November 14, 2012

It’s not about race, it’s about policies (continued)

Filed under: politics by Victoria Liberty @ 5:22 pm

Mitt Romney - Mr. 1% on the hunt for the Soon-to-Haves

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

On Sunday, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote one of the most offensive, inaccurate, mean-spirited, and, frankly, stupid things I’ve read in a while. Entitled “Romney Is President,” Dowd’s piece was at the top of the Times‘s “most read” list for a while and seems to be quite popular, so The Freedom Bulletin feels the need to respond to it. Like what I discussed in my previous post, Dowd’s column is another example of the tendency not to argue against your opponents’ ideas, but instead to ridicule your opponents and assign them completely fictitious motivations and beliefs.

Dowd argues, basically, that Mitt Romney is the president of “white male America,” allegedly the only group of people he cared about when running his campaign.

Continue reading…

November 12, 2012

It’s not about race, it’s about policies

Filed under: politics by Victoria Liberty @ 11:45 pm

Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey - Icons

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

So apparently it’s not enough that Democrats beat the you-know-what out of Republicans last week. They also have to ridicule Republicans based on racist, sexist stereotypes and presume to know, more than Republicans themselves, how Republicans view the world and why they believe what they do.

Am I the only person who is completely, utterly sick of people implying that anyone who dislikes President Obama must be a racist?

For example, CNN columnist LZ Granderson writes:

“Each time I see one of those ‘Take Our Country Back’ signs on someone’s lawn, I want to knock on the door and ask, ‘from whom?’

From whom are you trying to take this country back?

But I don’t, because I already know the answer.”

Continue reading…

April 23, 2012

Twitter death threats against Zimmerman

Filed under: Internet,law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 10:23 pm

The Internet is a great thing. It allows people to find information about almost anything without having to go to a library or bookstore, and allows people (like me!) to express their views who otherwise would not be able to. But that can actually be a bad thing, as many recent tweets about George Zimmerman illustrate.

Unsurprisingly, when Zimmerman was released on bail last night, hordes of angry, often not very intelligent people took to Twitter to proclaim things like, “Ima kill zimmerman myself,” and “I WOULD KILL DA SHYT OUTTA DAT ZIMMERMAN DUDE IF I SAW HIS ASSS,” and “Start Writing Your Will! Justices Has Not Been Served.” *

And those are among the milder ones.

Continue reading…

March 24, 2012

Trayvon Martin and Stand Your Ground laws

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 10:59 pm

I don’t know what happened on February 26, when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Probably the only person who knows exactly what happened is Zimmerman himself. Whether Zimmerman acted out of fear for his life (and therefore in self-defense) or out of racism has been widely debated. Zimmerman claims that Martin punched him, and various witnesses have said that they saw him with a bloody nose and lying on his back on the ground. On the other hand, because Martin was black (and Zimmerman part white and part hispanic), numerous people and organizations assume that Martin was shot because he was black. If Zimmerman decided that Martin looked suspicious because of his race, pursued him, and provoked a confrontation, then that would not only be racist of him, but would likely be murder. But if Zimmerman is telling the truth, then he acted in self-defense and did nothing wrong.

It’s always great to debate the facts known about a case and form opinions about what happened. But the New Black Panther Party went too far when they handed out flyers that read, “Child killer of Trayvon Martin wanted dead or alive.” And Minister Mikhail Muhummud, a regional director of that organization, went too far by saying that Zimmerman “should be afraid for his life.” It is wrong to call for someone’s death when you don’t know all the facts about a case.

It’s also wrong to demonize “Stand Your Ground” laws such as the one passed by the Florida legislature in 2005, giving people the right to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that their safety is threatened, whether they are in their homes or in public places where they have a right to be.

The Martin family’s lawyer criticized this law, saying, “You can’t go pick a fight with somebody and then say, ‘Oh, self-defense.’” But that’s not what the law allows. CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said, “If you’re the first aggressor, if you are pursuing, you cannot avail yourself of this self-defense claim.” Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley said, “Nothing in Stand Your Ground’ authorizes (you) to pursue and confront.” And Governor Jeb Bush added, “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”

Stand Your Ground laws give people the right to defend themselves with deadly force when someone aggresses against them, instead of having a duty to retreat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you aggress against someone, you forfeit your rights, and no one should ever be punished for defending themselves against an aggressor.

Whatever happened to Trayvon Martin, whether George Zimmerman is at fault or not, is undoubtedly tragic, but it is not the fault of Stand Your Ground laws and is not a reason to chip away at the right to self-defense.

December 31, 2011

Ron Paul and the racist, homophobic newsletters

Filed under: politics by Victoria Liberty @ 9:53 am

Ron Paul

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Now that Ron Paul is finally considered a legitimate presidential contender in the top tier of candidates, people are naturally looking for any way they can to tear him down. Apparently, the best thing they could find, and the thing that a disturbing number of people are starting to make a big brouhaha about, is several newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s, called the Ron Paul Survival Report, Ron Paul Freedom Report, and Ron Paul Political Report, which contained some arguably racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments.

Among the contents of these newsletters were things like “95 percent of black males in that city are semi-criminal if not entirely criminal,” and “it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist, philandering Martin Luther King,” and “I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities, [and] the federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS.”

Now, I have heard and read things that are more bigoted than anything in these newsletters. The newsletters do not, to my knowledge, actually state anything to the effect of, “black people are inferior to white people.” But the main problem with the Paul-bashing is that Paul consistently denies knowing the content of these newsletters, let alone writing them. Not exactly known for being phony, he has never, as far as I have heard, said anything even remotely racist in public. Or, says his former aide for 12 years, Eric Dondero, has he ever said anything racist in private. Dondero split with Paul because of disagreements about foreign policy and has been very critical of him on his blog, so if he had any bias it would be against Paul.

Plus, Paul’s policy positions – based on the belief that people should have the freedom to live as they please as long as it does not violate the rights of others – are friendly to people of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. Paul believes that the government should treat people equally without regard to the demographic groups to which they belong, and that people should be free to form any relationships that they wish to, without government labels or licenses. As Wes Messamore points out at the Daily Caller, Paul has denounced overzealous law enforcement, mandatory minimum sentences, and their effects on African-Americans, and mentioned his friend, African-American economist Walter Williams, as a possible running mate. When it comes to homophobia, certainly it would make more sense to pick on Republican candidates Rick Santorum (who supports anti-sodomy laws) or Michele Bachmann (whose husband allegedly believes in “curing” gay people of their gayness) than Paul.

As an example of how widespread the anti-Paul bias is, a surprisingly ignorant and illogical CNN blog entry (or at least an ignorant and illogical headline) interprets a book that Paul actually did write, “Freedom Under Seige,” as “criticiz[ing] AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims.” In the book, Paul writes that people with AIDS often have AIDS because of their own decisions, and that they do not have the right to force other people to pay for their treatment. This is completely true, and completely consistent with Paul’s libertarian ideology. He also writes that federal laws against sexual harassment are unnecessary because employees are free to quit their jobs. I do not agree with this, but it is completely consistent with Paul’s central belief that the government should be small and allow free markets to solve problems whenever possible. And Paul decries the tendency to create separate sets of rights for different groups, such as racial minorities, children, employees, and the homeless, pointing out that, “White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus.” Far from “criticizing minority rights,” this statement sums up the very essence of both libertarianism and diversity – the rights of all individuals to be accepted, treated equally, and treated as individuals.

Yet even though there is nothing homophobic, anti-Semitic, or racist about Paul, far too many people speak of him as if he is the leader of the KKK or the National Vanguard or something. Those who declare their support for Paul are treated as if they made an embarrassing faux pas. And as Salon’s Steve Kornacki describes, nearly all of his campaign rivals have made despicable comments about him in recent days, with Bachmann and Mitt Romney saying he will not be allowed to become the GOP nominee, Newt Gingrich saying he might rather vote for President Obama, Santorum saying he would have to take “a lot of antacid” to vote for him, and Jon Huntsman running an ad about him entitled “Unelectable.”

When Kelly Clarkson announced her endorsement of Paul on Twitter, people responded by saying inaccurate, condescending, and just plain rude things like:

  • “Now THAT is how you get someone to unfollow you on Twitter…and in your career.”
  • “its good that you dont want women to have the right to choose & think ppl should die in the ER”
  • “oh my god I’ve never been more disappointed I thought you were smarter wow”
  • “It does concern me a little that you support Ron Paul given his hateful views towards Jews…it did kind of rub me the wrong way”

Fellow singer Michelle Branch bravely agreed with Clarkson, and she was met with a storm of similarly obnoxious comments, such as…

  • “ron paul is a homophobe! how could you EVER support him? when you used to sell records, you had so many gay fans. #sad.”
  • “supporting ron paul means supporting racism and homophobia, you both need to stop.”

It is beyond me how people can find it sad or disappointing that someone endorses a pro-liberty politician. Even if a celebrity endorsed a politician I hated, I wouldn’t personally attack them or insult their intelligence. And, if I disagreed with someone’s opinions, I would criticize those opinions, using logic and reasoning. But I guess that takes more effort than calling someone a homophobe, an anti-Semite, and a racist.

September 6, 2011

In case you missed it: the latest airport security fiasco

Filed under: privacy & security by Victoria Liberty @ 11:33 pm

Somehow, I just found out about this story which happened last week. For anyone else who also missed this tale of airport security ridiculousness, a folk musician named Vance Gilbert was pulled off his flight and questioned by police for – get this – reading a book about 1940s aircraft.

Vance Gilbert, a black man, said he was reading a book about Polish aircraft from the 1940s aboard a United Airlines flight on Aug. 14, when he started to notice shifting among flight attendants. The plane was in line for take-off at about 6:20 a.m. en route to Washington, D.C., when the pilot looped around and returned to the gate, Gilbert said.

The Arlington man, 52, said a couple of Massachusetts State Police troopers came aboard and asked him to accompany them off the plane. Once outside, the troopers asked him a series of questions about his carry-on luggage and the book he was reading, which Gilbert was then asked to retrieve from the plane.

If you want to be outraged and/or laugh at people’s paranoia about airport security, read the rest at Arlington Patch.

Gilbert claims that he was the victim of racial profiling and is trying to get his money back and possibly take legal action with the help of the ACLU. I don’t think anyone of any race should be questioned by police for a book that they’re reading, especially if that book is about airplanes from the 1940s! Completely ridiculous.

Also check out Gilbert’s website, as well as some great letters to the editor from the Boston Globe.

August 22, 2011

Why does everyone hate the French?

Filed under: culture & social issues,law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 8:22 am

Jan Moir at the Daily Mail wrote a column the other day devoted to bashing French people because of the (alleged) actions of Gerard Depardieu and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Gérard Depardieu Cannes 2010 Socialist rally Zenith 2007 05 29 n4

She writes, “If someone is going to urinate like a horse in the aisle of a packed international flight taxiing along a runway, then that someone is going to be a Frenchman. You could bet your last croissant on it. No doubt about it…A Frenchman every time.” And, she adds, “any Frenchman worth his sel de mer always feels that the rules do not apply to him.”

Even if you ignored the fact that Depardieu didn’t really have a choice about what he did if he had to go to the bathroom and the plane crew wouldn’t let him into the bathroom or off of the plane, and the fact that Strauss-Kahn is looking more and more likely to be innocent of what he is charged with, it is ridiculous to condemn an entire nationality because of two people. If someone wrote something like this about Hispanics or African-Americans, for example, there would be a public uproar and they would be fired. In fact, that is essentially what happened to radio host Jay Severin, for example, when he called Mexicans “primitives” and “criminaliens.” Why is it considered OK for Moir to write what she wrote about French people?

On the subject of DSK, he’s awaiting a hearing tomorrow where the District Attorney’s office is looking increasingly likely to move to dismiss the charges against him. Prosecutors will meet with his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, today, and her lawyer is planning to ask the judge to disqualify D.A. Cyrus Vance from the case. This comes after allegations that, contrary to earlier claims that Strauss-Kahn’s friends were looking to pay off Diallo’s relatives to make the case go away, her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, actually approached the defense team, offering for her to stop cooperating with prosecutors in the criminal case in exchange for money. DSK and his lawyers apparently refused that offer. I would love to see the reaction of Moir and other French-bashing people if DSK is freed once and for all.

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