An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Archive for March, 2012

Panel discussion on Prop. 5 at UAA shows voter failure

There was a panel discussion about Proposition 5 at UAA tonight.  For the few Anchorage residents who don’t know, there is an issue that is up for a vote on April 3rd.  It is to extend the Title 5 protections, Sections 1-8, to include sexual orientation as a protected status when seeking employment or residence.

Like Ordinance 64, this issue is generating a great deal of criticism from the Christian-right.  The organizations leading the “Protect your Rights” (the opposition) effort are the Alaska Family Council and Focus on the Family.  One Anchorage is heading up the efforts in support of this proposition.

The attendence to this panel discussion was beyond dismal.  There were 23 people in total.  There was nobody from the opposition, including as one of the speakers.  it seems the speaker against it was going to be Daniel MacDonald.  There were two speakers in support, Brett Frazer, and a man named Blake.  MacDonald was all the only opposition, because Jim Minnery, the President of Alaska Family Council, could not find a student to represent the AFC.

Frazer opened by saying that he had a family member (whose name he withheld for privacy reasons) who had been in the military, and was finally able to come out with the veto of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  However, even with that, she was still discriminated against, both at work and in her daily life.  Her partner feared daily if it ever got out that she was a partner to another woman.  There was a rather appropriate quote by Frazer –

“Discrimination is still very real in Anchorage.”

Next up there was the opening argument by Blake.  He had three points.  The first was that descrimination still exists.  When Mayor Dan Sullivan vetoed Ordinance 64, he remarked that discrimination no longer exists, which was his justification for doing so.  The second was that employees are being fired for being gay.  In some cases, a boss can look at your Facebook page and can use that as a way to find out who you are.  The third was that this wasn’t just hurting people’s livelihoods’, but also doing societal damage.

Since there was nobody to speak for the opposition, the floor opened up to questions.  The first was if a person could be sent to jail or fined because of Prop. 5.  Brett took this, and the answer was – only if they lied to investigators.  However, this had nothing to do with Prop. 5.

The next question was – if there was a case made for discrimination, where was the burden of proof?  Again, Brett took this.  The burden of proof is on the person making the claim.  And they only have a limited window to make it – 180 days.  There is a public hearing (which is an odd term, considering that they are private), which does not fit with the opposition’s narrative that there is no hearing, and the book gets immediately thrown at businesses.

The big question that has been fueling the opposition against Prop. 5 is – will this affect religious freedom?  The answer was obviously no.  Proposition 5 affects Title 5, sections 1-8, but not section 9.  Section 9 is in reference to religious institutions.  Only for-profit businesses will feel the brunt of this.  Of course, it was also brought up – what constitutes a religious institution?  What about religious campgrounds?  Brett and Blake acknowledged that there was some ambiguity in regards to that, but churches were guaranteed to not be affected.  However, Brett made a point that this ambiguity was not a reason to vote against it, but rather to lobby to have some work done on this law.

One point that Brett made was saying what Prop. 5 is not.  It is not, “equal rights for everybody.”  In fact, this does not give the LGBTQ community the same rights as everybody else.  Instead, it gets them 90% of the way there.  This is the best that the gay community could hope for.  That’s depressing enough in and of itself.

Since this was an incredibly fast discussion, because of the dismal attendence and there being no identifiable presence against Prop. 5, they moved on to the closing statements.  Brett said that he didn’t want to wake up on April 4th and find Anchorage the same place it was.  That this proposition needed to pass.

Blake then said that Title 5 works, and the oppositions scare tactics against this Proposition were simply unfounded.  There have been no massive imprisonments and fines.  This law works, and that Prop. 5 needed to be add sexual orientation to the groups of people who can’t be discriminated against.

And that’s it.  Quick, simple, and totally, totally pointless.  There was one attendee, a UAA student named Ceezar Martinson, who had the best thoughts about this.  This night was a complete waste of time for two reasons.  1. the turnout is pathetic.  This is a very clear indicator of how many people actually care about their democracy, and their future.  Even if you knew how you were going to vote, as Brett said, by being in that room, we were already more enlightened than those not in the room, because we were hearing about this issue, and good questions were being asked.

2. The opposition didn’t even care enough to show up.  Everybody seems so sure that this is going to pass.  Everybody I have talked to.  They seem to think that no significant number of people would vote against it.  But as was seen with Ordinance 64, the opposition to this is fierce, and there is a very good chance that this proposition will fail.  And when it does, the voters will have nobody to blame but themselves.  The opposition is real, and they are doing their damndest to make sure that their base is out there, voting against this.

So, if Proposition 5 fails, it will be because when there are people trying to reach out to the community and keep them informed, they don’t even bother to show up, or get the people they know who are confused to go and learn.  This is voter failure, and I am starting to not have sympathy for these people.

Peace out,

Lefty

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Internet Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Well, the truth may never truly be explained about what happened to Trayvon Martin.  The one piece of evidence that has been determined is that Zimmerman’s story is a complete farce.  This man lied outright about being in danger, and the world knows it.  But he still walks free.  This man is getting away with murder.

Or is he?

Enter the internet.  This lovely domain where all ideas are welcome, and anybody can voice an opinion.  Along with the internet has come a new form of group-mentality.  The mentality is that the group comes to consensus about something, and it spreads.  For things like this, when an injustice is committed, it spreads across the internet, and from there, the bulk of the people are able to get involved.

So what does that mean for Zimmerman?  That means that the internet has crucified this man.  Rightly so.  Regardless of the truth, Zimmerman is a murderer.  He killed this kid, who was screaming, in cold blood.  These are now facts, now that the 911 tapes have been released.  Like wildfire, it spread across the internet, and the entire blogosphere and mediasphere has come alive.

There’s a new saying – what enters the internet is forever.  Sarah Palin, the quitter governor of my state, found this out herself after that Gabby Giffords shooting.  A graphic she had on her Twitter got her the lambasting and ridicule of all reasonable people.  For good reason, it was incredibly inappropriate.  But it’s proof that she is forever tarred and feathered to the public, and she lost any and all remaining credibility.  (what little she had left)

What does this mean for Zimmerman?  It maens that the rest of his life, this is going to follow him around.  In the racist communities of Florida, it probably won’t.  But his face is known, now.  He is a pariah of racism and murder.  He escape justice from the legal system, however, he will never escape the hatred of the internet, and since the internet is so key in our lives, he will never escape hatred.

To go anywhere and receive looks of hatred.  To know that never will you be welcome, truly welcome, anywhere, because the people will know that you are a cold-blooded murderer.  To never have a home that you can truly belong to.  Perhaps that is a greater justice than any jail cell could ever have been for Zimmerman.

Another place this justice goes is toward the cops.  They are complicit in lying for this man.  Their version of events is that George Zimmerman was screaming.  Why?  Was he scared of Skittles?  They are terrifying, I know, but this kid was unarmed.  The screams are from Trayvon.  You know this because the screams suddenly stop after he is shot.

The internet has also shown the pathetic either open racism, or open corruption of the cops.  It’s becoming more and more a trend that America has no love for the police.  Where once the children were told that the officer if their friend, they are now told that the officer is not to be trusted.  For good reason, too.  They officer isn’t to be trusted.  The cops know all of what has happened here, and yet, they have (so far as I know) done nothing.  They have sat back and watched this play out.

But the internet has crucified them too.  It’s almost beautiful how social justice is becoming more powerful than official justice.  You got to jail, so what?  You kill a kid, you’re known forever as a murderer who killed a guy who was trying to bring Skittles home to his brother.  His brother probably got upset that his Skittles were late, not knowing that the man who was going to bring them to him is lying dead in the street.

It’s a beautiful day for online justice.  A beautiful day.  This is something that needs to grow, because if the police won’t do the right thing, and show these people for who they are, we have to.  Now, I am not arguing for vigilante justice.  That won’t get us anywhere.  I am arguing for something worse – social outcast syndrome.  Make them never feel welcome anywhere.  Being alone, now that’s true punishment.  And hopefully, it will last forever.

That’s how we can avenge Trayvon Martin’s death.

Peace out,

Lefty

The War Against Women Isn’t Over

In fact, it’s just getting started.  The really ugly thing is that women in this country don’t seem to realize that while it is being fought on some fronts, other fronts have them losing ground with incredible speed.  It is something that few women are realizing, and they need to start focusing on.  The worst part is that it is everywhere.  Even my home state of Alaska is taking some hits.

The stuff that is so bat-s*it crazy, like the law forcing women to get a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion, those were all just window dressing.  It was stuff so insane, that women’s groups would immediately attack with all haste, failing to see where they were losing ground.  The irony is that most of this has been on the state level.

Take the issue of abortion.  The number of restrictions to abortion skyrocketed in 2011.  The number of supportive and neutral states in this battle has rapidly been shrinking.  From between 2000 to 2011, it is almost staggering how many states that were in the middle suddenly jumped ship over to being hostile to women getting an abortion.

Next, there is the battle against birth control.  In some places, there are efforts to deny women access to it altogether.  In Arizona, there is a new bill that would allow prospective employers the ability to sniff through a woman’s personal life.  Effectively, a company could ask their women future employees for proof of the medical prescriptions to show that they are using contraception for non-sexual purposes, like treating ovarian cysts.  It’s an invasion of privacy, and all because these group can also deny coverage of contraceptives for “religious reasons.”  The worst reasoning of all time, and our government has given it to them on a silver platter.  Seems that the First Amendment never meant much to anybody.

Religion has had a very big stake in this game.  The Conferance of Catholic Bishops has made a committment to redouble their efforts to stop women from having access to birth control.  They call it, “religious freedom.”  The freedom to do what?  Force your dogma on other women?  Seems to be a good case for it.

A rather frightening turn of events is that Republicans have also suddenly about-faced on legislation that was never and issue, until the LGBT community got involved.  The Violence Against Women Act, something that has never been a partisan issue before now, is under attack from the conservative right.  In the Senate, there is dwindling support, and why?  Because it was up to extend the benefits of it to LGBT, Native, and other minority groups.  This really kind of kills the argument that Republicans are for everyman (or woman).  They are only for their constitutency, and of course, you have to be straight, and not use birth control.

The sad fact is that while women in this country are fighting, they are playing purely defense.  The right wing of this country has always been good at pushing the goal line so far to the right that no progress can truly get done.  And because the liberal crowd will absolutely not fight, for fear of being called “partisan,” women in this country are losing ground.

Ladies, it is time for you to accept that you can no longer just play defense.  The bills like the one for trans-vaginal ultrasound, or ones in Kansas and Utah, they are just fronts.  While people are fighting against those, the real hits to women’s rights are everywhere.

There has got to be some liberal action taken here.  It is time to take the offensive.  People will call us partisan, but the fact is, we literally can’t do anything else now.  It is way past the point of no return.  This is the point of no sanity.  It is insane how this has been allowed to go one, while anybody who says that we need to start being a little bit more proactive in a political countermeasure is called bad.

It’s not a bad thing to have an agenda.  It’s not a bad thing to fight for it.  Republicans have figured that out, and until the liberals realize that we are in a culture war, and are losing, fast, we are eventually going to see all progress destroyed, and all because these people don’t want to stand up for what is right.

The war against women isn’t over.  It’s just gotten started.

Peace out,

Lefty

The Meaning of Life in a Nutshell

Hypothetical situation: say that an alien race comes to Earth.  They have vastly superior weapons and technology.  Immediately, the employ these things to violently attack our species.  Humanity is left with only two choices – fight and probably die, or surrender, and become slaves to these aliens.  And, for the sake of this situation, say that you are one of the people who chooses to fight.

Are you really going to care what the person standing next to you, fighting until the bitter end believes?  Will you care if this person worships Allah, Jehovah, or nothing at all?  Will it matter to you if the person is a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative?  Will it be so incredibly important if this person is a man or a woman?  Will you care if this person seeks solace in the arms of somebody of the same sex?  The two of you are probably going to die just the same.

Think about it – you are facing the end of your entire species.  There is nothing outside of this.  You no longer can afford to let the petty prejudisms of this world dominate your thoughts, because it is almost over for us.  It’s the twilight of the human race, and nobody can stop that.  There is nobody coming to save us.  We stand alone.  Or do we?

The answer is no.  The true meaning of life is something that I have pondered for some time.  While others will choose to believe that it is something petty, like worshipping God or loving America, I see it as something much more profound.  The irony is that the predominant faith of America’s savior agrees with me in this regard.  What is the meaning of life – to look out for each other, because we are all we have.

This is something that soldiers have figured out in foxholes, getting shelled endlessly.  When they are in that place, trying desperately to survive, I guarantee you that the last thought that is going through their mind is whether the guy next to them is Christian, or their breed of it, or whether or not that person is into other men.  They have never thought about that, because all they could count on was the person next to them.  It’s ironic that in the most bitter of situations, humanity has found an ability to bond like never before.

When a huge tornado spree absolutely destroyed a large part of states like Wisconsin, you could hear the sound of hammers, the sawing of wood.  People of the community came back together, to rebuild what they had lost.  There is some great truth to that.  Truth that the leaders of this country will never seem to understand.

It’s easy to see why they don’t.  Take a look around, it’s everywhere.  The Democrats and Republicans both try to divide the people of this country.  They talk about all the things that make us different, all the ways that we are not the same.  They will point out how people need to be afraid.  Always trying to fracture and divide the people, so that they can steal the wealth and keep their power, and never be accountable to anybody.  This has been true of this government for about as long as it has existed.

But the truth is, the meaning of life is to look after each other, because we are all we have.  There is no God coming for us.  There is no eternal bliss after this.  You die, and that’s it.  But together, we can make this life the best life we have ever had.  It wouldn’t be hard.  All it would take is a little dedication.

We need to stop these pointless feuds between nations, which are forever trying to further a game of money and power that nobody wins, and almost everybody loses.  We need to abandon the outdated and absolutely worthless traditions that are holding back progress, such as the belief that a woman shouldn’t have the right to her own body, and the faith that brings that to the front.  We need to look after the least of us, which would mean having the wealthiest of us be willing to give their fair share.  It’s not asking too much for the richest 1% to pay more.  We don’t want to bleed them dry, but something like a 3-10% increase in taxes isn’t unfair.

There was a rather brilliant quote by Stephen Colbert about how things work in this country –

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

That’s well-spoken, and from a man who has lived in the realm of comedy, and satired the way things in this country are.

In the end, it isn’t about you and me.  It is about all people, in all places, trying to survive.  Because there very well could come a day where it is only us, or the enemy out to destroy or enslave us.  And hopefully, by that time, we haven’t ruined our world beyond the realm or redemption.  Hopefully, by then, we have learned that we are all we have, and its time for us to start looking out for one-another.

That is the real meaning of life – making things better for everybody, and making this world a better place.

Peace out,

Lefty

A message to the Christian right.

Lucien Maverick's Blog

If one had to describe what their religion is, the exact framework of it, what would it be?  Well, that’s pretty simple.  The first part is the belief in an all-powerful deity.  With me so far?  Good.  Of course, with that, there are plenty of other supernatural elements with it, such as souls, spirits (or angels), and powers beyond mankind’s comprehension.  There must also be an afterlife.  Now, this is where many such belief systems don’t mix, because some believe that there is only one, and some believe that there are two or more, and you must have a certain system of behaviors to get there.

Along with the supernatural, almost all religions have a belief structure as to where life on Earth or this entire universe came from.  Within the context of this, it isn’t entirely uncommon to find there to be a proposed theory as to what the…

View original post 1,065 more words

When government condones crime

In Morocco, a girl was forced to marry her rapist.  That’s the baseline for what an article posted about this tragic story.  This girl, 16 years old, was forced, by law, to marry the man who had raped her.  The parents charged the man with rape, and the courts decided that apparently it was a good thing that she was being forced to marry him.

The article above calls him “her huband,” which is an outright lie.  The girl committed suicide, and they say it was because of “the horror of rape,” which is also not true.  This man is no more her husband than her brother.  He is her rapist.  And the rape didn’t kill her, it was the horror of being forced to marry this man who hurt her.  It was little more than slavery.

Morocco is supposedly one of the more “progressive” Muslim nations, and this is happening.  The government there is in total collusion with this, helping the rapist to get away with his crime.  A lot of people have spoken out in defense of this kind of thing, because it is the same “punishment” in the Bible.  They say that it is perfectly acceptable to do that, because it is a reminder of the fact that he raped them.  Never mind that it gives this person more opportunities to rape women.  Of course, many Christian circles still reject the notion that a wife can be raped.

Next up, we’ve got a story right here in USA.  This is in Florida, where a black teenager was killed, outright murdered, by a white man in a gated community.  He saw the kid, carrying only a bag of skittles for his little brother, and an iced tea for himself.  He shot the man, killing him.  The boy was only 17 years old.  The man who shot him is 26.  He told the police that he did it, and yet, no charges have been filed.  Not one.

This is another instance where the law knows the situation, knows exactly what happened, but is choosing to do nothing.  Just like they have with Anthony Bologna at Occupy Wall Street.  Just like they have with the police at UC Davis.  Just like all the other times that authority figures have done anything and go away with it.  The guy was white, and living in a gated community.  Obviously, he came from money.  He kills a man and tells the cops that he did it, and nothing happens.

While the title of this post says that this is the fault of governments for not standing up for what’s right and bringing the hammer of justice down on these monster, it isn’t.  This is about the people of the world, and how pathetic it is that we tolerate this.  We tolerate this kind of disgusting actions.  We tolerate this because the bulk of the country is too apathetic or too worthless to be bothered to care about what happens to the people.

This is an insult aimed directly at the worthless public of this country, who can’t be bothered enough to stand up for what is right.  Who can’t be bothered to demand real justice, instead of this fake crap that we all like to think is justice.  Because that’s just too hard, and the people of this country are weak.  The human race is just too weak.  All of this can be traced to the weakness of humanity to do the right thing, and it makes me sick.

How about you?

Peace out,

Lefty

Arizona effectively legalizes doctors lying to patients

It isn’t often that one can point to something that the government of America has done and talk about how it is beyond foul.  In the world of right-wing insanity, this has got to be a step up.  It really doesn’t get much better than this.  In Arizona, there has been a new law that has been passed that say a doctor can lie to a patient about their own child.

You see, despite all the anti-choice propaganda, a lot of these women are having abortion for the reason of sparing a child from having to live a life that would be nothing but suffering.  Whenever it is found that children have birth defects, the mother gets to have the option to abort, and save both herself suffering, and the fetus’ suffering.

It is called the “Wrongful Birth” law.  It effectively allows a doctor to withhold information about a woman’s fetus if birth defects are found, in the interest of preventing her to have an abortion.  This even includes if the defects are so serious that they could kill the mother.  This law allows doctors to completely ignore the Hippocratic Oath.

This is going to be a short and sweet post.  Arizona law-makers, thank you for sending a “Screw You” message to women everywhere, along with to decency.  The levels of selfish conceit here I are blinding.  It cannot be argued that this is a law that is attacking women.  They will dress it up as protecting babies, but it is entirely done to take the choices away from women.

And this leads to the ultimate truth about the “pro-life” movement.  For the most part, it isn’t “pro-life.”  If they are against capital punishment, and the wars, then one can accept that they are pro-life.  However, for the most part, it is simply anti-choice.  They are against the fact that women in this country are able to choose for themselves how to conduct their lives.  Since the Republican base has now transformed almost entirely into middle-aged to elderly white men, then it makes a lot more sense why this is so.  These people have always been against women.

However, as with all the laws that these conservatives insane-asylum rejects have put out, it ignores the true consequences of its reach.  Prenatal care is for more than just the problems, like birth defects.  It exists to help find out if there are life-threatening complications, such as ectopic pregnancy, which can kill a mother if she doesn’t abort.

But given other bills, like the ones that say that there should be no abortion even in the instance to save the mother’s life, it is no surprise the Republicans went down this road.  Women, you have to take action.  Get as many as you can, and tell them all – do NOT support a Republican vote.  Even if you are a conservative, these people are beyond that.  They have gone into the realm of your typical insane asylum, and it needs to stop.

Peace out,

Lefty

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