Equal Opportunity Bigot

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Senior Quisling from California: Senility or Terminal Ignorance?

I've written our very own Ms. Diane Feinstein, Senior Quisling from California in the upper house of the US Knesset, numerous times in the past asking her to resign for betraying the Republic. When she voted for the wars on Iraq. When she condoned the warrant-less wiretapping of the NSA during Dubya's administration. When she engineered retroactive immunity for AT&T (a major contributor to her campaign coffers) and other telcos for allowing the warrant-less wiretapping. When she condoned the mass surveillance by the NSA revealed by Snowden. When she called Snowden a traitor. For violating her oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Out of a sense of decency.

Recently Feinstein has been much feted for getting the report of the Senate investigation into the CIA torture of prisoners following 9/11 released. The full report was not released and likely never will be. What was released was only the so-called executive summary, and even that with redactions. Despite acknowledging torture - as defined by both domestic statutes and by international laws and treaties to which the US is a signatory - by CIA agents, the report explicitly recommended against prosecuting anyone. If members of Congress were sincere in wanting to tell the public the whole truth they could read the entire report into the Congressional record from the floor of the Senate, with complete immunity. All these supposedly heroic efforts by Feinstein and her fellow Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee such as Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, and Patrick Leahy to inform the unwashed are nothing more than political kabuki.

Now to the latest from Feinstein. On April 2, 2015 it was reported that two New York women were arrested by the FBI for allegedly planning an ISIS-inspired bomb plot. Feinstein issued a press release commending the FBI and the NYPD on the arrests in which she says
I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine. These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.
Surely even Feinstein's own partisans must concede that her own words above reveal a terminal misunderstanding of the internet and of the First Amendment. Techdirt ran an article titled FBI Uncovers Another Of Its Own Plots, Senator Feinstein Responds By Saying We Should Censor The Internet.

Feinstein is apparently clueless as to how the internet works. Feinstein apparently thinks every document on the internet comes with a self-destruct button that can be remotely activated by the US government.

Feinstein also reveals an unforgivable ignorance of the First Amendment. The Anarchist Cookbook is most certainly protected by the First Amendment. In 1996 the Senior Quisling submitted the following amendment to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act:
It shall be unlawful for any person to teach or demonstrate the making of explosive materials, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture of explosive materials, if the person intends or knows, that such explosive materials or information will likely be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal criminal offense or a criminal purpose affecting interstate commerce.
Targeting not just the Anarchist Cookbook but also many others such as Guerrilla's Arsenal: Advanced Techniques For Making Explosives and Time-delay Bombs (Paladin Press, 1994), The Anarchist Arsenal (Harber, 1992), Deadly Brew: Advanced Improvised Explosives (Paladin Press, 1987), The Anarchist's Handbook (J. Flores, 1995), Improvised Explosives: How To Make Your Own (Paladin Press, 1985), Ragnar's Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives (Paladin Press, 1988).

The Department of Justice (DOJ) examined the constitutionality of Feinstein's amendment and reported that:
The First Amendment would impose substantial constraints on any attempt to proscribe indiscriminately the dissemination of bombmaking information. The government generally may not, except in rare circumstances, punish persons either for advocating lawless action or for disseminating truthful information -- including information that would be dangerous if used -- that such persons have obtained lawfully.
So Feinstein ought to be well aware that the Anarchist Cookbook is most definitely protected by the First Amendment. Then again, Feinstein is on record claiming that The First Amendment is a special privilege, not a right. Feinstein has also been a vocal proponent of the Flag Burning Amendment.

Feinstein's attempts to directly gut the First Amendment have not been thwarted. On the Fourth Amendment however she has met with enormous success and through that has managed to chill the First Amendment. She has been instrumental in gutting the Fourth Amendment via her support of warrant-less wiretapping, of the secret FISA courts which issue secret rulings allowing mass surveillance in complete disregard of the Fourth Amendment's requirements for individualized warrants based on probable cause, the NSA's mass surveillance of the internet and phone activities of all Americans (even the entire world!), condoning so-called extraordinary rendition and torture by the CIA by insisting that no one should be prosecuted for these crimes, by her support of the execution of American citizens via drone attacks (e.g., Anwar al-Awlaki) without any judicial oversight.

We can but hope that when the revolution comes Quisling Feinstein will be the first against the wall.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Netenyahu at the US Knesset

We are now the United States of Israel. The United States of America has been upgraded to a wholly owned subsidiary of the Apartheid Jewish State of Israel. This has been true de facto for many years now and we have collectively chosen to ignore the reality. Recent events make it official and impossible to ignore any longer.

Recently Mr. John Boehner, Speaker of the House in the US Knesset (a.k.a. the US Congress), invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu of the Apartheid Jewish State of Israel to address the US Knesset. 

This was just prior to the elections in Israel in which Netenyahu was seeking a third term as Prime Minister.

Mr. Netenyahu accepted. His address to the US Knesset seemed to be aimed at scuttling any agreement with Iran on curtailing their (Iran's) nuclear program. His speech was also aimed at Israeli voters, presumably to scare them with the specter of the Iranian nuclear bogeyman with Netenyahu and Likud all that stood between the total annihilation of Israeli Jews and a nuclear holocaust carried out by Iran.

The White House expressed indignation at the US Knesset's invitation to Netenyahu and at the US Knesset's not-so-veiled attempts to interfere with and attempt to kill any agreement with Iran. Pious platitudes such as "our differences must stop at the water's edge" were trotted out. There was much histrionic public hand wringing by administration lackeys over the US Knesset's "unprecedented"  encroachment on the conduct of US foreign policy by the executive. Public calls were made for Netenyahu to withdraw his acceptance of the US Knesset's invitation. Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republicans in the US Knesset were piously criticized by virtuously incensed Democrats.

I submit that the spineless Mr. Barak "Jewish Baruch" Obama and the lickspittle lackeys of the Democratic Party were not very keen to thwart the US Knesset and Mr. Netenyahu.

Mr. Obama could have chosen to deny Mr. Netenyahu a visa to the enter the country, an action entirely within his power. Mr. Obama chose not do this. It is almost certain that Mr. Obama never even entertained this idea. There is precedent for refusing to allow foreign politicians a visa: Mr. Narendra Modi, the current Prime Minister of India, was refused a visa because of his alleged culpability/collusion in the massacre of Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat when he was its Chief Minister.

If Mr. Barack "Jewish Baruch" Obama had the courage of his vaunted convictions and denied Mr. Netenyahu a visa to enter the country to address the US Knesset it is certain that even the Democrats claiming to be outraged at the prospect of Mr. Netenyahu addressing the US Knesset would have lined up to denounce Mr. Obama.

Democratic members of the US Knesset might have chosen to boycott Netenyahu's speech en masse if they were truly against his address. About 50 of 232 Congressional Democrats (20%) did not attend Netenyahu's speech, with some claiming scheduling conflicts. The Israeli tail wagging the American Congress dog was exemplified by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D - Mo.) who reversed his initial decision not to attend Netenyahu's speech, saying in a statement that his “duty [was] to attend and listen respectfully. The courageous Mr. Charles Rangel (D - NY) also reversed himself.

California's Zionist cheerleaders in the both the House (Nanci Pelosi) and the Senate (Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein) chose to attend. A little, very little, tut-tutting, sad shakes of the head, mild hints that it was in bad taste for Boehner to invite and Netenyahu to accept was the extent of disapproval from Democrats  in the US Knesset. 

On his triumphal return to Israel Mr. Netenyahu was disappointed to find that wagging the US of Israel dog had not much improved his and Likud's prospects in the imminent election. With an honesty rare for politicians anywhere, Mr. Netenyahu chose to play his own Jewish Israeli version of the Republican Southern Strategy openly. His message to Jewish voters was simple: vote and vote for Likud or you will be swept away by the tide of Arab Israeli voters. Second, he reached out to Jewish Nazi voters by assuring them that the Chosen People were not going to allow a separate state for Palestinians on his watch: he pronounced the two state solution dead.

Look for upcoming posts on redoing the US flag, national motto, military uniform, logos on bombs, etc. to celebrate our new country - the United States of Israel. We will also be covering tips and tricks for going on Palestinian Hunting Safaris in the Occupied Territories: every hunter is guaranteed a Palestinian head professionally mounted by a certified Jewish Israeli taxidermist.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Political Whore on the Block: Kamala Harris

Some nutcase southern California lawyer wants to put on the California ballot an initiative called the Sodomite Suppression Act a.k.a. the Shoot the Gays Act. Among other things, it literally declares an open hunting season on gays: any, presumably straight, Californian may shoot and kill any gay person.

The California Attorney General is required to provide a title for and summary of any properly submitted initiative proposal ($200 filing fee). This must be done before the initiative's sponsors can collect the signatures (5% of registered voters) needed to get the initiative on the ballot. Initiatives must meet some simple content-neutral requirements.

The law doesn't allow the Attorney General to reject a proposed initiative because of its content. In particular the Attorney General may not reject a properly submitted initiative because he/she finds it personally abhorrent, repugnant, objectionable, potentially unconstitutional, etc. etc. An Attorney General who refuses to allow or works to prevent a properly submitted ballot initiative proposal from trying to get on the ballot is engaged in unconstitutional suppression of the First Amendment rights of the initiative's proponents.

It's unlikely that the proposed Sodomite Suppression Act initiative will be able to convince 5% of registered California voters to sign onto it so it gets on the ballot. In the unlikely event that it does, it's unlikely to be approved by a majority of voters. If it does get enough votes to pass it is certain to be challenged immediately and found unconstitutional.

Ms. Harris says:
This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society.
The claim that allowing the initiative to gather signatures "threatens public safety" is hyperbolic if not simply absurd. In any case the State cannot restrict speech on the grounds that it "may" cause some harm - that's prior restraint and is unconstitutional. As an aside, the "threatens public safety" canard is a favorite of repressive regimes worldwide to suppress dissent. 

On the proposal being unconstitutional. Ms. Harris knows better or ought to. It is the courts that make such determinations and then only on actual statutes, not potential ones. Not the Attorney General or the executive or the bureaucracy.

As to "utterly reprehensible" and "no place in civil society": the law doesn't empower the Attorney General to refuse to allow a proposed initiative simply because it offends his/her personal tastes. 30years ago if someone had wanted to put legalization of same-sex marriage on the ballot the then Attorney General might have said with almost universal public support that it was "utterly reprehensible", "has no place in civil society" and much else besides about it.

The courts are unlikely to rule in favor of Ms. Harris and she ought to know this. As a California Law Review article says:
Before the initiative measures are circulated for signatures, review is restricted to compliance with statutory requirements regarding the form of the petitions and the titles and summaries for the measures. Courts have held that state officials cannot go beyond these statutory duties to question the merits of the initiative at this stage. Thus, the only permissible action reviewable by the courts relates to these technical rules.
And the California Supreme Court stated in Brosnahan v. Eu:
As we have frequently observed, it is usually more appropriate to review constitutional and other challenges to ballot propositions or initiative measures after an election rather than to disrupt the electoral process by preventing the exercise of the people's franchise, in the absence of some clear showing of invalidity.
In California, only six initiatives and referendums have been subjected to pre-election judicial review. Of these, only three initiatives have been removed from the ballot. [citation needed]

So why is Ms. Kamala Harris trying to prevent the loony proponent of the Sodomite Suppression Act from gathering signatures?

It's plain and simple political grandstanding and pandering to the outraged sensibilities of the delicate so-called liberal left. To win the hearts, minds, and most importantly the votes of gays and liberals. Ms. Harris is a political whore who has sold her integrity and sullied the office she holds by selling out free speech for political gain.

Why should we fight Ms. Harris's attempts to muzzle a nutcase?
  1. The First Amendment requires it.
    Popular, saccharine, inoffensive, bowdlerized speech and pious platitudes require no protection. Its offensive speech that deserves the most protection. The courts have recognized this. That is why laws against flag burning have been struck down.
  2. Today this nutcase, tomorrow me.
    The freedom of speech guarantees of the First Amendment are already considerably eroded. Hate speech laws are only the most obvious example of this erosion. Anti-abortion laws that dictate what a doctor may tell his/her patient seeking abortion. Loosely interpreted laws making it a crime to provide "material support" to organizations that the State has declared to be "terrorist organizations": even speaking in favor of such organizations may and has been construed as material support [citation needed]. Any Palestinian Rights activists for making fund-raising posters for Hamas?
  3. I'd rather have the nuts, bigots, and tinfoil hat jokers out in the open.
    That way I can at least try not be standing next to them when they go off.
    If the Sodomite Suppression Act is able to get the endorsement of 5% of registered voters and therefore get on the ballot then we would at least know that there are still many bigots among us and we might work to educate or eradicate them. If it gets on the ballot and then is approved by 51% of the voters that would give the lie to the belief that most Californians are for equality irrespective of sexual preference.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Deference to Delusions: Perverting the First Amendment

The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads, in full:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment doesn't suggest any deference to [any] religion, only tolerance of all. Yet the courts are constantly deferential to religion. Not just tolerant but subservient. And downright hostile to those who reject all religion.

The Supreme Court state in Everson v. Board of Education (1947):
The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. (italics mine)
In other cases Federal Courts have decided that secular humanism and atheism are "religions" for the purposes of the First Amendment (see Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, Kaufman v. McCaughtry 2005). In the latter case the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stated:
Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of 'ultimate concern' that for her occupy a 'place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,' those beliefs represent her religion.

We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion. See Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2003) ('If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.')
Despite such stated interpretations of the First Amendment guaranteeing equal protection to lack of belief, federal courts and the Supreme Court have been deferential, even supportive, to religious belief in God. The Supreme Court has gone so far as to say that the Government may (must?) recognize the existence of a Supreme Being (God) and by implication that all atheist citizens who do not believe in any Supreme Fixer in the Sky are not true citizens. From the Wikipedia entry on a case brought against the soi-disant "national motto" In God We Trust:
In Zorach v. Clauson (1952), the Supreme Court also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being" and that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of a state church as the Constitution's authors intended to prohibit.
This goes far beyond mere State tolerance of religion, and completely negates the Supreme Court's own stated position in Everson of protection of non-belief under the First Amendment.  The Court appears to insist that all citizens subscribe to a belief in a Supreme Being in that all US "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being". This is offensive not just to atheists but to various religious groups as well. Many Hindus believe in multiple Supreme Beings not just a single Supreme Being. Many Buddhists don't believe in any Supreme Being at all. It is intolerable that "the government [should recognize] God". By refusing to prevent the state from propagating a religious belief and a specific monotheist flavor of religious belief the court is in effect allowing the state to establish and sponsor religion.

The courts rule on matters of fact, empirical evidence, science and the scientific method all the time. The Scopes trial relating to teaching of Evolution is  of course rightly famous. Why then cannot the courts rule on belief in God - a hypothesis that has not a shred of empirical evidence to support it. Shouldn't the Court's position on the First Amendment therefore be that while religious delusions must be tolerated by the State, the State ought to itself embrace non-belief in God, for to act otherwise is to sin against reason? Using the First Amendment to claim, as the Supreme Court does in Zorach v. Clauson that, in effect, God exists, is patently absurd.

The recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case exemplifies the disease. It was of course decided on statutory (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) , not Constitutional or First Amendment grounds, but it is emblematic of the courts kowtowing to religion, and religious prejudice at that.

Consider the following hypothetical secular alternative case. A closely held rationalist family corporation wishes to deny family medical coverage to employees, male and female, with more than 2 children; the oldest 2 children would be covered but not the 3rd or further children and no pregnancy or maternity care insurance would be provided to employees for their 3rd or further children. This on the sincerely held and entirely secular belief that overpopulation is a threat to the species wherefore large families are to be discouraged.

What about other sincerely held delusional beliefs? The courts are not deferential to those who sincerely believe in alien abduction, that the government controls their thoughts via chips implanted with vaccines. that blacks are racially inferior by divine decree, that a father may slit his son's throat because YHWH tells him (the father) to, that a father may force his daughters as be whores to visiting strangers, that wives must immolate themselves on the pyres of their dead husbands or be buried alive with the corpse of their dead husband.

The First Amendment doesn't say churches should be treated as non-profits with tax exemptions - taxpayer subsidies by another name. It doesn't say that churches should be exempt from financial disclosure requirements imposed on secular non-profits.

The Constitution and First Amendment do not call for any State deference to religion. It is time to get the courts to recognize this. Fight State sanctioned religious privilege wherever you find it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Luz Sells Out? Say It Ain't So!

I was more than a little disappointed with Luz's post-massacre effort. "All Is Forgiven"? Mohammed says "I am Charlie"? I wanted Charlie Hebdo and Luz to come out fighting. Instead what we get is Luz playing Rodney King. Does Luz speak only for himself? Or does he speak for Charlie Hebdo, for his slain colleagues, for the family and friends of his colleagues?

Then I remembered that Luz is a cartoonist, a joker, a jester. When he says something in his cartoons we need to be alert to irony, as I was not at my first reading. When Luz says "All Is Forgiven" scant weeks after the murder of his friends, of course he must mean the very opposite - that all is not forgiven. Mohammed saying "I Am Charlie" is patently absurd: if they were to meet, the prophet would separate Luz's head from his body right quick.

If Luz were as unsubtle as I am, he might have produced an obvious piece. A modest example of the blunt approach above. Yeah, yeah, the virgins trope and maybe even the out-of-virgins trope is getting a little old.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Reason OR Religion!

The COEXIST bumper stickers have always aroused my ire. I suppose it was someone like me for whom the Jesus Fish signs on cars got under their skin enough to respond with the Darwin Fish.

Below is a restrained response.
The COEXIST sticker is patently offensive because of its use of religious symbols. The underlying unstated assumption is that religious belief must be respected. By implication to speak out against religion is to be opposed to coexistence. I am obliged by reason to respect the right to exercise one's religion. I am equally obliged by reason to refuse to respect religious belief. I am not for coexistence with religion. Their extreme misogyny alone - from women as the root all evil to women as chattel to women as second class citizens - would be sufficient for me to work to eliminate them. Religion constantly intrudes into the public sphere in ways inimical to a free society - from Prop. 8 to Hobby Lobby.

Obviously I'm not the first to want to respond to the COEXIST stickers. Nor, sadly, the first to make a TOXIC sticker - as a  web search for "coexist sticker toxic" and "coexist sticker parody" images shows.

Here are some stickers using above image:

A Potential Poster