Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week In Review (04/30/2012)

This Week In Review (04/30/2012)
House passes CISPA. H.R. 3523, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 248 to 168. If this bill becomes law, it will allow the federal government to request personal data from web hosts, internet service providers, and other companies if it feels it may pertain to a potential cybersecurity risk. Fortunately, before the bill can become law, it must pass the Senate and be signed by the President—who has promised to veto the bill (though don’t let that get your hopes up!). We can still stop this bill while we can. Contact you senator and tell them to vote against this bill. Also sign the ACLU’s petition. We stopped SOPA. We stopped PIPA. And we can stop CISPA.

Newt Gingrich drops out of presidential race. He will officially suspend his campaign Tuesday, and will use his time and effort supporting Mitt Romney. Good riddance. Gingrich was a poor choice for the Republican presidential nomination—though considering the other candidates, that’s not saying much. He is the very exemplar of a corrupt politician, having been fined over $300 thousand for ethics violations and having accepted $1.6 million by Freddie Mac. (And let’s not forget how he divorced his cancer-stricken wife, whom he claimed wasn’t young or pretty enough to be the First Lady!) The race is now between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul—and considering Paul has been racking up delegates in Iowa and Minnesota, he may stand a chance of winning the nomination (though don’t get your hopes up!).

Two innocent men released from Guantanamo after being held without charge or trial for a decade. Identified by their lawyers as Abdul Razakah and Hammad Memet, the two men have resettled in El Salvador. They along with 20 other Uighurs (a Chinese ethnic group part of a separatist movement) had been "captured at the start of the Afghanistan war and shipped to the base in Cuba because officials suspected they had links to al-Qaida. But it turned out they were not terrorists and had merely fled their homeland in search of opportunities and freedom abroad." So let’s recap what we have learned thus far about the former Bush regime: we had an Iraqi defector admit he lied about WMDs, a leaked memo prove that the administration knew that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were war crimes, and now Gitmo has released prisoners who were innocent yet held for 10 years without trial or charges. At what point do we start charging Bush and the other members of his administration as war criminals? At what point do we start holding those in our government accountable?

Labor Department withdraws farm child labor rule. The Department of Labor was considering legislation that would have applied child labor laws to family farms, preventing children under 18 from working in certain areas. Had these regulations gone into effect, they would have inevitably prevented children from helping out on their own family’s farms or from doing 4-H and FFA projects. After the Daily Caller reported on this, the Labor Dept received huge backlash from rural communities, forcing it to withdraw legislation. Good for them. Children have been working on family farms since the very beginning, and many have gained much needed experience from doing so, especially when it came to developing a work ethic. Making sure that the children are safe is the responsibility of the family, not the government. Children already have nannies and big brothers; they do not need a nanny states or Big Brother government!

California police required to watch porn to enforce condom law. Simi Valley, California recently passed a law requiring porn actors to wear condoms. Seems like a reasonable law. Porn actors should be required to wear condoms the same way fast food workers are required to wear hairnets and gloves. What’s not so reasonable is how this law will be enforced. Under the law, porn companies would be required to submit their unedited films to the police department for review. Considering how much porn is released on a daily basis, that means police officers would be spending most of their time watching porn. (But then how will they be able to write speeding tickets, raid houses for drugs, beat up protesters, and everything else they do other than protect citizens from actual crimes such as murder and rape?) Of course, lawmakers have admitted that the insane regulation has other intended purposes: "The primary purpose here is it's a health and safety issue. And secondarily, we don't want them here. This is a family-oriented community, and we don't want them setting up their studios in Simi Valley." Lawmakers creating laws and regulations meant to intentionally hurt businesses? Inconceivable!

Dumbasses of the Week

Runner-Up: Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Debbie seems to be suffering from cognitive dissonance. During an interview on Fox News, after attacking Paul Ryan’s budget, she was asked by host Bret Baier why the Senate Democrats had not proposed a budget, to which she replied that she doesn’t speak for the Senate—even though she’s supposed to as the DNC Chair! She was reminded by Bret Baier that she had declared in an earlier interview that Senate Democrats would propose a budget. (Obama did propose a budget, but it was rejected unanimously by the Senate!) She continued to insist that she couldn’t speak for the Senate because she was only a House democrat. So which is it? Is she the DNC Chair with the authority to speak on behalf of all Democrats, or is she only a House Democrat with no authority to speak on their behalf? She can’t have it both ways!

Third Place: Paul Krugman (New York Times): Krugman may be a Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist, but that doesn’t mean he knows jack squat about economics—and considering this is the same ideologue who suggested that the Fed create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble (and no, Krugman fanboys, that quote wasn’t “out-of-context”), that’s a fair assumption to make. Just this week in his New York Times column, he argued that Britain entered a double-dip recession because of austerity measures: “When David Cameron became PM, and announced his austerity plans — buying completely into both the confidence fairy and the invisible bond vigilantes — many were the hosannas, from both sides of the Atlantic. Pundits here urged Obama to “do a Cameron”; Cameron and Osborne were the toast of Very Serious People everywhere. Now Britain is officially in double-dip recession, and has achieved the remarkable feat of doing worse this time around than it did in the 1930s.” But this all implies that the economic problems and the austerity measures proposed to fix them are the same in the US as they are in the UK. They’re not! As Will Cain of The Blaze explains: “you have to look at the total debt, the sum of both government and private debt, which shows the U.K. and U.S. going in opposite directions,” and that “the U.K. has not even applied real austerity measures, for unlike the U.S., the U.K. total debt has risen because of the lack of cuts to private debt.” But then again, can you really expect a Keynesian ideologue who suggested replacing one economic bubble with another to tell the difference between apples and oranges?

Second Place: Barack Obama: Despite his campaign promise not to “use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana,” President Obama and his administration have continued the failed War on Drugs by prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries even in states where medical marijuana is legal. When confronted about this during a Rolling Stones interview, Obama claimed that he had no federal power to do anything about it: “What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it’s against federal law. I can’t nullify congressional law.” But the truth is that he can nullify the law! Under the Controlled Substance Act, which governs U.S. drug policy, the president has the authority to change the legal status of a drug without Congressional action. He could very well have the status of medical marijuana changed from Schedule I—which classifies it as a drug without legal medical use, thereby making it federally illegal—to Schedule III—which would make it federally legal for medical purposes. But alas, Obama won’t. An elected official breaking his promises? Inconceivable!

First Place: Anders Behring Breivik: So you’re a far-right white nationalist who not only admitted to killing 77 innocent civilians—mostly teenagers at a summer camp, but that you would have killed 150 (and you would have gotten away with it too had it not been for those meddling kids and their stupid dog!). How do you defend yourself in court? Simple. You claim that your victims weren’t really human! During the second week of his trial, Breivik claimed that he felt no remorse for those he killed, especially the teenagers at the Labor Party Camp, as he considered them traitors to his country and race: "I see all multicultural political activists as monsters, as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture and our country.” If that made you throw up a little in your mouth, you better grab a barf bag for what he had to say next. Later he claimed that the charges against him were racist. As the Huffington Post reports: "Breivik said had he been an Islamist terrorist, no one would have questioned his mental state. ‘But because I am a militant nationalist, I am being subjected to grave racism,' he said. 'They are trying to delegitimize everything I stand for.'" So a lily-white Norwegian goes on a killing spree because he feels his country is being taken over by scary brown people, and yet the people charging him with the crime are the racists? Duh, makes sense to me!