hummingwolf: (My world is askew!)
So, the person who will presumably become the next president of the United States had a little tweetstorm which included the statement that people who burn the American flag should suffer some consequence like losing their citizenship or spending a year in prison.

There are just so, so many things going on here. One thing nobody seems to be commenting on: Trumpelthinskin apparently believes that loss of U.S. citizenship is roughly equivalent to spending a mere year behind bars. Seriously? Which prison was he thinking of sending them to--Guantanamo?

Anyway, many people are responding to this. Some people think that responding to DJT's tweets at all is a mistake: Trump Wants You to Burn Flags While He Burns Constitution
But why would he choose to pick this strange fight? Here is a case where the common complaint that he is distracting the public from unflattering stories rings true. Proposing a flag-burning ban is a classic right-wing nationalist distraction, and Trump has a number of ugly stories from which to distract: his plan for massive, unprecedented corruption, the extreme beliefs of his appointees, a controversy over a recount that highlights his clear defeat in the national vote....

Trump’s flag-burning tweet is a frightening moment not because his proposal stands any chance of enactment, but because it reflects one of the few signs that his dangerous and authoritarian politics is calculated, and not merely crazy.

While there may be some merit to that argument, there's also the fact that the person we expect to be sworn in as the next president apparently wants us to believe that a proposal to strip someone of U.S. citizenship for exercising their first amendment rights is acceptable in American political discourse.

David Frum asks on Twitter: If flag-burning merits loss of citizenship, what should be the penalty for a Nazi salute by a Trump supporter?

which seems like a valid question.

Regarding flag burning, here's a bit of the SCOTUS decision U.S. v. Eichman: "Government may create national symbols, promote them, and encourage their respectful treatment," Brennan wrote. "But the Flag Protection Act of 1989 goes well beyond this by criminally proscribing expressive conduct because of its likely communicative impact. We are aware that desecration of the flag is deeply offensive to many. But the same might be said, for example, of virulent ethnic and religious epithets, vulgar repudiations of the draft, and scurrilous caricatures [all of which the Court had deemed protected by the First Amendment]. 'If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.' Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering."

Yes, I am aware that HRC also wanted to outlaw flag-burning. I'm not a fan of the idea when it comes from her either, though at least she's never proposed stripping someone's citizenship for the act.

Also, if you were wondering if a natural-born U.S. citizen could lose their citizenship, the answer is yes, but neither burning a flag nor getting on Trumpelthinskin's nerves is enough to do it:

Section 349 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. nationals are subject to loss of nationality if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality.

More info here.

DJT isn't even president yet and he seems intent on proving in more and more ways every day that he is completely unfit for the office. This Is Not Normal. This Is Not Okay.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
This Is Not Normal

The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it is not. They do not want you to yearn for a freer, less oppressive and less corrupt time, and they do not want you to think it odd when, say, a government agency is purged or a bunch of protesters are arrested and vanish into the prisons without ever seeing trial. They want you to think it is normal when the President is openly selling your interests out to a foreign power, or when he is using the levers of government to materially enrich and empower his family. The presumption of normality during abnormal times is one of the most powerful weapons the authoritarian has, and that is why it is so important to recognize how profoundly abnormal Donald J. Trump will be as president. So I assembled a list.

The Abnormal Presidency

I was going to quote a bit of this one as a teaser, but you should read the whole thing if you haven't already. Because, well, This Is Not Normal.

Two Links

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 04:20 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Sometimes people online will link to a comic strip and tell you, "This is the story of my life!" Well, yeah, this is the story of my life. Thank you, XKCD.

In other news, The Doctor has been following the news: Wikileaks, Cablegate, the media, and you.

Fear of Flying?

Monday, November 15th, 2010 01:49 pm
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
The Doctor has an excellent write-up of new TSA procedures.
Oh, and [ profile] ginmar, a veteran actually trained in doing full-body searches, offers her take on the usefulness of TSA procedures. Note: Any articles or blog posts about the TSA should be considered potentially triggering for anyone with any kind of triggers.

Times like this, I'm almost grateful I don't have anywhere to fly to.

(And of course, every time I think of airport security, I think of Michael Tony Futi. It seems that sexual assault and the deaths of babies are the price we must pay to keep America free. Because nothing is more liberating than widespread trauma.)
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
This evening, Google alerted me to an entry about the case of Michael Tony Futi, the 14-day-old baby who died in February 2008 after being locked up at Honolulu International Airport, having flown to Hawaii from American Samoa for heart surgery. This one still hurts to read about, hurts to think about.

This is the only ending I have. An anonymous commenter there found a link to the judgment in the civil case Futi et al v. United States of America, if any of you want to read it for yourselves.


Sunday, September 28th, 2008 10:45 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
September 27-October 4, 2008: Happy Banned Books Week! Celebrate by picking up one of the most frequently challenged books from your local library or bookstore! This is somewhat US-centric, but those of you in other locations can probably find or figure out what books would be on a similar list where you are.

In other news, according to the First Amendment Center, "Americans traditionally support the general concepts of free expression and religious liberty, but when asked in the survey about specific situations, many were willing to accept a measure of government involvement or even control.... Perhaps one reason so many are not fearful of, or would even invite, government limits on the five freedoms is that so few of us can even name them." See details at link.
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
Detainees drugged without medical reason--U.S. government violating its own rules in the process.

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

About one detainee:
"I can't be deported," he replied. "I have a wife I love very much." Besides, he told them, he was still appealing his immigration case. He shouldn't have to leave, he protested, until the judge had ruled. That day, he was returned to Alabama. But he said that immigration officers warned him, "We'll find a way to get you on a plane."

A few weeks later, the officers came back and again took him to a holding cell in Atlanta. He was, the medical log says, becoming "increasingly anxious and non-cooperative per flt. to Nigeria." At 1:30 p.m., the log says, "Dt taken down by four" guards.

Ade was being held down, he recalled, when he noticed a nurse "with a needle and a bottle with some kind of substance in it." He said he told the guards: "Okay, fine, fine. If it's going to be like this, don't inject me. I will go on my own free will."

Check out page 2 of the article to see which drugs were commonly used in this nifty cocktail and in what doses they were given. Hey, have I ever mentioned in this journal that one of my recurring childhood nightmares was the one where government officials came to my house, accused me of something-or-other, and injected me with drugs against my will? (Link via [ profile] supergee.)
hummingwolf: Part of a julia fractal in colors of fire and smoke. (Fire-flavored fractal)
Baby locked up at Honolulu airport dies

Luaipou Futi and a nurse banged on a locked door at Honolulu International Airport Friday morning and begged for medical help for Futi's 14-day-old son, who had flown here from American Samoa for heart surgery and was becoming distressed in the warm room.

According to Futi's attorney, from the other side of the door, the women heard voices telling them to remain calm.

After 30 minutes in the room, Futi, her son, Michael Tony Futi, and the traveling nurse, Arizona Veavea, were released, attorney Rick Fried said.

City paramedics took Michael to Kaiser Permanente's Moana-lua Medical Center, but he died later that morning. Emergency Services Department officials said they received a call at 6:10 a.m. and the child was taken to Kaiser Moanalua in critical condition.

Autopsy results are pending.

More at the link above, including video. I can't be coherent about this one. (Link via [ profile] supergee.)

Online life

Monday, December 10th, 2007 08:29 pm
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
So, a bunch of people have been linking to this article recently, all about a Russian blogger (a LiveJournal user) who was charged with "inciting hate" against police officers in his journal several months ago. People who have been linking to that article have been claiming that it's evidence of SUP's being in bed with Putin's government, but is there any proof of that? Were the blogger's entries public or in some place where the Russian government should not have been able to find them? Wait, let me follow the links instead of asking you lot...

Do You Dare To Leave a Comment? He posted a comment, apparently publicly, and recommended that six police in every city be "ceremonially burned daily, or better twice a day (at midday and midnight, for example)." "The law enforcement agencies have proven that Terentyev is the author of the offensive statements by studying his school essays. Terentyev has been asked to provide a written statement promising he will not leave the city, Yury Knyazev, a senior aide to the republic's prosecutor, told" So it's a case of Russian prosecutors cracking down on dissent, but not (apparently) a case of SUP cracking down on him. 'Anton Nosik, director of's chief administrator in Russia, told daily Kommersant the case was "absurd." "The ignorance of local judges often plays a role in the outcome of cases connected to the internet," Nosik said. "I hope that with many journalists present, the judge will look at the essence of the case and not simply hand down a guilty verdict."' More on Russian blogs here.

In more entertaining LJ-related stuff, the latest list of things you can't search for on LiveJournal is over here. Check out the interest list on this profile, which consists entirely of terms you cannot search for on LiveJournal. I began to do something similar over here*, but must bow down to the true masters.

Whoever thought that an interest in "children's choral music" or "undaunted circumnavigation" could be so naughty?

For those wondering: the closest anyone has gotten to an official LJ statement about the interest search so far is comments by [ profile] marta over in [ profile] lj_policy.
We discussed this today, and I need to talk to several more people this week before I'll know what to say about the blocked search terms. I'm sorry I don't have an answer today (that was what I was optimistically hoping for) but I want to be sure what I say is really correct and accurate.

So far a) it's been that way since June and b) there was a one-time addition to the terms in late October and c) it's not related to the flagging program or the SUP purchase or anything like that.

Thinking back, I believe I did search for other users interested in "raccoons" in the last few months and did get the new error. But if this did in fact happen, I figured it was because LJ was having a server glitch again. Never did it occur to me that my interest in my fuzzy masked neighbors could be seen as a sign of evil intent.

* Thanks to the magic of OpenID, with my accounts at LJ and IJ I have four different profiles: hummingwolf here, hummingwolf there, on LiveJournal, and on InsaneJournal. There is someone who has me friended on InsaneJournal who has never friended me on LiveJournal, and someone who has friended on LiveJournal who has never friended either hummingwolf on InsaneJournal or hummingwolf on LiveJournal. It all gets terribly confusing.
hummingwolf: Mathemagical animation made out of string. (Incredible String Thing)
I believe in basic human rights for everyone, whether or not they deserve them.

I believe that adults have the right to enter into contracts of whatever form, as long as those contracts are made through mutual consent and do not harm others or induce either party to break some necessary law (such as laws against murder). I believe that this right exists whether or not the parties have ever had sex with each other.

I believe that all sex acts should be consensual.

I believe that adults have a right to privacy and freedom from government intrusion into their private lives. I believe that this right extends to consensual sexual behavior which does no demonstrable harm to others and does not involve breach of contract with others.

I believe that the right to freedom of association extends to people of whom you disapprove.

I believe in rule by law, not by individuals or groups who consider themselves outside or above the law.

I believe that where laws are unjust, they must be changed; but also that when those in authority break the law, they deserve greater punishment than those under their authority. I believe that those at the highest levels of government should be held to the highest standards.

I believe that any sense of security achieved by the restriction of basic human liberty is a false sense of security which cannot endure.

I believe that the single most important function of any branch of government is to protect the people from the abuses of the other branches of government.

I believe that punishment should come after the conclusion of a fair trial, not before.

I believe that some people deserve to be tortured. However, I also believe that acts of torture do such damage both to the torturer and to the society that condones torture that torture must not be condoned, however much it may be deserved.

I believe that a government which cannot achieve its objectives without torture is a government which must change its objectives. I believe that a society for which torture is essential to the way of life is a society which deserves to crumble.


Wednesday, November 27th, 2002 07:18 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
So, most of you know a little something about the Information Awareness Office and their plans for Total Information Awareness by now. You know that the office (headed by Admiral John Poindexter, who did so well with Iran-Contra) wants to develop a humongous database tracking everything there is to know about you and every move you make on the Internet.

Well, skimming through [ profile] sos_usa, I learned of an interesting opinion piece from 1997 written by a United States Senator who objected to policies proposed by the Clinton administration regarding the Internet and use of encryption technology.

The senator wrote:

There is a concern that the Internet could be used to commit crimes and that advanced encryption could disguise such activity. However, we do not provide the government with phone jacks outside our homes for unlimited wiretaps. Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web?

The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state's interest in effective crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens' Bill of Rights.

And there's more where that came from. Things like, "Every medium by which people communicate can be subject to exploitation by those with illegal intentions. Nevertheless, this is no reason to hand Big Brother the keys to unlock our e-mail diaries, open our ATM records, read our medical records, or translate our international communications." Which is, of course, precisely what TIA is supposed to do. Wondering which senator wrote this and where they are now? Go see who the author was.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
A couple of Associated Press articles early in September dealt with the changes in Americans' legal rights after last year's terrorist attacks. Since most news sites remove stories after about 2 weeks, I'm posting the text of the articles here for future reference.
Read more... )


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