Tag Archives: First Amendment rights

Haters of free speech will get the repressive nation that they deserve

Image by Tyler Shields, YouTube

Comedienne Kathy Griffin is pictured above during a photo shoot last week in which she held up a prosthetic severed head of “President” Pussygrabber. Never mind the United States’ long history of the butchery of and the savagery against innocents that continues to this day; this act against yet another stupid white man by an uppity woman, in which no one actually was even harmed, was a bridge too far!

Living in a nation with truly free speech means that your precious sensibilities are going to be offended from time to time.

You’re going to have to get over it. (Please don’t make me have to call you a snowflake, and yes, there are snowflakes on the right as well as on the left.)

The first brouhaha this past week was when Kathy Griffin posed with a fairly realistic-looking replica of “President” Pussygrabber’s bloody severed head and posted it to the Internet on Tuesday. She held the fake head up to the camera like Perseus holding up the head of Medusa.

While the image certainly fulfilled a fantasy for millions, including me, I can’t say that it was funny. Just grisly.

And, of course, Griffin, or at least her handler(s) — assuming that she has one or more of them — should have known that depicting the violent death of the sitting “president,” especially if you are a famous or semi-famous person with an audience, would cause backlash.* It also gets you a visit from the men in black of the Secret Service.

I mean, Pussygrabber’s life is worth protecting as much as was that of our last wonderful Repugnican “president,” who also took office without actually having won the most votes and who is a complete and total baby-boomer buffoon (I know: redundant), but still, Griffin should have known.

To me, Griffin’s biggest “crime” is that she is a comedienne but that her Pussygrabber head thing wasn’t funny — just grisly. And, yes, fantasy-fulfilling. But not funny. (That said, I’ve never gravitated to Griffin, whose work I’m mostly unfamiliar with, and maybe that’s just because she overall isn’t very funny.)

But should Griffin be driven out of all paid work (if there still is a demand for her work in the so-called marketplace of ideas) for the head-of-Pussygrabber incident? No.

I’m not a fan of hers, but if we want free speech and if we want content, we’re going to have to cut our providers of content some slack when they fuck up. They’re probably not going to get it right 100 percent of the time. We expect too much of them.

On that note, on Friday night during his live politicocomedic talk show on HBO, Bill Maher remarked that he won’t work the fields of Repugnican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse’s Nebraska because he is a “house nigger,” and that, of course, has prompted calls for his show’s cancellation, and such a call is only going to backfire on the Only Black Lives Matter** set.

Don’t get me wrong; I have problems with Maher’s show. Pretty much every fucking week he has to get in a dig against those Muslims who are violent and oppressive, as though Islam had the monopoly on violence and oppression.

(I’m a gay man in the so-called land of the free, and I didn’t get the right to marry until only two fucking years ago this month, and that’s mostly because of those loving, wonderful “Christians,” who, instead of more honestly just blowing you up with a suicide vest, kill you with their “Christian” “kindness.”)

Maher’s Islamophobic comments are way beyond old and tired, and his handler or handlers should have reined him in on this long ago. Yes, he has his own show, but using his show to constantly verbalize his own personal pet peeves and prejudices, while it very apparently makes him feel better, degrades the show.

Maher on his show also frequently blasts so-called Democratic “purists,” that is, we progressives. We commoners are supposed to just shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and just accept a certain amount of self-serving, double-dealing, greed and corruption from so-called Democrats, you see.

It’s funny, because “Democratic” impurity doesn’t harm Maher. He’s a millionaire baby boomer (he gave a cool million dollars to Barack Obama for his re-election), and so he has plenty of buffer in money and in power, regardless of who (or what) is in the White House.

Baby-boomer millionaire and limousine liberal Maher isn’t affected by what we commoners are affected by. He has the best health care that money can buy, I’m sure, and if he had kids he’d have no problem putting them though the best universities. I rather doubt that he lives paycheck to paycheck or worries about ever being homeless.

So instead of bashing “purists” who have a lot more skin in the game than he does, Maher should check his rich, white, baby-boomer, limousine-liberal privilege.

Very much related to that, Maher’s throwaway use of the term “house nigger” demonstrated his privilege. It is easy for a rich, white baby boomer, whose life is quite comfortable, to make a casual, unfunny joke about the brutal system of U.S. slavery in which some black slaves had less arduous forced tasks than others.

Again, Maher’s “house nigger” “joke” wasn’t even funny. It was stupid and throwaway. (I watched Maher make the remark on HBO’s streaming service, and “the ‘n’-word” was edited out by muting it; it is the first word that I recall ever having been edited from his show, which is profuse with profanity, which I’m OK with.)

Like Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher is supposed to be a comedian, and one might argue that the only real wrong a comedian or comedienne can commit is to fail to be funny.

That said, Maher has apologized for his “house nigger” comment, and coming from him, I think that his apology most likely is sincere.

Should his show be cancelled because of it? No.

Is Maher a racist? Sure, to those black supremacists and race hustlers who believe that every white person is racist (even though, ironically, the race-hustling black supremacists are incredibly racist themselves), of course Maher is a racist, but I don’t know too many white racists who gave Barack Obama a million dollars and who have dated black women, and I have been watching Maher’s show for some time now, and he regularly has black guests, very probably at a proportion that significantly exceeds blacks’ percentage of the U.S. population (which is 13 percent).

One of Maher’s many frequent black guests is Cornel West, of whom I’m a huge fan.***

Maher gives West and other black Americans a voice that they often don’t get in widely broadcast television shows that are watched by a lot of white Americans, so it’s perversely ironic that any black Americans would call for his show’s cancellation.

(Black Americans’ No. 1 pastime, it seems, is shooting themselves in the fucking foot, such as how they supported Billary Clinton over the much more popular Bernie Sanders by a margin of about three to one [which has reeked of anti-white racism (and perhaps also of anti-Semitism) to me], helping to ensure that the widely despised Repugnican-Lite Billary lost the White House to Donald Fucking Trump in November.)

All of that said, yes, Maher needs to check his privilege, not only his white privilege, but also his class and generational privilege.

But his having uttered “the ‘n’-word” in a lame and tone-deaf apparent attempt to be funny doesn’t in one fell swoop wipe out all of the overall good that Maher’s show still has. (If his show didn’t have more good than bad, I wouldn’t still be watching it regularly.)

Maher needs to be further educated and further enlightened, not utterly destroyed, and the Only Black Lives Matter set apparently still needs to learn that mercilessly calling for the complete, total and utter destruction of offending/“offending” whites (which, ironically, is just part and parcel of their own racial supremacism) — instead of calling for the education and enlightenment of whites (where such education and enlightenment is possible) — only is going to drive more whites away from their cause/“cause” than toward it. (Which, ironically, at least on a subconscious level probably is their intent, given that actual interracial reconciliation very apparently actually is the last thing that they want.)

I, for one, don’t want to live in a United States of America in which all of the Bill Mahers are driven out of the marketplace of ideas, leaving us only the white supremacists (the vast majority of whom vote Repugnican) and the black supremacists (many if not most of whom only use the Democratic Party to further their selfish, racist agenda of black supremacism, and so who aren’t at all actually progressive themselves) to churn out their hateful speech.

If those of us who are sane and progressive don’t protect First-Amendment rights — which includes protecting those whose hearts are mostly in the right place from being the victims of incredibly hypocritical political-correctness lynch mobs when and if they ever cross the political-correctness line — then that is the kind of nation that we’ll live in.

*Yes, awful, racist, inexcusable things routinely were said of Barack Obama and of his family members, but I don’t recall any celebrity, major or minor, ever having posed with a prosthetic severed head of President Obama. Just sayin’.

**Anyone who has read me regularly knows that I support the political push for greater racial equality, including stopping cops from routinely shooting (and otherwise harming and killing) unarmed black men (and other historically oppressed minorities), ending the insane incarceration rate of non-whites, and tackling our insane rate of income inequality, which harms people of all races.

Of course black lives matter, but Black Lives Matter needs to rein in the black supremacists among its ranks, and I refer only to those black supremacists as the “Only Black Lives Matter” set — because that is their mindset, their worldview: they care only about black people, and for anyone of any race to care only about people of his or her own race is some incredibly fucked-up, and racist, shit.

***Cornel West is a true progressive who doesn’t kiss the center-right Democratic Party establishment’s ass. He courageously consistently has been appropriately critical of Barack Obama and of Billary Clinton and, being an actual progressive, he supported Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

And in a wonderful move consistent with acting according to his conscience, although West was on the committee that wrote the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform, he nonetheless ended up endorsing Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein instead of Billary, and I voted for Stein in November just as I voted for her in 2012, as I don’t vote for DINOs, but for actual progressives.

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Brendan Eich(mann) got what he deserved

Outgoing Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich

Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich gave a hate group $1,000, paid a price for it, and this poetic justice is deemed to be a “violation” of “free speech” in the fascistic United States of America. (Yes, the fascistic Nazis persecuted non-heterosexuals, too.)

Most discussion of whether or not the “free-speech rights” of Mozilla co-founder and short-lived CEO Brendan Eich — who stepped down as CEO Thursday after a firestorm had raged over his having donated $1,000 to the 2008 Proposition Hate effort — have been trampled upon wholly ignores or glosses over one simple historical and legal fact: a federal court in 2010 found Prop H8 to be unconstitutional — and thus illegal.

As Wikipedia recounts it, “In August 2010,  [United States District Court for the Northern District of California] Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the [anti-same-sex-marriage California constitutional] amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, since it purported to re-remove rights from a disfavored class only, with no rational basis.”

So, before we blather ourselves into a lather about “free speech,” let’s take a good, long, hard look at exactly the kind of speech that we’re actually defending here — and in this case, it is hate speech.

Yes, it is.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported the continued mindless oppression of a minority group picked out for such continued mindless oppression. “Mindless” oppression because, as Vaughn Walker (whose original ruling still holds as the law of California, since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legally upheld it) correctly ruled, there is no rational basis to prohibit same-sex marriage.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported something that was and that remains unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Whether or not hate speech should have First-Amendment protection — especially when hate speech (yes, even “just” giving $1,000 to a “cause” meant to continue to oppress a certain minority group) so often results in very real harm to many very real people — is another discussion, but for the time being, let’s not pretend that Brendan Eich was just trying to do something nice for someone and that he paid a price for it, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Let’s also not pretend that if Eich (whom I really want to call Eichmann) had a “free-speech right” to donate money to an unconstitutionally and thus illegally oppressive “cause,” that those who wanted his head on a silver platter for his donation didn’t also have a free-speech right to call for his head on a silver platter (so to speak [of course]). They did. They do. We do.

And let’s not pretend that Eich was fired for having given a $1K donation to a hate group. He was not fired. He resigned.

He resigned, apparently, because in his high-level job, his very apparently being a homophobe tarnished the public reputation of the entire organization. Most large organizations wouldn’t have well-known white supremacists as their CEOs, either.

Let’s not pretend that a CEO, a very public person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and then having been fairly forced, socioeconomicopolitically, to resign because of that donation is just like! you or I, a very private person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and actually having been terminated from our much-lower-level employment because of it. Let’s not do that, because context, including the level of the power of the players involved, is everything.

Brendan Eichmann — er, Eich — got what he deserved for having financially supported a hate group. If he believes that his constitutional (such as his First-Amendment) rights have been violated by anyone, then he may sue to his hating heart’s content. Presumably, he has plenty of cash with which to do so. (But he won’t sue, because he has no fucking case.)

There is nothing more to discuss.

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Repug thugs: Give us the head of William Cronon!



Hmmm… Commie University of Wisconsin history Professor William Cronon looks pretty John the Baptist-y to me

The Repugnican Tea Party long has has been on a jihad against university professors. It’s that these professors are anything from “liberal” to “Commie,” you see.

Actually, these professors’ “crime” is that they don’t support the political agenda of the far right. These professors, being professors, don’t embrace the utter ignorance and the outright lies — and the pro-corporate, pro-militaristic, misogynistic, white supremacist/racist, homophobic, xenophobic, nationalistic/jingoistic, pro-stupid-white-male propaganda — that the right wing expects them to.

The wingnuts scream that public dollars should not be spent on university professors who (allegedly) promote some political agenda. Of course, these very same wingnutty hypocrites don’t argue that right-wing professors also should go for the very same reason.

Nor do the wingnuts who scream against the alleged politicization of our public universities make a fucking peep about the blatant, illegal politicization of our tax-exempt churches, such as the Catholick Church and the Mormon cult, which blatantly participate in politics, even telling their members whom and what to vote for and whom and what not to vote for and more or less commanding them to give campaign contributions to specific candidates and ballot propositions and to volunteer in political campaigns.

Because that political activity, you see, benefits the right wing. Therefore, it’s perfectly acceptable.

What it comes down to when the wingnuts attack left-wing or perceived left-wing university professors — and such intellectual entities as National Public Radio — more often than not is not a case of left versus right; it usually comes down right (as in correct) versus not right (as in incorrect) and right versus wrong.

(The Nazi Party also hated, persecuted and even murdered intellectuals, but perhaps that’s a separate blog piece for another day.)

So far gone is the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party in Wisconsin that the party is attacking an individual university professor. Never mind that for a state’s party to attack an individual is a gross abuse of power and is a gross dereliction of duty — the Repugnican Tea Party in Wisconsin should be busy at work fulfilling its (bullshit) campaign promises to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites instead of engaging in vindictive political vendettas against certain individuals.

But the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin want the head of William Cronon, a University of Wisconsin history professor who has been publicly critical of Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker and his henchpeople’s attempts to destroy the state’s long-standing labor unions.

Cronon, you see, has a blog titled “Scholar as Citizen” and he wrote an op-ed piece not flattering of the Walkerites for The New York Times.

Therefore, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin have demanded to see any and all e-mails in Cronon’s university e-mail account that contain certain words indicative that Cronon used his e-mail account for any political activity. Apparently their end game is that they want Cronon fired for alleged university ethics violations — so that they can claim the scalp of a liberal/“liberal”* university professor.

They can’t just murder Cronon (they would if they could), so they’ll do the next best thing, if they can: see to it that he loses his job. That’s one of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ favorite hobbies: to try to make people unemployed, even though they claim to care about our longstanding problem of unemployment.

Professor Cronon, correctly claiming academic freedom, has resisted the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ public records request to see his e-mails. One Repugnican Tea Party traitor called Cronon’s resistance “chilling,” but what actually is quite chilling is that we have Joseph McCarthy-like thugs in public office anywhere in the nation who think that it’s perfectly acceptable to politically gang-bang a university professor whose political views diverge from theirs.

The New York Times yesterday ran an editorial on this issue titled “A Shabby Crusade in Wisconsin.” Here it is, in full:

The latest technique used by conservatives to silence liberal academics is to demand copies of e-mails and other documents. Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli of Virginia tried it last year with a climate-change scientist, and now the Wisconsin Republican Party is doing it to a distinguished historian who dared to criticize the state’s new union-busting law.

These demands not only abuse academic freedom, but make the instigators look like petty and medieval inquisitors.

The historian, William Cronon, is the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas research professor of history, geography and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, and was recently elected president of the American Historical Association. Earlier this month, he was asked to write an op-ed article for The Times on the historical context of Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to strip public-employee unions of bargaining rights. While researching the subject, he posted on his blog several critical observations about the powerful network of conservatives working to undermine union rights and disenfranchise Democratic voters in many states.

In particular, he pointed to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group backed by business interests that circulates draft legislation in every state capital, much of it similar to the Wisconsin law, and all of it unmatched by the left.

Two days later, the state Republican Party filed a freedom-of-information request with the university, demanding all of his e-mails containing the words “Republican,” “Scott Walker,” “union,” “rally,” and other such incendiary [um, “incendiary”? Really?] terms. (The op-ed article appeared five days after that.)

The party refuses to say why it wants the messages; Mr. Cronon believes it is hoping to find that he is supporting the recall of Republican state senators, which would be against university policy and which he denies. This is a clear attempt to punish a critic and make other academics think twice before using the freedom of the American university to conduct legitimate research.

Professors are not just ordinary state employees. As J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a conservative federal judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, noted in a similar case, state university faculty members are “employed professionally to test ideas and propose solutions, to deepen knowledge and refresh perspectives.”

A political fishing expedition through a professor’s files would make it substantially harder to conduct research and communicate openly with colleagues. And it makes the Republican Party appear both vengeful and ridiculous.

Further, the effect of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ McCarthyesque attempt to make public university professors fear for their livelihoods is to deprive the professors of their First Amendment rights as citizens of the United States of America.

University professors are not some special class of individuals who don’t get First Amendment rights. As the name of Cronon’s blog states, public university professors are also citizens; they are not stripped of their citizenship rights because their paychecks are paid for by taxpayers — and they pay taxes, too, which so many fucking morons forget or ignore.

It’s bad enough that in the private sector, employees are treated like property with no First Amendment rights — or any other rights whatsofuckingever. (Property, after all, has no rights.) To extend this right-wing abuse of human rights to the public sector is illegal, immoral and unfuckingacceptable.

And for a political party to attack an individual is such a gross abuse of power that that party deserves to be voted out of office. The recall of Repugnican Tea Party traitor politicians in Wisconsin has my full support — and I’ve donated money towards it. Hopefully, the Repugnican Tea Party scum who have hijacked the great state of Wisconsin, most notably Scott “Dead Man” Walker, will be swept to sea by a political tsunami no later than in November 2014.

The good people of Germany did not nip fascism in the bud when they had the chance to do so. If we, the good people of the United States of America, don’t nip this fascistic shit in the bud in Wisconsin and in the other states where the Repugnican Tea Party traitors fervently are trying to plant the seeds of fascism, we will find ourselves as the Germans did: in a hellish nation in which evils abound — and in which it is too late, because we did not do enough when we had the chance.

I live in California, not in Wisconsin, and I do not know Professor William Cronon.

But I am not so stupid and so blind as to believe that what happens in Wisconsin never could become my problem in California, or that whatever happens to Professor Cronon never could have any bearing on my own life.

The states indeed are laboratories, and the mad scientists on the right are seeing just how far they can take their evil experiments.

We allow them to succeed at our own peril.

*Cronon describes himself as “a centrist and a lifelong independent,” but to the far right, a centrist is a left-winger. The far right’s motto, after all, is the McCarthyesque “You’re with us or you’re against us,” and if you’re against them, you are, by their definition, a left-winger.

Hopefully, this offensive wingnutty overreach will serve to turn more centrists into actual left-wingers.

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Prick Warren WUVS you — even though you’re going to HELL

Then U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama ...

Reuters photo

President-elect Barack Obama pals around with Pastor Rick (Prick for short) Warren at Warren’s mega-church in Orange County, Calif., in August. Warren, whom Obama has chosen to deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month, believes that the only sexual activity that is acceptable is sexual activity between a man and a woman who are married to each other for life. (He says so explicitly here. And yes, he says “for life,” which indicates that he opposes divorce and remarriage as well as homosexuality.) Gee, I had thought that the Obama Era of “hope” and “change” was going to end the Dark Ages…

Oh. My. God.

I just watched (more than once) a six-and-a-half minute video of Prick Warren — it’s a video message to his congregation that is less than a week 0ld — and he is almost as smooth as is Barack Obama. He hates fags and dykes, he makes clear in his message — it’s not difficult to read between the lines — but he tells you so oh so nicely.

Warren doesn’t hate gay men and lesbians, because he has to love everyone, he tells us — but, of course, he informs us ominously, all of us have the choice as to whether we follow God’s mandates or not. (Translation: Fags and dykes are going to hell. But he wuvs us fags and dykes. Because the Bible says he has to.)

Warren makes the rather bizarre “argument” that he has nothing against gay men and lesbians — even though he says that the only sexual activity that is acceptable is between a man and a woman who are married for life — but that gay men and lesbians just can’t use the word “marriage.” Really? Why? He’s OK with same-sex couplings (“partnerships,” he calls them) but he’s going to quibble over what we call such couplings?

Shit. I wish Warren would just call for the execution of us gay men and lesbians. It would be more direct and more honest as to what’s really in his heart. Clearly he believes that he and his brainwashed followers are going to heaven and that gay men and lesbians are going to hell. But that’s not hate ’cause he’s not a hater!

Warren reminds me of a co-worker I once had who told me that she didn’t hate gay men and lesbians — because she was no hater! — but that she fully believed that gay men and lesbians were going to suffer whatever punishments are prescribed for them in the Bible (hellfire was the punishment, I believe she asserted, but that was years ago). Actually, come to think of it, I have had (at least) two different co-workers who told me that they have nothing against gay men and lesbians but that they believe that homosexuality is a sin — no offense!

Anyway, first in the video, Prick Warren bashes the mainstream media — and bloggers — and warns his audience of churchgoers to be careful not to believe everything that they hear or read. Because only he is the purveyor of absolute truth, of course! (Kind of like how when a new weight-loss program is rolled out, the purveyors of it claim that all of the other weight-loss programs don’t work but that this one does!)

Warren also pontificates that the media love to “create” conflict and he asserts that where no conflict exists, the media will create it. What he’s really saying is that he’s as innocent and pure as the driven snow, and that all of the controversy about him in the media has been just the fabrication of conflict.

No, it’s real fucking conflict; it’s not media-created. President-elect Barack Obama is palling around with a stupid white man who opposes women’s reproductive rights and same-sex marriage rights, and we, Obama’s base, those of us who put his ass into office, have a real fucking problem with that. Our anger is quite real, fuck you very much, Prick Warren.

And Warren’s rant against bloggers sure makes it sound like he thinks that the First Amendment for the masses is a pretty bad idea.* Those American citizens who actually exercise the First Amendment — only when Warren disagrees with them, of course — should “get a life,” he proclaims. Which really means: Shut up! Only mega-churches that can afford to get their messages out — and those who agree with the mega-churches — should be allowed to excercise the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, thank you.

Yes, Prick Warren is yet another friendly fascist (and also a “compassionate conservative”?), which makes you have to wonder about Barack Obama: He wuvs us fags and dykes too, he claims, but he won’t publicly support same-sex marriage either, because while separate sure isn’t equal for him, he asserts that separate is equal for us gay men and lesbians.

*“A lot of people think that because they can sit in the quietness of their own home and hide behind the screen, they can hurl all kinds of bombs at people and get away with it,” Warren huffs in the video. That sure sounds like a thinly veiled threat to bloggers to me, but then he concludes: “Well, no, they’re just being rude.”

But gee, Prick, can we bloggers with whom you disagree “get away with it”?

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