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March 14, 2004

Big Brother

The headline reads "FBI adds to wiretap wish list."

"A far-reaching proposal from the FBI, made public Friday, would require all broadband Internet providers, including cable modem and DSL companies, to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police.

The FBI's request to the Federal Communications Commission aims to give police ready access to any form of Internet-based communications. If approved as drafted, the proposal could dramatically expand the scope of the agency's wiretap powers, raise costs for cable broadband companies and complicate Internet product development."

If you read the article, you'll find out that the Feds argue that terrorists could beat wiretaps by making phone calls over the internet. Mind you, they aren't saying that anyone is doing this, only that they could.

Viewed in isolation, this doesn't seem too bad; after all, we are all behind the war on terror, right? The problem is that they want to force all services to add guaranteed backdoors ahead of time. So much for due process. The other problem is that they have to follow this approach, since (AFAIK) there's no way to examine a packet and determine if it's part of a internet phone call, email, or someone downloading a music video. So they have to have access to everything.

Which includes encrypted sessions. In fact, they should target these, since someone obviously has something to hide. Again, the problem is that this law would guarantee a back door into every electronic sale over the internet, every PayPal money transfer, and every transaction you have with your bank.

Feeling safer yet?

Brought to you by the same folks who gave us Ruby Ridge, Waco, the TSA, the (completely futile) War on Drugs, racial profiling, and claims that smoking marijuana helps Al Quaeda.

I'm feeling much safer...

I fought the law...

Y'know, it used to be so simple when I was a kid. If someone pushed you, you pushed back. If they took a swing at you, you had the right to fight back.

The new, modern solution is "Zero tolerance." NO fighting. Like mom use to say "I don't care who started it, you're both in trouble!" Ok, fine. So when someone (oh, say) verbally and physically bullies a girl, she reports the thugs to the school, and justice prevails, no?

Um, no. At least not here in Butler County, right down the road from where I live. Alicia Kinsey did the Right Thing: complained about harassment by four other girls. A foot in the back of the neck, in fact.

Talawanda Middle School Counselor Sandy Greenberg brought three of the four girls to her office and left them alone to write down what happened. All three claimed that Ms. Kinsey threatened one of them with a knife the day before, even though they couldn't get their story straight. The girls couldn't agree whether Alicia threatened to stab or kill the other girl. The fourth girl was questioned separately later that day. She named the wrong girl as the target of the threat. Later one of the original three recanted; she wasn't even on the bus that day.

So far the case sounds pretty far-fetched and thin against Ms. Kinsey, no? Again, no.

Greenberg reported all this to Vice Principal Chris Rhoton, who talked to Alicia the following day. The result: he had Alicia questioned by a police officer, charged with criminal menacing, then expelled.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

Get the full story at Zero Intelligence, a website dedicated to "Fighting School Board Tyranny/Inanity." It's a great place.

July 26, 2004

Well, she broke the law, didn't she?

One of The Queen's posts generated some comments which have finally forced me to speak my mind about Martha Stewart's conviction.

You can find the post & threads here. I decided to put up my reply as a post here, as well as in that thread.

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Continue reading "Well, she broke the law, didn't she?" »

May 6, 2006

Legal "mumbo jumbo"

A recent thread on Dean's World induced this post, and I haven't even had the chance to read to read the Reaon Foundation article to which Dean originally linked, yet. Heh.

What sparked my post was bad reasoning, assumed beliefs about illegals (how they get paid, whether they "steal" jobs from Americans), blithering about what's "fair" or "right," and several magnificent posts by the inimitable Arnold Harris.

My thougts, as follows:

For those of you hyperventilating about "lost taxes," try investigating how hard it is to create and run a small business in the US today. Even a local drive-through has to take out fed, state, and FICA taxes before paying an employee.

Paul S. repeats a popular argument, but one that lacks force. I can testify from personal experience that -while there are jobs Mexicans will do that Anglos won't- the workers aren't paid less. Go to damn near any restaurant in America, and you'll find managers who will hire anyone willing to work hard at well above minimum wage. In fact, many Mexicans expect more exactly because they are willing to work so hard.

Paul is, of course, perfectly free to contradict my position by providing facts to the contrary. :)

Arnold (as usual) does a magnificent job defining the problem. While I don't agree with every word, the gist is inarguable.

Continue reading "Legal "mumbo jumbo"" »

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