Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, April 16, 2012

This Week In Review (04/16/2012)

This Week In Review (04/16/2012)

Rick Santorum suspends presidential campaign. And good riddance! Mr. “Frothy Mix of Lube and Fecal Matter” was the epitome of everything wrong with the current Republican Party. Instead of issues such as the economy, national debt and deficit, and foreign wars (you know, issues the American people actually cares about), Santorum ran his entire campaign on social issues such as gay marriage and contraception. He even had an entire page on his campaign website outlining his plans for a “War on Porn.” (Because the War on Drugs has been such a success, right?) This man did not care about solving the nation’s current problems. He only cared about pushing his own theocratic agenda—and if that agenda meant pushing big government policies and eroding Constitutional liberties (you know, things the Republican Party is supposed to be against), then so be it. After all, to him, “Freedom isn't to do whatever you want to do, it's to do what you ought to do!"

Leaked Bush-Era torture memo admits interrogation techniques are "war crimes." Despite attempts by the Bush White House to have copies of it destroyed, the memo was released to the public earlier this week, having been obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive and Wired Magazine’s Spencer Ackerman. The memo was written six years ago by former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, who wrote how there was no legal precedent for the approval of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. As Zelikow wrote: “We are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here.” So little by little we see the lies of the former Bush Empire begin to crumble. First we had one of the main Iraqi defectors confess that he lied about Iraq’s WMDs—a lie which cost Americans trillions of dollars and thousands of lives—and now we have an official memo that reveals that the Bush-approved “enhanced interrogation techniques” were really “war crimes.” And yet neither Bush nor Cheney nor any of the other officials of the former Bush administration have been indicted. Meanwhile, Bradley Manning remains a political prisoner for the crime of leaking information that should have been available to the public in the first place had our government been more transparent. How much longer can a Constitutional republic survive when the government is no longer held accountable to its citizens?

Maryland becomes first state to ban employers from asking for social media passwords. In a step forward for internet privacy rights, both the Maryland House and Senate passed legislation that would prevent employers from demanding from employees and job candidates their passwords to social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. If signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, this bill will be the first in the nation to ban such employment requirements. Other states are considering similar legislation includes Illinois and California. A similar bill was considered in Congress, but was struck down in the House of Representatives. Kudos to Maryland for standing up for internet privacy by passing this bill. Every American citizen has a right to privacy, especially on the internet, and no one—neither the government nor business—has a right to infringe upon it. Here’s hoping that similar legislation is passed nationwide.

Connecticut to repeal death penalty. Legislation to repeal the death penalty was approved and passed by state legislators this week and is expected to be signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. This would make Connecticut the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. While I am not personally against the death penalty, I no longer support it—not because I consider executing a convicted murderer immoral, but because the death penalty itself is costly and ineffective. For example, California spent $4 billion executing 13 death row inmates over the past 33 years—that’s $303 million for each inmate, $184 million more per year than just sentencing them to life without parole! (And 78 death row inmates have died while on death row, making their death penalties pointless.) And for those who argue that the death penalty deters violent crime, it doesn’t! The states where the death penalty is legal actually have the highest homicide rates. If the death penalty truly deterred violent crime, and was less expensive than life imprisonment, and was upheld by a legal system that could accurately determine the guilt of the convicted, then I could support the death penalty with a clean conscience; but alas, I cannot.

Former TSA official admits airport security is broken. You know a federal agency is broken when a former official says it is. And Kip Hawley isn’t just any former official: he was the head of the Transportation Security Administration for over three years! In his Wall Street Journal op-ed “Why Airport Security Is Broken,” he wrote about how “more than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect....The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.” Indeed. Even after the TSA receives more money than other federal agencies such as NASA—even after it has passed draconian safety measures such as requiring passengers to take off their shoes, to hand over their nail clippers and small bottles of liquid, and to either choose between a full-body virtual strip search or invasive pat down before boarding a plane—the TSA has failed to make American citizens safer from another terrorist attack, as there have been over 25 thousand security breaches at U.S. airports since 2001. Trading individual liberty for temporary security does not give us more security, but rather takes away more liberty and security.


Dumbass of the Week

• Dishonorable Mention: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.): During a town hall event in Palm City, FL, Allen West said that he has “heard” that 80 of the 190 House Democrats are communists. Is that you, Joe McCarthy? I thought the Cold War ended 20 years ago. Why else are we still talking about Communists? How is this any less absurd than a Democrat calling Republicans “fascists” or “Nazis”? I don’t know what’s worse: that Rep. Allen West says that up to 80 House Democrats are secretly members of the Communist Party, the fact that he and others actually believe it, or that the people upset over this comment probably had no problem calling Republicans and Tea Partiers “terrorists.” This only shows how far our political discourse has fallen. Calling our political opponents names like first graders on the school playground will get our country nowhere. It’s time for us to grow up and start taking politics seriously.

• Third Place: Mark Judge (Daily Caller): When bad things happen to us, we tend to get highly emotional and lose our better judgment, thus leading us to say things we’ll later come to regret. I can only assume that Mark Judge of the Daily Caller is now regretting his diatribe “The end of my white guilt.” He wrote about how his bike was stolen on Good Friday, and even though he doesn’t know who stole his bike, he knows for certain it was a black guy. What evidence does he have that the perpetrator was black? Well, as he figures, his bike was stolen in a predominately black neighborhood; so it must have been stolen by a black guy. Because as we all know, only black people steal things! It couldn’t possibly have been anyone of a different race passing through the neighborhood. Seriously, how is this any less fallacious than the accusation that Zimmerman committed a hate crime because he was a white man (actually, half-Hispanic) who shot a black kid? Like the liberal media with the Trayvon Martin case, Judge here is playing judge, jury, and executioner by accusing an entire race for the theft of his bike. Such racism is another form of collectivism which only seeks to divide us and demean our value as individuals. It has no place in a modern free society.

• Second Place: John Derbyshire (National Review): Libtarded moonbats tend to detect racism and bigotry where none exists, like when they claim that calling Obama a “socialist” is coded-language for calling him a racial epithet. But real racists don’t need to hide their racism as they’re openly unashamed of it. Such was the case with John Derbyshire who was fired from the National Review after releasing his column “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” In his racial screed, he writes about how most blacks are “anti-social” and “ferociously hostile towards whites”; as such, he advises white people to stay out of black neighborhoods, to avoid events with large crowds of blacks, and to never help a black person in trouble. (In other words, all black people are scary and need to be avoided at all costs!) What else can this be called but racism? Yes, Derbyshire has every right to spew his hate speech, which is still protected as free speech, but he does not have the right to be taken seriously—and collectivism, especially racism, should never be taken seriously.

• First Place: Foster Friess: I don’t normally complain about violent rhetoric (and in my honest opinion, the left tends to be more violent in rhetoric and action than the right), but there comes a time when someone crosses the line of civil discourse that I have no choice but to speak out. Case in point: Foster Friess. You might remember Santorum’s wealthy donor for his “aspirin between the knees” remark. What could possibly be dumber than that? How about insinuating the assassination of the president? During an interview on Fox Business, he said the following: “There are a lot of things that haven’t been hammered at because Rick and Mitt have been going at each other. Now that they have trained their barrels on President Obama, I hope his teleprompters are bullet-proof.” Granted, Friess was speaking metaphorically, and he apologized afterwards, claiming he regretted making that statement, but the fact that he utilized gun imagery in regards to the President of the United States on national television shows how far our political discourse has fallen. Such a statement would have been considered unheard of years ago, yet today political pundits freely use violent rhetoric against their opponents without any repercussion. I don’t mean to imply that violent rhetoric leads to violent crime (as the left would have you believe, even though they’re guilty of it as well), but such rhetoric does nothing to further political discourse and everything to further divide us.