Friday, March 25, 2016

Seared Music: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - "Ohio"

...in a sense, NC's passage of HB2 on Wednesday was the political equivalent of what happened at Kent State over 4 decades ago; however, unlike Kent State, the whole world watched my beloved state become, as the New York Times put it, "a pioneer in bigotry"....sad, just sad.

The Political Tweet Of The Year...

....I think I've read it all now....

....who knew?

Two Things The LGBT Community Must Do After North Carolina

Go read Alvin McEwen's post over at Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters whenever you get the chance; he explains what we must do in the wake of HB2's passage here in the Old North State. I'll add one thought to this and those are the words of Eliot Ness from the movie The Untouchables...
Never stop fighting till the fight is done.
Those words ought to be seared into our minds until there is full and complete equality for all of us in the LGBT community across this great Republic; instead  of resting on our laurels everytime we win something, we need to - no, we have to! - keep fighting until that day arrives.

Founder's Quote, 25 March 2016

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it. - James Madison, letter to Frederick Beasley — 1825 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Seared Music: The Chambers Brothers - "Time Has Come Today"

...given the growing backlash over the passage of HB2 here in North Carolina, the most anti-gay discrimination law passed in recent memory, this song's well and truly appropriate for as I've said here & elsewhere, if NC legislators want to sow those kinds of winds, here's hoping the rest of America sends one helluva broad whirlwind as a result.


Just How Devastating Was NC's H.B. 2?

Ohhhh.....this devastating:
In a span of 12 hours, the GOP political leadership of this state called the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session, introduced legislation written by leadership and not previously made available to members or the public, held "hearings" on that legislation, passed it through both chambers of the legislature, and it was signed by the GOP Governor.
The special legislation was called, ostensibly, to prevent an ordinance passed last month by the Charlotte City Council, from going into effect on April 1. That ordinance would have expanded the city's LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, and would have allowed transgendered people to use public restrooms that corresponds with their gender identity.
But the legislation introduced and passed into law by the General Assembly yesterday didn't simply roll back that ordinance. It implemented a detailed state-wide regulation of public restrooms, and limited a person's use of those restrooms to only those restrooms that correspond with one's "biological sex," defined in the new state law as the sex identified on one's birth certificate. (So yes, by law in NC now, transgender porn star Buck Angel (look him up) will have to use the women's room...isn't that precisely what these lawmakers are actually wanting to prevent?).
But the legislation didn't stop there. It also expressly pre-empted all municipal and county ordinances or policies broader than the official state anti-discrimination statute, which does not include sexual orientation or gender identity among the list of prohibited bases of discrimination. So that effectively wipes out local LGBT anti-discrimination protections in numerous NC cities (and, ironically, wipes out the protection of discrimination based on "veterans status" in Greensboro and Orange County (Chapel Hill)).
But wait, there's more. The legislation also expressly states that there can be no statutory or common law private right of action to enforce the state's anti-discrimination statutes in the state courts. So if a NC resident is the victim of racial discrimination in housing or employment, for example, that person is now entirely barred from going to state court to get an injunction, or to get damages of any kind. The new law completely defangs the state's anti-discrimination statute, rendering it entirely unenforceable by the citizens of the state.
But wait, there's more! The legislation also prohibits municipalities and counties from passing a higher minimum wage than the State's. Not that any municipality or county had done that...but in case any of them were thinking about it, that's now prohibited, too.
This is much broader than the RFRA laws that we saw in Indiana and Arkansas last summer, and that Georgia is dealing with right now. The NC legislature learned the lessons from those states and the political and corporate/business blow-back, and did this all before anyone could pay attention. (Talking Points Memo)
Think about all that above and what vanished in NC....
  • LGBT protections, gone
  • Preemptions on non-discrimination ordinances
  • Preemptions on minimum wage increases
  • Prohibitions on redress of grievances w/in NC state courts
  • Legalized discrimination against NC minority residents
In other words, the General Assembly managed to take the Old North State and take us back to before the Civil Rights Era...no wonder there's a slow but steadily growing backlash against the bill; a well-deserved backlash in my opinion. Take a bow, North Carolina; in one fell swoop you've managed to piss off the rest of the country; may you receive a well-deserved flurry of boycotts, protests and lawsuits as a result.

Founder's Quote, 24 March 2016

His temper was excellent, and he generally observed decorum in debate. On one or two occasions I have seen him angry, and his anger was terrible; those who witnessed it, were not disposed to rouse it again. - Thomas Jefferson, on Patrick Henry — 1824

....for what's it worse, that quote could very well describe the steadily building anger both here in North Carolina and across the U.S. over the General Assembly's passing of the most expansive anti-LGBT legislation in recent memory...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Seared Music: Hall & Oates - "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"

.....given what the state of North Carolina is on the verge of doing (i.e. gutting legal protections for its' LGBT citizens), this is what I hope the rest of America says & does to the Old North State; if the legislators in Raleigh want to sow this kind of political wind, they - and my beloved North Carolina, for that matter - deserve the political whirlwind that comes as a result.

NC Lawmakers Convene To Gut LGBT Protections

....if they weren't Republicans, I'd be screaming bloody fucking murder over the waste of money here; even so, I'm still screaming bloody fucking murder here....
On Wednesday, lawmakers in North Carolina are convening a special session for the sole purpose of considering anti-LGBT legislation. The session is a direct response to the passage of LGBT nondiscrimination protections in the city of Charlotte and will cost taxpayers $42,000 per day. (Think Progress)
At the heart of the matter is HB 2, which would effectively require either anti-LGBT discriminations to become law or would gut existing protections against discrimination towards LGBT individuals...provisions include:
  • All school restrooms and locker rooms that are not single-occupancy must be single-sex and students can only use the facility that matches the “biological sex” that is “stated on a person’s birth certificate.” Students requiring an accommodation must not be allowed in the sex-segregated facility that does not match their identity.
  • All public agency restrooms that are not single-occupancy must be single-sex and must be limited based upon an individual’s “biological sex” as “is stated on a person’s birth certificate.” Individuals requiring an accommodation must not be allowed in the sex-segregated facility that does not match their identity.
  • All local laws governing employee rights (minimum wages, overtime, benefits, etc.) are preempted and superseded by state laws.
  • All local laws governing nondiscrimination practices in employment are preempted and superseded by state laws.
  • Individuals cannot bring “any civil action” based upon the state’s employment nondiscrimination protections.
  • The state’s public accommodation protections are amended to assert that limiting bathrooms according to biological sex is not considered discrimination.
  • All local laws concerning nondiscrimination practices in public accommodations are preempted and superseded by state laws.
  • Individuals cannot bring “any civil action” based upon the state’s public accommodation nondiscrimination protections.
In essence, HB 2 would require discrimination against LGBT individuals, preempt localities from passing any form of non-discrimination ordinance against anti-gay discrimination and even prohibit the redress of grievances in case where the state found that there was discrimination on the basic of sexual orientation. In other words, if you're a member of the LGBT community living in North Carolina, you are well and truly screwed over by the powers-that-be. *adds w/bitter deadpan* ....for what its' worth, if this bill passes, I honestly hope & pray the state of North Carolina suffers over it.

Founder's Quote, 23 March 2016

The State governments possess inherent advantages, which will ever give them an influence and ascendancy over the National Government, and will for ever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments. That their liberties, indeed, can be subverted by the federal head, is repugnant to every rule of political calculation. - Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention — 1788

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Conservatives Call For Border Security In Wake Of Brussels Attacks

.....now can we have comprehensive border security?
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels that left at least 30 dead, conservatives in Congress say that addressing border security is the key to ensuring terrorists don’t end up in the U.S.
In response to a question about how the country can improve its intelligence capabilities, lawmakers attending the monthly event Conversations with Conservatives pointed to securing the border as a way to stop terrorists from striking or entering the U.S..
“We’ve been saying over and over this isn’t about dealing with Mexico. This is dealing with national security,” Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told reporters Tuesday. “This dialogue about immigration and all the people that are coming across the border, it doesn’t do justice to the fact that it is a serious security breach, and if we’re going to take seriously dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups across the globe, then we have to secure the border.” (The Daily Signal)
There's a few things that can be done just off the top of my head....
  • Start enforcing current immigration laws
  • Tighten the visa entry requirements
  • Begin going after visa overstays
  • Increase border security, using a comprehensive mix of physical barriers, active patrolling and heightened surveillance

Founder's Quote, 22 March 2016

The great leading objects of the federal government, in which revenue is concerned, are to maintain domestic peace, and provide for the common defense. In these are comprehended the regulation of commerce that is, the whole system of foreign intercourse; the support of armies and navies, and of the civil administration. - Alexander Hamilton, remarks to the New York Ratifying Convention — 1788

Monday, March 21, 2016

Seared Music: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - "Woodstock"

....the way things are going at present, the 2016 Republican Convention might end up looking a lot like Woodstock....sans' the music, though.

John Banzhaf Is An Idiot

Past "...Is An Idiot Winners".....
Joining the above is George Washington School of Law Professor John Banzhaf, who, for some strange reason, thinks that we should sue all the anti-Trump protesters rather than simply arrest them whenever they disrupt a Trump rally. Now, besides being one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard for how to deal with civil disobedience, it also smacks of a broad-brushed chilling effect on the whole idea of civil disobedience in the first place....and what is a "chilling effect", you might ask? This:
In a legal context, a chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction. The right that is most often described as being suppressed by a chilling effect is the US constitutional right to free speech. A chilling effect may be caused by legal actions such as the passing of a law, the decision of a court, or the threat of a lawsuit; any legal action that would cause people to hesitate to exercise a legitimate right (freedom of speech or otherwise) for fear of legal repercussions. When that fear is brought about by the threat of a libel lawsuit, it is called libel chill. A lawsuit initiated specifically for the purpose of creating a chilling effect may be called a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or more commonly called; a "SLAPP suit." (Wikipedia)
Now, think about that above...and then wrap this bit of Banzhafian logic around your dome....
Suing protesters - "Suing the Bastards" - may be the most effective way to help deter illegal protests, says Banzhaf, noting that slap-on-the-wrist criminal fines usually aren't very effective, especially since it sometimes also helps give illegal protesters a soap box to air their grievances in criminal trials. (PRLog)
....
Only 3 arrests, with slap-on-the-risk fines, for creating a 10-mile backup in Arizona Saturday is likely to encourage, rather than discourage, more Anti Trump Protesters – like so many similar cause-driven students on campus – to engage in criminal acts inconveniencing if not endangering others, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has a more effective remedy.
Banzhaf, who popularized the “Sue the Bastards” slogan, and helped obtain law suits against those who illegally blocked traffic at NYC’s George Washington Bridge, now suggests “Sue the Disruptors.” He says that citizens stepping up to protect their own rights – even if only in small claims court if necessary – by bringing civil torts actions against illegal disruptors is a far more effective way of discouraging these criminal conspiracies than the criminal law itself. (Value Walk)
Those are chilling effects above in that it would deter most all acts of civil disobedience from occurring for fear of lawsuits (the SLAPP effect there) and give those in power even more of a reason to sometimes act like absolute jerks; I mean, if you could sue your political opponents or those merely critical of you, wouldn't you do that? Now, to be fair, Banzhaf cites the Sea Shepherd lawsuits, where they were fined over $2.5 million for illegally disrupting Japanese whaling efforts....there's just one problem there: setting aside the whaling part, those acts occurred in international waters where the laws can downright murky; what Banzhaf is proposing involving all-but-stamping down on the free speech rights of Americans....even those who commit acts of civil (or sometimes, uncivil) disobedience.

For instance, under the Banzhaf Doctrine here, people across the South could've easily sue MLK and other civil rights leaders for disrupting their rights and according to Banzhaf, they would've been in the right. Now how fucked up is that bit of logic? Banzhaf's kind of thinking, if carried out to its' logical - and scary - conclusion, could easily lead to a culture of fear and self-censorship as people, worried about being sued over acts of civil disobedience, begin drawing themselves inward rather than going outward into the world.

That, frankly, is not a world we should live in; I, for one, would rather see a world like this, with people free to speak their mind & engage in acts of civil disobedience....
...than one with idiots like him...
....pushing lawsuits that would forever chill free speech rights in this great republic of ours...

Founder's Quote, 21 March 2016

[T]he importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all ... are essential to the well-being of a family. - Samuel Adams, letter to Thomas Wells — 1780

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Glenn Beck's Open Letter To Donald Trump

Quoting Glenn Beck's open letter to Donald Trump from over on the Beckster's FB page in regards to Trump's continued attacks towards Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly because...well, because it deserves to be read in full - and because Donald Trump's a son of a bitch, pure & simple!
An open letter to Donald Trump.
Donald,
I read your string of really sad and sick tweets against Megyn Kelly. First let me say this:
Leave Megyn Kelly ALONE.
She is brilliant, honest and brave.
I can only imagine the amount of security this mother of three now needs because Donald Trump has gone over the edge with some revenge drama just because she asked a fair question almost half a year ago!
Should a presidential candidate be so thin skinned that he must belittle, abuse and threaten women?
Will we really vote for you? A man who abuses anyone who doesn't kiss his ring?
I know I will not.
Donald, she is a journalist. This is what they do.
You don't like her questions? Fine. Grow up.
Many of us have problems with the press. I have been asked questions much worse than what you were asked. For years. The people know bias, and I am afraid in your case, eventually, the people recognize sickness.
Get ahold of yourself and stop preying on the worst in man. A real leader lifts people up, he doesn't tear them down.
I know what I will get from you and your supporters because I dare speak out against you. I know that your followers will write vile and hateful lies about me for this post. They will claim, I am a sellout or I have a vendetta against you. Read the posts below and see if they don't belittle and deflect.
So be it.
I will gladly take a stand against bullies and men who abuse women. I will happily stand in line to protect anyone from abuse.
I have done it before. And the abuser and enabler said that the entire family was wrong and that we had a vendetta. It is what always happens in cases of domestic abuse.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I stood up in my own family. And someone needs to do it now.
You see, Don, I know who you are because I have seen your type before. Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. But men like those who abused the women in my family were smarter, like you, than the man who used to beat my mother.
Words, most think, don't leave marks. But maybe you don't care, because you deliver your beatings in broad daylight and in full view, daring us to stop you.
We don't because our country is sick.
We, as a nation, have battered spouse syndrome. We no longer know who we really are, many have given up and a few are about to light the bed on fire.
We have been told that we are no good, hateful, bigots, worthless and powerless by more subtle abusers before you.
Those in Washington and in the media have been verbally and sometimes physically abusing the American people for years. Mostly to cover the trail of who they have been sleeping with while lying to us.
We are weak, but those of us who see it must begin to stand and offer help and healing for the abused and abusers.
"America, you are better than this", is what she needs to hear. But as always, the abused always breaks it off with an abuser only to find a bigger abuser. It is their comfort zone.
You, Mr Trump, know this. It is why you chose this time and this party. You also know that some of us are on to you. It is why you poison the enablers against us and isolate the victims.
I am not a doctor. But I am a survivor and I would bet a specialist in domestic violence would agree that the pattern is here.
Your rage is terrifying to some.
You should know:
---you don't frighten me and my guess is you don't frighten Megyn.
We know what a little man you are. Women are more than a "tight piece of @ss!" As you have called them.
Megyn is a mom, wife, and someone's daughter. And if I may, the Bible that you so cherish also explains that she is a daughter of God.
Are we as a people not going to stand up for women being abused? I am not sure, but I want you to know, Mr Trump, that I will stand against abuse and my guess is millions of survivors will as well.
Mr. Trump, what would you do if someone obsessively stalked your daughter on Twitter for months after a minor disagreement as you have had with Megyn?
Wouldn't you question the man's mental health and advise your daughter to get a gun and a restraining order if that very powerful man stalked, reached out to her boss to get her fired, tried to turn her work friends in to enemies and then turned his friends into stalkers as well?
What would you tell one of your beautiful daughters about that man?
Would laugh it off? Tell her she was wrong for doing her job?
Would you tell her he was qualified for the position of the highest honor and trust?
Your followers will say "she deserved it" or words of that meaning.
But, if Ivanka were Megyn, would you tell them to stop their defense of the stalker and harassment of Ivanka.
Of course you would as many say you are a good father.
I know that any man with as much success and power as you have, to spend any of his limited and valuable time, tweeting all night and day after day for months, like a 14 year old boy, means, to me,
that someone must have hurt you badly in your past.
I have been there Donald. I know.
No one will say it, and you certainly won't admit it, but my guess is, you were deeply hurt or abused when you were young.
It explains your entire act.
It is as if you stopped maturing in the 8th grade. You are a 14 year old boy trapped in a 70 year old body.
I don't know what your pain is. But it is okay Donald. No one can hurt you anymore and you need to see that in your effort of trying not to be hurt you have become the abuser.
What frightens me, is what America is teaching you. By excusing your behavior, we are only making you more bold and once you "marry the nation" I fear what you will become.
We have become enablers.
If this is the behavior when we are "dating", what will you do once you have the ring?
I know you love Putin.
You have said you want to open up the First Amendment to curb the speech of the press you don't like.
You bully, harass, and teach your followers to do the same.
But at least, unlike your idol in the east, Putin, you haven't shot any reporters in the elevator.
Yet.
I will protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to me, there is now a new meaning of domestic abuse.
‪#‎istandwithmegyn‬
‪#‎istandwithfreespeech‬
‪#‎stopabuse‬
‪#‎megynkelly‬
‪#‎donaldtrump‬ (Glenn Beck, 19 March 2016)
 First off...."Well said, sir; well said, indeed!" And here's how I feel about both Donald Trump and his millions of Trumpite minions...