Tag Archives: constitutional rights

Sen. Dianne Feinstein running again

I have yet to see it reported in the mainstream media, but it’s clear that “Democratic” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California (pictured above, I’m pretty sure) is going to run for a fifth six-year term.

I voted for the center-right, mostly irrelevant Feinstein exactly once, in 2000, when I was still pretty new to California and didn’t know much about her. Over the ensuing years I learned a lot more about her, such as how her war-profiteering husband profiteered from the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War that she voted for, and therefore I haven’t voted for her since.*

Feinstein, whose net worth exceeds $50 million (yeah, she’s just one of us!) and who at age 8fucking3 is the oldest (apparently still living) member of the Senate, could step aside and vacate the seat that she has held since 19fucking92, giving a younger, fresher, much more relevant face a chance to represent the great state of California, but why do the right thing?

I knew that Feinstein was running again when fairly recently I started receiving e-mails from her again. (I am on her e-mail list.) Seriously, I can tell you that this is her pattern: It’s radio silence from her for several years, and then, when the next primary election for her approaches (it will be in June 2018), you’ll hear from her.

The e-mail that I received from Feinstein’s campaign today contains this mediocre logo —

Dianne Feinstein for California

— and has small print at the bottom that reads “Paid for and authorized by Feinstein for Senate 2018.”

Sadly, as long as she still lives, Repugnican Lite Feinstein will win re-election. Californians are pretty fucking dumb where it comes to re-electing her.

Hell, they’d probably vote for her corpse, which they essentially have been doing for a while now anyway.

*Feinstein also supported the unelected Bush regime’s unconstitutional mass spying on Americans, and still supports unconstitutional mass spying by the federal government; called for the immediate extradition and arrest of patriot Edward Snowden for having exposed the unconstitutional mass spying by the federal government that she wholeheartedly supports; supports the death penalty, since millionaires like she never have to worry about ever facing so-called justice; and actually supported the unconstitutional attempt to make the “desecration” of the U.S. flag a criminal act, although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment protects it (duh).

Feinstein is a real over-privileged, out-of-touch, authoritarian, plutocratic piece of shit.

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Privacy rights sacked for one old racist’s scalp

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano

Associated Press photo

In this late 2010 photo, Donald Sterling and his former mistress, V. Stiviano, watch Sterling’s team, the Los Angeles Clippers, play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA pre-season basketball game. Apparently, in a vengeful move, Stiviano released illegally recorded racist comments made by Sterling, and a nation that no longer is bothered by blatant violations of privacy has mostly overlooked this element to the scandal, which I find chilling. 

Soon-to-be-former Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling strikes me as a racist asshole. Probably the best thing that we can say about him is that he has far many more days on this planet behind him than he has ahead of him. So let’s agree on that, since that may be all that we can agree on in this post.

The thing is that I have a real problem with the way that Sterling has been publicly tarred and feathered. How you do something, and how something comes about, do matter.

First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with fellow leftist Ted Rall that Sterling’s privacy rights very apparently were violated. As Rall notes in a column he recently wrote for aNewDomain.net (the links are Rall’s):

… Yet there’s a major part of the Sterling story that American journalists aren’t covering. One that’s just as important as the reminder that racism is still thriving in the executive suite — a suite whose profits derive mostly from African-American players, and whose boss has a half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend, no less.

What about Sterling’s privacy rights?

They tell us privacy is dead. Online, between the NSA and the public’s failure to take to the streets to bitch about the NSA, privacy is probably finished.

But what about a private phone call?

V. Stiviano, Sterling’s 31-year-old former mistress, appears to have surreptitiously recorded the call, baiting him into making disgusting remarks for the record and releasing it to the media, including the gossip sites TMZ and Deadspin, in retaliation for a $1.8 million lawsuit filed last week by Sterling’s wife. Mrs. Sterling is seeking the return of an apartment, cash and several cars — communal marital property under California law — that Sterling gave Stiviano.

Contextually, this is more gossip than journalism, closer to the ranting Alec Baldwin voice mail to his daughter tacklessly released by ex-wife Kim Basinger, than anything like WikiLeaks. We aren’t supposed to know about this. [I mostly agree with this, but when you leave a voice mail, you know that you are being recorded, and so that is a critical difference from being recorded without your knowledge or consent.]

What’s being ignored amid a firestorm of controversy so out of control that even the president of the United States felt compelled to weigh in on this matter so beneath the dignity of his office is this: Sterling’s privacy rights have been violated, both legally and morally.

Which is not good for him. Much more importantly, it’s terrible for us. …

I will add that in criminal law, there is the concept of the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” This means that evidence against a person that is obtained illegally — such as by violating one’s constitutional right to privacy — may not be introduced into the courtroom. If you did not obtain the incriminating evidence legally — constitutionally — you may not use it against the individual.

Further, as Rall goes on to note in his column:

… First, the legal issue: California, where this call almost certainly took place, requires the consent of both parties in order to record a phone conversation. Stiviano risks a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. (There doesn’t appear to be a penalty for making the recording public. California’s state assembly should consider one.) …

I, for one, hope that a district attorney prosecutes Sterling for her criminal act (although I doubt that that will happen, because of the race-charged politics of this matter), and I hope that Sterling sues Stiviano in civil court for having violated his right to privacy. (Um, he certainly can prove that he has sustained damages…)

I make this stance not to support a racist, as the race hustlers will accuse me (and there are so-called race hustlers of every race), but I make this stance to support the principle that a blatant violation of another’s constitutional right to privacy — such as recording him or her during a phone call and then publicizing the surreptitious recording of that phone call — should be punished. If it isn’t punished, then it means that privacy, and the law, mean nothing. (I know…)

Many certainly want to make an example of Sterling where racism is concerned — more on this shortly — and these same people, if they truly support our constitutional rights, which even blatant racists possess (just as they possess free-speech rights), should be fine with the privacy-rights-violating Stiviano’s being made an example of also.

Rall continues:

… Then there’s the moral question.

I have no beef with TMZ. When reporters find news, it is their duty to report it no matter where it comes from or who, it hurts. I’m a purist on this point: I don’t think WikiLeaks or Edward Snowden had any moral duty to protect intelligence secrets, not even the identities of spies, when they released classified U.S. government documents.

My problem is that nobody else seems to have a problem with recording private conversations and releasing them to the media.

As we learned from The People vs. Larry Flynt, society must defend its worst scumbags from having his rights violated, or everyone else risks losing theirs too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where every stupid thing I blather over the phone is potential fodder for public comment, Twitter wars and cause for dismissal from work.

Until we descend into the Stasi-like “Lives of Others” dystopia into which the NSA seems determined to transform the Land of the Formerly Free, everyone — including racist douchebags like Donald Sterling — ought to enjoy a reasonable presumption of privacy on the telephone. …

Yup.

And how about some due process? It was unseemly to have even the president of the United States calling for Sterling’s scalp before it was even concluded whether or not it was Sterling’s voice on the illegal recording. (Like most others, at this point I more or less am taking Sterling’s non-denial as fairly solid confirmation that it was indeed his voice that illegally was recorded, but at this point, if we value the truth, we will admit that we still have no actual evidence that it was indeed Sterling’s voice. [If Sterling has confessed, then OK, I stand pretty corrected, but I haven’t seen news of such a confession yet, if there is such news.])

And of course the mayor of my city (Sacrament0), former NBA player Kevin Johnson, had to insert himself into the whole Sterling mess, publicly declaring today, “I hope every bigot in this country saw what happened to Mr. Sterling.”

Johnson reportedly has been “a leading spokesman for NBA players during the Sterling controversy.”

I don’t know — the mayor of my city making such a threatening statement strikes me as thuggery. That’s a loaded word, thuggery, I know, but does Johnson’s public proclamation — his public threat exactly foster reconciliation among the races? Or does it only deepen racial divisions? Was Johnson, with his public statement — his thinly veiled threat — utilizing love or fear?

It was unseemly and unstatesmanlike, methinks, for Johnson to wave Sterling’s scalp in his hand as he did, and I can tell you, having lived in Sacramento during Johnson’s tenure as mayor (he’s now in his second term), that Johnson has done little for the city (California’s capital) outside of his personal interests.

Johnson apparently cares only about basketball (he recently was quite instrumental in denying us Sacramentans the ability to vote on whether or not there should be public funding for a new basketball arena that has been shoved down our throats by Johnson & Co.) and the ambitions of his wife, the infamous Michelle Rhee, to destroy teachers’ unions and turn our public schools into for-profit schools.

(And perhaps you should know that contributing to my use of the term “thuggery” above is the fact that from Day One, Johnson has pushed his so-called “strong-mayor” initiative, a rewrite of city governance that would greatly increase his power and decrease the power of the city council. Johnson has been pushing for this right since he took office. Kevin Johnson always has been, and always will be, all about Kevin Johnson and more pure, raw, political power for Kevin Johnson. He’s yet another example of why former jocks almost never should be handed the reins of power.)

I suppose that I digressed there (but I view Johnson as corrupt and dangerous as he is ambitious, and so I believe in educating people about what he’s really all about), but I come back now to the concept of the fruit of the poisoned tree: If it was even legal to do so, was it fair for Donald Sterling to have been punished as harshly as he was* for something that he said during a phone conversation that he had thought was private but that illegally was recorded by the other party, apparently for revenge? (Why else would you record a phone conversation, in whole or in part, except to use the recording later, such as by releasing it to other parties or by threatening to release it to other parties?)

I highly doubt that not one of the many black (and other non-white) Americans (prominent and non-prominent) who have publicly (and privately) slammed Donald Sterling for his racism never has uttered anti-white sentiment (and/or other racist sentiment) in a private communication with another individual.

How would any of them like it if a recording of them engaging in such talk in private were made public?

In the Sterling affair I just don’t see a national quest for justice and for racial reconciliation. I see Sterling as the stand-in for all old white bigots. Indeed, the size of his punishment indicates that Sterling is being punished not only for his own crimes, but for those of many, many others. (Indeed, Kevin Johnson directly proclaimed today, in his characteristically self-serving grandstanding, that he publicly was waving Sterling’s scalp as an example to “every bigot in this country.”)

That’s not fair, and making a scapegoat of Sterling — while ignoring the fact that his constitutional right to privacy blatantly was violated — won’t improve race relations in the United States of America. Indeed, it might make them worse.

Racism is institutionalized, is deeply ingrained, within the United States of America, and the racial hatreds in the United States are not only one way, whites hating blacks, but also run the other way, blacks hating whites, and of course the other races also engage in race-based hatred, and so we have many possible permutations of raced-based hatred in the U.S., and there is no quick or easy fix to this ugliness.

Electing a black president (twice) sure hasn’t helped very much — as Tavis Smiley remarked in October, “The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category” — and neither will punishing one old white bigot by dangling him in the public square for all to see and revile.

P.S. I listened to the clip of Kevin Johnson again, and the fuller, more accurate quote is: “I hope every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.”

Wow. Is that really the tone that we want to set for interracial reconciliation? And what does this mean, exactly? That from now on all of us can expect to have our phone conversations recorded, because all is fair in interracial warfare?

*Yes, it seems to me that imposing upon Sterling the maximum allowable $2.5 million fine, banning him from the NBA for life, and forcing him to sell his team for something that he said in an illegally recorded phone conversation probably is too harsh a punishment for the crime, a crime that he could not even be criminally tried for, since the evidence against him was obtained illegally and unconstitutionally.

It seems to me that we’re no better than Sterling if we celebrate his downfall, which has been orchestrated so underhandedly, and that when one person’s privacy so casually can be violated, then none of us has any privacy.

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Since when have we been at war with Dagestan? (Or, Orwell was right)

Updated below

No doubt, justice needs to be done in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Branding and then handling 19-year-old American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” however, would not serve justice. Quite the opposite.

It is the idea of the Gang of the Three — U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus of Arizona, closet case U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and newbie fascist U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — along with brazen Islamophobe U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who also is a fucking joke of a statesman — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant”Guantanamo style.

This isn’t about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or the victims of the Boston bombing, of course. This is about the opportunity for self-serving Repugnican Tea Party traitors to once again use the occasion of a national tragedy to grandstand and try to concentrate their personal and political power.

Because, as both George Orwell and George W. Bush (and, I will add, Adolf Hitler, even though we’re never to mention him anymore because it’s always hyperbolic to do so, right?) taught us very well, there’s nothing like exploiting a nation’s fear in order to create hatred with which to fascistically consolidate your political power.

John McCainosaurus still wants us Americans to know what a huge “mistake” we made when we overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama over him in 2008 (McCainosaurus won only 45.7 percent of the popular vote and only 173 electoral votes to Obama’s 52.9 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes).

McCainosaurus, our self-appointed shadow president, still is raging that the much younger, uppity black guy who didn’t have Vietnam-era POW status to shamelessly exploit for political gain (“I was a POW, so I deserve [fill in the blank]”) won the White House that McCainosaurus deserved. It was McCainosaurus’! He was robbed!

And McCainosaurus also wants to remain politically relevant in the increasingly insanely right-wing state of Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest.

Speaking of racists, Lindsey Graham hails from the first state that seceded from the Union before abolitionist Abraham Lincoln even was inaugurated.

Graham, a “bachelor” who obviously is gay (I’m gay, but unlike the evil loser Graham, I’m not in the fucking closet), obviously is overcompensating with the right-wing fascism thing because he doesn’t want his homophobic, backasswards state’s attention turned to his sexual orientation, which would be disastrous for his next election. It’s a psychology-textbook case.

Kelly Ayotte, who usually is just window dressing at McCainosaurus’ and Graham’s public pronouncements — three U.S. senators supposedly in agreement with each other looks better than two, and perhaps the addition of the junior senator from the blue state of New Hampshire is meant to offset the fact that McCainosaurus and Little Gay Boy Graham come from two of our reddest states — is only in her third year in the Senate, but apparently she believes that her association with the crusty McCainosaurus and the mincing Graham will pay off in her political future.

Peter King, a real piece of shit, is most known for his blatant support of the terrorist Irish Republican Army — because he’s of Irish descent, and so of course they can’t be terrorists — while he alleges that it’s the Muslims who are the real terrorists.

His repeated attacks on Muslims, culminating in his 2011 “hearings” on Exactly How Evil and Dangerous Muslims in the United States Are — I use quotation marks because an Islamophobe conducting a “hearing” on anything Islam-related isn’t there to hear anything, but is only there to pontificate the conclusions that he drew long before the “hearing” began — did nothing for “national security,” but only inflamed relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.

Which is what King and his piece-of-shit ilk want, of course. They create the very same hatred that quite predictably results in terrorist attacks and at the very same time proclaim that they are going to keep us safe from terrorist attacks. They want to perpetuate the problem that they claim they are the best ones to solve.

They call themselves patriots. I call them traitors, because their insatiable quest for more and more personal and political power only gets more and more Americans killed, and the only good traitor is an executed traitor.

I start off with the Gang of Three and the piece of shit Peter King because, as I said, it’s all about the Gang of Three and the piece of shit King.

For U.S. senators (and at least one U.S. representative) to actually publicly proclaim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant” already is creating an unfair and hostile environment in which the young man is to be tried for Monday’s twin bombings in Boston. His defense attorneys already can show that there is a threat to a fair trial for him.

Of course, it’s not a fair trial that the fascists of the Repugnican Tea Party want (after all, it’s someone else; why care about whether someone else gets a fair trial?). No, it’s more political power that they want.

Expanding the definition of an “enemy combatant” is a slippery slope to hell.

First, you twist and warp and pervert the definition of the word “war.” “War” no longer is a formally declared battle between two nations that will use their military forces to duke it out in a combat that presumedly will result in a “winner” and a “loser.” No, “war,” in Orwellian style, is whatever the fuck you say it is.

The Gang of Three and their ilk claim that We’re still at war! They love that shit. They have loved that 9/11 (which always was, is and always will be a terrorist attack and not part of any real or actual “war”) happened. It gave them, in their minds, a perma-enemy that they could milk for personal and political gain for infinity.

About a quarter of the human beings on the planet identify themselves as Muslims, and they are spread all over the world. If we are “at war” with these people, then obviously that “war,” very conveniently for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted war-mongering fascists, never will fucking end.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen who identifies himself as a Muslim. It is the religion that he was born into. You most likely would identify as a Muslim, too, if you also were born into a Muslim family and Muslim environment.

It’s true that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t been a U.S. citizen for even a full year, having become a citizen on September 11, 2012. (I don’t know if he chose that date for its symbolism or if those who put on the naturalization ceremony chose it for its symbolism or if it was coincidence or what.)

But even if he became a citizen just a week before Monday’s twin bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon, the fucking fact of the matter is that as an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that means that he gets a fair fucking trial.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, apparently grew up in Dagestan (which is next door to Chechnya, and like Chechnya, is a part of Russia) and in Kyrgyzstan (a central Asian nation that once was part of Russia but that now is independent, and that, like Chechnya and Dagestan, has a Muslim majority) before they came to the United States about a decade ago.

Their parents left the United States and returned to live Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly visited (visiting one’s parents is not, um, an uncommon thing for a son or daughter to do) before he later apparently masterminded Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. (I still surmise that the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dragged his impressionable younger brother into his plot.)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen but reportedly had hoped to become one. But calling even him an “enemy combatant” (were he still alive) is utter bullshit, since we’re not at war with Dagestan (or with any other nation we know he visited after his family moved him to the United States), for fuck’s sake.

To call anyone (like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) who has been living in the United States for a fucking decade (or even longer) and who is a U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” after he or she has been accused of having committed a crime here (yes, even an egregious crime) when the United States is not actually at war with any other nation also sends the message that No matter how long you’ve been here, you’re not a real American — even if you have gained American citizenship.

This dark path is diametrically opposed to the path that we should take, which is to give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a fair criminal trial. (Under the Obama administration, that probably will happen, but with Obama’s frequent pandering to the right wing and his frequent blatant, Bush-regime-like disregard for the U.S. Constitution, of course we cannot take that for granted.)

We didn’t declare domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh an “enemy combatant” and then strip him of his constitutional rights, even though he slaughtered and injured far more people in Oklahoma City than the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of having slaughtered and injured in Boston. No, we gave McVeigh a fair fucking trial.

True, McVeigh’s 1995 crime preceded 9/11 and the post-9/11 hysteria, but the fact of the matter is that the label “enemy combatant” chiefly is to apply to those who aren’t Anglo and who weren’t born on American soil and to those who predominantly identify themselves as Muslims, and that’s some fucked-up shit, to have one system of “justice” for the Good Old Boys, the so-called “Christian” whiteys who were born here, and another system of “justice” for the rest of us, the so-called “enemy combatants.”

Once we can call even one American citizen an “enemy combatant” when that citizen is not actually an operative for an enemy nation during an actual war, then we can call any American citizen an “enemy combatant.”

Any American citizen who expresses any view and/or commits any act that those in power at the time don’t like can be deemed by the powers that be an “enemy combatant” with whom they then can do as they please in the sacrosanct names of “national security” and the “war” on “terror.”

Killer drones, of course, will make the elimination of such so-called “enemy combatants” as easy as playing a video game.

Today, American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is proclaimed an “enemy combatant” who is stripped of his constitutional right to a fair trial and shipped off to Guantanamo or some other shrouded location, where God knows what will be done to him.

And you’re perfectly OK with that, because Hey, I saw the horrific images of the Boston bombing and I don’t ever want to get bombed! And Besides, you say, if you’re not guilty, then what do you have to be afraid of?

But tomorrow, like something out of George Orwell’s 1984, you say something to a fellow citizen that he or she perceives as unpatriotic. He or she dutifully reports you to the authorities as he or she repeatedly has been instructed to do by the authorities, and then the drones or the thugs come for you, you “enemy combatant,” and you are, as they say, disappeared.

Then, if you still are alive, as you sit in your tiny cell that is located God knows where, you kick the holy living shit out of yourself because  in 2013 you had had no problem whatsoever with American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being called an “enemy combatant” and stripped of his constitutional rights.

Update (Monday, April, 22, 2013):

NBC News reports today:

The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged [today] with using a weapon of mass destruction – and the White House said he will be tried in a civilian court.

“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists.” …

Contrary to the wishes of the wingnuts, the U.S. Constitution prevails.

But of course the Obama White House just can’t resist pandering to the right — God forbid should Barack Obama be called weak. on. TERROR! — with the White House press secretary already proclaiming the suspect to be guilty by referring to him as “this terrorist” and heavily suggesting that “this terrorist,” too, will be convicted and incarcerated, has have “hundreds of [other] terrorists.”

Gee, in my Civics 101 class, I was taught that it is the job of the judicial branch, not the executive branch, to determine someone’s innocence or guilt.

This is why I couldn’t vote again for Barack Obama in November — he’s George W. Bush Lite.

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Immoral scumbag Scalia lectures the rest of us on the topic of ‘morality’

Scalia Reveals His Current Thinking on Gay Marriage (and Murder)

Atlantic Wire/Yahoo! News image

U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Antonin Scalia yesterday publicly compared homosexuality to murder and then claimed that he didn’t do what he just did.

How in the fuck did Antonin Scalia get into law school? Didn’t he have to pass an exam on logic and reason? How did he pass the bar exam? How in the hell did he end up on the U.S. Supreme Court?

Of his opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Scalia yesterday asked his Princeton University audience, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

So having sexual relations that others (theofascists, usually) consider to be “immoral” is in the same ballpark as taking a human life. (Scalia reportedly said that he wasn’t equating homosexuality and murder, oh, but wasn’t he?)

To answer Scalia’s deeply philosophical question — the kind of question that stoned, C-average college freshmen might ask each other — yes, one may have “moral feelings” for or against anyfuckingthing he or she chooses. That is his or her right, as sane or insane as he or she may be.

However, when it comes to imposing one’s own “moral feelings” upon others, that’s another fucking story altogether.

The long-standing general idea of FREEDOM in the United States of America — and the U.S. Constitution, which Scalia is supposed to be upholding, is supposed to guarantee us FREEDOM — is that one may do as he or she pleases as long as it does not cause actual harm anyone else.

And no, someone whose irrational (often religion-based) sensibilities are offended (gasp!) has not been harmed. Nor does the U.S. Constitution guarantee that the precious wingnuts shall never be offended (gasp!) in the course of civic life, although the wingnuts apparently believe that they possess that constitutional right.

This view of FREEDOM, indeed, is the libertarian view, and the libertarians tend to bend to the right, like Scalia, not to the left.

So, is it enough that some find homosexuality to be immoral — that is, icky, if not “sinful” — to deprive adults of the right to associate with whomever they please, including having consensual relations, sexual and/or affectional and/or matrimonial, with other adults of either sex?

Our nation is governed by the U.S. Constitution, not by the Old Testament, no matter what “Christo”fascists like Scalia assert.

I find “Christo”fascists to be immoral — they don’t even know the teachings of Jesus Christ, much more follow them — and I find the damage that these evil hypocrites do to society to be much, much closer to murder than is homosexuality, but would it be constitutional to outlaw the practice of their religion?

No, that would be a blatant violation of their freedom, right?

What about the rest of us who disagree with the “Christo”fascists? What about our freedoms?

Scalia and his ilk are doing their best to murder them.

Before we restrict another’s freedoms, we need to demonstrate that such a restriction is necessary to prevent actual harm.

Murder is illegal because the actual harm that it causes is amply desmonstrable. Those who oppose same-sex marriage and who support other forms of legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, however, have failed miserably to make such a demonstration of actual harm. They only can fall back upon their backasswards religious beliefs and/or their personal sensibilities and predilections — not upon logic and reason, certainly not upon science (which is why they detest science so much).

In the meantime, there is plenty that is demonstrably harmful that remains perfectly legal in the United States.

Despite human-caused climate change, pollution, poverty and overcrowding and overpopulation in the United States, it is held in the United States that heterosexuals have the right to reproduce irresponsibly, and that to limit the number of children that heterosexuals may bring into the world is a violation of their rights.

Corporations cause untold damage to the planet and to human beings — perfectly legal, because to the right wing, obscene profits are lord and savior, certainly not Jesus Christ. Indeed, the right wing tells us, corporations are people with the same constitutional rights of people (even though the right wing hates the fact that anyone outside of the right wing should have any constitutional rights).

Speaking of corporations, cigarettes and alcohol quite demonstrably are quite harmful. Many even find them to be immoral. Is Antonin Scalia willing to add the sales of harmful, addictive substances to his little list of what’s immoral — and what thus can be deemed illegal?

Of course not.

He just wants to bash the gays.

It has nothing to do with logic and reason, and nothing to do with constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, and the wingnutty scumbag Antonin Scalia does not belong on the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is an ugly, oily stain on the nation, a stain that should be removed.

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DINO Reid joins anti-Muslim crusade

Top US senator opposes mosque near Ground Zero

AFP photo

As a religious minority — a Mormon — you’d think that U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, would know something about religious discrimination. But hey, it’s an election year, and dog-piling upon Muslims is all the rage right now — and seems to be that long-sought “bipartisanship.”

“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. [Politician X] respects that, but thinks that the mosque [that is proposed to be established near the former World Trade Center] should be built someplace else.”

You’d think that of course Politician X would be a Repugnican, but nope — in this case, Politician X is Democrat in name only U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, whose spokesweasel today declared: “The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.”

Someone please, please explain to me how in one breath one can claim to respect freedom of religion but in the very next breath proclaim that a religious group should not establish a place of worship.

I understand that Harry Reid is trying to keep his U.S. Senate seat against wingnut dingbat Sharron “Second Amendment Remedies” Angle, who as a “Christo”fascist of course opposes the establishment of the mosque in lockstep with the rest of her tea-baggin’ ilk, but he should have kept his fucking mouth shut.

To shit and piss upon a minority group is a despicable way to try to win election or re-election. It’s what the fucking Repugnicans do, for fuck’s sake.

And on the same day that Reid announces, for political gain, that he opposes the establishment of a Muslim center near the former World Trade Center, a scandal breaks in which it is revealed that a former Israeli soldier posted humiliating images of Palestinian prisoners on her Facebook page. It’s a bit of Abu Ghraib deja vu for me.

Where do these young people, like the female Israeli soldier and the American personnel of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq learn their anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment?

From their “leaders.”

Harry Reid has just contributed to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment that might have real-world consequences, such as acts of discrimination and perhaps even abuse (or worse) against Arabs and/or Muslims — treatment that makes some members of this fairly universally mistreated group commit acts of revenge that we Americans call “terrorism” (because it’s never called “terrorism” when an American or an Israeli does it to an Arab or a Muslim) and then scratch our heads and ponder, “But why, why do they hate us so much?”

Words have consequences, Harry. You’re supposed to be a fucking national leader. You fucking suck ass.

Harry Reid is a fucking Mormon. I fucking hate the Mormon cult. While no Muslim to my knowledge ever has infringed upon my rights, my right to marry my boyfriend is now tied up in the federal courts because of the Mormon cult’s multi-million-dollar promotion of anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8.

But does Harry Reid want to be discriminated against because of his fucked-up religion? No, I’m sure he fucking doesn’t. I’m sure that he wants the full protection under law of the Mormon cult, which, speaking of law, should have had its tax-exempt status revoked already for its illegal, immoral and unethical political activity.

Why, then, as a member of a lunatic fringe that itself has been the victim of religious persecution in the past, does Reid feel that it’s perfectly OK for him to shit and piss upon Muslims?

Again, Reid could have and should have kept his mouth shut on the issue of the establishment of the Muslim center in Manhattan, which is quite far removed from his home state of Nevada, and which, under the First Amendment, isn’t even for the people of Manhattan to decide; religious freedom is not subject to a popular fucking vote. I agree wholeheartedly with the Huffington Post blogger who declared, “I can’t believe we are even discussing this.”

Oh, but we are. It’s election season, and therefore it’s wide open season on the relatively defenseless minority groups. Even babies. Babies.

Again, I expect this kind of evil from the Repugnican Tea Party, but Harry Reid has crossed the line.

I can’t see that it much matters who wins in Nevada in November: Reid or Angle.

They’re both haters, both members of the duopolistic parties that increasingly are looking more and more alike in their mad dash to the rock bottom.*

*The Associated Press reports:

A spokesman for Republican Sharron Angle, Reid’s opponent, said Muslims have the right to worship anywhere, but Obama’s support for construction of the mosque at ground zero “ignored the wishes of the American people, this time at the expense of victims of 9/11 and their families.”

Please tell me how Reid’s public position on the subject is substantially any different from Angle’s.

Again, freedom of religion is a constitutional guarantee not a matter to be put up for a fucking vote.

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9/11 is back — just in time for 11/2/10!

Mosque near ground zero becoming political football

AFP photo

“Intellectually the president may be right” on the freedom-of-religion issue regarding the establishment of a Muslim complex near the former site of the World Trade Center (which would replace the building on Park Place in Manhattan shown above), one Repugnican Tea Party strategist concedes, but adds: “But this is an emotional issue … and it’s going to be a big, big issue for Democrats across this country” for the upcoming mid-term elections. Because emotion always should trump the rights guaranteed to all by the U.S. Constitution.

President Barack Obama actually seems to have resisted, for once, the urge to sell out those of us of the “professional left.” On Friday he stated, correctly, that to block the opening of the planned Muslim center near the former World Trade Center would be a violation of the freedom of religion, guaranteed to all by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

This is the freedom that the “Christo”fascists want for themselves, like free speech — but, also like it is with free speech, they want freedom of religion only for themselves.

As I have noted before, I believe that Islam, Judaism and Christianity — at least as they are practiced by the bloodthirsty zealots who claim to follow these patriarchal, backasswards religions — all are bullshit religions, but if we’re going to let the members of one bullshit, psychopathic religion establish a place of worship, fairness (as well as the freedom of religion) dictates that we allow all of them to do so.

But Repugnican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, that bastion of equal human and civil rights, has declared that the establishment of the Muslim center near the former WTC site is not an issue of freedom of religion. Reuters reports:

“This is not about freedom of religion because we all respect the right of anyone to worship according to the dictates of their conscience … but I do think it’s unwise to build a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack,” Texas Republican John Cornyn said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.*

Cornyn’s “logic” apparently is that “freedom of religion” is “the right of anyone to worship according to the dictates of their conscience” — but that the majority religion (in this case, what passes for Christianity) may dictate to a minority religion (in this case, Islam) where it may and may not establish centers of worship.

It seems to me that the establishment of places of worship is central to freedom of religion, but Cornyn tries to weasel out of this somehow.

Cornyn, because he cannot win on the matter of the Muslims’ constitutional right to establish a place of worship, then appeals to the tyranny of the majority, to the mob mentality: “To me it demonstrates that Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America,” Cornyn said.

So Cornyn’s “argument” becomes that if the majority of Americans — the majority of whom call themselves “Christians” — don’t want Muslims to establish a place of worship at a certain site, then the Muslims should not be allowed to do so.**

The Muslims’ constitutional rights, therefore, in effect, are to be put up for a vote.

Just like my equal human and civil rights — my constitutional rights — were put up for a vote when the Mormon-cult-backed anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8 narrowly passed here in California in November 2008 (with 52 percent of the vote).

A federal judge earlier this month ruled that Prop H8 violates the rights guaranteed to California’s citizens by the U.S. Constitution — and he ruled that same-sex marriages must be allowed again in the state of California as of 5 p.m. this Wednesday.

The right wing’s insane response to this is to claim that the haters who voted for Prop H8 are the victims.

The Sacramento Bee actually published a guest editorial on the matter that actually began:

The true victims of prejudice in the decision of federal Judge Vaughn Walker to overturn Proposition 8 are the 7 million Californians who voted for the measure.

So I suppose that the slave owners were the true victims when the slaves were freed. Or, if that’s too far out there for you, we at least can argue that the “rights” of those who believed that mixed-race marriage is wrong were absolutely trampled upon by the tyrannical U.S. Supreme Court when the court ruled in 1967 that no state may outlaw mixed-race marriage.

The “argument” of the right wing here very apparently is that to be a hateful bigot who wishes to curtail the equal human and civil rights of others itself is an inviolable constitutional right.

Uh, I don’t see that right enumerated anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.

As insane as the members of the right wing want to be, calling themselves the victims when they are not allowed to victimize others, those of us Americans who are sane and who truly believe in freedom and liberty and in the U.S. Constitution cannot let stand this new wave of right-wing attacks against the constitutional rights of our fellows — be they brown-skinned immigrants (or brown-skinned citizens mistaken for immigrants), Muslims, or non-heterosexuals. Or even, for fuck’s sake, babies.

The checkered-at-best history of the United States of America demonstrates that during economic downturns, the majority of (or at least a huge chunk of) frustrated (mostly white) Americans, instead of going after the plutocrats and the corporatocrats who are the actual cause of their financial pain and suffering, go after relatively weak minority groups that have little to nothing to do with the nation’s economic downturn — but who, for the most part, can’t fight back.

This dysfunctional, insane dynamic will continue until enough of us real Americans stand up and stop it.

It’s time to stand up.

First they come for the non-heterosexuals who wish to marry, then for the brown-skinned immigrants who want to make a better life for themselves, then for the Muslims who want to establish a place of worship.

Then, they come for you.

*I also believe that it is unwise for the Muslim center to be established, but for a very different reason than do Cornyn, Sarah Palin-Quayle and their ilk. As I noted last month:

I agree with Palin-Quayle that the Muslim complex should not be opened, but for entirely different reasons.

Palin-Quayle wants to milk the whole 9/11 thing and appeal to her Muslim-hating, “Christo”fascist base, but I think that the Muslim complex is a bad idea because the safety of everyone who ever enters the building would be in jeopardy at all times.

I mean, think about it: a Muslim complex opens just two blocks away from where the WTC once stood, and all of the Cooters and Skeeters and Zekes of the backasswards parts of the nation are going to get ideas in their tea-baggin’ heads about gettin’ revenge on them Mooslems for 9/11. If the Muslim complex opens, I envision shootings and/or bombings and/or other violent attacks upon it.

However, as bad of an idea as I believe the Muslim center is (for safety reasons), I never would posit that the center should not be allowed to open merely because its existence would — gasp! — offend the tyrannical majority.

You believe in freedom or you don’t. I believe in freedom. The wingnuts do not — or rather, they want freedom only for themselves.

**Indeed, apparently a majority of Americans, blinded by their identification with their brand of “Christianity” and their ignorance of constitutional rights, oppose the establishment of the Muslim center. Notes Reuters:

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll showed a majority of Americans across the political spectrum opposed the project being built near the site of the attacks.

The survey, released on Wednesday, showed nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed it, including 54 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents.

Of course, we don’t know how many of those Democrats oppose the establishment of the Muslim center also for safety reasons, but it’s a pretty sure bet that the majority of the Repugnicans and the “independents” (I use the quotation marks because the majority of the “independents” and “swing voters” always lean to the right) are just Muslim-haters.

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Memo to the breeders: 6 billion-plus already is more than enough

I usually hate the term “breeder,” used as a pejorative for heterosexuals who have offspring, but I was inspired by a moment at Wal-Mart yesterday (yes, I was at a Wal-Mart; I’m a very bad moonbat) and by a news story from today regarding the anti-gay Proposition 8 to use it just now.

When I was at Wal-Mart yesterday, I witnessed this young Negro black guy ask another young man (who, I believe, was Latin0), “Are you still walking with Jesus?” Apparently the two young men knew each other but hadn’t seen each other for a while.

I could go off on what the fuck “walking with Jesus” means, but I won’t — but I will say that if anyone ever asks me if I walk with Jesus, I will say something like, “Yeah, man, and let me tell you, he is tore up!”

The whole “walking with Jesus” thing is indicative of “Christo”fascist brainwashing that makes me want to vomit, and I include mention of the races of the young men only because I think it’s tragic that non-whites have adopted whitey’s toxic bullshit backasswards ignorant religious beliefs, which resemble nothing of what Jesus Christ actually taught, but what came next in the moment at Wal-Mart was even worse.

The young black man asked the other young man (who had replied that yes, he still walks with Jesus) if he was married. No, the other young man said. Engaged? asked the young black man. Nope, said the other young man. Why not? asked the young black man, to which the other young man replied that he’s been too busy with work.

“Adam and Eve,” the young black man intoned at least moderately ominously. I surmise that the full “thought” was: “If you don’t follow the example of Adam and Eve, and procreate, then you’ll go to hell.”

That seems to be the “argument” that the pro-Proposition 8 fascists made in federal court today during arguments as to whether or not the federal court should overturn November 2008’s Proposition 8 — which overtuned, by a popular vote of 52 percent to 48 percent, the California Supreme Court’s ruling that it is unconstitutional, and thus illegal, to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

Reports The Sacramento Bee today:

Chief Judge Vaughn Walker peppered attorneys with questions as a historic federal trial on Proposition 8 began today, with the defense of California’s same-sex marriage ban arguing that the fundamental purpose of marriage is procreation, to raise children in an “intact” family and that same-sex marriage could erode that purpose.

“Same-sex marriage is simply too novel an experiment at this stage,” argued [pro-]Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper in U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Francisco.

Representing two gay couples challenging Proposition 8, attorney Ted Olson gave the first opening remarks.

Gay people have been classified as “degenerates” in the United States, Olson said, targeted by police, fired from employers. “Proposition 8 perpetuates that for no good reason,” he said. He said it has the effect of inflicting “upon them badges of inferiority” and is a violation of constitutional rights.

Walker asked pointed questions about whether each side had evidence to prove their cases. Two plaintiffs, a gay couple from Los Angeles, took the stand, and the challengers began showing pro-Proposition 8 campaign videos and asking gay plaintiffs to describe how the campaign videos made them feel, especially the references to protecting children….

Walker was quick to start questioning Olson once the famed attorney began his presentation. Olson, a conservative who views gay marriage as a constitutional right [emphasis mine], is famed for representing George W. Bush before the U.S. Supreme Court after the [disputed] 2000 presidential election.

Olson said, “This case is about marriage and equality.” He quoted from U.S. Supreme Court decisions referring to marriage as “one of the most vital personal rights” in the pursuit of happiness and “a basic right.”

Walker interrupted him and asked him if that meant that a marriage license was necessary. He also asked if evidence will show that gay people “suffer” by being limited to domestic partnership.

Olson said the language that the Proposition 8 campaign used, describing marriage as “unique,” bolsters his argument that by barring gays from marrying, the government has “isolated” gays and lesbians and said, “You are different.”

Walker said that “moral disapproval” leading to a law is not a reason to declare it unconstitutional.

Olson replied that moral arguments were used to defend discrimination based on race and gender, and that marriage has “evolved” to discard biases and prejudices.

The parents of President Obama, he said, wouldn’t have been allowed to marry in some states at the time they did….

Cooper said, as he began his presentation, that voters in California cast their ballots on an issue of “overriding cultural and social significance” and favored a definition of marriage that has “prevailed” through history.

He said the people of California have “been generous” on extending rights to gays, and that the gay movement — with the exception of marriage — has been “very successful” at enacting rights and laws against discrimination.

He said the gay organization Equality California “hailed” civil unions, when they were permitted by law, as a victory for civil rights.

“The evidence will show that gays and lesbians in California have substantial political power,” Cooper said.

He said Proposition 8 speaks not out of “ill will” toward gays but rather a “special regard” for a “venerable institution.”

“Among those who have drawn that line are President Obama,” he said, noting that Obama said he favors civil unions but believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

Walker interrupted and noted that Olson said Obama’s parents couldn’t have married under some laws barring interracial marriage.

Cooper said such laws were “loathsome” but were of a different nature.

He said people of different races can procreate. He said the evidence presented during the trial will show that the government has a purpose to “channel” the procreation and rearing of children into families with a mother and a father.

Walker asked if companionship was not a reason for marriage, along with other reasons other than children.

Procreation, Cooper said, “is the essential” and the “defining definition of marriage.” [Emphasis mine.]

The question, Cooper said, is whether marriage will remain “a pro-child institution” or a “private relationship” between adults based on the search for “personal fulfillment.”

He said same-sex marriage would “deinstitutionalize” marriage, and “hasten” its demise in society….

Where to begin?

Cooper’s “argument” is that almost equal equals equal. It does not. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court long ago struck down the concept of “separate but equal” as unconstitutional.

And those heterosexual couples who wish to marry but who do not wish to procreate — or who cannot procreate, because of age or medical condition or some other reason — will be shocked to discover that the right wing apparently believes that marriage hinges upon procreation, and therefore their marriages aren’t real marriages.

Under Cooper’s “argument,” those who don’t procreate shouldn’t be married. Maybe we’ll give heterosexual newlyweds one year in which to procreate, and if they don’t, the state will dissolve their marriage — because the state needs people to breed, Goddamnit!

Actually, Cooper answered the question of same-sex marriage better than did anyone at the courthouse today, it seems. The answer to his question as to whether marriage should be regarded as “a pro-child institution” (suggesting, of course, that anyone who disagrees with the right wing on same-sex marriage is anti-child) or as a “private relationship” between adults based upon their search for “personal fulfillment” is that of course it is the latter, not the former.

The preamble of the U.S. Declaration of Independence declares:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Not only would Cooper and his ilk strike a line through that pesky equality language, but they would shit and piss upon the pursuit of happiness as well.

The pursuit of happiness — an unfuckingalienable right, let me remind you — may or may not involve procreation. It is not for the fucking wingnuts to define happiness for other people.

If the “procreation” “argument” is the best that the wingnuts can come up with to defend the denial of equal human and civil rights to non-heterosexuals, then the wingnuts already have lost the battle.

The planet, which is approaching 7 billion people, already is overpopulated, which not only has resulted in diminished quality of life for everyone who is here, but which threatens the future of the entire fucking human race, and indeed, the future of all life on Earth. To argue that any government anywhere has an interest in furthering procreation anywhere on the planet is bullshit.

To get back to my friend at Wal-Mart from yesterday, the Old Testament’s instruction to “be fruitful and multiply,” to which he apparently was referring, came at a time when world population was just a tiny fraction of what it is now, and when people thought such things as that disease was caused by unclean spirits rather than by microbes and other medical problems, and that certain astronomical events, such as solar eclipses, were ominous signs from God. (In other words, they were fucking ignorant.)

That someone could walk around in the year 2010 and instruct others to mimic Adam and Eve — shit, that someone even believes in the myth of Adam and Eve in the year 2010 — is frightening.

I might as well go and live among the Taliban, who are as enlightened as are too many of the dumbfucks whom I have to share this nation with.

You know who’s going to save the human race from overpopulation?

We Adams and Steves — not the Adams and Eves.

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