Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In Reply: Avoiding torture and cruelty has nothing to do with who they are or what they do... It's about who we are...

In reply to the following comment at the Lawyers, Guns & Money post "...nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
Anonymous says:
April 29, 2014 at 10:58 pm

You dolt. This barbarous:
“A jury found that on June 3, 1999, Clayton Lockett and two co-conspirators, Shawn Mathis and Alfonso Lockett, broke into the Perry, Oklahoma, home of Bobby Bornt. They assaulted Bornt before burglarizing his home for drugs. While they were at Bornt’s home, two 19-year-old women arrived. The men repeatedly raped and assaulted one woman, whose name is withheld as a victim of sexual assault, before loading Bornt, Bornt’s 9-month-old son, Stephanie Nieman, and the other woman into Bornt’s and Nieman’s trucks and driving them to a rural location in Kay County.

Bornt testified that he heard Clayton Locket say, “Someone has got to go,” before he put Nieman in a ditch dug by Shawn Mathis and shot her twice. He also testified to hearing the men laugh about “how tough [Nieman] was” when she did not die after the first shot.”
My reply:

The reason we avoid torturing our country's enemies and cruelly punishing those who break our laws--even when those enemies and lawbreakers have shown that they torture and are intentionally cruel to others--is because we are not them. Our American, religious, and human values and ideals prevent our giving in those animal instincts, and we've made laws to prevent our doing so when tempted. The people who don't do that--who can't control those base instincts and do torture and otherwise behave cruelly toward others...well, they're the very people whose eyes and teeth you're talking about pulling out, aren't they...?

Avoiding torture and cruelly has nothing to do with who they are or what they do, Dr. Douglas... It's about who we are... Who we are, and who we strive to be as Americans and as human beings...

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:26 am

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Reply: I condemn Cliven Bundy's racist remarks, Donald Sterling's racist remarks, and the commentary of those who try to explain away or excuse the bigotry of either of them.

Revised and extended, in reply to this untitled post at No More Mister Nice Blog:

Donald Douglas has been mad since Cliven Bundy exposed himself, and has been desperate to turn the tables ever since. How desperate? THIS desperate: Sick Leftist Jamelle Bouie Attacks Alleged Racist Rancher as Demonic 'Cloven' Bundy.

In Douglas's hate-filled partisan mind a simple typo becomes a demonization of Bundy. (Some may recall how he did the same thing when he saw a kid holding a "Sasquatch Is Real" "protest" sign in NY. Intentionally or not--and I'm willing to accept not, though that doesn't change anything--he misread the sign as "Sasquatch Israel," and then spun a myth out of thin air that this kid was an anti-semitic liberal, and that his sign was saying that like Bigfoot, Israel does not exist. For those who don't know or remember the story, yeah, this really happened.)

As with "Sasquatch Israel" of years past, bitter partisan ideology trumps reason and logic and even good sense. Jamelle Bouie's hitting the "o" instead of the "i" right next to it--typing "Cloven" instead of "Cliven"--is not just a typo, but the writer literally L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y demonizing the racist rancher. (Why he's not "cowing" the rancher, I don't know.) And as with this Donald Sterling story, Donald repeatedly sent tweets alleging this "Cloven = the Devil" meme to seemingly every single Slate employee he could find a twitter handle for, demanding that they respond. Then he sent more tweets to every one of his conservative allies, hoping that they'd back him up. And then for good measure, he did all that again. I don't think anyone bit on the "Cloven" smear, and so far it's only the real partisan hacks who're nibbling on this one too. (That may change, and it won't surprise me much if it does...but "Sterling as Dem torchbearer" is still just as ridiculous and desperate an allegation as "'Cloven' typo exposes Dem demonization.")

Donald Douglas is desperate to turn those tables and find some racist or bigoted Democrat with which to tar all Democrats. Personally, I think the donations from 20 years ago is kinda thin gruel on which to hang one's hat. (How's that for a mixed metaphor...) But even if Sterling is or ever was a Democrat, so what? Anyone who claims that any one Democrat or Republican represents ALL Democrats or Republicans is an idiot.

I condemn "Cloven" Bundy's racist remarks, along with the verbiage of those who tried (and are continuing to try) to excuse them or explain them away.
I also condemn Donald Sterling's racist remarks, along with the verbiage of anyone who tries to excuse them or explain them away...should anyone actually do that, that is…
And in both cases, I don't care which party or political movement the people saying or defending the bigoted remarks come from...

One set of standards for friend and foe alike...

Posted Sunday, April 27, 2014, 12:05 AM

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...

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."

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.

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 -
"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?"
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.

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 -

"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...)

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.
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...)

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 |

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.

Submitted for moderator approval Posted Saturday, April 5, 2014, 6:50 PM (or so...)

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