Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, February 27, 2012

This Week In Review (02/27/2012)

Pentagon says U.S. citizens with terrorism ties can be targeted in strikes. Let me make this perfectly clear: I have no problem with our government hunting down terrorists—especially those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks—and bringing them to justice. The problem is that our government, while doing so, tends to overlook “minor” things like habeas corpus and due process. The past decade has proven that our government is willing (actually, MORE than willing) to overlook our constitutional rights for the sake of fighting the terrorists, what with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo bay, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and targeted assassinations. This raises the question of who poses more of a threat to our freedom: the terrorists, or our own government?

Alaska introduced a bill that would criminalize TSA screening procedures. The bill was introduced by Alaska State Representative Sharon Cissna, who last year was forced to pass through a full-body scanner, which much to her embarrassment revealed her breast cancer surgical scars, and after refusing to undergo a pat-down, was prevented from boarding her flight. The bill would issue a statewide ban on the full-body scanners and invasive pat-downs required by the TSA over a year ago. Similar legislation has been suggested in others states such as Texas and Utah. If passed, this will mark a victory for constitutional rights—not only for those that prevent “unreasonable search and seizures,” but also those that protect state rights. Now more than ever, we need to strengthen our local and state governments in order to fight against the ever-encroaching tyranny of the federal government. Here’s hoping this and other legislation will pass.

Virginia votes to refuse NDAA. Speaking of strengthening state governments to fight the federal government, the Virginia General Assembly voted 96-to-4 on a bill that would, on a state level, cancel out the indefinite detention provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. And considering that Virginia has been suggesting batshit insane legislation, such as requiring women to receive vaginal probes before obtaining an abortion, or requiring a loyalty oath for Republican voters, this legislation provides a breath of fresh air for rationality.

Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional. In a victory for gender equality, the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricted the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, and prevented states from recognizing same-sex marriages approved in other states, was stuck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge. This ruling came one year after president Obama declared that he and his administration would no longer uphold this blatantly unconstitutional piece of legislation. This ruling, along with the recent overturning of other anti-gay legislation such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and California’s Proposition 8, and the legalization of gay marriage in states such as Washington and Maryland, has furthered progress with ensuring equality for all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. While I personally do not believe in gay marriage, I do believe that the government—federal, state, or local—has no business dictating how citizens live their own lives, especially when it comes to whom they love and what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. In an ideal world, the definition of marriage would not be dictated by the government, but by the consciences of individuals through the religious organizations of their choosing. Here’s hoping that one day marriage will be unfettered from the narrow scope of government.

Pepper-sprayed students sue UC Davis. Most of us remember the incident last November when Occupy protesters at UC Davis were pepper-sprayed by police in an effort to disperse them. Well, fortunately for them, and everyone else concerned about the militarization of our law enforcement, these protesters are taking this blatant act of police brutality to court by suing the police officers involved. Let’s hope that these protesters win their case, as it would mark a small victory against the police state. Our law enforcement are public servants, and as such, are hired to serve us, the people, and not abuse their power in doing so.

Obama proposes cutting corporate taxes and closing loopholes. President Obama announced his plan to cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 28 percent and to close tax loopholes. This in my opinion is a fair compromise. Not only does it cut our corporate tax rate (which is second only to Japan at being the highest), thereby making it more competitive with other countries, but it also eliminates tax breaks that allow corporations to cheat the tax system by not paying their fair share. Though I highly doubt that this legislation will ever pass Congress.

Dumbasses of the Week

Runner-Up: Bill Press: Why is it that tolerant liberals who preach against hate speech and violent rhetoric also tend to be the most intolerant, hateful, and bigoted people ever to exist? Liberal pundit Bill Press recently released his new book “The Obama Hate Machine” in which he complains how the Republicans have been nothing but big mean doodie-heads to Obama. Appearing on C-SPAN to plug his book, Press claimed: "I don’t know that anybody ever said that Ronald Reagan was a terrorist, or George W. Bush was a terrorist. Right? This isn’t a slight difference. It’s a huge difference, the level of attacks we’ve seen against President Obama.” Nobody ever called Bush a terrorist? Was Press asleep during the eight years of Dubya’s presidency? Not only was he called a terrorist, he was called every other name in the book, including dictator, fascist, war criminal, Nazi, and Hitler. You would think that, with him decrying Republicans for using hateful, divisive language, that Press would be clean of using such rhetoric, right? Well in a recent column, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center listed at least eight instances of Press spewing hate—including calling people “terrorists.” Go figure! It’s wrong to call Obama a terrorist but perfectly okay to call Republicans “terrorists.” Nothing like the liberal pot calling the conservative kettle black!

Third Place: Rick Santorum: Big shock! Ricky boy is on the list yet again! This is his fourth time, right? Perhaps I should institute a rule that prevents repeat offenders from appearing on the “Dumbass of the Week.” But anyway, as can be expected, Ricky boy said something stupid—again! This time, during an Ohio rally, Santorum claimed that liberals, not conservatives, “are the anti-science ones!” Now I can easily ignore this, as it does contain some truth: liberals have objected to scientific developments like nuclear energy and genetically modified mood—mostly with hype and hysteria rather than science. But that’s not why he’s on the list. He then went on to say, “Freedom isn’t to do whatever you want to do, it’s to do what you ought to do.” Oh really? And what is it exactly that we ought to do? What you claim it is? That’s not freedom! That’s compliance. This sounds like something that a dictator would say. No! Scratch that! That’s something a caricature of a dictator would say—the type of caricature you would find in a WWII propaganda cartoon, like a cartoon Hitler addressing a crowd of sheeple right before Bugs Bunny came along to kick his ass. “Nein! Nein! Freedom and democracy are the enemy of the German people!” And the more you think about it, the more it seems modern politics is becoming a cartoon!

Second Place: Gordon Warren Epperly: Not everyone who hates Obama is a racist, but sufficed to say, racists hate Obama. Case in point: an Alaskan citizen by the name of Gordon Warren Epperly has filed a lawsuit to prevent Obama from appearing on the state’s ballot come this election. According to the complaint: “for an Individual to be a Candidate for the Office of President of the United States, the Candidate must meet the qualifications set forth in the United States Constitution and one of those qualifications is that the Candidate shall be a ‘natural born Citizen’ of the United States.” Sounds like Epperly is another crazy birther, right? But oh wait! It gets worse—a hell of a lot worse! He continues: “As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the "Mulatto" race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the [purported] ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of "Negro" or "Mulatto" had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.” In other words, Obama is ineligible to be president because he’s black. Do I even have to explain what’s wrong with this?

First Place: Tucker Carlson (Fox News): After enduring two foreign wars overseas (three if you count the military action in Libya), the last thing Americans need is another war. The warmongering neocons in the Republican Party think otherwise, as they’re drooling over the prospect of war with Iran—even though the country poses no nuclear threat, and even though the hype of a nuclear threat from Iran has been going on for decades. We don’t know whether or not Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map, but we know for certain that neocons like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson wants to see Iran wiped off. Appearing on Red Eye, Carlson boasted: “I think we are the only country with the moral authority...sufficient to do that. [The U.S. is] the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world. I do think, I’m sure I’m the lone voice in saying this, that Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil.” So let’s get this straight: because there’s a small chance Iran has nuclear weapons (which it doesn’t), the United States should wipe out the entire population—including innocent men, women, and children—with our own nuclear weapons. That certainly sounds moral. Wait. No it doesn’t. That sounds like the complete opposite of moral. But unfortunately, this mentality is not shared solely by Carlson. At least 70 percent of Americans believe that Iran has nuclear weapons. Nine years ago, that same percent believed Iraq was behind 9/11. I guess Dubya was wrong: a fool me can get fooled again!