Party over Country

"Look at the tyranny of party -- at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty -- a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes -- and which turns voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master." ---Mark Twain ["The Character of Man," inserted in autobiographical dictation 23 January 1906]

Conservative career advice

How to get ahead and make enough money to live on in returement:

  1. Find an underserved market and serve it.
  2. Kill your conscience, it just gets in the way of you becomeing lower than pond scum.
  3. Slant your message:
  4. Win if you can, lose if you must but in all cases lie and cheat
  5. Make your company loads of money using fear as your message.

Things to remember while performing the above list:

For all of the people that think that "they expect it" or "it comes with the job" or worse "they (secretly) enjoy this". These people, this half of the human race, are subject to this all the time. They hate the harrassment. Synonyms of harrasement include: persecution, intimidation, pressure, force, or coercion. All of those words include the connotation of "unwanted". This abomination is not exclusive to the work force, it is everywhere for these people!

It is not part of the job. It is not part of life. It is not kind or wanted. It is not part of society.

These people are daughters, sisters and mothers. They could be your daughter, sister or mother. Stop the harrassment you sick bastards.

Starbucks Underfills its iced drinks

A woman in Illinois has sued Starbucks claiming that Starbucks is putting too much ice in their iced drinks. Gentle readers, this woman has every right to sue. She also has the right to lose. One could only wish that the justice system had some kind of "bogus lawsuit, loser pays" clause.

Seriously, go have coffee somewhere else. The coffee may be even palatable without all that sugar and milk.

Thoughts on the current encryption debate

To get right to the point, lawmakers are now considering requiring back doors in encryption. Let me be perfectly clear: We already have problems keeping our digital infrastructure secure due to flaws in software and hardware. To add intentional back doors so that law enforcement can use the data to "keep us safe" only gives tools to those who want the data to use against us.

"I am doing nothing wrong therefore I have nothing to hide" is a coward's argument. What if they decrypt your data and discover a message that you sent to a friend about a new gun that you purchased? When it is time to come round up the guns, they now have record of it. How about decrypting your online banking - just how much money do you really have to be taxed? I leave it to you, dear reader, to come up with other scenarios. This argument is also very close to saying that you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

The reason this is the limelight is Apple's refusal of a court order to assist law enforcement in the decryption of the data on a phone. Amid all the noise that is being generated about what people thing that law enforcement wants, the real list of what is wanted is lost: Currently, law enforcement wants Apple to do two things TO THIS SPECIFIC DEVICE WHICH LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS IN THEIR POSSESSION: 1. Disable the 'wipe after ten failed PIN attempts' feature. 2. Disable the time delay between PIN attempts. These are not the same things as a back door BECAUSE the law enforcement agency will still have to do the hard work of cracking the PIN which could take days or years depending on the strength of the PIN.

While I believe that having the debate about backdoors in encryption is a healthy and necessary thing, conflating it with the current situation is FOOLISH. Intentionally putting in backdoors is a BAD THING. Law Enforcement publicly obtaining a court orders, consistent with the fourth amendment of The Constitution is a good thing! This is the kind of behavior I encourage! FOLLOWING THE LAW! IMAGINE THAT!

2/Jun/2016 Update - A while ago already, the police have cracked the terrorists phone all by themselves. They didn't find anything useful on it. Local (to the US) news sources did not report in any significant way that there was no data (they considered it a non story because it would get in the way of their position - both liberal and conservative). So the specific instance is sad and useless but the underlying issue is still real and very important.

A plea for a breath of civility

Once again, a whole class of elected officials are donning the cloak of objectionist opportunist obstructionists and doing its evil work.

We elected these people to do a job. A job that is documented in the Constitution of the United States, a document that they claim to know and to love. Yet now that one of the most clearly defined jobs needs to be done (the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice) these objectionist opportunist obstructionists are now all wailing that the nomination should wait until after the general election in November so that the people will have a say in who the nominee will be?

These objectionist opportunist obstructionists control the House of Representatives and the US Senate. Every bill that comes up that could possibly do good things for the country is blocked because it could make our President look good or even slightly effective. This in effect has halted all of the legislative branch's work and severely hobbled the executive branch's ability to function. Now an opportunity (the passing of Justice Scalia) has presented itself to block all work in the judicial leg of our government. Since the objectionist opportunist obstructionists view the current bench of the court to be “activist”, this is a lollipop that they are not going to miss grabbing in the style of a two year old's tantrum.

By denying the President's responsibility to appoint a Supreme Court Justice as described in article II of the Constitution, the objectionist opportunist obstructionists have a hat trick of un-governing to be proud of.

The people have spoken. In 2012 they said that with the advice and counsel of the Senate, President Barack Obama has the privilege and responsibility to nominate justices to the court. There is no argument over the meaning of the very plain words in Article II. The senate should advise and consult with the President to nominate someone and then have hearings to confirm the nominee. Creating an artificial constitutional crisis does nothing for our country other than to widen the already deep divisions in our country. There are two categories of situations on how this divisiveness will end. One is the peaceful debate and compromise on all sides that results in a stronger and united nation. The second category is the destruction of our nation by the division and isolation of its people. I am not asking people to agree with each other. I am asking people to stop the insane rhetoric, take a breath, and ask themselves one question: is this hard line on this position worth losing my country over?

Why did the chicken cross the ocean? To be processed in China, of course

The New York Times is reporing that the Department of Agriculture will allow Chinese poultry companies to ship fully cooked, frozen and refrigerated chicken to the United States. American poultry companies can ship their product to China for processing. 2+2=salmonella.

Do I have to remined people of:

The arguments surrounding this is making me sick.

By this time next year, you kid could be having a summer vacation after a year of eating chicken nuggets in their school lunch. Happy thought, no?

Texas: Mental health? Hogwash!

The Church of Scientology helped organize a campaign against giving doctors more power to detail mentally ill and dangerous patients.

Yes, the list is short and incomplete. But I was able to off the top of my head come up with five in short order (and I did a bit of research in about 15 minutes to confirm the details that I wanted to share. No linkies for you, go do a bit of research yourself instead of relying on my BS). How many incidents will it take before we discuss real issues (Mental Health, Gun Control are the first two that come to mind when I think of this subject)).

The bill would have given doctors the power to put mentally ill patients on a four (4) hour hold. Ladies and gentlemen, four hours is not a long time when you are trying to keep a troubled person from hurting others.

So right now in Texas, someone in an emergency room that the doctors think is a danger to others can not be detained at all because "But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution.” (Texas Governor Greg Abbot, folks). So the doctors can not even hold a person until the police arrive.

Governor, how the hell are medical staff supposed to work with law enforcment if they can't hold someone until a law enforcement officer arrives at the hospital? OR are you saying that the police should set up shop at the hospitals, urgent care clinics and doctor's offices as well? Maybe once this occupation is in place, the police can keep a log of everyone coming and going? (Log Entry: Mineo was smelling of marijuana so we investigated. Our batons were gently used to probe the suspect. Log Entry: Abner Louima resisted and we abnormally homosexually interrogated him with a broken broom handle. Oh wait. Wrong guy. Whoops. Sorry *big smile*.)

What about all of the people that you put in danger because you are protecting this person's Constitutional rights? What about their rights?

How many dead victims do we need to tally up before we talk? How many maimed? How many scarred? How many traumatized witniesses to these acts do we need before we can talk? What about forcing doctors to break their Hippocratic Oath to "First Do No Harm" because they allowed a mentally ill person to hurt others?

John B. Finch, in 1882, said "Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins" (Yes, the folks in this argument are largely debating prohabition, but I welcome debate of why this isn't relevant).

Let me get this straight: The mentally ill have Constitutional rights which according to Gov. Abbot are absolute. So one of these individuals could exercise their 2nd amendment right and deprive someone else of their freedoms and liberties in an act of their 1st amendment rights, at trial they will be let go, because rights are absolute?

Arthur Garfield Hays, in his book "Democracy Works", said "In a society where interests conflict I realize there can be no absolutes."

I am not saying that the mentally ill should be stripped of or have their rights limited for no reason. This country does limit the rights and liberties of various groups of people for other reasons (and there have been some really bogus reasons), so limiting rights for a reason is not without precident. Individual rights need to be balanced with the rights of others.

P.S. I should put up another article about police brutality. I respect police. I have friends that are police. They have a tough and potentially fatal job where they have to make split second decisions that could adversely affect many. I was going to say "crappy" but so do plumbers - except feces rarely fights back. Maybe one of the job perks that we should give our police officers is a yearly checkup from hair to toe, including a half hour visit with a mental health professional. Oops. I am back on topic. Maybe a second opinion if the result is negative or upon request of the officer? BTW - they should not have to pay one red cent for any of this.

P.P.S. In case it is not crystal clear what my position on this is: I am in favor of granting healthcare professionals the ability to detain for short amounts of time individuals that they deem (and document) to be a danger to themselves and others. If someone disagrees, let them fight in court.

Oh, so now it is about Social Security

So now conservatives are talking about Social Security in the context of same sex marriage. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see the next step, if they are stupid brave enough to make it: <FearMongering>Same sex marriage will bankrupt Social Security.</FearMongering>

My arguments against this:

So, conservatives, which reason is it? Are you upset because gay married men are going to receive a "Social Security Bonus" in spite of paying into the system all their working lives -or- are you upset because this is just another spotlight on your War on Women?

Religious Law and the United States of America

The number of states passing laws against certain religion has stopped growing in recent times, but I still feel it is worthwhile to talk about.

A "Theocracy" is a form of government in which a God (Allah, or other deity) is recognized as the supreme source of civil law (and thus is the supreme ruler).

The word "Theocracy" does not appear in the Constitution of the United States of America, nor does the word "Theocracy" appear in the constitutions of the individual states of the USA. With that in mind, we do not have a "Theocracy" in the USA. In fact, the founders of the USA specifically forbids the government's respecting an establishment of religion. Thus calling the USA a "Christian Nation" is a very close violation of the first amendment of the Constitution.

Who said what?

Reading about the founding fathers and their beliefs it became clear (to me at least) that they all had their way of worship and wanted everybody to worship as they did. The resolution of this conflict was to put down their arguments and respect other people's religions.

35 Founding Father Quotes

My next point is that respecting a religion denigrates people of other religions. If by some strange turn of events Buddhism was declared an official religion in the US, Christians would storm Washington DC in protest. The way they act and talk make me sure they wouldn't do the same if Christianity was declared an official religion. Thus making any declaration about any religion would denigrate other religions and reduce someone's liberty.

Really, when was the last time that you convinced someone that your religious views were "The Way".

Symbols in public spaces

Someone around me once said, "It's just a stupid tree". They were talking about the controversy of a Christmas tree in a public school. If it is just "a stupid tree," then why is it so important for it to be there? Why am I not allowed to put up a banner saying: "Whatever the intelligence of man cannot understand, religion ought not to accept. Religion and science walk hand in hand, and any religion contrary to science is not the truth."

I point to the controversy of in Oklahoma where the Ten Commandments were placed outside the capitol. When Satanic group submitted plans to erect a monument on the capitol, the news media on both sides exploded with stories. Conservatives once again showed their prejudice with the argument <Paraphrase> "If it ain't Jesus Christ or Christian, ITS CRAP",</Paraphrase> conveniently not mentioning forgetting that Moses (of Jewish fame) was the one that delivered the commandments. (I'm sure that someone is going to argue that Moses was a Christian. To you, I say: Pull your head out of your ass. Moses lived 1300 years BEFORE Jesus Christ and thus is ineligible for the "Christian" badge.)

Again, Christian conservatives show their true colors by claiming that something that they stole borrowed (Commandment 9, anyone?) is "special" above all other religious traditions and thus must should be treated with special consideration.

How I feel when I interact with some people

Comic removed because of upstream legal difficulties.

The comic had two panels, one on top of the other. The first panel had a man beating another person (who was wearing a shirt with 'Atheist' on it) on the head with a cross and spewing such epithets as "Blind Idiot! Rat Fink! Pervert! Commie! Blasphemer! Immoral Creep! Scum Of The Earth!". The bottom panel had a man holding the cross in both hands, about to break it over his knee. The first man says "Hey! Let's have a little respect here!"


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