Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, April 9, 2012

This Week In Review (04/09/2012)

This Week In Review

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Bombed. A bomb exploded outside a Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin Sunday evening, setting fire to part of the building and destroying one of the exam rooms. Thankfully, no one was injured or killed. Police arrested a male suspect on Tuesday. The Planned Parenthood was one of the 27 clinics in Wisconsin that offered abortion services. Look, I don’t support Planned Parenthood either, as the organization has been involved with shady activity, but violence is not the answer. It rarely is. If anything, this act of violence has only embolden the organization, as the FBI has vowed to continue protecting public access to abortion clinics. In other words, women are going to have easier access to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health services thanks to police protection spurred by this terrorist act. This explosion backfired in more ways than one!

US No-Fly list doubles in 1 year. Of the 21 thousand suspects listed (an increase from 10 thousand one year ago), 500 are American citizens. The list has been exponentially expanding ever since standards were lowered following the failed 2009 Christmas bombing. The new standards now allow anyone considered a “broader threat to domestic or international security” to be placed on the list, even if they don’t pose a direct threat to aviation. And since those listed—including American citizens—are never informed about being on the list (let alone about the reason why they’re on the list), this means Americans won’t know that they’re on the list until after they reach the gate to their flight where they will be denied entry. This list has been just another ridiculous, if not draconian, airport security measure designed to prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. But has requiring passengers to remove their shoes, hand over their nail clippers, and pass through virtual strip searches made them any safer from a terrorist attack? Considering that there have been 25 thousand security breaches at U.S. Airports since 2001, the answer seems obvious. Trading individual liberty for temporary security results in less liberty rather than more security—making us less free and less safe.

New “Cybersecurity” Bill Being Considered By Congress. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, will allow the government to request from web hosts and other companies information pertaining to potential cyber attacks. Of course, the bill is so vague that it would allow the government to obtain information from any online correspondence if it feels such information would pertain to a cyber threat. This would essentially allow the government to circumvent modern privacy laws and thus monitor (or even censor) the online activity of civilians. Let me put it this way: both SOPA and PIPA would have given the government power to shut down websites they felt violated copyright; this bill would give them the power to spy on American citizens—in other words, it’s the internet version of the PATRIOT Act. And the saddest part is that, despite having been introduced in November of last year, this bill has received less attention than SOPA or PIPA, despite being far worse than the both of them combined! Folks, we need to get the word out and warn other about this bill. Write your Congress representative and tell them not to support it. There’s also an on-line petition on which you can sign. This bill needs to be fought hard. The future of internet privacy and freedom depends on it!

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest. The New York Times (and sadly, not The Onion) reports: “The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.” So let me get this straight: the same Supreme Court that blasted the individual mandate as unconstitutional (which it is) approves of strip searches for even the most minor of crimes, even when a strip search isn’t necessary? Look, I don’t care for Obamacare either, but given the choice of being forced to buy health insurance or being forced to undergo a strip search for running a red light, I’m going with the former. Jon Stewart put it best: “Big government feels it’s biggest when it’s inside your anus.”

Obama Signs STOCK Act. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act prohibits the President, members of Congress, and other officials in the executive and legislative branches from engaging in insider trading by requiring them to publicly report stock transactions exceeding $1,000 within 30 days. The bill was prompted by a CBS 60 Minutes investigative report last summer that revealed how members of Congress purchased stock based upon information they obtained on the job—information that was not available to the public. Such transactions are known as “insider trading,” and it is illegal. The bill was introduced last summer, but has only been signed into law as of now after receiving massive bi-partisan support. Kudos to both President Obama and Congress for supporting this bill. Federal government officials are not above the law, and they are to be held accountable to rule of law like everyone else. With so many bad bills coming out of Congress, it is a breath of relief to see one that actually does something good.

Dumbasses of the Week

Runner-Up: Mitt Romney: You’d think that, being a Mormon, Romney would know to remove the mote from his own eye before worrying about the speck in Obama’s eye; but then again, when have conservative “Christian” politicians ever been consistent with their own ideology? In a speech on Thursday, Romney tired to paint Obama as an ivory tower elitist snob by claiming that he “spent too much time at Harvard.” It doesn’t exactly help that Romney spent four years at Harvard while Obama only spent three. So who really hasn’t spent enough time working in the real world, Mr. Romney? But of course, you're only an elitist snob if you're a liberal, right?

3rd Place: Nina Totenberg (NPR): With all the evidence to the contrary, the narrative that the rich pay nothing in taxes while the poor and middle class pay everything should be taken as seriously as the narrative that 9/11 was an inside job; yet the liberal media keeps propagating this myth as though it were true, even though it’s clearly not. Case in point: NPR’s Nina Totenberg claimed on PBS's Inside Washington that those making $60 thousand and $125 thousand pay the most in taxes, paying 30 percent in income tax. Not surprisingly, tax statistics say otherwise: that tax bracket actually pay between 7.7 and 11.9 percent. But don’t bother trying to show Totenberg or other “tax the rich” advocates this inconvenient truth. At this point, trying to show them tax statistics is just as effective as showing Young Earth creationists the fossil record: they’ll simply ignore it and continue believing their dogma.

2nd Place: Martin Bashir (MSNBC): Let’s pretend that the events of the Travon Martin case played out exactly as they did, only Martin was white and George Zimmerman was black. Now let’s pretend that the Ku Klux Klan announced a $10 thousand bounty on Zimmerman. The liberal media would be all over this story like bread on butter; yet in real life, the same story about the New Black Panthers gets no attention, and when it does, as with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, it gets laughed off as a joke. To Bashir, the bounty made by the Black Panthers is no big deal because, according to him, there’s only “five or six of them.” The Southern Poverty Law Center would disagree with him. According to the group which monitors extremist activity, “The New Black Panther Party is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.” In November 2007, following the kidnapping and assault of a mentally-disabled black woman at the hands of three white men and three white women, the NBPP held a rally (endorsed by Al Sharpton no less) that drew over one thousand people. Clearly, despite being a fringe extremist group, the NBPP carry some influence, and even if they didn’t, their threat against Zimmerman’s life should be taken just as seriously as any other death threat, and it most certainly should not be dismissed as a joke.

1st Place: Mike Malloy: When will this false dichotomy end that liberals are civil and tolerant while conservatives are hateful and intolerant? Left-wing radio host Mike Malloy has been spewing vitriol on his program for years, but he seemed to have really gone off the deep end last Tuesday when, while discussing the Travon Martin shooting, he asked: “How long before there'll be a ‘Stand Your Pregnancy’ law passed where any woman who starts menstruating can be shot dead because she wore a hoodie when she went out to buy a box of tampons?” Seriously, WTF?!