June 2008 archive

Freedom of Speech and Political Correctness

There is an old saying…Your right to freely swing your fist ….ends at my nose. Pretty clear cut, in principle, til the lawyers get hold of it.

There is another old saying that ‘takes it back’ even further…Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. It seems almost absurd in the context of the world we live in today, where we are deeply restricted by laws and basically living in a police state. But the saying is meant to convey, in part, that we a DO have perfect freedom. The only thing that restricts that freedom is…..consequences. You are free to do whatever you want, but you WILL face the consequences for your actions. Another way to put it….Karma, it is not a philosophy…it’s The Law. For every action there is a (not necessarily equal, in human affairs) reaction.

The position of Freedom of Speech is that you have the right to use any word any way you want to. That is absolutely true.

I have the freedom of speech to call you a huge flaming asshole for doing so.

That is a consequence of you exercising your freedom.

Then you defend yourself…then I attack your defense. Then you attack my attack, and I defend.  Etc. Etc. Etc. We have the Freedom of Speech to yell at each other all day long! But there are consequences. We are also “free” to punch each other in the nose, or “free” to pull out guns and shoot each other. But there will be consequences.


This is why political correctness started. The consequences for using your freedom of speech are mostly (aside from hate speech) social consequences. Iow, people yelling at you or shunning you. Yes we all have the freedom to say whatever we want, but the consequence for saying things that hurt other people is that people will say things back to hurt you. If enough people are hurt or offended by what you say you will have ALL those people trying to hurt you back. Or if you are lucky, trying to explain to you why what you are saying is hurtful. Like it or not, for good or ill, this is how societies define what is “acceptable speech.” By using their freedom of speech to “police” your freedom of speech. To make it politically (note: polite, police. Same root. Societies DO police themselves, through …politics, heh) correct. Or to use different words …(Since it has reached the point where the phrase “politically correct” is now an “attack phrase” in and of itself!)…socially acceptable. How is what is or is not socially acceptable determined?

“No time like the present to attack Iran”

No time like the present to attack Iran

Of all the nations America has arbitrarily decided are evil, the worst is Iran, an oppressive theocracy that sponsors international terror, but doesn’t pretend to be friends with us and give us oil. Obviously they must be destroyed, but we’re running out of time to do so. Experts agree we must attack by January, or it’ll be too late. If we wait any longer, we run the risk of no longer having a president who’s crazy enough to do it.

We must bomb Iran, as payback for the Iranian hostage crisis, a despicable act that happened before I was born. Those hostages were taken in retaliation for the America-backed coup that occurred when my dad was a baby. So you see the startling immediacy of the conflict. The problem is the only possibly attackable thing Iran’s president has done lately is say a lot of crazy stuff. And though our own president has shown it’s a short leap between saying crazy stuff and blowing things up, Iran hasn’t yet made the jump.

Olbermann has sold out.

I just got done reading Keith Olbermann’s tortured excuse for not calling out Barack Obama on his FISA cave, and frankly, it’s as lame as it can get.  Sorry, Keith, but you’ve sold out to the far right without even realizing it.  Here’s why.

Throughout this campaign, you’ve been doing little or nothing but bash Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons.  While the senator supposedly representing New York has undoubtedly made plenty of verbal gaffes and has a poor record of defending the Constitution against the shrub and his gargoyle, you focused your rage exclusively upon her, and for all the wrong things.  One example is her suggestion that the bigot bloc might not vote for Obama, which is true: no matter how much he panders to the far right, no matter how often he bashes blacks to their faces, the bigots in this country simply are not going to vote for a black man for president; they’d sooner cast their ballots for a white woman.  You, however, joined in with those who relentlessly attacked her for pointing out this fundamental truth.

Liberal Media Bias? Will McClatchy Torture those who Torture?

John Yoo and David Addington managed to show up yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee (HOLY Bamboo under the fingernails, Batman!  They showed up?!?) and started laying out a considerable load of crap before the members of the Judiciary Committee regarding their “diminished roles” compared to what people have been led to believe regarding interrogation techniques.  Well, among other things like Presidential powers, and just plain raping and pillaging the image of America.  

First, lets get a little background on these two scumbags (purely MY opinion; McClatchy did not weigh in on this description).

John Yoo – (AKA Bamboo Yoo)

A professor of Law at The University of California, Berkley, Bamboo Yoo is best known for his stint in the U.S. IN – Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council while assisting the Attorney General to give IL – Legal advice to the President (Yes, Bushie) from 2001 – 2003.

After he left the Department of IN – Justice, we learned that Yoo authored memos, including co-authoring the Bybee memo defining torture and American habeas corpus obligations narrowly. The memos, known today as the “torture memos,” advocate enhanced interrogation techniques, while pointing out that refuting the Geneva Conventions would reduce the possibility indivuals face future prosecution under the US War Crimes Act of 1996 for actions taken in the War on Terror.  

This is where the Imperial Presidency got it’s beginning.  Bushie loved this guy!!

In addition, a new definition of torture was issued. Most actions that fall under the international definition do not fall within this new definition advocated by the U.S.  Top military lawyers, including Alberto J. Mora, reported that policies allowing methods equivalent to torture were officially handed down from the highest levels of the administration (see Cheney, VLAD and Bush, Bimbo), and led an effort within the Department of Defence to put a stop to those policies and instead mandate non-coercive interrogation standards.  But, Mr. Mora didn’t succeed, because Vlad and Bimbo loved ’em some “enhanced interrogation torture techniques.”

Since he left the Department of In – Justice in 2003, after his return to Cal-Berkley, student protesters at Berkeley have demanded, that he renounce the memos or resign his professorship.  However, being a Wingnut Neo-Con, he of course would never ADMIT to having done anything wrong (without the bamboo treatment, of course) and he has thumbed his nose at his detractors ever since.

On to our Not-Friend David Addington (AKA Scooter Two).

This scum-sucking-triple-asswipe of a human being is currently occupying Scooter’s previous job of Chief of Staff to VP Vlad Cheney and was a former legal council to teh Vice Vampire prior to Scooter-boy being convicted of LYING (OMG!  A Republican?  Lie?  NOOOOOOoooooooo!!).

Addington was previously assistant general council for the CIA and an assistant to then Congressman Cheney during the heady days of the Iran-Contra scandal.  Addington is also the Main, Number 1 Cheerleader for the idea that the President has Unlimited Powers as our Lying-Cheating-Murdering-Commander-in-Chief during wartime.

Ok, enough with the niceties.  On to what McClatchy (whose Service Mark is “Truth to Power”) has to say about these two


To bias or not to bias?  THAT is the question…

Shame On You T Boone, Shame

Your word has turned to slime, hope the business world is paying attention, though you’ll always find

snakes like you to deal with and make some bucks, and I’m sure many already have learned about you

through your years of building your billions.

What’s this all about? Well,


Docudharma Times Friday June 27

Making Sure There Are Guns

For Everyone

The U.S. Supreme Court

Who Needs Any Restraint

Friday’s Headlines:

Gun advocates’ other weapon: lawsuits  

Unicef among critics of Italian plan to fingerprint Roma children

Fairy-tale town up in arms over decree on solar panels

Negotiators quit Darfur, saying neither side is ready for peace

Thabo Mbeki mocked for weakness with words

Militant Hamas as reluctant moderator

Israeli threats stiffen Iran’s resolve    

China Says It Opposes Politicizing Olympics  

In Tibet, a worm worth its weight in gold

Mexican police commander killed  

North Korea Destroys Tower at Nuclear Plant


Published: June 28, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea — With international TV networks filming the scene, North Korea blew up the most visible symbol of its nuclear program on Friday in a gesture demonstrating its commitment to stop making plutonium for weapons.

The 60-foot-tall cooling tower at the North’s main nuclear power plant was blasted away shortly after 4 p.m. Friday before an audience of international TV cameras, reported South Korea’s MBC-TV. MBC has a crew at the demolition site in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

Tsvangirai: vote Mugabe to stay alive

Militia warns voters of reprisals if they back opposition in sham pol

Chris McGreal in Harare

The Guardian,

Friday June 27, 2008  

Zimbabwe’s opposition has advised its supporters to vote for Robert Mugabe for their own safety when they are herded to the polls today amid threats of violence if there is not a resounding victory for the only ruler the country has known.

In a final push to intimidate voters, the ruling Zanu-PF’s militia forced people to political meetings across large parts of Zimbabwe yesterday.

They were again warned that their “vote is their bullet” if they did not support Mugabe even though the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the race because a state-orchestrated campaign of murder, abduction, beatings and rape made it too dangerous for his supporters to vote.


U.S. Embassy refuses to pay London’s road tolls

Owes $3.9 million in unpaid congestion levies since Feb. 2003

Associated Press    

LONDON – The U.S. Embassy in London has failed to pay more than $3.9 million in traffic congestion charges, according to figures published Thursday by Britain’s foreign ministry.

British lawmakers condemned U.S. diplomats, after they topped a list of embassies refusing to pay the charge.

The list of fees owed by embassies showed that the United States refused to pay the levy 23,188 times between February 2003 and last month.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion XVII

One step at a time.  One person at a time.  That’s how the world changes.  And for some of us the changes are monumental.

Art Link

Seeking Enlightenment


One step

at a time

sometimes forward

sometimes up

Forward as I move

through my life

even if some wish

to pull me back

Perhaps they

sense the peril

of the new

Upward is harder

as I lift

the burden

of proceeding

to another level

up the staircase

of human evolution

beyond the mundane

They do not like it

that I have taken

this step

or even that

I have shown them

that this place exists

Their screams of pain

anger and terror

will not – can not

bring me back

This place

once conceived

cannot be erased

and cannot be denied

Ideas cannot be unthought

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 7, 2006

Please join us on the inside to celebrate, venerate, regenerate and/or motivate our muses.

Fuck Mugabe (and fuck the AP too)

There isn’t much to say about the horrors taking place in Zimbabwe right now.  But while we cannot do anything, really, to prevent the disaster that is being visited on the people of Zimbabwe (although I must say I love the idea of demanding that the 2010 World Cup be withdrawn from South Africa), we can at least recognize what is taking place right now.

Via Reuters:

The poll has been widely condemned and a security committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) called for the vote to be postponed, saying Mugabe’s re-election as the only candidate could lack legitimacy.

Zimbabweans had hoped the run-off would help end a severe economic crisis marked by acute shortages of foreign currency, food, an 80 percent unemployment rate and the world’s highest inflation rate, estimated to be two million percent.

A loaf of bread now costs 6 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or 150 times more than at the time of the first round of elections.

Mugabe, 84, planning to extend his 28-year-old uninterrupted rule, remained defiant and even ridiculed African leaders who said he should delay the election.

“Even today they are saying do away with the election, what stupidity is that,” Mugabe said at his last campaign rally on Thursday, where he urged people to vote in large numbers.

Mugabe has barred observers from Western countries critical of his government and all but refused entry to hundreds of foreign journalists who were keen to cover the election.

A grouping of local observers has said its members were harassed and intimidated by government supporters and that they would not observe Friday’s vote.

Emphasis added.  Let’s all at least bear witness.

Significantly Insignificant

I hate malls.  And I especially hate what’s known in my area as ‘the mall’, although i live pretty much equidistant from two.  We only go when there’s a need.  And by ‘need’, I mean that we ‘need’ the right jewelry to go with our fancy party dress, or our ipod needs something specific that we can only get from the source.  These are relative needs, but if you’ve recently parented a 14-year-old girl, you’ll agree that ‘need’ is apt.  

So ‘the mall’ has decided to spiff up its image, courting some higher-end anchor stores to fill some pretty costly vacancies.  I understand that their need, also relative, is real.  The mall has been there for nearly 30 years, and those empty stores probably do cost us all in the long run.  I don’t pretend to understand such high-falutin’ economic principles….or the high-falutin’ anchor stores, for that matter…but I’m sure there is some truth to ‘the mall’ management’s need to fill those stores.

This Summer: No Ice at the North Pole

I’m not one of the resident global warming experts, or even amatures, on the blogs, and one of them should be writing this diary — but this story in the UK Independent calls for a diary.

Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole

Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Friday, 27 June 2008

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

Writing in the Raw: Five Vulgar Pictures of a Derivative Decade

Some say it begins with trauma. Others swear that it’s as spontaneous and pure as two hundred Danish virgins. Still more insist that it’s born of malignant ego or raging id. A smug few are convinced, and cannot be swayed, from the position that it’s only deity-bestowed. They are all correct in small, insignificant ways, but for the most part they are hopelessly Wrong. It begins because it begins, a perfect storm of the above plus that one, fatal spark of initiation, that desperate, naked retaliatory impulse to emulate with extreme prejudice, to hack and slice and tear one’s own permanent space of posterity into the great void of nothingness that each of us is banished to upon the inversely fortuitous day of our birth.

Sneering Scalia: The right to bear whatever arms I say

Well, after the Supreme Court’s stellar 5-4 decision today in D.C. v. Heller (PDF file), I am saving all my pennies for the day when Antonin Scalia decrees that I can legally possess a TOW missile – because, as his majority opinion makes clear, he gets to decide what weaponry I get to own.

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