Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nancy Are You Kidding?

This story has evidently been around a while, but it only came to my full attention a few days ago. Funny, I would have expected our objective media to make the big deal about it that it deserves. But noooo ...

In a nutshell: when asked where the Constitution authorizes congress to order Americans to buy health insurance, the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi said: "Are You Serious?"

I'll pause for a moment to let you reflect on just how dangerous this is. I can only think of two scenarios to explain this -- neither of them good:

  1. Best case, the speaker of the house is simply a constitutional illiterate, and she doesn't understand the principle of enumerated powers.
  2. Or worse, she might think the enumerated powers have become anachronistic, and somehow just don't apply to congress anymore.
In either case, I would say
[kachack!] Ms. Speaker! Move! Away! From the controls! You're tyrannizing people! ... I know you think you're helping ... somehow ... but this is tyranny! Now stand down, before I have to send in the S.W.A.T. team! [kachack!]
No Nancy, we are not kidding. We the People are deadly serious. The US Constitution is still our only defense against tyranny, it is still in force, and we demand that you obey it. If our republic survives this regime, I hope that "Are you serious?" will go down in history as Nancy Pelosi's "Let them eat cake" moment.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. ~ C. S. Lewis

Friday, September 17, 2010

Whitelisting and Blacklisting

In the field of computer security, we have the concepts of whitelisting and blacklisting. When deciding whether to accept data from an untrusted source, we have to figure out a way to determine whether the data is safe or not. There are two ways to do this: We can make a list of all the unsafe data, and reject it when we recognize it, or we can make a list of all the safe data, and reject everything else. Which approach to take depends on the kind of problems we are trying to solve, and which list is more manageable.

A whitelist is like a guest list. If you're having a party, you don't list everyone in the world who is not allowed -- a blacklist isn't feasible -- rather, you make a list of the people you want to attend.

Firewalls work on the whitelist principle. No service requests are allowed except for services we know are safe. Virus scanners work on the blacklist principle. They scan all files, looking for characteristics that are on the blacklist. Blacklists are usually difficult to maintain, and even if they're up to date, it is possible to miss a heretofore unrecognized new threat. That's why virus scanners constantly have to update their profiles at great expense, and even then, some viruses get through.

Which brings us to the constitutional principle of enumerated powers. James Madison, the constitution's primary architect, recognized that our rights come from nature, not from government, and that listing all of them is not feasible. Madison also realized that power is dangerous, and government is risky. Therefore, his design provided for a whitelist: the enumerated powers -- about 26 in all. These are the few powers that We the People agreed to cede to government to exercise on our behalf. Everything else is off limits.

When it came time to ratify the Constitution, the states were concerned about the federal government usurping their sovereignty. Some people were concerned about specific rights. It is apparent that these people did not fully understand the principle of whitelisting, and they were demanding a blacklist: The Bill of Rights ("congress shall make no law..."). Madison at first resisted this lobby, because it was contrary to his vision for the Constitution. He was concerned that people would concentrate on the blacklist, and ignore the whitelist. He eventually relented. Even so, the last two articles in the Bill of Rights, the ninth and tenth amendments, still attempt to whitelist government power:

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Now, 223 years later, we find our government completely oblivious to Madison's principle of enumerated powers, and We the People are fighting just to defend the scraps remaining in the Bill of Rights.

James Madison was bloody well right!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Burning the Koran is Offensive and Provocative...

...but so is building a victory mosque at the site of the 9/11 massacre. The difference is, the Korans will only burn for an hour or two, but the mosque is permanent.

The Koran burnings will be used as a tool by the 'progressives' to marginalize the religious right, and win more elections this November. I know people are frustrated, but this is a bad tactic.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm Not an Islamophobe, I Simply Reject Their Doctrine and Culture

The right to reject someone's doctrine and culture is fundamental to the American form of government, and consequently, our culture. People do it all the time, whenever they have an argument about politics or religion.

Monday, September 6, 2010

An Anti-Alinsky Cookbook? Anyone? Please?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are followers of Saul Alinsky. The left have embraced Alinsky's principles, as described in his book Rules for Radicals. I have a copy of this book in my house, but I find it so nauseating that I haven't read all of it yet -- but I know his rules.

Some have suggested that the right could use Alinsky against the left just as effectively as they have attacked conservatives, but I find the concept so disgusting that I am loathe to do that. If those are the new rules, then I suppose you play by the rules, or die.

I'm just wondering though: Is it possible to develop a cookbook of strategies and tactics that would blunt Alinsky's tactics, while using Truth and Reason to promote Liberty and Justice for All?

Friday, September 3, 2010

If Government Were Less Intrusive, Politics Would Be Less Divisive...

...and lobbyists would be irrelevant. If our politicians would follow the principle of enumerated powers in the Constitution, it wouldn't matter if your senator is pro-life or pro-"choice", whether he is a "young earther" or a "progressive". Good leaders would stick to the powers that were originally intended, leaving We the People -- and the states -- at liberty to make our own destiny.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Glenn Beck Rally "Predominantly White"

Mainstream news coverage frequently characterized Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally last Saturday as "predominantly white". WHO CARES?!? The American population is "predominantly white". It's the national demographic, for crying out loud.

The media keep trying to paint the tea parties as racist. But a racist is someone who allows race to cloud their judgment and affect their policy decisions. My fellow tea party compatriots and I would welcome more participation in our events -- of any race. We offer more upward mobility and freedom of all kinds than the 'progressives', who only see minorities as helpless victims, perpetual dependents, and a potential voting bloc. Who's the real racist?

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Rich had this to say about the tea parties, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and all the other scary white people.
ANOTHER weekend, another grass-roots demonstration starring Real Americans who are mad as hell and want to take back their country from you-know-who. Last Sunday the site was Lower Manhattan, where they jeered the “ground zero mosque.” This weekend, the scene shifted to Washington, where the avatars of oppressed white Tea Party America, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, were slated to “reclaim the civil rights movement” (Beck’s words) on the same spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream exactly 47 years earlier.

Vive la révolution!

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.
(Continue reading...)

First off... bankrolling "the" tea party would be very difficult, since there isn't one tea party. There are many, independent tea parties, and the ones that I have first-hand experience with rely entirely on donations from local businesses and individuals. They do not get any outside funding. Others have partnered with "parent" organizations such as Freedom Works or Tea Party Express (the latter an arm of the RNC, if I remember correctly).

While I prefer the grass roots approach (it's less corruptible), I am not scandalized if someone with lots of money wants to support the right principles. The way I see it, as long as George Soros is funding left wing causes, we need some heavy financial hitters on our side. Like everything in politics, it isn't a perfect situation. The more power is concentrated, the worse things get. Our founders knew that, which is why they hit upon the principle of enumerated powers and a federation of states as the best model for government.

Stephen Hawking: God was not needed to create the Universe

The Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe, Stephen Hawking has concluded.
(Continue reading...)

And what preceded the Big Bang? Could it be a void, without form? Or was it a previous universe, fresh from the Big Crunch? Where did the laws of physics come from? Or the material for the current Universe? The laws of physics describe some of the universal mechanisms reasonably well, but they provide no existential insight.

Too bad "the hawk" decided to take the leap from science to philosophy. You can argue whether God created the universe (and with it the laws of physics), but the fact that the laws of physics can explain the Big Bang, and nearly everything else, doesn't prove or disprove the existence of God. What's more, we don't know all there is to know about physics. I believe quantum mechanics, string theory and a unified field theory are all still giving us big problems.

Someone said "you can never see the face of God". I think the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the fact that information never can exceed the speed of light pretty much guarantees that we'll never know everything. We think we're so damn smart.