy's blog. Whatever Donald Douglas' issues may be, they're about him, not me...

===

UPDATE: "Journalist" Robert Stacy McCain expresses a decided lack of interest in the truth:
"Tell you what, Casper: You go nurse your hurts in your own dark corner of the Internet and don't give me another excuse to take notice of you. That's gonna be a win-win, see? Because I've got no shortage of weirdos to pay attention to, and you really don't want me on your case." - robertstacymccain
I can only reply that the guy volunteered to be "on my case" by pecking out the lying-assed post in the first place... He could easily've, y'know, not done that...but he did. And it's shoddy and likely intentionally dishonest work.
---

ADDED, for the record (High Irony Warning):
"See, these claims that I am engaged in “cyber bullying” and “cyberstalking” of Kimberlin, that I “defame and publicly attack Plaintiff” are merely word games; I report and comment and Kimberlin seems to think that by applying pejorative labels to my writing, he has proven that I’ve done what he says I’ve done." - "Journalist" Robert Stacy McCain - Brett Kimberlin and ‘False Narratives’:
Yeah I feel ya, McCain... Must suck for folks to outright lie about you online and then act as though their claiming (or repeating) an allegation or pejorative about you is unimpeachable proof that what they say is stone-cold fact by virtue of their having said it... If only you and your obsessed little friend practiced the ideals you're trying to preach... (Hell, I'd be shocked if either of you actually quoted and attacked things I wrote rather than repeatedly regurgitating the dishonest and paranoid delusions of "stalking" and "harassment" that your friend Dr Douglas has spent the last year or two spinning and spewing to any and all who would listen...with occasional help from a few unquestioning symps.)
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An American Nihilist x-post

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In Reply: I don't agree that I should willingly silence myself against those who lash out and lie about me, even if I'm throwing away the opportunity to be the better man by speaking up

Revised and extended a little, in reply to the following comment at the (surprisingly, willfully dishonest) Other McCain post "Portrait of a Stalker Troll: @Repsac3, Also Known as Walter James Casper III," by "journalist" Robert Stacy McCain:

OK, here's the deal: I'm going to give you a fair shake because you're actually coherent. (unlike Schmeldfelt) I was right, I've seen this before. Specifically on LiveJournal fandom communities. As much as I'll admit that I look down on teenage girls in fandoms, they've provided a lot of insight and some of them have been surprisingly mature. So here goes.

Girl A and B are in the same fandom, let's say Doctor Who, and they both write fanfiction. Girl A is upset at Girl B for some reason, let's say that Girl B doesn't like the Doctor/Jack Harkness "ship" and writes Doctor/Martha fanfiction. So Girl A starts writing gossip on her LJ about Girl B, and Girl A's clique gets in on it. And even worse, either Girl A or one of her clique starts posting in one of the many anonymous communities about Girl B and her fanfiction. (They're like 4chan. If you don't know, don't ask. Believe me, you're better off not knowing) Every manner of high school gossip you can think of, with a bunch of "anons" badmouthing Girl B among a relatively small community. However, they keep their gossip and badmouthing to their own journals and the anonymous community; they never contact her directly.

Now, Girl B usually has two options. The first option is to go on these communities to defend her reputation. Occasionally, the friends of the injured party also get in on the act to defend their friend, i.e., "whiteknighting", thereby escalating the incident and earning Girl B a reputation as a "wanker", someone who drags out drama. By answering drama with more drama, Girl B ends up making a bad reputation all on her own where one usually never existed in the first place.

The other option Girl B can take is ignoring the threads about her on anonymous communities or on the journals of Girl A or those of her friends. And eventually, the drama started by Girl A fades away, since Internet memories tend to be short unless there's something to the rumors or the issue is exacerbated and artificially extended by Girl B herself.

Is it fair? Hardly. Welcome to human nature. But it's been accepted by both courts and by piddling little online fandoms alike that being gossiped about online is not cyberstalking. When badmouthing crosses over into direct and continued contact, it becomes bullying, and persistent following of someone crosses into stalking. One tweet does not constitute stalking or bullying, but continued attempts to contact a target is, even if the stalker in question thinks he is "trying to set the record straight." No one else sees it this way, nor will anyone but the stalker ever see it this way.

So that's pretty much where we are right now. You have the same options as Girl B.
- La Pucelle

First off, the nature of partisan blogging is that it is confrontational... We frequently post on our blogs about the facts, ideas, and attitudes that another blogger is discussing on his, sometimes in agreement, but far more often in opposition. Sometimes the confrontations are all about the ideas, and sometimes they get personal, but ether way, it's built into the thing in a way it more than likely isn't in the communities you're describing.

That said, there has been no contact between Dr Douglas and I in about 9 months. He posts about me on his blog or via twitter, and I respond in kind, posting about what he said or making note of the fact that he once again lashed out, on my twitter feed or blog...

Sure, I have the choice not to post... (...just like Dr Douglas does, and just like every blogger or commenter or twitter-user does, just before posting about what some liberal/conservative asshat said on their blog.) But being cowed into silence because the crazy ass who's writing about you will be somewhere between slightly-and-somewhat more likely to post additional crazy shit about you if you respond to what he says (and will perhaps have friends who'll pile on along with him, taboot) is no way to live your life...

I call Donald Douglas out when he attacks because much of what he says is patently untrue, and he shouldn't be able to lie about me on his blog without my pointing out every lie he tells on mine if I so choose...not even if some think that not doing so would be the smarter or more "sane, grown-up" way to behave.

I understand what you're getting at but no, I don't agree that I should willingly silence myself against those who lash out and lie about me, even if I'm throwing away the opportunity to be the better man by speaking up... (I decided a few years ago to curtail being the guy who lashes out in the first place as often as possible--and yes, I have at times failed at doing that, since...but that's about as far as I'm willing to go...)

(As an aside, if even half of we partisan bloggers and commenters were sane grown-ups, the partisan blogosphere would shrivel up and die.)
---

Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2013, 10:45 PM (or thereabouts)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Reply: Stupid Behavior and Online Lynch Mobs

In reply to Why Did BuzzFeed & Co. Target Justine Sacco for Online Assassination

In general I'm against these social media lynch mobs and people being fired (or even disciplined) by their employers, especially for words and deeds that take place outside the workplace (and in some cases, at the workplace either.) That goes for this woman, the duck guy, Imus, the idiot who mistreated the Chick-fil-a girl back when that was going on, the girl at Arlington National Cemetery who wiseassedly mocked the sign calling for quiet and respect in a pair of photos posed on her Facebook account, and maybe even Bashir, too... While the people/companies they work for have the right to let them go if their words or deeds reflect poorly on the company products or brand, I think it's a mistake for employers to get that involved in their employee's off work political or social behaviors.

The same goes for people who disagree with bloggers or political partisans and take/make their attacks on them offline, by releasing personal information about where they live, work, shop or worship, and who their spouses or kids are, thus condoneing (and let's be honest, in some cases encouraging) people to harass them and their families or try to get them fired from their jobs. (I see little difference between the hounding of this woman and the personal attacks (not the policy disagreements or even the photoshop mockery, but the personal attacks on the kid, himself) on PajamaBoy, for instance. YMMV... -- For more on this, there's a great discussion on the Popehat Blog, at a post titled "The Political Is Personal. Why?")

In short, this liberal pretty much agrees with this post...


Posted 12/21/13, about 1:40 PM (Blog uses relative times--currently "3 hours ago"--I'll fix the times later, if/when the blog gets more specific.)

And when someone pointed out that I hadn't mentioned Paula Deen...

Yep, her too...
In her case I think she might've done some of what she was accused of, but it was a long time ago, and she seemed to be legitimately sorry. I believe people can screw up, and then learn and grow and do better. (I'd also put Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond in that category... and yes, I think Trent Lott got railroaded trying to say something nice to/about an old man.)

(On Edit): See also: Dixie Chicks

And... I also didn't mention Baldwin. He verbally exposed himself too many times. Whether he's a bigot or has anger issues (or both), he deserved what he got, and sooner than he got it, too. 'nuff said.


Posted 12/21/13, about 2:40 PM

On a similar subject (sort of): Donald Douglas - An Ethical "Push-me, Pull-you"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Merry Christmas!!" / "Happy Holidays!!" and Our One Size Fits All Culture


One size fits all policies--whether they be zero tolerance policies, mandatory minimum sentences, political correctness, or the equally inane fight against all political correctness--refuse to accept that most human beings have common sense. A six-year-old bringing a firearm to school is not equal to that same kid holding his thumb and forefinger in the shape of a gun. Some language is legitimately offensive--even if it isn't intended to be, or didn't used to be considered offensive--while other language really just isn't.

Someone wishing you a Merry Christmas is seldom if ever a slight against you or your faith, whatever it may be. Someone wishing you "Happy Holidays!" isn't, either. When stores make a policy that excludes either or only acknowledges one set of beliefs, they're not allowing good old common sense to rule the day. There is nothing wrong with hoping every customer enjoys all the holidays, including the ones they don't personally celebrate. And there's nothing wrong with offering holiday wishes based on the cues people offer, either. (A lot of times, you can figure out who celebrates what holiday based on clothing or other attributes.) Demanding that stores use any one particular kind of greetings and signage--whether all "Christmas" or all "Holiday"--is just questioning common sense.

I suspect that many believe in this "War on Christmas" nonsense because Christmas has been the dominant holiday for so long. Jews and others were just supposed to accept that numbers dictated that stores would have Christmas signage and offer Christmas greetings, and towns would have Christmas tree lightings and Christmas fairs. If those who didn't celebrate Christmas were lucky, there'd be some small recognition of their faith tucked in a corner somewhere out of the way...maybe. That some cities and towns, multi-state or multi-national chains and individual mom N pop stores have chosen to be more inclusive threatens those who want Christmas to remain at the top of the ladder. Every acknowledgement of those who don't celebrate Christmas is one less acknowledgement of the Christian faith. They call it tradition...but refusing to recognize that other faiths exist and deserve to be in the public square too is a bad tradition.


If it were up to me, we, the people would acknowledge and celebrate all sacred and secular holidays in the public square. Schools would teach about all religions, and children would learn the ethnic and religious traditions of everyone in their classes, their schools, their neighborhoods, and ultimately, the world.

I understand why this isn't possible--it's largely the same reason there is both political correctness AND the so-called "war on Christmas" &/or "the Christian faith." (For my money, the "War on Christmas" is just political correctness, Christian edition. Another interest group demanding that everyone give them the respect they think they deserve by virtue of the fact they exist. YMMV...) No matter how much we tried, some group--& more than likely every group--would think they were getting the short end of the stick somehow, or believe that some other group isn't worthy of the same respect as their own. It's a damned shame, but it's something we'll probably never get past... ...so rather than learning about and honoring all of our traditions and faiths, we can't honor any of them in our secular public square... It doesn't stop the complaining, obviously, but it does lessen it...

One size fits all.

Yay.

God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

In Reply: Conservative Site Vehemently Defends Anti-War Protesters (because Obama)

In reply to: Clarifying A Developing Story Turned Faux-Outrage….. Veterans Arrested At War Memorial ? It’s not DC, it’s NYC !! It’s not what it appears…. | The Last Refuge:

Maybe the source you list above was vague or tried to make folks believe something that wasn't true, but the truth was out there, including from the protesters themselves on Monday morning: Veterans to Face Arrest at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza | PopularResistance.Org

The Atlantic's story about it was pretty clear, as well: Police Arrest Vietnam Veterans at NYC Memorial - Brian Feldman - The Atlantic Wire

Nevertheless, at least one conservative site didn't see the big picture and--despite knowing it happened in NYC, blamed Obama for beating up on those patriotic vets: Outrage! Obama has Vietnam Veterans arrested in New York
---

Submitted for moderator approval Posted October 8, 2013 at 2:52 am

ADDED: It isn't like I didn't try to tell the blogger at Fire Andrea Mitchell. S/He just didn't seem to want to hear it...or let anyone else know s/he had, either:

Monday, September 23, 2013

In Reply: Reagan Statue Vandalism Despicable, But So Is Lying About Why's Responsible (NY Daily News)

In reply to Ronald Reagan statue vandalized in Southern California - NY Daily News -- Vandalism is awful, no matter the reason. But it's disappointing to see some on the right blaming "the left" with absolutely zero evidence. IF it does turn out to be an act borne of political animus, that would be terrible, and deserving of swift punishment. (Whether you think it would deserve MORE punishment than if it was committed by drunk teenagers or a mentally unstable person depends on your politics and your views on how much or little motive counts when one commits a criminal act.) But to blame anyone or ascribe any motive without facts to back it up in the name of political partisanship is pretty despicable, as well. -- Posted Monday, 9/23/13, 9:40 PM (Supporting links and updates to the story to follow)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In Reply: "free speech is often about defending the rights of those one finds repugnant" (Simple Justice)

In reply to: Blogging: More Than The Cost of Admission | Simple Justice, wherein the author brings up several points worthy of consideration as concerns defending folks (and in particular, those folks) against Team Kimberlin.
---

You bring up several points that definitely deserve consideration...and do so with respect for all sides, which is all too rare here on the internet machine.

In fact, most of 'em are so worthy of consideration that I want to stew over 'em for awhile before expressing an opinion.

In part, I'm concerned that my desire not to support the rightwing bloggers on partisan and personal grounds is influencing my opinion of some of what you've said here. I believe in free speech and more speech, but I find some of the folks that stance has me defending morally repugnant and personally ungrateful, besides. While I'm defending them, they're attacking me both personally and via sweeping generalization. It definitely makes one want to just not bother, and some of what you've written here might be justification to do just that.

On the other hand, one's values are one's values. No one ever said it was easy, and free speech is often about defending the rights of those one finds repugnant. In any case, I just want to be sure that I'm agreeing with you (or Ken) for the right reasons.

The only bit I can speak to (at least a little) is whether there isn't a person or cause more deserving. My take has always been that one does what one does and starts where one starts. Every dollar donated to one cause is a dollar that isn't donated to any other cause. By donating to help families who lost their homes in a natural disaster, you're not helping starving children in Africa. By spaying and neutering stray cats, you're turning your back on programs that help homeless veterans. And yeah, putting money into a defense fund for internet free speech necessarily means those who do will give less to defend the indigent accused of more serious crime.

I take this all to be a plea to consider what's really important to you, and to donate accordingly. But at the same time, I also think there have to be people out there for free speech AND folks for indigents accused of murder AND people whose cause is stray cats AND... (etc.) While it's up to us to put our money where our values are, choosing from among all the competing "goods" there are, it's also important that someone fights for the local art museum, music education or the grey spotted salamander, even if others believe that money could be much better spent saving the causes they champion instead. We start where we start, and we do what we can (and we hope others do too, so that every worthy cause ultimately gets funded.)
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Submitted for moderator approval September 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

In Reply: Delete Tweet, or Own Up to Your Mistakes? (Legal Insurrection)

In reply to the Legal Insurrection post To delete a tweet, or not to delete a tweet, that is the question, discussing whether or not to disappear tweets (and by extension, blog posts, etc) where one offers, repeats, or reacts to inaccurate infirmation or says something that turns out to be embarassing. (Follow the link above to the original post for more info.)

I can see both sides (especially in the case of traditional media outlets which, like it or don't, many trust more than bloggers), but I'm in the "leave it up and issue a correction tweet or two" camp. (In some instances when I've tweeted incorrect information (when I thought it was a serious enough error), I've also gone back and commented on my own tweet, correcting the incorrect info. Problem solved.)

While it's embarrassing to repeat, retweet, or react to a news report that later turns out to've been incorrect, I don't so much blame the person who repeated it as the source of the bad information. (Yeah, I hold the "traditional media" to a higher standard than I do bloggers and other social media users, too.)

Everyone makes mistakes, overreacts, or otherwise puts out things they later wish they hadn't (or at the very least, had handled differently). Owning up to being a human being with human foibles makes one more trustworthy in the long run.
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Posted September 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A thought-provoking blog post: "How to Talk to Little Girls" (Latina Fatale) #GirlsUnstoppable

Just a taste here:
I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”

But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s next top model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
Please read the rest: How to Talk to Little Girls

As I read this post, I realized how often I use appearance as the go-to, first compliment when talking to my niece and other young girls whose parents, etc. I know. While I believe that such compliments have their place, I'm going to try harder to focus in on those attributes and skills that I (or the specific girl I'm talking to) most value in future, especially when making an initial, first-impression comment. Like the Dove Real Beauty and #GirlsUnstoppable campaigns, I believe female (and human) beauty is more than skin deep, and comes in many forms.
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Links:
How to Talk to Little Girls

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty
dove real beauty campaign - Google Image Search

Help Make All Girls Unstoppable
Positive Self-Esteem Makes All Girls Unstoppable
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But on the other hand:
How To Raise Girls Who Love Their Looks
(And no, I didn't realize until this link addition that the original post, as well as the link I just added, are from 2011... Still as relevant and thought provoking, though...)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In Reply: Perhaps 911 dispatchers need to rethink how they "suggest" that wannabe heroes and morons not put themselves in danger by approaching or following the potentially dangerous criminals they're calling 911 about

Revised and extended, in reply to a whole lotta back and forth about the 911 dispatcher and George Zimmerman at the post Can Anyone Verify These Disturbing Allegations About Trayvon’s Family? : The Other McCain:

Hopefully 911 (emergency and non) throughout the country will rethink the best way to talk to people who haven't got the good sense to understand that "we don't need you to do that, sir" is a "suggestion" that callers not put themselves in further danger by approaching the potential criminals they're calling about. It's not illegal to be a moron, but neither party would've been injured if only Zimmerman understood, and had listened to the guy with a whole lot of experience dealing with first responders and potentially dangerous situations...though no, he was under no legal obligation to do so.

While they're at it, they probably ought to consider rephrasing how they ask which direction the potential criminal went, perhaps including the phrase "from where you are now, and please don't go after the man/woman/group you're telling me may be dangerous criminals," in deference to those same kinda morons.

Based on the evidence available and the laws as they stand, Zimmerman could not be convicted. Also, he didn't commit a hate crime. But--like Christopher Serino says, Zimmerman ultimately could've avoided this whole thing--not been hit, and not killed anyone--if only he had done things differently, either waiting in his car for the police (which the dispatcher also gently "suggested,") or at least approaching Martin differently, perhaps saying he was part of the neighborhood watch, and saying that Martin seemed unsure of which house he was looking for. While that doesn't matter criminally (though I think it should), it hopefully will matter civilly.
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Posted Tuesday, 7/16/2013, 8:25 AM

Sunday, June 30, 2013

In Reply: Staying Away From Unknown, Suspicious Individuals Is Smart...and Lessens the Possibility of Confrontation and Subsequent Need for Self-Defense

In reply to the following comment at the post, Open Thread Friday | NewsBusters:

I appreciate you taking the time to address me on this- I read your piece as recommended by Jer, and found it to be better than the other one, by far, but you're still off base. I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of time around today's urban youth. You've made suppositions based on emotion, or feelings, or initial biased reporting, or whatever causes you to believe that Zimmerman was "creepy" and that Martin was provoked into committing aggravated battery. Fine. You've got a soft spot for what you think is idyllic youth. But it's misguided and unrealistic.

I'm not sure which neighborhood watch guidelines you're suggesting he didn't follow, but the Sanford guidelines are here: ttp://axiomamnesia.com/Trayvon... Maybe you can be more specific.

The very purpose of the neighborhood watch program is to observe and report. One of the suspicious activities noted in the guidelines is running. So tell me, if you're driving a vehicle through your neighborhood, and you observe a person dressed like several others who've been involved in a spate of recent crime in your neighborhood, AND while trying to drive by for a better look, said suspicious person moves in between houses AND you are unable to continue follow due to the lack of roadway AND you lose site of that suspicious person AND you have completed or are involved in on-going training as a neighborhood watch component, would you not exit your vehicle to try and ascertain where the person was going as you're on the phone with police trying to give them a description of said suspicious person? ("Uh sorry, he took off. Nope. No clue where he went. In a house? Maybe. I don't know. What was he wearing? Uh, could be a sweatjacket, maybe one of those hoodies. Not sure. Lost him as I was dialing.") Well, some might not, but others surely would. I would. Following and confronting, however, are two very different things.

The Zimmerman call to police has been thoroughly dissected from a time and location standpoint. Maybe you're not privy to some of that. Here is a pretty detailed summation: http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/the-missing-230-and-deedees-testimony

For some reason, you're giving all of the benefit of the doubt to the 17 year old over the 28 year old. You're suggesting that Zimmerman provoked confrontation without a shred of evidence to indicate that. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle a considerable distance from where he reported Martin's location, and the actual confrontation took place at a location that required Martin to turn back toward Zimmerman. A scared kid wouldn't have done that. A kid who thought the big bad -potentially armed- wolf who was out to harm him, wouldn't have done that. He was closer to the front door of his temporary residence than he was either Zimmerman or the location of the altercation. Martin came back looking to confront Zimmerman. Remember, Martin is no stranger to fighting. And now we know he was on top of Zimmerman, beating him in what was described as MMA-style "ground and pound". Zimmerman had very obvious injuries of this type of beating while Martin only had one gunshot wound. This kid wasn't scared, he was the aggressor.

Throwing a punch at someone is an assault. Connecting with it is battery. You do not have the right to assault and batter someone that is asking you questions. You do not have the right to batter someone whom you fear. And there is no indication that Zimmerman initiated any physical contact. I would challenge your assertions as to morality.

Zimmerman may ultimately be convicted for his actions that night, but the well is so severely poisoned at this point -with threats of violence quite prevalent if he's acquitted (http://twitchy.com/2013/06/27/ima-kill-me-a-cracka-death-threats-against-george-zimmerman-random-white-people-explode-during-trial/)- that jurors feeling some sense of self-preservation might end up influencing their decisions. But everything that has been entered into testimony to this point has backed up Zimmerman's claims from the outset.

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You missed the "h" in http on your first link, and even searching the site, I can't find the Sanford Neighborhood Watch Handbook (it's also been removed from the Sanford.gov site that most bloggers referencing it linked to initially), but I'd be very surprised if Sanford's handbook doesn't match what most most say: Do not follow a suspect, do not confront a suspect, and do not patrol while armed. (one example: Neighborhood Watch 101: How to patrol - St. Louis Crime | Examiner.com)

Even trained, armed police officers seldom go after a suspect individual without back-up. George reported the suspicious activity--including the fact that the suspicious person ran out of sight...and the dispatcher told him that they didn't need for him to follow the suspicious individual. So, while some might, and you say you would, it's awful foolish and against neighborhood watch policy and police department want or need for a civilian to follow an unknown suspect into a dark area on foot...in part because "following" can very easily lead to "confrontation," even if the latter is not intended.

The evidence that Zimmerman followed Martin is clear, and not in dispute, even by Zimmerman. One can assume that Martin might've doubled back on Zimmerman, but there's no actual evidence or testimony to that effect... (I don't know where the guy at the wagist link is getting his info, but not even he backs up his claim that Martin went up to his step mom's house & doubled back with anything other than his own words.)

I contend that a scared individual (kid or otherwise) would--and would be smart to--stay away from unknown suspicious individuals. Martin did that for the majority of the timeline. Zimmerman did not. Sure, it is possible that Martin chose fight when flight didn't work for him--Zimmerman kept coming--and that he is responsible for the first punch, and for being the better fighter overall, too... And yes, if Martin threw the first punch--even if he believed it was the only way to get this creep to stop following him--Martin was guilty of assault. But if Zimmerman had followed neighborhood watch guidelines, police suggestions, or even just good old common sense, neither would've thrown any punches or fired any shots.

On edit: My point isn't that I think Zimmerman (or Martin) actually were creepy, but that each painted a false picture of the other as creepy and up to no good, and behaved as though those images were accurate. On one hand, it's probably safer to be suspicious of strangers behaving unusually, these days (whether it's following you, looking in windows, loitering, etc), but it sure would've helped if either had just approached and asked for the time or offered to help, or something...
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Posted Sunday, June 30, 2013, 2:00 AM

Previously: In Reply: "Over a year later...I still believe George Zimmerman's actions make him morally responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin"

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