Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Press bias, shesh bias

So, I continue to attempt to hammer out a constitution based on skeptical reasoning.  It’s insanely difficult.  The constitution is not the law of our land, thats the US Code.  Cornel has a searchable version of it on their website.  The Constitution is the spirit of the law.  Now, you might assume that because I am not a rightwing christian, that I could use the UN charter.  I read the UN’s documents again tonight. What a load of hooie that rag is.  The writers of the UN declaration of human rights seemed to missed the verbally subtle but methodologically mammoth difference between a right to pursue happiness and a right to happiness. First, they decide on what, ideally, a government should do if it has the money, then they say all governments worldwide must provide this service, and then they say that the provision of this service is a right.  Let me be very blunt…

Government….services….aren’t….rights.  Yeah, it’s just that simple.

In the United States you do have right to Social Security, because the government is a service provider who has entered a contractual agreement with the people to provide the service of social security insurance.  But your right is as a contract holder, not a citizen. Your parents got it because you paid.  When it comes your turn, you will get it because your kids paid.  That’s how insurance works.  It’s crappy retirement plan because it isn’t a retirement plan, it’s retirement plan insurance.  If your nest egg goes belly up when the market tanks, you sill have a bare sustenance to fall back on. And no, you don’t get anything if you manage to put away a ton of cash.  You don’t get a fire insurance payoff after 50 years of your house failing to catch on fire either.

If the government would let you stop paying for SSI, and you wouldn’t have the option of getting it anymore, then it would go away.  Free speech does not go away when you quite paying to hear government officials talk. One of the many differences between a service and a right.

But you do not, contrary to the UN declaration of human rights, have fundamental human right, on equal ground with the freedom to practice the manner of worship of your choice, to… not have to keep a job when you get too old too work.  Sorry.  Just because you want something, doesn’t mean the government must get it for you, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean that you have a right to it. Reading through the Declaration of Human Rights is like reading a constitution written by a 13 year old.  “Uh, I’ve got freedom of speech, and..uh, freedom of worship…and…uh, I’ve got a right to all the pizza I can eat….um, hey yeah! I’ve got a right to honk girls’ boobies!  That’s a good one!…Right to…uh…trial by jury…”

But, as I laughed to myself at those silly Frenchmen, I realized something evil.  Americans do something worse, about something more important.

The US Constitution lists the right of “freedom of press”.  I hear all these people complaining about conservative domination of the radio and liberal domination of the TV networks.  Someone I talked to recently bashed the lies he’d heard on the “liberal media”.   Liberals I know would like to see the “Fairness doctrine” enacted to make radio less conservatively bias.  

That’s when it all came together for me,  (1.) all this swirling crap storm about bias, and (2.) the purposed solutions of mandated balance.

One, about bias.  You do not have a right to truth without effort! Of course the news is biased!  You think that some of the wealthiest companies on earth got that way by carefully reporting the unvarnished truth?  Of course not!  They are businesses, and they are in the business of telling the news that sells the most ads.  They always have been.  “But what about government supported news,” someone snivels.  They are a business, and their bottom line is funding too, it just comes from a different source.  Most information is biased! If you want the truth you are going to have to work for it.  I say again You do not have a right to truth without effort.

Ok, the whole “we-have-a-right-to-free-press-but-there-is-a-bias-so-it’s-not-really-free” argument.  First of all, it’s all going to be biased. The right to a free press does not mean free of bias; It means you are free to print your own bias.  You don’t have right to find any viewpoint you wish in print, you have a right to print any viewpoint you wish.  Freedom of the press means you are free to buy a press and go at it, not that you can sit on your ass and have prechewed ideas spoon fed to you.  

The world is market place of ideas.  These bias/not-really-free presses chants are the pathetic, infantile prattle of people who think their ideas are a lot more important than everyone else does.  If no one is listening to you, it’s gotta be that the media is too biased, and the free speech isn’t really free, and a homosexual/privileged white male/post patriarchy/Zionist/fundamentalist agenda is keeping you back.  In short, it’s just gotta be anything except the idea that no one is listening because they don’t care about your stupid viewpoint, because in the marketplace of ideas you are selling a rusty Yugo. 

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Government, Politics, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 4th Amendment VS. National Healthcare

Working nights is always odd for the personal biosystem.  I woke up at 2330 this evening, refreshed and ready to begin my day. Which of course, is my neighbors’ night, and being that I have many friends and family back at GMT -3 and GMT -5 and at least one in GMT 10, its sometime somewhere I guess.  

As I was laying in bed, staring at my pillow, I had a sudden realization of a situation analogous to nationalized healthcare.  

The Fourth Ammendment of the US Constitution reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Basically, this means that the clothes you are wearing, your body fluids, your bag, purse or briefcase, your hardcopy and digital files, etc, are free from physical inspection or electronic inspection (bugs etc.) unless the lawful group investigating you has a warrant.

Most people however, are blissfully unaware that the the Constitution does not guarantee their rights.  It enumerates them.  Only hard work guarantees your rights.  The early civil rights movement was based on this.  Blacks insisting they could go to colleges or ride where they wished on busses was an example of working to guarantee rights. Those rights were listed on paper, they were the law of the land, but until blacks demanded the system follow its own rules, the old abuses continued.

Sadly, the Fourth Amendment, “The right of the people…against unreasonable searches…” is completely ignored in regards to certain groups of people.  

The first, and most obvious group is prisoners.  No one is going to raise any objection to a prisoners room being searched without a warrant, and they regularly are.

The next group is children in public schools.  This one is a little odder.  If  child is walking to school a police officer requires a warrant to take his bag away and search it. However, if the officer follows the child into school, he may now search the child’s bag without a warrant. Since the Constitution requires probable cause, this is to say that every child in school is a potential criminal. 

The next group is service members.  That’s right. If you are in the US military you have no fourth amendment rights.  All of your phone calls can be monitored, all your emails monitored, and all your property searched.  This does not refer to when you are one base, but when you are off base, or in your home.  

The next group government workers, who’s offices may be searched at anytime for any reason without warrant.

The final group is people who live in Section 8 housing. The police need only 2 warrants for a Section 8 housing complex to search the entire housing complex. For reasons I will explain in a moment, this one is the most disturbing.

By putting all the cases together, we can establish some trends.  If you live in government housing, be it a prison or a base, you have no 4th Amendment rights.  If you work in, or attend something in (like school) a government building, you have no 4th Amendment rights.  And finally, with Section 8, if you own property in the same building as people who own property but take a check from the government, you have no 4th Amendment rights.

Section 8, aka the projects, are not universally government owned buildings.  Many privately held apartments accept Section 8 payments from some residents.  So, a privately owned building, sub-sectioned and leased by law abiding citizens, my be searched in its entirety because 2 residents take money from the government.   That doesn’t make sense.  Law abiding citizens may have their 4th Amendment rights suspended for living in the same building as accused (not proven) criminals.

In other words, if receive money from the government in any form besides tax rebates and social security, your phone may be bugged at anytime, your house searched at any time, your computer searched at anytime.  

So, I ask you to consider in this pre-existing environment, is the socialization of American health care likely to result in greater freedom of the citizen from unreasonable searches, or greater freedom of the government to search?

This is not to say that socialization of healthcare is per say bad.  It’s just to spot a trend, and suggest where that trend is headed. I further say that absolutely no one will do anything about this.

Any attempt to uphold any rights whatsoever of criminals will be seen as “soft on crime”. Any attempt to uphold the rights of those on Section 8 will be seen as “Pro lazy welfare mom and anti cop, anti American”.   Any attempt to uphold the rights of children would be perhaps the most politically suicidal “Endangered our Children!”.  That leaves US service members and Government employees. City and State governments rarely take on the Federal Government.  There are federal funds that they need too badly to rock the boat over what amounts to employee rights. 

This will get worse, not better.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Government, Politics, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposition 8

So I have some liberal friends and some conservative friends. Both seem to be a bit confused about people and gay sex..

The conservative “pop thought” goes something like this:

If we allow homosexuals to have get married, we are allowing them and society to believe that they are normal healthy people, but they’re not. There are 2 dangerous things about homosexuals (1.) They are all pedophiles. (2.) They have secret homo-ninja powers. They will use these homo-ninja powers to take over the world a form a gay dictatorship, headquartered in San Fransisco. Once in control of the world, they will make straightness illegal and force everyone to be gay, causing massive depopulation and the eventual downfall of human civilization. Global-Dictator-for-life Bruce Johnson will wear spiked leather bondage gear as his official raiment, and sit on a throne of hot pink ass-plugs and child’s skulls.

The liberal pop though goes something like this:

Gays are wonderful, sensitive, caring people, who just happen to love people of the same sex. They are unusually cool, snappy dressers. All gays are well read, well adjusted, mature people. They are born leaders. They don’t pick their noses when they are alone in the car. They like only the best certified organic coffee. If gays are given the right to get married, adoption agencies will be emptied out as these, kind, loving people take all the unwanted children in the world. When gays are allowed in the military, all wars will be just, and peace will fall from the heavens.

Obviously, I am taking this a bit over the top, but not much. The top one actually squares up pretty nicely with the Dobsonite paper I put up a few days ago. The bottom squares up pretty well with a paper I had to read in a college lit class about how gays invented camp, thus sophistication in general. Camp is banality, artifice, mediocrity, or ostentation so extreme as to have perversely sophisticated appeal. (Stolen from Wikipeida) It claimed because gay’s invented camp, only they truly understood the culture that they were mocking. Thus, acceptance of gays was acceptance of all things sophisticated and would cause a Golden Age of western democracy. (No, I’m not kidding. That really was the thesis of a article we had to critique and by critique I mean describe its greatness.)

The truth is a bit less incredible. I know this is really hard for hardcore conservatives, so I will say it really slow…

Gays… are… people.

And this one is going to be really tough for some liberals

Gays… are… just people.

There are kind, loving, and monogamous gay people. There are also extremely slutty gay people. Their are liberal gay people and conservative gay people. There are gays that would make great parents. There are gays that should not be near children. They’re just people. Not demons, not angels.

That being the case, I think it bears some consideration of how, when the fact that gays are just people is pretty obvious, such a an incredible mythos has evolved. I think straight people started it.

Something that is really hard to accept, yet impossible to not agree with, is that morals are cultural, not absolute. The basic rule of morality:

Dislike = immoral

A lot of us would be comforted by the idea that morals spring forth from some place independent of tangible reality, but there is just no evidence. Being raised a Christian, I’ll use the Bible as my example.

The Old Testament says positive things about slavery. The New Testament says nothing negative about it. To them slavery was moral. Paul even commands slaves to obey their masters. 2000 years later, we dislike slavery and it becomes immoral, despite no judgement against it in the Holy book that most Americans claim to follow. Same for selling your kids, or stoning adulterers. We dislike them so they are immoral.

But evangelicals like the parts of about wives obeying husbands. So that’s moral. Spanking is liked and therefor moral. 100 years ago women voting was disliked, and thus immoral. Now it’s liked, and preventing it would be immoral.

Soooooo, gay sex is nasty. I’m sure it’s not if your gay, but most of us (90 – 98%) are straight. The idea of actually participating in homosex is, at best, disinteresting. So, the unreasoning states dislike = immoral, so really-grossed-out- y means horribly sinful. To most people the level of gross out is equal to the level of immorality. So, uncritically thinking, opinionated straight people, people who like gay sex are really disturbed and evil.

Liberals then say, “What! The conservatives don’t like gays? Then we think they’re great!”

My point is, the fact that you don’t like something doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t like plaid with stripes. That doesn’t mean it’s a “sin”.

Gay’s should not have equal rights because they are gay. No one should have special rights. The should have equal rights, because they are people. Whether what they do in their free time is icky or hot, they are people who aren’t breaking the law, and they should be treated like it.  My preference is not for a law that allows gays to get married, but one that lets any two consenting adults enter a contract that provides the rights that the marriage document provides.

I want the government out of marriage, and marriage out of the government.  It is as wrong that the government subsidizes me having straight sex with my wife as it the they prevent gays from having the same legal benefits.
No one should get a break for being straight, and no one should be punished for being gay.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment