Saturday, March 18, 2006

Is the US a Free Country?

After quite some years of Right Wing Religious ranting, we are seeing the sour fruits of their efforts, the making of a New American Order in which the Bill of Rights and the right to privacy are under attack. South Dakota has outlawed all abortions except in the case of a pregnancy being a threat to the mother's life. The fact that the Little Bush had just successfully appointed two Right Wing or Conservative (I didn't look closely for the more I can ignore what the Bush administration is up to, the happier I am) Justices to be members of the Supremes was no doubt not an accident of timing on the part of the S. Dakota legislators. That and all the other efforts to strike down Roe v. Wade constitute strike one.

The FCC has slammed CBS with a 3.6 million fine because an episode of the pro-FBI show, Without a Trace, depicted teenagers in various modes of undress thereby suggesting that a teenage orgy was occurring but gave no fine to a broadcast of Oprah where a graphic discussion of sex acts that go on at certain teenage parties occurred. Apparently, the FCC actually believes a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I saw the episode of the CBS show and do not recall any depictions of humping or even fully exposed breasts or pricks or even butts. Moreover, the show did not endorse what was going on. Allegedly, Oprah introduced to America the concept of a Rainbow party where every girl wears a different color of lipstick and they perform oral sex on the boys leaving a rainbow of color on their pricks. It is further alleged that Oprah
introduced the [above mentioned] concept to uninitiated adults on an episode that also defined "hoovering," "booty calls" and "salad tossing."
Color me uninitiated. I think I know what "hoovering" means (if it means oral sex provided for the benefit of a female) and I know what "booty" refers to (if it refers to one's rear end) but I don't know what "booty calls" (anal sex?) are nor what "salad tossing" is. In my view, Oprah's introducing overt, graphic verbal depictions of sex acts should have been vastly more offensive than the CBS FBI show to these guardians of American over-the-air morality. So why was Without a Trace fined and the Oprah Show (or whatever it is called) not fined? In my opinion, Oprah's show (timed perfectly in Columbus, Ohio so that kids would be out of school and therefore able to watch it) could only have educated naive teenagers about all the fun they are missing and giving them a primer as how to spice up their parties. This entire FCC crusade is a species of McCarthyism if understood as an effort by the Right Wing and Conservative species of human being to silence those who differ from them in regard to moral beliefs and actions resulting from such beliefs. So, the FCC has taken a pitch for strike two.

This morning, I read in my Columbus Dispatch the Right Wing columnist Thomas Sowell saying "free speech never has meant speech free of consequences." Sorry, Sowell, that is precisely what it means. He should have said "free speech has never meant that all speech is free of consequences. If I suffer consequences for saying President Bush is an evil man, then I am being denied free speech. Let's test that now. I, Mike Geis, assert that George Bush is an evil man. If you see no more blogs you will know that I have either died or was arrested for defaming the President. Actually, Sowell was bitching about professors using captive audiences to present and perhaps even advocate their political or other agendas when these are not relevant to the course material. He is not obviously wrong about this.

There is one context in which a professor or high school teacher should speak out on a sociopolitical matter and that would be in stating an objection to being forced to introduce the Non-Theory of Intelligent Design in classes. All such a teacher need do is point out that Creationism is not a theory in any useful sense of the term because it has no empirical consequences. The Theory of Evolution does and Creationists delight in pointing respects in which it seems to be wrong. That is fine. That is playing by the rules of scientific investigation. But the Non-Theory of Intelligent Design has no empirical consequences, that is it makes no claims of the form, "Since fully-fledged humans who could speak languages were created by God, if you look at place P (in the world, in the human body, or wherever else you like), you will see O (some observable).

Speech is not free speech if you are forced to say something you don't believe. This effort to force Creationism down our throats is strike three. It is damn good thing life in America isn't like a baseball game or we would be out.

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Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

You've been very prolific lately, LG. Much better than I have been. Thanks for that.

My legal mind trembled a bit at throwing the right to privacy in with the Bill of Rights . . . .

As to the point on abortion, sure, yes, they are testing it out on a new Court. And I think it would be great if they overturned Casey (Roe is already pretty much dead law) because then legislators would be forced to make a decision on the issue and be accountable again, for people (other than myself) who care about the issue.

As to free speech, I think the FCC is a bunch of douchebags. Their standards are probably wrong and poorly applied, and I don't necessarily agree with the idea of even having an FCC. And Oprah is, undoubtedly, a douchebag as well. But I think you have more to fear from criticizing Oprah than the President. She can probably have you killed more easily with her rabid fan base than the President can with all of the resources of the Executive Branch, I don't know.

I agree that science teachers shouldn't be forced to speak on the non-theory of ID, but I do think that they should avoid using the classroom as a pulpit. I'm not entirely clear on your views as to that.

Political speech is at the core of the First Amendment, and any criticism of Bush is protected by it short of "actual malice" (New York Times v. Sullivan), which is, more or less, a reckless disregard of the truth in your statements. Is there a problem with that? I shouldn't think so. If you're going to criticize someone, don't "make sh*t up as you go along" but instead find some solid facts or at least questionable circumstances as a basis for your criticism. Anything else is irresponsible.

All that said, I don't think our rights are "under attack" in any meaningful sense. A truly conservative Court will be very loathe to diminish the power of the First Amendment. Scalia is one of the greatest champions of that Amendment in our time, certainly much better than Rehnquist was. Sure, we don't have Justice Black anymore, but Scalia is a good substitute. Nobody wants to take away our rights, at least not anybody with any power to do so.

12:17 PM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

LG's post and Kelly's response is what I think of as free speech at work.

I hope Oprah is not going to turn into another Jerry Springer.

11:08 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Kelly wrote My legal mind trembled a bit at throwing the right to privacy in with the Bill of Rights . . . .

Why? You've made statements previously indicating a pick-and-choose approach to the BoR; here again you're all for Amendment I but have problems with IV? To wit:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If "be[ing] secure" in your "person, house[s], papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" isn't privacy, then what is? (Sorry, I don't have access to Black's to check the official legal definition.) And if the non-appearance of the exact word "privacy" is a problem, maybe Amendment IX is vague enough to pick up the slack?

(Abortion again? Why can't you just mind your own business? You'll have your hands full one day being a good father to your own children; maybe then you'll lose interest in playing daddy to the nation(world). [But feel free to warble on about it to heart's content in the meantime!] As for the FCC, it would be amusing to watch the response of Christians to any attempt to do away with it.)

Oddly, I do agree with you on "preaching from the lectern". Although I see no problem with an instructor voicing his or her own opinions in an open discussion with students held as part of a course and in keeping with its objectives/subject matter. (With the usual caveats that students are made aware they do not have to agree with the instructor and that they will not be adversely assessed as a result.)

Nobody wants to take away our rights, at least not anybody with any power to do so.

Ri-i-i-ight. And pollyanna doodle all the day.

LG: I can't agree with you that George Bush is an evil man...insufficient objective evidence. There are times, however, when I strongly believe he is incredibly stupid or naive and has no idea what he's doing.

In answer to your post title question: Nope. And it ain't been for a long time.

(Quote from the Boob Tube just now: "I think he believes what he's saying. Whether it's the truth or not...." Without a Trace, Season 1 Episode 9 "In Extremis". How that for synchronicity for you?)

5:28 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Kelly, it matters not to me whether or not the constitution has some provision explicitly establishing a right to privacy. It is implicit in a number of statements that define the nature of our Democracy.

We are assured by the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." One cannot both be free without a right to privacy. Nor can one be happy without privacy. Men forcing women to bear children they don't want to carry is just part of the male subjugation (i. e., denial of liberty and surely happiness as well) of women by men that has gone on for many thousands of years.

And the Constitution was designed in part to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves." Thus both documents, insure our right to Liberty and that entails a right to privacy in the sense of Roe v. Wade. It doesn't matter whether the constitution explicitly mentions privacy. You demand it for yourself as part of being American. Give it to women.

The constitutional protection against illegal searches of one's home and body without a warrant in the first place and without probable cause that you have committed a crime in the second is another expression of a right to privacy.

This is elementary stuff -- the problem is that religious zealots have made it seem complicated.

The move to a volunteer army was forced by young men who had made it clear during the Vietnam War that they demand the right to control their own bodies -- i. e., not expose it to the risk of death at the whim of a President, especially a President one does not respect or who wants to fight a wrong war.

Privacy is tails to Liberty's heads.

7:59 AM

Blogger Sean said...

Ok, first let's get some terms defined, so as to promote understanding and further democratic and knowledgeable discussion. A "booty call" is a call, usually of the telephone variety, to someone (theoretically one that you know) for the explicit purpose of getting together and having sex. You're "callin' for some booty". Has nothing to do with butts, unless you want it too. Salad tossing is, and forgive my bluntness, licking someone's butt, the hole region. A shower is always advisable first. Do with this information what you will, but remember; don’t knock something ‘till you’ve tried it 

Should Oprah be fined? No. These types of things should be discussed, though I find it sad that it takes Oprah to begin the discussion (and that she usually does such a bad job of discussing it). Should CBS be fined? No. All indications are that nothing terrible was shown on “Without a Trace”, instead what is indicated is that the FCC has an axe to grind over fictionalized accounts of sexual conduct. Oprah is "wholesome" (and powerful, most of that power lying in her public reputation, so it's a loosing cause for the FCC to fine her, the public wouldn't stand for it, they would lose political capitol), TV shows are not and are subject to moral judgment on the FCC's part. They have the right to level those fines frankly, in the end only public outcry can make them stop. Thank you Language Guy for bringing up this topic, let's hope more gets said and done about it.

And lastly, l_g, insertion of inflammatory statements in an attempt to bolster your points is cheap, and tiresome. Oprah isn't going to come after anyone for taking out an ad against her, how ever giddy the idea makes you. The suggestion seems, for lack of a better word, insane. A guy I went to high school used to talk about government black helicopters that would scan your house for money, which had tracking strips in it making that task possible, in a program to track your income and increase your taxes. He sounded, for lack of a better word, insane. And did I detect you trying to blame Yale for Bush's inability to speak English? Or are you trying to say that Yale should have been able to fix his problem? While I have my issues with the fact that Yale very often accepts students because of who their fathers are (case in point) or how much money they have (case in point) it is still a damn fine institution of education, one worthy of respect. Why you fear and hate these institutions I'm not quite sure, though I suspect it falls under the category of "we fear what we don't understand." The actions of the FCC fall into that category as well me thinks. Open minds may scare some, but only those who wish to control and subjugate.

2:39 AM

Blogger Sean said...

Is that hard to see who's posting these things?? Yes, my name is Sean, as is S.R. Deardoff's, but his posts start with "S.R. Deardoff", in big blue letters. Mine starts with "Sean", which is my name. Before you fly off at the handle there, l_g, you may want to actually open your eyes and look at these things. The fact that you did not speaks volumes to me. I am capable of telling "LG" and "l_g" apart, why can't you tell "Sean" and "S.R. Deardoff" apart?

I will also say, a personal attack would be go like this; "As far as I could tell when I first stated posting on this blog I did not want to respond to S.R. Deardoff because I thought he was retarded..." This, "The suggestion seems, for lack of a better word, insane," is an attack on your statement. Don't mix the two up. I have no idea what kind of person you are (though after that last post I have a much better idea) and so I will not make attacks of a personal nature. I will not hold back when it comes to attacking your reasoning, logic, or arguments, as is my right the moment you state them in this public forum. I imagine you're a perfectly lovely person, though I don't agree with many of your philosophies and think most of them are harmful to this country. I'd love to debate that statement and the ones in my last post on their merits, without disintegrating into name calling and inflammatory statements. I fear that's not possible though.

So, again, my name is Sean, I live in Seattle, I'm not S.R. Deardoff, I am smart, I do know a thing or two about what I say, and I'd like at least a bit of your respect, just as you have a bit of mine. LG (Language Guy), sorry for the insanity on your blog.

4:03 PM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

Sean(the Seattle one), the reason it gets confusing at times as to which Sean has written is because S.R. Deardorff always signs off as "Sean." I've learned to identify his unique writing style though.

Maybe JG was especially tired when she came to read LG's blog this morning. Maybe she is under some kind of pressure and is stressed out. Who knows. I can tell you this though; this isn't like her. So, why not cut her some slack.

5:24 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Gee, the things you miss when you decide to kick the habit for an evening!

Sean's comment about not knowing what kind of person J_G pinpoints the problem fairly well in my opinion: we know each other only in this context (to the best of my recollection, LG and I are the only two among the frequent posters here who have ever met face to face). Because I drop by J_G's blog I understood the context of her railing against Yale. I've indicated previously that she and I have been in contact by email; because of this, I understand her a little better than I did before and realize that confrontation on some issues is pointless because we're never ever going to agree.

I agree with Susieq that the outburst here is not characteristic. I won't divulge details confided in mail, but yeah, she's under some pressure right now.

11:05 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Goodness gracious, how things have deteriorated sense, scents, since I've been gone!
& 'blank slate', Kelly? I didn't know if i should be insulted or pleased. Then I decided it was a compliment. At least you can write on a blank slate.
LG, I just wanted to say, "Hi! I'm back. I just hooked up my new computer. Tomorrow, I'll read your post. :)

11:36 PM

Blogger Sean said...

This is actually the second time this has happened, susieq, in exactly the same way. And both times a bitter diatribe has been leveled my way. While I certainly won't lose any sleep over it, it's a wee bit insulting. While I do have to agree with some of Deardoff statements, the context of raving they are usually incased in leaves me shaking my head and rolling my eyes. I didn't realize that my posts here are so similar as to be mistaken for his.

So yes, we do not know each other around here and we don't know the quality of person we're dealing with. Ibadairon may be an axe murderer and Susieq may be chopping up kittens right now for her evening meal, but I seriously doubt it on each point. We have only each others writings and the points made within them. That being said, I've never been a fan of many of l_g's points, they seem badly researched at the least and downright harmful at the worst. Any and all attempt to get a discussion going about the merits of her statements is always met with either dismissive comments and/or swift and harsh personal attacks. It’s hard to not make personal judgments after scenes like that last post. I will reserve final judgment on every person until I know all there is to know about them, something that is certainly not going to happen here, but I will not reserve judgment on particular statements made by anyone, as each one stands on its own. If someone wants to take offense to questioning of their statements, I would suggest they keep those statements to themselves.

Now, let’s actually discuss these issues, stop dismissing those who don’t share our views as pot smoking retards, obviously incapable of actually understanding the situation because they disagree with us, and stop flying off the handle every time someone has a disagrees with our statements. We may actually get some good ideas passed along that way.

12:21 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

BTW, do you all know what probable cause intails?
I happened to ask a cop that question who'd showed up at my house not long ago.

He said, for instance if they had heard that minors were drinking beer at my house & they (the police) looked in my window & saw one beer container sitting on the kitchen table, that was probable cause.
'Probable cause' sounds benign, but it means the police can come in & search your house w/out a warrant, because they had probable cause because of...? And prehaps, you like to smoke a little pot (it does not make you a retard, BTW) whoops, they find your pipe or a seed or two. Prehaps, you had a painful ache & a friend gave you some pain pills, Opps! thats illegal. Maybe your taste in pornography is questionable, hmmm. Who knows.
The point is; Are we willing to give up our freedoms, our little peccadilloes for the sake of some fundamentalist's morality?
Not me.

2:33 AM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

L>T back online! There is hope for the world after all! :)

Me, an axe murderer?! Never!

But for a while now I've had my eye on that cool little mini-chainsaw down at the Joyful Honda Home & Garden Center....

The Day of Reckoning will soon be at hand. (Bwhahaha!)

9:17 AM

Blogger Sean said...

And even in a pseudo appology she has to throw in an insult. Take a long break, l_g, one less heartless right winger won't hurt anyone.

10:41 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Well sean (not the impulsive pot smoking sean that throws out soft curses, but the calculating sean with words w/hard edges)you certainly told her.
j_g (jesus_god woman) has thick skin, tho. I don't imagine she's licking her wounds in a dark corner.
L. Guy, this is what i like about your site, the drama...
The truth is I like the posts, but it's hard to come in the middle of a debate.
Speaking of creationism, I'm starting to think it's not too dangerous. I was watching some guy on the Fanatical Christian Network w/charts, pictures, etc... trying to explain how the earth was only 10,000 years old. It was laffable, even my hillbilly pappy would've fallen out of his rocking chair, in a fit of mirth.

11:48 AM

Blogger Ripple said...

Actually, I think it will get a lot worse before it gets better. From what I see, we the people, have been conditioned by the media to accept mediocrity as the norm. Our expectations have been lowered and lowered as time goes by. Aspirations of the young are to merely survive. Well, if you want to survive and be free, young people, then what you need to do is get out of debt and stay out of debt. Buying second hand stuff is OK. You don't have to buy that Flat screen $2,000 42" TV for $75 per month when you can go find a used 36" TV that is 2 years old for $180. You see, pretty soon the dollar will plummet and it will be that much harder to enjoy life when you are in a deep hole of debt. The interest rates will rise and the dollar will plummet and you will be stuck in that vicious cycle for the rest of your mediocre life. The time to act is now. Get out of debt, pay off those cards fast, get that car paid for. Anchor yourself because we're in for a bumpy ride. They are trying to cause a great division in this country. The middle class is eroding quickly. Don't be a victim of your revered President's policies.

3:39 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

This post has gone completely off-topic now. Sorry, I've been gone for a few days due to the blizzard, but I'll try to respond to what has been said on-topic.

I have never intimated that I would pick and choose different parts of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. I am, however, more of the school of "strict interpretation," which means that I read the words that are written there and try to determine what the Founders intended by those words. The reason I have a problem with the so-called "right to privacy" is that it is not explicitly stated. I hate looking to the 9th Amendment, which, like the 10th, seems to be a truism more than it adds anything to the law. And there are several guarantees that show there is a value to privacy itself, but it does not follow that privacy is given more protection than the Founders explicitly gave to it. Do you understand the distinction?

Conversely, if you wanted to give "penumbras" and "emanations" to everything in the Constitution, then why does the 2nd Amendment not have any established penumbras? Or, as J_G noted, the 5th? Or the 7th? (They still interpret the 7th Amendment the way it should be: they determine what the common law was in 1796 to find out what they meant.) No, it's only the ones that are in line with whatever public policy goals that particular SC Justices have in mind, and it will likely stay that way because Blackmun, Brennan, and others like to rape the Constitution every chance they get.

(And the Declaration of Independence is not a source of law of any kind.)

And, to head off any accusations of picking and choosing when I want to do it the old-fashioned way, I will tell you about a copyright case I read, a recent one (can't remember the name). Congress extended the duration of copyrights to 70 years after the author's death. I think that's an incredibly terrible idea, but you know what? I can't find anything in the Constitution to get rid of it. I agreed with the dissents of Stevens and Brennan except insofar as they found any grounds on which to strike down the law. They were trying to do the job of Congress, which is something they should not do.

And now, after I complained about the post going off-topic, I have strayed too far off-topic myself. Oh well.

9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm talking about freedom, you buffoon. What you think freedom is and what I think freedom is are two different things. I don't even read your spew.

12:33 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Yes, beam you two away, do us all a favor. I'm tired of hearing your dismissive drivel masquerading as superior reasoning and understanding. No one is expecting or desiring that you or Kelly repeat back what we state here. We are expecting at least a mildly respectful and intelligent debate, based on the merits of arguments presented. All we've gotten out of both of you, though especially J_G is nasty tripe and "See how they disagree with us? They think they're so smart, but they're really just idiots!” There's no argument in that, there's no space for discussion, there's no room for debate, and what’s the use of that here? So beam away, let someone else use the space that can actually provide something of substance instead of a steady stream of insults and narcissistic superiority.

5:22 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

Really, J_G, I'm disappointed in you. In a series of comment posts a few weeks ago, you were lucid, fair minded, and even argued for a more progressive approach to social issues. Although I didn't share your rationale, I appreciated your input and support and even lauded you.

Here, you've been quite the opposite. Shrill and illogical with nothing but vitriol to spew. It hasn't even been clear what you were angry about most of the time. You've given me a very different look at you, and it's been much less pleasant. I wonder why.

But the bigger question of whether we're free, though, isn't answerable except by referring to degrees. Are we as free as we have been? Certainly not. Are we as free as other nations? Again, no. Are we more free than most? I'd say we probably still are, for now.

Do we want to be completely free? Of course not. Murder should always be punishable. How much freedom we want, as a nation, varies. I wish we wanted more than we have, but we're in a retrograde cycle right now, and that's indisputable.

The sad thing about the idea of American freedom is that in its contemporary context it's no longer applicable to Americans. We were once the vanguard of what it meant to be free.

But today, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and free will are being increasingly couched within a sort of Hobson's Choice. Meet the requirements of morality police, or get nothing. Be Christian, or get nothing. Be Heterosexual, or get nothing. And it's the morality police, naturally, who argue that we need even less freedom. Freedom from spying eyes and freedom to act in private, they say, are not our rights as individuals. Only those who have nothing to hide, they say, would need privacy.

But that's because they want to regulate everyone else's private behavior, of course.

Other nations have taken the lead in what it means to be free. Other nations will set the example of what freedom means for decades to come. America The Free is has been reduced to a charming anachronism.

6:32 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Chef: Now that was a confection worth waiting for!

Besides, I thought they'd cancelled Enterprise?

(Anyone else think T'pal was hot? Her in private...aw RIGHT!)

6:43 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Yes, pastry chef, I agree that American freedom is not appliable to alot of Americans unless a person is in line w/the morality police, etc...

The word that has been coming to my mind is 'oppression' I see our society as becoming increasingly oppressed by people who want to control everyone elses behavior to fit their own morality, because, I think they (the oppressors) have been taught that man is a sinful being not capable of doing what's right for mankind or else they think 'the Founding Fathers' are gods & their foundations are sacred text.

Moralists are a frightned group, afraid of 'hell fire'. They seem to think they can punish the offenders into submission w/their police & their jails, and when they have the upper hand the thumb comes down. What are they trying to achieve?
As Friedrich Nietzsche says, "Punishment tames man, but does not make him better."

8:31 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Hey, weren't you supposed to be a simple, uneducated "blank slate" or something? What are you doing quoting Nietzsche?! Who you been letting write (pron. [raht]) on you, Girl? : )

Fear, I'm afraid you're right, is the key. Fear of loss of control. Both personal and societal. Oh well.

(The joke of course is that control can never be absolute. And that the controllers end up being controlled by the very instrumentality of control they establish. Unfortunately one must have a rather wry sense to appreciate the humor.)

What was that saying about freeing your mind and what would follow?

9:50 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I have a lot of reference books. Some times it's hard to say what I want, & someone (like Nietzsche) says it much better & w/authority.
Even tho I think He was a sexist ass. :)

Of course, everything written, even the venerable 'Constitution of the United States' has to be looked at in the time frame in which it was written & again in the time frame in which we live.
This is something that conservatives tend to forget.

11:57 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Yes, precisely. And I'm sure it's not necessary to point out that it is a certain ilk of conservative that venerates the letter of too many old documents over the spirit thereof. (Not necessary, but I did so anyway!)

The fact that the Founding Fathers incorporated the machinery of amendment into the Constitution demonstrates that they realized it was not (and could not be) perfect for all time. (Just as their establishment of SCOTUS shows their recognition of the need for a watchdog for POTUS & Congress.)

Just because things seem to be heading for a low point now does not mean we have to just sit back and endure the ride. I'm for trying to change (improve) the system by working within the system, but have not forgotten that the Declaration of Independence inherently licenses us to scrap the whole shebang and start over from scratch. (Which may be why that document gives so many conservatives those annoying little sphincter spasms?)

2:50 AM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

(Sorry if I'm commenting altogether too much, LG!)

Ever since I read the main article for this thread, I've been trying to find the link to a site I happened across a few months ago. It had a page which essentially demolished the reasons to believe in every one of our cherished "rights". (For instance, none of us really has a right to OWN property, only to LEASE it from the government. Like J_G's example, if you fail to pay your property "taxes", the government evicts you just like any landlord = ultimate property owner.) The conclusion was that there is not much difference between the United States and a communist country.

I mention this only in hope that maybe one of you has seen the same page and may remember the URL. (I don't believe it was on any of your'ns' sites...but won't exclude that possibility. The ole memory ain't what it once were!)

J_G, maybe most people figure you can take care of yourself? As for the Sean you meant to attack, I have returned to my initial habit of simply skipping the majority of his comments.

For the record, I for one do not want your money. I reject both "Big Uncle" (your "nanny") and "Big Brother" government. I want the right to make my own arrangements for health care and retirement. When I become unable to provide and care for myself, I will bow out of the game. (Those who are unable to care for themselves should be the responsibility of families and local communities, possibly states, but not the federal government.) I believe in personal responsibility and accountability in all matters. (And I think I am consistent in this, as it is one of the main reasons why I reject modern Christianity and its inherent scapegoatism.)

It is the shirking of personal responsibility and accountability (in the guises of victimism, entitlements, political apathy, selfishness, what have you) that is destroying America, not any particular political ideology. (I have long agreed with the idea that we need a Bill of Responsibilities to balance the Bill of Rights and counter rampant "rightism".)

We are ALL in this together. We are ALL responsible for ALL of it. We are ALL to blame where blame is due.

11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing about J_G is that she thinks she has everyone coined. She thinks that if you think about some topic in some certain way then that labels you as a certain type. It's all black and white. If you agree with some liberal ideas, like legalizing marijuana, then that makes you a liberal hippy who isn't worth a shit and ruin "her" beloved country. The thing is, J_G, yes you can label some people and they're happy to be labeled liberal or conservative. But the fact remains that the majority of us Americans live in a very gray world. We can be swayed to vote for a democrat or republican in many cases. That is our right and our inherant freedom of choice. You see, I do want pot legalized and I do think that you should be able to smoke cigarettes in bars even though I don't smoke cigarettes, but I don't like the idea of gay marriage and I don't like abortion at all. I think it is a form of murder, but that's besides the point. I have many conservative views and many liberal views, but just for the fact that I have liberal view on certain things labels me a liberal. Well, I'd say I do lean to the left, but I am in no way a democrat. I am an independent thinker who cannot be swayed by crafty politicians. I have a mind of my own and I will not let the media dictate my thought to me. So why don't you hop in your little spacecraft and run away with Kelly to your Utopian world where everything is really black and white because back here on Earth you just don't seem to get it. whatever "it" may be.

12:17 PM

Blogger Sean said...

So I am weasel Sean now? You make far too many assumptions about me J_G, assumptions beyond the scope of your knowledge of me. It was said in an earlier entry by ibadairon that we don't know what kind of person each of us is, that we only have these posts to go by. For that reason I try to address the things said here, my disagreement with them, my agreement with them, etc. Sweeping statements beyond that seem out of the scope of this medium, and beyond the knowledge any of us have of each other.

For example; regurgitating liberal blogs? There are a grand total of three blogs I read; 2 of good friends of mine (both of whom write about such things as the ires of screaming children appearing in their workplace and of their dogs trying to eat their cheese sandwiches), and this blog. There are no liberal publications that I read; I have better things to spend my time poring over. I think that hardly qualifies me as the weasely mouthpiece of the lunatic left.

But it makes the job easier to define our enemies as evil idiots first, I understand. "You are ____, you are ____, and you are ____, and since you're each those things you are here by dismissed." Define your enemy before they can define themselves. It doesn’t matter if the definition is correct, it only matters that it sticks and cuts deep. It’s won many an election at this point. You’ve branded us as “weasels,” “cowards,” “misinformed,” “lunatic,” etc., and it’s all cheap. And if calling one of your statements cheap counts as a personal attack, you need to grow some thicker skin.

I’m sorry I did not jump to your defense when Deardoff started going crazy, and I’m sorry no one else did. I know personally I was shaking my head thinking “good god, the man’s gone nuts” and didn’t think anyone needed to jump in and point out the fact (though a few did remember), it was quite obvious on its own. And I certainly didn’t think you needed defending. In my first post I disagreed with some of the things you had said and how you said them, and I voiced my disagreement. I was then mistaken for the other Sean and all your pent up rage came boiling out directed at me. If you’ll look back, the first TWO posts after my retort to this attack were ones DEFENDING YOU, J_G!! And in none of the following posts has anyone attacked you personally with statements such as “You’re a crazy, idiotic bitch”, because everyone here knows that’s not true. The worst that has been said has amounted to “We’re disappointed in you, we expected better.” Perhaps that cut deeper than name calling.

12:19 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

yes j_g, i also feel you can stick up for yourself. You do it all the time.
I think there must be a Law of stronge opinions, A theory of relativity at work here. Do you know what I mean?
Besides, I thot you thrived on this stuff.
As far as what Sean Deardoff says, I have sympathy for anyone that's been F**ked by the system. Prehaps, it does make people a little crazy. He's young, cut him slack. Besides he's a poet & you know how they are. ;)

12:59 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Sean, a complaint about personal attacks and failure to appreciate and respond to arguments is incredibly ironic coming from you. And it seems baseless when directed at me, perhaps misguided when directed at JG.

Ibad: the point about control never being complete--it's true, and it makes me think of Herbert's God Emperor of Dune, which I just finished reading about a week ago. But he (Herbert) seems to get more political and ideological as the series goes on, and that makes me a bit sad.

I have never, ever, heard Article V of the Constitution (the provisions for amendment) used as a justification for using the "evolving Constitution" method of interpretation. Usually it's used as justification for strict interpretation. I was reading a "right (not) to associate" case last night and it troubled me both that they seemed to be using a liberal interpretation and that the result reached did not take advantage of this questionable right. I thought to myself over and over how I would have decided the case, and it came to me that the result was proper, but if I was writing the opinion I would have asked for a constitutional amendment.

pf: Bravo for your independent thinking! However, I have no wish to hop in any spaceship to go to any utopia.

As to the ultimate issue of freedom, I was discussing this with a friend recently and he said that complete freedom is a bad thing. Liberty is the goal to be achieved, and it can only be achieved when in proper tension with justice (hence "and liberty and justice for all"). The difficult question is determining where the proper balance lies.

2:10 PM

Blogger Sean said...

Just quickly; Kelly, compairing me to an alcoholic and a dog rapist is a personal attack in my book, slightly deflected though it may be, so I don't find my complaint at all baseless. And I'm not sure why it would be misguided to complain about J_G's personal attacks, why do you say that?

I understand why you feel it ironic that I'm complaining about this, as it seems you certainly feel as though personal attacks have been leveled your way by me. I still maintain that there is a difference between saying "you're idea is stupid" and "you are stupid." I don't think you're stupid at all Kelly, but some of your ideas are. While some may make the case for Stupid is as Stupid does, I don't like that case. Smart people say and do dumb things all the time, just as very stupid people do some of the smartest things ever. If I attack your ideas, defend them by attacking my ideas, not me. I will do the same. If I have not in the past, I will do better in the future.

4:07 PM

Blogger Pastry Chef said...

A couple of thoughts for J_G:

You say I have a narrow view, and yet I have only the view you give me.

You say I am to blame for the irresponsible fiscal Republican party policies, but you don't know anything about my opinion on social services or my position on the war that is causing so much of the debt. Rather, you assume that because I am socially liberal, that I demand an expensive nanny state.

In short, you are guilty of the exact offense you have unilaterally convicted "Weasel" Sean of. How ironic thatyou, rather than he, are regurgitating party talking points.

Furthermore, labelling Sean a Weasel is sophomoric at best. You try so very very hard to appear intelligent and educated and then you turn to ad hominem attacks. Surely someone as learned as yourself knows that ad hominem attacks are the sign of a weak argument, so I'm puzzled as to why you would choose such a flimsy strategy. If you don't have an argument strong enough to stand on it's own, why bother to make yourself appear to be ranting irrationally when you can say nothing at all and invite no criticism?

4:19 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

Kel, interesting that you should bring up Frank Herbert's Dune series, since it has in fact been much on my mind of late. (But if you're just recognizing the "political and ideological" aspects, maybe you need to go back and reread the first three books? And by the way, stay away from the stuff written by son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson: utter crap, but an amazing example of literary necrophilia.)

I don't see anything in Article V which argues for either a loose or strict interpretation; to me it says that when no interpretation permits the desired objective, the letter of the law may be amended for clarification.

Re your friend and his statement on "complete freedom"...so what? No context or explanatory qualification? I was recently discussing the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial life with a friend and he said he was regularly visited and administered "The Probe" by aliens. OK...whatever! As presented the statement has no relevance whatsoever. I guess I missed the comment where someone was arguing for "complete freedom".

Although now that I think about it, hey, why not? You are completely free to do whatever you choose. Really. Go ahead, knock yourself out.

Just be prepared to accept the consequences. (Responsibility and Accountability...harp harp harp!)

I think the basic difference in our perspectives is that you support proactive measures (because you think people are inherently bad and bound to "sin") whereas I prefer retroactive (ex post facto? Did I get it right?) ones (preferring to believe against all the evidence that people are good and will one day surprise me).

(By the way, that "friend" wasn't Jesus, was it? Say hi for me!)

9:06 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

pastry chef, your last paragraph is great, but, to understand jesus_god woman, you need to know she really loves the attack (directed against her, that is) this is why the puzzlement on your part. I don't understand it, myself.

'Weasel' is a good word for personal attack, tho. It brings to mind, little ferret faced, buck toothed, slinky & slick criminals. The picture of Judas, I think. To the conservative Christian mind, anyway.

9:31 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

If you're guilty of "skipping the lunatics rants and ravings," feel free to change. Finding discussion about myself after bein' gone a few days was quite shocking. Hold it; there ya' go, the charges of being a raging lunatic were not at all shocking, in fact, I fully expected that many would not have the stomach for my acidic tongue (fingers?)...haha...I was shocked that I came up; but, it's understandable in context.

Freedom, my favorite topic. On a tangent, welcome back L>T, and thanx for the line of defense (I think...**wink**). There have been comments on my blogs (and here) where I've admitted that I use the blogosphere for "venting," as a form of anger management, if you will. By far, I'm my own best friend; just a conclusion I've come to recently, all things considered. Psychologically, for me, this is a great thing; it's allowed me the power to get back on track in terms of advancing myself socially and economically. But, above all, it's healthy because it grew from an honest evaluation of reality; I'm my own best friend because nobody loves me like me, nobody forgives me like me, and nobody knows me like me.

Change. Ability to change is my forte. Some young lass told me once that my greatest trait was my adaptability; though I'd never thought of it, she's right, and each one of my detractors here and there eventually change their mind when they have enough knowledge...Until someone gets to really "know" me, the initial impressions are usually extreme, love, or hate, literally...But, as my recent and future posts will show, my style is changing, as well as my being, every moment of every day...In that sense, we're all the same, whether we acknowledge it or not, every nanosecond of time, we are all changing, ever so slightly...

Personal note, as those who have been able to stomach my blogging know, I went through treatment at 19; though the AA/NA system is vile and disgusting, there are some good ideas contained in the philosophy. There are good ideas in every philosophy, you just have to be willing to seek and find them, most are not. The single most important thing that I latched onto in treatment was the fourth step, honest evaluation of self, especially character flaws...For me, improving and changing self is a very real, very conscious, daily thing....I think, a lot...some call it A.D.D., ironically, us "A.D.D." kids spend our waking days, mostly, with our brains operating in Alpha and Theta wave states, whereas "non-ADD" kids, most "normal" people, operate in the beta wave state; ironic, to me, because ADD is labeled a disorder and nearly all profound thought (not just the "flashes of genius" and creative functions of thought, but, also, the DEEP meditative states associated with the most "divine" spiritual practices in all religions) OCCUR in the THETA and ALPHA brain wave states...personally, I LOVE my ADD, and LOVE the fact I've refused medication over the years, I LOVE the fact people think I have "weird" ideas, it confirms my belief that I'm simply thinking ahead of them, and more frequently.

Where did all my anger come from? Why must I focus on "letting go of the past" and the emotions connected to it? At the root, because I was lied to...

I was told the greatest lie told in all of mankind, that I lived in the land of freedom...

Every moment of life you are bombarded with restrictions because of the belief that this democracy was meant to be a "majority rules" democracy. I will repeat this 'til the day I die, which I expect will be far sooner than most of you, you may be happy to hear. I just don't see myself avoiding gunfire on my way to 50, I figure I've got no more than 3 decades before someone with a mindset like Bush blows my head off because he thinks he's doing God's dirty work, fine by me, death and I get along just fine; i don't fear it, it's my only guarantee, in the meantime, you're damn right I'd die for my freedom...And, THAT is what it means to be an American; unfortunately, I'm NOT willing to die for my freedom when it means I'm fighting with and for the fascist hypocrite who takes it away in the first place. Kiss off, let the chips fall where they may; I may be a pot smoker who sometimes resembles a hippie, but believe me, I've had no choice but to throw some punches; and, with a rifle in my hand, I've got amazing accuracy. And, believe me, I'm no Ghandi; I'm a perfectly FLAWED human being enslaved to my emotions like most everyone else; though I advocate non-violence perpetually, sorry, at this point and time I find no logic nor reason to convince me to spare the life of any fascist who seeks to destroy mine. I'm not worried about me, and nor should you be, lest you be so self-righteous as to believe you have God like powers of judgment and the right to jail me...But, to bring that back, what deserves repeating every single day as a reminder of what OUR democracy was MEANT to be, Ayn Rand says it better than I could ever have thought to say:

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)."

The individual's right to their own life has been raped from day one by those who thought government a tool of control, those who sought to force some agenda other than the agenda of the living; and, by that, I mean to say that they promote(d) THEIR own agenda, completely disregarding the ONE Fundamental Fact, Truth, of human existence:

Every single individual human on the planet is different; therefore, no Universal judgment nor just and moral punishment may be administered without the knowledge of the individual's entire existence and the underlying cause and effect regarding all things biological, psychological, environmental, and, eek, metaphysical...sure, there's more variables, but, holy phuck, those four cover a lot of ground...

Is the above statement asking too much? It's not asking anything at all, it's simply a description of reality, not my opinion...Sure, maybe I'm delusional, maybe I don't have the tools to accurately observe and describe reality...maybe...

C.S. Lewis, in "Mere Christianity," wrote about the same thing I wrote about above; the man made a career out of apologizing for the fact that most Christians take on God's duty of Judgment instead of their HUMAN, Christian duty of FORGIVENESS...I'll always have a "romantic" attatchment to this Jesus character BECAUSE his most preached about virtues were love and forgiveness (hard to tell with some of my posts, i know...)But, I'll always have that romantic attatchment because if you ACCEPT the fact that you're an imperfect human, totally incapable of KNOWING all things, THEN you MUST ACCEPT the fact that you are wholly incapable of Pure, True, and Just judgment; it promotes, logically, humility (again, I know, hard to tell that this is something I appreciate based on my narcissistic, maniacal rantings; my writing is NOT my demeanor). In "Mere Christianity," the underlying focus is on the idea that society has wrongfully chosen self-righteousness and pride over humility and forgiveness, hence our every growing conflicts between egocentric God-like characters and nations...

Psychology agrees, forgiveness is key, punishment, and preaching, induce rebellion:

A study by GM White, I think, in the seventies took 2 groups of school children ages 6-13, or so. Each group of children had one adult chaperone who was to escort their group to the bowling alley for a few games in which the children were "rewarded" for good bowling scores. One chaperone was instructed to "preach" to his group about the "virtue" of generosity, benevolence, instructed to basically order the children to donate some of their bowling winnings to the charity box set up at the alley. The other chaperone was instructed to "lead by example," to remain silent regarding the charity box and the virtue of generosity. The second chaperone was to simply take the kids bowling and donate HIS OWN winnings to the charity box.

The same groups of children stayed with their original chaperones during several bowling trips over the course of like 4-6 months and the researchers were set to observe the effects of each chaperones behavior in terms of two things: the percent of children who gave to the charity and the percent of winnings donated to the charity for each group.

When the dust settled and the pins were replaced, in the early part of the study, the children who were preached to, told what to do, gave a greater portion of their winnings away, more frequently than the children who were given no instruction. As time passed, on each subsequent visit to the bowling alley, the percent donated and the percent of kids giving to charity from within the preaching group fell while the percent donated and percent donating continued to grow among the children who were "following the example" of their chaperone...

By the end of the study, the group that was "led by example" was giving a far greater portion of their winnings away to charity and also had a much larger portion of their group giving their money away than did the group that was preached to.

Throughout the study, the group that was preached to saw a decline in participation as well as generosity; but, above all that, the researchers got to observe something they NEVER expected:

The children who were being preached to and "ordered" to donate their winnings not only began refusing to do so, BUT BEGAN STEALING FROM THE CHARITY!!!!

The "example" group had zero incidents of thievery, but the group with the preacher began stealing from the charity box without ever being told to steal and IN ABSENCE of any "example" of stealing to follow...

The very idea of preaching (though I'm guilty myself) is an act of raping someone's freedom, their freedom from unwanted arbitrary authority...The act of punishment is the same thing; and, those things considered, for all the turmoil and crime in America, we have noone but ourselves to blame...When we give every individual their "God given" right to err (even in morals), we'll be well on our way to a land of Liberty.



ps-you always have freedom, as was pointed out previously, you just have to be
1.)willing to accept the consequences
2.)smart enough to get away with it

lucky for me and my personal happiness...I'm both...

5:24 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Just going to say a couple things . . . "literary necrophilia" is a good way to describe it. Hilarious.

No, that friend wasn't Jesus. I think I'm guilty of not talking to him enough.

And finally, forgiveness is the highest goal that humans should always strive for. I would never withhold forgiveness from a person. But after Jesus forgave a prostitute's sins, he admonished her to "go and sin no more," or the like. Certainly he didn't expect her to stop sinning altogether, but it is a goal to strive for.

2:53 PM

Blogger The MetaKong said...

Kelly...don't know if you'll stop back to this post, but, what the hell...

I'll do my best to be brief here...

I was raised roman catholic, studied, briefly but more than most, christianity, judaism, buddhism, taoism, islam, and, recently, freemasonry (not a religion, per se, but a religious organization, no less)...

When asked to describe or label my personal philosophy, the best I can come up with, thus far, is a seemingly contradictory string of titles:

"Objectively Agnostic with Christian leanings."

Perhaps it's arrogant of me, I don't care, really; but, I do believe I have a better understanding of the concept of God, as well as how to practically apply Christian morals like love and forgiveness; hence, the reason I get so pissy with some Christians...

The fundamental premises of "my" philosophy:

1. There is one reality. There cannot be two realities. Objectively, logically, there can only be ONE reality; perhaps that reality started with an omnipotent creator, perhaps there are 42 dimensions of existence with 13 multiverses; regardless of what is, it is, and it is THE ONE reality. Our human knowledge, at this point, cannot describe ALL of our ONE reality because we do NOT have enough information/experience/knowledge.

2. Knowledge is concrete, unchangeable Fact of reality. Belief is speculation, changeable opinion, regarding what reality MIGHT be. In the words of Wittgenstein, "Whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent," so as to promote the most accurate and True expression of reality through logical use of language, which we use to describe the Truth and Falsehood of the One True Reality. It's indeed very rare to find a Christian who is unwilling to say, "I KNOW God exists." The FACT is that NOBODY KNOWS whether or not God exists, people BELIEVE God exists. To state that you KNOW something that CANNOT be KNOWN is the epitomy of self-righteous, proud, deceitful, arrogance; it is the Devil's sin, the sin of pretending to KNOW that which CANNOT be known, of pretending to be on or above God's level; it is THE GREATEST sin, one which nearly every Christian I've met commits.

3. The concepts of love and forgiveness espoused in Christian doctrine are often, when used correctly, the most efficient method available, true to human nature, which can be used to "condition" "good" behavior in individuals....There is definitely no lack of evidence in psychology regarding the ineffectiveness of punishment as regards it's ability to change behavior...Fortunately, I've been able to see this Truth manifested before my eyes in my daily living; I hang around a lot of "social outcasts," we'll put it that way...And, while no "Christian" has ever been able to change these people; I get to watch as many of my friends and acquaintences begin to slowly change their own behavior, through their own free will; I get to hear, time and time again,

"Sean, you're rubbing off on us..."

I get to hear parents tell their 20-something children,

"You should hang out with Sean more."

While most are hesitant to admit that anyone had influence over them, my hands off approach, willingness to genuinely listen, and tactful honesty when people seek advice from me ALWAYS brings them back to me in their time of need...Though it's sometimes frustrating to see people I care about fall on their face, I know they'll survive and come back to me for advice eventually...

None of this would have ever happened if it were not for a very intelligent gay man who gave me the greatest advice I've ever ran with:

"Pick your battles, man; pick your battles..."

When it comes to people, picking battles, unsolicited advice, "character" critique, seldom work and foster resentment...'tis best to remain silent and remain open for ALL individuals if you ever expect your philosophy and advice to be given credence and respect due to its inherent tolerance and honesty...

In closing; as an example relevant to your own philosophy, if you want homosexuals to change, you need to be a more appealing choice than the lifestyle or philosophy they've chosen previously...Of course, this won't work for every human being; but, one of the other unique things I hear more and more frequently lately comes from lesbians,

"Sean, you're the only guy I could ever imagine being with..."

Lastly, seek balance in Truth, and the rest will fall in place naturally...



5:26 PM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

"Objectively Agnostic with Christian leanings."

Sean, I forgive you those leanings; now go and sin no more!

; )

Yes, I read this one. And found nothing to disagree with.

(I do have to confess to skimming the one before; got kind of lost in "the wonder of you", if you know what I mean?)

9:48 PM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

Sean Deardorff, your last comment was very nice. Well put.

12:13 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

It was very nice. Just commenting to let you know I did read it, and I agree with the better portion of it.

9:49 PM

Blogger La Madre said...

Oh dear I agree with you that you can't pick and choose who to censor, nor do I believe people should be censored.
on an aside I learned about Booty calls, and salad tossing my freshman year of High School (mid-late ninties in Upper Arlington). Kids know and I think we forget sometimes how much they know.

8:24 AM


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