Monday, August 30, 2010

Glenn Beck’s Rally

Depending upon who you listen to, between 75,000 and 300,000 people showed up to hear Glenn Beck speak.

I interpret the message as let’s go back to the good old days of Jim Crow and women in the kitchen. I’m not sure why they just don’t dress in KKK sheets and hoods. Come to think of it, they might as well just put swastikas on their banners.

Make no mistake about it, this is American Fascism. Sinclair Lewis warned that when fascism came to America it would be wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible. For these people freedom means making certain that everyone looks like them, thinks like them and lives like them. If you’re not white Protestant Christian then, as far as they’re concerned, you should be respectful of your betters and do what they tell you, when they tell you.

Any Blacks, Hispanics or Catholics that support this idiocy might as well start digging their own graves. I needn’t worry about Liberals or Atheists; we’re smart enough to see the specters of the Fuehrer and the Grand Wizard peering down upon this with approval.

This is the result of fear. The world is changing, has been changing and will continue to change. The current generation in the United States is caught up in one of those great evolutions of society that sort of creep up on people from time to time.

The American dominance in the world is fading. The U.S. has not kept up with social, educational and industrial developments elsewhere in the western world. We have fallen behind in a number of areas and the working and middle classes are feeling the effects.

People are afraid. They have a right to be afraid. Unfortunately rather than face the issues realistically, people tend to look for someone, or something, to blame and a fast easy solution.

The demagogues offer both. In Germany in the 1930’s it was all the fault of the Jews and Hitler promised to restore Germany to her rightful place by promising everything to everybody. The unemployed would have jobs, the Capitalists profits and the army a return to former glory.

In the U.S. in the 2000’s it’s all the fault of turning our backs on “traditional American values” and Right Wing Conservatives, with the help of Jesus, will make it all better. Notice that they never tell you how other than somehow they’re going to reduce government size and power. They’ll also probably reduce taxes on the rich so you sorry SOBs can someday have some prosperity trickle down. Of course I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The fact of the matter is the last thing Right Wing Conservatives in power can afford is a government reduced in size and power because they are dependent upon authoritarian control to make certain that everyone looks like them, thinks like them and lives like them.

I find it amusing that these are the very people that are most willing to scrap the Liberal Democracy that is at the foundation of “traditional American values.”

So what happens now? I would like to think that the vast majority of Americans aren’t being taken in by these assholes but I know better than that. The average American is an idiot and would quite happily give away his political freedom to a Fascist Demagogue as long as it doesn’t appear to immediately inconvenience him.

Crap, that means stepping up the workouts in preparation for the civil war that is sure to come. I wish I was a bit younger.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Mosque at Ground Zero

First of all it’s not really a Mosque it’s a community center with a prayer area and, second, it’s not really at ground zero but it is near it. The site is only about two blocks away.

Ok, so much for picking nits. The issue is should an Islamic anything be built anyway near ground zero?

To be honest with you, I don’t like the idea at all. On the other hand, I understand that preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States may well involve doing things, or accepting things, I don’t particularly like.

I don’t like Neo-Nazi speeches. I don’t like Christian Fundamentalist Creation “Science” museums. I don’t like Holocaust Denial. I don’t like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter or Fox News.

But to deny them their right to express their views simply because I know I’m not going to like what I’m about to hear would be to deny the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

Since 911 I'm not that sure I like Muslims either but to deny them their right to worship as they see fit, and to be able to live their lives as they see fit, would also be to deny the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

I think building a Muslim structure so near to ground zero is a bit on the insensitive side, and perhaps even a tad unwise, but it is their right to do so.

The measure of a democracy is not in its ability to do what the majority wants. The measure of a democracy is in its ability to protect the rights of the minority even in the face of resistance from the majority.

I stand by the Constitution. They have every right to build their Mosque and we shouldn't let fear or prejudice make us violate the principles that this country is built upon. If we do that then we're no better than the fanatics that flew the planes into the towers. We owe it to those that died to be better than that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More on the Prop 8 Decision

The fallout is still coming down and I am appalled at the amount of ignorance associated with the diatribes.

Courts are said to issue “opinions” but what it is critical to understand is that those opinions must be backed by facts. Regardless of what Rush Limbaugh and other Right Wing assholes say, Judges cannot make declarations simply based upon their personal opinion. They must document the “facts” and points of law they have determined that justify that opinion.

Now here comes the good part. Appellate courts are generally bound by any findings of fact. Appellate courts rule on law and not fact. So essentially, assuming no fraud, they are bound by the lower court’s findings of fact and their judgments must align with those facts. Atlantic magazine extracted the findings of fact that Judge Walker articulated in the Prop 8 case.

1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.
Ignore the Religious Right when they claim that marriage is a Christian institution. It’s most certainly not. It is a state institution that religions sanction but the religious aspects are purely voluntary. Marriage was originally instituted to figure out which son inherited the father’s land and title since it was almost guaranteed that males would father children by many women.

2. California, like every other state, doesn't require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.
The “but gay couples can’t reproduce” argument killer. I’ve pointed out many times that couples that medically can’t have children, are too old to have children or don’t care to have children can still legally marry.

3. Marriage as an institution has changed overtime; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no-fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.
This is an important point. Allowing gay marriage would be just one more evolution in an institution that has evolved in the past.

4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.
Legally, there is no difference between married males and married females so, as far as marriage law is concerned, the two sexes are interchangeable. This sounds weird but, from a purely legal standpoint, it makes sense.

5. Same-sex love and intimacy "are well-documented in human history."
Regardless of what some might wish, it’s always been there and probably always will be there. Therefore the time has come to recognize that simple fact.

6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.
It’s just like being blue eyed or left handed.

7. Prop 8 proponents' "assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."
The idea that “sexual orientation cannot be defined” is total right wing horseshit.

8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor that it can be changed.
BINGO! This is the big one folks. It’s not a choice so Christians are wrong again and, if your God claims it’s a choice, he’s not a God is he?

9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.
Ok, I would venture to say that given the movie industry and fashion industry are big in California this is probably a no brainer.

10. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union."
This is a big one. This squashes all the arguments related to how gays can’t form the same kind of marital bond that heterosexuals can.

11. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."
The corollary to this is that everyone should have the right to marry or it’s not equal protection under the law.

12. "Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.
Separate is not equal and different is not equal. The state of New Jersey should take note.

13. "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."
The argument that somehow allowing gays to marry will negatively affect heterosexual marriage is total, complete and utter horseshit.

Therefore, given these facts, any restriction on the rights of gays to marry has no justification outside a simple dislike of gays for who they are. This is precisely equivalent to a restriction saying left handed can't get married, a restriction that blue-eyed people can't get married or that black people can't get married.

Therefore it is an arbitrary restriction that violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Allow me to quote the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Federal Judge Overturns Prop 8

A Federal Judge has declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Now it's on to the next round. Opponents of Gay Marriage have threatened to appeal while Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California who declined to defend Prop 8, has called it a victory for justice and freedom.

I agree with Arnie. When the hell are people in this country going to understand that the rights guaranteed under the Constitution don’t only apply to people that look like them, act like them and think like them.

I’m sure this battle is far from over but I’ll take one victory at a time.

Here is an interesting quote from the decision. "The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples."

In other words there is no danger to heterosexual marriage, no negative impact on responsible child bearing and all the kiddies aren’t going to suddenly get turned into homosexuals or bisexuals.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know why some small percentage of the population has its sexual wires crossed nor do I particularly care. I do accept the scientific and psychological conclusion that it is beyond their control.

I’m as homophobic as the next guy and get squeamish just thinking about homosexual sex, but I’m not ready to demand that homosexuals have to “resist their sinful urges” just because I don’t understand them.

So, at least for the moment, freedom and justice have triumphed.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Fox News Promoted but Denied Helen Thomas’ Seat

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) promoted Fox News to the front row in the White House briefing room. However the WHCA denied Fox Helen Thomas’ center seat which Fox had heavily campaigned for. The coveted center seat went to the AP.

Even granting Fox News, a right wing propaganda machine that has been caught red handed on numerous occasions manipulating news content, a move to the front row alongside legitimate journalists strikes me as an affront to the integrity of the press.

It is the responsibility of a Free Press to report the news as accurately as possible while clearly identifying opinions as editorials. This is a responsibility that Fox News has repeatedly, and willfully, ignored.

The WHCA should be congratulated on not giving Fox Helen Thomas’ prestigious center seat, but they should be ashamed of themselves for promoting Fox given the network's total lack of journalistic integrity.