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Movies like Noah make people talk about Reality

Letter to the Editor

I personally like the fact that movies like Noah are in theaters because it raises the question, was the story of Noah real? If we went back in a time machine would we see the great flood? Would we see an Ark filled with two of every animal? Is this really True or are these just stories?

For us in the Reality based community we welcome these discussions because what is and isn’t real is important to us. We believe Reality should be part of the religious discussion. So any time Reality is being discussed we think it’s a good thing. We want people talking about the Bible in the context of Reality. What is real? Did the stuff in the Bible really happen? We Realists believe that the word Reality is a sacred word and every time anyone says the word Reality the world gets a little smarter.

NSA chose to leave computers vulnerable

Letter to the Editor

The National Security Agency (NSA) who Snowden has revealed has been spying on us, knowingly choose you leave an important Internet security flaw in place and exploit it rather than to protect the public and expose it. The recent “HeartBleed” security flaw that is currently being reported in the news was known to the NSA for the last 2 years. Rather than reporting it and fixing it they chose to exploit it in order to get access to all our passwords.

The big question is, was the NSA the only ones that knew about this security bug? We may never know until it’s too late. By choosing to leave the security flaw in place they created a 2 year window of opportunity for America’s enemies to also exploit this bug and break into top secret sites crutial to national defense and nuclear weapons systems. It also left everyone in the world exposed to criminal activity. The NSA doesn’t make America more safe. It makes us less safe. The NSA is a threat to America, a threat to the world, and a threat to civilization itself.

The Rich get their own roads to drive on

Letter to the Editor

There is a new disturbing trend in America, turning more and more roads into toll roads and converting lanes to toll lanes. Many states see it as an easy way to bring in more money often bypassing normal requirements to raise taxes. But what this ends up doing is creating fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the poor. And I think this is fundamentally wrong.

Here in America the Rich already pay a far lower tax rate than the people who work by the sweat of their brow for a living. Most recently in Northern California they want to convert a lot of Hwy 101 to make rich people lanes. Poor people pay more gas taxes that fund roads than the Rich do because they usually have to drive farther to work every day. I can understand them having lanes for car pools because they take cars off the road and reduce pollution. But I think giving the Rich their own lanes reminds of George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. “All animals are equal. but some animals are more equal than others.”

One Dollar One Vote

Letter to the Editor

America used to be a Democracy based on the idea of One Person One Vote. now we are al Oligarchy based on the idea of One Dollar One Vote. Now it’s all about what the billionaires want – people no longer matter.

Can I use contraception boss?

Letter to the Editor

Wow! According to some members of the Supreme Court the religious values of your boss should have more weight in your life that your own values and your own religious beliefs when it come to access to birth control. It seems in America that fetuses are people, corporations are people, but women are not people. And isn’t that just a little bit weird?

Now Feinstein knows what it’s like to be spied on

Letter to the Editor

Today Senator Diane Feinstein is upset that that the CIA spied on her. And that’s funny because when the NSA spies on the rest of us Senator Feinstein doesn’t give a damn. Maybe Feinstein will have a little more sympathy about the constitutional rights of citizens, but knowing her record I rather doubt she’ll make that connection. Tonight however – I’m laughing at her.

Bartcop has died

Terry Coppage AKA Bartcop has died. I have hosted his work on bartcop.com this same server as Dvorak since 1996. People who were born the year he started are now old enough to vote. Rest in peace my friend.

My Presentation Notes on NSA for Humanists in Palo Alto

Next Sunday I’m doing a presentation at the Humanists Community in Palo Alto on the NSA spying issue. BTW – NSA spies are welcome to attend.

Humanists want what is best for humanity. That’s sort of obvious. So therefore Humanists are concerned that they come out on the right side when it comes to something as big as NSA spying. Humanists therefore have a moral obligation to determine what the word “best” means and a method for determining it.

The issues is so huge that I need to narrow the focus to one single aspect in order to make it into a one hour time slot. So the focus will be – who’s telling the truth and how can you tell objectively which side is right? Do we believe them? Or is this George Orwell’s Animal Farm?

What is it that defines America? It’s the Constitution. And when we undermine the Constitution then we are no longer America. America is already defeated before we begin the fight.

I’m also going to talk about the Constitution as a moral contract that binds us together as a nation. How the checks and balance system works. Why the Constitution requires us to distrust government. (hint – the political equivalent of the scientific principle – Truth is purified through scrutiny.)  We should be watching them – not them watching us. That’s the difference between a king and a democracy. Since we don’t have a king we need rule of law.

I will talk about another caste system of the watchers and the watched. Should government be watching us – or should we be watching the government. What does “We the People” really mean.

I’m going to talk about how the constitutional safeguards we hacked by using secret courts and secret law through the FISA court. Conspiracy between President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, Speaker of the House John Boehner, House minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chief Justice John Roberts who runs the FISA court.

They claim we have congressional oversight of NSA but the NSA have admitted they lied to Congress. So if you are a member of Congress who was briefed by the NSA then you know less that those of us who were not briefed. We are expected to believe them even though they are telling us we are being lied to.

I’m going to talk about NSA effectiveness – or lack of. 70 million people get their information stolen through Target and the NSA didn’t catch that. How can you find a needle in a haystack when you can’t find an elephant in a haystack? Does it reduce terrorism when we reject the principles of our own Constitution? It makes us a dishonest society. A bad example for the world. Like the torture prison at Abu Ghraib it gives the terrorists a reality based reason to justify what they are doing. And that’s the last thing we want to do.

I’m going to talk about how we are required by law to lie and prohibited by law from telling the truth. How being dishonest by law reflects upon us as a country. How we have sacrificed the moral high ground and have become a threat to the world.

I will talk about cast systems where America’s position is that there are 2 kinds of people, American’s and foreigners. And that foreigners have no rights, nor do Americans who associate with them by email. So if you even got a spam from Nigeria then you are a terrorist collaborator suspect.

I’m going to talk about how the NSA has broken security for the good guys creating new opportunities for the bad guys to hurt us. If you hack the NSA you hack the world. How someone could push code like the Stuxnet virus into the operating systems of Apple, Microsoft, and Google and take out the Internet. What does it take to hack the NSA? Will it be some 14 year old kid bullied at school who takes out the power grid to get even? or will it be any one of the thousands of NSA workers who could be bribed or blackmailed into working for foreign spy agencies from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, or Israel.

I’m going to talk about how politicians or political dissidents or the press can be blackmailed. That Obama was spied upon by the NSA before he was elected and it raises the question about why he might have changed his mind. He is a constitutional lawyer so he does know how wrong it is. Yet he does it anyway.

I’m going to talk about RSA security. How weakening it to create a back door for NSA also created a back door for terrorists and foreign spies. Who knows who or how much was stolen because secure communication wasn’t secure.

RSA and other Prism companies are required by law to lie to you making all companies automatically dishonest even if they don’t lie.

I’m going to talk about the fact that the NSA has created the infrastructure for an Orwellian society and imagine if Hitler had the technology of the NSA there would be no Jews hiding in the attic.

Another point is that when the government you trust creates false information it causes brain damage in society to where people can’t discern reality anymore. Then it’s like Orwell’s Animal Farm. It undermines the ability of society to collectively think clearly. It undermines reality based foundations of right and wrong.

In order to create an Orwellian society you have to create the infrastructure where a society like that can exist. The NSA is that infrastructure. What if Hitler has the NSA?

Also how can you have a free press if the NSA is taping the phone lines and email accounts of the press? It has a chilling effect. People won’t contact the press wondering if the government is listening in. The press won’t publish what they know if they are under threat of being jailed, or blackmailed. The NSA undermines the First Amendment freedom of the press. It undermines the press because the press can not be trusted if the Government is spying on them,

Tapping the phones of 35 world leaders pisses off the world. Obama claiming he didn’t know it makes us look stupid and dishonest. Although Obama say we are no longer tapping Merkel’s phones, we are now tapping the phones of everyone Merkel talks to. We also skyjacked the plane of the president of Bolivia trying to get Snowden. This conduct dominishes America’s standing in the world community and as a world leader.

The NSA also ruined phone sex. Do you really want NSA workers masturbating while you’re having an intimate conversation with your wife or girlfriend? Passing the file around among their coworkers?

Hack the NSA you hack the world. Can the NSA be trusted to control all this data? Imagine a version of Snowden who was bribed to steal information from the NSA. Can the NSA secure itself against its own workers? Hasn’t Snowden proved they can’t? After all, the job of NSA workers, the reason they are hired, is because they have the ability to get into things that aren’t supposed to be into.

The conclusion will be that if the NSA is defending something, that something isn’t America. It’s like treating smoking addiction with arsenic. It cures you be killing you. Therefore the NSA spy program is not what is best for humanity and Humanists should be opposed to it.

When the Constitution is undermined it is wrong. The First and Forth Amendment gone. “We the People” gone. Checks and balances – gone. Secret Courts making Secret Law – wrong. Citizens are required to lie and hunted down for telling the truth – wrong. American superior to the rest of the world – wrong. The watcher and the watched – wrong. Creating a society that looks like George Orwell’s Animal Farm – wrong. Exposing computer security by secretly weakening encryption – wrong. Knowing that Congressional oversight is being lied to – and the lies are allowed – is wrong. Disrespecting the world community – wrong.

The NSA isn’t defending America when what they are defending is no longer America. What the NSA is doing is the exactly opposite of what is best for humanity.

Quite frankly – I don’t know how I can do this in an hour when I need to leave 20 minutes for questions. But I hope to have a state of the art Youtube presentation that will become a major reference point in the war to take back the Constitution.

 

No news is good news – for Obamacare

Letter to the Editor

Remember when everyone in the news media was railing against the failures of the Obamacare web sites as if it were the end of Obama’s presidency? It was as if the whole thing was collapsing, as if the end of the world was near. And now you don’t hear a think anymore. They fixed the web site, everything works, and people are happy. Now the news media is strangely silent when Obamacare succeeds. How pathetic is that?

The Truth makes Republicans’ heads explode

Letter to the Editor

Senator Ted Cruz told conservative radio host Mark Levin, “In the 13 months that I’ve been in the Senate, it has become apparent to me that the single thing that Republicans fear the most — and that is when they’re forced to tell the truth. It makes their heads explode,” WOW! Finally Ted Cruz and I are in agreement! Who wudda thunk it?

Are Republicans against Heterosexuals?

Letter to the Editor

Last week Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said, “Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without ‘Uncle Sugar’ coming in and for providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or reproductive system without the help of the government,” WOW!!

For those of us who learned about the “birds and the bees” it takes both a male and a female with a libido issue to cause pregnancy to occur. This means that both men and women, including married couples,  have a stake getting birth control. Homosexuals however don’t have a birth control issue and since Republicans think being homosexual is a choice it makes me wonder how many people Republicans might be driving towards same sex relationships as a result of being against birth control? Maybe “Uncle Sugar’s” contraception funding isn’t such a bad idea after all?

Ariel Sharon 8 year coma should have been allowed to die

Letter to the Editor

I personally think it’s barbaric to keep someone alive in a coma for 8 years as was the case with former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A person should be allowed to die when they get to a point when it’s obvious that forcing them to linger for years is just plain cruel. If we have a beloved cat or dog that has reached a point in their old age where it’s clear it’s over we do the “humane” think and put the poor critter out of it’s misery. Why we can’t afford humans the same dignity we give our pets is something I can’t understand.

Unfairness tarnishes America’s soul

Letter to the Editor

I find it troubling that when the stock market is at record highs and so are corporate profits that we can’t find enough money to help out people who are unemployed in the middle of the winter. There seems to be enough money for the government to subsidize the rich 75 billion a month, but when it comes to the poor we kick them to the curb. It’s especially unfair because in 2008 when the rich crashed the economy we instantly came up with trillions to hand out to them. In America only the greedy and corrupt get the handout.

Pope understands Bible message – Atheist Declares

Letter to the Editor

I have to say that I like this new Pope. As an Atheists I did read the Bible and although I don’t believe I do understand what it says. That’s why I’m somewhat confused when I hear Christians behaving badly and coming across all angry I’m wondering – did they read the same Bible I read?

But this Pope Francis – it seams that he reads the Bible the same way I do. He talks about helping poor people, being humble, and that greed is wrong. And I’m thinking – yep – that’s the way I read it. I personally am not buying the Bible story as being literally true, but I have to say that this Pope at least gets the story right. I think that all Christians who say they want to follow the teachings of Jesus should listen to this guy because the world would be a better place if Christians started acting a little more Christian. So a +1 for this Pope! I’m clicking on Like!

NSA spying ineffective

Letter to the Editor

The NSA is arguing that they are keeping us safe by spying on us. That if not for them the Boggie Man is going to get us. Really? If the NSA spying program is so effective at protecting us then how is it that they missed online criminals stealing 40 million credit cards from Target this year. You would think that if they were trying to protect us and if they were effective they would have noticed that.

I think the NSA has a different purpose that has nothing to do with our safety but rather more Orwellian as Edward Snowden says.

 

Democrats will be slaughtered in 2014 elections

Letter to the Editor

Many liberal news pundits are salivating over the Republican civil war between the Tea Party obstructionists and the GOP. They think that Americans are fed up with government shutdowns, and the war on women, and they are correct. However Democrats don’t understand how fundamentally repulsive the NSA spying is and how many Democrats think that Obama should be impeached over it. They just don’t get that we hated it when Bush did it and we hate it even more when Democrats do it too. And it’s unfortunate because in a year when Republicans should lose the Democrats are going to just hand the Republicans a victory. The NSA spying is pure evil and we’re not going to support it.

Of course the NSA spying is unconstitutional!

Letter to the Editor

It comes as no surprise to people who can read that the first judge to evaluate the NSA spying found it unconstitutional. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution says, “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.”

So when the Constitution says that warrants are required describing what is being searched for and why, it’s pretty clear that does not mean it’s OK to search everyone for anything without a warrant. You don’t have to be a lawyer or a judge to figure out that dog won’t hunt. Thank you Edward Snowden for making this ruling possible.

NSA and Santa Claus Team up for Christmas

Letter to the Editor

The National Security Agency (NSA) and Santa Claus are teaming up this Christmas after striking a deal that both sides call a win/win deal. The NSA has been put in a bad light by Edward Snowden who has revealed extensive NSA spying on every aspect of American life. The NSA thinks that teaming up with Santa will help their public image.

Santa benefits as well. With the downturn in the economy and budget cuts Santa has had a hard time. So the NSA is going to help Santa know what everyone wants for Christmas based on the massive amount of data they have collected. The NSA made Santa a list and checked it twice. They let Santa know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. They see when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake. They know if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake. The NSA has all the data that Santa needs to get his job done.

So you better watch out, you better not lie, you better not pout I’m telling you why. The NSA is coming to town!

Time to pass immigration reform

Letter to the Editor

The Senate has passed an immigration reform bill that the President will sign. There are enough votes in the House to pass the bill if the Speaking of the House would merely allow a vote on it. I think that if the House has the time to waste to repeal Obamacare 47 times they can find the time to vote on immigration. I think it’s time Republicans quit blocking this because reform is going to happen sooner or later and when it does you don’t want these immigrants to be angry at your party. Speaker Boehner – allow the vote!

Celebrating Madella’s Life

Letter to the Editor

Today Nelson Mandela passed away but he left behind an incredible legacy that has been a blessing to humanity. Very few people have lived the kind of extraordinary life that he lived with a record of accomplishment to be celebrated by the entire planet. Mandela joins great people in history like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi who not only freed the oppressed but created a standard worldwide that all people have an equal right to lives of freedom and dignity. Mandela is an inspiration and a role model for everyone on the planet and his spirit lives on in the soul of humanity. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Corporations now have religious rights?

Letter to the Editor

The Supreme Court decided to take up the issue to consider whether a company can refuse to provide contraceptive care to female employees on the grounds that doing so would violate its religious freedom. Really?

To be decided is if a corporation, and artificial person, can assert a religious right to worship and artificial deity and deny real women who are real people birth control coverage in the real world. Are you kidding me?

I am a Realist. My temple is the universe. Reality is my God. If we let the unreal have dominion over the real then at some point the angry hand of Darwin will strike us down and punish us with extinction, which is excommunication from the real world. I think it’s time we set aside the artificial world and put reality first. We need to live in right relationship with reality. If we don’t the universe is going to leave us behind.

50 years later we still don’t know who killed Kennedy

50 years ago president Kennedy was killed and to this day we still don’t know who did it. The official story that Oswald shot him from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository defies the laws of physics. There are a lot of conspiracy theories but we don’t yet have any way to determine if any of them are true. All we really know from the Zapruder film is that Kennedy was shot from the Grassy Knoll. Maybe someday we will know the truth.

It’s about time!

Letter to the Editor

After being Senate Majority Leader for 7 years Harry Reed finally got rid of the fillibuster rule that has allowed Republicans to hold up important legislation that the majority wanted to pass. I just wish Reed had done the back then. If he had we would have a much better version of Obamacare, we could have had the rich pay their fair share 4 years earlier, and we wouldn’t have had to suffer through government shutdowns.

It doesn’t matter to me if the Democrats had used filibusters in the past as well. The practice is just crazy and I’m glad to see it gone. Or at least partially gone. I’d like to see it killed completely.

Tired of Obamacare web site story

Letter to the Editor

My reaction to the Obama web site story – boring!

Yes there are web site problems but like any tech problem they will fix it and the site will start working.  Then no one will even remember the problems we’re having today. Besides, on the day the web site went online the Republicans shut down the government. So who are they to complain when a government web site doesn’t work with the government shutdown. It’s hard to make a system work when those who are complaining want it to fail.

Obama didn’t know he was spying on world leaders?

Letter to the Editor

So Obama now claims he didn’t know that the NSA was tapping the phones of 35 world leaders. Are you F-ing kidding me? I’m trying to figure out what is worse, Obama not knowing or if Obama is lying about it. If Obama wants to know what’s going on at the NSA he should call up Edward Snowden and ask him. Seems that Snowden knows more about NSA spying than the President, and that’s pathetic!

Obamacare Websites

Letter to the Editor

I read a lot about people complaining about the Obamacare web sites not working. If they took the 24 billion the Republican Tea Party wasted shutting down the government and had the programming talent of the NSA spying agency working on the web site instead of illegally spying on us we wouldn’t have these web site problems.

Out here in sunny California we don’t have these web site problems because we set up our own exchanges. Most of the problems are affecting states who opted out and didn’t want Obamacare in the first place. There’s a word that describes that but ironically I can’t remember what it is.

 

It’s not Snowden’s Fault

Letter to the Editor

It’s so weird watching the news as the reporters blame leaker Edward Snowden for the problems that Obama is happening because 35 other national leaders don’t want the United States spying on them. Snowed didn’t do the spying. Obama did! How is it Snowden’s fault? All he did was tell us the Truth.

If Snowden hadn’t leaked what is happening at the NSA then it would have come out eventually later. You just can’t keep an operation that big secret. So are we better off that we know now rather than later? I think we are because the Patriot Act is being used to undermine who we are as a country and turn us into a banana republic where politicians break the law with impunity and hide behind the claim of “national secrets” as a way to conceal criminal activity. That is not the nation our forefathers created 250 years ago.

We are a nation who has lost its way and we need to remember who we are and get back on the right side of history. The NSA spying needs to be shut down or the rest of the world will shut us out, as they should.

We’re still all hostages

Letter to the Editor

Although Congress kicked the can down the road another 90 days Congress is still holding Americans hostage. The only difference is that they stopped torturing the hostages for a while, but they are still holding a gun to our head threatening to destroy America if they don’t get what they want. This has to be eliminated.

Here in California when the legislature is late on passing a budget they don’t get paid, and they don’t get back pay when they finally get their job done. And it works. No state IOUs to pay our bills anymore. It works here in California and it can work in Congress too.

We pay members of Congress $174,000 a year and for that we expect them to do their job. If they don’t do their job they shouldn’t get paid. So we should demand they pass a law that in the event of a government shutdown that Congress doesn’t get paid. We have to make sure that they suffer during a shutdown and it’s not just The People suffering. It’s time we demanded no pay during a shutdown and make them pass it. Let them be the hostages for not doing their job.

Is America committing suicide?

Letter to the Editor

America is a government gone mad. With shutdowns, sequesters, NSA Spying, and debt ceilings we are like a madman holding a gun to our own head threatening to blow our brains out if we don’t get what we want, and we don’t even know what we want. We used to be a great nation but no one remembers that anymore. Now we’re the laughing stock of the world. Where is the outrage? Is there no voice of sanity willing to speak up?

Just let Republicans vote NO

Letter to the Editor

Maybe Congress should change the wording of the budget bill. Instead of passing a continuing resolution to fund the government they should vote “Do you want to keep the government shut down?” That way Republicans can vote NO and do the right thing. All we have to do is word every bill so that Republicans vote NO to do what’s right.