“I am the victim of h8 (that is, you having an opinion that makes me h8 you)”

Brendan Eich is gone. The creator of JavaScript and co-founder of mozilla.org has quit as Mozilla’s CEO, forced out by the uproar over a donation he made six years ago to a ballot measure against gay marriage.

via Slate

…or for traditional marriage, since – despite the deliberately misleading rhetoric of the pro-ssm camp – something important in traditional marriage will be destroyed if marriage is redefined.

The distinction is important. Whether or not you believe, personally, that the redefinition of marriage is good or bad, the reality is that there’s only one reason for refusing to acknowledge that marriage is being redefined, and that is to make it sound like the only motive someone could have for voting “against gay marriage” is animus.

Which turns the entire argument into an ad hominem – as the side that openly and unapologetically hates its rivals accuses the other side of being motivated by hate and thus having no argument.

But I digress:

But that wasn’t enough. A revolt among Mozilla staffers, compounded by pressure from software developers, outrage on Twitter and a boycott movement spearheaded by OkCupid, has driven Eich out. Baker, having accepted Eich’s resignation, offers this apology: “We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

 

It may seem unrelated, but a professor on campus was recently arrested for taking the sign from a pro-life protester and destroying it. The professor said – apparently sincerely – that she had a “right” to be free of their viewpoint:

I asked Miller-Young if she could have behaved differently in this instance. There was a long pause. “I’ve said that I think I did the right thing. But I acknowledge that I probably should not have taken their poster.” Miller-Young also said that she wished that the anti-abortion group had taken down the images when they demanded them to.

Miller-Young also suggested that the group had violated her rights. I asked Miller-Young what right the group had violated. Miller-Young responded, “My personal right to go to work and not be in harm.”

Miller-Young elaborated that one of the reasons she had felt so alarmed by this imagery is because she is about to have the test for Down Syndrome. Miller-Young said. “I work here, why do they get to intervene in that?”

via Washington Post

We appear to have reached a point where identity politics teaches its adherents that they literally have the right to be free of any dissent – free of the presence of dissenters, and free of any unwanted signs of dissent.

The next question will be, is there an upper limit on what may be done to those who dissent “inappropriately”?

But of course, we should not confuse the rejection of Eich’s viewpoint (as a position so extreme it renders an individual unacceptable for prominent employment) as an act of intolerance. As Mozilla tweeted:

@nycconservative We believe in openness & that no one should be persecuted for the beliefs they hold, no matter what they are.— Mozilla (@mozilla) April 3, 2014

via The Federalist

Welcome to diversity. This is what tolerance looks like.

realistic_coexist1

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“What Was the Point of Obamacare?”

Last week, the Washington Post delivered a bombshell report: “Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new marketplaces enrolled as of last month.” Instead, the overwhelming majority of those who are enrolling in insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges already had insurance.

The lie of the year for 2013 was President Obama’s promise that, “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” The lie of the year for 2014 is going to be the claim that ObamaCare would insure the uninsured.

ObamaCare has failed to attract those who lack health insurance, seemingly because they have decided that the premiums are too high for the bare-bones coverage the exchanges offer. In other words, the Affordable Care Act has failed to offer affordable care. Instead, most of ObamaCare’s sign-ups are merely migrating over from an existing health-insurance plan—in many cases involuntarily, after their plans were canceled for failing to comply with new ObamaCare regulations.

via The Federalist

The “point” of Obamacare seems to have been to get Americans’ health care under government control, so that the NSA and their buddies would have more data and the government could force nuns to pay for birth control – out of sheer malice.

Am I oversimplifying? Sorry – feeling cynical lately, as people quite seriously argue whether Christians ought to be formally scapegoated for the sins of the world (all in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity”, of course) or even allowed to exist at all.

Did we ever come up with a good reason why a law disliked by voters of both parties – and now proved wildly ineffective – “cannot” be repealed?

“Golden Rice Opponents Should Be Held Accountable for Health Problems Linked to Vitamain A Deficiency”

Except for the regulatory approval process, Golden Rice was ready to start saving millions of lives and preventing tens of millions of cases of blindness in people around the world who suffer from Vitamin A deficiency.

It’s still not in use anywhere, however, because of the opposition to GM technology.
via Scientific American

Sure – we can arrest people for interfering with scientists’ right to save the world, because scientists are so expert that they know what they’re doing and can absolutely guarantee that everything will work as promised…so that means if they’re wrong, they can be held liable for manslaughter if anyone dies, right?

Right?

Whaddya mean “that’s not how science works”?

Baby born to a mother who had taken thalidomide while pregnant. Image via wikipedia.

Baby born to a mother who had taken thalidomide while pregnant. Image via Wikipedia.

Authority means accountability. If scientists want the one, they should be ready to accept the other.

And that doesn’t even touch the issue of whether they are taking too much license with the environment we all share. I hate saying that, because I am not at all a fan of environmentalists, and I hate sounding like them. To me the question is not environment vs. science, but rather the correct way to handle risk. The history of science is full of projects that crashed first and only learned to fly after examining what went wrong the first three or seven or fifty times. Scientists don’t own the environment. We all do. That is why the correct way to win debates over whether or not there is such a thing as “genetic pollution” or whether cross-pollination issues are potentially of concern is by persuading the voters – not by punishing thoughtcrimes, as this writer advocates, by making people criminally liable for invented crimes just because those people and their hard-to-rebut arguments happen to be politically inconvenient.

…or just because the scientific community doesn’t know how to effectively rebut a valid point?

…or just because the scientific community doesn’t want to even try, because they think people should just obey?

Maybe if scientists want to go back to the good old days – when people still trusted them – they could start with an apologize for their own past lack of accountability (which is why people stopped trusting them, after all). Blind obedience hasn’t worked out very well for too many of us.

Milgram Experiment advertisement. Image via Wikipedia.

Milgram Experiment advertisement. Volunteers were treated unethically. Image via Wikipedia.

The history of science is littered with experiments that were supposed to be safe but wemt wrong. A disturbing number of these science-gone-wrong stories have occurred in the third world. Scientists have a long and ugly history of using developing-world populations as their personal guinea pigs. For example, most people have heard of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment – but how many people know that after it was exposed and shut down, the scientists moved it overseas?

The Commission confirms that despite knowledge that it was unethical, US government medical scientists PURPOSELY infected  “at least 1,300 who were exposed to the sexually transmitted diseases syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid” to study the effects of penicillin. At least 83 subjects died.”

Reading this article, it seems that wanting to experiment on third world populations is what this is all about. Poverty isn’t caused by lack of resources. It’s caused by corruption and other political problems. We already have more than enough food to feed the world. So don’t fall for the guy using Third World poverty-stricken people as meat shields: this is not about solving the problems of the poor. It’s about the question of whether scientists promising awesome things have the right to bypass that part of the political process where they have to prove their awesome products are safe and worthwhile – to our satisfaction, not their own.

In other words, it’s about self-governance (as opposed to top-down experts telling us what to want, think, feel, need, desire, use, and not use).

And the people who want the right to override our political processes – because they are quote-unquote ‘experts’ – have a history of being ethically stunted people who view the developing world as their own personal sandbox for exploitative experimentation.

But medical ethicists say that even if today’s research is not as egregious as the Guatemala experiment, American companies are still testing drugs on poor, sometimes unknowing populations in the developing world.

Many, like Markel, note that experimenting with AIDS drugs in Africa and other pharmaceutical trials in Third World countries, “goes on every day.”

“It’s not good enough, in my opinion, to protect only people who live in the developed world — but all human beings,” he said.

via ABC

Scientists have relied on bullying to artificially manipulate outcomes – in the case of GMO foods, they have forced people to falsely equate GMO foods with lower-risk foods. Yes, lower risk. There is a risk in GMO foods, and the scientists want us to behave as if there isn’t. That’s the heart of the matter right there – that is what they want, but they are not willing to do what they have to do to earn the outcome; they want to manipulate the outcome dishonestly. They want to deny the existence of real issues that could or do exist. They want to skip the part where they have to persuade us, and their preferred method for doing this is to replace self-governance with top-down bullying – using the three-step “impending doom” song-and-dance beloved of “progressives” everywhere:

  1. Make optimistic promises about how great the results of the proposed policy will be, then treat those promises as if they’re fact. (How could you be against ending world hunger?)
  2. Make dire predictions of impending doom if the policy is not implemented, and act as if criticizing (or even evaluating) the policy equals wanting that horrible doom to fall. (You don’t just want to end world hunger, but you want everyone to starve and die!)
  3. Ignore or, if necessary, deny the consequences if these grossly exaggerated and highly improbable predictions are incorrect.

There is always risk in science – that is why we don’t hold scientists accountable for the deaths their mistakes cause, even though science has caused a steady stream of death and mutilation. We know that science is frequently wrong. The flip side of this is acknowledging that scientists don’t really know, and aren’t honestly in a position to guarantee safety or certainty. Some of the worst atrocities in the history of science come from scientists losing their objectivity – forgetting that they don’t really know. Getting carried away.

It is accurate and correct to perceive GMO products as risky – potentially very risky – to both health and the environment. It isn’t “anti-science” to point out that risk warrants caution. We don’t actually know they’re safe. Note that the people insisting that we should accept they are safe are people who want all the profits while we are stuck with all the risk. (Normally risk and reward go together, but of course it’s always nicer if you can keep the reward and give some other poor slob the risk.)

The honest way to handle it would be to admit that consumers have good reason to prefer non-manipulated foods – and to price GMO foods less, accordingly. But they don’t want to do that. They want to make it so that you can’t tell if a food is GMO or not. They want to replace non-GMO foods with GMO foods.They want to own the food supply.

And, no, the fact that they’re willing to forego profits doesn’t mean anything – not when you’re talking about a product with the power to foster dependency and create market dominance. Remember when Nestle gave away baby formula? WHOOPS!

If their real goal were to prevent vitamin A deficiency, it wouldn’t be hard to dispense vitamin A to all at-risk populations without forcing farmers into accepting crops that may be wonderful or may cause serious problems.

“Obama’s clever campaign to constrict the flow of criticism”

Among the many costs of the Barack Obama presidency is an intentional corrosion for its own political gain of public faith in so many American institutions, among them Congress, the Supreme Court and the media.

If numerous sectors of society are feuding or distrustful of each other, then a well-controlled central authority like a chief executive can more easily rule the pieces. It’s classic Chicago politics, the way the mayor there controls the city’s feuding neighborhood fiefdoms of Democrat pols and workers.

via Investors.com.

“Don’t Destroy This Family”

The Romeike family was granted asylum in the United States …The Obama administration, which in other notable areas of immigration law has enacted a policy of “discretion” regarding deportations, took the Romeike family to court to have its asylum protections revoked, and succeeded in doing so. The family has appealed to the Supreme Court, which has ordered the Obama administration to respond to the Romeikes’ petition, but the administration has so far refused to do so.

via National Review Online.

There are actually two separate arguments going on here.

The first is whether the state has the right to decide what to teach your children (more specifically, whether the state has the right to teach your children that your beliefs are wrong or even evil).

The second is whether families have the right to leave if they don’t like how a particular government is governing.

I would argue that the answers to both questions ought to be the same regardless of the beliefs being pushed – or the beliefs being suppressed. If you imagine yourself as the victim, and the state as holding the beliefs that you find abhorrent, then it would stand to reason that there is a fundamental right to teach your children your own values (especially religious values), and to leave if your beliefs are formally declared a crime.

That the men and women representing the state sincerely believe they have a monopoly on “the truth” does not substantively change the argument. Governments do not own people. We are not here as slaves or servants of an all-controlling state.

But, then, I am an American – a nation that has always held that it is the consent of the governed that gives a government its legitimacy.

Also, most of the homeschooled kids I’ve known were far and away better-educated than their public-school peers.

“Your Phone Number Is Going To Get A Reputation Score”

Now Telesign wants to leverage the data — and billions of phone numbers — it sees deals with daily to provide a new service: a PhoneID Score, a reputation-based score for every number in the world that looks at the metadata Telesign has on those numbers to weed out the burner phones from the high-quality ones. Yes, there’s yet another company out there with an inscrutable system making decisions about you that will effect the kinds of services you’re offered.

via  Forbes.

Because privacy is apparently only for Silicon Valley CEOs….and that’s the way Americans want it?

I asked the company to score me and a few of my colleagues to get a sense of how this will work. The range is 0 to 1000, with 0 being a gold iPhone and 1000 being a burner phone that’s only used to order drugs and kill people. Luckily, none of us got that latter score. My office landline scored a 100. Two of us got 10s for our mobiles, and two others got a 200. I also got to see where all of the numbers had been registered and who provided their service.

These are all high quality scores, says Jillings, who explained that anything below 200 will tell a company to roll out the red carpet for you. He didn’t seem to think the differences in the scores mattered and could not explain what might account for the 10 – 200 range, though one of those 200-scored accounts is less than a year old. Between 400 and 600 would lead to a fuller review, and anything over 600 would be flagged as a potentially fraudulent or abusive account, and likely blocked from signing up for that service.

So now your social equivalent-of-credit-score will be tied to your phone number, and people can decide whether to do business with you based on whether you’re worth it.

Nice.

How unfortunate that our nation is populated by people who will be too busy worrying about whether their score is good enough to actually be concerned with the basic quality-of-life issues they’ll be handing over.

Because today’s public school education does not cover what feudalism is, or how it starts.

“Hate is a Cheney (-haters) family value”

I already believe that Dick Cheney is among the luckiest men to ever walk the face of the planet. He will never have to pay, in real terms, for the blood of untold thousands he has on his hands. He will live out his days not just a free man but also with another human being\’s heart beating relentlessly in his barrel chest.

Almost every family contains a divide of some sort….For the Cheney family, it’s that Liz Cheney doesn’t think her sister, Mary, who is married to another woman, should be equal under the law. “I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” Liz said on Fox News Sunday.

via theguardian.com.

I have added two new categories to my tags: “physician, heal thyself” and “identity politics based double standards“. If it’s not clear why, first go read the article: this is an author so steeped in pure hate that she simply can’t stand that Dick Cheney is allowed to be alive. It is pure scapegoat mode, terrifying in its irrationality.

She hates him for having had a heart transplant? Is that what makes him a hater, that he shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from medical technology for some reason?

She hates him because he hasn’t been convicted of any crime, and thus will live out his life as a “free man”?

The suggestion seems to be that it’s just self-evident why it’s okay to hate him (even in an article about how wrong it is to hate): he’s Dick Cheney! Duh!

Did I just make an argument in favor of the Guardian’s position? I didn’t mean to.  It isn’t really self-evident. It’s not self-evident at all! Hello? How does one break past such a wall of cognitive dissonance? How does one explain the concept of reciprocity in a world where it’s just self-evident that some pigs are more equal than others?

Here is why those two tags:

Physician, heal thyself: the only “hating” I see going on here is the author.

Consider: it may or may not be true that members of the Cheney family “hate” each other, but holding a political belief that your sister does not like is not the same as hate, and it’s hateful – if I may use that word – to attribute false motives to people, to say that because that because they believe something you hate, that therefore they must be motivated by hatred just because you are. That’s called “projection” in modern psychological parlance – in the old days, we just called it “bearing false witness”.
Or, in other words, telling dirty lies about someone.

Identity politics-based double standards:  If we still believed in justice – real justice, the idea that everyone should live by the same rules and be held to the same standards – then it would be as morally wrong for this author to be as openly, unabashedly hate-based as she is, all “justified” by the claim that the Cheneys somehow “deserve” it because they are themselves “hateful”.

Either it’s wrong to be hateful or it’s not.

Justice is the antithesis of identity politics. Justice is “blind” – meaning it applies regardless of who you are, of what your identity is. That is quite literally the opposite of what this author relies on, which is literally the claim that she can be hateful to the Cheneys and this is acceptable – even noble – because she’s got the right identity, the right values.  (Don’t ask “according to whom?”). She gets rights that they don’t get. She gets to do things that they would be horrible, horrible people for doing – in fact, they ARE horrible, horrible people for doing it, even though they’re not. They’re not even the ones being hateful, but they’re the ones found guilty – because identity politics.And what does it mean to be hateful? Again, identity politics provides us with a helpful double standard: are you “us” or are you “them”? If you’re “us”, then you can be as hateful as you want and it’s not hateful, it’s noble. It’s making the world better. You’re doing a good deed by unloading your venom on the people you choose as scapegoats. But if you’re “them”, then simply being who you are is hateful. And of course having beliefs that violate the tenets of “diversity” and “tolerance” and “coexist” mean that you are bad and not worthy of tolerance or the right to coexist. Oprah apparently literally said you should die if you’re that sort of person, because isn’t that what coexist is all about?

“Obama Removes ‘God’ from Gettysburg Address”

I am not a big Abraham Lincoln fan (as anyone who has read this blog already knows) but I do get annoyed when people try to remove “Under God” from things. It’s so petty. Yes, we know you’re an atheist, but that doesn’t mean Abraham Lincoln was – or should be rewritten so that people think he was.

Burns had filmed all living presidents as well as various Hollywood personalities and luminaries to pay homage to the speech which was delivered by Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, today.Plante broke the story on Washington DC talk radio station WMAL on his mid-morning program, “The Chris Plante Show.

“WMAL reports: Curiously enough, in his version of the speech, President Barack Obama\’s delivery contained an omission – in a line that every other celebrity delivered as “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” the President left out the words, “under God.”UPDATE: A text box now appears on the Ken Burns website http://www.learntheaddress.org which states: “Did you know there are five versions of the Gettysburg Address? We asked President Obama to read the first, the Nicolay Version.” A cached version of the same webpage from several days ago shows no such reference.

via Breitbart.

No, I don’t believe for an instant that “we” (or Ken Burns, or his crew) “asked” Obama to read the ‘Nicolay Version’. That isn’t even plausible. Obama rules by appeal to hatred, and that hatred is aimed at Christianity; he would be nothing if so many young Americans didn’t have a visceral hatred-based need to scapegoat Christians and Christianity for everything that is wrong with America. Obama is the ultimate scapegoat POTUS – it’s his entire schtick.

I’d like to know why there are five versions of this address. Which one did Lincoln give? That is “the” address, isn’t it? Why are there five? Which one is the real one? How come this is not made clear? And how can we possibly expect children (or anyone else) to learn about, quote, or respect this important speech if we can’t even tell the speech from its draft versions?

History belongs to all of us. Nobody has the right to tamper with or attempt to rewrite it for personal – or ideological – gain.