Thursday, January 23, 2014

Open Letter to Ed Snowden: sticking it to the N.S.A.

Dear Ed Snowden,

     I was at the gym today and one of the news stations trotted out some news from last July. I remember when it first came out. Eric Holder "offering" you a guarantee of no death penalty if you will only come back and "plead guilty." Screw that. I hope that you don't come back here to the United States. Things have not gotten any better here. In my opinion, many of the politicians and the people talking about the N.S.A. are all bat-shit crazy. I don't think you can trust them. I certainly don't.

     The expectation of some minimal privacy here has pretty much gone down the toilet. The N.S.A. apparently has some land in Utah where the agency is planning to dump meta-data from all of our phone calls. Some court or other today said the N.S.A. surveillance program is illegal. I don't think that really matters. The N.S.A. will continue to do as it will, regardless of what any court or politician or president says. Don't come back here.

     I think they want you back here just so the publication of the leaks will [possibly] slow down or stop. I think the corporation referred to as the United States figures if you are imprisoned, then "we" will save face and not be embarrassed. Screw that. Those arguments do not impress me. They should not impress you either.
Even if you do come back and are given a lengthy prison sentence, I don't think you will get out of it alive.

     It has been said that some folks from the C.I.A. [or maybe other agencies, who really knows?] have gone to Mexico or South America and illegally kidnapped a king drug pin so he could stand trial in the U.S.A. and is now in prison somewhere. Maybe a super-max. And it has been said that some folks from the C.I.A. [ or...?] have gone down to Mexico or South America and killed off at least one problematic person. I think your idea about asking for personal protection from the Russian police force [or even if you have to pay for private bodyguards] is a wise one. Only I suspect the real danger is that some representatives from the C.I.A. [ or...?] will visit you in Russia and make you disappear or kidnap you. Our government has become the terrorist. Please be careful.

     I've never met you. I don't know you. But what you did has touched my life for sure and the lives of many other Americans. We are not the enemy here. I think the N.S.A. is pissed off because of all of the publicity. If you hadn't distributed the information, the N.S.A. would have been able to keep doing exactly what they want to do without the bother of publicity, transparency, or responsibility to the PEOPLE. Now they have to scramble a bit in order to cover their tracks. You did a noble and honorable thing. I want you to have a long and healthy and happy life. I beg you please don't come back here, regardless of any "assurances" from spokespeople who work for our government.

                    Sail Strong, Sail Safe,

                     radical sapphoq

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Going Quackers Over Duck Dynasty

     I love Duck Dynasty. I don't care that the Robertson family has different beliefs than I do. I don't care that they are considered to be "rednecks." They make me laugh and they remind me of Louisiana. I lived in Louisiana for almost a year once. 

     Things are different in the Deep South than they are in the Frozen North. When people don't like each other in Louisiana, they say so. When they disagree, they say so. Up here, not so much. Up here people hide behind their masks, pretending that they object to Susie and Josh mixing it up for any other reason than a difference in skin color. Louisiana is a far more honest place and I miss that part of living there in particular. 

     One place in particular up here in the Frozen North that I used to work at had a "morality clause" in their employee handbook. We were not under contract and this state is a "work at will" state and not a "right to work" state for those who know what that means. The fact that we had no legal protection made the clause that much more odious. The wording ran something like "We can terminate your employment if you commit any immoral or indecent act even if you do it on your own time and not here on the work site." The language sounded more official than that but the message was plain. Do something we don't like-- even on your own time away from the facility-- and we reserve our option to give you the ax. 

     I do not know what A&E's contract with Phil Robertson says. I propose to you that the reason why a television station thought it could get away with suspending Phil Robertson because of something he said during an interview with a magazine was similar to the outdated reasoning behind my previous employer's morality clause. Then GLADD had to get into the act. A&E went quackers and GLADD made the whole thing worse in my opinion.

     Phil Robertson has the right to express his beliefs clearly to someone interviewing him for a magazine. He was asked what he considers to be sinful behavior and he answered the question according to what his church teaches about what the Bible considers to be sinful behavior. He did not say "Homos are scum and all of them deserve to die." He said what he believes. And yes people, the vast majority of preachers and congregations are not ready to roll out the welcome mat to non-heterosexuals who are not celibate. Lest non-hets feel slighted, Phil also added adulterers and practitioners of beastiality to the mix. He went on to say that he treats all people with respect.

     The adulterers and fornicators did not come blasting out of the woodwork screaming "That big meanie Phil said what we are doing is wrong." Neither did the folks who do it with four-leggeds. And there are some of those in Louisiana. I knew two of them within five miles of each other. Neither one knew the other. I suspect it might have been fun for them to compare notes if they had. Sheep man was an older fellow who liked sheep overly much. Goat man preferred goats. They were not ashamed of what they did. They embraced their nicks openly. [Both of them were heterosexual men by the way]. I don't advocate that particular lifestyle. I'm just saying that it exists in Louisiana and elsewhere in the world.

     The idea of being attracted sexually to a four-legged is foreign and gross to me just as the idea of wanting a man is not something that is logical to Phil Robertson. Phil Robertson is a straight man living a straight man's life. Of course he does not understand why two men would want to have anal sex. That plus his religious beliefs makes for a man who says "That's illogical."

     A&E un-suspended Phil Robertson and I am glad of that. I suspect that GLADD is not so glad but I don't give a damn about them. In looking up the interview, I noted that there is now an old vid that has surfaced featuring Phil talking about marrying teen girls. Again, Phil Robertson has a right to say this. Furthermore, the age of consent for marriage is set by each state in the United States and not by federal law. In some states, that age is set at sixteen. In others, that age is set at eighteen. In a few, that age is set at seventeen. Folks under the age of sixteen can marry with parental permission or under special circumstances in some states. If you don't want to marry a teenager, you don't have to. 

radical sapphoq says: I am an atheist and a bisexual woman and I am a fan of Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson has the right to freedom of speech just like all other civilians do in the United States. A&E (probably, I suspect) had the legal right to suspend him. Fans of Duck Dynasty had the right to protest the suspension. I protested it also because I am a fan of the show. Even though A&E has lifted the suspension, the Robertson family has the right to move their show to a Christian station, or to a station that will not edit out any of the "in the name of Jesus" or "in Jesus' name" from the praying, or even to get their own station. And I hope the Robertson family does pull their show from A&E and go to another station. I for one will follow them and continue to watch Duck Dynasty.