Tag Archives: murder

Gavin Newsom leads again

Getty Images photo

Gavin Newsom, then still mayor of San Francisco, is pictured above marrying lesbian activists Del Martin (left) and Phyllis Lyon (right) at San Francisco City Hall when same-sex marriage briefly was legal in California in 2008 (after a California Supreme Court ruling) before being shot down again by California Proposition H8 (and before being made legal again by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015). Martin, who had been with Lyon for more than 50 years before they were married in San Francisco in 2004 before having that marriage declared null and void, died two months after the photo above was taken. Then, as he is now, Newsom was ahead of his time.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’

“But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

— Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:38 and 5:39

Oh, to be surrounded by so many “Christians”!

These “Christians” (and some ignorant, hateful others) are pissed off that recently elected California Gov. Gavin Newsom this past week announced that as long as he’s governor — he just started his first four-year term and probably will get another term — no one on California’s death row (there are more than 700 of them) will be executed.

He doesn’t have the power to eliminate the death penalty in the state altogether, but as governor he does have the power to suspend executions.

I expect that the death penalty will be in abolished in California before Newsom is out of office.

Why?

Let’s back up a little bit: It’s much reported that Newsom has suspended state executions against the will of California voters. That’s pretty much bullshit.

California voters last weighed in on the death penalty in November 2016, but the statewide ballot measure that would have repealed the death penalty that the voters shot down didn’t lose overwhelmingly. It was 53 percent don’t repeal to 47 percent repeal.

Another death-penalty-related ballot measure on the same ballot, a really mean-spirited one, sped up the process in which the state should commit executions (because When the penalty is your life, hey, let’s get this over with already! What could go wrong?), but that one passed by only 51 percent to 49 percent.

Newsom isn’t up for re-election until November 2022. By then, I’m confident, the needle will have moved to majority opposition to the death penalty in the state of California.

And Newsom — who moved the needle on same-sex marriage when, as mayor of San Francisco, he declared same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction in 2004* — is moving that needle.

Newsom was elected governor over his Repugnican opponent in November 2018 by 62 percent to 38 percent, and in this solidly blue state he has the political capital with which to move the needle.

Those who have been iffy on the death penalty but who support Newsom and the Democratic Party are going to find their support for Newsom and the Democratic Party to be more important than any tepid support that they might have had for the death penalty.

And sure, let’s talk about the will of the California voters. Again, only a slim majority of them backed the death penalty — more than two years ago. A super-majority of them voted for Newsom about four months ago.

The bloodthirsty California wingnuts (a minority in the state, thank Goddess), as usual, don’t even make any fucking sense on this issue. The last person executed in California was way back in 2006, under then-Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger (a Repugnican, of course), and the executed was a legally blind and diabetic 76-year-old man in a wheelchair. (Woo hoo! “Justice”!)

For the past 13 years there have been no executions in California, but now it’s “important” that we crank up the lethal injection machine?

It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the survivors of those who have been murdered by stone-cold killers (the term that the wingnuts love to use). If a loved one of mine were murdered, no, of course I wouldn’t be happy. I might come to a place of forgiveness for the murderer, but probably not initially, during the shock of the event.

But the prime objective is to prevent the convicted murderer from ever murdering again, and keeping him or her in prison for life accomplishes that objective.

For the state to say, “Killing is wrong, so we’re going to kill you because you killed” not only is anti-Christian (see Jesus Christ’s straightforward rejection of revenge above), but it defies logic and reason. Acting as much as the animal as the animal is not civilized.

Even if you are indifferent to whether a convicted murderer is executed or is imprisoned for life, know that the costs to the taxpayer surrounding the death penalty are significantly higher than simply allowing the convicted murderer to die in prison, which itself is a pretty fucking harsh penalty.

And don’t get me wrong on Gavin Newsom. His style always has rubbed me the wrong way; he’s too slick for my tastes. (And I am disappointed that he has endorsed fellow Californian Kamala Harris, a “progressive” come lately, for president, which was premature at best.)

I did vote for Newsom in November, but that largely was because in California’s top-two system, I wanted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate to have every possible vote over his God-awful (redundant) Repugnican candidate. (And I am registered not as a Democrat, but as an independent — because I’m pretty left of center and that’s not where nearly enough so-called “Democrats” are.)

But while he’s not my style, Newsom is a leader, and I’ve long defined a leader as someone who doesn’t just follow along where the majority already is, but who pushes the majority to where they need to go.

By that measure, Gavin Newsom is a leader.**

He led on same-sex marriage, and he’s leading on the abolition of the death penalty, not just in California, but nationally.

P.S. I just saw this paragraph in a Politico story:

Mark Baldassare, head of the Public Policy Institute of California, says that his organization’s polling over the years has consistently shown that around 55 percent of Californians back the idea of life imprisonment over the death penalty. But “that can change’’ during high-profile ballot campaigns, when voters are often reminded of specific heinous crimes, boosting their support of the death penalty, he warns.

Indeed, the people of California apparently already are with Newsom on this, but yes, it’s easy to exploit the issue by appealing to fear and emotion over logic and reason.

*As mayor Newsom did not have the authority to declare same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction, and the California Supreme Court later shot him (and those marriages) down.

But, of course, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2015, history has absolved Newsom, who was ahead of history.

**As is Bernie Sanders, who has redefined the positions that a Democrat (or a Democrat in name only…) must take if he or she wants the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Sanders has moved the party to the left quite significantly (something that even one of his detractors had to admit).

Of course, as I’ve written before, I prefer the one who moved the ideas into the mainstream, not anyone who only has followed along and who, if elected, probably wouldn’t actually try very hard to enact these ideas, since he or she didn’t generate them in the first fucking place.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pink triangle proposition won’t become law in California, but it’s the thought that counts

History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”

An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”

The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.

Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.

Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).

There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).

And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)

The California Supreme Court declined to prevent the unconstitutional Proposition H8 from appearing on the ballot, so it would be interesting to see what the court would do if it were asked to prevent the “Sodomite Suppression Act” from appearing on the ballot. Indeed, while Prop H8 “only” sought to outlaw same-sex marriages, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” calls for the Nazi-style wholesale slaughter of non-heterosexuals who ever have acted upon their same-sex attraction.

But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.

Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).

True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).

But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.

Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.

Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.

I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.

*Alabama state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Roy Moore, for instance, has claimed, quite incorrectly, that he has the legal authority and ability to override and ignore a federal judge’s ruling on the federal constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the state. Moore was removed from the post of Alabama Supreme Court chief “justice” in 2003 for having ignored another federal judge’s ruling on another federal constitution issue, but he was not disbarred, as he should have been, and thus he legally was allowed to run for the post again, which, insanely, is filled by popular election in the backasswards state of Alabama.

**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”

So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Giving this here Tweety thing a try!

I never wanted to be a grumpy old man, especially at only age 45, but, after having resisted* for a long time now, yesterday I sent my very first “Tweet” out to the Universe, probably only to be, as Hedwig put it, “internationally ignored.”

My first Tweet yesterday was this:

I’d MUCH rather that my tax dollars pay for Chelsea Manning’s sex change than for another bogus war in the Middle East!

Today, this:

Wingnuts have savaged Chelsea Manning, who killed no one, but find a way to forgive Robert Bales, who murdered 16 Afghan civilians. Sick!

The first Tweet was easy, but the second was more difficult, because I had a little more to say, and so I had to condense it into Twitter’s 140-character maximum, for which — it is true — there is no forgiveness. (I am tempted to change my Twitter username to Procrustes, but I’m sure that it’s already taken…)

Anyway, I frequently leave comments on news items and other postings on the Internet, and some of them are pretty short, so I should be able to do the Twitter thing.

Whether or not I’ll have any following is another matter, but since I’ve been blogging since 2002, I haven’t lost too much sleep over how much of a readership I do or do not have, so it probably won’t be any different with Twitter.

Oh: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, in case you haven’t heard, slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians inside of their homes in cold blood in March 2012. Today he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

I’ve seen wingnuts offer all kinds of defenses for him in the comments sections of news stories.

As I Tweeted, it’s sick: Chelsea Manning, who has not killed anyone or even demonstrably caused the death of anyone, is shown no mercy even by many (if not even most) of those who call themselves liberals, no doubt in very large part because of Manning’s gender issues, yet if you’re a “macho,” presumably heterosexual and gender-conforming white guy, especially a soldier or a cop, in the eyes of public opinion, anyway, you can get away with murder — with mass murder, even.

White male over-privilege is, in my estimation, staggering.

The only “defense”that I can offer for Bales is that it’s grossly inequitable that he’ll have to spend the rest of his life in prison for his having committed mass murder while the much, much worse mass murderers — George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, yes, Barack Obama, et. al., et. al. — not only won’t spend a minute in a jail cell, but most of them will enjoy cushy retirement benefits at our expense.

Anyway, if you truly can’t get enough of me here, I’m at Twitter at @robertdcrook.

*My main point of resistance to Twitter has been my concern that in a society that already is dumbed down enough, discussing important topics in 140 characters or fewer is going to make the American collective intelligence even worse.

However, Twitter hasn’t yet overtaken all other forms of communication, and to me seems more to supplement than to supplant public discourse.

And we all love a good zinger, something that, hopefully, I’ll get better at composing…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Millions murdered Trayvon Martin

These editorial cartoons pretty much sum it up, methinks.

I haven’t written much, if anything, about the Trayvon Martin case, since I usually don’t blog about incidents of shootings, stabbings, rapes, etc. unless they have a wider significance.

But the Trayvon Martin case, of course, does have a wider significance.

I don’t know which individual on that fateful night of February 26, 2012, in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, physically posed the larger threat to the other, the 17-year-old Martin, who was black, or the then-28-year-old half-Latino-and-half-white George Zimmerman. (Yes, in this case, the race of the individuals involved has mattered.)

But the indisputable facts are that Zimmerman had a gun and Martin did not, and that Zimmerman shot Martin dead.

The indisputable fact is that Zimmerman was playing cop in a gated community (those two words, “gated community,” speak volumes as to the sociological context of Martin’s death*), and that such vigilantism should be illegal in all 50 states.

There is a reason that actual cops, in order to become actual cops, in most instances have to demonstrate a minimum amount of intelligence and a minimum amount of psychological health: Because you don’t want morons and/or those who have head issues walking around communities with guns, playing cops.

And I can’t see that Zimmerman wasn’t racially profiling Martin: What’s a young black man doing in this gated community? (Let’s fucking face it: The No. 1 function of a gated community is to keep certain “undesirables,” who more often than not have darker skin, out and away from the wealthier and usually lighter-skinned denizens of the gated community.)

Oh, wasn’t that Zimmerman’s mindset? Would Zimmerman have pursued, with his loaded pistol, a young white man who was dressed as a preppy?

And once you have made yourself into a pseudo-cop, don’t you want to “have to” play the role at some point? So wouldn’t you be looking for such an opportunity?

Zimmerman was just acquitted in Martin’s shooting death, but, it seems to me, Zimmerman was guilty at least of manslaughter. In a saner and more just state, such as my state of California, Zimmerman most likely would have been found guilty of at least manslaughter, I surmise. However, the backasswards state of Florida (along with other backasswards states) allows yahoos to walk the streets with guns, and to use those guns to “stand their ground.”

That’s Wild-West bullshit.

Martin wasn’t pursuing Zimmerman on that night. Zimmerman, playing cop, was pursuing Martin. Zimmerman was acting offensively, not defensively. He wasn’t “standing his ground” against an unprovoked attack on his person. No, he was playing cop.**

The state of Florida, along with George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon Martin, along with the gun-nut lobby and, of course, the institutional racism that of course still persists and will persist in the United States of America for some time to come. Martin’s murderers number in the millions.

These “stand your ground” laws need to go, or at least need to be modified to make clear that you aren’t “standing your ground” if you are the fucking aggressor — especially if you are the armed aggressor against an unarmed (or hell, even armed) individual who has made no threatening advance toward you in public. (“In public” is key there; no, I do not assert that an individual does not have the right to defend his or her own home against an actual intruder, for instance, and for actual self-defense I do support the Second Amendment.)

For the reasons that I have just laid out, I support the NAACP’s and other black community leaders’ push to have Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, even though such an action probably would touch off a race-based firestorm, given that the U.S. president and the U.S. attorney general are black.

(President Barack Obama is conflict-adverse, however, perhaps especially when it comes to issues of race — recall that he quickly and summarily threw the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, all of whom are black, under the bus when they came under attack from the white-supremacist right wing — so I certainly don’t expect the Justice Department to file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, regardless of how appropriate doing so might be.)

However, the seeking of justice for the very apparent race-based murder of Trayvon Martin needs to go waaay beyond George Zimmerman. It needs to encompass the entire state of Florida and every other state with the so-called “stand your ground” laws, which are a white supremacist’s or other racist’s wet dream: the opportunity to commit race-based murders while claiming self-defense.

If you believe that the U.S. Department of Justice should file civil-rights charges in the Trayvon Martin case, you can sign this petition and/or this petition. I have signed both of them.

*On that note, I very much look forward to the upcoming sci-fi film “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and written and directed by “District 9” creator Neill Blomkamp, whose 2009 “District 9” apparently was a statement on the white-on-black racism in South Africa.

From the previews, “Elysium” appears to be a bold statement on the direction in which the United States of America — as well as other nations, too, of course — with their haves and their have-nots, are going.

**A friend of Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantel, infamously testified that while she was talking to Martin on his cell phone shortly before he was killed, Martin reported that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”

While I don’t know that I’d call George Zimmerman a “cracker,” as he looks Latino to me, and technically isn’t a “cracker,” I imagine that on the night of February 26, 2012, he indeed looked “creepy-ass,” pursuing his victim with a loaded pistol while playing cop. He probably looked crazed, because he apparently was.

And Rachel Jeantel, was treated horribly in the courtroom, was treated as though her English was not clear when it was quite clear if you actually just listened to the words that came from her mouth. Her mistreatment smacked of racism, and that the court allowed this mistreatment of her is yet another indication that there is a huge fucking problem in the state of Florida — and so that, again, it would be quite appropriate for the U.S. Justice Department to act on this.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Was the London murder a murder or a ‘terrorist attack’?

Updated below

Michael Adebolajo: Murderer or “terrorist”? Is he a “terrorist” because he’s Muslim? And of Nigerian descent?

First off, let me be clear: I am not at all OK with the grisly murder of 25-year-old British soldier and Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby just outside of his barracks in London yesterday. And I reject the idea of killing one person in retaliation for killings that other people committed. In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.

One of Lee Rigby’s two very apparent murderers, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of London, “a British-born convert to radical Islam,” according to Reuters, notoriously calmly explained to someone with a video camera — while he still held a knife and a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands (see the video still above) — why he and his companion, also of Nigerian descent, according to Reuters, attacked and killed Rigby, whom they reportedly first ran down in a car and then started hacking with a meat cleaver and knives: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

In Greenwich Village this past weekend, 32-year-old gay man Mark Carson was shot to death in an apparent hate crime; reportedly, Carson’s accused murderer, Elliot Morales, 33, who was apprehended by police, had used anti-gay hate speech before he shot Carson to death.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the murder: “It’s clear that victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay. There’s no question about that. There were derogatory remarks. This victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Reuters reports that many posit that recent advances in same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. — including three states having gone for same-sex marriage earlier this month — might have been behind the murder of Carson.

Yet the murder of Carson is called a “murder” and the murder of Rigby is called, automatically, a “terrorist attack” or “act of terrorism.”

What’s the difference between an act of murder and an act of terrorism/“terrorism”?

The murder of Carson, I surmise, was meant to send this message to all gay men or even to all non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals: You are not safe walking the streets. You might be the next one to be shot (or stabbed or beaten up or whatever).

That’s not a form of terrorism — an act of violence (a murder, no less) apparently committed with the intent to strike fear within a whole class of people?

Michael Adebolajo very apparently was using Lee Rigby as an example — he killed him in effigy of all British soldiers, in effect — just as Elliot Morales very apparently was using Mark Carson as an example — he killed him in effigy of all gay men, in effect.

So if Adebolajo and his cohort are “terrorists,” why isn’t Morales a “terrorist”?

My answer to my own question is that when a member of a historically oppressed minority group (like gay men) is murdered, it’s not considered to be a big deal. We can call it just a “murder,” as though it didn’t extend beyond just the murdered victim at all, but was just one of those random things — an act of God, Wolf Blitzer might say.

But when even one soldier is murdered — even on a public/civilian street, and while not on duty, which very apparently is how Rigby was murdered — that’s considered an attack on the plutocrats, the elites, of whom the commoner-funded military (Britain’s as well as the United States’) is just an arm.

The plutocrats, the elites, can’t maintain their overprivileged status without whole armies at their command, and the plutocratic elites are far, far more important than any of the rest of us ever could be, so the murder of just one of their soldiers — even in a non-combat situation — automatically is branded as “terrorism,” a more serious crime than plain-old murder.

I disagree that Rigby’s murder was an act of “terrorism.” Rigby’s murder was much closer to a murder than to an act of “terrorism.”

If we’re going to call Rigby’s murderers “terrorists” instead of just plain-old “murderers,” then we’re going to need to call Elliot Morales a terrorist, too — because his crime very apparently was motivated by his religious and political beliefs, just as Adebolajo’s and his partner’s crime was motivated by theirs.

The act-of-murder-vs.-act-of-terrorism problem largely can be solved if  the usage of the “t” terms — “terrorist,” “terrorists,” “terrorism” — returns to the terms’ status before 9/11. Cases of murder committed by an individual or two people apparently acting on their own and not as part of a known terrorist/“terrorist” group — such as the apparent case with the Boston Marathon bombings (I refer to the two Tsarnaev brothers, of course) and the apparent case with the British soldier who was murdered yesterday — are probably much closer to murder cases than they are to terrorism/“terrorism” cases.

We don’t refer to the two Columbine High School killers as “terrorists,” for example, even though they slaughtered many more people than did the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo.

That’s at least in part, of course, because the two Columbine killers were two white “Christian” kids, and you’re much more likely to be branded as a “terrorist” if you are Muslim — and even more so if you are a non-white Muslim.

That shit needs to stop. We can’t have a two-tiered system of “justice” in which it’s only “terrorism” if the (accused) perpetrator is Muslim or non-white or both. If we must go hog wild with the “terrorism” thing, then it must apply to so-called “Christians” and to other non-Muslims and to whites and to other non-blacks as well.

Update (Sunday, May 26, 2013): Columnist Glenn Greenwald, who once wrote for Salon.com but now works for The Guardian of the United Kingdom, on Thursday also tackled the question of “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?”

In his column, Greenwald notes that

An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being “terrorism”: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as “terrorism.”

Yup. Here, I think, is the money shot of Greenwald’s analysis:

The reason it’s so crucial to ask this question [of whether or not an act of violence constitutes “terrorism”] is that there are few terms — if there are any — that pack the political, cultural and emotional punch that “terrorism” provides. When it comes to the actions of western governments, it is a conversation-stopper, justifying virtually anything those governments want to do.

It’s a term that is used to start wars, engage in sustained military action, send people to prison for decades or life, to target suspects for due-process-free execution, shield government actions behind a wall of secrecy, and instantly shape public perceptions around the world.

It matters what the definition of the term is, or whether there is a consistent and coherent definition. It matters a great deal.

There is ample scholarship proving that the term has no such clear or consistently applied meaning. … It is very hard to escape the conclusion that, operationally, the term has no real definition at this point beyond “violence engaged in by Muslims in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims.” …

Actually, it seems to me, in the Western world, especially in the U.S. and the UK, “terrorism” has come pretty much to mean just “violence engaged in by Muslims.” Even the acknowledgment that such violence might be “in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims” usually never is made in Westerners’ discussions of “terrorism,” since that obviously would be to bring Westerners’ guilt into the discussion, and most Westerners, it seems to me, will have none of that.

Greenwald also notes that “earlier this month, an elderly British Muslim was stabbed to death in an apparent anti-Muslim hate crime and nobody called that ‘terrorism,'” and adds that the term “terrorism” “at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Yup.

There are news reports, such as this one, of actions perpetrated against Muslims in Britain by non-Muslims in “retaliation” for the slaughter of the British solider in London. This report (from Slate.com) states that “The incidents [so far have ranged] from name calling and abuse on social media, to the painting of graffiti, attacks against mosques, and pulling off women’s headscarves in the street.” (“Attacks against mosques” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. I wish that the writer had given us the details there, or if he didn’t have the details, to have stated that fact.)

Of course, such low-level, “harmless” terrorism is what the Jews in Nazi Germany experienced before the Nazis ratcheted things waaay up.

This leads to yet another question: Is an act in which someone is not injured or killed “terrorism”? Is it only “terrorism” if someone is injured or killed? These thugs pulling Muslim women’s headscarves off — that is not done with the intent of terrorizing these women?

Is such terrorizing OK if it’s considered in “retaliation” of, or just in reaction to, another incident? Would this be “counter-terrorism”? Or would this be something like just plain-old “justice,” since we non-Muslims never use the “t-” word to refer to any of our own actions?

Anyway, as I wrote in my first paragraph of this post, “In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.”

As a gay man, I’m never happy to read about the slaughter of a gay man because he’s gay. To use an example that hit close to home, in July 2007, 26-year-old Satender Singh, a Fijian of Indian descent, was killed in my area (Sacramento) because he was suspected of being gay.

Whether he was gay or not I don’t know, but the two men from Eastern Europe who were charged with his murder very apparently thought that he was, because, witnesses said, the Slavic thugs who attacked Singh expressly targeted him because he was, they said, a “faggot” and a “sodomite,” among other things.

According to the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, witnesses also reported that these Slavic thugs “bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a ‘good church’ like theirs.” This was right before one of the thugs delivered a blow to Singh’s head, a blow that later caused his death. (Great “Christians,” eh? Well, even the Nazis considered themselves to be great “Christians.”)

While I truly wish that the homophobic Eastern European immigrants here in California would fucking respect and honor how things are done and are not done here in California (and not act here as it’s OK to act in their backasswards countries in Eastern Europe) — and if they don’t like our freedoms here, including our freedom from their brand of theofascism, they are free to return to Eastern Europe — never would it have occurred to me that it would have been OK to randomly attack (apparent) Eastern European immigrants on the street in “retaliation” for the murder of Satender Singh.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My guess: It was domestic terrorism, perhaps over taxes

So today was Tax Day and deadly bombs went off in Boston, Mass., the site of the iconic 1773 Boston Tea Party, which was a protest against the British taxation of the American colonists.

Coinky-dink?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But I can’t see “Islamofascists” having pulled off this one. Given the not-too-subtle symbolism of it, I can, however, see right-wing, anti-tax domestic terrorists having done so.

If this is correct, it would be interesting to know whether the domestic terrorists (I’m guessing that there was more than one terrorist who pulled this one off) consider themselves to be members of the so-called “tea party” or not. (If memory serves, the “tea” in “tea party” is supposed to mean “taxed enough already.”)

If so, what horrible PR for the “tea party” this will be…

In any event, I’m all for making political statements, and while I can live with property damage, committing the murder and/or the maiming of innocent people in order to make a political statement is a shitty fucking thing to do, and of course any political statement is lost entirely among the carnage, which is all that anyone can see, such as the serious injury done to this man, who lost his legs in the terrorist attack in Boston today:

Associated Press photo

A cropped version of this photo was all over the Internet today; I found this apparently unedited version on liveleak.com. (The news photo has been glitchy for me, so if you don’t see it above, you can see it here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eaa_1366058986)

I think it’s best not to sanitize the results of terrorism, whether it’s like the apparent domestic terrorism that we saw today in Boston, or whether it’s like the terrorism that the unelected Bush regime committed in Iraq in such noble names as “freedom” and “liberation” and “democracy.” Speaking of which, the photo above reminds me of this iconic photo from the Vietraq War:

Terrorism is terrorism, and no “good guys” commit terrorism. Only bad guys do.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized