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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE CRINGING

"I am woman, hear me whimper"
-Things Helen Reddy did not sing

I'm old enough I remember when feminists were about strength and equality.  Reacting to years of being treated like children and carefully protected from life, feminists demanded that they be treated as adults, as people who can face difficulty.  They insisted women were every bit as tough and capable of handling life as women.
Hear me roar, Helen Reddy sang.
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

Women were strong, they argued.  Feminism was about showing women could do anything  a man can, if not more, and better.  "We don't need protecting," the feminists argued.
My how that's changed.
Today it seems like feminism is largely defined by cringing, whining, cowering, and weeping emotional infants.  Rape is becoming both a forbidden word because it might "trigger" people's discomfort, or a go-to word for condemning anything that a feminist dislikes.  If a man sits with his knees too far apart, he's raping women nearby with his "manspreading."  If a man disagrees with a woman, he's raping her with his "mansplaining."
Recently a woman went to speak at a college about how women are strong and don't need protecting and coddling, that they can stand up to life's challenges.  She was shouted and screamed at, and dozens fled to a "safe space" nearby, as described by the college administration:
The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall—it was packed—but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.
Now, there's so very much wrong with this at a college its difficult to even express but look at the extreme childishness of this space.  Its not even for little girls with barbie dolls, its for toddlers and younger.  Puppies?  Play-Doh?  Pillows and blankets?  Are they curling up and sucking their thumbs?
This is just pathetic, and its such a strange reversal from not all that long ago when women were fighting to pass a deeply flawed "Equal Rights Amendment."  They didn't give up on that by the way;  they just figured out they can abuse the 14th amendment to get all they wanted done with it.
This bizarre reversal is almost amazing to behold from the same movement that insisted women should be included in everything men did, no matter how brutal, rough, or difficult.  Firefighters?  Women can do that too, let me roll my sleeve up.  Combat marines?  Step aside, I'm G.I. Jane, nobody can stop me.
Its just taken a few short years and now women are following in Hillary Clinton's footsteps.  Remember the scene from the New York Senatorial campaign, when Ms Clinton moved to NYC for a few months so she could qualify to represent them in congress?  There was a debate, and in it, her opponent Rick Lazio produced a piece of paper.  It was a pledge that she'd said in her speeches.  The paper was a pledge that she would never again spend soft money, as she promised.  All she had to do was sign it.
Lazio walked over to the podium Hillary Clinton was at, and she cringed away, acting like he was going to beat her with a club.  The news was full of how the brutal white male was abusing this poor helpless woman with his sheet of paper.  No mention was made of how she refused to go on record about her vow or make it official.
Now that seems to be the pattern, with women crying about a shirt having too many sexy women on it and ads suggesting their product will help women get their body ready for summer.  Its becoming a joke, the kind of thing that comedians everywhere with an ounce of honesty and integrity would and should be mocking but won't because it doesn't fit the narrative.
Its so sad, feminism went from "I'm an adult, stop protecting me like a foolish child" to "I want to be just like men, but only the good stuff" and now to "I'm a foolish child, protect me."  Small wonder "feminism" as a movement is fading, and organizations like NOW can barely scrape together a few dozen people to attend a rally these days.  If this is what feminism has become, who'd want to be part of it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE GAYING OF HOLLYWOOD

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul."
-Marilyn Monroe

There was a time when people would whine or quip that Hollywood was controlled by Jews.  That
statement wasn't wrong.  Its not that Jews had some cabal of autocratic dicatorship over the movie industry.  Yes, some of the more powerful producers or studio owners were Jewish such as Goldwyn and Meyer.
The reason people would say that  is because Jews were the primary driving force behind most of the creativity.  They were the writers and the directors and the designers.  They made costumes and built sets, they made the movies.
And you could tell. Hollywood had a basic sensibility largely shaped by American Jewish thinking and worldviews.  It was often funny, but full of self-doubt and self-examination.  It had a basic strong morality and a love of family, a love of country, and respect for tradition.  Jews in Hollywood, without attempting to, were passing on their worldview to the world.
Jews tended to have a very strong moral compass, an understanding of strength used for good to fight evil, a clear understanding of the line between good and bad.  Characters had depth and layers, but there was no fear of depicting evil as evil and good as heroic.
And this worldview, this influence was so strong that even non-Jewish creators tended to follow the pattern because it was established, popular, well-understood, and often shared by others in the industry.
That's not so much true any longer.  In fact, if any one group can be said to "run Hollywood" any more, its homosexuals.
I remember well early in Premier Magazine's run they would do an annual tribute issue to those who had died of AIDS in the industry.  Every year for several years, they'd have a section of just names, ages, and jobs like a war monument wall.  And it was amazing in its predictability: the jobs were so stereotypical homosexual it was jaw-dropping.  Costume designer.  Make up artist.  Hair dresser.  Dance instructor.  Over and over and over, with few exceptions.
After a few issues of this, Premier dropped the yearly feature without explanation; I suspect they realized it was not only depressing but was very clearly demonstrating that AIDS was not just  homosexual disease but that these guys were pretty much to type.
But homosexuality has spread in Hollywood in influence and impact.  There was once a time when the damaged, confused or insane homosexual was a bad guy type you'd see.  Demented by guilt or how they were treated, they'd go wrong and have to be stopped.  Then that character vanished.
I've asked this before but when was the last time you saw a negative portrayal of a homosexual?  I don't mean making fun but when was he the bad guy?  When was a homosexual anything but fun, smart, well dressed, good, just, and heroic?  For years the "magic negro" was the lazy answer for film heroes needing guidance: you had some mentor who was wise and knowing that was almost always a black guy in humble dress.  The janitor who understood life best, etc.
These days its the "magic fag" that fills this role.  They just are smarter and better than everyone.  I think the first one I ever saw was in an otherwise great film that promotes traditional values and understanding: Blast From The Past with Dave Foley as the Magic Fag that imparts wisdom and deep knowledge of women to ignorant straight Brendan Frasier in a prototype of the later "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" show.
But its broader than that.  In the same way Jewish culture and values were imparted to Hollywood, now Homosexual ones are.  Watch any recent film that is supposed to involve heroes.  Consider their motivations and behavior.  Captain America isn't a man who fights for justice and liberty, he just doesn't like bullies now, for example.  And consider the way the hero reacts to their life.
It was once a bit overdone that heroes would face horrors and great difficulty, grit their teeth, give a quip, then move on as if nothing had happened.  Sure, my whole family was wiped out and I was tortured for 3 weeks but I combed my hair and now its time to get busy.
Now the pendulum has swung ridiculously the other direction.  The hero is reduced to a shivering, whining, hapless wreck by their experiences.  Instead of taking a scene with a lover to get over a problem it takes days, weeks, several episodes, and entire season - and the repercussions go on and on.  As you know Bob, when I started out, my cat got run over and -- and I never really got over that.... I need a moment (reaching for tissue).
Now the writing is characterized by self doubt, by obsessing over past slights, by offense, triggering, and upsets.  There's little moral character, and often its difficult to tell the good guy from the bad guy in terms of their worldview and behavior.  Heroism has been replaced by a strange sort of vengeance-driven self misery.
Show after show of what are essentially bad guys or at best morally neutral being miserable and doing questionable or flat out terrible things without any good guys are put out.  I suppose The Sopranos was the first of these, but in fact that was a morality play showing that mobsters were wrong and the consequences of their life despite trying to do what they think is right.  Later shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad were just about bad guys doing bad.
Even the supposedly good guys in these shows were corrupt, venal, perverted, and in some ways even worse than the bad guys.  The moral lesson is clear: there's not really any good.  There's just interesting different shades of bad, and the people who claim to be good - especially Christians, oh my yes the Christians - are even worse.
With homosexuals dominating so much of the Hollywood worldview, if not creative process, in the way Jews once did, the worldview has shifted drastically.  Unable to understand heroism, they give us brutal thugs or whiny amoral punks - or tepid good guys who don't really even understand their role.  Unable to understand humor we get gross out shock stunts and in-your-face attacks on traditional ideals.  Everyone is wracked with angst, self doubt, and guilt because that's the way homosexuals view the world.
And instead of getting over anything and healing or moving past, they dwell on it endlessly, moping and recriminating, shaping their entire lives around perceived or actual slights and miseries of the past.
Families are portrayed as infighting bizarre, miserable wrecks.  The "traditional core family" concept is mocked and attacked as always some kind of lie and even if it wasn't its so horribly in the past it should be utterly destroyed.
Christianity is almost always portrayed as bizarre, stupid, ignorant, and deeply perverted, hiding sick sexual desires and twisted secrets just beneath the surface.  That pastor might seem kindly and good but he lusts after his daughter and has an inflatable sheep in the basement.  It must be true, nobody could be good and moralAnd my worldview is largely shaped by my sexuality, so theirs must be as well, but hide it for some shameful reason.
And so goes our general culture, because as I've written in the past, the "low info voter" (the general public who has no interest or skill in self examination or understanding their worldview let alone the events around them) is greatly shaped by popular culture and in particular entertainment.
So that's how the people around us see the world, too.  And in the process the industry, entertainment, and humor suffers.

Friday, April 24, 2015

USEFUL IDIOTS IN ECUADOR

Don't expect to see an HBO movie about this any time soon.

Several times over the years this blog has been on top of a story in Ecuador in which Chevron was railroaded by fraudulent lawsuits directed by the Obama administration over environmental damage. This video gives a quick overview of the fraud perpetrated by radicals and extremists working with a US Attorney:


The only thing missing from the video is the involvement of the US government under President Obama.  Now it seems that Sharon Stone is involved as well.  She was slated to show up for an environmentalist rally to give her support and publicity, but its the same group that tried to defraud Chevron and now she's denying she was there to hurt Chevron.
Stone claims she knew nothing about the story, which despite snark in some quarters about how smart she claims to be, I buy.  Almost nobody is covering this despite it be a fascinating and major news story.  And the story gets worse, as Hollywood Reporter, er, reports:
Prior to Ms. Stone traveling to Ecuador, MCS, acting as the public relations arm for the Republic of Ecuador, issued a press release asserting that the purpose of Ms. Stone’s expected trip was to support the Ecuadorian government’s 'Dirty Hand of Chevron' campaign," Stone's attorney Andrew Brettler wrote in a March 3 letter to the judge. "At no time did Ms. Stone agree to support this campaign, advance any other political agenda of the Ecuadorian government, or advocate against Chevron. In addition, Ms. Stone subsequently learned that MCS failed to disclose that it was conducting public relations activities in the United States on behalf of the Republic of Ecuador in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires a foreign agent to register with the U.S. Department of Justice.
MCSquared is pretty much just a totally corrupt organization, and they have filed a breach of contract suit against Sharon Stone for refusing to go show up and help them defraud Chevron.  Previously, celebrity useful idiots such as Danny Glover and Mia Farrow have flown to Ecuador to help MCSquared.
They aren't giving up despite losing a major lawsuit and since they have no visible source of income, one wonders how MCS is managing to keep paying for leftist celebrities and rallies and legal fees in Ecuador.  Seems like that might be a story too, one that ends up in Red Square.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

GETTING IT ALL WRONG

"It was my job to make sure different ethnic and religious groups 'got on.'"

Someone posted a video a few days ago that I watched, but sadly I cannot recall who they were.  Thanks, whoever.  The video is a British TV special with Trevor Phillips, former head of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission under Tony Blair.  In it, he examines his former understanding of race relations, bigotry, and its causes and prevention.
For Mr Phillips, the London bombings on 7/7 during the Olympics shocked him into rethinking several assumptions he's had over the years and made him examine his beliefs.  As a result, he's changing significantly, and the video is about these changes.  But the video's real power and information for me is less about what he has to say now - most of it fairly obvious to me - but what he used to think, and more importantly, why.
Quick now, what do these stories have in common:
  • Lois Lerner, despite contempt of congress and blatant abuse of the IRS to systematically attack political groups she didn't like, has utterly avoided punishment and instead gotten bonuses.  Why?
  • Wisconsin has recently been ground zero for abuse of power by the legal system to punish political enemies.
  • It turns out women are more likely to be hired for scientific jobs at colleges and universities, not less.
  • Why did this college apologize for serving Mexican food at a sci fi movie festival?
  • Tim Blair teaches you how to play lefist grievance poker, where each hand is worth a set amount of political clout and victimhood.
  • What on earth is going on at the Hugo Awards?
  • Judge issues writ of habeus corpus for chimpanzee, extending human legal protection to animals. 
  • Scott Ritter admitted that he knew about the horrific children's prisons (among other evils) under Saddam Hussein and kept them to himself for fear of starting a war in Iraq.
Chances are you haven't even heard about some of these stories - they aren't the kind that get a lot of wide media attention or buzz online.  And they all have something in common, which Trevor Phillips mentions in the video.
Its not "narrative," that word that tries to explain the way a worldview becomes so overwhelming that everything is forced into its lens, although that is part of it.  Here's what Mr Phillips says:
Campaigners like me sincerely believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas, then eventually, they'd stop thinking them.
I [now] don't think we should be put off talking about ethnic patterns of behavior because of what bigots and racists might say.
Trevor Phillips knows this, because he helped create the "equality laws" and policies which governed Great Britain under Tony Phillips and if anything have become even more egregious.  He was in charge of the enforcement of these laws.He now believes that certain things are too important to be left unsaid, even if they might offend people.  He also now says that some of the racial stereotypes that his commission once tried to stop people from saying are largely true: Jews are on the whole richer and more powerful than their neighbors. Gypsies are generally more likely to be guilty of pickpocketing and shoplifting.  Columbian gangs did actually run drug trafficking in the 90s.
But the reason that he and others came up with their rules and act the way they do about policies is because they're trying to be proactive in what they perceive as a war against enemies in culture.  They make decisions not based on what will work, what is reasonable, or what is logical but upon what they believe their enemies will do.  To illustrate this, check out this exchange starting at 15:48 in the video.  Here he talks to a fellow commission member Simon Wooley, with whom he worked to end "stop and search" policies in the UK by combing through "mountains of data" showing they weren't helping stop crime, were supposedly discriminatory, and were costing money.
Philllips: Do you think it would be wrong to use ethnicity data against criminals in the way that we used it against the cops?
Wooley: I am not sure about that.  Why would you say that you have a black gang in London and a white gang in Glasgow?  You wouldn't, they'd be gangs and they'd be involved in criminality.  There's no need to racially... racially code a gang if its a gang.
Phillips: But sometimes gangs are gangs because they are racially coded.  There are crime families, there are organizations...
Wooley: Sure
Phillips: ...which are based on ethnicities, and all sorts of groups have crime.  So why would it be wrong to be able to talk publicly about that fact
Wooley: (crosstalk) because.. because no but its not... the danger is that it gets too lazy and attach all description... nobody wants to go down there.  If its nanced, then fine, but if its this headline: "you've got to do something about black gangs," its dangerous.  You know that, and I know that.
Phillips (later): Our problem is that we never talk about these things, we're all so afraid of being misused that we never tackle it.
Wooley: We have to be smart, Trevor.
The argument Mr Wooley is making is that some might misuse or be misled by telling the truth so you have to be "nuanced" and careful about saying it.  Trevol Phillips accurately notes that this in the end means you say nothing about the topic.  And the reason is that there's a fear of the enemy gaining ground, misusing the information and doing bad things.
And that's what drives so much of the left: fear of this straw man they create, that a great evil will result unless they do what they do.  Take the stories above.  
The Scott Ritter one is the easiest, as the most blatant.  He withheld human rights violations on a heinous scale out of fear his reports would cause a reaction he didn't like.  CNN did the same thing, refusing to report on certain topics for fear of how people would respond (and, out of fear of danger for their reporters and being kicked out of the country).
Lois Lerner isn't punished for her blatant abuse of power because an attorney illegally took the power on himself to dismiss the case to protect the president from what Republicans might do with the case.
Wisconsin prosecutors kicked doors down and confiscated materials, defied judicial orders, and investigated ordinary people for daring to belong to a political side they didn't like because the alternative meant their enemies might win.
Women are said to be hired less in college and data that proves otherwise disregarded or attacked because of the fear this might lead to women being hired less.
University of California, Santa Cruz apologized to hispanic students for serving mexican food with a sci fi festival because ... get this... they complained people will associate gassy food with gas giants and might be prejudiced.
The Hugo Awards kerfluffle was brought about by leftists who despite the awards being given to women, minorities, and all sorts over the years quite often, thought that they might be too often given to white men which might make people tend to think of white men as more intelligent and literary.
The writ of Habeus Corpus was issued to a chimpanzees which means the prosecutors must face them in court to make legal arguments because the judge was concerned that otherwise the animals would be mistreated.
And the entire "victim poker" system is based on the fears that peoples need to be protected from potential evils by oppressors even if they aren't doing it because the potential is too great and we must proactively prevent it.
It all stems from a philosophy of trying to be the nicest guy in the room.  Leftists on the whole are driven by the fear that someone might not see them as being a good person and nice, and further that those who disagree with them are mean and bad.  They want to be seen and thought of as the least racist, the most enlightened, the best people.
And further, those who disagree are so very awful that they must be staved off even before the problems start or another Hitler will result.  Other than sophistry, inability to intellectually articulate ideas, and a tendency toward emotionalism over reason, this is why the arguments on the left are often so ridiculously overstated and hysterical.  You aren't just different or mistaken but evil.  You aren't likely to tend toward disrespect toward women, but you're a potential rapist.
The enemy must be met and stopped even before they start, or horrific disaster will result.  If the truth and even desired results must suffer in this effort, so be it, its better than the alternative.  Or so they believe.
This mindset is that of the zealot, someone who combines absolute certainty of their righteousness with absolute certainty that their foes are horrifically evil and wrong.  I see it on both sides, mind you, its just that the left is in control of the culture, law, education, entertainment, politics etc, and are much more open, blatant, and accepted in their statements along these lines.  Those on the right are justly and rightly shouted down.
The reversal from, say, 1950, is astounding.  The roles are almost exactly reversed, with almost exactly the same kind of rhetoric and approaches.  
For example: free speech is dangerous and needs to be limited to shut up people thinking the wrong things.  In 1950 it was communism that had to be suppressed.  In 2015, its conservatism.
The same nose-lifted moralistic extremism is there: in 1950 the girl who got pregnant was ostricized and her life ruined.  In 2015 the guy who says he doesn't want to attend a homosexual wedding is.  The details are reversed in perspective, but the attitudes, behavior, and rhetoric is not.
And its all based on the same kind of approach: loveless, humorless, inflexible certainty of one's position so much so that those who disagree are the depths of evil.
And both had their points: communism is an evil that has to be fought.  Racism is an evil that must be fought.  Bigotry and hate is bad, regardless who its directed against - Christians or homosexuals.  But the desire to crush liberty to protect one's ideas and prevent one's opponents from having even a chance at a voice is evil as well.
In the end, the right went too far in the 1950s presuming everyone agreed and trying to totally crush everyone who opposed it.  Will it happen to the left?  Usually in a free society the pendulum swings hard one way or the other... but it always swings back toward the center.  Its only in a tyranny that power and fear jam the pendulum one direction or the other.
As long as America can cling to its legacy of liberty we have a chance to reverse the extremes of the left, as the extremes of the right were.  And the more extreme, damaging, and hateful that swing is, the harder it tends to swing the opposite direction when the time comes.  And that's something that the zealot never seems to quite grasp.
See, to Trevor Phillips, the idea of restricting freedom (of speech) would lead to freedom (of association).  He believed that imposing tyranny would mean a better, freer society.  And he thinks they succeeded to the point where he states that he beleives England is now the most comfortable, safest place for non-whites to visit and live in.  I would argue he's absurdly in error, but look at his perspective: England, a nation of white people is now best for non-whites.  That's the result of his policies and efforts.  Imagine that swinging the other direction, Mr Phillips.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

SOME WATN STATS

Just a quick update. In my dashboard for blogger, I noticed some stats: 
1065656 pageviews
I guess I shouldn't feel too bad even if at least half those views are drive bys and search engine hits.  One million page views is quite a few even if I've been at this nearly 10 years. I have written just over 8000 posts on my blog as well, which is quite a few more than I'd thought. I guess it piles up.
In any case, thanks for dropping by and while I'm not posting as much as I used to, I'm trying to focus on quality and things I'm especially interested in.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR ALL

"Is not the fanaticism of your irreligion more absurd and dangerous than the fanaticism of superstition? Begin by tolerating the faith of your fathers. You talk of nothing but tolerance, and never was a sect more intolerant."
-Voltaire"

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed recently in Indiana (and previous in 19 other states) was the center of considerable controversy and I've posted a lot on it recently.  This is a subject dear to my heart because of the arc of current popular culture and long history, so I have many thoughts on the subject.
It is the pattern of culture to have a single dominant cultural religion which has no room for or patience with competition.  At present that's secular humanist relativism which is fighting to control and diminish Christianity and to a lesser extent Judaism.  And sometimes - often, even in history - this trend goes from dominance to outright persecution and cruelty.
So I'm a bit defensive about how Christians are treated in the United States, as are many on the right.  However, the RFRA isn't just about Christianity.  Originally, years ago, the Supreme Court under Justice Brennan decided that the government was not able to compel people to violate their consciences or end religious practices simply because it didn't like them.
The ACLU was very supportive of this concept.  In their argument for religious freedoms, they put out an official statement reading:
Religious freedom … encompasses not only the right to believe (or not to believe), but also the right to express and to manifest religious beliefs. These rights are fundamental and should not be subject to political process and majority votes.
And they were right: religious freedoms are not subject to a popularity contest, properly, in the United States.  Just because something is unpopular does not make it wrong.  But here's the catch: it was in the context of certain Southwestern native American tribes using peyote in religious ceremonies.  The US Federal Government had a law calling this illegal, and the tribes argued for religious freedom.  They won the supreme court case.
Later, the Supreme Court changed this ruling slightly, and said that groups could not simply ignore federal law because they claimed religious liberty.  Eugene Volokh wrote more about this recently in the Washington Post, if you want more of the history and how things shifted.  But still the left was on the side of religious liberty.
It was only very recently that suddenly these laws became evil because it was a useful political lever to stir up outrage and fear in voters and because its useful to silence critics and control the competing religion.
However, its not only the left that is hypocritical and inconsistent about religious liberty.  Today on my facebook feed pops up this story:
Judge Eliana Marengo was hearing the case of one Rania El-Allou, who was trying to get her car back after it was impounded when her son was arrested for driving illegally without a license.

“There are no religious symbols in this room, not on the walls and not on the persons,” Judge Marengo said, while asking El-Allou to remove her headscarf.

However, according to Conservative Post, El-Allou refused to remove her hijab, citing her Islamic religion.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding,” judge Marengo added.
And the "Tea Party" group that this story was posted on was supportive of the judge.  The comments after were even more supportive, because she was a Muslim, I guess.
But this is wrong.  Religious liberties do not only apply to Christians.  If the 1st amendment protects religious liberty, it does so for every religion, even the ones we don't like.  This is what Hillary Clinton was getting at - in error, as an attack - when she queried if those in support of vouchers for schooling would be fine if they were used for a Satanist school to raise kids.  My response was "too bad for that kid, but that's what freedom means."
Just because I don't like or disagree with something doesn't mean it loses its freedom.  That's what tolerance and religious pluralism means.  You cannot pick and choose what religious group gets its civil rights, they all do.
Yes there are limits; the courts and federal government have over the years had no problem finding that very thin line with caution.  You can't suddenly invent a religion that robs banks and argue religious liberty.  "clear and compelling governmental interests 'of the highest order'" is how they usually define the criteria: it has to be something very significant and important, but the standard exists.  Generally its around the idea of other people's free expression of their rights being infringed upon.
In the case of this Muslim woman, wearing the hijab is part of her religious faith.  It would violate her conscience and her religious liberty to compel her to take it off (and humiliate her in public, no less).  Wearing the scarf is not disrespectful to the court or the judge, it is not disruptive, and it is no different than wearing a cross pin or pendant.  But this judge acted as if none of those would be allowed.
It was shameful and wrong, and a violation of the 1st amendment, to tell this woman to remove her scarf.  This judge should lose his job for this, he ought to know better.  And just because she's a Muslim doesn't somehow make it okay to violate someone's religious liberty.
Freedom means living with things we don't like or find uncomfortable.  This is true for everyone.

Monday, April 06, 2015

TRUTH IN SIN CITY

There's a scene in Sin City that's very powerful and very true.  Its about truth, lies, and power, and what matters in a world where there's no integrity or honor left.  A world that does not cling to absolute truth or objective reality.
Senator Roark pulls out a gun on the helpless cop Hartigan in his hospital bed:



Power don't come from a badge, or a gun.  Power comes from lying, lying big and getting the whole damn world to play along with you.  Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you get them by the balls.
There's what, maybe 500 people in this hospital?  I could pump you full of bullets right now and I wouldn't be arrested Everyone would lie for me, everyone who counts.  Otherwise all their own lies, everything that runs Sin City, it all comes tumbling down like a pack of cards.
If all you care about is power, and you believe not just truth but reality its self is just subject to whoever has the most power to make it however they wish... this is how you approach life.  This is your template for dealing with other people.  
This is how you get Apple and Yelp and late night comedians, and all the rest to go along with you.  Because you got them by the snardlies and they'll back your lies.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

SISTER ROSA

"oh, no, Adam and Steve, you can sit wherever you want."

Imagine if you will, Rosa Parks is looking for a bus.  In the real life story, she rode the same bus line home from work each night and was told she could ride, but had to walk the extra 15-20 feet to the rear of the bus to sit.  A minor, but all too common indignity because of her appearance - she was African American.
This helped spark the civil rights movement and became a symbol of the much wider black oppression in some parts of America.  Martin Luther King jr capitalized on this to build a social shift and press for cultural and legal changes.
But instead of that scenario, imagine she is allowed to ride any bus, anywhere in the bus there's a free seat.  Granted most buses prefer to give the front few seats to the very elderly and handicapped, but she can sit wherever she wants.
And Miss Parks doesn't want to go home, but she's looking for a bus that will take her to the local Chippendale's male revue erotic dance palace.
But after looking for hours and choosing bus after bus, she finds one that won't take her where she wants to go. The bus driver of the sixth bus she runs down says she can sit anywhere, and he'll take her anywhere, but he doesn't stop at the Chippendales because he considers erotic dancing immoral and it violates his conscience and religion to assist people in participating.
Somehow I don't think MLK would feel very moved to do anything about this particular scenario.  I don't think people would find it especially compelling.  And if this was the extent of the "oppression"  Rosa Parks faced each day, I don't think anyone would have been able to generate any sort of civil rights movement.
I bring this up because Martin Luther King jr was killed on this day in 1968.  He is the greatest single symbol of the civil rights struggles of blacks in America in the 50s and 60s, their greatest leader.  And I don't think he would be down with the pink struggle.
I think he'd be appalled and furious that anyone would compare the plight of the homosexual in America to the horrendous evils, brutality, and systemic oppression that blacks faced in "Jim Crow" areas.  I think he'd be shocked that anyone would compare refusing to bake a wedding cake or arrange flowers for a homosexual "wedding" to people having dogs and firehoses turned on them.
The comparisons are absolutely hysterical - not in the humorous sense, but the shrieking overreaction sense.  They are utterly without rational basis and simply done to generate outrage and pressure people to shut up, submit, and comply with the demands of a very small elite group of white Americans.  And its very sad to see.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

JIM CROW AND ANIMAL FARM

"Either we have liberty and justice for all, or we have it for no one."

Some parts of the USA, primarily in the southeast had strongly institutionalized racism all the way up to the late 60s.  This is summarized in the term "Jim Crow" which is a synecdoche; a literary device which refers to the whole by the part.  Jim Crow legislation was one part of a larger whole of legalized and established racism, mostly against blacks.
There were great struggles in the 50s and 60s to end this, and finally the federal government and many state governments did so, eliminating old laws and implementing new ones.  Most of this is considered the "civil rights" struggles of that time period.
Most people know about this, but what they don't understand is what was going on legally.  By having laws that prevented blacks from voting easily and allowing businesses to discriminate against blacks, setting up separate (inferior) services for blacks, etc what they were doing was creating a special protected class of people: whites.
Jim Crow was all about making sure white people had more power, more legal protection, more freedom, and more advantages than blacks.  It was about creating a separate legal class of humans which the government officially recognized and protected over others.
And the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s fought to end this special recognition.  The legislation of that time period was to end the special protected class of whites and bring about equality and even treatment under law.  It did so unevenly and poorly in some cases (Affirmative Action reversed the special class treatment under law, for instance) but the intent was to bring about equality under law.
Now fast forward 50 or more years.  We're in a time when the same movement, the same forces, and in many cases the same people are now fighting to create specially protected classes and crush others under their dominance.  Jim Crow was reversed by a fight to bring about equality, not replace one special group with another.
I can't help but think of Animal Farm where the pigs promise equality by wiping out the humans, then eventually end up creating a different dominant power.  The pigs at the table look awfully human these days.