Hate Speech vs Free Speech

Pamela Geller has been showing off a lot of her ugly side in recent news stories.  I have to wonder if she even has a prettier side, as I listen to her spew her hate under the guise of freedom of speech.  It seems to me that a closer examination on the matter of hate speech vs free speech, is definitely in order.

The subject of Ms. Geller’s hate will not be the topic of this blog, though it would make for a good rant.  Instead, let’s concentrate on this whole ‘freedom of speech’ issue as it pertains to the 1st. amendment.  As the right-wingers are prone to do, it’s always a cherry picking event!

The first amendment states this: “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.”

“Peaceful assembly” is a key phrase here.  If the way you express your freedom of speech incites others to violence, or is unnecessarily hurtful, then you need to keep your noisy yap shut! Just because you have the right to say whatever you want, doesn’t mean it is always prudent to do so.  You CAN poke a stick at an angry bear.  Go right ahead; but be prepared to be that bear’s next meal!

It would appear, unfortunately, that we cannot regulate good sense.  At a minimum, as far as public assemblies go, why not have professional moderators present?  This is the way structured debate forums handle their platforms, to keep the debaters from stepping too far out of line.

Also related to this subject; why is it that we look to the Constitution for guidance and with such reverence as though it were etched in stone? Where are the so needed revisions to this archaic document?  The 1st amendment is not the only one that can and should be revised to reflect the current needs of our country.

I won’t use the cliche that freedom is not free.  I will say that we all need to take personal responsibility for using our freedoms wisely.  There is a fine line between reckless speech and your right to participate in such speech.

Race – Let’s Talk About It

It’s time to be proactive about the subject of race in America.  Why wait until communities are burning themselves down?  It should be an ongoing subject; not something that is spurred on by local incidents.

Many Americans I’m sure have been hopeful that having an African American president could bring about some peace to this arena.  Instead, political ramifications actually prevents rather than helps achieve this important goal.  Indeed because the President is a man of color, he is advised by many to tone down any discussion of race.  I am happy to see that he has not always followed that advice.  It’s true that a man of power, particularly a man that holds the highest office of the land, should not appear to be overly militant in his approach.  That being said, if the President of the United States can’t start from the top down to address an issue that so adversely affects the nation, then who can?

There was a period of time when it appeared that our country was gaining control over our prejudices; but along came the O.J. Simpson trial, which in my mind, set us back about a hundred years that we had just gained.  It’s clear we have a long way to go yet.

Frankly, as a slight aside, I get sick and tired of the objection of interference by the government on what some perceive as personal intrusions on individual lives.  I believe the government has the right to take on a parental control of their ‘children’ when they are too stupid to know better of their own volition.

This author has always maintained that racism is the worst scourge on society.  Until we learn to live, love and learn effectively from all groups of people, we will never be able to work together to solve our many other serious social issues.  Suffice it to say, this is not just a black and white issue (no pun intended); but one that includes all ethnic backgrounds.

For a country that was centered around the acceptance of all races and creeds, looking to better their lot in life, America has lost its path to that direction.

Tobacco Companies Need to Come Clean

cigarette buttIt certainly can’t be denied that tobacco companies continue to be a part of the downfall of people’s health. It also begs the question as to even a twinge of guilt on the part of CEO’s. You have to wonder if they have any scruples at all. Helping instead of hurting is within their power.

In this day and age it’s unlikely that any portion of the population is unfamiliar with the dangers of cigarette smoking, yet the tobacco companies continue to churn out these deadly cancer sticks as though they were ice cream cones! With all their billions, you’d think they could come up with better ways to continue to make a profit and ease their conscience at the same time. Speaking particularly of the legalized marijuana industry; why couldn’t tobacco companies switch allegiance to the less deadly promotion of legalized marijuana? Studies have shown that indeed the health risks involved with marijuana use is significantly lower than cigarette smoking. Marijuana vs. Cigarettes

It’s been said that tobacco manufacturers are waiting with bated breath for marijuana to become legal so that they can jump on the profit bandwagon. However, why wait? Can they not in some way dig down into their own pockets, which are certainly deep enough, to help advance the push to legalization? Of course now the point may be moot since it appears there is every indication that eventually legalization will happen with or without the help of the tobacco companies; at least in California anyway. Across the nation is another story. Who knows how long it will take in other parts of the country?

It can be supposed that tobacco companies are at least slightly leaning in the direction of owning a conscience with the introduction of “environmentally green” cigarettes. Green Cigarettes

This is an avenue which certainly should be pursued. I must admit, this author was unaware of environmentally green cigarettes until researching for this article. Let’s hope more research is continued in this area. Let’s also hope that if the tobacco companies DO pursue this endeavor, they will not charge outrageously for their product.

Not only would the tobacco companies be participating in an altruistic pursuit by helping those who would be benefited by the legalization of marijuana, but they could indeed be helping the masses to wean off the more lethal cigarette habit.

Church and State – Separate

While I touched on the subject in a previous blog, let’s give the subject of separation of Church and State a more thorough examination here.  The first amendment says this:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

Let’s look at how that amendment applies to the gay marriage law.  Currently the law is not forcing pastors to perform gay marriages, but provides for marriage licenses to be issued to same sex couples.  If a couple wishes to be married in a church, there are plenty liberal churches who will marry them.  Churches who don’t wish to marry gay couples should have their ‘Statement of Beliefs’ revised to protect their rights.  I’m not sure if such a statement is legally binding, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that it would be.

So, if the law doesn’t force pastors or priests to marry gay couples, there is no infringement on religious freedom.  The state has an obligation to protect individual freedoms as well as religious freedom.  Religion can preach from its pulpit its views, but neither they nor the state should be allowed to prohibit an individual’s personal behaviors in their own homes.

The same applies to prayer in school and the teaching of creationism.  Let the children pray at home before they come to school in the morning, if they must.  Creationism is not taught in public schools because it is not a viable theory.  Evolution is taught because it is a solid theory, as is gravity, and no one denies gravity.  Public schools have their hands full just trying to provide a simple curriculum.  Religious instruction should be kept in the Church and in the home.

If religious people are so sure of their convictions, then they really shouldn’t need support from the State.  Not only is it not their function, but getting embroiled in religious battles distracts the government from addressing other more serious local and global issues.

Let the preachers preach and the governors govern!

Creation & Evolution – Teaching in Schools

Evolution/CreationShould Both Creation and Evolution be Taught in Schools?  There is a significant amount of evidence to indicate that evolution played a pretty big part in the way that life developed on this planet. There is no physical evidence for the creation theory, at least none that has come to the attention of this author.

Since the Creation theory is a religious belief, shouldn’t it stay within the confines of churches and parochial schools? As an interesting aside, the term parochial means narrow or close-minded. That little bit of irony is enough to make one think.

The argument can be made that evolution is also just a theory. At one time, that certainly may have been the case. By definition, a theory is a concept which has no scientific facts to back it up. In recent years many facts have come to light about the so-called theory of evolution. These facts indeed support the idea that evolution is really no longer just a theory. Consider the following:

  1. Fossil evidence
  2. DNA changes that can be tracked
  3. Predictability which can be demonstrated
  4. Evolution which can be observed in modern times
  5. Like morphology in structures as they transform

There are entirely too many of what seem to be supernatural experiences which give no impression for logical explanations. Can they be attributed to a divine being? A case can certainly be made. Of course many hard core atheists do not believe in any supernatural occurrences and believe there are logical explanations for what appears to be supernatural. Ponder these common beliefs of the supernatural:

  1. Precognition
  2. Near death experiences
  3. Physic predictions
  4. Body weight loss after death, indicating the release of a soul (not that of excrement)
  5. Children remembering past lives

If one had a desire to be further enlightened, all of the above can be researched in detail.

New scientific enlightenment doesn’t have to discourage those of faith. Neither should they become radically defensive on behalf of their beliefs. What causes many people of faith to get their dander up on this subject is the notion of Atheism. Evolution doesn’t necessarily negate the existence of a divine being.

Bottom line, from a non emotional standpoint, it makes sense not to teach Creationism in schools. Parents have now, and have always had, the right to teach their children whatever they deem necessary. From a separation of state and church position, it makes good sense to keep religious training in the home and in parochial schools.

Customer Service – No Can Do

customerIn a day and age of super technology and ever expanding giant corporations, you’d think that providing good customer service would improve. Wrong! Bigger is not always better. In fact, in this author’s humble opinion, quite the opposite. The list of examples is endless.

Here is a selection of just one week’s most frustrating, exasperating, stomach constricting, Excedrin headache number 4,444,444-type events.

Let’s start with my all time favorite utility company to hate; the Phone Company. I needed to make a call to my cable company (probably my second most favorite utility company to hate, who will be berated shortly). Since I was at work and had no access to the correct phone directory, I called information, the all-knowing keeper of phone numbers. Not! I asked for the number of the Cable Company in the city in which I lived, and the operator insisted that the only number was for a city about 70 miles away from my residence. I used my local directory to look up the number regularly. What was his problem? I begged to differ with him and proceeded to tell him that there were numbers not only for my city, but two surrounding cities as well. In fact, I practically know the number of the Cable Company by heart, since I spend a significant amount of time making complaints to them. I gave up arguing with the operator and called the number he gave me in order to obtain the number I needed for my local cable company. Jeez!! I would really have been annoyed if I had to pay for the long distance call instead of my kindly employer.

Next we have the almighty cable provider, whose service without; most of us would have no television at all. I, personally, cannot get any television reception without a cable hookup. What’s up with that anyway? Since when do you need cable connection to receive local TV stations? That concept rings of monopoly, big time! Nothing makes me crazier than coming home from work to plop down on the couch to watch my favorite soap, only to find my VCR has recorded nothing but gray fuzzy static stuff! I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman, yet I reserve the right to engage in at least one stupid activity. For me that is the soap I have been watching for the past 30 years.

In light of that insight into my personality, you can imagine the mood I am in when I have to make yet another call to the Cable Company. Of course they can’t tell me how long it will be before they are through working on the lines, nor whether or not the money for the new stations they are working on providing will come out of my pocket. And, if I want credit, I have to call every day I am without service in order to get credit on my bill. The kicker is, you cannot even threaten to cancel your service and go elsewhere because there is no elsewhere to go. Cable companies provide service for particular areas and if you happen to live in the area of the crappiest cable provider, such is your fate. Oh joy, and for all this fantastic service I pay $51.24 a month!

Now, here is the most annoying incident. Well, the most annoying incident that week anyway. I am sure I will have many more occasions where my phone seems to hang off my ear, endlessly making complaint calls to utility companies, credit card companies, and various other service providers.

I speak now of the brown truck brigade, UPS. The only good thing about UPS is the good-looking drivers. They are in the same league with construction workers and firemen. You rarely encounter an ugly one. However, along with the rest of the companies I noted, service is not exactly their forte either! I seldom receive UPS packages. You would think the on the few occasions when I have, they could get the delivery right. This is not the case. It all began on a Wednesday and after five phone calls, the package they attempted to deliver the previous Friday still had not been delivered. I won’t even bother to bore you with the details of the complaint phone conversations. Suffice it to say; at least ten idiots were most likely involved with this fiasco!

As you can tell, these incidents happened back in the VCR days. The technology has improved even more, but the customer service has not. Now if you make a phone call to complain about something, you can’t even complain to a live person. And, if by some miracle you do get a live operator, you have a 60-40 percent chance that you won’t be able to understand a word they say! Don’t get me wrong, I love the new technology, so much so that as an early adopter, I pay a high price for all the gadgets because I can’t wait to get them.

So readers, if you expected solutions, humph! Get a clue. This was just a bitch session. I will attempt to solve world problems next week. Hah! If only someone would let me, I’d be all over it!

Misogyny – Take a Hike

StopRecently it has come to my attention that women regularly received the nastiest of comments when expressing their opinions on the Internet. I had been thinking I needed fodder/inspiration for a new article. This topic geared me up big time and provided a great segue!

It’s been said that women have come a long way baby! I think not.  Misogyny still needs to take a hike. Sexism, racism and vulgarity against women is rampant.

The War on Women by the Republican Party clearly shows the attitude of men has taken us a hundred years step backwards. When a well-known radio personality can go on the air and degrade women and receive nothing more than a hand slap, we know we still have years to go.

Women in general take the brunt of sexist comments. After some private poll taking, it seems men are rarely targeted for comments related directly to their maleness; that is, nothing that can be applied to them just because they are men. This was a bit of an eye-opener in itself and allows me the freedom (in my mind anyway) to say the following: Primal instinct is to run rip shod over women, just because they CAN. Then when we stand up for ourselves, we become b-words, c-words and who knows what all! Speaking of the C-word; that word is as vile and offensive to women as the N-word is to African Americans. Despite the O.J. trial which set us back tremendously in the fight against racism, you will note that you rarely see the N-word in print anymore. Some lines HAVE been drawn. We need to draw a few more.

The nurturing component in women automatically makes us compliant towards men. It would behoove men to just treat us with respect, and frankly, the payoff would be most advantageous, particularly for men. We don’t want MORE than you do; we just want the same respect as any human individual, male or female. Whether men want to be admit it or not, they feel threatened by the fairer sex. I daresay however that most of us really aren’t interested in taking over typical male arenas, and in fact would probably acquiesce in this area, if we were treated kinder. Not so much to ask, you’d think. Of course I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be entering typical male arenas if they so truly desire. What I am saying is that we’ve been forced to put on our boxing gloves, which led to taking on male roles.

From all appearances, you can get away with anything in print. People who wouldn’t normally speak this garbage verbally, feel perfectly free to do so in email, social networks and blogs. As writers we’ve been told that it is just part of the game and should be expected. NO, it should NOT. Certainly we should expect objection or differences in opinion about our chosen topics, but there is no room for vulgar language and abusive remarks in the way of name calling. Aren’t we better than this as human beings? Internet sites should monitor better, and not only remove the comments, but also ban abusers from their sites. We may not be able to control the masses verbally, but we can certainly control what they spew out in print.

Oprah on The OWN Network

Oprah W.I have always been a fan of the Oprah show when it was on a local TV network. But now that she has her own network, OWN, she has been producing some really great TV. You have to love the title too; the Oprah Winfrey Network who ‘OWNs’ her own network. She is quite the force for sure. I suppose not everyone loves her, but she is hard not to admire. Her ABC network shows were informative and thought provoking. She also did some celebrity fanfare shows and others on non- altruistic topics. Not so on OWN. While she does still interview some celebrities, the topics are not self-serving.

Oprah has always been about teaching people “how to live their best lives,” which is her by-line. On OWN, she has taken that motto many steps forward. Her on-going series named “Oprah’s Life Tour” is meant to bring people together by learning the cultures of other countries. She does this by touring the countries herself, and then bringing back what she has learned to her audience. The idea of presenting the cultures in such a way, that shows us how we are more alike than unalike, is a popular theme/learning exercise.

One chapter of the Life Tour was based on Oprah’s trip to India. In her own words, it changed her life forever. I’d venture saying that it indeed affected many of her viewers in the same way. I was profoundly affected. This was nothing like her travel profiles of other countries. India is a nation steeped in paradoxes when juxtaposed against the direst of poverty. Her interview with four Indian women from different sociological backgrounds was fascinating, yet disturbing. Despite knowing the alarming conditions in which women suffer in India and other mid-Eastern countries, it is still hard to wrap your brain around the atrocity of it all.

It’s all about spirituality these days for Oprah, which is NOT about religion and which she is always sure to differentiate for her viewers. She interviews many spiritual teachers on her show called “Super Soul Sunday”, which is my favorite. The title alone is enough to soothe the soul. Again, in this series she attempts to show how we are all seeking the same things despite which spiritual path we take. On one episode she clearly defines herself as a Christian, yet she has no problem embracing the concepts expressed by the many spiritual leaders she has interviewed. This came as quite a surprise to me considering the fact that it is bound to lead to backlash by mainstream Christianity. Maybe she revealed herself for just this purpose; to illicit more discussion on a matter of such supreme importance.

Toast 2 Wealth Video

I’m looking forward with great expectation to future episodes of these shows. If your interest has been peaked, you can catch the past episodes as well as the newest ones, as they are repeated over and over again. Maybe they will become your favorites.

Is Contact Sports Just an Excuse to Rage?

contact sportsTake me out to the ball game; take me out to the Park. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. La, la, la, etc. etc. Football, baseball, basketball, just American as apple pie the good old boys will tell you. Maybe to some, but myself, I prefer my pie without a kick or head butt! A certain amount of contact has become expected and considered the norm for the game of football. Frankly, the fact that the term “contact” is used to describe the physical aspect of football and other contact sports games lead me to believe that the public has purposely closed their eyes to the true nature of these sports. I find nothing sporting about kicking, hitting, shoving, head butting, or spitting!

I have learned all I care to know about the game of football. However, quite a few years back, I had decided that maybe if I learned a little more about the game I might enjoy watching it with my significant other, who I might add, calls himself an NFL Sickie. I was thinking about the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy, since he spends every living, waking, breathing moment consumed by sports. So, I spent an afternoon watching a football game with my brother, interrupting him every few minutes with one stupid question after another. His answer to this particular question, I will never forget. I asked, ” Once the guy has been tackled and down on the ground, isn’t the play over?” He answered, “Yes”. Puzzled, I asked, “Then why does the rest of the team pile on top of the guy”? He answered, nonchalantly, “So he doesn’t get up, to hurt him”.

It was the end of any more football lessons for me. I began ranting and raving about how disgusting I thought it was, and he proceeds to tell me, “It’s just intimidation”. My significant other concurs; it’s all about intimidation. It’s called war. I call it an excuse to kick the crap out of somebody and get away with it!

With all the so-called concern expressed for kids these days and what is and is not proper influence, it escapes me why we hold up sports figures as role models for children. I just don’t get it. In the grand scheme of things, how important is it to be skilled at throwing a ball into a hoop, or hitting a ball out of a ballpark, or kicking a ball between goal posts? Other than the entertainment value, what effects do these skills have on society? Entertaining and amusing the masses is a lofty goal when it is done without beating the hell out of someone and calling it intimidation. Speaking of ridiculous terms, how about this one, “unnecessary roughness”. What a joke! Why not just say fifteen-yard penalty for kicking your opponent while he was down!

It may or may not be fair to use a recent news item as an example of how violence in sports breeds domestic violence, but I’m going to do it anyway. It seems an angry football fan stabbed his girlfriend forty times and killed her during a football game. What was his motive? She ran out of beer during the game. However unfair an example that may be, statistics show that domestic violence is significantly increased on football Sundays. In the words of the infamous Archie Bunker, I say case closed!​

Bashing Obama 101

Obama

Chapter 1

Mr. President, would you kindly hate all religions alike; thank you very much. Hasn’t he pretty much done that already conservatives? The right plays the semantics game to criticize the President every chance they get. What the hell difference does it make whether he uses the term “Islam Extremists” or “Radical Islam”? He has clearly shown his disdain for their actions, has he not?

Criticism of Christianity shown by the President is no different nor any less kind than any other American citizen when deserved; and, it is certainly deserved on many occasions. Christians have publicly shown themselves to be un-Christian like. Why should they not be called on it? The Christian extremists in this country are no better than other religious extremists around the world. Ancient history proves Christians to be murderous bastards on the same level as the Eastern religions.

These arguments could once and for all be put to rest if we separate Church and State as was the intention of our forefathers. Conservatives love to quote the constitution when it suits their political agendas, but yet at times they seem ignorant of what it actually says.

Religion causes huge societal issues across the world. Religious institutions need to abide by the laws of the State which are or indeed should be, separate from religious law. Did not Jesus say, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s”? Isn’t that verse a clear representation of separation of Church and State? I don’t think he was speaking strictly about taxes in that statement. Other verses plainly state that we are to abide by the “king’s law”.

The President shouldn’t have to be distracted by this kind of nonsense. Maybe he’d be able to actually get something done. Maybe it might even be something the right wingers would actually be happy about! The constant nit-picking couldn’t be more counterproductive and does nothing but point out the classless level of shenanigans to which some Republicans are willing to stoop. It’s pretty bad when even their own party becomes embarrassed by their antics.

Shape up Republicans! The other side needs your help. After all, it’s why we have a multi-party system.

 

Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_Stateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

Mark 12:17

Hewbrews 13:17