Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Burr/Trump sink together

Richard Burr is best known for pushing bad security legislation. It has earned him widespread contempt because it would expose us all to harm without making anyone safer.

That record argues against his re-election, and he is losing. His desperation is evident in his ads smearing his opponent, Deborah Ross.

Ross is gaining ground. Burr may still be leading (poll results vary), but not for long.

He has wed himself to Donald Trump's sexual predation, thus earning the disdain of the ever conservative George Will:

For example, Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolinian seeking a third term, represents a kind of Republican judiciousness regarding Trump. Having heard the tape and seen Trump’s “apology” (Trump said, essentially: My naughty locker-room banter is better than Bill Clinton’s behavior), Burr solemnly said: “I am going to watch his level of contrition over the next few days to determine my level of support.” North Carolinians will watch with bated breath as Burr, measuring with a moral micrometer, carefully calibrates how to adjust his support to Trump’s unfolding repentance. Burr, who is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not received this nugget of intelligence: Contrition is not in Trump’s repertoire. Why should it be? His appetites, like his factoids, are self-legitimizing.

Trump's "apology that wasn't" satisfied the credulous Burr. As if personal forgiveness were actually the issue, Burr says he has "forgiven Trump. Never mind Trump's assault on democracy itself, saying that if elected he would jail Hillary. Burr's going down with Trump's ship. As he should.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beauty and the noxious weed

A Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail feeding on Musk Thistle flowers across the fence from an unmowed horse pasture between William B. Umstead State Park and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

As a larvae, he may have eaten tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) leaves in the nearby forest, as my Grandmother Memommy (Jackson) Frink explained to me when I was a child in her garden on the Honey Hill Road in Columbus County, learning the names of butterflies.

There were two of them Saturday, as oblivious to the bicycle rider with the digital camera as their ancestors once were to the nearsighted child and his patient, doting grandmother. She would have pulled that (noxious, invasive, European) weed up, as will I when next I pass by the spot. There are, however, a lot of them along the roadsides in that area.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Velvet still on his antlers

Grazing beside a Meredith College athletic field early Sunday morning, this white-tailed buck was unconcerned until other bicyclists labored up the hill, derailleurs clicking.

copyright george frink

Then he and a smaller doe gamboled across the field together, dancing over the brow of a slight hill and meandering into the woods.

I grew up hunting them with Walker Hounds and shotguns. Cameras are better for both of us, I suspect, and the sight and sound of Walker Hounds and of deer, however widely they may be separated from one another, is no less a delight.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Re Joe Liberman's censorship: Push back and raise hell (in that order)

Yield to a self-appointed mandarin like Joe Lieberman and freely begin to forfeit both your own right to publish and the opportunity to learn much which is vital to you.

Let us instead push back and raise appropriate hell, and in that order. Because the answer that matters most is defiance of extralegal restrictions on your right to publish and to know. For if we are silent and thus consent, it is silence we shall have.

This is not a partisan issue. Lieberman's authoritarian showmanship has no refuge in any political party which prizes the rule of laws, not people. Which prizes due process, not authoritarianism. He is not a judge. And even if he were, no charges have been filed. No trial has been held. No conviction handed down.

For examples from among Republicans, as Glenn Greenwald observes in a different context "... you have Newt Gingrich demanding that Assange be declared an "enemy combatant" and Sarah Palin calling for his murder."

Lieberman's action is at the fore, however, because it is rank official bullying, as Greenwald argues. Lieberman is using his clout as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to get his way.

We know how to answer bullies. Whatever their methods and goals.

For example. below is one of the Tableau charts, captured from the Google server cache. I offer it as an illustration of the information Lieberman so proudly does not want you to see and in small defiance of his intimidation of Tableau:

Unlike Josh Marshall I was not "surprised when Amazon agreed to host Wikileaks, but I was when having done so, they yielded to Lieberman's relatively weak sally at intimidation and terminated the account. How could they have failed to anticipate that possibility before agreeing to host the account?

It could but probably will not happen here.

This blog space is owned and provided by Google, which could but probably will not yield to Lieberman or others and delete even this insignificant ghost of a blog, where I have been know to champion poets and poems, the rights of the mentally ill and other causes and non-causes I am somehow moved to write about.

I mention the broad, capricious nature of my concerns here because there is more at hazard than the current controversy.

We have forgotten much if we believe failure to push back now cannot imperil dramatic broadcasts, art films, novels, plays, poems, scripts and short stories and eventually your right to say what you will to your friends and neighbors. This is not just a matter for journalists who have grown passive and for journalism which has grown flabby. It most certainly not merely a matter of concern about the providers of online server space and services.

It is fundamental, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation has sought in a different context to remind us with regard to online censorship:

In countless ways, the Internet is radically enhancing our access to information and empowering us to share ideas with the entire world. Speech thrives online, freed of limitations inherent in other media and created by traditional gatekeepers.

Preserving the Internet's open architecture is critical to sustaining free speech. But this technological capacity means little without sufficient legal protections. If laws can censor you, limit access to certain information, or restrict use of communication tools, then the Internet's incredible potential will go unrealized.

The government has time and again tried doing just that—indeed, censorship laws have often aimed at speech that could not be similarly restricted offline. And when old laws are not properly adapted to this medium, it's all too easy for the government, companies, and individual litigants to undermine your rights.

There is to remind us of where such bullying can lead the historic lesson of another member of the U.S. Senate, also named Joe, who until effectively opposed and after many lives had been ruined, claimed to protect our national security while burning through our collective freedom of expression.

If you have not already, please push back. Until forbidden to do so by due process of law, publish something objectionable to the would-be mandarins, even if you must mimeograph it and tape it to your door. And find a civil way to raise your voice in objection to arbitrary censorship.