You first

Panicked politicos, in Washington and elsewhere, are using the Paris attacks to push for even greater and more invasive government surveillance of individuals. They’re blaming encryption and other privacy measures for “allowing” ISIS terrorists to coordinate their attacks undetected. They want to end the technology that makes privacy possible, and leave everyone effectively naked to Big Brother’s all-seeing eye.

So I tell you what. You say it’s dangerous to let people have secrets, Mr. Politico? Let’s start with yours then. You want to put an end to dangerous secrets, let’s start by ending this ridiculous notion of “state secrets.” A corrupt government has far more power to do harm than any individual. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn’t have anything to hide, amirite? What are you not telling us about your own contributions to the rise of ISIS? What flaws and faults are you hiding that will continue to endanger us because you prevent us from knowing you have them? What crimes are you committing, in the dark, that are going to come back to bite us?

Your secrets are far more dangerous than ours, and our privacy is far more vital to liberty than the government’s. You want to howl for an end to secrets, knock yourself out. But if it comes time to surrender someone’s privacy, you go first.

The other anti-Semitism

Just a quick reminder: the term “Semitic” refers to an ethnic group of Middle Eastern peoples that includes Jews, Arabs, and a number of others. It is just as anti-Semitic to be prejudiced against Palestinians as it is to be prejudiced against Jews. This puts Israel in the ironic position of being one of the most violently anti-Semitic nations on earth.


Some of you may have heard that the Pope made a special visit to Kim Davis during his recent trip to the US—which apparently you weren’t supposed to do, or at least the Vatican is somewhat chagrined that you did. By way of damage control, they’ve released a special statement announcing that the Pope’s visit to Davis should not be seen as indicating that he supports her. They also announced this morning that they’re kicking out a senior priest because he publicly admits being gay.

So just to clarify the Vatican’s press release, the Pope absolutely does support Davis. They just don’t want people to see it.

MAKE ’em fly it

A lot of people are calling for South Carolina and other southern states to quit flying the Confederate flag outside of government buildings. I’m not. I say make ’em fly it.

Make ’em fly it until they redraw their voting districts so that black votes have as much weight as white votes.

Make ’em fly it until black applicants are as likely to be hired as white, for jobs that white applicants want.

Make ’em fly it until the police are no more likely to stop and frisk a person of color than to do the same to a white person.

Make ’em fly it until schools with mostly black students are as well-funded as schools with mostly white students.

Make ’em fly it until they end the practice of railroading young black men into prisons under the pretext of a so-called “war on drugs,” release everyone unjustly imprisoned by this sham, and expunge their records so they can vote and hold decent jobs and live normal lives.

Make ’em fly it until they quit pretending not to be racists, and actually produce substantial, substantive improvements in civil rights and racial equality.

It’s a shameful, ugly, disgusting symbol for a host of shameful, ugly injustices. Fix the injustices, and then we can talk about removing the shameful symbols.

Caitlyn Jenner vs Tim Tebow

The “soldiers are brave” meme, as an attack on Caitlyn Jenner, pretty much flopped, so conservative evangelicals have come up with a new meme to spread the word about what a poor, persecuted majority they are.

The people applauding Bruce [sic] Jenner for “being himself” [sic] are the same people who condemned Tim Tebow and told him to “keep his beliefs to himself”. That’s what is wrong with America.

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The Irish Ayes are smiling

And not just the Irish. Early reports show Irish voters overwhelmingly supporting equal rights for gays. This is a great victory for human rights and civilization, and a slap in the face to the dishonest “What about the children?” hysteria the anti-equality side was trying to foment.

Interestingly, a successful “Yes” vote on this referendum will mean that the union of one man and one woman will still be considered a legal marriage, no matter what the anti-gay folks might have claimed. Just thought it might be good to point that out.

Calling it what it is

It bugs me when I hear the right-wing propaganda engine refer to the wealthy as “job creators,” as though our economic well-being depended on appeasing them and encouraging them and generally admiring them. I think that whenever you pay your employees less-than-poverty-level wages, you deserve to be known for what you are: a poverty creator. You’re creating poverty, and thus, you’re creating a burden on society. It is you, and not the people you are impoverishing, who are the true parasite. Noble titles, like “job creator,” should be reserved for those who actually benefit society, and don’t just enrich themselves at society’s expense.

The coming Gaypocalypse

Ed Brayton has been documenting the rising hysteria and apocalyptic paranoia of the Christian right in connection with the Supreme Courts upcoming ruling on gay marriage. If the Court legalizes same-sex marriage, they warn, we can expect wars! and diseases! and the end of families! and of law! and of civilization! and so on and so on, with lots of extra exclamation points.

I have some sympathy for believers. I think legalizing gay marriage will be just as devastating for Christianity as these groups are predicting. Not because any of their predictions will come true, but because they won’t.

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A reminder to believers

Since the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments regarding gay marriage, I thought it would be a good time to remind believers of a very important moral principle that’s relevant to this particular case. That principle is as follows:

You always have the option of not doing harm to those who have done no harm.

That’s it. That’s all that gay rights advocates are asking for. Just don’t do harm to gays and gay couples, who have done no harm to you or to anyone else. Don’t slander them or discriminate against them or attack them physically or interfere in their personal relationships or do anything to them that you would not want done to yourself. Every major religious or moral system in the world gives you that option. It is allowed, and morally acceptable, to refrain from doing harm to those who have done no harm.

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