Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If You Don't Get Caught

"There is NO reason for a student to have a knife on campus"
said the head of campus security in response to my question about their policy on pocket knives.

Yes, I was in attendance at a parent orientation event for my son's college. "I beg to differ" was my reply. "Well, why do you think anyone should be able to carry a knife?" she asked as though I were the slow student in a class. In addition to what should have been obvious, that I am a responsible adult who hadn't attacked anyone with my knife at breakfast or even at dinner the previous evening simply because it was handy,( as is almost always the implication when discussing these types of policies) I said that I had been in the habit, when I was younger, of carrying a pocket knife everywhere I went and it had been extremely useful in a number of situations. That, in addition to the blade, my pocketknife had had a variety of screwdriver tips and other useful tools.

Her response was not to acknowledge that a pocketknife was actually a very useful tool, (since scissors are generally awkward to carry) but rather to tell the rest of the parents to send a set of screwdrivers with their child, almost jokingly forcing the assumption that only the other tools I had referenced on my pocketknife had been useful, rather than asserting that the blade itself was a useful tool.

Then she shook her head dolefully while loudly repeating "THERE IS NO REASON FOR A STUDENT TO HAVE A KNIFE ON CAMPUS" as though by saying it slowly, it would become a less ridiculous thing to say. The other parents looked at me in some revulsion, as though I had grown a second head, or maybe that's just my perception since I was so obviously being scolded by the wise head of campus security whose job it is to keep our precious children safe.(From pocketknife wielding maniacs such as myself no doubt.)

While I was being assured that the bread knives they could use for dining purposes were the only knives allowed on campus, (A pointless gesture since sharp edges are available almost anywhere if someone is so motivated.)my son was being assured by the older students who were administering his orientation that "pretty much anything is okay as long as you don't get caught."

My point here is not that the students are bad people, or that the policies are excessively nannyish(or at least not my whole point), but rather that when regulations get to a certain point of intrusiveness, people ignore them and do what they like. There is a balance that must be maintained between personal responsibility and safety. Just as the excessive protectiveness at this institution of higher learning(and nearly all others of which I am aware) has generated an attitude of "just be careful not to get caught while you are breaking the rules" in the students, so does it occur in the general population. The problem is that when a people are forced to abandon the study of and adherence to our laws because they have become overly intrusive or protective and multiplied beyond comprehension, then we are likely to gradually come to a point where we disregard all laws.

If we are not a nation of laws, then we cannot have the highest level of individual freedom that is possible in a stable society. We must either restrain the government from becoming so intrusive, through laws, regulations and ordinances, that common sense will no longer serve to keep an individual safe from the breaking of those laws or prepare for a society where the law is regarded as a tyrant from whom we must hide our activities if we wish to live a reasonably normal life.

Laws serve a purpose. What we need to decide in November, is whether the purpose of laws is to assure a stable society with the greatest amount of individual liberty possible in such a society or to subjugate the people to a tyrannical government that can enforce archaic or little known laws at any time to enforce their will on the people as a whole.

The IRS has become the master tool of behavioral modification for the nation already. Now they will be in charge of regulating our access to health care as well as our ability to keep our money and our property.

Vote on character, not party in November. It may be the last chance we have at freedom. If we are willing to claim it, it will only be the beginning of the struggle to restore our freedom.

" But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. " ~ Gal 3:23-24

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

73,000 Blogs Gone

Andrea Shea King posted about the seizure of an internet server on her blog earlier this week.
It seemed that the free hosting site Blogtery has had their server seized by the authorities. There is a link at their site to a thread discussing, among other things, whether or not the authorities are acting within the law. The consensus on the thread seems to be that they are.

The e-mailed responses to queries of Blogtery's owner, which he/she has posted on the thread are as follows:

"Due to the history of abuse and on going abuse on this 'bn.***********' server.We have opted to terminate this server, effective immediately. This termination applies to: bn.affiliateplex.comAbuse DepartmentBurstNET Technologies, Inc "

"Hello, again.Thank you for providing your pin. It has been verified.Bn.xx*********** was terminated by request of law enforcement officials, due to material hosted on the server.We are limited as to the details we can provide to you, but note that this was a critical matter and the only available option to us was to immediately deactivate the server.The following section of our Service Agreement Contract (https://www.burst.net/policy/contract.pdf) addresses this type of issue:.......... "

"I'm sorry for the delay. I have been awaiting a response regarding this issue from one of my colleagues.Please note that this was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm. This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server.The pre-payment for invoice #1289289 (bn.xxxxx***********. (07/11/2010 - 08/10/2010)) has been credited back to your account."
Further Burstnet appears to have commented on the thread saying this:
"We notified him when we terminated it, and we refunded him his money to his account, becasue he has other servers with us. If he wants the refund to his card, we can easily do that. However, it should be the least of his concern.Simply put: We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot.As far as his request to speak with the law enforcement officials, he sent it last night at 7PM, after Customer service was closed. We are looking into his request with the necessary persons.This is the last post we will make on this subject."

On the surface, this seems pretty cut and dried, the site was warned and had their service terminated according to the TOS and at the request of law enforcement. So, what's the problem?

The problem is that Blogtery provided free hosting to some 73,000 blogs. Now, I know law enforcement is tough and criminals are sneaky, but is it really necessary to shut down 73,000 blogs to curtail the criminal activities of ...how many? Surely not all 73,000 bloggers were violating the TOS or piracy laws or whatever else would have caused the authorities to take such an extreme action. Yet, neither they, nor the owner of Blogtery have been able to get their data back. I hope they had backups.

The owner of Blogtery.com professes to be ignorant of any wrongdoing and says that whenever they have received notice of violations, the violators have been removed within 24 hours. Most of the other posters seem to have assumed that the owner of Blogtery has not been cooperative with the owners of Burstnet or the authorities in policing the server.

Maybe that's true. Still, I found myself with more questions than answers.
Upon looking for more information, I found a report here on the matter which was referenced on the Dept. of Homeland Security's "Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report for 21 July 2010"'

According to the report, " “It was revealed that a link to terrorist material, including bomb-making instructions and an al-Qaeda ‘hit list', " were contained in the offending blog.

Furthermore, it appears, from the report, that it was Burstnet's decision to take down the entire site rather than just the offending blog.
"Upon review, BurstNET determined that the posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNET acceptable use policy. "This policy strictly prohibits the posting of ‘terrorist propaganda, racist material, or bomb/weapon instructions.’ Due to this violation and the fact that the site had a history of previous abuse, BurstNET elected to immediately disable the system."

I'm still wondering, why take down the entire site? It seems counterproductive to good business to make 72,999 customers upset for the actions of one. It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.

"Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." ~Psalm 85:11

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Or Else What?

In last week's BlogTalkRadio show (Oh Ye Of Little Faith) I spoke about how voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for evil. That the idea that we must vote for a major party candidate is a lie and, until we stop believing that lie, we will continue to vote for evil.

Don't believe it? The TEA Parties, independents, republicans,and libertarians and etc. have all weighed in on how We the People are going to "Take America back!" Really? By doing what? All I hear is that democrats are going to lose their seats in November. So What?

Let's say the democrats do lose. To whom will they be losing? That's right - by and large to republicans who may or may not have decided to behave and vote according to the values they are commonly perceived as having. I say again-so what? What's the threat if republicans don't behave themselves and vote according to those values-as they didn't in the Bush administration?

That's right, we vote the democrats in, in the next election. Beginning to see a problem here? If neither party represents our values as Americans any longer, then voting for the candidates of either party will not address our current challenges. In fact, voting for the candidates put forth by either party will very likely result in more of the same and worse.

Our republic rests on the exercise of self discipline and personal responsibility by the electorate. We need candidates who believe in us, as a people. Candidates who are willing to allow us to take risks and fail without regulating every last detail of our lives until we can no longer move or breathe for the regulations stifling us.

We need candidates who are willing to allow communities to take care of their own. Sure some folks will fall through the cracks. Does anyone think no one is falling through the huge cracks in government charity now? America is the most charitable and giving nation on the face of this Earth. I think we can be trusted to care for our own without government entitlements.

Pressing the easy button of party politics when you go into the voting booth or insisting on term limits(another form of that easy button) will not restore our republic. Not only do we need new people to run, we need the electorate to stop believing the lie that only a major party candidate can win, because by believing it, we give it power. The major parties spend a lot of money to be sure that we will believe it. They also spend a fair amount of time convincing us that one vote doesn't matter - no matter how much money they spend trying to convince us to cast that vote for their "team".

We have been granted the freedom to rule ourselves, but the responsibility that runs concurrently with that freedom is the responsibility to choose men and women of good character and sound judgement, who share our values to those posts of service. That requires making an effort beyond just accepting what the major parties and the mainstream media tell us.

It will be a shame to us, as a nation and as Christians, if we stand by and watch our nation go down the path to destruction because we believed a lie and kept voting for the lesser of two evils. Shame on us if we are unwilling to do the work to find out who is the best candidate, regardless of party. We can do better than that. We must. November is coming.

" For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. " ~Isaiah 9:16-17

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Separation of Church and State?

Congratulations my fellow citizens! We now know what faith Mr. Obama truly claims as his own. He is an American! What's that you say? America is a country not a faith?

Not according to the man sitting in the oval office who declared today that “Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith,”

To be fair, this was a speech he was giving about the illegal alien situation, which doesn't really make it much better, but gives you some context. However, if this president is really proposing the idea that citizenship is a matter of faith, then why have immigration laws at all?

Either way, had a conservative said something this out of whack, this out of touch and this nonsensical, the mainstream press would have been all over him or her. (Not to mention the ACLU. Where's the outrage over this psuedo establishment of a state religion? Where are the objections over their precious Jeffersonian out-of-context "separation of church and state"?)

Truth is objective, not subjective. Something either is true or it is not and no amount of idealistic bibble-babble can change the truth. Citizenship is, in fact, a matter of blood and birth. One may become a citizen of this nation by sacrificing one's citizenship in any other nation, but faith has nothing to do with citizenship. Except, perhaps, for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

"Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."~ Prov 22:23