Category Archives: true equality

Going with the flu and a bit about SESTA

First off, I’m very sorry for missing out on a bunch of things I really needed to write about. SESTA and why it’s a horrible bill that’s pretty much a reincarnation of SOPA/PIPA being pulled into the guise of being anti-sex trafficking but really a censorship bill being one of these things, and the small stories / trips down memory lane I was planning to write up.

Y’see, here in the land Down Under, we’ve got this lovely (coughmotherfuckinglybadcough) flu season. I caught it last week. I thought I was having a bad case of allergies from a local grass fire (they do controlled burns and sometimes, I’ll react, some times I won’t… and I was reacting…) but instead of just being allergies, it hid the fact that I had caught flu. A very bad case of flu. This savage thing’s been killing people over here. Everyone, except for our 10-year-old boy caught it – fortunately, not all at the same time. Even the eldest caught it, and she’s usually the one with the most robust immune system in the family. I’m starting to get over it, but I don’t want to push too fast and too hard because I don’t want to end up making things worse for myself in the long run. So after I post this, it’ll be back in bed for me, and I don’t think I’ll be 100% for a while.

Funny about the boyo not being sick; he’s usually the one who brings home the plagues from school, too.

Luckily, (or unluckily) it’s the school holidays, so the kids aren’t missing school, but at the same time this killed about a week of work for me and things I had planned to do through the holidays.


(This part is a repost of the comment I wrote before regarding SESTA, with links to things and notes added in.)

Summary given to me, to boil it down –

Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.

SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.

The relevant line is this (source):

This carefully crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The proposed legislation would:

Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly or recklessly facilitated their victimization;

Remember the various discussions we’ve had over the years – such as during Sad Puppies, or say, like the one where Larry blogged about that Ms America candidate who was pro self-defense? There was someone who came into the comments and made it seem like everyone who was arguing in favor for self defense was enabling rapists (Shadow’s note: that mindset exists, by the way), and not only that, she argued that we should change the definition of rape to allow for women who felt they were raped but claimed that ‘this doesn’t necessarily need to have legal consequences.’ (Note: Her fuzzy definition was met with outrage; my original response to this idiocy is here) Or, for example, the discussions recently where we talk about self-responsibility, and I cited that Tumblr post where from the story of the writer most of the people she described engaged in purely reckless behavior and then were raped… and somehow it’s up to other people to ‘start the change.

People who responded, either negatively, or arguing against those stances would be – let’s be honest here, conflating isn’t new – easily positioned to be ‘in support of sex trafficking – because some of the victims of sex trafficking might have been a bit reckless but were also unlucky enough to end up being trafficked. Or that rape victims were also trafficked.

Not only could our detractors complain about those comments, they could have the blogs shut down for ‘recklessly facilitating sex trafficking victimization.’

Nothing we say, even if we police ourselves, would be safe.

Say one of the trolls who frequently shows up goes to our blogs while we’re on our low-activity time, or while the blog owner is asleep, and makes a comment, completely unrelated to the topic at hand, saying “I know where we can get young boys.” The comment doesn’t get deleted for some time. The owner of the blog would already be a ‘sex trafficking facilitating criminal’ – because under SESTA, the blog owner and the hosting service is responsible for all content and is legally culpable. Then the allies of that troll submit a report citing that comment and claim that the blog is in violation. And escalate it.

Boom. Gone. You don’t even get to argue because you can’t.

Even blogging about writing – police procedurals, chatting about how to realistically portray fictional criminals or crime, or how to write thrillers – would potentially fall under the ‘reckless’ because “Sure, you’re writing fiction, but then someone took your ideas and used them in real life!” – kind of like how there’s a train of thought out there that Tom Clancy gave Osama Bin Laden the idea to crash a plane into American monuments because it happened in one of his books.

Am I fear mongering? No. I am not. I simply understand the social climate we are in now – dissent must be erased by all means. This could easily be used to chilling effect – beyond chilling effect, in fact. Brexit wouldn’t have been able to happen, Trump would not be elected, there wouldn’t be any voice for anyone wanting to say “No” or “But wait…” or “I think…”

All that would matter are the ‘victims’ or ‘potential victims’ or ‘hypothetical victims’ that could be ‘harmed’ by those ‘haterbigotracistnazipatriarchycishomobhobescum’ daring to say anything out of line.

Look at Antifa. Look at the media. Alternative media wouldn’t. couldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have anywhere safe to talk. Remember that we are not considered remotely human or worth protecting, that we are, in the view of the rabid, controlling Left, the Social Marxists, outside the protection of the law – and that the laws are supposed to be a weapon to keep us quiet and cowed and silent.

I can’t do anything but warn my friends in the US from here in Australia. DON’T LET THEM WIN.

==end of comment repost==

 

I’m not sure I’ll be able to write more about about SESTA (link goes to the US congress page on it), I can point to a few VERY helpful pages where they wrote about it.I really wanted to write about it and I know I said I would, but I’m sorry. I’ll have to put this down because I will not be able to write about this in any timely manner, and I hope you’ll forgive me. However, please do read about it.

This lovely Techdirt article, Why SESTA Is Such A Bad Bill covers most of the reasons why it’s bad, and manages to do so without swearing. It even comes up with examples that I wouldn’t have thought of. I encourage you to read it, especially my friends and readers in the US.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more on how badly SESTA will damage freedoms and have catastrophic chilling effects on speech online, but does absolutely nothing in preventing sex trafficking at all.

The Housemate reckons that it will die at this point and I hope he’s right but, folks over in the US, don’t let up! Make sure it dies. I’m in Australia; I can’t do much except give that heads up. OvergrownHobbit wrote a very good and quick How You Can Help, and I hope ‘Hobbit doesn’t mind that I put it here too.

 

How to reach your elected representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
=================================================
Please don’t use the victims of sexual trafficking as an excuse to destroy American liberties.
Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.
SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.
As a librarian, and a union employee, my freedom to speak up about controversial issues could be abrogated if a Trump “pizza-gate” activist decided to use law-fare to shut down the social media site. For those on the right, if the next president and congress are Democrats, they could face a similar shut down.
Please stop this bill.
And now, it’s time for me to lie down again, as the headaches and aches everywhere are back.

Aff’s Opinion Part 2

Shadow’s Note: I occasionally tell Aff he should write something on the blog, because he’s an entertaining and hilarious opinion writer. He keeps saying that he’s likely to piss off everyone, including my friends. I know my friends. They’ll probably be laughing right along with me. If it helps, imagine this in the voice of a very sarcastic Lawrence Fishburne crossed with Dr. House.

 

So, the last time I wrote anything for Shadow to post was about gun control, which probably  irritated some people. Not to worry, for I have learned my lesson and I will now write about far less controversial things.

Item One: Racism & Why I hate the Internet

This might sound odd from somebody who uses a computer on a near 24/7 basis to browse said Internet, but it’s done a world of harm. It would have been far better if it was just that weird place which Hatsune Miku came from, but we’ve got no such luck.
For a very long time, Australia absorbed the better part of foreign cultures and concepts via an elegant process which took time.

Turns out, most of this happened in the late ninety/early 2000s period. A lot of different cultures were moving into various areas of Australia – Adelaide, South Australia being no exception.

As I was growing up, I was thrown into a Preschool class with a bunch of other kids. Some of them were Asian. Some were African. Some were Aboriginal. I realise this now, of course. But at the time I didn’t know. Nor did I care. Nor did anyone else. We were all just kids.

No attempts were made to classify any of them as different, or disadvantaged, or people we should work harder to include or people we should exclude. When I got into a punch up with one of the kids, it was because I hated the little bastard for the day because he stole my Banana or something. If we were kicking a ball around, it was because it was some other kid to kick a ball around with. This happened indiscriminately, without any concern for what race that kid was. Because it didn’t matter.

Adelaide remained like this for the entire duration of my school life. I went through Primary and High School without ever noticing or caring what race any of the kids were. It didn’t matter. Nobody else cared, either. If there was racism present at my school, it must have been buried so deeply that nobody would have said anything – and the groups of kids that turned up for events, LAN parties, or social trips to Salisbury were always mixed completely at random.

Not because we were told to. It just happened naturally. And my friends weren’t the only ones – this was a common occurrence. Nobody cared.

Then came the Internet, and problems from other countries started being communicated to Australians in real time. People felt strongly about these issues, and wanted to do something about them. Issues in other places.

So they began to campaign against issues that didn’t exist here. Loudly. Angrily. And their righteous campaigns to prevent racism only served to make some people feel different when they hadn’t before!

The very attempt to right a wrong (which hadn’t existed in that location – at least not on any major scale) caused the problem!

Fantastic work. Brilliant. Top notch.

Fortunately, it didn’t work that well. As someone who has lived extensively in three states of Australia, I can tell you it’s still pretty kick back. I don’t believe racism has a huge hold here, and I’m hoping it stays that way.

I’m sure the Internet is also guilty of damaging other countries in the same way. My guess is that cities globally vary enough that problems in one area can spread to another via the Internet even if the problem wasn’t even remotely possible in the other location previously.
Want to treat everyone equally? Just do nothing different. Don’t force ‘awareness’ or ‘educational programs’ on people to highlight the differences. That’s how you amplify something into a problem, instead of avoiding it becoming a problem.

 

Item Two: Religion

As most of you have likely figured out, Shadow has a religion. She believes in spirits and what not. I don’t. You might be asking how we co-exist given the fact that most Atheists can’t enter a public place without telling everyone within earshot while wearing a smugly superior look that resembles the kind of leer you would see on the face of a convicted paedophile.

I don’t believe in a God. I also don’t believe in spirits. I do however, believe in History. There’s these things we have called records, which document stuff that happened previously. It’s really quite neat – and some of it you can even find on the previously-mentioned awful Internet.

What we now loosely and somewhat inaccurately refer to as Free Western Culture stems from the family values and concepts that arose from Christian Faiths. In fact, the very fact that Atheists can exist without prosecution is because of Christianity. Don’t believe it? Go look up how well Atheists did in the presence of many other belief systems, you may find it some fiery reading.

Here’s a great thing from Christianity you can enjoy as an Atheist today; the concept of education for the common-folk was one born out of the necessity of being able to teach people what was inside the Bible. Granted, you may not see this as being particularly cool as it is promoting a belief system – however, giving people literacy led towards other great gifts and a more general education. Do you know how to read this post? Do you know how to write something slandering Christians? Congratulations, you can probably thank them for it.

While it is true that Atheists may suffer some discrimination in the modern era, it is completely out of proportion compared to the discrimination that Atheists appear to exclusively focus on Christianity. You can generally live in a Christian country without worrying about being persecuted because you don’t turn up to Church – in fact, most Christians seem pretty lazy on that score too, so who would know anyway? There are also laws – derived from the concept under the Bible that all Humans are created equal in the image of God (or some such) in most Christian countries that protect your rights to pretty much believe what you want.

So what’s up with Atheists attacking Christian/Catholic beliefs at every opportunity?
Now, some of you may be thinking – hey, okay so it was useful. But now it’s not. We should stop with this fairytale nonsense, right? Where’s the harm?

This is the part where the Atheist part of me – the one who isn’t worried about curse words – would like to call you a fucking idiot.

Let’s say you succeed, and Christianity is gone. Great success, celebrate with some alcohol.

Oh wait, you probably can’t. The removal of Christianity isn’t going to instantly turn everything over to a religion-free society. It’s more likely to remove the protections that Christianity and its influence on culture provides that allow you to reject religion – next thing you know you’re in an Islamic country… and uh, you don’t want to live there as an Atheist.

You think it’s obnoxious that someone wants to give blessing before they eat? In Islamic scripture, you cannot change religion or become atheist – denying Islam and becoming an apostate is punishable by death for males and imprisonment for women (and what happens to the women mean they are probably getting the worst part of the deal). If you’re an Atheist and think you can be as brutal with Islam as you are with Christianity, try taking a visit to Afghanistan, Malaysia, or Saudi Arabia. There, you can be executed for publicly advocating Atheism – something that will never happen to you in a Christian country.

But hey, it might be a nice trip for you. And at the very least, it will spare me from seeing another one of those blasted banner adverts advocating how we should kill of Christianity and shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.

Don’t wanna believe in God? Fine, you don’t have to. I don’t either. And that’s my right – one protected by the laws of Australia and most (not all) other Christian-founded countries.

Don’t like others believing in God? Okay, explain why? Why does it matter to you in the slightest. Does it affect you? No. Will it affect your children? No. You can opt out of every religious study class available in Australian public schools. Christianity might be loud during Easter and Christmas, but if you’re offended by a few chocolate eggs and the idea that people will give each other gifts, perhaps you’re actually just a horrible bastard.

And hey, that’s cool too – but before you embark on your heroic campaign to spend thousands on billboards and drive Christianity out of the country, maybe you should think about what will replace it when that happens because it most likely won’t be the peaceful universal Atheism you seem to believe.

Because hey, it’s cool we’re not afraid of God. In fact, there’s nobody to judge our actions in this world but ourselves. And that’s also a solid point – we are responsible for our actions. Which means we are also responsible if we act like total dicks to one another, and ruin everyone else’s day. We’d also have nobody to blame but ourselves if the great plan backfired and we all ended up on some Islamic chopping block in the UAE. So cut this self-destructive shit out, you’ll destroy all of us right along with your intended target.

Don’t bite the hand that protects you.

Item Three: Abortion

I was going to stop above, but I figured I had one more group of people to quickly piss off.
I’m not really pro-life. I’m also not really pro-choice. I’m pro-personal responsibility.

Abortion is a medical procedure with some risk. You can avoid needing this if you either:
a) stop fucking everyone;
or b) use birth control;

As for the “it’s my body” stuff from some women; can you become pregnant via photosynthesis or mitosis? No? There was another person involved?

Sounds like it’s joint decision time!

But hey, abort away. I don’t intend to change anyone’s opinions because I don’t really care too much about this subject – but if you are going to do so, do it at a proper medical centre and not some half-baked clinic.

Otherwise it might not just be the foetus that dies, you might too.


Right, well that’s probably filled my quota for another six months… actually, no – wait. I have one more group I have a gripe with.

Item Four: WordPress

Alright, so I don’t post to Shadows Blog – at all, ever. She has the option of posting things from me on her Blog if she chooses to do so. Under no circumstances do I dictate things that must or must not appear on her web site.

I am the administrator that manages the behind-the-scenes stuff which keeps this site running. I installed the WordPress, and I apply updates or patches as needed to keep it running smoothly. In that effect, I am part of the platform that enables her speech.
WordPress are part of a platform that enable peoples speech as well. That’s what they claim to be, anyway. By forcing the rainbow banner on users via the reader bar, they are going beyond participating in the discussion but forcing their speech on top of the sites that they claim to support free speech on and thus telling them that any other view is wrong.

This is not the place of a speech provider to do. We’re looking at replacing WordPress soon, but until then this post can stand as some glorious irony when I officially state that WordPress gets added to my official list of companies that can get fucked.
If you are a platform or a host to debate, you cannot pick a side in the debate. Then you are no longer providing neutral discussion ground.


Alright, now that’s my quota filled for real. If you aren’t offended yet, let Shadow know and I’ll get right on fixing that.

Aff/Seda, signing off.

This is how you do it

So, recent posts have been complaining about the “Made To Care” method of ‘supporting a cause’ – but I’m pleasantly surprised today by a more considerate method of this from a surprising source.

That link goes to the Australian Government’s informational site on the whole voting thing.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. Why?

Because I have the option of clicking on it. It’s not an obnoxious auto-redirect to pro-gay marriage sites, and the site it links to is the official government site about the matter, which is all that’s important on it. The rest of it is up to the people. Yes, I’m using screenshots because Google’s main homepage is regional and affected by where you are. So, I’m not sure how you’ll see this outside of Australia.

So, kudos to Google for being …oddly upstanding on that. Given Google’s history I’m actually surprised by the low key and neutral presentation, but it’s a pleasant surprise, and appreciated.

Still, I share the same concerns about increasing technological presence and monopoly mentioned here.

===

In related news, this vote is important, not just for whether or not same sex marriage goes through. I think the Australian people have the awareness that this is not just as simple as so many pro SSM advocates make it out to be. In fact, from England is a great example of why it isn’t.

For one thing, since SSM was approved in England, there have been changes and proofs that the No voters have every reason to be validly concerned about a Yes to SSM being the start of a number of erosions to Australian rights, protections and society. After all, it has happened in the US and England – indeed, it’s been declared that ‘Same sex marriage won’t be ‘proper’ until Churches can no longer opt out.’ This is in direct conflict with the usual assurances that there would have been protections that would allow religious groups and people to opt out of ‘participating in SSM’ – but as WordPress.com’s stance and other pro-SSM groups and speakers have shown, “Acceptance Without Exception” is the full end goal – a truly Orwellian aim that seeks to remove any dissent.

It became clear, during this year’s general election, just how militant the LGBT lobby have become, following marriage redefinition. The primary target was Tim Farron, leader of England’s third largest political party, the Liberal Democrats. High-profile journalists had heard that Farron was a practising Christian. In every single interview thereafter, they demanded to know. Did he personally believe homosexual sex to be a sin? He practically begged the commentariat, to allow him to keep his personal faith and legislative convictions separate. For decades, he pointed out, he had out vocally and legislatively supported the LGBT Lobby. Likewise, he had long backed same-sex marriage, voting for it enthusiastically. This simply was no longer enough.

Support isn’t enough. You must march and agree. Example: Michigan Farmer prohibited from selling apples because of his stance against SSM.

Last December, Tennes, who owns the Country Mill Orchard and Cider Mill in Charlotte, wrote a Facebook post explaining his family’s Catholic views on marriage, and how their deeply held beliefs are why his farm won’t host same-sex weddings.

The city’s response — banning him from its farmers market — reminded the former Marine of the time he spent near the border of North Korea. Tennes could see into the country, and it impacted him how people there live their entire lives in fear of the government.

That’s how he felt when he got the letter from East Lansing.

“I felt it in my gut. This isn’t real,” Tennes recalls.“We have freedom of speech in this country.”

Tennes felt especially betrayed that he was being denied rights he fought to defend while serving his country. His wife Bridget is a former Army nurse.

The East Lansing government isn’t backing down. In fact, it broadened the definition of its civil rights ordinance specifically to ensure the couple wouldn’t have access to the farmers market this season. It applied the ordinance to all of a business’ practices: In this case, what the Tennes do on their personal property 22 miles from East Lansing.

“We require everybody to conform their business practices to the East Lansing ordinance in order to use East Lansing property to sell their goods so that is applied to everybody,” says East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows.

That slippery slope people were worried about isn’t just about ‘who else would then demand the ‘right’ to be married’ – it included things like these. It is becoming increasingly clear that the fight for SSM or against SSM isn’t just about marriage – it’s about who has the right to conduct business, live peacefully, and who is to be granted the protection of law, the ability to have opinions and thoughts, hold that personal life is separate from professional conduct, and how children are to be raised. “Marriage Equality”‘s intrusion into nearly all aspects of our lives is massively under-stated by pro-SSM advocates. The reality is, we weren’t the ones who turned this into a battleground – their advocacy isn’t for equality, it’s for their being placed as having more rights and privileges as the rest of us – because the reality is, homosexuals are still a minority, and a minority should not have power over the majority. Screaming epithets that people who are against it are haters and bigoted adds nothing to the discussion, and indeed, only highlights that people who push hard for SSM are only concerned with their own indulgence and desires, and in fact consider other valid concerns such as the various ones listed above as ‘trivial and unworthy of consideration.’

A survey in Australia held earlier this year gave this result:

a full 59 percent of LGBTI people said they would oppose a legal exemption allowing religious celebrants (priests, pastors, or other ministers) to refuse to marry two men or two women.

Nearly 60 percent of LGBTI Australians said it should be illegal for a pastor to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. But it got worse.

A full 94.3 percent said a church or a religious organization should not be allowed to deny the use of its property for a same-sex wedding. Australia has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. When LGBTI people were asked if they would allow churches to refuse to host same-sex weddings in exchange for making same-sex marriage legal in Australia, a full 90.6 percent still opposed it.

Ultimately it is that attitude of ‘me, me first! Me only!’ that has been a source of great disgust and served to turn people away from support of SSM.

 

Blockout

So, WordPress.com’s official position to people who don’t want that banner is “Fuck you, we do.” I’m not joking.

This is WordPress.com’s official stance, you are not allowed to remove it and requests to remove it will not be accommodated.

https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/rainbow-banner-6?replies=10#post-3012709

Specifically, they say that: “We absolutely respect your right to publish the content you choose to your site, but the navigation bar styling reflects WordPress.com’s stance as a company, and can not be disabled on request. ”

One of the more hostile responses shows up here. Staff responses have been to pretty much say ‘this question has already been answered, and the thread will be closed.’ It is very clear that WordPress.com – which is in control of the ‘log in with WordPress’ part and includes the reader banner – considers that the rights of other people are not as worthy of consideration as a certain group’s. Here’s an example of staff response that pretty much is ‘get lost.’

As per Sight Magazine’s article on this matter:

The banner, which was spotted on sites over the weekend, appears at the top of sites when users are logged in. In comments sent to several WordPress users who raised the issue via the organisation’s online support service, ‘rootjosh’, described as a member of staff, said that to “show our support for marriage equality, we’re showing the rainbow bar to all our Australian visitors”. He added that it would remain in place until the survey results are released.

“We absolutely respect your right to publish the content you choose to your site, but the navigation bar styling reflects WordPress.com’s stance as a company…” he said. “If this causes you to choose to leave WordPress.com, we’re sorry to see you go.”

So in other words, ‘Fuck you, and feel free to fuck off.’ (Oh and if you are moving, they’ll help you move!)

Comments to the above article of note are as follows:

I was so confused, I thought it was my browser playing up. I personally fully support SSM but I really don’t think that this is what a commercial business should be imposing on their customers especially as I pay for my subscription. I would have thought a far better approach would have been to ask us to opt in to the scheme – how difficult would that have been?

Another comment says outright that this action will push them to vote ‘no’

I don’t intend to leave WordPress, but I may end up voting No *just because they did this* – because it shows the coercive and arrogant way in which these campaigns for social transformation are being conducted, and also the extent to which they emanate from outside Australia, which has been digitally colonized by the American “cloud”.

But you see, opting in is not an option that was ever wanted – Support or else! There are others opting to leave.

The irony is, the SSM supporters actually didn’t want the postal vote to happen. Some of the reasons include monetary concerns, while others include purely political ones. As I noted in my previous post, my own reason for not wanting the banner were actually physical – by straining my eyes and dragging it up involuntarily away from the text that I am either reading or typing, simply because the splash of unexpected and distracting color. I’ve been having such severe headaches and eyestrain that actually kept me from doing work, sleeping well, and eating properly for days. I’m only starting to get over it.

All because dissent is considered wrong, people with valid reasons that have nothing to do with politics or SSM will be driven away from any sort of support.

So the Housemate came up with a perfectly valid solution, for those of us – including myself – who are not versed in code wizardry.

No problem.
Do this to have that banner gone forever (or until they work out a way to stop this from working):
Get the Add-On called “Stylish” for Firefox or Chrome from here:
WordPress is a speech platform designed to empower its users to have their say online without knowledge of code or fear of censorship. It is not the place of WordPress – no matter their personal views – to impose their beliefs or banners on anyone.
You can’t be a speech provider and then take sides in a debate. If you exist to provide people with the right to speak, you have to accept they may say things you won’t like. By forcing this banner to appear over the top of sites such as Church groups or this one, you are saying that speech is only okay as long as you agree with it. If that’s the case, WordPress is not a speech provider. It’s a propaganda provider.
I wasn’t even going to bother voting in the plebiscite before (I didn’t really care) but I will certainly vote “no” now.
EDITED TO ADD GLORIOUS DESCRIPTIVE COMMENTARY FROM HOUSEMATE: “The actions of WordPress are as offensive as an arse-fisting while unconscious during a visit to the dentist. You didn’t consent, and you had no opportunity to decline. You came for a dental job and received an anal invasion.”
Certainly, it is the way that dissenting opinions and options have been denied that only proves John Howard’s point on the matter.

The former Prime Minister told The Australian any changes to the social institution of marriage will result in wider consequences for the country…

Howard believes marriage equality is not about a “single” right and has called for the proposed same-sex marriage legislation to be produced before the postal survey closes in November to ensure the protection of parents, religion and free speech.

“People are entitled to know there are sufficient protections for people affected by those changes and the public is entitled to know what those protections are,” Mr Howard told The Australian.

He warned proposed protections for the rights of other Australians would be given “scant regard” if the ‘Yes’ vote succeeded and legislation was pushed through parliament.

The attitude of the ‘Yes’ supporters are showing that he’s right about the scant regard being given to others.

Personally I’m somewhat surprised at how vocal the ‘No’ side is being – I rather thought that the whole thing would show who the actual majority is when the vote happens. From discussions happening RL I’m hearing more people say outright that they will vote no – and the implication is they don’t like the implicit thought policing, opinion denying, and screaming at people who do have valid objections. They don’t like being forced to care.

update:

One of the valid objections that have been held about SSM is that agreeing to it will open the doors to being forced to agree about other forms of relationships, such as voluntary group marriages and incestuous relationships. I remember being told that this was a fearmongering view, and that trying to argue even on cautionary terms was bigoted and wrong minded.

Well, funny how that works out because in the trend of all the cautionary discussions I’ve had, I’m being proven right yet again.

Christians are now being asked to accept polyamory.

Sooooo in other words, being made to accept Islam’s polygynous marriage? Oh wait, that’s not what they want, right? It’s just ‘equality’ – except that it’s not as easy as they make it out to be, and certainly far, far more complicated than they want us to think.

The thing that most people might find strange is I think the decision to have an open marriage is a decision a married couple should have on their own. I don’t think they should be legalised simply because it doesn’t just affect the adults involved, but also children and property – say, in the case of a divorce from a group, who are the parents? How is parenthood defined here? Etc. But with the current system, it’s clear that parenthood lies with the biological ties, unless one gives up custody (see, successful step-parenting for examples.)

Getting the legal system involved here would make it very, very messy, even messier than current divorces and custody disputes currently are.

Currently there is nothing to stop say, two married couples from moving in together and having whatever sexual arrangements they want. They are able to designate power of attorney if they so wish, to the other couple, but that’s just touching on the legal complications of having four people involved. This example is assuming that there are no children and they have no intention of having children, but I figure that will not remain true forever. Where does the individual’s legal status end, and the group one take over? And again, what about children, and properties, as well as custodial and inheritance issues?

They haven’t thought it through.

Inconsideracy

So, apparently, this rainbow banner is a thing WordPress likes to have up every year. Somehow I missed it in the last years, and was lucky to.

It’s fucking obnoxious, and not just because I have no way of freaking opting out without having to resort to messing with my browser code- code which I don’t understand, and am thus forced against my will to endure it…

No, the biggest reason why I hate that fucking banner is because it causes really fucking painful muscular-stress migraines.

My initial reaction to the banner was to ignore it. But eventually I noticed that my eyes would jerk up to the banner while I was reading blogs, simply because it’s bright and eyecatching. After fifteen minutes of trying to keep my eyes on the text I was reading, I noticed I was developing tension headaches – the kind brought on by muscular strain – either in strained muscles in the neck, or eyes. These are cripplingly painful, and the times I’ve had these, I am basically unable to do anything but lie in bed in agony, eyes covered because at that point I am light-sensitive and cannot handle even dim light.

Seeking to avoid injury I went to look for a way to try click on a button or a checkbox or SOMETHING to remove it. There isn’t one. Apparently, it’s just something we have to ‘put up with’ since it’s a ‘temporary’ thing and the general message is I get that WordPress wants to convey to its’ userbase is “We are celebrating something wonderful and if, for any reason you don’t want to put up with it, you are a hater fuck who needs to hurt and hopefully die.”

People who have a fundamentally non-discriminatory reason -such as ‘that’s distracting and hurts my eyes’ – to want to turn off the damn banner have no recourse to do so. No, I’m no coder, and frankly messing with that shit will likely result in me breaking my browser, for a temporary fix.

I just want to turn off the banner because it hurts my eyes, keeps pulling my gaze away repeatedly and quickly from the text I’m trying to read.

But no, apparently, non-participation is verboten. You don’t want to be ‘seen as a homophobe, right kamerade?

All I get from this shit is that whoever came up with this is okay with the following:

“Only support for gay people and other approved minorities and viewpoints is important.”

“You are not allowed to opt out or say no, because that might be construed as being against.”

“Free speech only applies to what is approved of by the Left – all other speech and choices are hateful and bigoted.”

“There are no good people except those whose beliefs conform to my own.”

“Since bad people think bad thoughts, they are not entitled to the protections of society, nor should be given treatment or consideration as human beings.”

“We, the morally righteous, are permitted to enforce our orthodoxy through violence and force. You, however, may not force your morality on me by even speaking of it.”

“If it is a choice I do not approve of, you are not allowed to make that choice. You are not allowed freedom or choices, because you, as a naysayer, are no longer considered human or equal.”

Clearly, simply because this Asian chick would like to avoid eyestrain, I’m not allowed to have a ‘turn this shit off’ button, because that would be unsupportive. Somehow.

For folks who are supposed to be all about the ‘equal rights as human beings’ and claim that “I don’t have to participate if I don’t want to,” why am I not allowed to figuratively walk away from the ‘celebration?’ Why are my rights suddenly, less than theirs? Why can’t I be allowed the option to turn that shit off?

Hypocrisy.

 

Moral and informed choices

Warning: I talk about abortion, morals, and loss here, so if you think  you can’t handle that, for whatever reason (whether it is triggering to your own loss; you feel it might be judgemental of choice – and it will be, because this is an opinion column – or simply because you don’t want to read about abortion) that’s fine; don’t click the read more as I have put this behind a blog cut. If you do, however, you don’t get to be offended about my opinions.

This is, however, from the perspective of a woman who has lost two babies of her own, through stillbirth and SIDs. This is not a religious opinion either, but a purely factually scientific one which is admittedly against abortion.

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YES! ORDERED!!!

So I planned to order the book on the day it got out – except it ended up being completely out of stock on Book Depository, and even looking on Amazon and being willing to pay the exorbitant amount in shipping ‘wrong side of the world, fuckers!’ costs just to get the book …found it was completely out of stock. For a moment, I thought yet again that Milo’s book had been stopped – but a quick look online reassured me and made me cheer at the same time. Milo’s book was simply SOLD OUT~!!!!!!

Good reason to not be able to immediately get it.

I figured I’ll try getting in a while later; and was reminded to check when I saw that Milo-sempai had a new video up. So while I was laughing myself into coughing fits, I checked on BD…

MINE NOW. Well, en route to me. Had to grab it before it went out of stock again, even if I might not have time immediately to read it.

Now I just gotta hope that Monster Hunter: Siege comes out a little later next month so I can save up for it again.

 

edited to add: Got another book I just cannot resist: The Lawdog Files!

Bringing the past to life

I thought I’d share this link I saw on the Daily Mail, because, well, it’s rather cool.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4424682/Colourised-photos-Russia-s-female-snipers-WW2.html

And well, I’ll cheerfully admit that I like pictures of lovely ladies with weapons, especially firearms. Especially tough birds like these! (And, for those folks who don’t know, I’m female. =p )

They’re doing a really wonderful job of colorizing the old photos, really bringing to life the past. How awesome is that?

Buried news

http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/world-economy/bury-them-alive-white-south-africans-fear-for-their-future-as-horrific-farm-attacks-escalate/news-story/3a63389a1b0066b6b0b77522c06d6476

Why is this under the economics section of the news? This shouldn’t be buried in the back, but should be in the front page section!  But given how it is extremely racially charged crimes – black against whites, no less – it does not surprise me that it was buried.

I’m more surprised that the news was reported at all.

Love and Support and Family

I recently came across this article:

http://heatst.com/world/brother-and-sister-trolled-for-making-a-baby-together-have-science-on-their-side/

I’m quite happy with how loving and supportive this family is. The sister for donating her egg, the brother for not feeling insecure about his partner providing the sperm for the baby, and the mom being accepting of her children’s’ choices. That baby will be well loved and cared for. He or she will also likely have lots of time with the female relatives; so

I also think that the practical aspects of this are well thought out. With the sister providing the egg and the partner providing the sperm, there’s a better medical history, genetics and otherwise, that can be referred to in case it becomes necessary. Also, there’s a better chance for the child if he or she might need transplants – blood kin have better compatibility and a higher success rate. For medical and scientific reasons, this is a really good choice.

And really, the ‘incest’ jokes are lame. Nobody would blink if it was a sister donating to her sibling if the sibling were in a heterosexual relationship, or even to a single parent.

So, good luck to the family!

See, this is the kind of thing I can get behind. There’s no agenda, no political drumming (from what I can see). There’s love, and joy and family. May they successfully have their longed for child, and may that child be loved and cherished as the brother and sister clearly are loved and cherished.

When Rights Don’t Trump Individual Safety.

This post was originally meant to be a comment over at Nicki’s The Liberty Zone. It’s a response to how a state over in the US has ruled that bathrooms must be male or female only. The discussion is about rights and government over-reach, and for the most part I agree with Nicki’s post, that a business should be allowed to decide whether or not they will accommodate transgender people being allowed to go into the restroom as the gender they identify as. But as Nicki said, this is not a simple question at all, and from my own limited observations, it is slowly escalating outside of the seemingly innocuous question of bathroom access.
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Aff’s Official Thoughts 1

Shadowdancer’s Note: Aff recently encountered an article which moved him deeply enough to write an article and asked me to kindly post it here. He’s still ranting about the abject stupidity. This is resulting in a series of editorials that he has titled “Aff’s Official Thoughts On Stuff.”

I must warn readers to please set aside any drink or food for the duration of your reading of the article. We here at Affsdiary are not responsible for damage to screens or keyboards resulting from not heeding this warning.

 

Aff’s Note; if you are one of those ridiculously over-sensitive people that if told to duck for cover during a crisis you would then proceed to hold up a goose, get shot in the vagina, and proceed to scream ‘but my goose identified as a duck’ in protest as you proceeded to bleed more than you usually do, this post is not for you. In fact, this post will hurt your feelings. In anticipation of this, you can either complain to my e-mail (and be summarily ignored) or you can bash your head against a brick wall repeatedly until your skull fractures. But it’s ok, the brick walls identify as pillows.

“Aff’s Official Thoughts on Stuff 1: Guns ™”

Recently I viewed an article on a US based group of students attempting to protest guns being brought onto educational campuses by posting selfies of them flexing their muscles.

I find this stupid in about twenty different ways, and before I go into the details of the stupidity I feel I should qualify my opinion by giving you some context as to who I am and what I believe.

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Still swamped and sick

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to work on commission art (11… or was it twelve?  Sexy Desktop ladies, a book cover and some other stuff.) Sold a computer that was sitting idle to someone who needed it in an instalment plan; and I’m hoping to get a battery for my little netbook soon. I wish I could afford to buy a portable Cintiq and a new computer for the bedroom so that while I’m too sick to sit up I can draw in bed and keep working. At least with the netbook I can write while in bed and it’s not bulky. (Ok, theoretically I could write with Ayumi the super tiny netbook but I need new glasses first.) However, writing with an objective as opposed to rambling requires the ability to concentrate and focus, so alas, no essay or story writing for me. I REALLY NEED TO GET NOT SICK. The only reason that I can still draw is because I don’t need to be coherent or make sense when drawing. I can draw without worrying about whether or not my grammar is being infected by German or French or did I just insert the Japanese borrowed term for something I just wrote…

We’ve been flat out this last few weeks. I’ve got commissions from people who want Sexy Desktop Lady backgrounds (and I’ve been told for most of them “whatever you wanna draw is fine! – as long as it’s a pretty girl) – most of them from people who are also asking Aff to do system builds for them.

One of the customers brings us Maccas whenever he drops by, enough that Aff says that he’s waiving the standard fee but the customer says it’s so he doesn’t feel bad that he’s eating all by himself.

On a happy note, I’ve a nice pile of manga, and artbooks and books that arrived today. I had a nice stack of Skip Beat omnibus volumes arrive the other day but I forgot to take a photo.

If this sight makes you itch for some new reads, I found out via some helpful Twitterfolk that the November 2015 Baen Book Bundle can be ordered. Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword is there, as well as Mike Kupari’s new book, and a bunch of what look like really good reads. I’m going to wait because I kinda smashed my book budget already so it’ll be sit and wait again.

Leaping off that tangent into another, ff you read science fiction and fantasy, you’ll need to read about one of the biggest scandals in the genre, which is “Breendoggle”, the thing that the anti-Sad Puppy people seem find LESS objectionable than Sad Puppies, simply by the dint of the NOISE that is made about Sad Puppies versus Breendoggle. The Story of Moira Greyland is heartbreaking to read, and she talks about how she was repeatedly raped and molested from the age of five by both her mother and father, both of whom are big names in science fiction and fantasy. One of the things I’m sure that lots of people will find objectionable despite what happened to Moira is the fact that Moira wonders if the lifestyle or the sexual identity of homosexuality has something to do with what happened to her, as she describes by her account that she was constantly being told that she was supposed to be a lesbian and pressured to be one, and that her parents were upset that she was born a girl. The comments only serve to prove this disappointing line of thought true.

In the vein, however, of that blog, she raises a point that shouldn’t be ignored, even if you support gay marriage in any way at all (like I support the concept, but not how it’s being executed or pushed for.) This is part of the whole ‘flip-side’ thinking that a lot of people don’t try to engage in any more – which is, contemplate the other side of a situation.

In this case, if the ideal situation of a child who identifies as gay is born to heterosexual parents, the parents accept their child’s homosexuality, then ideally the reverse is also true: that gay parents would accept their child’s (adopted, or partly biological/surrogate-born) heterosexuality. However, the question that is raised by what happened to Moira (aside from the rape) is whether or not this is happening, if heterosexual children are given the support they need, and whether any children at risk are actually given the protections they need (from both the ‘sides’ of homosexual and heterosexual parents). There are stories out there that give rise to doubt that equal treatment is given in this case; and it is clear that abuse happens to some children regardless of the orientation of the parents. However, my point is, is the discussion happening, and if it does, are those discussions being policed on whether they’d be perceived as ‘bigoted’ or ‘anti-gay’ or similar threats and fears?

For me, the core thing of being a parent is the ability to prioritize the child’s needs, safety, and future over the parent’s wants. This is true regardless of whether or not the parents in question are heterosexual or homosexual, or married or not. Parents need to ask themselves if their identity -whatever that may be- is more important than ‘parent.’ It tells the person what is their greatest priority – themselves, or their child? After all, having a child means you’re setting aside a massive chunk of one’s own time, needs and interests aside for the sake of the child. Simply put, if a person pondering parenthood puts being ‘gay’ or ‘heterosexual’ or anything else over ‘parent’, then perhaps they should rethink becoming parents. I do not think there should be a qualifier before the ‘parent’ part. It does not matter to me if the parents are gay or not; what is most important is whether the parents consider their children the most important thing to them.

The response on the Moira Grayland story makes me wonder indeed, if the honest and necessary discussions occur, as opposed to devolving to mere accusations of being hateful.

Can such discussions occur? I’d like to believe that they are, because I don’t know if they are.

Between This Essay and The Next

A few days ago, I retweeted something I saw on The Ralph Retort‘s feed and briefly wrote about how I stopped being a feminist in reply to that retweet. A brief discussion followed and I decided it would be best to expand on it. I guess it’s one of those ‘triggering’ things for me because whenever I flash back to that time, it always results in the same towering fury I remember having that pushed me to my feet and had me start shouting back. After all, all the hate they were spewing went against everything we ourselves had been taught about being good strong Catholic women. I decided to break it up into two parts because 1) I had to stop being angry because it really wasn’t doing good things to my heart rate and 2) I had to do stuff away from computer, namely lunch for the family. As it was I had to ask my daughter to handle the rest (just make sure it didn’t burn) because I needed to fall over into bed: I was burning up with flu and everything hurt. I’ve been bedridden since.

Ralph asked if he could feature it and I said yes.

While I was asleep it went up on his site.

I woke up today, fever broken, and went to check on the kids. My eldest boy, Vincent, was up already but Big Sis wasn’t so I sicced him onto her to wake her with cuddles, yelling “INVASION OF THE LITTLE BROTHER” at the top of my voice. Cue “KYAAAAA!!! What are you doing?! Oh, hugs.” The ruckus had Aff come out of his room where he was playing L2. I made coffee and sat down to look at stuff online. That’s when I saw that my account had gone up on The Ralph Retort, and saw retweets talking about a young girl/woman. My still fever-fuzzy brain thought “…I hope they don’t think this is current events.” (I’m still fever-fuzzy.)

 

That’s my graduating year ID – lucky it was where I remembered it was. I blacked out my ex’s surname – yes, I was married then to someone else; our marriage was on the rocks and we separated before I graduated and eventually divorced – He was American so he could divorce me; the Philippines does not have divorce for anyone who isn’t Muslim and that is a rant for a different day. I visited Australia in 2004 and Rhys and I have been together since. My ex and I still talk on occasion, and we both agree that we’re in better places than we were before and we wish each other happy.

This happened while I was still in college. I went for six years from 1998 to 2004, not because that’s the required time to put in, but rather because as an ‘irregular student’, I didn’t have the per-assigned hours and classes that regular block students did. I started in the second semester, not the first, of the last co-ed school ‘batch’ before Miriam fully reverted to being an all girl’s college. So I had to try grab the empty slots for my required major and minor classes if they were still available, or if they weren’t, I’d take them next year. This caused some issues as …I think it was calculus?… was dropped while I was attending (Miriam did not offer hard science or engineering majors at the time – that may have changed now) so other than Algebra or Statistics, there was no need for it – and it had been on my curriculum list when I entered. So I had the strangest schedule sometimes. The history classes were supposed to be spread across the first three years; I got them all on my second semester. Unfortunately I had a very boring World History teacher – one of those people who focused more on geography and dates and timelines as opposed to bringing the events to life in the classroom. Philippine history and Asian Civilization was fun, especially Philippine History, because that was taught by someone who became one of my favorite teachers ever. A tale for a different day.

I wrote as much as I could remember – this would have happened sometime between 2000-2002 or 2003, so I’m afraid that I don’t remember things like names any more. I’ve always been bad with them, so I’m sorry, I can’t point you to a particular lecturer, I remember only that the two Indian women were the most outspoken of the four or five guests up on that stage. They’re a lot like the typical militant feminist common today, just without the rainbow hair.

I forgot to include the parts where I argued extensively about how could they simply shove aside half the human population and dismiss them as rapists when surely all of us present knew of good men, were related to them, and had good male friends. How were we supposed to become good parents to sons, if we treated them with suspicion simply because they were born the opposite sex? I suppose most of the details have gotten hazy in the back and forth shouting. But I remember that fury, the feel of my sense of restraint breaking one chain at a time with each outrageous thing that the feminist lecturers were verbally heaping on our heads – and trying to crush our spirits with. In a way, they did us a favor by overplaying their hand; that particular batch of students were never feminists of the type that seem so prevalent today.

I have good memories, for the most part, of my college years in Miriam. I liked most of my professors and had problems only with the Statistics teacher and the hard-line socialist who was very upset that I didn’t paint a shining picture of glorious utopia after finding out I’d lived in East Berlin. In fact, I don’t really have bad memories of Women Studies classes either – and I know now I was very lucky in that respect. It was a lot more classical feminist than the fainting couch paternalism-encouraging Third Wave weaklings. The focus was more of being able to improve conditions for women and push for a more egalitarian outlook on a local scale. In some respects that is correct and indeed a good thing to advocate. In some other respects however, I don’t think it really applies to a lot of the Filipino outlook either honestly, but that’s the topic of my next essay, which I’m still in the process of writing.

 

First though I have to make sure I don’t relapse.