Saturday, August 14, 2010

When democracy excesses must be countered: gay marriage again in California?

This week a judge in California overturned the result on Proposition 8 vote, which intended to include in the California constitution a provision to ban gay marriage.  Even though California voted for Obama that year, enough African American and Hispanics split their votes to make proposition pass by 52% if memory serves me well.  I do not want to discuss the excuses that can be made for these people, but the fact of the matter is that already then it seemed that proposition 8 was a discriminatory evil and a dangerous precedent where a majority can discriminate against a minority through a constitutional tool.  Sure enough, a year and a half later, badly defended by the supporters of proposition 8 who have no real case, a federal judge was able to overturn the vote as unconstitutional and declare that unless a superior court rules against him by next Wednesday, gay marriages will start again in California.  Or at least this is more or less how I understand the situation that a busy couple of weeks in Venezuelan news barred me from following closely.

Now my interest in this comes two fold, one for personal reasons and one for a reflection on the excesses of democracy.

Luis in tears
The personal reason is that one of my very close  friends lives in San Francisco and was planning his commitment ceremony next fall, a ceremony that I cannot attend for previous engagements.  He turned out to be with his partner at San Francisco City Hall waiting for the ruling and their display of emotions made them the darlings of the journalists there.  They have appeared at last count in about a dozen papers and blogs in various pictures, plus all sorts of nightly news.  The one I chose is from a San Francisco newspaper blog where my dear Puerto Rican friend of decades hugs for dear life his husband to be, to the point that his fingers turned white under the pressure.  No more words are needed to describe the moment, or imagine being there.

And thus we reach a discussion on democracy's excesses.

One thing that has happened to me over the last few years is that I have stopped caring much about issues such as saving the whales to gay rights because simply in Venezuela my basic rights are increasingly threatened or suppressed.  For example, I cannot watch the TV I want, read the newspapers as I would please,  express my opinions as I see fit, while my choice of religion could be questioned.  I cannot travel with my hard earned money wherever I please.  I am not sure my vote is counted as it should and if I find myself in court against the government I know that the odds are totally stacked against my cause.  I  must confine myself at home because walking the dog could be dangerous, and even my home looks less and less as a safe refuge because my blogging activities could bring me someday an unexpected search by the intelligence police, or a strange burglary that makes me miss only my computers.  My property is not respected by the increasing number of thugs that assault me on the streets or in governmental offices, and I cannot allow myself not to worry about my business that can be taken away whenever the president decides to take it away from me, without even a due procedure and compensation if it refers to the land I might own.  When I think about these things what should I care if my long time partner and I can ever get married under Venezuelan law?  What for?  What could we enjoy that we cannot enjoy already in the few notches of normal life still left for us in Venezuela?  What kind of life can we enjoy when one's job as a public employee is under constant threat and the other freedom, properties and business could fall at any time?

A point difficult to bring across to my US friends who still can afford to discuss mundane matters such as ways to tax and spend, something that has completely disappeared of our radar down here.

What happens to Venezuela is in a worse way what happened in California where a democracy excesses could make legal a form of discrimination.  And it is made much, much worse in Venezuela than it needs to be because in California and the US at least some of these excesses can be overturned by judges who have the courage to make real democracy advance.  Or how many more years would Blacks have had to wait for full civil rights and mixed marriage if the issue had been left strictly in the hand of the voters?  Here in Venezuela judges now go even farther than Chavez's regime by proposing that separation of powers is an outdated concept that the 'revolution' should overcome as soon as possible.

The reality of Venezuela is that an electoral majority, not even a people's majority, just a mere electoral majority has been able to impose a system whose initial objective was to redress errors from the past but that became instead a system designed to perpetuate in power a rather small group of people at the expense of the rest of the country.  In Venezuela today a cast of military and bureaucrats are those that own all power and can loot the country at will.  This group represents at best a few thousand of people, maybe a hundred of thousand, but they control all levers of power and have created all sorts of laws that allow them to actively discriminate against those who cross their path, limiting their civil rights, their property rights and even their private rights.

The clearest example was reminded to us this week with the death of Luis Tascon, the infamous representative who put in his web page the names of all of those who signed against Chavez in the 2004 recall election.  In diverse panegyrics we can read some of the victims going as far as to say that it was not really totally his fault, that he never even intended that list to become the active tool of discrimination it became.  This is of course absolute crap: Tascon never apologized or even showed some credible regret for even the possibility that his list might have given the idea of the Maisanta tool, a perfected CD who barred from public jobs and contracts any one suspect of not supporting Chavez 100%, even though most tax payers were already probably anti Chavez.  And even when he went back to the last opposition media left, Globovision, once he started criticizing some practices of chavismo, without ever breaking up fully with Chavez, the hosts of Buenas Noches received him as if nothing when he should have been banned from any civil society until a written mea culpa was made available.  Tascon was as guilty as Chavez or the many offices heads that used the Lista Tascon and its derivatives since 2004 to purge public administration and deny civil rights such as obtaining a mere passport.  As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell and I find it a poetic justice that he died of colon cancer after having fucked millions of Venezuelans.

I do not intend to sound vengeful, I am not.  But I have lost the ability to tolerate hypocrisy and I certainly can blame chavismo for that as they have raised hypocrisy to the cruelest of art's form.  Things need to be told as they are and for me that anti gay marriage protester in front of San Francisco whose placard read that a judge cheated on God is in the same hypocrisy league as National Assembly chair Cilia Flores when she rushes through parliament unconstitutional, undemocratic and discriminatory laws because in her own view they will promote popular power when in fact they centralize all in the hands of Chavez.  But each and everyone of the actions they take is designed to maintain a group of people below their own position, outside of their conception of life and the world, subjected, cornered, and eventually erased when the time is right.

We should never forget that democracy is the best and worst of political systems and that with the increasing role of the media the worst of democracy is finding it easier to show its ugly head: legal mob rule.

53 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Nearly ending your posting with the "As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell and I find it a poetic justice that he died of colon cancer after having fucked millions of Venezuelans." is a stunning juxtapostion against the start of your posting.

    Anyway, democracy is like this, that sometimes people will vote for themselves that "x" is banned, while the constitution clearly prohibits this intrusion by vote, into personal freedom. I'd suspect that California is so screwed for its finances that they're unable to defend their freedoms, in the same way as you are not able to complain regarding similar intrusions into your freedoms in Venezuela. The basic freedoms (to life and personal freedom) are so skewed as to render the extras (like gay marriage) as being meaningless, and frivolous.

    In California, in the beloved Oregon / Washington northwest the state governments are so screwed by their financial ineptitude that they'll soon be unable to defend these liberties.
    The second wave is about to strike... and who is to blame for this? after all, they voted for this government intervention into their lives, they voted for, and have the government they deserved.
    The judges that have made these decisions, who will feed them? who will work to pay their pensions?
    Who will protect them from the 8 millions that voted against this? It isn't a constitutional "right" it's only a law for this year.
    Have you read of the City Manager in Bell, California? it's a small example of what is to come... all the government workers eating steak, and all the private workers lining up for government checks?
    When this ends, it doesn't end good, or peacefully.

    marc in calgary

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  2. Charly9:16 AM

    After Tascon, it is now the turn of Muller Rojas to rot in hell. When the turn of the pudresidente?

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  3. Nicely said in many ways.We have priorities and in the wake of worse abuses, we sometimes have to pick and choose.Nothing is ever perfect.

    "But each and everyone of the actions they take is designed to maintain a group of people below their own position, outside of their conception of life and the world, subjected, cornered, and eventually erased when the time is right"

    Here is an interesting statement.The real minority is always the one who thinks and feels differently, no matter what their sexual orientation is or their color or their educational background or economic status.A small percentage of the population is said to be above the consensus state( those who think out of the box, those who dare to be different, those who do not represent the idiotic robotic" thinking" of conventional wisdom etc)

    -and this is the minority that is often on a more mature level of being...those among us who are capable of lifting others into growth, progress and understanding.

    Those who are stuck in consensus thinking cannot do that.Nothing is wrong per se with consensus thinking except that it does not represent our highest levels.It only serves to maintain the status quo which provides us with a certain needed stability but it does not allow us to reach greater understanding.So the world is an interplay of direction towards stability and direction towards change.

    That does not mean that those who are different from mainstream are more or less worthy of rights, but unfortunately in this world it doesn't even count for a modicum of respect.The majority of folks will violently oppose the rights and persons of those outside mainstream thought and being.Some will oppose passively by using their contacts with recognized authorities and others will become like little Hitlers in their aggressions.

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  4. Anonymous9:53 AM

    well now you have an excuse to flee Hugoslavia and go prancing down the aisle in the Castro District with your S. O..as you call him.....

    honey it aint over by a long shot...its call the Supreme Court and it aint looking good for your people

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  5. What a GREAT, great post!!

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  6. Thank you for your sane, rational, and humane response to overturning Prop H8. I didn't expect to find it mentioned on a blog about Venezuela. But you're right; the line is drawn fine between democracy and mob rule and this judge exercised his duty to overturn a law that defines one group of Americans as less deserving of equal rights than another. I have made the connection between the Tascon list and this very issue in other--perhaps this--Venezuelan blogs and was pretty much attacked for it by fringe elements who have written otherwise thoughtful and seemingly rational comments about other subjects. Can't wait to see how people weigh in on this here. And heartfelt congratulations to friends on their upcoming marriage. ¡Felicidades! Mozel Tov! Veels Geluk! Mabrouk! Gong Xi Ni! Gefeliciteerd! Glückwunsch! Felisitasyon! Subhkamna! Selamat! Congratulazioni! Mobârake! Pozdravlaiu! Sengamhlophe!

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  7. Great post Daniel, in all these years of reading you, first time you write something like this:

    When I think about these things what should I care if my long time partner and I can ever get married under Venezuelan law?

    You are a brave man, and what you've just done is admirable, all things considered.

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  8. "As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell and I find it a poetic justice that he died of colon cancer after having fucked millions of Venezuelans."

    Not your best line, Daniel.

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  9. Anonymous: Overturning hateful bigotry like your petulant, venal, meaningless little rant is in the DNA of the USA. Don't be so sure this is going to the Supreme Court any time soon, and you darn sure can't be certain of the outcome. But eventually, those of us that believe in true humanity, dignity, and rule of law will have outlasted the "podrido" discrimination of you and those like you. And while I "prance" around in celebration, you can goose step around and around in ever-tinier circles of craziness, until you and those like you are nothing more than another embarrassing footnote in American history. Racists like the KKK, and Black Panthers, right-wing Hatetriots like supporters of McCarthy, George W Bush, Cheney, and Palin, and super fringe nut jobs in the press like Glenn Beck and Keith Oberman. You're all the same: Shrill, petty, divisive and just plain wrong. And eventually--though not soon enough--you'll all be gone.

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  10. Anonymous12:53 PM

    I have nothing against gay marriage per se, after all, if they want to be allowed to perform a ceremony that was originally intended as a celebration of a father selling his daughter to another man so he could treat her as a slave and rape her at home whenever he wanted to, they can do it for all I care.

    But the hypocrisies involved are just too mind-numbing to ignore.

    First off, not allowing gays to marry each other isn't discrimination by any possible definition of the term. It'd be like saying that I'm being discriminated because I'm not allowed to drive on the left side of the road. Sure, I'm allowed to drive on the right side, like everyone else, "but it doesn't feel natural when I do it." Am I being discriminated? No.

    Gay men have exactly the same possibility to marry that straight men, and exactly the same available options. The fact that they want to do something different, something that straight men aren't allowed to do either doesn't mean they're being discriminated against. Saying that gay men are being discriminated because they're not allowed to marry each other is like saying people are being discriminated if they're not allowed to marry 10 women, their mother, their dog, and/or their iPhone.

    But the biggest hypocrisy is this: when you ask any gay man for the reasons he wants to be allowed to marry another gay man, once you get past the appeals to emotions ("I want to feel like I belong!!!"), what you get is a very valid list of things they're not allowed to do because they aren't married (e.g., hospital visitations, tax deductions, riding the ambulance, inheritances, etc.). The thing is, all those valid points are the result of very explicit discrimination against single people. And this is what the word discrimination actually refers to. When someone is not allowed some benefits simply because he can't/doesn't want to take part in some ridiculous pseudo-religious ceremony, THAT is discrimination. And of course, gay men don't really want to end discrimination (and allow single men to have the same rights as married men), they just want to be allowed on the "right" side of the discrimination.

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  11. Anonymous12:55 PM

    Müller Rojas is dead.

    http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/noticia/167616/muere-el-gral-r-alberto-muller-rojas/

    Clearly the whole necrophilia thing got Bolivar's ghost really, really pissed off, and he started to take them to hell where they belong. Or maybe it was the ghosts of all the people Izarra laughed about...

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  12. WARNING

    This post is not about gay marriage, it is about how discrimination of every type is established. If you cannot see that then you either need to read the text again or move on to another blog.

    As for the anonymous on the "right side of the road". Your argument is specious and even ridiculous. Everybody MUST drive on the right side , or left side of the road depending on the country. EVERYBODY. Unless you are suggesting that those in the US who like to drive on the left move to the UK? That is, your argument aggravates your mean position because the implication is that niggers, spics, adventists, mormons, fags, and what not should move out of the US.

    And no, I will not allow a reply from you, even if you decide to become something more than anonymous.

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  13. Kolyia

    I am sorry my blog is not PC enough for your taste.

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  14. Right on and rock on Daniel!!

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  15. "And while I prance around in celebration, you can goose step around and around in ever-tinier circles of craziness, until you and those like you are nothing more than another embarrassing footnote in American history."

    Indeed. Best comment of the post.

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  16. Kolya3:05 PM

    Daniel, I'm surprised at your petulance. You know that word had nothing to do politically correctness. Moreover, it must have been clear that I was not referring to your entire post, but only to the specific words I quoted:

    "As far as I am concerned he can rot in hell and I find it a poetic justice that he died of colon cancer after having fucked millions of Venezuelans."

    And my sole comment was:

    "Not your best line, Daniel."

    Why? Because the words I quoted seemed so out character for you.

    Once again, this has nothing to do with either being or not being PC. Miguel Octavio, who like many others (including, perhaps, yourself) felt on his own skin the consequences of being on the Tascon list, wrote about Tascon's dying of cancer:

    "I can not be happy with anyone's death, poor guy, it was probably a very painful one."

    Was he being PC? No, of course not. That was a class act on his part. It is, of course, not surprising, since that's the kind of guy Miguel is.

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  17. Kolya

    "petulance"?

    Again, sorry that I come across as a bitter resentful guy for you but Tascon did unspeakable evil, ruined countless lives and does not deserve a sympathetic eulogy since he never expressed the tiniest remorse. If others want to play that game and be another kind of guy than me, fine, see if I care. You will notice that I did not post anything in their blogs by the way on that matter.

    The kind of argument you advance is the kind of arguments that people said about Hess, observing that he spent so much time in jail and that he did not stay with Hitler until the end. Tascon never spent a day in jail, never got close form a court of justice. But at the end he did not escape poetic justice.

    Or maybe you did not like that part of the post either: "But I have lost the ability to tolerate hypocrisy and I certainly can blame chavismo for that as they have raised hypocrisy to the cruelest of art's form. "

    I would have never hurt intentionally Tascon and only wished that he ended up in jail for his crimes after a fair trial, but that cannot stop me from refusing to feel sorry for him for his awful death.

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  18. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Well, to begin with, the proverbial institution of 'marriage' will become pre-historic soon enough. A couple hundred years, or less. It's just a stupid paper by some stupid laws for some retarded purposes. Just because we were brain-washed by organized Religion and other widely accepted "civil" "authorities" for so many centuries.

    That being said, about same-sex couples, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or what have you, inter-species, that's where I draw the line. People should be free to do as they please. But nature is nature. I am biased, like many people. Love Lesbians, especially in my 2-1 dreams, like the next guy.

    Respect.

    Carlos Iglesia.

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  19. Milonga6:05 PM

    I missed that one... What is PC as in "not PC enough"? Great post! I also feel a lot of anger. I'm getting tired and resentful of the words Human Rights! They have been so degraded lately, especially by those that according to them, are the only ones "defending" them. The problem is Human Duties. Those have been thoroughly and completely abandoned. Gays have the right to get married, Muslims have the right to build a Mosque in Ground Zero, Ahmadinejad has the right to stone a woman because that is the law, etc. Beats me!

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  20. george7:02 PM

    Daniel, I always enjoy and appreciate your thoughts and insight to what is happening here in Venezuela. I respectfully disagree with your comments about the california issue.

    The citizens of california voted against it saying they dont want it. A judge sympathetic to the gay rights issue overturned the will of the people. It is not an issue of the right of a guy to marry another one. It is the point that the citizens legally agreed they do not want it.

    it is the same as in venezuela, the majority sign a referendum stating the will of the people and a judge, or a president says I dont care what they want I am going to do what I want. We know how that feels.

    it is the will of the people

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  21. Kolya

    Political correctness is an intention that is easy to perceive.Like when:

    Some people's SECRET JOYS include catching people in what they think are unpopular situations and scolding them for their manners.Then they thrill to the idea of getting very close to crossing the line but being pretentious enough to avoid it.

    Some people's SECRET FEARS are that someone may notice they have spinach stuck to their teeth, or get caught as a hypocrite.

    They are afraid to be caught as hypocrites for reasons that are not clear to them but are obvious to others

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  22. George. A majority wanted to prevent interracial marriage in the US. A majority didn't want integrated schools. A majority wanted a segregated military. A majority of southerns wanted to maintain slavery. A majority of Germans in the 40s wanted Nazi solutions. A majority of Hutus thought it was a good idea to hack apart a million Tutsis. Seriously, do people like you fire more than enough cerebral synapses than it takes to type such specious, shallow arguments?

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  23. Kolya9:09 PM

    Daniel,

    Once again, as I made it perfectly clear, my objection was only to that one sentence of yours. You know very well that I'm not talking about eulogizing Tascon. Miguel didn't eulogize Tascon, neither did he minimize the damage that Tascon has done, but in that one sentence Miguel showed class and decency.

    It's very simple, Daniel: I consider you principled, decent and brave, and, in my view, that one sentence (in an otherwise very good post) struck me as very out of character.

    And, yes, Daniel, your two replies to my comments were indeed petulant.

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  24. Kolya

    Whatever rocks your boat.

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  25. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Simon Bolivar's Angel of Death seems to be going around Venezuela visiting PSUV members, I bet Chavez is scared s....

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  26. Boludo Tejano2:38 AM

    OA2:
    You discussed the erroneous majority with an implicit comparison to the superior judiciary. After all, judicial decisions have always produced correct results, as in Plessy V. Ferguson and in Scott v. Sandford. Yeah, right. Had those decisions been put to nationwide vote, most likely- but this is arguable- the vote would have disagreed with the judicial decision. But the judiciary is always right, so you imply.

    A majority of Germans in the 40s wanted Nazi solutions.
    In a totalitarian society, the wish of the majority can always be ascertained by what Fearless Leader decides, as in Germany in the 1940s. Yeah, right. Tell me another one.

    I could go on, but will stop here.

    Seriously, do people like you fire more than enough cerebral synapses than it takes to type such specious, shallow arguments?
    This could definitely be written about your arguments. Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

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  27. Poetic justice is an interesting concept. And the best part is that it does not depend on the PC consensus of the ordinary mortal. It happens at the end, when all is said and done. Too late for Tascon to rectify. He had his opportunity while still with us. It is at a time like this that my thoughts turn to the zombie of the Caribbean. When his time comes, I will read your blog and recite your poem on Calle Ocho.

    Antonio

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  28. Milonga,

    PC is

    "Showing an effort to make broad social and political changes to redress injustices caused by prejudice. It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone, especially with respect to gender, race, or ethnic background. For example, Editors of major papers have sent out numerous directives concerning politically correct language. This expression was born in the late 1900s, and excesses in trying to conform to its philosophy gave rise to humorous parodies."


    One thing I share with you is that I am also tired of people talking about rights and not about duties.In part it is my generation.I grew up with mostly duties and can remember when John Kennedy said" Ask Not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.My parents had money but I owned 2 dresses and 3 pairs of pants only, and I woke up at 5am to deliver the paper.I knew sacrifice and hard work, and always felt a sense of obligation to create my own life and help others.

    One of the reasons I feel free and happy is that I am self sufficient.There is NOTHING worse than dependence on others for one's happiness.Politicians create dependence to insure votes.

    Cheers Tocaya

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  29. Boludo: First off, I never said that judicial decisions always produce correct results. Why can't people like you stick to the real issues and arguments? And are you really citing 19th century trials to bolster such nonsense? And the very results you cite were, um...overturned. Like I said, it's in the DNA of the USA to eventually overrule such hateful prejudice.

    Oh never mind. I'm not interested in convincing you (willful pigheadedness is a fundamental Republican Hateriot party platform plank), only in legally ensuring that your backwardness and ignorance no longer affects me.

    I understand that refutiating hate (thanks Sarah Palin for the new word) is frustrating. And I suppose I would be a better person not to relish your discomfort with the inevitable outcome of this equal rights fight. But I'm content with being a lesser person and enjoying immensely how you and people like you squirm and fume, and fuss, and bellow.

    Wishing you an unlikely lightening bolt instant infusion of enlightenment. In the meantime I'll enjoy the simple pleasure of you thrashing around like a slug with salt poured on it.

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  30. OA2

    I am not sure that Boludo objects to the premise of the post but rather to the way you presented your argument.

    I suppose it woudl be good to clear that up before you two guys continue your discussion. No?

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  31. Perhaps Daniel. Boludo. What exactly is your point?

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  32. Boludo Tejano5:06 PM

    OA2:
    Perhaps Daniel. Boludo. What exactly is your point?
    I will rewrite my argument, as it appears my message did not get through.

    OA2:Boludo: First off, I never said that judicial decisions always produce correct results.
    Nor did I ever state that you expressly said that . What part of implicit comparison or imply do you not understand? Since you have difficulty dealing with implication, I will leave out references to implying in rewriting my argument. The rewrite follows.

    OA2: Seriously, do people like you fire more than enough cerebral synapses than it takes to type such specious, shallow arguments?
    This could definitely be written about your arguments. Mirror, mirror, on the wall. You correctly point out that “the majority is right” can be considered a specious argument, as it ignores examples where the majority has been wrong. By the same token, your argument can also be considered specious as you ignore examples where the judiciary is wrong. Pot, meet kettle.

    In your opinion, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is an example where the judiciary is right and the majority is wrong. However, there are reasons to conclude that Judge Walker may be wrong in this case [See link above at “superior judiciary.”]. I am not going to get into an argument with you on the issue. There is no point getting into an argument with someone who engages in ad hominem attacks. I am simply pointing out that the case is not as clear-cut as you seem to assume.

    The record of the judiciary is not necessarily pristine. While the majority can be wrong, and the judiciary correct, the judiciary can also be wrong and the majority correct. For example consider Plessy vs. Ferguson and Scott vs. Sandford [see links above], both examples in which it was later concluded that the Supreme Court had committed egregious errors of judicial judgment. Had those decisions been put to nationwide vote, most likely- but this is arguable- the nationwide vote would have disagreed with the judicial decision. A more recent example where most would conclude today that the judiciary was wrong and the majority was correct is the case of Kelo v. City of New London. [What can we expect from a city which refused to hire an applicant for the police force because his IQ was too high?] The point is that as the majority is not always right, neither is the judiciary always right.

    OA2:A majority of Germans in the 40s wanted Nazi solutions.
    In a totalitarian society, the wish of the majority can always be ascertained by what Fearless Leader decides, as in Germany in the 1940s. Yeah, right. Tell me another one. Suffice it to say that this was not the only example where your phrasing left much to be desired, to put it as kindly as possible.

    OA2:I'm not interested in convincing you (willful pigheadedness is a fundamental Republican Hateriot party platform plank), only in legally ensuring that your backwardness and ignorance no longer affects me.
    You have engaged in a number of ad hominem attacks, such as the above statement and the reference to “cerebral synapses.” This is rather common for your side of the aisle. I have been the recipient of so many ad hominem attacks that when I hear one I think to myself, “So what else is new?” As people revert to ad hominem attacks when they cannot win the argument with facts and logic, there is no point in responding to them. Please keep in mind that just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is hateful/bigoted/ignorant/backward/what have you.

    BTW, I am a Post Liberal. The more I learned from books and from life, which caused me to leave the Progressive/Liberal flock, apparently the more ignorant and backward I became, from your point of view. I am done. Ciao.

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  33. Boludo

    Besides not replying to my indirect question (I can forgive for that) I am not impressed at all by the NRO article you cite through Neocon. reading this rather ill written accusation of judge Walker alleged malfeasance I could not fail to be struck by the mere refusal to acknowledge that the defenders of Prop 8 did a lousy job at defending it. This poor defense cannot be hidden by the NRO pice who tries to pretend that prop 8 defenders were short changed or exposed to some potential vindictive or who knows what (which is already a subconscious acknowledgment by NRO that on ethical grounds there is little worth defending in Prop 8). Only extreme neo con folks would sustain that as most serious papers I read on the subject underlined what a weak defense, what a poor case Prop 8 defenders offered, regardless of the fact that California declined to defend it which already got you a clue as to the poor quality of the case....

    Reading that NRO underwhelming case against judge Walker I could not help but think that the american right is becoming so hypnotized by their anti Obama crusade that they are losing minimum self criticism. They messed up in California and they should take notice of it least they start losing more cases.

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  34. Bernard DeKonick-Bertaud8:02 PM

    I just found this blog on the net and ran into this topic...after going through all the comments I am a little bit more convinced that deep inside both chavistas and opositores a basically the same thing, both sides have a certain authoritarian and discriminatory streak, no matter the topic. Civil rights for sexual minorities in Venezuela are light years away, neither chavistas nor the oposition will guarantee any legal protections for the gay community like many democratic countries do, among them Canada (from where I am posting this comments). The opposition always look up to the US and Europe as a political and economic model to follow, yet they blatantly ignore that most of European nations have some level of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, and the same occurs in several US states.

    Venezuela está jodida más allá de chavistas y escuálidos...that is my perception.

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  35. Daniel, I hope you will entertain one last spirited response. People have to understand that we are no longer afraid, and no longer willing to meekly acquiesce to having a civilized discussion of differences, agreeing to disagree, when it comes to our civil rights. No more. Unequal rights are not civilized, and my response is to get right up the nose of anyone who threatens me, my family, and my loved ones, no matter how they try to obfuscate it with pseudo-intellectual nattering.

    My response Boludo:

    First of all: zzzzzzzzzz.

    Secondly, here's MY point: Equal is equal. All else is bullshit and we're fed up with it however you want to try and justify it with pedantic drivel. I mean seriously, you want me ti entertain a discussion about whether MY rights are equal by framing the debate with your perverted notions of "logic?" Post liberal? Puh-LEEZE. I'm embarrassed for you.

    Please do understand this: If the fringe right, the emerging post liberal forcs (snicker), or anyone else continues trying to punish us for their own twisted fears, willful ignorance and prurient bigotry, ad hominem or not, we will deal with them. On our terms. No more Mister Nice Gay, cowboy.

    And yes, you're done.

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  36. OA2

    I do not agree with you on that one. Strong language can be used effectively only if it is used sparsely and after an adequate detailing of motive. That is why Chavez has lost all effectiveness even among a large portion of his supporters: his constant insults have become background noise. Shooting louder never exempts anyone from presenting an argument. Of course, when the other sides demonstrates that it plays dumb on purpose then you can lash back. Sparsely.

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  37. Daniel,
    I understand where you are coming from, and I agree with your feelings for the most part (although I can't quite share your schädenfreude on Herr Tascón's wholly unglamorous passing).

    I do think that the situations are quite different. In California, the process is one of profound social change, and it is bound to be traumatic, albeit properly channeled by the legal system. Positions are bound to be fluid, but deep down, we all know gay marriage will be a reality sooner rather than later.

    In Venezuela, the issue is much more different. This is not a cultural shift that's happening, it's a dictatorship, one with no checks and balances, one in which the forces that want to suppress *all* of Venezuelans' basic freedoms have the upper hand.

    It's like the difference between an argument amongst neighbors regarding the proper policy toward playing loud music, and an argument between you and the guy holding a gun to your head. Both are human conflicts of some sort, but both are in an entirely different league, imho.

    And finally, congrats for coming out!

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  38. Milonga9:30 PM

    Cheers, Firepigette! Thanks for enlightening me about the meaning of PC. The other day I mentioned a simple notion that everyone has seemingly forgotten: "my rights stop when yours begin" and the comment was: How can I forget something I've never heard of? (I´m assuming she is my daughter's age, about 30). My reply: have you at least heard the word "manners"? My God! I felt so outdated, stupid and depressed! No wonder we are where we are! (Daniel: sorry to invade your blog with girl talk...)

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  39. Hey Daniel. I understand what you're saying to a point. I have many friends in positions of influence who are moving the needle with more moderate methods. I used to be like them. I applaud their patience. I don't have it anymore. And I also believe in the radical edges nipping at the ever-more-bloodied heels of the bastards who started it all. And if my screaming down the neck of whoever tries to justify constitutionally relegating me to--literally--a second class citizen, then so be it. This is one loud mouth, noisy background with bits of heel stuck in his teeth that is not going away. Come at me and get what's deserved.

    I'm not sure measured discourse will work on the PSUV, FANB, the Bolivarian militia, or the rest. And I agreed with you from the start: Tascon got what he deserved, which is rare, and ass cancer is a fitting end for the prick.

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  40. Boludo Tejano10:21 PM

    Daniel:
    Whatever. Were I interested in debating the issue here, I would have jumped in much earlier. I jumped in when I observed some rather sloppy argumentation from OA2.
    Whatever position you take on US domestic issues is your decision. I see no point in debating your positions on US domestic issues. I lost interest- most likely all interest- in debating US domestic issues with you as a consequence of the Scott Brown thread. You repeatedly brushed off my points and jsb’s points- well documented with links and numbers- that turnout for the election was in line with off-year election turnout and was not a result of Democrats staying home in response to post-2008 disappointment.

    OA2:
    Whatever. Diga lo que diga. You definitely know how to win friends and influence people.
    Ciao.

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  41. Juan Cristobal

    I do not see where we disagree. You imply it but from your words I cannot see where.

    Of course it is a different problem in Venezuela and that was the reason why I rarely allowed anything about my private life to filter in my blog least some one, from the Chavez side probably, woudl try to use it as a disqualifying tool. Heck, they already invented all sorts of stories with no help! No need tomake their job easier.

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  42. OA2

    Whether tough discourse is functioning is in a way irrelevant. It is a matter of self dignity foremost, of refusing to descend in the gutter with them. One of my most satisfying moment ever was at a Pride day in a Southern State when a heckler came close to me with some Jesus placard that I was going to hell. I told him that if heaven was full of people like him then I much preferred to go to hell. He might still be foaming at the mouth after all these years. See, you can be equally effective without replying in kind.

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  43. Boludo

    Oh, that is what it all comes from... My recollection is different, I did not brush off your points, I just plainly disagreed with them.

    However note here that I tried to be nice to all and force OA2 to behave and explain himself better. Little good it did to me it seems.

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  44. Boludo, you noticed! Me importa un freaking bledo about winning friends on this issue. WHEW, I thought I was being too subtle on that point. Influencing people? Damn...er...straight I'm influencing people. I'm dedicated, hard-working, and feel blessed to have accomplished a few truly meaningful things around world. In October I'll marry my partner of 12 years, and it will be the happiest day of our lives. And in another 12 years, that the issue was even debated will embarrass anyone associated with trying to defend the indefensible. Good luck to you. Still hoping for that instant bolt of enlightenment somehow reaches you.

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  45. OA2

    Please, get a grip! I had to erase your other post! Even though you pretended to support me!

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  46. FWIW, "political correctness" is actually rather passe. Its heyday was probably the late 1980s and early 1990s. After that it became much more fashionable to try to pass as "politically incorrect," but I think that has also becoming passe.

    Nonetheless, although it does not pack the punch that it once had, accusations of political correctness are still used by some as a diversion, as a red herring to change the subject under discussion. In a way its analogous to what happens in the US when a policy initiative is labeled by opponents as "socialist"--instead of discussing the substance of the issue, proponents are forced to waste time in denying the misleading charge.

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  47. Boludo Tejano12:55 AM

    Daniel, I agree that on this thread you have acted in a civil manner and done all you could to steer others towards civility. This has also been your M.O. for all other threads. I appreciate that.

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  48. While we are on this topic, I want to ask a few things that have puzzled me for a while -someone very close came out, which was mere confirmation of what I was suspecting:

    - at what point in a man's life does he notices/decides/realises that he likes/fancies/wishes-to-marry/spend-a-lifetime with men instead of women?

    - how does that process happen?

    - what sort of internal debates take place?

    - is it hormonal, a natural phenomena, or is it conscious decision after trying out heterosexual relations?

    - why the pride?

    - why the in your face proclamations to people that really couldn't care less about how others' decide to live their sexual lives?

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  49. AB

    There are plenty of blogs that specialize on these things.

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  50. Hey Daniel,

    Guilty as charged if the charge is anger and passion. About 2 years ago I made a deliberate decision to always be loud and in-your-face about this because I no longer accept that there can be civilized discourse about whether I deserve equal rights. It simply isn't a civilized question and doesn't deserve a civilized response. On almost any other subject, I'm actually considered a pretty pleasant and measured person, especially with those I disagree with. Time will judge whether my methods on this issue hastened the process or just made uncomfortable those who defend what I sincerely consider to be plain old homophobic bigotry, however it's dressed up. I'd prefer the former, but the latter suits me fine. Sorry if I took it too far for you, and thank you for the forum.

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  51. Kolya:

    What is the difference between political incorrectness and impoliteness?

    Emotional callousness( rudeness) and fear and its consequent desire to be fashionable ( PC).

    If we care too much about what is passe and what is not passe then we miss the point.The whole point of PC is to miss the true point in order to aid partisan politics win votes.

    When we care about fashion or passe we fall into the trap.PC exists and packs a wallop whether it is fashionable or not or whether denouncing it was more fashionable at the turn of the Century or now.The same goes for our refusal to indulge in its taboos.

    Moral fashions seem to be created on purpose. When there's something we can't say, it's often because some group doesn't want us to.To create a taboo, a group has to be poised halfway between weakness and power.Fashion doesn't seem like fashion to someone in the grip of it. It just seems like the right thing to do, when in reality it is just fearful fashion.

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  52. OA2

    You certainly have the right to be vociferous but this blog has rules :)

    I would be remiss not to enforce them on whomever transgress them even if they have the very best intentions at heart.

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  53. you're right, of course daniel. thanks again.

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