Friday, June 26, 2015

Why America Lost in Today's Gay Marriage Ruling.

America lost today when the Supreme Court of the United States legalized gay marriage in all 50 states because the Constitution was undermined in order to enact judicial tyranny.

Truth be told, I am not a supporter of gay marriage, but that is not why I am upset with this ruling.  I am upset with this ruling because the Supreme Court has now stretched the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which was ratified due to slavery, so far as to justify not only abortion, but now gay marriage.  In the process, the Court has ruled the Fourteenth Amendment has rescinded the power delegated to the states and has driven a stake through the heart of the Tenth Amendment.

The reality of this entire situation is that the Court has not extinguished the flame, but has thrown gasoline onto the fire to intensify the sentiments between the LGBT and religious communities.  This may be the next Roe v. Wade.

In using its authority to alter the rules of the individual states, the Supreme Court enacted judicial tyranny on the people in those states.  You would think experts on the Constitution would understand the importance of the Tenth Amendment was to allow diversity of opinion between the residents of the states and allow people to move to the state they saw most fit for them.  However, in this ruling, the country has not embraced diversity, but smother it by telling citizens of every state you must live under this federal rule, even though the power was not dictated to the federal government, but the states, in the Constitution. 

From here, this ruling will have lasting impacts that will eventually have to be taken back to the Supreme Court.  This issue is far from over.

The first of these regards religious freedom.  Should a store owner be forced to partake in part of a gay ceremony, such as baking the cake or providing the flowers, against his or her will?  I fear with the current sentiment of the Court that if a case like this was brought before them, they would rule against religious liberty and the First Amendment.  If the Fourteenth Amendment has enough power in the eyes of this Court to overrule the Tenth Amendment, what is to stop it from overruling the First Amendment?  In this instance, religious individuals would essentially have to leave their religion in the church pews, and as a Christian, I would feel persecuted by the government of the United States of America.

The second issue that arises is the question: will this finally be enough for the LGBT community?  They say they were fighting for equality, and according to what they've been saying, they now have it.  However, will the LGBT engine shut down or will they continue to try to assert their new found authority?

The ruling today makes it clear that religious leaders will not be forced to perform same-sex weddings.  However, there is already cause for concern among the religious, which was raised by Justice Alito during the oral arguments for this case.  The Obama administration could now say religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, are not serving the public interest because they are not abiding by the law of the land by condoning same-sex marriages.  As a result, the IRS could threaten to take away tax-exempt statuses and the administration could threaten to place them on a list of hate groups.  That is, unless you perform same-sex weddings.  There is also cause for concern among religious colleges.

Lastly, in the face of yesterday and today's rulings, it might be fair to say the Constitution really has no authority anymore over America.  It seems justices go into cases looking for a way to justify their means.  A perfect example is Chief Justice Roberts.  Yesterday in the Obamacare case, he had a lose interpretation of the reading of the law in order to justify it.  However, in today's gay marriage case, he had an extremely strict reading of the Constitution to not justify gay marriage.  It seems as though all the justices have become polarized, not looking at the facts of the case, but rather finding justification for their political beliefs.

For government officials who hold a 1/9 of a branch of the federal government in their hands and seem to have become extremely polarizing, it should worry every American that these officials sit on the bench for a life sentence, without fear of any consequences due to their actions.  The United States of America should not be held to the judicial tyranny of five members on a bench that do not face consequences due to their actions.

I leave you with a quote from Justice Scalia:
The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”  With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bob Beckel Leaves The Five.

It's a sad day for me because I've found out that the one liberal commentator I learned to tolerate has been let go from Fox News after his back surgery, which spiraled into a drug relapse.  Yes, Bob Beckel will not be back on The Five.  Therefore, I think I need to relive some of his finest moments.  (And by that, I mean his most uncensored moments on air.)

The time he stated people like to go nude in public because they were "gang banged" and sexually assaulted.

The first time he dropped the f bomb on national television.

The second time he dropped the f bomb on national television.

The times he dropped the terms "greaseballs"  and "chinaman." 

The time he said visas to Muslim students should be "cut off."

One of the many times he flipped the bird.

The time when he dropped the phrase "you homophobic son of a bitch."

The time he compared radical Islam to interracial dating.

Then there's Bob's loving relationship with Jasper.

But there is no denying there was a good chemistry between the hosts, as shown in the one Daily Show clip I'll watch.

I will miss Bob Beckel and the chemistry the hosts had.  He was the Joe Biden of Fox News.  Hopefully, they find someone as opinionated as Bob to fill his seat.

The Best of Scalia's Dissent on Obamacare.

Well, the Tenth Amendment is dead in the United States of America today as the Supreme Court manipulated the wording "established by the State" to mean the State... or the federal government.  In addition, it only took 21 pages of round-about explanations for John Roberts to do it.

At least the Tenth Amendment did not die without a fight.  Here's the quotes from Anthony Scalia's dissent.

  • "Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is 'established by the State.'"
  • "But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved."
  • "Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that “Exchange established by the State” means 'Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government'? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading."
  • "Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the 'interests of graduate students' into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has 'graduate students,' so that 'graduate students' must really mean 'graduate or undergraduate students'? Surely not. Just as one naturally reads instructions about graduate students to be inapplicable to the extent a particular professor has no such students, so too would one naturally read instructions about qualified individuals to be inapplicable to the extent a particular Exchange has no such individuals."
  • "Pure applesauce."
  • "Let us not forget that the term 'Exchange established by the State' appears twice in §36B and five more times in other parts of the Act that mention tax credits. What are the odds, do you think, that the same slip of the pen occurred in seven separate places?"
  • "The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress '[a]ll legislative Powers' enumerated in the Constitution. Art. I, §1. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them. This Court holds only the judicial power—the power to pronounce the law as Congress has enacted it. We lack the prerogative to repair laws that do not work out in practice, just as the people lack the ability to throw us out of office if they dislike the solutions we concoct."
  • "Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act. That, alas, is not a novelty."
  • "This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare."
I'd go further Scalia.  It's not "SCOTUScare."  It should be Robertscare because John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, has screwed conservatives not once, but twice now on Obamacare.  He was give the shot to try to correct his wrong, and what did he do?  He wrote the majority opinion as he paired with the liberal justices.

The Tenth Amendment is dead.  Obamacare will continue to be a failure.  And, John Roberts will be the most hated man in America now.

After this ruling, I just can't wait to see how the court rules on gay marriage.

Read the decision in full here:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Honest Discussion About Race in America.

It's time this country had an honest conversation about race.  No, that does not mean a conversation about the Confederate flag or Obama's use of the n-word, but an actual dialogue about the real issues surrounding race relations in America.

Here's my honest take on the issues of race that have been reignited by the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina:

A sick, racist, druggie sat in a church with his victims for over an hour before killing them.  It was insensitive, cowardly, and in no way representative of the United States of America.

In the aftermath, many called for gun control measures, as is done after almost any incident like this, knowing that these measures would never pass a federal or state legislature anyway.  Whether he got the firearm himself or through another family member, he was still not legally allowed to carry a firearm because he was charged with a felony back in February.  Therefore, bad people can get guns if they want them and there isn't a background check or other precaution that can be taken to stop this.

What is even more disturbing though is that his roommate knew he was a racist, said he wanted to kill blacks, and knew he was planning something for months, and still the roommate did not report he had an illegal firearm.  As an American citizen, if we see suspicious behavior, it is our duty to report it.  The warning signs were clearly there.

However, some went on to say that the Confederate flag needed to be removed from the front of the South Carolina state house due to this tragedy.  How does that in any way prevent something like this from happening?

The only reason people come out and propose gun control measures or protest the Confederate flag is because they want to feel like they did something productive.  It doesn't matter if it helps prevent a future situation or not because all they want is feel as if they have made a difference.  However, in doing so, we ignore discussion of the real issues at hand - issues the American people have been avoiding because it makes them feel uncomfortable, is not political correct, etc.

We need not look at Confederate flags or the use of the n-word, but actual modern day barriers holding minorities back.  One of the major issues where minorities can argue unfair treatment is incarceration rates.  Blacks and other minorities are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites for the same crimes, but it's not because of the color of their skin.  It's due to their income levels and not being able to hire as good of lawyers as whites.

Therefore, how do we fix the differences in income levels due to race.  We need to do this through education.  A problem with the educational system is that it is mainly funded by tax dollars of the residents of the area.  Therefore, if you're poor, your school doesn't collect as much tax revenue.  In turn, you receive a worse education than those in affluent neighborhoods.

However, the problem is not as easy to fix as it may seem.  Says states did take all the tax revenue from all the districts and then provide a proportionate amount to each district based on the number of students in the school system.  Do you honestly think the rich are going to send their kids to a mediocre school?  No, they'll pay to have them privately schooled, which once again creates a tiered system that helps and hurts those based on their income levels.

Therefore, an effective solution may be a voucher system, which provides families below certain thresholds of income to receive the funding their child would have got at a public school and use that towards the tuition of a private education.  This therefore works as a balance to level the playing field among students of different financial backgrounds and provides poorer families the choice of sending their children to public school or making private education more affordable.

 Still, one might ask: how are black families disproportionately poorer?  Excluding the history of emancipation and Jim Crow law to focus more on modern problems, the main problem holding blacks back is the out of wedlock birth rate and single motherhood.  When children grow up with two parents, they not only receive the benefits of more income, but they also receive more time with their parents, which results in more reading time in childhood development and help with homework.  Pair that with the statistic that you have a 72% out of wedlock birth rate, which results in single-motherhood, and you find the source of your problems in the black community.

Therefore, not to sound harsh but this one is on you black community.

So, when you turn on the news and see a black teen has been shot by a cop, please look at the facts of the case before rushing to the streets and crying racism for the whole world to hear.  Instead of attacking the cop for doing his job, maybe stop and question what has happened to put him in that situation.  What made the teenage decide to rob a convenience store and then attack the cop inside of his own car?  Why was the teenage being arrested again? This time for the possession of an illegal knife.  What made the woman believe she had the right to disobey the orders given to her by the police?  And what could possibly be going on in the black community that makes their young girls think it is acceptable to hit a police officer?

Additionally, as a white American, whose ancestors came to America long after the emancipation of slavery and roots were settled in the North, I find it very hard to wrap my head around the idea that white America should have to pay reparations to black America in order to make up for slavery.  This also seems incredibly difficult when no price tag seems to suffice.  If Democrats believe children of illegal immigrants should not have to pay for the crimes of their parents, why should I as a white American have to pay for the crimes of Southern slave owners I am in no way related to just because of the color of my skin?

Martin Luther King Jr.'s whole idea was to not judge those by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  However, I believe we have reached a point in modern history where we have become more divided on the issue of the color of our skin than much of the past decades.  If we do not look at these issues candidly and offer up real solutions, I fear the tension will only continue to worsen in the coming years.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The He/She/It of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.

I cannot believe that as ISIS controls half of Iraq, Vladimir Putin looks to reclaim the Ukraine and other previous Soviet states, the Chinese build up their military force in the South China Sea, and Iran looks to get a bomb, our news sources are discussing the gender identity of a washed-up athlete looking to gain media attention.

Here's my quick take before we get to the ACTUAL important information:  Bruce Jenner is doing this to profit off Bruce Jenner, and the Kardashians will do whatever it takes to get the attention of the public.  There is no other way to put it besides saying that they are attention whores.  And maybe Bruce actually thinks he is a woman.  If that's the case, then he should be dealing with this as a mental illness because many, including myself and many in the medical field, think it is.  Obviously, there is a major mental problem when 41% of transgender people report attempted suicide.  God makes no mistakes, and these people need to be treated with proper medical attention.

However, here's my real point.  This incident perfectly shows how lost we are as a nation.  It reminds me of the Latin phrase, "panem et circenses" meaning "bread and circuses."  It is meant to be the formula for keeping a society happy with food and entertainment, such as gladiator fights in the Colosseum.  We have become so distracted from the fact that our nation and the world is crumbling.

We have Islamic terrorism run amok in the Middle East.  It has also spread to Northern Africa now.  Israel's is always having to defend itself from somebody who wants the nation wiped off the map.  Iran is on its way to a nuclear bomb, and the only reason they are helping us fight ISIS is because they want to swoop in and take control of the area if they can drive ISIS out.  The Chinese are building up in the South China Sea.  North Korea's doing whatever the hell North Korea does.  Cuba's looking to kill us, as usual.  Mexicans and other Central American citizens are fleeing across our Southern border, bringing diseases and who knows what else.  Dictatorships have run rampant through Central and South America.  Murder rates are up in our own country because police officers are afraid to do their jobs because they are afraid they'll be thrown into jail or killed in the line of duty trying to protect those who despise them.  Russia is trying to take over the Ukraine, and the only reason other European nations won't do anything about it is because they are so heavily reliant upon Russia for oil that they let Russia do whatever it wants.

And what do you want to do?  Talk about Bruce Jenner?  Seriously people, wake up!  The world is literally crumbling around you, and you see nothing because you're so preoccupied.  We have literally become the Roman Empire in its final days.

I feel safe in very few countries of the world at the moment.  Obviously the United States due to our military strength.  Australia because it is a giant island practically isolated from the rest of the globe.  (And they just had a terrorist heist last year.)  Canada because it's so cold nobody wants to attack there, and England because I'm fairly confident they would actually be able to defend themselves.

It just frustrates me so much when I watch the news to actually learn of the state of affairs in the world today, and all I can get is coverage of Bruce Jenner's photo shoot in a dress.  I don't care.  I want to know about what actually matters.

We cannot just think of our foreign policy every four years because it's a presidential election.  We must remain vigilant and alert of our surroundings in the world.

I don't want to hear about Bruce Jenner.  I want to hear the actual news.  This coverage proves one of my greatest fears - that Americans are unaware of the world surrounding us.  And that is a frighting reality.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tell Toomey to Vote NO on the Patriot Act.

Dear Senator Toomey,

As your constituent, I am aware you are one of the few deciding votes for the extension of the Patriot Act.  Even though this battle will most likely continue far past the midnight hour tonight, I urge you to vote against any reauthorization or bill that allows for the surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, which remains unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Currently, I am studying data science and economics at the University of Rochester.  After graduating, I would most likely be qualified for a career at the NSA.  Therefore, I am very familiar with the arguments surrounding the collections of the phone records and the metadata the agency would be sifting through.

The phone records of United States citizens may be the most essential private property we have.  Our phones collect whom we talk to, places we have been, websites we have looked at, and so on.  As technological advances continue, there is no telling how much more information the National Security Agency will be able to sift through.  Essentially, our whole lives could be under the microscope of the government due to our dependency on technology and the advances that are yet to come.

With such power surrendered to one agency, corruption can only follow, as was shown recently through the IRS.  If some conservatives now fear targeting from the IRS based on their political affiliation, will they fear receiving a call from the Republican Party in the future because this data can be tracked and used improperly when in the wrong hands?  Additionally, will liberals begin to worry when a Republican returns to the White House?

Even more vital to the discussion, what constitutes “unreasonable searches?”  Of those surveyed, 59% of Americans believe the NSA program goes too far in collecting the data of United States citizens.  Additionally, 57% surveyed believe the program is "an unnecessary intrusion into Americans' lives.”  Finally, the US federal appeals court has recently ruled that NSA’s collection of all American phone records all the time is illegal.  The people have spoken, and the majority believe this program consists of “unreasonable searches.”

Lastly, the evidence shows that the NSA has done little to prevent terrorist attacks.  Some reports even showing the program has done nothing at all to thwart terrorism.  I thank you for your time and pray you vote against any reauthorization or bill that continues the unwarranted collection of United States citizens’ phone records.

Your constituent,

Scott Onestak

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Improve UR: Yik Yak, Racism, and the 1st and 4th Amendments.

It seems to me that every year, the U of R has one major controversy, and this would be the 2014-2015 school year's.  Douglas Leadership House, also known as DLH, is a house on the fraternity quad filled with all black students.  This year, DLH was in jeopardy of loosing their house on the quad because every few years each house has to be re-approved and DLH has consistently been unable to fill their house for the past few years now.

It was almost certaint to every student on campus who had heard anything about this that DLH was bound to loose their house this year, so you can imagine the reaction students had when we discovered that DLH would be keeping their house instead of providing it to another organization on campus who may be able to better fill it.

For those of you who do not know, Yik Yak is an app that allows users to post anonymous comments.  Believe it or not, I am a user of the app.  I don't like to yak myself; I just like to read what others write, usually.  On Yik Yak, the objective is to get as many up-votes as you can.  However, if people dislike what you write, you get down-voted.  If your yak reaches -5, the yak disappears.

In order to attain these up-votes, users typically do this through humor.  However, because it is anonymous, people are more willing to write things you might not say out loud.  Therefore, Yik Yak can be filled with crass, objectionable humor.  A lot of times, there are people looking to push the envelope with their jokes.

As you can see, it isn't hard to imagine some of the comments from the night it was announced DLH would be keeping their house.  Yes, some comments were objectionable, and possibly racist.  I say "possibly" because what constitutes as being racist in one person's book is completely different than that of someone else's book.

Now, the University is looking into getting information students who posted these controversial yaks to possibly try them for violating the University's code of conduct.  Herein, lies my problem.

Do I think some of these remarks violated Yik Yak's terms of policy?  Yes.

Do I think some of these remarks were racist?  Possibly a few.

Do I think the University has the right to the information they are demanding?  No.

Here is why.  I went online and found Yik Yak's privacy policy.  Under the section "How We Share Your Information," this is what the policy states that is relevant in this case:
  • Third Parties and Business PartnersWe may share the information we gather about you and other users with our third party business partners, including advertisers. For example, if you post content that mentions one of our business partners, we may share that content with them. As noted, we dont collect name or contact information (unless you post it in your comment or reply).
  • In Response to Legal Process. We also may disclose the information we collect about you in order to comply with the law, a judicial proceeding, court order, subpoena, or other legal process. While we dont collect your name or contact information, we may share your IP address or other identifier, your location information, or any other information we have collected about you and your device.
  • To Protect Us and Others. We also may disclose the information we collect from you where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the safety of any person, violations of our Terms of Use or this Policy, or as evidence in litigation in which Yik Yak is involved.
The University is a business, but not a business partner, and they don't collect names or contact information for this one.  Cross the first bullet off the list.  The University's code of conduct is not part of the legal process.  Cross the second bullet off the list.  No illegal activities took place as I can tell, and if they did, they would fall under the second bullet point.  Cross the third bullet point off the list.

Therefore, the only way I could see anyone receiving this information without Yik Yak violating their own privacy policy were for this to go through the legal system with a court order, subpoenas, etc.  The University would not be the ones receiving this information in that case, either the state or local government would.

Now, I clearly am no lawyer and never intend to be.  However, I do know my basic rights guaranteed to me by the Constitution of the United States of America.  The students who posted these comments, no matter how much you disapprove, still have the rights to make these comments, which are guaranteed to them by the Fist Amendment of the Constitution.  If the University were to go through the state in order to find information on these student's without the proper legal process in place, then the Fourth Amendment would be violated.

There is no way for the University to win in this case.  So what should they do?

First of all, they should not issue any form of "sensitivity training" or seminars of that kind.  That will do more harm than good.  It will be a mockery among students, and the students would be angry at the University and DLH for making them waste their time on something pointless.

Now, let me tell you a story, so you'll better understand my solution to the problem.  Imagine you're in a position where if you say or do something wrong, there will be close to 80% of professors ready to protest for your removal from campus effective immediately and there will be no chance of you graduating from your university. Imagine, also, every time you put up a fliers for your organization, someone tears them all down within 24 hours.

I'm not talking about being part of DLH.  I'm talking about being a College Republican on a liberal campus.

I don't consider that "partisan"-ist, or whatever you would like to call it.  The point is that though we may not all experience racism in our lives, that doesn't mean we don't understand hate speech or even discrimination at some point in our lives.  The best form of coping with it is not to acknowledge it in the first place because for the most part, the overwhelming majority of Americans are not racist, and those who are are typically looking for attention.

If I had a dollar every time I had to hear someone from the political science or psychology department said or implied people from small towns are racists, I'd probably have a considerable chunk of cash to pay tuition.  And if I had a dollar every time someone attacked a Republican, I'd have my tuition possibly paid for by now - although, that would probably put me in a new tax bracket.

Point being: I and my fellow conservatives don't go to the administration or school newspaper and complain about unfair treatment and statements made by those on campus.  Trust me, professors basically outright attacked a Republican last school year for our controversy over the Confederate flag.  You don't change minds by complaining; you change the narrative by showing you are the bigger person and ignoring it, while also showing the community the good you can do.  Lead by example.

If DLH actually wants to make a positive impact on campus, here is what they should do.  Don't talk to the press or school newspaper.  Don't get involved with the administration.  Don't even acknowledge that the situation happened.  If you show that you care about it, people will continue in order to get a reaction out of you for their own personal satisfaction.

Additionally, DLH should leave the fraternity quad.  I honestly don't care who gets the house.  If I had it my way, there'd be no fraternity quad at all.  Think about it for a minute though.  What message does it send to a campus when a group a black students choose not to live with those of another race, but only with those who are similar.  It sends a message that you only want to associate with other blacks.  It sends a message of self-segregation.  What good did the entire Civil Rights Movement do you so that you could once again separate yourself from whites.  Martin Luther King Jr. fought for a world where we could all live beside each other in harmony, not judging people "by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."  It seems to me though, that if DLH cannot look beyond the color of their own skin; how can they expect the others who wrote these yaks to do the same?