Friday, June 23, 2017

Antonin Scalia

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Case Against Apple

“The Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of us all.” These were not the words of a radical social justice warrior from “Black Lives Matter,” or even a liberal Democrat in Congress. They were the deliberate and percipient observations from one of the most substantive and constitutionally faithful of Supreme Court Justices  — the late Antonin Scalia.

The tragedy of Scalia’s untimely passing is amplified by the need for voices such as his in the current fight between iPhone manufacturer Apple and the federal government, over forced access to an encrypted phone belonging to one of the dead San Bernardino terrorists. The government claims its demand that Apple break into the phone by overriding the built-in privacy protections is “reasonable” and necessary in order to protect national security. Apple maintains what Uncle Sam demands is not reasonable; and would establish a precedent that would result in harm to the company, its millions of customers, other U.S. manufacturers of “smart phones,” and ultimately the U.S. government. One can almost hear Scalia’s voice calling the government’s case against Apple, “pure applesauce.”

Before digging deeper into the government’s current dust-up with Apple, it is important to note that this fight is nothing new; it is simply the latest chapter in a decades-long push by Uncle Sam to gain access to Americans’ digital technology and place this booming sector of our economy under its thumb.

In 1994, for example, Congress passed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA); which for the first time forced telecommunication carriers and manufacturers to deliberately modify their communications platforms and hardware for the sole purpose of facilitating the government’s ability to surreptitiously monitor communications made over those networks. The government (in particular the FBI), not satisfied by merely having a “back door” built into digital communication platforms for its convenience, also pushed Congress for legislation that would force private companies to provide encryption “keys” so that, if necessary, it always has a way to access the data on those networks. In those pre-911 days, Congress resisted such unnecessary and improper power grabs.

What makes the current debate with Apple different and more alarming, is that the government is for the first time demanding that a company actually invent a way to defeat the very encryption safeguards it builds into the devices it sells. Attorney General Lynch has taken to citing an obscure law, the All Writs Act of 1789, to justify this unprecedented exercise of power to compel companies to do the government’s work for it.

The debate over Apple’s reluctance to cooperate with government demands has to some degree been intentionally obfuscated in a swirl of techno-jargon about “encryption keys,” “brute force access,” and “backdoors.” Although these may be accurate details about the technical aspects of the debate, they have little relevance to the more important policy and constitutional impact of what is at stake. The question is not whether Apple can break its encryption; it could. Rather, the singularly important question is whether it should. And, the eventual answer to this inquiry will be a watershed moment for personal privacy in the digital age.

Since the government views providing access to data – even more than the data itself — as a duty no private citizen or company should have the power to resist, the feds characterize the current debate as a “minor” technicality. This is why it portrays Apple’s opposition to what it describes as a one-time-only solution to breaking the encryption on a single iPhone, as unpatriotic and shortsighted. Apple, and many Americans for that matter, view the government’s demands as something far broader and more important than a single, technical-assistance request in a single criminal investigation.

The true value of Apple’s encryption is that, as a manufacturer, it does not compromise its integrity for any reason. That’s the shield. As soon as they do it once, the shield is pierced and is made worthless, and there is nothing to stop others, including governments, from demanding access based on lessening degrees of “extraordinary circumstances.” One need only look to the USA PATRIOT Act, which frequently is employed but only rarely for terrorism investigations, to see this maxim in action.

Subsequent demands to access encrypted data will come not just from the U.S. government, either. Russia, China, and any foreign country willing to act as a proxy will not hesitate to use this precedent to search the phones of American business executives they suspect of “spying,” or some other fabricated offense – for the sole purpose of using the data it gathers to its economic, military or internal security benefit. Furthermore, the technology used to defeat security will not remain a secret for long; it will be only a short time before private, non-state actors coopt the anti-security measures for hacking private data.

This is precisely why the Apple debate is not just about one dead terrorist’s phone; the precedent set here will impact anyone who shares information digitally.

The good news is that, initially, a lower court has looked with suspicion at not just how the government is rationalizing its authority, but to what it inevitably would lead. “In a world in which so many devices, not just smartphones, will be connected to the Internet of Things,” writes U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, “the government’s theory that a licensing agreement allows it to compel the manufacturers of such products to help it surveil the products’ users will result in a virtually limitless expansion of the government’s legal authority to surreptitiously intrude on personal privacy.”

Unfortunately, Judge Orenstein’s correct analysis is being shouted down by government lawyers, political candidates, and most mainstream media outlets, more concerned with playing on fear of terrorism than with protecting individuals against Big Brother’s insatiable thirst for power and information.


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Barack Obama just can’t resist the opportunity to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, despite being a lame duck president.

Facing mild pushback in the Senate, Obama took to twitter to gain support for moving forward with the nomination process.

The infographic posted to Obama’s Twitter account fails to mention the longstanding precedent that lame duck presidents have that respects the future of the court and the vote of the people. The “Biden Rule” is a gentleman’s agreement that a president in his last year in office should allow the next president to decide the fate of the court. But Obama has never been one to play by gentlemen’s rules. The President has even twisted the precedent by saying the following:

Obama is expected to name Loretta Lynch as his pick for the Supreme Court.

Lynch is notorious for her race-based decisions that include launching a federal investigation over a piece of bacon placed on the doorknob of a Mosque. However, she has failed to investigate the hate crime that occurred recently just blocks from the White House. A white Marine Corps veteran was brutally beaten by black youth after refusing to answer the question, “Do black lives matter?”

Comment below.

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The hipster punk curmudgeons at Wonkette don’t like it when you speak ill of their queen bee, Hillary C.

After a shallow read of our article regarding the conspiracy theories surrounding Antonin Scalia’s death, a snarky blogger from the lefty site went to town:

Y’all, we were getting worried. Antonin Scalia’s pillow murdered him to death on Saturday, and conspiracy theories have been raging ever since about how Barack Obama probably was the master of that pillow, killing Scalia in his sleep to open up a vacancy for Jeremiah Wright and Saul Alinsky and his real dad the Muslim Devil to sit on the court. THE USUAL STUFF.

But nobody had blamed Hillary Clinton. Until now. Write a whole bunch of stupid, Morgan Mayhew of Liberty News Now.

The angry-looking senior editor of Wonkette continued:

Whew! All is well with the world. We mean, for real, Hillary Clinton might be our next president. This is the woman who, according to insane wingnuts, murdered Vince Foster and made it look like a suicide; is at least half responsible for the Clinton Body Count; and who did FOUR DEAD AMERICANS in Benghazi by sending emails to Huma Abedin about where they’re brunching this Sunday after their usual bout of making lesbian while watching “Meet The Press.” How in the HELL did it take this long for somebody to accuse Hillary Clinton of murdering Scalia?

While it may be hard to follow the ramblings of a male editor running a liberal chick’s site, at least he’s in tune with the long-standing rumors floating around the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

As for the rest of the material produced by this guy . . . well . . . he’s the reason why there’s an intellectual difference between blogging and journalism.

Here are just a few of his headlines:

Tennessee Sheriff So Mad Beyonce Shot Up His House

Oregon Militia Twit Sues America for Being Literally Satan

Lawless Nevada Thug Cliven Bundy Gets to Stay in Jail Forever, Hooray!

Thankfully, readers won’t have to encounter these bloggers in the wild as they rarely leave their grandmother’s basement, and when they do, they skulk in the shadows out of the fear someone will recognize that they haven’t shown the self-respect to change out of their dingy pajamas for the last 14 weeks.

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Glenn Beck

You can’t make this stuff up.

On his program this week, Glenn Beck . . . again, you can’t make this stuff up . . . channeled the voice of God to say, “I just woke the American people up. I took them out of the game show moment and woke enough of them up to say, ‘Look how close your liberty is to being lost.’”

Beck then went back to his worldly voice to say, “The Constitution is hanging by a thread. That thread has just been cut. And the only way that we survive now is if we have a true constitutionalist (as president).”

The political personality was referring to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his sudden death.

Without equivocation, Beck was telling his listeners that God took the life of Justice Scalia in order to wake up Americans to vote for Ted Cruz.

Again, you can’t make this stuff up.

Beck took to Facebook to quell the backlash over his statement saying it was “outrageous” to say that he said God killed Scalia to help Cruz.

Glenn Beck went further to explain, “What I did say is ‘perhaps God allowed Scalia to die at this time to wake America up to how close we are to the loss of our freedom.’”

The nuance didn’t help Beck as both Cruz and Beck supporters alike have commented that the statement was “beyond absurd.”

While Beck and Christians around the world believe in “divine providence,” Cruz’s newly religious pronouncements are suspect among evangelical voters.

In the most recent polls, frontrunner Donald Trump holds a large advantage with the evangelical voting base. Last month, Trump received the endorsement of Jerry Fallwell, Jr.

But with Beck’s help, Ted Cruz has continued to shift his strategy to reach Constitution and TEA Party voters and instead has delivered more speeches that sound like sermons rather than policy points to appeal to evangelicals.

Polls show that evangelical voters are no different than other voters in the same age and socioeconomic status. They largely are untrusting of politicians and Washington and call for change in the process.

While a candidate that represents their values is important, they recognize the divide in responsibility between morality and government.

It is the job of elected officials to manage government in line with the Constitution, while it is the job of society, churches, communities and individuals to take responsibility for morality through acts, activism and parenting.

Like other voters, evangelicals want to keep government out of their homes and choose to take personal responsibility for their lives and the wellbeing of their families.

Ted Cruz may not realize that voters . . . evangelical or not . . . want government to get out of the way.

As for Glenn Beck, the radio host could use more bible study.

Galatians 6:5, “For each will have to bear his own load.”

God isn’t doing Ted Cruz any favors; it’s up to Ted Cruz to make his own path and prove to all Americans that he is the right man to lead this nation. From there, Cruz can lead by example and embody the characteristics that will prove him as a proper witness for God.

So far, with his underhanded tactics and lack of integrity that has surrounded his campaign, the senator from Texas is failing to represent the character of Christians.

Christian voters are smart. A candidate can’t hold up a Bible, quote scripture and speak with a pastor’s sway and easily snag their vote. A candidate will be judged on their actions, not just their words.

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Supreme Conspiracy

Just days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speculation and conspiracy has risen to the top of chatter to the point that the Washington Post published an article this morning on the conspiracies surrounding the death of the originalist justice.

The leading conspiracy surrounds non-other than the conspiracy queen herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton, aka, Hilla the Hun.

Note that the “Hillary Scalia Murder” conspiracy is one of several floating around. A second conspiracy is that Dick Cheney was hunting Scalia in the Texas wilderness like Ice-T in Surviving the Game.

Back to reality . . . how in the world could the death of a Supreme Court justice on a remote ranch in Texas be linked to Hillary?

Well . . . because of her own words and campaign desperation.

Just weeks ago, on January 26th, an enthusiastic supporter in Ohio publicly asked Hillary if she would be willing to name Barack Obama to the Supreme Court.

Her response?

Hillary responded with, “What a great idea . . . he is brilliant and he can set forth an argument and he was a law professor. He has got all of the credentials.”

Clinton has been running against her socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, as a continuation of the Obama legacy.

What better way to continue to give voice and power to the Obamas than to place the two-term president on the highest court in the land?

Clinton’s and Obama’s supporters went nuts over the concept of “Justice Obama,” lighting up Twitter and Facebook.

The “Supreme Idea” was a winner.

But like all evil plans, someone has to die to get the ball rolling.

Enter Antonin Scalia.

The vacationing justice was relaxing in an area so remote; his death certificate was signed over the phone.

Scalia’s own protection unit, the ever-present U.S. Marshalls, were hours away only to find him dead with a pillow over his head.

To add even more speculation as to Justice Scalia’s death, no autopsy will be performed.

If this were a political crime thriller, it would be too unbelievable to sell.

But in the world of the Clintons they somehow have managed to get away with murder and more for decades.

Murder you say? Yes . . . Benghazi . . . Waco.

Then tack on Chinagate, Filegate, Whitewater, Lewinski, Emailgate, Pardongate, Hubble Trouble, Cattle futures, Troopergate, etc., etc., etc.

While it is admittedly a massive stretch to believe that Hillary Clinton had Antonin Scalia snuffed out to benefit her presidential endeavors, real life events sound even more absurd.

If you don’t believe that, then you should believe that a YouTube video inspired a spontaneous gathering of terrorists on the anniversary of September 11th, and that spontaneity just happened to lead to the deaths of four Americans.


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