piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
2015-06-26 10:22 am
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ok, so i can still cry about some things

today the united states of america became the 18th country to recognize same-sex marriage nationwide.

the supreme court decided, alas only 5:4. John Roberts wrote in his dissent: "Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause."

he is wrong. no supreme court decision ever prevents true acceptance, indeed, it has often led to more of it simply by normalizing it. and contrary to wade vs roe this decision will not remain contentious for decades to come, because up to 63% of americans already support same-sex marriage. but this is forever: misters roberts, scalia, thomas, and alito are on record for having been on the wrong side of history.
piranha: sihouette of person sitting under bare tree; dark clouds (sad)
2015-01-10 06:20 pm
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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2013-05-09 07:05 pm


so yesterday i was prompted by an email to check where the 3D printed gun project had gotten too. very timely, since apparently they just managed to print the entire gun (not just the lower receiver, which had been done previously). and shoot it. once. short report from the BBC which is not terribly alarmist. i guess the heat ruins the plastic barrel; i am surprised it actually fired successfully (but then i don't actually know how much heat gets released). cody wilson, the crypto-anarchist, techno-libertarian law student (not sure what he considers himself) helming the project shared the CAD files[*] on the net.

this is all there is to it. simple, eh?

so, predictably, hysteria ensued. US legislators rush to make the technology illegal, the state department demands the site take the files down. which it has; not like there's a lot of choice if your organization is in the US.

but no matter how firmly the barn door is being slammed shut, more than 100,000 people had already downloaded the files. last i checked they were also hosted on mega, kim dotcom's new venture. and however much i think he is a prick, he does enjoy sticking it to the US government, so those files will remain available somehow. also, knowing that it can be done will spur other people on to replicate and improve on the design. and the US government being its usual ham-fisted self, that alone will make some people want to help distribute the files far and wide. i sympathize with that notion; these days it doesn't take much huffing from the feds for me to cheer anyone who defies them.

it's a good time to reflect on how my views have changed from the idea that guns should only be legal for hunting (and that reluctantly). i don't like the US's gun culture; it's full of testosterone-poisoned posturing. i think rabid 2nd amendment fans live in a fantasy world, because if you actually want firepower to protect yourself from the government, go for anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. hand guns are not what wins wars against governments gone bad (cf libya). well-regulated militias? militias in the US seem to be populated by racist, neo-nazi morons; pretty much the last people i'd want to rely on to save me from the government.

i've never owned a gun. i've never really felt the need for one, though living with US gun culture got me close to wondering whether i should get one -- not to protect myself from the government, but to protect myself from the gun-wielding nut cases. i came to north america with lofty ideas about gun control. i've pretty much given up on those. it seems that in every country that's not brutally controlled by its government, the number of unregistered handguns vastly outnumbers the registered ones. ergo, these are laws people don't obey, even if they might not agitate against them. laws people don't obey are worthless. and really, laws are not the best answer to a cultural problem anyway.

so it feels weird to be on what feels like the opposite side from where i used to be, and very firmly so. i am not worried about 3D printed guns. i know now how very easy it is to make your own gun with rudimentary metalworking skills, materials and tools one can get from any hardware store. and that gun will be cheaper, safer, and much more durable. sure, plastic guns can't be detected by metal detectors, but neither can ceramics. personally i have no need to evade a metal detector. and terrorists are not gonna be falling over each other 3D printing weapons that can only get off one shot, for heavens' sakes.

i am hoping cody wilson stays out of jail. if anything, his initiative is showing all of us how dangerous a government with too damn much power is to personal liberty.

no, i'm not worried about 3D printed guns. i am worried about drones, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. i am not terribly worried about terrorists. i am much more worried about governments in cahoots with big business curtailing democracy and my own choices.

[*] not only that link, but the entire server was down when i checked just now.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2009-12-20 12:03 am

we can make him disappear

we thought what happened to peter watts was bad?

this is much, much worse.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is holding prisoners in 186 unlisted, unmarked locations, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces. people are shuttled around without a proper paper trail. their relatives often don't even know that they have been detained. they frequently don't have access to legal advice. they might get deported to wherever ICE thinks they should go, without anyone knowing.

i have no words. whenever i think i must have been too negative about the bush administration's actions, i must have been too paranoid (because some people i respected voted for him twice), something comes out that shows i wasn't even paranoid enough; the people on the daily kos whom i wrote off as mild conspiracy theorists, they were right all along.

and this continues to go on under obama's watch. to say i am disappointed in him would be an understatement. i never expected him to be a truly progressive president. but i expected better from him than allowing this sort of human rights violation to go on. he promised transparency. secret police and people disappearing isn't transparent.
piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
2009-04-23 02:41 pm

yay (mostly), connecticut

for becoming the 4th US state to legalize same-sex marriage. there is a part of the new law that makes me somewhat uncomfortable -- not only religious institutions are exempted from having to perform services for same-sex couples, but also religiously motivated groups (like the knights of columbus can refuse to rent same-sex couples their hall for the reception). on the positive side, neither general vendors (caterers, florists) nor justices of the peace may do so, and if religious organizations accept state funds they will be required to adhere to the terms as well.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2006-11-14 04:04 am

even less incentive

to visit the US again any time soon, certainly not until the new congress repeals this vile law:

immigrants arrested in the US may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the shrubwad administration argued yesterday.

that feeling of nausea isn't just a leftover from my illness.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-11-07 02:15 pm

T is for torture

of which US vice president dick cheney is heartily in favour: today's wapo lays it out in more detail.

Over the past year, Vice President Cheney has waged an intense and largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictive rules on the handling of terrorist suspects

former CIA analyst ray mcgovern at alternet has more on how the administration stooped so low.

and james carroll at the boston globe deconstructs cheney's career, which will IMO be a black mark on US history.

liar, liar, pants on fire: and yet president bush today in panama: we do not torture. maybe bush should read wikipedia, or these often detailed human rights watch reports. maybe somebody could send him this new book: torture: a human rights perspective.

it's becoming harder and harder for me to resist the word "evil" when looking at the records of the torture triumvirate bush, cheney, and rumsfeld.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-10-21 07:40 pm
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get your faith away from my prescription

yesterday i read about a pharmacist at a missouri target refusing to fill a prescription for emergency contraception. contrary to [livejournal.com profile] king_tirian, my boycott of target until they stop weaseling, and state a corporate policy of resisting faith-based customer service wouldn't do much good; there is no target around here, and i am not currently visiting the US.

while looking into this case, i've also learned that the USA's largest pharmacy chain, CVS, has instituted a policy allowing its pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on the basis of "deeply held personal beliefs" (which i just bet is code for "fundamentalist christian beliefs").

this is wrong. here's a suggestion for people whose deeply held personal beliefs seem to extend to pushing them on other people when they're in need of medication: get another job. surely the pro-life movement would love to have you work for them in some capacity. and to those companies who give such people the time of day because you don't want to alienate the fundies: just you wait until those of us who usually live and let live start to exert similar pressures.

it's ridiculous. would it be reasonable for a vegetarian to work at burger king and refuse to serve any customer who orders a whopper, or another meat-containing dish? the person would get fired faster than you could say "2 weeks notice". maybe a muslim worker at the 7-11 should have the right to refuse to sell you any fast food during daytime hours of ramadan? how about the orthodox jewish salesperson at sears who won't sell you anything on saturdays. would you like that? why should we make special exceptions for fundamentalist christians? why should their deeply held beliefs count for more?

a modern democracy should not just stand for freedom of religion, it should also stand for freedom from religion.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-10-18 11:29 pm
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i probably shouldn't have

but i watched frontline tonight, which dealt with the shifts in US policy towards torture, in guantanamo and iraq.

now i feel sick. not because the program was particularly graphic; it wasn't. but i just need to hear descriptions of torture and i can all too well imagine the reality. and indeed, there were not just "a few bad apples", but the rot goes all the way to the top.

it's a good program, fairly even-handed, and uses some interesting sources (including first-hand accounts of several interrogators, some still active). if you didn't have a chance to watch it, they'll put it online tomorrow. and there is additional material available in PBS' special section.

i'm completely with michael traynor, who is a lawyer who served on the advisory board of "the harvard project" [1], and disagrees with the idea that newly-regulated torture lite is an acceptable option: There is no compelling justification for getting on the slippery slope of attempting to justify exceptions from the prohibitions against torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

There is no necessary correlation between additional regulation and additional professionalism. In addition to moral principle, coercive techniques are not established as a superior method for effectively eliciting timely, truthful, and useful information, and they present serious counter risks of vengeful retaliation to every American who becomes a POW, corroding discipline, and undermining our nation's values.

the day donald rumsfeld dies will be a good day for me, because a very, very bad man will finally be gone. the world would be a better and safer place if he had never come to power. interesting, how i feel the same about him (and GWB) as i feel about saddam hussein and osama bin laden. they all have ethics that are incompatible with mine. they all are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths of people like me, whose existence didn't harm the world one bit. i wonder whether us peons will ever wake up enough en masse to say "enough" to the power-hungry. centuries of history speak against it. *bleh*.

[1] Long-Term Legal Strategy Project for Preserving Security and Democratic Freedoms in the War on Terrorism (pdf)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-10-05 11:36 pm
Entry tags:

treatment of prisoners

the US senate just made me feel a little bit better about the US government: they agreed to regulate the detention, interrogation and treatment of prisoners held by the US military in an amendment to a military spending bill. the white house has threatened to veto the bill if the amendment were attached.

however, the senate showed some guts, a lot of republicans showed some common decency, and the measure passed 90 to 9, with 46 republicans joining 43 democrats and one independent in favor.

about time that they show this arrogant SOB in the white house that he can't get away with doing everything his damn unethical, corrupt way. man, i am hoping we'll see more and more of this. the honeymoon might finally be over.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-09-14 02:23 pm
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yay for massachusetts.

a joint session of the house and senate voted 157-39 against a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions.

dozens of legislators who had initially supported the proposed change to the state constitution said they no longer felt right about denying the rights of marriage to same-sex couples

"Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry," said state Sen. Brian Lees, an East Longmeadow Republican who had been a co-sponsor of the amendment. "This amendment which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a compromise today."

i know the opponents haven't stopped, they're busy crafting a more restrictive proposal. i am heartened by those voices who actually pay attention and note that the gay marriages that have so far been performed have not done any harm to heterosexual marriages.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-08-11 01:34 pm
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why i am boycotting the US

as a travel destination or layover: foreign citizens passing through US airports have almost no rights.

Mason said the U.S. government is interpreting its powers in such a way that passengers never intending to enter the U.S. connecting to international flights at U.S. airports must prove they are no threat and could be allowed to enter the country.

If passengers are deemed to be inadmissible, they have no constitutional rights even if later taken to an American prison. Mason told Judge David Trager that's because they are deemed to be still outside the U.S., from a legal point of view.

isn't that handy.

the interpretation means travellers can be detained without charge, denied the right to consult a lawyer, and even refused necessities such as food and sleep.

the only right i'd have is that to not be subjected to "gross physical abuse". somehow i am not relieved, because i know how the US weasels about torture, which it has conveniently defined as "pain consistent with major organ failure or death". and what's the punishment should i be tortured? can the guilty parties at least be sued (which might keep them in line)? nope. the U.S. Justice Department argues that even if torture does occur, U.S. officials can't be sued under the Torture Victims Protection Act because it only applies to foreign individuals committing or allowing torture.

fucking shrubwads.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-07-20 08:08 pm

it's DONE!

canada's senate has passed same-sex marriage bill, and royal assent has been given, so it's now the law of the land.

i am doing the happydance with nancy ruth.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-29 12:03 pm

trust alberta to wiggle

in response to yesterday's passage the same-sex marriage bill in the house, alberta premier ralph klein appears to consider getting out of the marriage business altogether, and only perform civil unions.

i am all for it! little does he realize that this would open the door to polyfolk. let's hope it stays that way long enough to get a foot in the door.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-28 08:28 pm

landmark legislation

same-sex marriage bill passes the house 158 to 133. the senate will rubberstamp it, and i doubt the royal assent will be withheld, so it's pretty much a done deal now.

*happydance*. yay, canada! paul martin said: "We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights." damn straight.

though i can't say that my joy is unmitigated, because there is too much resistance to it overall. at least the NDP, the bloc, and most of the liberals have gotten their act together to support the charter of rights instead of letting religious zeal undermine human rights, but it took too damn many legal challenges.

and here's something to remember come the next elections: stephen harper said he will bring back the same-sex marriage law for another vote if he wins the next election. i do so hope this costs him and his backers dearly.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
2005-06-23 06:28 pm

new brunswick joins

the other sane provinces and will soon perform same-sex marriages.

that leaves only PEI, alberta, and the northwest territories. get with it, guys.

in the meantime, parliament has been extended to handle C-38 (the same-sex marriage bill), and C-48 (the NDP-deal budget bill).

says peter mackay: "Let's be clear, the Liberal party is now cutting deals with the separatists, to appease the socialists, to prop up their corrupt government,". look who's talking about deals with the separatists! sheesh. sometimes i wonder whether you CPC people ever listen to yourselves talk. does the hypocrisy not hurt while oozing out the side of your mouth?