Johnny Harris discusses birth control for (heterosexual?) men; copyright controversy over a short film on cyberwar

Protest SCOTUS 2022-6-25 “A corpse has more bodily autonomy than I do”

I most recently visited Johnny Harris here May 15, but now, given what happened June 24, we need to consider his June 23 video “Without Roe v Wade, We NEED a Male Birth Control Pill”.  (It seems silly that the video is age-restricted.)

He starts out by explaining how pregnancy can start, with “hormones” sending messages within the female uterus.   He then discusses fertilization and implantation, and the early steps of a new human being’s journey. And then he explains how many contraceptives work, including hormone-altering medications.

And toward the end, he gets into the question as to whether men should own up to their share of the inconvenience of birth control meds.  After all, they lead to mood swings for women, at least.  Maybe visible side effects?

It’s own, it’s women (in the straight world) for whom physical appearance matters.  But for men to tolerate a med that might somehow affect the look of their masculinity is unacceptable. So big pharma doesn’t invest much in it.

Men, of course, do choose vasectomies, mostly when married and having already had the desired number or offspring for a lineage.  A workplace friend, who had married (after divorce) into an instant family, had one in 1971 (he called it having “tubes tied”) and said the next day (a Tuesday) that it felt like getting kicked in the “balls”.  That goes away.

And there is this bit about “hormones”, which in 1969 in the Army barracks at Fort Eustis, well the special troops (the “back to the bay” crowd) thought were names or cartoon characters. When I pointed out a bald spot showing on the outside of my shin (at age 25), the reaction was , “You’re losing hormones”.

Harris wears a black beanie this time (not orange).  He doesn’t need one, but Oh he wants to be compared to Tim Pool.

To move on to another topic, Harris pointed out in a tweet this morning that Sam, from Wendover) had a YouTube video taken down by DMCA after a complaint from Bloomsburg Publishing.  The video is “How Cyberwarfare Actually Works” (19 min).  Wendover’s defense is that you cannot copyright facts, only expression (like you can copyright the images in the film, or long passages of text).  So it sounds like Fair Use.  This sounds like something that a defendant would opt out from the Copyright Claims Board and insist on trial.  It sounds like a legitimate Fair Use claim.  However broadcasters (those not using paywalls) sometimes provide “this content cannot be rewritten, rebroadcast, or redistributed) which sounds like trying to copyright information which contradicts Fair Use (posting here on June 20). 

Parked on NSA grounds, MD, 2007

I watched the film free (you get one “freebie for CM”) on a site called Nebula (it calls itself an “app”, but it seems like another free speech platform like Odysee or Bitchute).  It explains how SSL and https encryption has made spying by intercepting difficult, so the ZeroDay attack has become the weapon of choice now. The film gives the history of the Stuxnet worm which apparently the NSA and various contractors developed (Snowden has reported all this) to gradually take down the centrifuge apparatus in Iran (the film shows aerial shots of the plant, and these images would be copyrighted, probably – as well as classified?)  A worm (often introduced with a thumb drive) can be passed among computers until it strikes the desired enemy target.  In the power grid world, bridging “air gaps” is a security issue (no, there is no way “you” can connect to your power company’s controller from the Internet from your home or office PC or smart phone; they are topologically separated).  The film also talks about compromises of health care systems (WannaCry) and of Colonial Pipeline in 2021.  Honestly, there was nothing in the film I didn’t already know.

To wrap up the controversy, I’ll embed a 3-minute video called “Hairy SOLO” from the (gay) MEN YT channel, to re-introduce a little cis male pride.

Update: Well, it went private. Let’s try an NBC video: “What CISGender Means”

(Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 12:30 PM EDT)

SCOTUS rulings on Second Amendment, and then on Roe v Wade, pose serious questions as to which personal individual rights are really “fundamental”

protesters near SCOTUS walking back to Union Station, 2022-5

Okay, when “Bill” goes away for grocery shopping, the mice play.  The news on Roe popped onto my phone this morning as I stood in line at a Harris Teeter in Arlington VA.

Let’s back up and talk about the Bruen case in New York, ruled yesterday 6-3. The official name is “NEW YORK STATE RIFLE & PISTOL ASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL. v. BRUEN, SUPERINTENDENT OF NEW “YORK STATE POLICE, ET AL”, with official opinion link here

New York state apparently is not allowed to maintain its policy as a “may issue” (vs. “shall issue”) state when citizens apply for licenses to carry various weapons.  Typically, that may mean that the applicant needs a more specific reason to need a gun than just self (or familial or property) defense, which is often the standard in Europe (like New York, densely populated).  That means the individual has more personal risk from targeted violence, for example, which affects eir personal agency.

Hoeg Law discusses the opinion in a two-hour video, along with discussing analysis offered by Vox and by Fox News.  Understand at first, in the past I’ve talked about DC v. Heller (2008) which is supposed to deal with the “militia” question.

I’ll walk back on a couple of points, which also matter to Roe (later in this post).

That is, according to the opinion, “fundamental rights” pre-exist and are not granted by government or even by the Constitution (the Bill of Rights, and certain other amendments, especially the 14th Amendment with its incorporation doctrine).

But pre-existing fundamental rights are substantiated by a reading of history, which may go back to civilization much less technology-related than ours.  It is reasonable that self-defense as a fundamental right could be seen in American history, especially with its history of settling new lands (however problematic when it comes to other issues, like indigenous peoples – or to the history of slavery). 

The opportunity for individual self-defense certainly reinforces personal, individual agency.  I can relate an anecdote. In November 2016 I had volunteered to deliver meals for Food and Friends and had done so earlier only in northern Virginia.  When I found out that this time I might have to be willing to drive in SE Washington DC’s most dangerous neighborhoods, I backed out.  Maybe personally cowardly.  But if I owned a personal weapon and had been trained to use one properly and safely, I would not have had to back out.  Frankly, I don’t see becoming a “victim” of extra-legal violence when serving others as particularly honorable, deserving a funeral procession. So I have to be very strict about the kinds of risks I will take.

My own history, with my books and blogs, has talked a lot about many fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech – which I say does not automatically guarantee what Brian Stelter calls “freedom of reach” (SCOTUS has waffled on that point, as with COPA), and the “right to privacy”, which indeed comes from substantive due process (more later in this post) which I see as an individual right (as opposed to  group-enabled rights implied by the use of protected classes).  I did not (in any of the three DADT books or in my “Our Fundamental Rights” booklet specifically talk about the Second Amendment as an individual right.  I should have, and would do so if rewriting.  I can remember a Libertarian Party of Virginia conclave in Richmond on a late spring weekend in 1995 where it was a big issue.  I should have taken it more seriously then.  But I had come at this from another direction, gays in the military, the draft, the limits of privacy – I never got around to thinking about how critical individual self-defense can be for personal agency and integrity.

Hoeg, in his video, gives some discussion to the Supreme Court’s idea of “originalism” and “textualism”.  It is turning into a distinction without a difference.

I would take the discussion about “fundamental rights’ in a new direction, and try to apply the idea of “pre-existing rights” and due-process.  The universe, after all, is very inequitable.  “You” don’t have a fundamental right to be born without disability, or to a family of means, or to be born white, or even cis-gender straight.  That’s because the laws of physics make this impossible. That’s like claiming the right to fly like (Smallville) superman (or like an intelligent crow sitting on the railing on the balcony of your high-rise condo and watching you work on your computer – I have such a “friend” now).  Once a society has “rule of law” and some attempt at democracy (the West, essentially), it then becomes reasonable to postulate that some notions like right of privacy can exist if you can presume fundamental due process (below).  Clearly, in today’s (Putin’s) Russia or North Korea or (to a somewhat lesser extent) China this notion fails.  I have some of this sketched on my old “doaskdotell” site and it will be revised soon.

What is the effect on current efforts, even the recent agreement to a compromise on gun control in Congress?  

The New York Times has a summary by various writers, apparently published about the same time as the opinion.  Essentially, the SCOTUS opinion would not seem to affect control of weapons in specific places or venues (like airplanes), or the banning of people with certain signs of mental illness (red flag laws), or the personal possession of weapons of mass destruction (answering a Tim Pool tweet, I don’t think the opinion means you can possess nukes). Legislation affecting some kinds of military weapons (AR-15’s, etc) would seem permissible.  What isn’t permissible is questioning your need for individual self-defense.  (The House just passed its gun safety law 234-193.)

 Now, that brings me to the shocker for today, the overturn of Roe v. Wade (so predicted by Jeffrey Toobin on CNN since Barrett’s appointment), “DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL.” ,pdf link.  

It may be trite to say that as an elderly gay man who has never experienced coitus (or even meaningful arousal – bluntness is necessary now) with a female and never will (well, except in my “Second Epiphany” screenplay with the help of an identity-switching “crisis actor”), this opinion cannot affect me directly.  But the irony, of course, comes from the reasoning used to undermine previous rulings (specially Lawrence v Texas and Obergefell) affecting the freedom of individuals to have and benefit from intimate adult same-sex relationships that physically happen in private but which putatively do affect culture as a whole.  (It is important to recall that the AIDS epidemic raised questions about possibly unpredictable public health consequences of some gay conduct (covered previously, and in Chapter 3 of my own DADT-1 book and a public issue in Texas in 1983 with a proposed draconian state law 2138), and raised again with monkeypox (although this will spread among heterosexuals too with similar intimacies in public raves); ironically, however COVID19 seemed to hit hardest people in socially conventional large families. In general, public health, war, climate change and space weather can all pose issues that invade individual liberty in ways we haven’t seriously considered before, why we focus on ‘bathroom bills’ — may not have the luxury?)

I have to add, it is disturbing that some “Republicans” seem so  focused (and smug) on a narrow swath of the right to life concept, when there is a much bigger practical concern (the elderly, the severely disabled, and so on).  In a few states they have implemented vigilante laws, or proposed ideas like making it a crime for a state resident to contact a service online to seek assistance in another state. This could present a serious downstream liability situation for social media and even webhosts down the road (given, for example, how Section 230 plays out).

Alito has written that the effect of today’s opinion, undermining stare decisis, applies only to abortion, and has noted that no other issue has affected the right to take away the life of a human being, interpreting any entity after fertilization (maybe implantation) as a human being.  You might try to twist his reasoning around and say that some uses of guns for self-defense needlessly take away human life.  At least that is a first reaction.

But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote some comments in his concurring opinion, as explained by Adam Edelman at NBC News.  The long headline is “Thomas wants the Supreme Court to overturn landmark rulings that legalized contraception, same-sex marriage; In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the conservative jurist called on the court to overrule a trio of watershed civil rights rulings, writing,’” We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”   Thomas is “willing” to wait for another case, he says.  (Well, why did the Court have to overturn Roe v Wade at all;  it could have upheld Mississippi itself). This could work its way down to contraception (Griswold – 1962; and there are radicals who believe that sperm itself has humanity!)

The issue is “substantive due process”.  Thomas calls this an “oxymoron”. That doctrine has generally recognized liberty or property interests (as in the 14th Amendment) in contemporary terms.  But as we saw (ironically) with the 2nd amendment case, Thomas (and to a large extend other justices) believe this is validated only over a longer period of American history.  Same-sex relations have not been so recognized until the past few decades, partly because in the past homosexuality was seen as undermining the incentive for most normal men to marry and have and raise children (and post WWII had become fodder for McCarthyism).  That’s a pretty complicated thing to explore.  My three DADT books make a point of organizing all of this.  You could say that “substantive due process” means you can’t pass a law that intrudes into a personal space that cannot be enforced with normal procedures under the rule of law.  (Think how that applies to sodomy laws.)   Without substantive due process, rights would be delegated to groups, which critical theory embraces.  That would follow from the equal protection clause.  I am not a big fan of deriving rights through groups (implies intersectionality). I could say that an underlying theme of all my books is what individual rights you protect with substantive due process (as opposed to group equal protection and the protected marginalized minority idea) and what those who feel personally challenged should do to leverage the idea.

Tim Pool weighed in quickly today:

Also The Hill-Rising weighs in:

I’ll close this long post with trailers for two films deal with Roe.

One is “Reversing Roe” (2018), directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, from Lincoln Square Productions and Netflix.  ·

The other is “AKA Jane Roe”(2020), directed by Nick Sweeney, from FX Channel, about Norma Mc Corvey, the original plaintiff in Roe v Wade, who finally turned against her own prior activism later in life when she had cancer.

(Posted: Friday, June 24, 2022 at 4 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

Additional Update: I made an 8 minute video today (June 29) about how I assess the concepts of fundamental rights, standard of review (like rational basis, heightened scrutiny), personhood determination, and so on. I give a link to my script.

Script of my own take on Alito’s reasoning

(End of Update).