CLUTCHING AT FREEDOM – Marilyn Armstrong

I want everything to last forever.

When I buy a television, I don’t expect to ever buy another one. I will keep using the old one until it simply won’t work anymore … or someone gently tells me that I really need a new one.

“Oh,” I say, “But I just bought this one.”

“You bought it 14 years ago. I can’t even connect most things to it. It doesn’t have the right connections.”

“Is it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday.”

It does seem like yesterday because I can remember buying it. I remember deciding which TV would give us the best pictures, be reliable. Which is how come it lasted 14 years. Actually, it still works. It’s just too old to be of much value — and too huge to get rid of, so I guess it will live in the basement forever.

The only things I buy more or less on a schedule are computers because operating systems change and software won’t run on old systems. I don’t want to get new computers. In fact, I hate new computers. Setting them up is a total pain in the butt. But I cope because I need them.

On the other hand, things like refrigerators, washing machines, ovens? The roof, the water heater, the floor, the sinks, and toilets — aren’t they forever? Don’t you buy them once, then never have to worry about them again?

I’m on my third water heater and beginning to worry about the roof. I’m discovering that the vinyl siding wasn’t a permanent investment as I thought it was. And the ants keep coming back.

Just to remind me how impermanent the world truly is, the rights we fought so hard to create, the young are fighting for them. Again.

Early 1900’s protests against the czar in Russia

How can that be? How can we have made so much progress and find ourselves back — not only where we were, but back to where my parents were. I feel like we haven’t regressed to the 1950s, but more like the 1930s.

The changes we make, the changes we paid for, fought for, battled for … they are supposed to be forever or at least for our lifetime. The roof should never need to be replaced. The heating system should be a lifetime investment.

Freedom should be given — and once achieved, you should always be free. We should never need to battle again for the right to live our lives as we please. I don’t think we should have to fight for it in the first place. We should be born free and take on obligations as a conscious choice.

Freedom has come and gone many times throughout human history. Rome was free until it wasn’t. Greece was free … until it wasn’t. Many countries were briefly free until swallowed up or conquered by others. I guess it’s our turn, my turn, to realize that the freedom I thought we’d won was merely a respite from the despotism of the world.

I’m not sure why it’s like this. Why is it freedom for which we need to fight? Why doesn’t tyranny require a battle? Why do the bad guys always seem to have the upper hand?

I think it’s because we let them. We say “Oh, a few huge corporations won’t really matter” and then we look around and the entire world is made up of huge corporations and we don’t matter. We give up our freedom incrementally.

We surrender it for higher wages, cheaper toys, nicer cars. We give it up because it sounded like fun and we don’t see the downside. We elect the wrong people because they sound good. We fail to examine if they are really who they say or are capable of being who we need.

We do it. Ourselves. We give up our freedom in tiny pieces until we have nothing left to lose.

Freedom is a costly gift which does not come to us without commitment and a battle. I didn’t imagine I would live long enough to need to fight for it again.

Is that some kind of bizarre payback for living longer?

ABOUT THE GOOD OLD FIRST AMENDMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

1st amendment cartoonThe first amendment says you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect. Even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it. As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected.

However. The first amendment does not say you are required to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses your mind. Just because you can, does not mean you should. The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not mandate you actually behave like one.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you.

A right is no substitute for intelligence. It’s healthy to think. It’s good to read a book, check your sources, find out what’s really the right thing. Your opinion is not as good as everyone else’s, not if it’s based on hatred, ugliness, nonsense, and fake facts.

It’s perfectly okay to believe in the truth, to support provable facts, and live in the same reality as the rest of the world. Believing whatever you “feel” is “right” is crap.

Give reality a chance. Try reading a book, something your president hasn’t ever done.

Try thinking.

Our nation will be grateful to you. I personally will be grateful.

FREE SPEECH ISN’T FREE – BY TOM CURLEY

As I’m writing this, there was a “free speech” rally that went on in Washington DC. It’s was held by a bunch of right-wing white supremacist neo-Nazis. They seem to feel that their civil rights are being violated because a whole bunch of people don’t like them.

Because they’re white, you see. They’re being persecuted because they are a superior race. Oddly enough, many people take umbrage with that claim.

The “rally” ended up consisting of a couple of dozen of these poor downtrodden racists and thousands of counter-protesters who believe that NAZIS ARE BAD!

These white supremacists seem to feel they’re being persecuted because they’re being denied their right to free speech. The super nut-job Alex Jones is crying and moaning because his shows have been taken off almost all the major social media platforms — like Facebook, YouTube, and ITunes.

Why? Because he spouts insane dangerous conspiracy theories. That the massacre of elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut was a “false flag” operation. It didn’t happen. The kids and parents were actors.

Because of this, those poor parents have been hounded by nut-jobs that believe this crap. They’ve received death threats. Some have had to move more than once to escape the harassment.

Think about that. Those poor people lost their five or six-year-old child and now they have to deal with this. The only good news is Jones is being sued by a lot of these families.

White supremacist groups and neo-nazis complain when they have a rally or publish hate-filled bullshit on social media platforms, the places at which they work see the posts — and promptly fire their asses.

They claim they’re being punished for exercising their First Amendment rights. This is bullshit. They’re being fired because they’re racist assholes.

Their problem is that they don’t actually understand how the First Amendment works.


Here’s what it says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


What does this mean?

No law can be passed by the government to prevent you from saying whatever you want in public, no matter how fucking dumb, sick, stupid, or racist it might be.

But here’s the way it actually works.

Just because you can say anything you want, doesn’t mean you should. Nobody has to listen to it or agree with it. I or anyone can say you’re an asshole because of the stupid racist thing you just said.

Social media platforms are not governments. They can deny you access to their service for any reason at all including NO reason. It’s in the service agreements on which you click on but never read.

A business can fire you for any reason they want and which includes no reason except they don’t like you (“You don’t fit into our culture”).

It’s not surprising that businesses, big and small, don’t want racist hate-spewing dick-wads working for them. Who can blame them? It’s bad for business.

Free speech means you can stand on a street corner and spout any kind of bullshit you want. But you need to understand — there may be consequences.

Like getting fired.

Or having thousands of people show up to exercise their First Amendment rights to say you’re an asshole.

Or, to put it in terms white supremacists can understand.


Your kind is not welcome here.

BUT I DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOU

1st amendment cartoonThe first amendment says you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film, or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect.

Even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it. As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected.

However. The first amendment does not say anyone is required to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses his/her/their mind. Just because you can does not mean you should.  The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not force you to behave like one.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you.

right is not a substitute for using your brains. You are also permitted to think.

DON’T RELATE TO HATE: TWITTER SUSPENDS BRITISH HATE GROUP

Was it Twitter’s “job” to suspend the “Britain First” hate group? Read the account here in Britain’s Daily Mail.


It’s okay to not relate to hate groups.

You don’t need to try to find the soul of every evil person and group on the planet. It’s perfectly fine to recognize evil when you see it and walk away. This is the point when I begin to get edgy, worried, and frankly irritable.

If it isn’t Twitter’s place to suspend a hate group operating on their system, who else should do it? Would you prefer the government stop it?

Hitler could have been stopped. There was more than enough time to put an end to him, but no one did it. No one stopped him. Everyone was worried about protecting Hitler’s freedom of expression. You wouldn’t want to impinge on the man who hates everyone’s civil rights, would you?

I’m sure these same people who hate all the rest of us — and if in power, would probably kill us — will now take legal action because their “civil rights” are supposed to protect them from … what? Spreading the evil they spew? But of course, they entirely object to us — “those people” — having civil rights at all. Dig into the irony. It’s a deep, profound irony.

There has to be a stopping point. There must be a “no more” point.

I get civil rights better than most people, but I also understand that failing to have a “stop, this has to end” point has had catastrophic results not only in England, but everywhere.

Someone has to say “No more. It’s over.” I’m glad it’s Twitter because it is their company and they do have the right to shut them down. If there’s one plus to private industry, the right to not serve parties who do not observe company policy has got to be a big one. If a cake maker can refuse to bake for a gay couple, I’m pretty sure Twitter can stop propagating a hate group.

You want my opinion? I think any group which objects to others having civil rights and First Amendment protections should be relieved of their own. After all, they don’t need them anyway. They said so.

ABOUT THAT FIRST AMENDMENT …

Whether or not we voted for the same president, party, or believe in the same things, we are all citizens and all equal under the Constitution and laws of this country. Whatever our age, color, belief, faith, creed, tribe, or ethnicity — we are equal. We are the same before the law and in front of a cop with weapons.

I know about slavery. I know about endless attempts to wipe out every last Native American … and enslave every person of color … and several fortunately ineffectual attempts to lock up or get rid of other non-white peoples. We do not live up to our pledge to make life equal and fair for everyone, but that doesn’t change the intent of our Constitution or laws.

Yes, I know what the original said. I also know about the amendments that changed it. That is the point of having amendments — to alter the original.

That we have corrupt police officers and evil people who would prey on us and change us from a democracy to a totalitarian or fascist regime is sad, but probably inevitable. I will fight oppression and subversion until my dying breath. When you give up on freedom for others, you are give up on it for everyone. Oppressors don’t stop with one group. Once these people get started, they keep at it until they’ve gotten everyone under their guns. Oligarchs, autocrats, and kings want power and if you are in their way, you too are dead. They get power and keep it until a war overthrows them.


1st amendment cartoon


The first amendment states you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect — and even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it.

The first amendment does not require you to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses your mind. Just because you can does not mean you should. The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not mandate you actually behave like one.

As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected — until you stop being a loudmouth and start hurting, killing, and locking people up. That changes everything.

When the violence begins, your freedom ends.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you — and the right to fight should you impose your values on me.

A right is not a substitute for using your brains. It’s good to think. It’s good to read a book, check your sources. Find out the right thing to do — and then, do it. Your ignorant, blind opinion is not as good as everyone else’s, especially not when it’s based on hatred and fake facts. Hang on to your conscience, too.

You get respect after you trade your ignorance for knowledge.

Give reality a chance. Try thinking for yourself. Stop following your “leader” and prattling whatever nonsense he or she spouts. Our nation will be grateful to you. I will be grateful. With a little luck, the world will be a better, too.

A QUICK CLARIFICATION ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT

1st amendment cartoonThe first amendment says you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect. Even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it. As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected.

However. The first amendment does not say you are required to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses your mind. Just because you can does not mean you should. The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not mandate you actually behave like one.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you.

A right is not a substitute for using your brains. It’s good to think. It’s good to read a book, check your sources, find out what’s the right thing. Your opinion, no matter what you think, is not as good as everyone else’s, not when it’s based on hatred, ugliness, nonsense, and fake facts.

It’s fine to believe in facts, reality, and truth. Believing whatever you “feel” is “right” is total crap. Give reality a chance. Try reading a book, something your president hasn’t managed to do. Try thinking.

Our nation will be grateful to you. I personally will be grateful.

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