Saturday, January 31, 2009

Homeland Security protecting you from .... porn!

One lesson that the big government types, on both the Left and the Right, seem unable to grasp is that when government is given the power to act in one area it will use that area as the excuse in act in ways strictly forbidden to it. Here is a short piece about a documentary on how the thugs at Homeland Security used the "terrorism" excuse to shut down a producer of erotica. Oddly they said because the films produces showed "torture" it was promoting terrorism. So what is when the government actually engages in torture?

Of course the film merely depicted torture and the models were willing participants. The government physically tortures unwilling participants. And what is doubly bizarre is that the moralistic types will call actual torture "moral" while fake depictions are deemed immoral. That is really an inverted sense of morality.

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The more things change...


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Boycotts and rights.

There can be no question, in my mind, that any individual has the right to boycott any business or any other individual for any reason they wish. These reasons can be rational or irrational, motivated by hatred or motivated by a more nobler feeling.

The right to boycott is the right of free exchange. Individuals ought to be free to make exchanges with others. But “to be free” means the individuals involved make the decision. All participants to an exchange must be willingly involved. I have the right to decide how I will spend my money and with whom.

Every day I neglect spending my money on millions of products and neglect purchasing from billions of people. It is a basic principle of freedom that one may exchange with others freely or neglect to do so.

When the morons and the Mormons pushed through the bigoted Proposition 8 in California some people angrily responded by boycotting contributors to the campaign. Conservatives, always willing to stab their own principles in the back, denounced such boycotts. Some went so far as to claim that a boycott violates the rights of people -- as if some people have the right to force other people to exchange with them unwillingly.

People are free to boycott if they wish. So no one’s rights are violated by a boycott. Some on the Right wept crocodile tears from a woman who managed a family owned restaurant. She is a Mormon and gave money to take away marriage rights from gay couples because the church told her to do it. Many of the customers of the restaurant stopped buying there because they were insulted by this woman’s actions. She was not some lowly employee, as some right-wing pundits pretended. Her mother is the primary owner and she was the manager running it for her mother.

Enough customers decided to boycott the restaurant that business was hurt. The woman resigned her position at the restaurant in the hope of attracting back the business she had driven away with her donation.

That conservatives attacked the customers was rather astounding. Freedom of association includes the freedom to not associate. And conservatives have pretended to defend that right. They don’t want anti-discrimination laws because they say people ought to be free to associate or not as they choose. Now are they doing this on principle or not? If on principle then the right of gay customers to boycott a restaurant is not in dispute.

The customers had a simple position. The woman in question, as the manager, received a fairly decent salary from the restaurant. As a Mormon she gave 10% of her earnings, pre-tax, to the sect in question. Mormonism is a very bigoted religion and the customers felt they didn’t want to support it indirectly. Now you might fault the reasoning if you want, but you can’t fault the right to boycott. As I said, since people can boycott for any reason the reason need not be one you consider rational. It can come from entirely irrational motives.

Of course because it was gay people and their friends who were engaging in the boycott conservatives, ever the paid whores of the American Taliban, lined up to condemn the boycott. Now, we see yet another of the hundreds of boycotts which the fanatics in the fundamentalist Right regularly launch taking place and not one conservative seems to have a problem with it.

Rev. Don Wildmon (who really does look like Donald Duck) and his American Family Association has organized a boycott of Pepsi. They are protesting a television commercial that Pepsi used in the UK. Its not even available in the US market except through the wonders of the internet. (I have the commercial above if you wish to view it.)

I’m sure Pepsi thinks the commercial funny. It’s not really that clever and barely amusing. But because it implies that one of the people in the commercial is gay Rev. Wildmon is having fits. Wildmon says it “promotes the gay lifestyle.” (Hint: anyone who uses the term “the gay lifestyle” is clearly brain dead and conversation with idiots is counterproductive.)

I support Wildmon’s right to boycott products for any reason he wants. But what interests me is that none of the conservatives who argued the Prop 8 related boycotts were wrong have come out in condemnation of Wildmon’s proposal. The only thing I find annoying about Wildmon’s boycott is that his stupidity makes me feel obligated to drink Pepsi and I’m not that fond of Pepsi.

The problem with modern conservatism, or perhaps I should say one problem with modern conservatism, is that it has double-standards. Conservatives are hypocrites. They support freedom sometimes but for only some people. The freedom which they demand for themselves they are unwilling to grant to others, especially to those they consider sinful.

They would argue that students in public schools have the right to form Bible Clubs. Then they would turn around and prevent students from forming a Gay/Straight club. When an entertainment company has a product they consider sinful, then they defend the right to boycott. When gays are the ones boycotting then they attack the right to boycott. When a Republican conservative senator, who was married, had illegal sex with a prostitute they defended him. When a single (at the time), gay man admitted to a legal relationship with another man, they demanded his resignation.

Conservatives want to market themselves as defenders of liberty. Yet they regularly work to restrict liberty. What it comes down to is that they are not advocates of individual liberty at all but collective liberty. If you are a member of a group which they approve then you have liberty. If you are a member of a group which they dislike they you don’t have liberty.

While they despair over the concept of “group rights” when it comes to issues like affirmative action they promote group rights in other areas. Their entire campaign to “defend marriage” is built on the idea that certain rights are only given to certain groups. In this case the right to marry is restricted to opposite sex couples only. Even more bizarrely they will call the granting of equal marriage rights to same-sex couples “special rights”.

One reason that conservatives are having trouble attracting support is that people see them as moralistic hypocrites. It is simply difficult to inspire people with slogans like “freedom for some”. As long as conservatives are willing to compromise freedom because of their religious fantasies then conservatism will NEVER be the friend of liberty.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

England's NHS starved man to death.

Earlier this month the nationalized health service of England took another blow in the media as it was revealed that they had let a man starve to death while under their care.

Martin Ryan was a 43-year-old man with Downs Syndrome who had difficulty communicating. When he had a stroke he was unable to swallow food. No one bothered to fit him with a feeding tube while in hospital. After 26 days without eating the hospital discovered that this error had been made but it was too late to save Ryan who literally starved to death. The NHS trust that operates the hospital has apologized to the family

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Gay marriage for penguins?

I’m not making this up. A Chinese zoo has had some issues with a same-sex penguin couple. While same-sex coupling is relatively common among penguins the zoo was unhappy since the two males had a tendency to steal eggs for their own nest. The zoo decided to try something different and they started giving the male penguins eggs that had been rejected by their mothers.

It turned out that the male couple were ‘the zoo’s best penguin parents” The zoo was so happy with the results of allow the same-sex couple to adopt that they decided to reward them by having a marriage between the two. They even dressed the couple up in some traditional Chinese outfits, played the Wedding March for them and served a wedding meal of fish, of course. Apparently the wedding photographer snapped this photo of the happy couple.

Two days later the Mormon Church raised $40 million to spearhead a campaign to pass legislation in China banning same-sex weddings for penguins. Rev. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, said that allowing the couple to raise rejected eggs would cause “gender confusion” issues for the chicks and urged an immediate ban on the practice. Rev. Dobson assured his listeners that if the penguins would just “accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour” they could be “cured of their affliction.” Ted Haggard has issued a press statement denying that he ever met the penguins.

Note: Okay, I made up that last paragraph but it sounds so right. The rest of the story appears to be the truth.


Baby, it's cold outside

Unless this is a fraud (and anything is possible) it's damn cold in Alaska this year. Here are photos purporting to show a caribou which froze solid while standing on the side of a mountain there. Temperatures with wind chill supposedly reached -80 f.

Unless this is a fraud (and anything is possible) it's damn cold in Alaska this year. Here are photos purporting to show a caribou which froze solid while standing on the side of a mountain there. Temperatures with wind chill supposedly reached -80 f.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

But, who'll bail out the government?

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The scandal that just won't die.

The Ted Haggard scandal simply won’t die -- nor can it. As much as the fundamentalists want to believe the scandal is his fault, it isn’t. The true cause of this scandal is the absurd views that fundamentalists hold and their steadfast refusal to let reality have any role in their appraisal of life.

You may remember that Haggard ran a fundamentalist “megachurch” in Colorado Springs but it was revealed that he was a drug user who hired male prostitutes. Haggard lied about the whole thing and then admitted it was true. He was using crystal meth but then one purpose of that drug is to lower sexual inhibitions. So a guilt ridden fundamentalist, convinced he is doomed to hell for being gay, but who is nonetheless gay, might find this drug an easy means to being true to his own nature.

Haggard, of course, was not just a self-hating homosexual but one who expressed “Biblical” contempt toward other gays in public. That was the reason his prostitute friend decided to “out” Haggard to the media. And Ted’s house of cards came tumbling down.

One safe assumption to make about this was that the scandal wasn’t over. I say that because it was highly likely that Haggard had other same-sex partners in his history as well. While it was possible that the prostitute was the totality of his “experimenting” it was unlikely, not for someone his age.

Now, a 25-year-old church member has come forward and confessed that he had sex with Haggard as well. (See video above.) This young man is clearly another victim of fundamentalist theology. He is gay and also can’t accept himself. He had been a student at Moody Bible Institute, an ultra-fundamentalist school in Chicago (oddly located next to the main area for male prostitution in the city). This young man made the mistake of telling the school that he thought he might be gay.

He says he had been class president for two years running. He had excellent grades and was just one semester away from graduating. But the guilt over his sexual orientation was eating him away and he went to the school for help. He asked them to help him deal with this and the school said they couldn’t help him and basically told him to leave. What lovely people, they wouldn't even let him finish his degree because he came to them for help. (I should note that any help they would have given would probably have been destructive anyways.)

Moody told the young man to go to Colorado Springs where various fundamentalist groups pretend to be able to “cure” homosexuals. And when he got to Colorado Springs he started attending church: Ted Haggard’s church to be precise. As the president of the National Association of Evangelicals Haggard was one of the most prominent fundamentalists in the country.

Haggard meet the young man and asked him what brought him to Colorado. The young man first lied to Haggard as to why Moody Bible Institute had kicked him out but then told the truth. The young man stupidly thought that the “Holy Spirit” was compelling Haggard to help him.

This young man and Haggard both suffered needlessly because of their religious beliefs. And it is clear that Haggard, while coming on to the young man one day, was horrified about it the next. Back and forth they spun from one emotional extreme to another, tortured because they sincerely believe their church was right.

Eventually Haggard was revealed and stepped down from the church. The church then sent Haggard off to “be healed” by some ministry that promised cure. Church officials proclaimed the healing was a success, something Haggard says is not factual -- although he still suffers from religiously-induced self-hatred.

This young man went to the church and told them what happened, how Haggard, instead of counseling him, masturbated in his presence. Of course, because this young man is infected with the same self-loathing, Haggard’s actions only made them both more miserable and disturbed.

The church then offered the young man a large sum of money for “counseling” provided he promised to not reveal the truth about what happened. All in all they were to pay him $179,000 for his silence. The young man said: “I really felt the church staff did what they could to get me to move to a different city, to get me to stop going to the church, to make these promises to do whatever they could to help, but their main focus was to cover it up.”

What is astounding is that the church played up how Ted Haggard had lied to them in order to appear the victim. But then they were quite happy to engage in public dishonesty themselves by attempting to cover up another incident which they knew about. And from what I understand there are yet more such incidents that may yet come to light.

The church still can’t tell the truth and insists that they gave the young man the money “to help him” so he can “get on with his life.” They call it “compassionate assistance... certainly not hush money.” Yet they insisted that the young man agree to silence in order to get the money. He wasn’t required to “get on with his life” or to use it for “assistance”, he was only required to stay silent. That sounds like hush money to me. It is also clear that the church leadership knew of this incident at the time that the male prostitute made his story public. So they consciously choose to hide the facts from the members and the public.

The young man, only named as Grant (now revealed as Grant Haas), says he tried to kill himself four times. Clearly this was, and is, a young man traumatized by the beliefs of his own faith conflicting with the facts of his own sexual orientation. What fundamentalists refuse to see is that they are creating mental cripples; they are destroying people. Hundreds of thousands of young people, raised in this toxic faith, are having their minds warped to such a degree that many of them will attempt to kill themselves. Many will succeed. This same hatred inspired millions of other fundamentalists to mount campaigns to strip people of their rights. Grant tried four times to kill himself -- precisely where did he learn that it is better to be dead than to be gay?

Look what happened when he turned to his faith for help. They could do nothing -- of course not, but they can’t admit the reason they can do nothing: their faith is in conflict with truth. Fundamentalists try to force reality to conform with their beliefs instead of their beliefs conforming with reality. And when you do that you commit psychological treason and there are consequences.

Christian fundamentalism is toxic. It is a mental poison. Ted Haggard took this poison, so did Grant. They imbibed it, they believed it and it turned them into sad, pathetic individuals who may never learn to accept reality. Even now many, many more such scandals are being carefully incubated by these beliefs.

Fundamentalist Islam creates individuals who terrorize others. Fundamentalist Christianity creates individuals who terrorize themselves. While it clearly less deadly to innocent people, it is destructive and utterly evil to those who embrace it, and to those nations where it flourishes.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Yes, Virginia, cops are above the law.

Here is a little video about a police officer who is illegally parked. He is not on call, as you will see, since he comes out in casual dress looking likes he's off to the gym. One of our friends at Bureaucrash called in the illegally parked car and you can see what happens.

Just the other day I was behind a squad car. We all were stopped at a light but he grew impatient and suddenly flashed his lights and went through the light illegally. Of course, my first thought was that he got a call. But he drives to the next light with his lights off. And there is a line of traffic and he isn't the first in line. So he just sits there having to wait. He doesn't turn his lights on as if on a call.

Did the call go away in that short a time? I doubt it. He just got impatient. And turning on his lights didn't make it legal to just go through the light since he wasn't actually on a call. In the same area I was driving out of a subdivision and turning right on the main road. A cop car was at the stop sign in front me and turned left. But I had no idea which way he was turning as he didn't bother to put his turn signal on.

Just yesterday we say the fire department pulling a similar trick. The truck comes to an intersection, turns on the lights and horn and barrels through. It then turned into a shopping complex which we had just passed and where there was no fire of any kind. First, thought was that it could be a emergency medical call since it appears that fire trucks now routinely respond to such things -- its good for their budget. But the fire truck was not from our town at all and wouldn't be responding to such a call. It would respond to a major fire call which might overwhelm the local department but since there was no fire.

I believe the men in the truck were just doing some shopping. And yes, they do drive these huge fire trucks to the store when they go grocery shopping, I've witnessed that personally on several occasions. I have seen the fire officers inside grocery shopping and then go out and get in the truck to return to the fire house. You'd think the fire truck should remain on call at the station. In addition I've witnessed four to five fire officials shopping as a group while on duty with the truck parked outside.

In the town where I lived during college the local sheriffs would speed down the road every time there was a shift change. I mean speed. They ignored the speed limits just so to make sure they didn't leave for home a couple of minutes later. This was witnessed every day at precisely the same times.

What we know is that cops do believe they are above the law and they routinely act as if they are above the law. And it isn't just the little rules that they break. As has been documented time after time they break the big rules as well -- including planting evidence, lying to judges, giving false testimony, threatening people with bodily harm without good reason, etc. Power does corrupt.


Boy fools police into thinking he's a cop.

Apparently a 14-year-old boy dressed up as a police officer and walked into a Chicago police station. The local cops then sent the boy out on patrol. They claim he did not have a gun, didn't issue any tickets and didn't drive the patrol vehicle. That would mean another office drove the vehicle and spent five hours with the boy without discovering the ruse. The impersonation was only discovered after the patrol ended and the boy returned to the station where it was noticed that a part of the uniform was absent.

I don't want to use this to chastise the police here. There are far more serious things they have done deserving criticism to waste it on this matter. So why bring it up?

You might remember when I ran this story about a young woman in Florida. As the photo here shows she was a very mature looking young woman who was prone to trawling the web and picking up men. Her name is Alesha Dean and she described herself as 19 years old and divorced. In truth she was 13 years old. Morris Williams didn't know that when he started dating her after she picked him up on the street. When he discovered her true age he went straight to her parents to tell them what she had done. They had him arrested claiming they simply can't control their daughter so it was his problem.

Ms. Dean did the same thing to Darwin Mills. She seduced him, lied about her age and then her family had him arrested as well. Neither Mills nor Williams thought that this young woman, who looked, and acted, like an adult was actually 13-years-old.

I also wrote about a young man named Ricky who was 16-years-old. He went to a teen club with a minimum admission age of 16 and met a girl there. She told him that she was also 16. He had no reason to think she was lying but she was. The girl never denied lying to Ricky and the circumstances of their meeting would give the reasonable impression she was 16. But Ricky was arrested as a sex offender because the girl was younger.

It seems the police are no better at telling how old someone is than the general public. They couldn't tell that a 14-year-old boy was far too young to be a police officer. The circumstances gave them the impression he was a police officer. Not one of these trained officers of the law immediately realized he was a child, well under the age necessary to be a police officer.

If trained police officers can be so easily fooled in this case why does the law assume that people like Ricky, Darwin Mills and Morris Williams ought to be better able to tell when a girl is lying about her age? In each of these cases the young person lied about their age, in each case they apparently looked older than they were. And the circumstances present at the time of deception gave credibility to their false claims. The difference is that Williams, Mills and Ricky are now criminals and registered sex offenders while the cops just look silly.

There ought to be a defense allowed in cases like these where a reasonable individual would believe that the "victims" clearly looked and acted older than they were, and where they intentionally deceived others by claiming to be older. Such a defense is reasonable.

But it won't happen. The politicians are not that reasonable and they want votes. And one way to get votes is to appeal to the lynch mob mentality of the Boobus Americanus. So they won't reform the law to allow this reasonable defense and others will suffer because of it. No politician wants to appear "soft" on child molestation so they continue to crank up the laws and send more and more innocent people to prison, and ruin the lives of more and more teens. I guess at some point the utter damage they are doing will so clearly outweigh any good they have done that even the dumbest of the dumb will realize the laws need changing. Once that happens, I suspect it will take another few decades before our elected officials figure it out.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A lesson in conservative thinking (so called).

I want to give you a lesson on how to think like a conservative. On our left you will see a picture of an individual who apparently had the ability to make a very adult-like decision. On your right is an individual who is "just a kid" and has no such ability. Welcome to the mind of the modern conservative.

On you left is a photo of Walter Polovchak. I knew Walter, he stayed in my home in San Francisco on one visit, some years after this photo was taken. When I knew Walter he was 20-years-old. Of course today he is around 40.

At the age of twelve Walter decided to leave his parents. He and his family and immigrated to the United States but the parents had decided to return to the Ukraine. Walter said he didn't want to go back. He wanted to stay in the United States even if it meant he was "divorcing" his parents. Conservatives rallied to his cause and applauded his ability to make the adult decision of seeking political asylum in the U.S. even if it meant he had to break up his own family to do so. They chucked "family values" because it conflicted with freedom. I personally thought they were right to do so, which is one reason I supported Walter and his decision.

Walter was a boy when he made a very momentous decision. In contrast, on the right, you will find Beau Breedlove of Oregon. Conservatives are referring to him as a "kid" who was "exploited". Breedlove worked as an intern in the Oregon state legislature. A city official from Portland, Sam Adams, had gone to Eugene to lobby for some legislation. While there he and Breedlove meet. This was just shy of Breedlove's 18th birthday. After that birthday Breedlove and Sam Adams dated briefly but were mostly friends. As Breedlove himself says: "I saw it as a friendship that had crossed the line a couple of times, but I saw it as a friendship. When I say cross the line, I don't mean as an unwarranted or unwanted affection." Breedlove made the decision to have sex with Adams. To be clear, he was 18 when he made that decision and was legally in an adult and entitled to do so.

And to this day Breedlove says: "I was not pulled into this situation by Sam. I was not unfairly influenced by Sam. I think Sam is a wonderful man."

Of course, Sam is the man that the conservatives are trying to lynch. Take the absurd "reporting" by a conservative "journalist" named Jennifer Cox. Cox claimed: "Sam Adams has finally admitted that he has been having sex with a teen intern." Note the number of falsehoods or false insinuations that Cox packed into that one sentence: she is a master at deceit. The term "has been having" implies it is ongoing. The fact is that they date briefly. Calling Breedlove a "teen" is her way of distorting the report so that the readers actually never know how old he was. In fact her article never actually mentions Breedlove's age.

This lying reporter wants her readers to imagine a teenager, perhaps one not much older than Walter was when he left his family, with the support of the conservative movement. In fact, Breedlove was an adult mentally, physically and legally. That is a distinction that Cox hides in her deceptive report. Also note that while she says Breedlove was an intern she also leaves out any further information about that position. The implication she intends is to deceive her readers into thinking that Adams used his position to seduce a young child who was interning for Adams. That is the false image she wants to convey. Breedlove was an intern at the state legislature. Adams was not a member of the legislature and didn't work there. In other words, the intern position had nothing to do with Adams.

Cox refers to Mr. Breedlove as "the kid". In fact this man is called a kid twice by Cox and referred to as a "teen intern" once. She reports "rumors" that the two had sex before Breedlove turned 18 but there is no evidence that was the case. She then becomes even more deceitful, however. "The rumors started when the kid was seventeen and Adams was running for mayor. A report from Associated Press notes that the pair denied the rumor, but a newspaper had the evidence so finally the mayor confessed, once he was trapped." Read that carefully. Ms Cox is lying, while berating a man for lying. Why brilliant hypocrisy! That sentence clearly claims that Adams and Breedlove had sexual relations before Breedlove was legally an adult and she also falsely claims that Adams confessed to this. She also lies about the timing of the Adams mayoral campaign in order to bolster her deception.

Let's unravel the lies of this Cox woman. Yes, Adams and Breedlove denied dating. But Adams never confessed to having sex with "the kid" before he turned 18. In fact, both men are very clear that the relationship only turned briefly sexual AFTER Breedlove was 18, not before. The relationship between the two men took place three years ago. The Mayoral election was in 2008. Cox says the rumor started when Breedlove was 17 and Adams was running for Mayor. Breedlove was 20 when Adams ran for Mayor, not 17. Ms. Cox had to move the date of the mayoral election by three years in order to deceive her readers. In fact, Adams didn't even announce an interest in the position until late 2007, when Breedlove would have been 19. At no point could it be simultaneously true that Breedlove was 17 and Adams was running for mayor. Ms. Cox was just fabricating claims to further her own personal agenda.

Cox is just a cheap pornographer pretending to be a reporter. She specializes in sleaze and sex, making me wonder why she is obsessed with the topic. If the public has a right to know, I'd like to know why she is obsessed with the sex lives of others. What sort of perversion is she hiding? Consider some of her other classic stories:

Britney Spears Nude Photos Purchased by Online Casino
Kenny Chesney Answers Allegations of Affair with Sara Evans
Kate Beckinsale Nude on Webcam for Hubby
Britney Spears Catches Hubby K-Fed Undressed at Ex's House
Super Model Sex Tape

The more you look at her own obsessive history with the sex lives of other people the more it becomes apparent that Jennifer Cox is simply sleazy. She is obsessed with the sexual activities of other people. I long ago learned to worry about people like her. It just seems that this sort of obsession is a cover up for some really deviant, sometimes dangerous, sexual obsessions. While I wouldn't make any specific accusation against Ms. Cox, other than that she is blatantly dishonest, I wouldn't hire to babysit either. At the very least she is profession voyeur. But I wouldn't be surprised if she has her own skeletons in the closet and, since the "public has a right to know", I think she should confess now.

Cox is clearly just dishonest and obsessed with sleaze. What is the excuse for other reporters? The Oregonian has turned into a local version of one of those trashy tabloids sold at the check-out stands for the bored and brainless. The Oregonian deceptively has a headline: Beau Breedlove tells of his romance as a 17-year-old with Sam Adams.

What are they reporting about? Breedlove meet Adams just before he (Breedlove) turned 18. He said that there were some "romantic" feelings but no sex. And he says he kissed Adams twice but there was no sex until after his 18th birthday. Yet the Inquirer, ooops I meant The Oregonian, breathlessly reports:
State law says third-degree sexual abuse, which is a misdemeanor, can occur when someone subjects another person to "sexual contact" when the person either does not consent to the advance or is younger than 18. The law defines sexual contact as "any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person ... for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either party."

Adams is under criminal investigation by the attorney general's office.
Apparently a kiss is "third-degree sexual abuse". I am horrified. It appears that for years I was sexually abusing my grandmother without realizing it! Oh, horrors! It is even worse than I thought! She was abusing me!!!!! I need compensation. Who can I sue?

The news media and conservatives have really stooped to new lows in this campaign to get Adams. Even some in the gay media are sounding like Jerry Falwell clones to their own shame.

The one person who kept his dignity in this has been Beau Breedlove. He has stood firm by his friend and says that nothing unwanted or wrong happened. As he said: "I do not feel like I was ever a victim." Of course he might feel different about being victimized by trashy journalists and moralistic conservatives.

Even Sam Adams has stupidly called the dating "inappropriate". That is ridiculous. The one good thing which Mr. Adams did was refuse to step down from office. I have no idea if I would vote for Adams in an election, even if I did think voting made any sense. I don't know enough about his views to say. But I don't think he did anything wrong for briefly dating an adult. Maybe he shouldn't have lied about the relationship. Personally I don't think even that was wrong since it is no ones business anyway and unrelated to his job.

But if I look at this incident and start to make moral judgments the people I find wanting are sleaze merchants like Cox and The Oregonian. The really unethical actions in this case are coming from journalists. But that is no surprise to me. Next to politicians I've long though journalists to be a pretty unethical lot. Both groups believes that the laws of common decency don't apply to them and that they are exempt from rules of morality. Both believe this exemption exists because they "serve a greater good". I'm not sure we need either group. Journalists only have value to the degree that the keep their eye on the sleaze of their counterparts holding office. But sometimes they go too far and this is one of those cases. When either group turns their attention on a private citizen watch out! Both are ruthless, vindictive, cruel and willing to do anything to anyone to further their own career.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A little light-hearted humor.


Just a reminder.

This is just a reminder to my readers to try and watch the Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby, based on the true story of Mary Griffith and her son, Bobby Griffith. The Boston Globe says this film "takes on Christian fundamentalist intolerance of homosexuality with point-blank directness."

Mary Griffith, now 74, says that parents "have to know that it's OK to challenge their religious beliefs and church doctrine, especially when the health and welfare of their child is one the line."

Mary says that her campaign to "cure" her son of being gay "wasn't something I did out of malice" but because "I was truly ignorant."

A somewhat shocking review of the film is that from Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post. She says: "It may be helpful to remember that this true tale of religious intolerance occurred in the 1970s. Keep that in mind, view this as ancient history, and you can perhaps forgive Mary's ignorance." Ignorance, I fear is an ever present reality. The sort of religious intolerance portrayed in this film is not "ancient history" by any means. It is alive and well in the pews of the hundreds of thousands of fundamentalist churches that blight the American landscape. It is an intolerance that infests the hearts of tens of millions of believers. It is the kind of prejudice that inspired Mormons to empty their wallets and go door-to-door in California to strip one group of people of the right to marry. Anyone who thinks ignorance is ancient history is themself proof that it is alive and well.

Prayers for Bobby airs on the Lifetime network, Jan. 24 at 9 PM ET/PT. It will repeat on Jan. 25 at 8 pm and Jan 27 at 9 PM ET/PT.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Tax reporter reveals fascist side.

David Cay Johnston used to be a reporter for The New York Times, if his latest article is any indication of his blatant biases then it is a good thing he is no longer writing for the paper. Johnston's beat was "taxes" and when it comes to taxes he loves them. He wants more and more taxes and he wants them to go after the people he finds it acceptable to hate: the well-off.

From the pages of the ostensibly "objective" Times Johnston has moved the openly Far Left pages of Mother Jones. He presents the usual invented "facts" that average income in America has declined and that those at the bottom have gotten poorer --- even as their life spans increase, the size of their homes increase, and the "things" they own increase.

His one complaint with some validity is that as people gained equity in their homes in recent years they spent it. He offers the bullshit explanation that they spent the equity to deal "with the sheer impossibility of making ends meet." Rubbish. Most Americans were not, as he seems to imply, on the verge of starvation. They used equity for all sorts of things -- including large screen plasma TVs, new computers, and new cars. The spent vast sums of money on movies, restaurants and vacations. Of course, Mother Jones, being on the extreme Left wants to pretend that vast numbers of Americas have been on the edge of starvation for decades. And faux journalists like Johnston exist to provide the them the ammunition for their class warfare.

Another use of equity in America has been to purchase newer, bigger homes. In the America where I grew up the typical suburban home was much, much smaller than those of today. And when we consider that families were often much larger than today the amount of space per person, per dwelling, has exploded. And a large amount of the housing bubble we saw was the result of home owners using the equity in one house to purchase a second house.

Johnston is right as well, when he complains about debt payments, both individual and governmental. But Johnston doesn't recommend fiscal restraint at all. He is opposed to it. He wants spending to expanded even further. He wants "universal health care" so that the people who deliver the mail are running health care. Johnston's main goal is to see the government confiscate even larger sums of wealth from the private sector. On that Johnston is an ideologue not a reporter.

Johnston claims that there are "myriad ways in which our economy has been recalibrated to take from the poor, the middle class, and even the affluent and give to large corporations and the very richest of the rich." I wouldn't disagree but Johnston is just uninformed if he thinks this is new. Galbriel Kolko outline exactly how that was done during the Progressive Era, a century ago. And it was done because economic illiterates like Johnston promoted the very policies that he is promoting today: big government. It was big government that used newly created regulatory policies to take from the poor and redistribute to the rich. Johnston is one of those Utopians who believes that the incentives of government regulation will change if you give people like himself dictatorial powers over others.

The Utopian Left has a tendency to believe that "good intentions" are sufficient to change human nature and government incentives. In fact, the true Leftist doesn't think there is such a thing as human nature just this marvelous blank slate which can be manipulated and forged by clever social engineers. They wish to remake the world. The danger in that is that such a contempt for the real world builds up that the far Left has a tendency to want to destroy the world in which we live, so that out of the ashes their Utopian vision might arise. Aldous Huxley warned of the Utopians: "father in the bigger and better future is one of the most potent enemies to present liberty: for rulers feel themselves justified in imposing the most monstrous tyranny on their subjects for the sake of the wholly imaginary fruits which these tyrannies are expected to bear some time in the distant future." Almost two centuries ago Frederic Bastiat, a member of the Left in the French Assembly, warned that the statist Leftist "reserves all his love for the society that he has dreamed up; but the natural society in which it is our lot to live cannot be destroyed soon enough to suit them, so that from its ruins may rise the New Jerusalem."

Johnston is actually willing to go very far in order to build the Utopian society that he dreams of. The obstacle to his vision is that government doesn't have enough loot in its' pockets. Redistributing wealth from the public to the politicians is the means by which Johnston believes the magical society of which he dreams can become reality. He laments that America may "never get back to the pre-Reagan tax rate for top earners (70 percent), but we should at least nudge it back...."

He also has another solution to raise tax revenues. He wants the US military to invade other nations to force them to close their "tax loop holes". One example he gives: "The Obama administration could tell the Caymans -- now fifth in the world in bank deposits -- to repeal its bank secrecy laws or be invaded; since the island nation's total armed forces consists of about 300 police officers, ti should be hard for technicians and auditors, accompanied by a few Marines, to fly in and seize all the records. Bermuda, which relies on the Royal Navy for its military, could be next, and so on. Long before we get to Switzerland and Luxembourg, their governments should have gotten the message."

Johnston's hatred of the private sector is so intense that he doesn't mind suggesting a policy of global invasions in order to force other nations to comply with the socialist policies that Johnston wants to impose on America.

Oddly one of the subsides he complains about is the police responding to burglar alarms. He calls that the "burglar-alarm subsidy". The subsidy isn't actually a subsidy for an alarm, that isn't what he means. It is the police responding to the alarm. So, if the police show up when an alarm goes off you are being subsidized, no matter how much you pay in taxes to supposedly pay for precisely that service. Apparently Johnston thinks government providing any service to the people who pay the taxes is a "subsidy" while giving it his favored programs is "social justice" He wants to end police responses to alarms. He says the Feds should "could threaten to cut federal funding for any city that fails to charge the alarm companies the full cost of each response." Notice how "threats" are such an intricate part of his utopia. The vast central state he would create would threaten local cities and invade foreign countries in order to build the dream. All this so that the social engineers can shift "the spending to youth programs that reduce crime (saving even more money) and help more kids grow up to become taxpayers..."

That is the vision of every kid I know, they just can't wait to become taxpayers. Of course, they don't realize that the world has social engineers who dream of the unlimited powers they could have if government is big enough, if taxes are higher enough, and if they were put in charge. Sure, you might have to invade a few countries, and you have to use threats, but as that great dreamer, Joseph Stalin said: "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mormons say no to equal rights, again.

Because of the prominent role played by the Mormon Church is stripping California’s same-sex couples of their marriages the issue of same-sex relationships has heated up in Utah, home for the cult. The Salt Lake Tribune has polled the public on the matter of recognizing the equal rights of gay people and what it found shows a profound difference between Utahans in general and Mormons.

Without exceptions the Mormons are far less tolerant and far more likely to demand that gays be treated as second class citizens.

A plurality of non-Mormons in Utah support a measure to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. In the general public this breaks down to 48% in favor and 43% opposed. But when it comes to Mormons only 12% will even allow gay couples a civil union, let alone marriage equality.

A majority of non-Mormons say that gay couples should be allowed to adopt or be foster parents, only 30% oppose equality in this matter. Among Mormons 67% want gays at the back of the adoption bus -- actually they think they should be kicked off the bus.

So what about issues like allowing visitation rights in the hospital for gay couples? Half of the Mormons surveyed said that the same-sex partner of someone in hospital should not be allowed to visit. This is astounding. But when asked about issues like the right to inherit from their partner, or visit them in hospital, half the Mormons would deny even those rights to gay couples. Only about a quarter of the non-Mormons felt the same way.

One Mormon told the pollsters expressed the views of many Mormons: “I don’t believe they should have any rights at all,” said Maureen Johnson of South Jordan, Utah. Indeed, stripping people of their rights, in order to conform with the wacky theology of Mormonism does seem to be high on the Mormon agenda. Of course, even the Mormons have progressed. At one time in history they slit the throats of sinners now they just treat them like dirt. More amazingly the Mormons then whine when people protest this treatment.

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In defense of Sam Adams or F... the media.

Here we have another example of America's Puritanical hysteria regarding sex. The bigot brigade is braying for the head of Portland's new mayor, Sam Adams. Adams, who is gay, is in the crossfires because a few years ago he had a relationship with a young man. The young man was 18 years old at the time, above the age of consent. The relationship was consenting. There was no coercion used. Nor did Adams have any professional relationship with the young man to muddy the waters.

That isn't stopping the hysterics from demanding that Adams step down from office. For what? Being sexual?

Here are the facts. Adams, was not the mayor in 2005 when this relationship began. Nor was he in a relationship, as he is now. He was single. Adams was a city commissioner. The young man, Beau Breedlove was an intern working in the state legislature for a Republican (now that's kinky). Breedlove already knew he was gay and approached Adams, who he knew was gay and struck up a conversation.

The newspapers, in order to fan the hysteria, now refers to Adams as a "mentor" to Breedlove, which generally implies a professional relationship. However, that is a distortion of the facts. They both worked in two different areas and had no professional relationship at all.

Breedlove was just under 18-years-old when he met Adams but no relationship started then. However, conservatives spread the lie that this was the case during the last election when Adams won office. Adams had attended Breedlove's 18th birthday party with a date, which also indicates no relationship started. But the papers, if you can trust them, report that aides had joked to Adams that Breedlove had romantic intentions.

Breedlove has issued a statement to blood-thirsty press saying that:
Sam Adams has always been a positive influence and friend to me. He has many outstanding qualities to bring to his position as Mayor of the City of Portland and I wish nothing but the best for him. I hope this subject can ultimately be put to rest and I sincerely believe in Sam Adams and what he can do for the city of Portland as Mayor.
The media began asking Adams if he had a relationship with Breedlove when he was campaigning. The one thing that Adams did, which might be wrong, was deny it. My view is that since they were asking Adams who he was dating, and since there was no question that his date was below the age of consent, then the media had no business asking. It is the sort of prurient interest that busybodies have in the sex lives of other people. Adams faced a dilemma. An honest answer would have made a total irrelevancy into a major issue just because some scummy reporters can't get over other people having sex lives. To tell the truth faced immediate disaster. To lie postponed the disaster. Adams chose the later and Breedlove himself lied to the press about it.

Adams apparently believed that certain political forces would use any admission to press the claim that the relationship began before Breedlove was legally an adult. This sounds plausible to me. Adams thought that it would be assumed he had seduced an underage youth and it would needlessly destroy his political career. Whether there are other reasons why Adams shouldn't be in office I can't say, but this surely isn't one.

The two men dated for a couple of months and Breedlove moved out of state. Since then he has returned to Portland and is clearly unhappy that his private life is being used to crucify someone he clearly believes to be a friend.

Had Adams used a position of authority over Breedlove to instigate a sexual relationship there would be problems. But, in spite of the media calling him Breedlove's mentor, the two were friends. Adams had no professional relationship with the young man. Since there is zero evidence the relationship violated age of consent laws that also eliminates a reason for the media being all over this "story". In other words this is non-story except for purely prurient purposes.

All reporters have is that Adams didn't tell them the truth when they started prying into his sex life. There are just some things that the media has no right prying into. By that I mean no right in terms of morality and decency. The media certainly has the legal right to publish trite, unimportant, salacious material. That is a right that they engage in with great relish. But when the media bastards start prying into relationships between consenting adults then they aren't reporting the news, they're writing pornography. Under those circumstances it is the right of all decent individuals to lie to the buggers. Considering how the media regularly twists facts there is a certain justice inherent in all lies told them.

Apparently two legal adults can't have a private sex life without the media hounds thinking they have a right to pry into things. Does an elected official always have the obligation to answer any question the media puts to him? I can't see how anyone can argue he does. Personally I would have turned the question on the reporter. Adams should have demanded that reporters asking him such questions provide him with a detailed listing of their masturbatory fantasies. Of course the reporters would scream that is an invasion of their privacy. And it would be. But it would be no less an invasion than what they were doing to Adams and Breedlove. And we must remember that while Adams was a minor public official at the time, Breedlove was not. He was just someone that wanted to date someone he found attractive. The media couldn't pry into Adams' bedroom activities without prying into Breedlove's private life as well. And there is simply no justification to do that to him.

Why is the media doing this? There is one main reason. It sells newspapers or boosts the ratings. There is a constituency of antigay types who will eat this up just because this supposedly proves one of their bigoted theories right -- though how it is hard to see. Add in the antisex types to this mix and it means the story will attract a lot of attention.

One thing I've discovered over the years is that the antisex types are actually rather obsessed with the subject. The reason they tend to get so hysterical about sexual issues in public is usually because, in private, they have a lot of fantasies or activities, that they are deeply ashamed of. For many of them that shame is with good cause. The typical Puritan is most often guilty of the very sins he preaches against the loudest. And when others "sin" (and they consider all sex outside marriage to be sin) the story gives them an excuse to feed their own fantasies. They can't wait to read about the sex lives of others as a form of pornography. They get off on it.

The media knows these people are out there. And, under the excuse of the "public's right to know" these reporters become amateur pornographers detailing the private lives of others. I don't know which group disgusts me the most? Is it those who want the details about the sex life of Mr. Adams, because of their own sexual pathologies, or the greedy reporters who think nothing of dragging someone through the mud in order to sell a few newspapers?

Actually I find all this far worse than any real porn. Porn is produced with willing performers or models who produce materia to give other people pleasure. The media "porn" like this is done with unwilling individuals. And the main intention is to hurt some people so that others can get their jollies. In cases like this I have far more respect for the Larry Flynts of the world than I do the bott0m-feeding media types who are eating this story up.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Public opinion poll throws cold water on warming theorists.

If Al Gore were in his grave, as he result of one the catastrophes he is shouting about, he’d be spinning so fast as to produce the energy needed for his power-hungry mansion. What would set St. Al of Gore into a passable imitation of a Whirling Dervish is the most recent poll on what the American public thinks of global warming theory.

The poll found that a plurality of Americans reject the notion that climate change is man-made. The poll, conducted a few days ago, found that 44% say that warming is “long term planetary trend” while 41% blame humanity.

While the point spread between the two positions is relatively minor the trend is rather clear. In July, 2006 the same poll found that 46% of the public then blamed mankind for warming and only 35% said it was the result of a long term trend. Support for the Gore theory dropped by 5 points while support for the natural theory increased by 9 points.

The polls found that woman are more panicky about warming than are men and that Democrats are far more concerned than independents or Republicans. Forty-six percent of the public thinks that environmental concerns conflict with economic concerns. That doesn’t bode well for an environmentalist agenda during the current downturn in the economy and may indicate a larger shift, down the road, against the Green agenda.

Only slightly over a third of the public wants to see energy consumption reduced with the majority wanting new sources of energy. One new source, widely supported by the public, is the old source of nuclear power, which is now supported by 55% of the public verses just 29% in opposition.

Numbers like this ought to send the Green-Left into a panic -- their natural state from all indications. The more the warming issue is debated the greater the trend away from their position. Economic conditions, and the belief that prosperity and environmentalism are in conflict, indicates that as the economy worsens support for Green measures will decline even more. And the solutions the public are not the conservation policies that Gore, et. al., advocate, but the increase of other forms of energy, especially nuclear power.

Even worse news is that a poll done by two political scientists from Texas A&M University showed that “more informed respondents... show less concern about global warming.” One of the pollsters said that this was the exact opposite of what he expected to find. He said that this trend “continued to appear regardless of how we modeled the data.”

A poll in the UK in 2007 found that of the 20 top “worries” global warming came in 9th. The same poll in 2008 saw warming fall to 17th on the list. The BBC reports that in 2007 more Brits were worried about dog shit and graffiti than warming.


Monday, January 19, 2009

And now, for something different.


Classical liberals in Germany speed ahead.

Germany’s libertarian-leaning Free Democratic Party secured 16% of the vote in the regional elections in German state of Hesse.

Lead by Guido Westerwelle (seen here, on the right, with his partner Michael Mronz), the party previously refused to join the “Grand Coalition” established by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel built a coalition with the Social Democrats effectively preventing any meaningful reforms from being passed. Westerwelle and his party rejected the coalition preferring to remain in the opposition.

Apparently remaining in the opposition paid off for the FDP. The 16% vote in Hesse is their best showing in there since 1954. At the same time the Left-wing Social Democrats saw their percentage plunge to 24%.

Merkel has said that she wishes end her “Grand Coalition” and would prefer to form a coalition with the classically liberal Free Democrats.

The one thing Westerwelle needs to be wary about is that Merkel, like Bush and Obama, thinks that the way out of a financial bubble is to try to pump it back up instead of letting markets adjust to malinvestment patterns that caused the crash. A spend-up in Germany is no more likely to solve the problem there than it will here. If anything it will drag out readjustment making things even harder.

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Obama at Tomb of Unknown Soldier

Barack Obama made an appearance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This gesture was appreciated by all, especially the solider, who rose from the dead and annointed Obama's feet with oil.

From there Obama went to the World War II Memorial and then to the Lincoln Monument. Mr. Obama took a short cut between the two monuments by walking across the Reflecting Pool.

Upon reaching the Lincoln Monument, Mr. Obama reached down and troubled the waters of the Pool and multitudes of lame and blind flocked to waters for healing. Mr. Obama has said, that immediately following his beatification on Tuesday, he will feed the crowds with loaves and fishes.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wasting tax funds on this clown...

This is what passes as sex education under Christianist control. This clown (literally} is paid to try to teach "abstinence" to high school students. And your tax money pays the bills.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The danger of God-given rights.

One of the arguments I hear from some well-meaning classical liberals or libertarians is that there is some good from claiming that individual rights are grants from God. The argument goes that if God is the author of individual rights then no one can advocate the violation of rights: to do so would be against the will of God. Christians who take this position assume that only evil, godless people would be inclined to violate the will of God and thus violate rights.

I find the whole argument flawed. Not even the religious are going to be more inclined to respecting the life, liberty or property of others as a result of this doctrine. If anything, this argument gives them the premise they need to justify a wholesale attack on the classical liberal theory of rights. Allow me to explain how and why this happens.

If some deity is the author of human rights then this god defines what is a right or what is not a right. There is no such thing as an objective morality with theism. All morality is contingent on the whims of the supernatural being called god who often changes his mind as to what is, or isn’t, the moral thing to do.

If you challenge a Christian theist, about the genocide that Jehovah ordered the Hebrews to inflict in the Old Testament, he will often respond this way: “Killing is only murder when it goes against God’s command. If God commands you kill then to not kill would be a sin.”

If rights are the creation of a deity then that deity may change those rights according to his own wishes. In the Old Testament the religious were allowed several wives, not so in the New Testament. Old Testament Hebrews were supposedly under “Law” while New Testament Christians are under “Grace”.

Consider the punishments that God demands in the Old Testament for victimless crimes like fornication or homosexuality. In both cases he demanded that believers kill the sinners in question. Similarly, he ordered the execution of those who didn’t keep the Sabbath day and disobedient children. Jehovah made Bill O’Reilly look like a bleeding-heart liberal.

The God of Islam is no better than Jehovah. As for Jesus of the New Testament we can see precisely how ready those who worship him are to violate the rights of others in name of God.

The problem with a god as the originator of rights is that all these gods are deathly silent about what these rights are or aren’t. Christians will argue we find God’s view of human rights in the Bible. That is the book that never once condemned the enslaving of human beings. The God of the Old Testament actually went so far as to demand enslaving others and even recommended that the Hebrew warriors keep the young virgins for their own sexual pleasures at one point. Does God condemn slavery, condone slavery or demand it?

Christians accepted slavery as moral for most of the history of that religion. Only after the Age of Enlightenment did they start to debate as to whether it was allowed or not. And only after a very long period of such debate did the majority of believers consider slavery wrong. The most vociferous voices in the American South defending slavery were Christian ministers.

The Bible itself is often very unclear or even contradictory about what it teaches. The existence of thousands of Christian sects battling over just such interpretations makes this obvious. The lack of clarity in Scripture is clear from the multitude of Christians all believing the other sects are either wrong or in deep heresy.

Catholics attempt to skirt around issues of hermeneutics by appealing to authority instead. The Catholic Church replaces differing interpretations with an authoritarian doctrine. The Bible means what the church leadership tells you it means. This, of course, directly applies to issues of human rights.

The Catholic Church did not feel it was violating human rights when it consigned heretics or “witches” to the flames. Today it may be less inclined to do so, though it is impossible to tell for sure whether this is due to a change in belief. or a lack of political power. History seems to show that the moral position of Catholic “authorities” have changed with the times.

That both hermeneutics and authority have evolved over time indicates they are of human origin not divine. A god would not need shifting moral positions. He wouldn’t “learn from his mistakes” as he would allegedly be incapable of committing any.

The final source for godly morality, after revelation and authority is individual inspiration. In this God, instead of simply writing a book, speaks directly to individuals as to what is, or isn’t, moral. Or, if they are Biblically inclined he tells them how he wants them to interpret his word.

Yet again their is a multitude of voices all claiming competing and contradictory inspiration. The Mormon Church claimed direct revelations from God who, in the past demanded polygamy and then later condemned it. Of course, some Mormon sects disagree and claim God still reveals to them the necessity of plural marriage. The Mormons had revelations condemning blacks and then, only after the Civil Rights movement, had a convenient revelation accepting the "Sons of Ham" into the priesthood.

Individual revelations are as fickle and dangerous as Scripture or authority. Individuals, who most of us consider demented, commit crimes in the name of God. A killer may say that God ordered him to kill. Precisely how do we dispute that in a Christian culture? In the past the God of the Bible clearly did order executions. We can’t argue these demented individuals are acting contrary to the nature of the Christian deity. If anything, their killing is more in line with the history of god then the more passive views of the deity held today.

In the end we are left with this God not saying anything of substance at all. It isn’t as if he writes a detailed outline of individual rights in the heavens . No such description is available anywhere. Certainly “revelation” in the form of holy books has proven useless, as already discussed.

Without this deity standing before us and speaking to us clearly, what we are ultimately left with is individuals who claim, or pretend, that they are speaking on God’s behalf.

At best the theologically inclined may argue that puts God-given rights in the same category as rights deduced by reason since the latter are also open to interpretation and debate.

But I would argue that theologically-derived rights are still worse than reason-derived rights. No one pretends that reason is infallible. There is always room for error. There is an inherent humility present in rights theory deduced through reason because we recognize it is a human activity prone to error. A divine being, allegedly lacking such a tendency, is not humble but infallible.

It is often for this reason that people wish to invoke God on behalf of their argument. They feel that using God to support their argument means there is no rebuttal. God trumps all arguments. That these individuals mean different things, and that none of them actually know what such a being wants, is immaterial. Libertarians who want to invoke God on behalf of rights tend to think that ends the discussion. If God says it then there is nothing left to argue.

The fallibility of human reason means that we ought to interpret rights as broadly as is logically possible. If we must err we ought to err on the side of human freedom and autonomy. In addition, the more drastic the action we wish to take against others the more humble we need to be. For instance the justification for having a system of parking tickets is substantially lower than what is needed to justify the state executing people.

Not so with the infallible word of God. There was little reluctance to burn heretics at the stake in Christian history. And, while secular-minded rights theorists debate endlessly as to the limitations of rights, fundamentalist Christians are assured that they speak for God. Libertarians can debate whether the state ought to recognize marriages at all and thus recognize gay relationships. The fundamentalists have no such debate. They know precisely what God says. As the absorb Biblical fundamentalism their skepticism in their intellectual humility diminishes. As this happens any hesitancy to impose force on others diminishes.

Even when they debate issues of hermeneutics they are often convinced the dissenters are merely heretics. Each side tends to be convinced they speak for God and when God is on your side there is little reason for humility or doubt.

The tendency toward self-doubt is inherent in human reasoning. It is absent in divine revelation.

Secular rights theory is inherently anthropocentric. When we debate rights we are asking what rights humans have as humans. Theologically-derived rights theory is quite different. It doesn’t place the well being of humanity at the center of its theory at all. God occupies the center and his will, not human well-being, is the criteria by which all things are judged. The purpose of such a rights theory is obedience not individual fulfillment.

Theological rights theories thus have a tendency toward authoritarianism. They must emphasize obedience over individual well-being. It is obedience to a higher power that is the core of all God-given rights theory. And, once again, since the deity is not standing here issuing orders it is those who claim to be his representatives who are demanding the obedience.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Mormons lied...

The Mormon Church, the muscles behind the antigay Proposition 8 in California, lied. Anyone reading this blog knew that already. The Church claimed they had only given $2000 to Prop 8 but they hid a large amount of the money they spent without reporting it, as required. This video shows them admitting how they were going to set up expensive internet campaigns and calling centers to contact voters. None of those expenses were reported by the Yes on 8 campaign or the Mormon Church.

As for tax exemption for the church, I say abolish it. While I'm in favor of abolishing all taxes as quickly as possible until then these religious groups shouldn't be exempt. The people they were attacking with Prop 8 had to defend their rights with income they had AFTER taxes. The Mormon Church had no such obstacle. They enjoyed a privilege denied to the people they were attacking. If the Church wishes to remain tax exempt then church leaders have no business running political campaigns.

That the Mormon sect uses its tax exemption to run political campaigns ought to worry everyone.

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Some times humans really disgust me.

I want you to spend a few minutes looking into the face of Shaun Dykes before telling you his story.

Now I want to tell you why he's dead. Shaun was 17-years-old and had problems with depression. This doesn't surprise me. Shaun was also gay and all the evidence shows that gay teens are more likely to suffer depression and suicidal thoughts. This is especially true when they are surrounded by people who are anti-gay. One of the pernicious results of antigay bigotry, as pushed by fundamentalist Christians, is that gay teens often find the worst bigots are their own parents. While a black kid is not going to grow up and discover his parents are Klan members a very high percentage of gay kids are born into bigoted families -- usually because these demented individuals believe some deity has told them to be hateful.

Gay teens are more likely to face harassment at school and to encounter negative attitudes from school officials including teachers. Add to that the bullying they can encounter from the school morons and it is no surprise that they have a harder time coping with life in general.

Shaun had twice tried to end his life through overdosing and failed. In another depression, brought on from a break up with his boyfriend a few days earlier Shaun was on the roof of a shopping mall in Derby, England.

A trained negotiator from the police was talking to Shaun. But the locals gathered below and taunted the young teen urging him to jump.

Detective Inspector Barry Thacker said that every time the blood-thirsty mob would start screaming that Shaun would disengage and start counting down to jump. Thacker would have to try harder to get Shaun's attention and the boy would begin reconsidering his options. At one point Shaun was starting to reach for the officer to take his hand and come back to safety when some asshole started screaming "You're wasting taxpayers' money."

Thacker says with that taunt Shaun stood back up and said: "It's gone too far". He then jumped to his death.

What kind of scum was standing on the ground outside that shopping mall? I don't even know the words to describe the contempt I have for such human refuse who would urge a teenage boy to kill himself for their own amusement. These are the kind of scum that make me wish someone had taken a baseball bat to their empty little heads. It's disgusting.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A perfectly awful example.

As my previous post made clear, this blog is very concerned about the way that adolescent sexuality has been turned into a criminal offense by the politicians in order to protect "children" from predators. Increasingly these badly drafted pieces of legislation are turning teens into criminals. No sooner had I posted the previous article on how this hysteria is entirely blown out of proportion than a perfectly awful example of these perversion of justice was presented to me.

Police in Greenburg Pennsylvania have arrested six teens and charged them the crime of "child pornography." NO, they weren't forcing small children into sexual acts. Three teenage girls sent nude, or semi-nude photos of themselves by email to their boyfriends. (So three girls and three boys.) All six are now deemed, by the morons who wrote the laws, to be child predators involved with "child pornography."

Who turned these teens into criminals? The jerks who run their local school. A teen was seen using a phone during school hours so the school confiscated the phone. Then, apparently without any legal right to do so, they searched through the phone to see what was on it. And when they found the racy photos they called the local sex gestapo to get involved.

I hope the school gets sued. I don't see a problem with them confiscating the phone during school hours if it is being used. But they have no legal right to search through the phone to see what they can find. This unnamed administrator is pure scum as far as I'm concerned. He, or she, has literally turned six teens in "sex offenders" and ruined their entire lives because of this. This is the kind of person who really does deserve a dark alley and some angry parents.

The police are saying that all the teens are criminals and warn teens who get such pictures from friends to delete them and then turn their friends into the police. I hope the real message from this, that teens pick up is this: the police are your enemy, don't cooperate with them, don't talk to them, avoid them at all costs. In this case "police say more charges could be filed against other students if more pictures are found."

Please note that the one boy in the news report said that the photos were seen by most kids at the school. Get this: all those students are now sex offenders who can be arrested by the gang in blue.

Once again I emphasize that these laws are not protecting our teens from "predators" they are a direct threat to life and liberty of our teens. These laws need to be reformed, and I suspect mostly abolished, immediately.

In Indiana a teenage boy who photographed his penis and emailed the photo to a girl was arrested on the felony charge of a "obscene performance". In another case a "juvenile arrested recently at a local school was charged in juvenile court with possession of child pornography." The prosecutors and police say the teens find the activity harmless but the officials warn that teens can be "damaged" by it -- what they mean is that the teens can be damaged by the police and the courts when they are made into criminals and turned into registered sex offenders. One
"school resource officer" (the police stationed in schools), Officer Jeremy Tinkle says that this "crime" is far more widespread than people realize and that many "cases go unreported" by the teens.

By the way this Indiana report is an example of another worrying trend: the stationing of police officers in the schools for the express purpose of arresting teens. These cops are not protecting teens. They are there to arrest them. And it is a good thing that teens are not reporting things to this officer from the local sheriff's department. The police should be removed from the schools unless there is a clear and present danger to students from others. If no such danger exists then the presence of cops in the schools is more likely to hurt teens than help them.

In Cincinnati, "school resource officer" Jim Brown says: "If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now (something he no doubt salivates over) of 1,500 students, I would venture to say that half to two-thirds have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in the school." If this police officer (not school resource officer as they are called) is correct then our laws would have turned half to two-thirds of all teens into sex offenders. When you have this massive a percentage of teens open to felony charges by cops like Brown then something is very, very wrong with the law.