Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

FBI to Apple: Oh never mind

The Justice Department announced this week that it has successfully accessed data stored on the Apple iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino gunman without Apple's help so they’ve asked a federal judge to vacate the disputed order forcing Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone, saying it was no longer necessary.

“As the government noted in its filing today, the FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by this Court Order," DOJ spokeswoman Melaine Newman said in a statement. "The FBI is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures."

Oh, never mind says the government to Apple. We didn’t require your help after all. We don’t need you now; you can go back to your business quietly now; we’ve called off our goons; we got what we wanted without you. No details will be provided about how we did it or who showed us how; no apology necessary; no mea culpa; no shame on us. Just forget about it; if we want to shake you down again in the future – the next time we feel like violating your constitutional rights -- we’ll get another court order. That’s easy enough.

"From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent," Apple said in a statement. "As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought."

That’s right; the case should never have been brought in the first place; the government had no right to try to force Apple to do something inimical to its business interests and the interests of its loyal customers; and I explained in detail why here and here.

Oh, never mind say the government goons. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Infantile angst at Emory

The delicate political sensibilities of many leftist students at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia were shaken to the core last week when they happened upon the message “Trump 2016” scrawled in white chalk on campus sidewalks. Some of them began crying out pitifully that it was threatening and made them feel no longer safe at the school.

Can you imagine that? Just the name “Trump” written on the sidewalk is enough to scare the crap out of some poor little college kids. So they protested to the university president chanting: “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain... It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

And the president felt their pain and took genuine pity on them. “After meeting with our students, I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity. Instead, the students with whom I spoke heard a message, not about political process or candidate choice, but instead about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own,” he declared.

To them, Donald Trump is a racist monster and every single word that flows from his mouth is “hate speech.”

The Emory Latino Student Organization posted a statement declaring: “Yesterday, the Emory community was witness to an act of cowardice, when someone decided to plaster pro-Donald Trump slogans all over campus… They did not do this merely to support the presidential candidate, but to promote the hate and discrimination that goes along with him. While some students only see the name of a potential nominee, others see hostility and venom which promises to destroy lives. The Emory Latino Student Organization condemns this as an act meant to instigate division on our campus. We have the freedom of speech in this country to express different ideas. But it is un-American to support hatred against others, and that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing.”

Wow! Things have changed a lot since I was in college. I never thought I would live to see a day when the mere mention of a candidate’s name would invoke palpable fear and pain in adult human beings. 

Even if Trump was a racist, and he most certainly is not, it is hard for me to comprehend that the mere mention of his name on a college campus could cause so much…infantile angst at Emory.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Forget the First Amendment

A rabid Black Lives Matter activist group leader accuses a Minnesota teacher of being a racist because of comments he made on Facebook about student discipline problems in his school district. The school district responds by putting the teacher on administrative leave. Now the activists are whining that the response was not enough and demanding the school district superintendent’s resignation.

A Medford Massachusetts Police officer posts a graphic on Facebook advocating that perhaps it’s time that America treated radical Muslims in the same fashion as it treated the Japanese with nuclear weapons to end WWII. He now faces serious potential discipline from the department for his expression.
What’s wrong with this picture?
What happened to the First Amendment? Forget about it scream the rabid activists. The expression amounts to racism in their opinion and therefore it must be punished. The teacher shouldn’t be allowed to teach; the cop must be fired.
But even it both of them are racists, they still have a constitutional First Amendment right to express their opinions. Forget that, say the activists; even if they aren’t racists; even if their expression was not racism under any reasonable definition, they should lose their jobs anyway.
Theodore "Theo" Olson, a special education teacher at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., was placed on administrative leave over two posts he wrote on Facebook about student discipline in the school district. The posts were “deemed” offensive by a Black Lives Matter activist who claims Olson he is “the epitome of a bad teacher” and a “white supremacist.”
Here’s what Olson actually posted: “Anyone care to explain to me the school-to-prison pipeline my colleagues and I have somehow created, or perpetuated, or not done enough to interrupt? Because if you can’t prove it, the campaigns you’ve waged to deconstruct adult authority in my building by enabling student misconduct, you seriously owe us real teachers an apology. Actually, an apology won’t cut it… Phones and iPad devices, used for social media and gaming... There have always been rules for ‘devices,’ and defined levels of misconduct. Since we now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed, just designing our own classroom rules.”
Black Lives Matter believes that Olson portrayed students as drug dealers and gang bangers and threatened a “shut-down action” at the school if Olson was not fired. Now they’re demanding that the school district superintendent resign. Yet, there is nothing racist about Olsen’s comments, but even if there were, his expression is protected by the First Amendment.
The Medford cop posted on his personal Facebook profile an image of a mushroom cloud and a reference to the United States' atomic bombing of Japan in World War II. Text above the image reads: "JAPAN HAS BEEN AT PEACE WITH THE USA SINCE SEPTEMBER 2, 1945.  Below the image reads, "IT'S TIME WE MADE PEACE WITH ISLAM."

Now I ask you, whether you agree with his message or not, isn’t it a classic example of free expression protected by the First Amendment? Of course it is. There is nothing racist about it, but even if there was, it is still protected expression.

Never-mind that croaks Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke: "You can't be a neutral officer on the street if you have these ideas about a certain group of people… So, it's not acceptable."

"I was very much taken aback by it," said Medford Diversity Director, Diane McLeod. They think it amounts to conduct unbecoming of a police officer, a catch-all charge used by law enforcement agencies to discipline officers.

Sadly, they both forget – free expression and protected speech under the First Amendment is not conduct – the officer has a constitutional right to express his opinions on his personal Facebook profile whether others like it or not. That is the purpose of the First Amendment.

Forget the First Amendment scream the activists.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Payments for parasites

Few people would argue that the President of the United States of America is the most prestigious job in the world. Former presidents in modern times have no difficulty whatsoever earning fabulous sums of money in addition to their generous annual pensions by writing books and memoirs about their time as president; appearing for private speaking engagements all over the world; and accepting lucrative positions in the private sector.

So there is simply no reason why any former president should become a government parasite sucking even more sustenance from the public trough, especially if he is already wealthy by American standards. They absolutely shouldn’t be begging for more public taxpayer money even before they leave office.

But that is exactly what President Barack Obama is doing now ten months before his term expires. He’s begging Congress to substantially increase the amount of financial benefits in the year 2017 available from the federal government for the support of former presidents.  

This after he already successfully persuaded Congress to hike the former presidential payments in 2016. “For FY2016, President Obama requested and received appropriations of $3,277,000 for expenditures for former Presidents–an increase of $25,000 from FY2015 appropriated levels,” reads a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Now he’s asking for nearly 18% more for 2017 -- $3,865,000; an annual increase of $588,000 -- of which he will personally benefit upon his own transition from incumbent to former president. 

In addition to the generous pension he’ll receive, among other things, office expenses, staff and support, a travel allowance, Secret Service protection, and spousal benefits. His pension alone will be equal to the current salary of cabinet secretaries – well over $200,000 per year.

George W. Bush, for example, a wealthy man on his own right, received for the year 2015 alone, well over $1 million in former presidential governmental perks. That, in my opinion makes him a former presidential parasite. 

Now President Obama seeks to join him on the former presidents gravy train of ever more taxpayer payments to parasites.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Court chooses government viewpoint discrimination

A three justice panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals has held 2 to 1 that it is perfectly OK for the government to ignore the First Amendment while engaging in viewpoint discrimination. The decision affirmed that the state of North Carolina can issue specialty vehicle license plates with anti-abortion slogans while refusing to also produce tags that offer pro-abortion rights views.
The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation in 2011 allowing motorist’s requests for specialty license plates advocating anti-abortion expression while rejecting all requests from abortion rights advocates to also issue tags saying "Respect Choice" or similar abortion-rights phrases

It’s like the government issuing specialty license plates with the message: “Democrats Rule” while refusing to issue similar plates promoting Republicans.

Ironically, the very same court only two years ago came to the exact opposite conclusion, holding then that North Carolina was unconstitutionally discriminating against differing viewpoints.
When governments issue specialty license plates they are engaging in government speech. So said the U.S. Supreme Court in a Texas case last year allowing that state to reject proposals for tags featuring a Confederate battle flag.
"We now conclude that specialty license plates issued under North Carolina's program amount to government speech and that North Carolina is therefore free to reject license plate designs that convey messages with which it disagrees," says the 4th Circuit of Appeals new opinion.
In short, according to this court, if the majority of a state’s lawmakers are Democrats, it can pass laws issuing specialty license plates with messages promoting Democrat political positions while denying the same type of requests to promote Republican political positions.
Well, at least one of the three justices got it right in a dissenting opinion observing that his colleagues had misread  the implications of the Supreme Court's Texas case. Expressions on license plates aren't purely the government's expression of messages it approves, he rightly said. Legislators themselves recognized that the tags were intended to be a forum for private expression by the people who buy them
"A person who sees a North Carolina "I'd Rather Be Shaggin'" specialty plate during Monday morning rush hour surely does not routinely and reasonably believe that such a plate embodies the State of North Carolina's credo," he wrote. "Nor is it likely that a North Carolina Libertarian who applies for a "Don't Tread On Me" specialty plate is motivated by a desire to convey to the public the government's seal of approval."
The Supreme Court's decision must have recognized that allowing officials alone to determine government speech would allow it "to discriminate against disfavored speakers and messages at will," he continued. It's implausible that "the Supreme Court meant to force us to choose that the mule in this case is either a horse or a donkey."

In other words, says the dissenter, and I wholeheartedly agree: it is still considered unconstitutional for a state legislature to engage in choosing blatant government viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Come and get me

I don’t believe it; I think its bullshit. You know; this entire man made global warming climate change Chicken Little hysteria that’s been going on relentlessly now for the last several years. It’s a hoax! It’s a lie. It’s a con designed to scare us; to make us think that government is necessary to save us; to induce us to make ever more sacrifices to the Authority! I’m sick and tired of hearing about it day after day.

Remember when it was the global over-population scare? The authorities were warning us then that if we didn’t make more sacrifices soon the world would become over-populated; there wouldn’t be enough food for everyone to eat; there would be famine; chaos; hungry criminals would be roaming the countryside breaking into our homes to steal our food.  Well, that turned out to be bullshit too.

And before that – yes, for thousands of years -- it was lots of other hysterical bullshit: The world is coming to the end; the kingdom of God is upon us; the rapture is near; the apocalypse looms; and on and on. I can’t remember any time in my whole life when there wasn’t some sort of hysteria about looming disasters requiring the people to make more sacrifices.

Now the climate change authorities want the government to criminally prosecute people like me and lots of others who know it’s all a load of bullshit and aren’t afraid to say so. They’re demanding that President Obama employ the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute climate change deniers.

Would you believe it? President Obama is listening to them. Even now, his Attorney General, Loretta Lynch is admitting that the Justice Department is considering the possibility of coming after climate change deniers. “This matter has been discussed. We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on,” Lynch told a Senate Judiciary Committee recently.

All I can say is: I dare you – come and get me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

American exceptionalism is an opinion -- not a fact

Advanced Placement history courses are rigorous educational opportunities available for high school students who can earn college level credits for taking them. They are certified by the College Board, a private organization, which also oversees their final examinations. Local school districts are not required to teach Advanced Placement courses, however most college and university admissions offices tend to favor student applications that include successfully passing such courses in high school.

This all seems pretty good to me, but a statist Oklahoma lawmaker wants Advanced Placement courses banned in his state because he thinks they omit emphasizing what he calls “American exceptionalism.”  House bill 1380, introduced by Republican State Rep. Dan Fisher, cuts off funding for the courses because, in his opinion, they focus on "what is bad about America." 

A Tulsa Oklahoma newspaper editorial opines that the courses allow smart high school students to study at a college level, and that the history courses teach the "full range of American history: the good, the bad and the exceptional… It's not a secret left-wing plot to inculcate American youth with seditious ideas, just a hard class for bright kids."

I have some news for Rep. Fisher: There is a lot of history about America that is plenty bad indeed, and for which all Americans should be rightfully ashamed. But history is history; facts are facts; and students should be taught the good, the bad and the ugly about the United States of America. There are plenty of good facts about American history for which Americans should be proud. No proper history course should gloss over the bad stuff and teach only the good.

History is not about opinions. There is plenty of room in high school curriculum's to teach about opinions outside of history courses. Why not let the bright students take the courses and then come to their own conclusions about whether America is exceptional. 

American exceptionalism is an opinion; not a fact. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Porn Politics

Statist politicians, religious extremists, and lots of other self-anointed socially conservative authoritarians think that it is their responsibility to dictate their personal cultural values to the rest of us. They’re constantly trying to scare us with their apocalyptic fantasies.

In my own lifetime during the 1950’s the statist whining was about rock and roll music and the terrible cultural damage being caused to teenagers by Elvis Presley’s hip movements. During the ‘60’s and ‘70’s it was the hippie culture and the War on Drugs., Sex drugs and rock & roll were leading us down a path to the end of civilization as we know it.  

These cultural statists never give up. They’re still whining today about the same crap. And they’re still trying their best to scare people. Statist lawmakers in Utah, for example, are about to designate pornography a public health crisis – an "epidemic."  Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler (R) has introduced a legislative resolution that would recognize a range of “societal harms” from the pornography “epidemic.”

This idiot admits that pornography is protected by the First Amendment. Americans enjoy a constitutional right to look at porn. But Weiler wants to use his political office to promote his personal cultural values. “I’m hoping this will start educating people that pornography is actually addictive, that it’s harmful to families and relationships,” he declared. Sex, especially gay sex, is dirty he thinks, and gratuitous sex is dangerous and addictive.  

Well, if porn is addictive then so is stamp collecting, reading comic books, watching TV and eating ice cream. Any of those activities can be equally harmful to families and relationships. If porn is addictive then any activity is addictive and the word “addictive”  is losing its meaning. Statists use the word to invoke fear. They want impose their personal political and religious values on others.

It’s porn politics.