Showing posts with label civil rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil rights. Show all posts

Monday, March 21, 2016

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...

Monday, February 22, 2016

NC Governor To Charlotte: No LGBT Protections Ordinance Or Else

....normally I could care less about the city state of Charlotte, but there are exceptions and this is one of them....
Gov. Pat McCrory warned two Charlotte City Council members Sunday that if the city approves new legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people on Monday, the vote would “most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.”
McCrory is concerned about a provision in the proposed expanded ordinance that would allow transgender residents to use either a men’s or a women’s bathroom. That part of the ordinance has also caused a furor in Charlotte and led to the ordinance being defeated 6-5 last year. (Charlotte Observer)
A little background here....last year, the Charlotte City Council narrowly defeated an LGBT protections ordinance despite broad support from the community (an ordinance similar, BTW, to the one Houston voters threw out last year). This year, it would appear that there are the votes to pass such an ordinance and as expected, the anti-gay forces out there are focusing on one part of it.....just take a guess which part...
“It is not only the citizens of Charlotte that will be impacted by changing basic restroom and locker room norms but also citizens from across our state and nation who visit and work in Charlotte,” McCrory said in an email to the council’s two Republicans, Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith. “This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy.”
McCrory, a Republican, continued: “Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.” (Charlotte Observer)
....and I would call that above, Governor McCrory, horsepucky. If this isn't pandering to the worse impulses of the anti-gay crowd, what does? Let's hope the city of Charlotte - and good people across the Tarheel state - deliver a big, emphatic "Fuck you" to Governor McCrory and company down in Raleigh....and no, I ain't apologizing for the language either!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Phil Robertson: "Rid The Earth Of" Gay Marriage Supporters

.....even though the long-haired Duck Dynasty bigot tried to couch his words in religious language, isn't this still considered incitement to violence?
While stumping in Iowa for Ted Cruz on Sunday, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson declared that gay marriage is a sign of growing “depravity” and “perversion” in America.
Robertson, notorious for his racist and anti-gay remarks, said of marriage equality: “It is evil, it’s wicked, it’s sinful and they want us to swallow it.” “We have to run this bunch out of Washington D.C.,” Robertson said. “We have to rid the earth of them. Get them out of there.”
Cruz followed Robertson on stage, calling the reality TV star “a joyful, cheerful, unapologetic voice of truth." (Right Wing Watch)
You can watch the bigot's remarks over on Youtube; I'm not putting a video link up here (I'd have to brain bleach myself afterwards...)...but you know what the worst part of his comments were? It wasn't that he tried to use inciteful words to express his thoughts, its' that Robertson couldn't even get the damn comment right (according to Snopes anyway).  Just think about that one before you listen to anything else the duck-haired bigot has to say...

...but to go back to the cruz of the story: this is why we shouldn't stop fighting, folks! Every time the LGBT community wins something, we always start to relax, never remembering that there are those out there - like Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, for instance - who'd like to shove all of us back into the freaking closet by whatever means possible...which means that even when we, we shouldn't rest on your laurels; think of the words of Napoleon Bonaparte in this regard.....

L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace. - Audacity, audacity...always audacity.
....and keep fighting ever onward!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

University Of Connecticut To Build Blacks-Only Segregated Dorms

....but...but....isn't it racist to insist on having areas set aside for one race over others in regards to public facilities?
The University of Connecticut has recently come under fire for planning to build an all-black male dormitory titled “SCHOLA2RS House” (Scholastic House Of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars).
From UConn’s official website: “Uconn SCHOLA2RS House is a scholastic initiative to groom, nurture, and train the next generation of leaders to address grand challenges in society through the promotion of academic success in undergraduate programs at the University of Connecticut and in competitive graduate programs.” (The Libertarian Republic)
You know, its' one thing for universities to cower to the social justice wankers and provide "safe spaces" to students who "feel offended" by the world at-large, but to provide segregated housing? Given that - I'm assuming here - the university is using public tax-dollars to do this, isn't this just a wee-bit illegal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Or does it only apply to things we don't like?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Oh, Look: A Safe Space! quote Gay PatriotWho knew Alabama (in the 1950's) was on the cutting edge of Progressive thought?

....and yet people still think Republicans' are the racists? Who the hell are they kidding?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Letter From A Birmingham Jail

Quoting: McCombs Management Professor James Fredrickson has been using Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in his MBA Art of Leadership class for many years. "It is very powerful and illustrates a lot of important leadership issues," Fredrickson said. "It's a wonderful piece of writing, the language is vivid, and it is a great example of the role language can play in leadership."

Several years ago, a friend suggested that instead of having the students read the MLK letter, perhaps a dramatic reading would be a great substitute. "It is one thing to read it, another to hear it spoken," Fredrickson said. A call to Lucien Douglas, associate professor of acting & directing at the College of Fine Arts, led him to Corey Jones, then an acting student pursuing his Master's of Fine Arts degree. Jones rehearsed and came into Fredrickson's class and did a dramatic reading of the letter. The students loved it.

The next step seemed logical. Fredrickson then decided to stage the reading for film to use in his class in later years. Another call to Douglas and Fredrickson had a director in Ya'Ke Smith, who had recently graduated with his Master's of Fine Arts degree from the film program, to go along with the actor Jones.

The following 54-minute movie is the result, with the old Georgetown, Texas, jail sitting in for Birmingham in 1963. It starts with the published statement by eight fellow clergymen that prompted King's response. The film was funded by Fredrickson's endowed professorship, the Tom E. Nelson, Jr. Regents Professorship, and the McCombs School's Department of Management.

Even 5 decades after, King's words still ring throughout history...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

U.S. District Court: Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation Is Sex Discrimination

Glad to see the courts haven't been cowed by popular emotion...
A US District Court in California has ruled that there is no clear line of distinction between discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation and discriminating against them based on their sex. From Erin Buzuvis at Title IX Blog:
--Two female athletes are suing Pepperdine University over discrimination they experienced as athletes on the basketball team. They allege that the head coach and other athletic department employees singled them out for unfair treatment because they suspected that the plaintiffs were lesbians and in a relationship with each other, and when they complained about mistreatment, they were forced off the team and lost their scholarships. The athletes sued the university under Title IX and other state laws. And while their case was initially dismissed, the athletes received permission to amend their complaint, and when they did, Pepperdine again moved to dismiss. This time, however, the court denied the university’s motion, which means that the plaintiffs can continue to litigate the case and begin preparing for trial.
The court’s decision is significant for how it treated Pepperdine’s argument that the plaintiffs cannot sustain a claim under Title IX because the statute does not cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, the court refused to consider sexual orientation discrimination a separate category of discrimination, but rather, viewed it as a subset of sex discrimination. The court reached this conclusion in two separate ways —  first, by viewing sexual orientation discrimination as a type of gender stereotype discrimination, and second by considering it a matter of  “straightforward” sex discrimination. (Title IX Blog via. AmericaBlog)
Now, mind you, this case is only getting to trial; it hasn't even begun making its' way up the judicial ladder - and a case of this nature is almost certain to do so in the partisanized legal environment of today - but as AmericaBlog's Jon Green points out, Title IX has long held that discriminatng against someone based on gender has long been illegal; what the Court here did in agreeing to hear the plaintiff's case is that they extended that provision to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation, something that most courts had shied away from in past Title IX cases. In addition, as the court determined in allowing the case to go forward, even if the courts later reject the orientation part of the ruling, the school could still be sued over gender discrimination as currently written in Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Ironically, another branch of the federal government - the EEOC, to be exact - has already touched on the issue in question, ruling that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Based on these two principles, it would not surprise anyone to see more & more cases such as the Pepperdine case above move through the courts, and it wouldn't also surprise anyone if even the Supreme Court decides that discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation is indeed discrimination under the Civil Rights Act....period, full stop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 224th Anniversary Of The Bill Of Rights

Today marked the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution...the Bill of Rights, of course, are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution but they are much, much more than that; they are an enshrinement of one of the hallmarks of American equality and that is the rule of law, that all men are equal before it, regardless and irrespective of race, class, gender, orientation, status, ethnicity, etc.,etc.,etc.,...

As Patriot Post's Mark Alexander points out, the Bill of Rights originated from three equally remarkable documents....
  • John Locke's Two Treatises Of Government, which laid out the basics for what a civil society should look like but also brought forth the idea that for government to function, it must have the consent of the governed
  • the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which addressed the rights of man, including the inherent and inalienable right to reform government as needed
  • and the Declaration of Independence, which set forth not only the declaration of American independence from Great Britain but also, (a)laid forth the reasons behind her independence from the mother country and (b)re-asserted that man had certain inherent and inalienable rights that government could not take away
Taken in context, the Bill of Rights is not only a codification of the rights of man but also a proscription against government encroachment of said rights; we may argue, bitch and moan about either point but without the Bill of Rights, America would be a far darker place than it is today.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why We Lost In Houston & What Can We Do About It

Last Tuesday was an interesting day, politically speaking...on the one hand, it was refreshing as a politically pragmatic conservative to see Matt Bevin win the gubernatorial election in Kentucky and short-gut yet another Democrat politician's upward trajectory. On the other hand, it was depressing as a gay man to see Houston's anti-discrimination ordinance, a/k/a HERO, go down to defeat on the basis of a long campaign of fear & lies promulgated by the anti-gay, social conservative crowd.

Now, the events of the latter beg the question, why did we lose & what do we do about it? Well, over at Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters, Alvin McEwen has his own thoughts and for what its' worth, they pretty much dovetail with my own thoughts. Put simply: we lost because we refuse to take the anti-gay crowd seriously and also because we refuse to go after these groups at every opportunity...quoting McEwen's words on this:
We lost in Houston and we lose in other places because we have yet to confront this machine. If anything, we underestimate it. We laugh at the verbal insanity of people like Pat Robertson and Linda Harvey while ignoring the fact that people like James Dobson and Tony Perkins not only have connections with the United States Congress but also state government officials and various statewide so-called pro-family groups. These organizations have been cooperating with legislators and writing laws right under our noses, such as the now defunct DOMA law.  And while we twiddle our thumbs or talk about the latest non-controversy involving folks I don't even know, they are making inroads and alliances with black pastors paved with dollars.
So what's to do? Start taking these people seriously. We should be demanding that our networks, our publications and our leaders not wait until referendum votes like the one in Houston come up to call these people out. Pre-emptive strikes never hurt. Lgbts have been explaining our right to equality since day one. I think it's necessary that these groups start explaining why they feel we have no right to equality and above all, the tactics they have undertaken to deny us said equality. 
And individually, we need to educate ourselves on who these groups are, how they lie, and above all, do not trivialize their lies.
Enough with the kumbayah stuff. The pursuit of lgbt equality is a war. It always has been and it will always be. Perhaps we need to start thinking more like live warriors and less like dead peacemakers. (Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters)
That one line above - "the pursuit of LGBT equality is a always has been & it will always be" - should be burned into the memory banks of all of us who fight for equality, all of us. The other side isn't playing by the Marquess of Queensbury rules...why the hell are we still doing so?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Why We're Losing Liberty

Quoting: Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government's size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what's the Supreme Court's record when it comes to protecting our rights? Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, answers these questions and more.

This may sound weird, but in most ways I agree with Professor George...but, there are two points that I think the good professor forgets: (1)the Bill of Rights were meant to compliment the Constitution by extending its' protections to the people and (2)that sometimes the judiciary must step into the proverbial breach whenever either - or both - of the other branches of government overstep their bounds, whether it be at the federal lever or at the state level.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Former Fox Sports Analyst Sues Over Firing

With all due respect, Mr. James, fuck you and the anti-gay remarks horse you rode in on...
DALLAS (AP) — Former college football television analyst Craig James on Monday filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Fox Sports that contends he was fired because he had expressed opposition to gay marriage during a failed run for the U.S. Senate.
The former running back for Southern Methodist University and the New England Patriots is seeking at least $100,000 in damages. Fox hired him in August 2013 — months after he lost the Texas Senate primary to Ted Cruz — only to fire him days later.
James filed his suit in Dallas County, where he is seeking a jury trial to hear claims against the network that include breach of contract and violations of state law.
Fox Sports didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday on the lawsuit, and a Dallas attorney for the network did not immediately return a call for comment. (USA Today)
 I don't know what's worse: the fact that Fox Sports actually hired Mr. James or that he's playing from the oldest cards in the Christotaliban playbook: when called out on your own discrimination, play the victim. Well, like I said to open this post up, get back on your anti-gay remarks horse, Mr. James, and just ride off the nearest cliff, alright?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Talk About Having The Sadz...

This morning, the Supreme Court issued its decision on same-sex marriage....and boy, did opponents of it have a major case of the sadz...examples:
I'd keep going here, but this is all I need say to them above....
....our side won, your side lost. Get over it.

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In All 50 States, SCOTUS Rules

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Today's Supreme Court ruling affirming same-sex marriage across all 50 states is but another example of it...quoting Fox News:
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, in a historic decision that invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states. 
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. But in a 5-4 ruling, the court held that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and to recognize such marriages performed in other states. 
The ruling means the remaining 14 states that did not allow such unions, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans. 
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996. "No union is more profound than marriage," Kennedy wrote, joined by the court's four more liberal justices. He continued: "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right." 
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally. Cheers broke out outside the Supreme Court when the decision was announced. 
President Obama tweeted: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality." 
But other justices argued that the court should not be able to order states to change their marriage definition. Chief Justice John Roberts, in a dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, called the ruling an "extraordinary step." 
"Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority's approach is deeply disheartening," they wrote. "The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment." 
Each of the four dissenting justices also wrote a separate dissent. 
The ruling will not take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Fox News)
......I'm of two minds on today's ruling. As a conservative, I'm glad to see that the Court re-affirmed Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution (i.e. the Full Faith & Credit Clause) along with the Constitution's Due Process Clause; for all the talk of marriage being a religious institution, as a separate civil institution, this shouldn't even have been an issue. As a member of the LGBT community, all I can say here is "Halle-frickin-lujah....about...damn...time!"

Monday, June 8, 2015

Should The LGBT Community Exploit The Religious Right's Animus Towards Them?

In a word, yes. As Alvin McEwen over at Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters points out,
When it comes to good old fashioned strategic warfare, the lgbt community stinks. We really do. How is it that we can allow anti-gay figures to falsely claim that they have no animus against us, no ignorance against us when we have so much ammunition to choose from?  How is it that folks like Tony Perkins and organizations such as the Family Research Council can even begin an attempt to control the argument in this so-called culture war when at the very least, all we need to do is to raise a stink by making conversations like the following (an old "friend" of ours, Peter LaBarbera being interviewed by VCY America's Crosstalk call-in show) go viral: (LaBarbera remarks, as recorded on SoundCloud).
As Harry S. Truman once posited...
 I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell.
For what its' worth, we need to do the same....when the religious right tells lies, falsehoods and mistruths about the LGBT community, instead of ignoring them, go on the offense. Tell the truth about them and let them feel society's wrath; turn the tables on them. If they think it's hell, we should simply tell them, 'well, then, start treating us with the respect we're due as equal members of society, you hidebound sons-of-bitches!"

Use...rinse...and REPEAT.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mat Staver: Second American Revolution Needed To Stop Gay Marriage

With all due respect, Mr. Staver, since when did your right to religious liberty trump mine and other Americans' right to be treated equally before the law?
In a radio interview this weekend, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver called on states to defy a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality if it goes “the wrong way.”
“What we could have is the Supreme Court issuing its decision on marriage the wrong way, and Alabama saying, ‘Goodbye, get out of my state, that’s not what’s going to happen to my state,’” Staver told anti-LGBT pundit Linda Harvey, adding that he hopes Texas will also flout such a decision.
The Religious Right legal activist went on to insist that California’s Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban that was struck down by the federal courts, “still is applicable” in most of the state. “They have no legal authority to issue those same-sex marriage licenses,” he claimed.
Staver said that people should prepare to commit civil disobedience if same-sex marriage becomes legal, pointing to the example of a North Carolina magistrate who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and offering an extremely twisted account of a controversy involving Catholic Charities in Massachusetts.
“Go back to the days of Martin Luther King Jr., go back to the days of the American Revolution,” Staver said. “I think it’s that serious.” (Right Wing Watch; Soundcloud audio of Staver's remarks)
I think HBHM's Alvin McEwen said it bestTo paraphrase Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island, "what does one wear to a second American Revolution?"
My response to him would be: Probably something with the word "loser" on it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

No Books For You! Government Tries To Shut Free Libraries Down

Quoting: The concept of Little Free Libraries is simple-- take a book, leave a book. Any book; no need for regulation. But Government wants to take them over!

This doesn't surprise me: not only does the state want to control what you say and what you do in most places, they now seemingly want to control what you read....when did the free expression of ideas become a threat to the existence of the state?

Pseudo-Historian David Barton Claims AIDS Is A Punishment From God For Homosexuality & That Never Will Be A Cure

For what its' worth, I wholeheartedly agree with HBHM's Alvin McEwen:
Maybe it's just me but I tend to think that if God has decided that there will never be a vaccine for AIDS, He would inform the scientists steadily working on it instead of religious right fake historian David Barton who is infamous for his lies, distortions, and tone deafness to basic facts..
I've said it before and I'll say it again: it will be a good day when these charlatans who masquerade as "leaders" within the Christian faith (and FWIW, Rick Warren and others similar are included in this) are shoved aside so that an honest, thorough discussion of the faith without all the lamentations and gnashings' of teeth from the poor, poor persecuted crowd here in the U.S.

...Mr. Barton: with all due respect, sir...shut up!

H/T to Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters