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Obama Proposes Keeping Most NSA Spying Against Americans

Obama Plan Would End NSA Bulk Data Collection, reads the headline from the New York Post. That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

The sad truth is that the new Obama plan would not end NSA bulk data collection.

The Obama plan would end only a small part of the NSA electronic surveillance deployed against Americans – the collection of telephone metadata.

nsa eye redThe Obama plan would not end NSA surveillance of our emails, and of other Internet activity, would continue. Cooperation with foreign government programs to spy on Americans, to help them do things like use Americans’ webcams to seize videos of them chatting naked in front of their computers, would continue.

The NSA has done much, much more than merely collect telephone metadata. The Obama plan is counting on Americans not to remember that.

Furthermore, the Obama plan involves submitting legislation to Congress that the Obama White House is confident Congress will not approve. So, the Obama plan involves proposing a plan, and then watching it die, changing nothing.

Another Year of Dithering, Another Year of Real Minimum Wage Cuts

Last March, I wrote about two bills before the U.S. Congress – H.R. 1010 in the House and S. 460 in the Senate.  Together, these bills are known as the Fair Minimum Wage Act, and if passed they would  increase the minimum wage from its current $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour over the next two years. After that point, the minimum wage would automatically increase to keep pace with inflation — the tendency of currency to be worth less as time passes. Tracked by the Consumer Price Index, inflation means that what a $1 dollar bought in February 1977 would take $4 to buy now. Sure, the minimum wage was “just” $2.30/hour back then, but what $2.30 could buy in Febuary 1977 would take $9.15 to buy today — and the minimum wage isn’t $9.15/hour.  Because the minimum wage is $7.25/hour, significantly less than $9.15/hour, economists say that the minimum wage has declined in “real value” between 1977 and today.

A year ago this week, I complained that while members of the House and Senate dithered about the economy, failing to pass any minimum wage legislation, the real inflation-adjusted minimum wage fell by 8 cents an hour.  It’s a year later, and as this graph shows, as the cost of living keeps creeping upward the real minimum wage keeps falling down — another 7 cents an hour, which may not seem like much to a lawyer billing corporate clients $1,000/hour, but which means a lot to someone only making $7.25:

Minimum Wage, in Real and Nominal Terms, Through February 2014

The good news is that since last March, 62 more members of the House have added their names in support of the bill to hike the minimum wage (is your Representative one of them?).  Since last March, 7 more members of the U.S. Senate have cosponsored their version of the bill (are your Senators among them?).  The bad news is that as the most vulnerable workers in America keep earning less, and less, and less, there still aren’t enough well-heeled legislators willing to pass the bill.

Ironies

This weekend, the Ending Spending Super PAC reported spending almost 100,000 dollars to influence a congressional election in North Carolina.

I read last night that a fellow named William Empsen wrote that there are seven types of ambiguity – not six or eight.

What ironies have you recently encountered?

Lying To Political Market Researchers

Greetings to the market research firm that just called me up asking me questions about my opinions about the New York State election for governor this year. I just lied through my teeth about who I am and what I intend to do as a voter. I didn’t answer truthfully to a single question you asked.

Really, did you expect to just be able to call me cold on the telephone, start asking me questions, and have earned the trust required for me to give private information about myself to you?

A swell methodology you’ve got there.

Is There Another Species Of Humans – Homo capensis – Enslaving Us All?

Recent episodes of Doctor Who have featured a strange race of humanoid beings, a part of a conspiracy called The Silence. These beings have small faces and huge skulls. They live among us, controlling humanity, but remain a secret, because they have the ability to be forgotten as soon as they slip out of view.

the silenceThese sinister characters aren’t purely an invention of the writers for Doctor Who. For about a hundred years, there have been people who believe in the existence of a second species of humanity, Homo capensis, also known as Boskop Man, and by the biblically-inclined, the Nephilim.

Some assert that Boskoponians are extinct. Among those are Gary Lynch and Richard Granger, who wrote in their book Big Brain, “With their perhaps astonishing insights, they may have become a species of dreamers with an internal mental life literally beyond anything we can imagine.” They base their analysis on old writings, from the first half of the 20th century, commenting on individual human fossils that were found to have large cranial capacities – big brains.

Others, including Karen Hudes, a former legal counsel with the World Bank, believe that Homo capensis survives, and forms a master race, leading elite organizations and using us as slaves without or knowledge. Hudes recently announced during an interview about monetary policy that, “There is a second species on this planet. They’re not extraterrestrials. They’re very much with us. They have made maps in the previous ice age. The remnants of their civilization are all over the place, a lot of time along the coast. It’s submerged, because the sea level has gone by over 400 meters, but this group has large brains. They’re very distinct from Homo sapiens. Their DNA is so different that if the two species mated, their offspring would be infertile, and we know this because their DNA was just tested. There are skulls all over the place on Earth, because they have been with us, but after the ice age, there weren’t that many of them, and so they’ve been hiding, and one of the places that they’ve been hiding is in the Vatican. That’s why the Vatican are wearing those mitres. It turns out that’s also what the high priests wore in the early beginnings of Judaism… Not only is Homo capensis trying to keep human beings under control by divide and conquer using our money system, they have also been doing this with our religions, organized religions, trying to get human beings to hate people of different religious faiths so that they will kill each other off, so that the people in the back of manipulating human beings could stay in, what can I say, to use us like cattle. That’s what’s been going on through our history.”

It is true that ancient skulls with large cranial capacity have been found, but then, ancient skulls with small cranial capacity have also been found. Many with average cranial capacity are also in the fossil record. That’s what would be expected. People have a range of cranial capacity.

Believers in the reality of Homo capensis have also cited skulls that share the basically human cranial shape, but also have odd deformations. These skulls are real, and have been found in different places around the world.

Scientific and anthropological research has concluded that these skulls come not from a separate human species, but from human individuals whose skulls have been transformed. The use of cradle boards and other apparatus with young children has been used at different times of human history to purposefully create elongated skulls, flattened skulls, bulbous skulls, and other unusual cranial shapes. Sometimes, people are born with skulls that have out-of-the ordinary shapes.

People, Homo sapiens people, can be strange. Paleoanthropologist John Hawks refers to the continuing belief in the existence of Homo Capensis, extant or extinct, as “complete lunacy”. His assessment of Boskop Man: “Suppose that we take the “Boskops” story just as a science fiction fairy tale – a story showing that evolution is not synonymous with progress, as the authors imply. I still conclude that much of the other information about brain size in the excerpt is questionable or false.”

homo capensis skulls

1 Day of Same-Sex Marriages in Michigan Provides a Test of Angry Anti-Gay God Theory

Susanne Atanus, the Republican Party winner in Illinois’ 9th District congressional race, is the latest in a long line of preachers and politicians to proclaim that God controls the weather and uses dire weather to punish political jurisdictions that are kind to gay people:

“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as in response to gay rights and legalized abortions. “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she said.

“I am a Christian. I care a lot about the world and I care a lot about my obedience to serve God the right way,” she said. “I can’t turn my eye and look the other way when I know that abortions, gay rights and civil unions are making God very angry.”

Let’s look just a few hours to the east, where this weekend’s weather in Pontiac, Michigan tests Atanus’ claims. Follow the timeline with me.

At the end of the day on Friday March 21 2014, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan’s law outlawing same-sex marriage, declaring it unconstitutional. The weather in Pontiac was partly cloudy with a high of 40, a low of 18, and a third of an inch of precipitation.

During the daytime hours of Saturday March 22 2014, the Oakland County clerk in Pontiac, Michigan married a number of same-sex couples. The weather in Pontiac was cloudy with a high of 37, a low of 23, and a third of an inch of precipitation.

At the end of the day on Saturday March 22 2014, an appeals court granted a temporary stay in Friedman’s order, bringing a halt for the time being to same-sex marriages in Michigan. Today, the weather forecast in Pontiac calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 28, a low of 12, and a chance of precipitation.

Where were the tornadoes on March 22? Where are the rainbows and warm, sunny skies today? If an angry God is really meting out His Divine Judgment to teach us all a lesson with the weather, it would seem to be a pretty sloppy, shoddy lesson.

How You Can Tell Who The Superheroes Are

Secret identity, schmecret identity. How can you tell who the Lone Ranger, the Phantom, Batman, Daredevil and Green Lantern really are?

Tan lines on the face.

That is all.

Bernie Sanders Versus Hillary Clinton On NSA Spying

It’s almost certain that former U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to run for the Democratic Party nomination for President in 2016. It’s also almost certain that U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders is going to run for President in 2016, though we don’t know if Sanders will run for the Democratic nomination, or as an independent.

It might be a bit early for these two to officially declare their presidential candidacies, but it is not too early for us to explore the differences between them on the issues that matter most. It’s difficult to think of any issue that matters more than the development of an enormous electronic surveillance state under George W. Bush, and the growth of that Big Brother apparatus under Barack Obama. It isn’t just the NSA that’s been spying on the personal and private activities of law-abiding Americans – the CIA has joined with its own Homeland Security abuses, including spying on members of the United States Senate as if they are enemies of the state.

Where do Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton stand on the issue of unconstitutional electronic spying against Americans? The difference between these two candidates is like night and day.

An hour ago, Senator Sanders used the Twitter account directly connected to his official Senate website to spread the following graphic of protest:

bernie sanders worry

“What I worry about is kids growing up in a society where they say, ‘If I send this email or if I visit this website, then somebody may think I’m a terrorist. I’m not going to talk about this issue, I’m not going to read this book, I’m not going to explore this idea.’ I don’t want anyone thinking about that. It upsets me very much and is not the kind of free society I think we should be living in.”

It’s pretty easy to see where Bernie Sanders stands on the issue of big government spying on our everyday activities. He’s been taking public stands against it for years.

What about Hillary Clinton?

Back in 2007, when the FISA Amendments Act was passed, and made massive electronic spying against Americans by the federal government retroactively legal, Hillary Clinton didn’t even bother to show up to vote on the legislation.

As Secretary of State under Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton may not have been at liberty to criticize the Obama Administration’s extreme expansion of governmental spying against Americans. After she resigned, however, she became free to speak her mind on the subject.

She hasn’t. Clinton won’t talk about the surveillance abuses by the NSA, the CIA or the FBI. Instead of speaking out against the violation of Americans’ constitutional rights, Clinton acts as if there’s no problem at all.

Instead of taking a stand against Big Brother, Hillary Clinton is allowing critical tweets like these build up, undermining confidence in her coming campaign.

hillary clinton nsa tweets

If you care about the Fourth Amendment’s promise of protection from unreasonable search and seizure, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernard Sanders is crystal clear. Sanders has been a strong voice of opposition, while Clinton has been content to shrug while Big Brother grows ever bigger.

sanders 2016 bumper sticker

Argument From Oliver Wendell Authority

“Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court, 1927

So said the long-serving, widely respected Supreme Court justice. Can’t you just hear that basso profundo. Cast James Earl Jones for the reenactment. Cast Morgan Freeman.

“It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court, 1927

Cast Morgan Freeman?

I offered the first quote myself four years ago. Should I have?

Alien Space Probe? Beings Of Light Around The International Space Station?

A group calling itself Secureteam10 claims to have “footage showing a very large flying object” approaching the International Space Station. A video posted by the group does indeed show something odd in the same frame as an external shot of the space station.

What that thing is, it’s impossible to say. It looks and behaves like no physical object ever seen by humankind. Its monochromatic surface seems to change in shape slightly as the video moves forward. Then, partway through the video, the object instantly disappears. Secureteam10 says that the thing in the video is very large, but there’s no evidence for that, as the thing never appears to move behind the International Space Station.

alien space probe

An additional oddity in the video is that the weird-looking thing has much better resolution than anything else in the video.

Does this mean that the thing in the video is a hoax added in through video editing software?

Could the thing in the video be a lens flare, or small speck of dust? If this thing is a lens flair, does that mean that entire extraterrestrial civilizations have been assembled by intergalactic beings of light?

Is it possible that alien visitors purposefully edited this video in order to make their ow spaceship look like a blobby vague blip?

When will the International Space Station break its silence on the matter?

Could this video explain the complete lack of evidence for FEMA concentration camps?

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Is the sky blue?

Will I keep on asking questions until the cows come home?

Will the cows come home?

When will Kris Kardashian comment on the homeless cow crisis?

What is the square root of 57 percent?

Chemicals!

In today’s Bangor Daily News, reporter Mario Moretto writes of a concerned-mother-turned-activist:

Since becoming pregnant with her first boy seven years ago, she has taken steps — from buying organic and local foods to making her own household cleaners to reading product labels — to limit her family’s exposure to chemicals.

A close reading will reveal that 100% of products sold on the shelves of health food stores are composed entirely of chemicals. I imagine that a laboratory analysis of specimens taken from any of the activist’s organs would return a result of shockingly high levels of chemicals. They are everywhere. Curse you, the essential nature of the universe Monsanto!