Great Internet Truth #7

If anything preserves true representative government anywhere in this world during the 21st century, it will be transparency in the media and in government enforced by use of the internet.

From the Sunlight Foundation:

sunlightfoundation

We know that at the heart of the open, transparent government we seek is ‘open’ government data that is available online and in real-time.

Government information should be as accessible to us as information about the weather, sports scores or knowing what’s going on in the stock market — and we need it to be this way so we can both hold government accountable and create new enterprise with what is made available to us.

Read the essay. It’s well worth your time.

About these ads

“Ya wanna see ‘grassroots’? Here’s ya some goddamn grassroots!”

I’m live-blogging at Minneapolis’ Big Gay Race this morning.

For haters that claim that they represent the majority of Minnesotans by spitting in the face of our gay friends and neighbors (and in my case, a gay son who’s defending our country), here are pictures of real grassroots.

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I don’t see 6000 “vote for traditional marriage” folks having fun together and gathering to raise money and awareness for what they believe in.

Perhaps that’s the real difference.

“You people”. “Those people”.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

– Mitt Romney, in a closed-door fundraiser

“…we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.”

–Ann Romney, in an interview with Robin Roberts

(Emphasis mine.)

Since Willard has seems to have given up winning the 2012 Presidential election, I think that just about raps it all up.

“…doubt truth to be a liar…”

I’ve whined regularly about the lack of a dependably objective source of news these days.

MSM is a lost cause, partially through corporate dictate and partially through viewer demand for entertainment in the place of hard news.

Internet sources…well, we all know that all mistakes made on the internet are accidental. Right.

That being said, I find myself more regularly depending upon liberal-leaning news sources; conservative sources are monotonously guilty of forcing “facts” into place to fit a desired viewpoint, whereas progressive sources usually make at least an effort to present reality. (Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions on both sides. I quit reading Addicting Info because the editor is fond of cutting and pasting others’ work and presenting it as his own.)

I read Thinkprogress pretty regularly. Or, at least I used to. I post contrarian comments to TP stories occasionally. I’ve complained about a lack of journalistic rigor when it comes to their research, I’ve complained about an ominous shortage of articles showing progressive and liberal personalities and events that lie about reality, and I’ve complained about occasional inflammatory headlines that don’t well reflect the contents of the story.

Here’s the latest:

This was a story about people who genuinely want President Obama to lose the upcoming election. Their billboard’s wording is unfortunate, but it’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, despite the lead sentence’s implication.

It’s bad enough that sites like the Drudge Report and organizations like AFA distort facts to suit a conservative agenda; that’s the only path for those who ignore the truth. Progressives should know better than to walk down the same road.

Do you think directly violating the law will make a difference to the Republicans?

From the statute 2 U.S.C. § 441e:

(a) Prohibition

It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 434 (f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

Violating 2 U.S.C. § 441e is punishable by a fine and (in the case of clause 2) possible disqualification of the candidate. The law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (9 to 0) in 2011 in Bluman v. Federal Election Commission in 2011

Guess which presumed U.S. presidential candidate did some quiet, not-very-well-hidden fundraising in Israel on his recent foreign tour-de-disaster?

The cuckoos defend the nest

Here is a press release from the Boy Scouts of America website:

Please note that the “issue” and “policy” at hand is not described in the first three paragraphs of this press release. (What, is it “dirty”? or something?) The policy is BSA’s current (and now future) policy of completely excluding gay children and adults completely out of the organization. Period and end of discussion.

The real solution is denying the BSA access to public facilities and boycotting charities and businesses that give to the BSA. If the LDS “church” and the Catholic Loony Society want to sponsor them, more power to ‘em.

Please note that the 11 committee members’ identities are not being made public. Anyone care to wager how many of them are Mormon elders or Catholic muckymucks?

Honesty just doesn’t come easily to some people

There is a kerfluffle going on in North Carolina these days.

For those of you not in the know, there is a state amendment up for popular vote on May 8th in the Tar Heel State. It would dictate that valid marriages could only occur between one man and one woman.

Let’s ignore the fact that same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina; the legality of the issue is not at heart here.

And now the spouse of the amendment bill’s author dished on what the real issue is:

Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist who is currently active in electoral campaigning, says poll workers outside the early voting site at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem reported to him that the wife of NC Sen. Peter Brunstetter remarked today that her husband sponsored legislation to put the marriage amendment on the primary ballot ‘to protect the Caucasian race.’

Nance paraphrased the remarks, as told to him by those who were present: ‘During the conversation, Ms. Brunstetter said her husband was the architect of Amendment 1, and one of the reasons he wrote it was to protect the Caucasian race. She said Caucasians or whites created this country. We wrote the Constitution. This is about protecting the Constitution. There already is a law on the books against same-sex marriage, but this protects the Constitution from activist judges.’

So there ya are. Much like Minnesota, the homophobes and wingnuts are trying to prevent a select minority from enjoying the same civil rights that everyone else enjoys: the right to be married, with all the legal privileges therein. In order to short-circuit judicial review of such blatant violations of the 14th Amendment, these yahoos demand a popular vote (a popular vote on civil rights??!) and then solicit massive funding from out-of-state interests.

Being honest just isn’t in their blood.

(Thanks to Joe for the tip.)

“Why should I believe *you*?” “Because whatever I say is *true*!”

UPDATE: They deleted my second comment as well. That’s the end of ThinkProgress as far as I’m concerned.

~~~

Never let it be said that conservative news sources are more censorious than liberal sources.

Case in point: I recently made a comment on this story posted in ThinkProgress.

I posted a comment questioning the source, which is Al Jazeera. AJ is known as a news source of questionable agenda; it acts as the mouthpiece for Muslim extremists and seems to think nothing of posting videos depicting graphic violence — including the beheading of Daniel Pearl. (Warning: the video of his beheading exists in the internet, but it is barbarous and frightening. Al Jazeera ran this and other such videos uncut.)

Al Jazeera has a habit of running stories that no one else can verify or confirm. As an example, they recently ran a series of stories on the reason why there are pirates cruising the waters off Somalia. The stories claim that developed-country industries are dumping toxic wastes off the Somalia coast, and the pirate are trying to stop the dumping by becoming pirates. No other news source has been able to verify or deny the story.

Anyway, the comment I posted is gone. It was removed last night, for reasons I can likely guess. I suspect that someone doesn’t like their news stories’ authenticity questioned.

Al Jazeera has the same level of veracity as Fox News and rt.com, and is fueled by similar political agendas.

(FWIW, I’ve placed another comment. Let’s see if that one stays — or not.)

It is all a matter of choice

From the Planned Parenthood site — patient care provided by Planned Parenthood affiliates:

So yes, PP does offer abortion services — for 3% of its over 11 million clients.

However, keep in mind that PP is the source of contraception material and STD screenings for the poor and students. My daughter uses PP for her birth control; without that, she could well have had one (or more) children for whom she would be financially unable to care.

Face it, folks. Anti-choice advocates are using their protests against Planned Parenthood to smokescreen the real issue:

They don’t want anyone giving the needy contraception options, disease screening and treatment, and the opportunity to prevent bringing an unwanted baby to term.

And don’t give me that song and dance about adoption being a viable option. The overwhelming (over 90%) number of prospective adoptive parents are white folk who won’t take anything but a completely healthy, Caucasian newborn with an impeccable record of pre-natal care. If you can’t deliver that, your baby will likely never be adopted.

(Thanks to Mike S. for the tip.)

Riddle me this, children.

I am doing work at a customer site, and I decided to scan through my favorite webcomics while waiting for a meeting to start.

When I try to go to the website that would show a cartoon like this

I get this instead.

However, the same customer allows this webcomic that contains material like this…

…and this.

The forbidden comic states a truth about apostasy in the Muslim world, and the second one contains obscenity.

I have no objection to obscenity itself, as long as it’s appropriate to the situation.

However, I also have no problem exposing uncomfortable truths about religions either.

But I’m guessing somebody does.

Uncovered asshattery over at NOM

Anyone who doubts that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is an evil, divisive, and disruptive group of homophobic morons (whose bills are being paid by a few rich donors who refuse to publicly admit who they are) should take a gander at these excerpts from a confidential study done by NOM and purposely hidden from public view until the Maine court system forced the document’s release:

  1. “Drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by convincing them to fight over the language of “civil rights”.
  2. Bait Latino voters to oppose marriage equality as “a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation”.
  3. Interrupt the “attempt to equate…sexual orientation with race” so that marriage inequality is not perceived as discrimination.
  4. Draw attention to the “bigotry and intolerance” displayed by equality advocates and “document the victims” through a rapid response media team.
  5. Emphasize the importance of “religious liberties” to limit the impact of marriage equality’s legislative advancements.
  6. “Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders” like pornography, “protection of children”, and religious liberty at the federal level.
  7. Expose Obama administration programs that “have the effect of sexualizing young children” or threatening “childhood innocence”.
  8. “Find, train, and equip young leaders” to become a “next generation of elites” capable of opposing marriage equality.
  9. Foster closer relationships with Catholic bishops to “equip, energize, and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue”.
  10. Focus on “the consequences of gay marriage for parental rights”.

I find #8 particularly chilling; I can imagine training films for such groups of young people, but I keep hearing the narration spoken in German.

If NOM ‘fessed up and admitted that the Catholic Church is their big mover and shaker, and used that as the reason for their proselytizing, I could understand them.

I’d still kick ‘em in the stomach at my first opportunity, but I’d understand them.

 

“There is a little-known codicil…which gives the dean unlimited power to preserve order in the event of campus emergency.”

(Apologies for the advertisement at the end of the clip.)

It seems that double-secret probation is also in force in America today. The ACLU has made a Freedom of Information Act request to Attorney General Holder for information concerning the secret interpretation of section 215 of the Patriot Act on the part of the Obama administration. This request has been bolstered by a letter sent by Representatives Mark Udall and Ron Wyden in support of the request:

“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”

Dean Wormer…er, uh, President Obama needs to get a firm grip on his intelligence services. The Blutarskies and Hoovers of the world are going to get that information, and the electorate (the electorate, Mr. Obama) will discover just how far up the public ass the Patriot Act is being jammed.

“People were discovering me, through being pirated.”

Neil Gaiman has a really interesting video out, in which he relates a fact that savvy media folk already understand fully:

Putting creative material out on the internet for free increases the artist’s sales

More publishers and creators are starting to tick on the verifiable notion that giving away material increases sales and recognition of the creator. As Gaiman relates, the idea is akin to lending a book to a friend, having the friend discover a new work or creator they enjoy, and going out and buying copies of his/her own.

Isn’t it fun when people uncover a new truth within an old fallacy?

Many, many thanks to Jason Thibeault for bringing this to my attention.