Apr 08 2014
What with the move and all there has been a lot going on. The travails of getting ready for the move kept me from commenting on some of the really stupid things that have happened in the last month. So this will be a post aimed at catching up-if only just for a bit.
Starting with the most recent abomination is the US Supreme Court’s hideous ruling the case of McCutcheon vs FEC. Not content to f*ck up American politics by allowing Citizens United, Justice Roberts decides to compound the damage. James Fallows had a couple of pretty good articles pointing out just how cynical Roberts’ position is:
Humility. Modesty. Restraint. Deference to precedent. "We're just calling balls and strikes."
That guy sounded so great. Really, watch this minute-long video and think what it would be like to have a person like that on the bench.
Instead we have a chief justice who:
?In the "Obamacare" ruling two years ago, apparently decided that the institutional risk to the Court of blatantly coming across as just another branch of party politics outweighed the objections implicit in his prior rulings to the healthcare plan. So he found a way not to overturn the main legislative accomplishment of a president's first term, with all the hubbub that would ensue. As it happens, I was glad that the politics added up that way for him. But …
?In this week's McCutcheon ruling, following Citizens United, he made up out of nowhere his own interpretation of how electoral politics and favor-trading works—trumping that of Congress, composed 100 percent of elected members. Plus he invented his own post-Founders, no-input-from-Congress, precedent-be-damned theory of what "corruption" means. As it happens, I disagree with the results of this one. But the main point is that in their activist political sensibility neither this judgment nor the Obamacare one had the slightest connection to the person who so self-effacingly presented himself for confirmation nine years ago.
Fallows correctly points out that Roberts is dangerous for two reasons, 1) he is overtly partisan and has infected his judicial understanding with that partisanship and 2) he will be on the Court for a long time to come. “The man who, at age 50, presented himself for lifetime tenure as chief justice said that he conceived of his role as a minimalist "balls and strikes" umpire. No one who has observed him in office could plausibly describe him that way. He has been as precedent-disregarding as they come. So was he naive in saying what he did nine years ago? Or was he cynical? To me those seem to be the options.”
So. To review-money is not speech, corporations are not people, my friend.
About the MH370 situation I have nothing of substance to add. Clearly an enormous tragedy has occurred-and it was compounded by the incompetence of the Malaysian government. It will be interesting to see if they actually find anything like the “black box”.
And finally I am astounded the by the hi tech lynching of Brendan Eich. Who was CEO of Mozilla which creates the Firefox browser. The reason he was forced out? Because he gave money back in 2008 to support proposition 8 in California.
As I have noted before-this business of firing people for Facebook and Twitter postings is getting out of hand. It is ludicrous to suggest that Eich should have been fired over this-and all of the lame justifications that as CEO he should be held to a “higher standard” get no sympathy from me. He is not just a CEO he is also a private citizen. And he has a right to donate to whatever causes he wants.
Eich's abrupt departure has stirred the debate over the fairness of forcing out a highly qualified technology executive over his personal views and a single campaign contribution six years ago. And it raises questions about how far corporate leaders are allowed to go in expressing their political views.
Some are also questioning whether the episode undercuts the well-groomed image of Silicon Valley as a marketplace of ideas and diversity of thought, and whether, in this case, the tech world surrendered to political correctness enforced through a public shaming on social media.
OkCupid never demanded Eich resign, and after discussing the issue with Mozilla, Yagun ended the call for a Firefox boycott Wednesday afternoon.
In retrospect, however, Yagun said he wished he had framed the Firefox boycott in a slightly different light.
"I would have loved to have engaged in a debate over what happens when freedoms collide," Yagun said. "We have freedom of speech, which I would defend to the end. And we have what I believe is a fundamental liberty of people to marry and love whoever they want. We took a stand that matters to us personally and as a business — and I think the world will be a better place because of it."
Eich's departure didn't end the controversy, it just changed it.
This is a bad thing for a whole lot of reasons and it will come back to bite those who organized this excursion into political correctness in the ass. Andrew Sullivan, who I tend to disagree with most of the time is on the right side here when he warns that this will have unintended consequences:
"You want to squander the real gains we have made by argument and engagement by becoming just as intolerant of others' views as the Christians?," he asked. "You've just found a great way to do this. It's a bad, self-inflicted blow. And all of us will come to regret it."
Furthermore, it creates a double standard. Brendan Eich was regarded as someone whose political beliefs and activities rendered him unsuitable for his job. In California, if an employer had fired an employee for these reasons, he would be breaking the law. Now some folks try to hold up that this is a market based decision. If that’s the case, then market is way too sensitive.
Mozilla could have let this pass-and it probably would have passed by in a few days. But now its actually going to hurt Firefox I think in the long run. The market is much more elastic than that.
And before the inevitable Chick-Fil –A reference is made. Remember, there are some really big differences, not the least of which is that Chick-Fil-A was talking about actually not hiring people who are gay.
A civil rights movement without toleration is not a civil rights movement; it is a cultural campaign to expunge and destroy its opponents. A moral movement without mercy is not moral; it is, when push comes to shove, cruel.