Non-neutrality of Net “Neutrality”

The Federal Communications Commission set aside two decades of laissez-faire policy Thursday to assert broad authority over the Internet, voting to regulate broadband providers as public utilities and overruling laws in two states that made it harder for cities to offer their own Web service.

And

The commission pledged to use a light touch….

The FCC’s “rule” violates express Congressional instruction not to do this. With the FCC’s lawlessness made manifest, how can their pledge be believed?

Collateral Damage

In an era of antiseptic war, one fought with drones and precision weapons that limit to an amazing degree the collateral damage done by these limited strikes executed during very limited conflicts, we’ve gotten spoiled. We expect war generally to be antiseptic.

And our “leaders” in DC have gotten spoiled, too.

Several large-scale cyberattacks in recent months have prompted a number of lawmakers and policy makers to call for a more forceful response, including suggestions that the US engage in counterattacks that would disable or limit the culprits’ own networks.

On the Confirmation of Loretta Lynch

…for Attorney General to replace Eric Holder.

During confirmation hearings which started yesterday [emphasis added],

Her biggest challenge could be explaining her support and participation in civil forfeitures, a legal process in which law enforcement agencies can seize money and other assets without charging or convicting the owners….

And so

After nearly three years of legal battles, the federal government last week dropped its case against the Hirschs, who own a distribution company that serves convenience stores on Long Island. The government agreed to return more than $446,000 in assets and cash seized by the Internal Revenue Service in 2012 under federal civil asset forfeiture laws, even though the Hirsch family was never charged with a crime.

Because We’re Not Being Spied on Enough

The Justice Department has acknowledged constructing a database to track the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S. in real time.

And

A Justice Department spokesman told Fox News that the tracking program is compliant with federal [law]… claiming it “includes protocols that limit who can access the database and all of the license plate information is deleted after 90 days.”

Expansion of Ukraine Occupation

The Russian-backed (with 9,000 of their own) rebels in Ukraine and Ukraine signed a cease fire agreement in September, including an agreement to withdraw their respective artillery units from that cease fire line.

Having done that,

a rebel rocket attack early Saturday morning (24 Jan) killed 29 people [at least 30 according to Reuters] in the port city of Mariupol[]

which Russia has been trying to seize for some months pursuant to their effort to open a land route to Russian-occupied Crimea. The day before,

Gun Control

Here’s some, via The Daily Caller.

A Tulsa convenience store clerk took on four masked men during an attempted robbery earlier this week, shooting and killing two and helping bring an end to a serial robbery ring.

I wonder how that would have worked out had the clerk not been armed.

Trust

First we have the NSA collecting personal telephone call data. Now we find out about this shadowy program, which was uncovered only because DEA had to give up its existence pursuant to a criminal case involving a man accused of planning the export of technology to Iran:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has formally acknowledged that it maintained a sweeping database of phone calls made from the United States to multiple foreign countries.

And

…the program relied on administrative subpoenas to collect records of calls….

The Assault Continues

King, NC, used to have a war memorial on its property—funded by private donations—that consisted of a statue of a soldier kneeling before a cross. Americans United for Separation of Church and State considered the memorial inappropriate, and they sued the city.

Last week, in abject surrender, the city not only settled by agreeing to remove the memorial, they agreed—agreed, mind you, no court outcome dictated this—to pay AUSCS $500,000 for AUSCS’ trouble and to pay the plaintiff represented by this atheist organization $1 for his trouble.

Both sides in this matter wish to avoid further costs,

Punishment of Terrorists

There is a strong view that terrorists should be executed for their acts. In the main, I don’t disagree. Capital crimes desperately want capital punishment: prompt execution.

However.

Many of these terrorists are doing their deeds in order to become martyrs and to live in Allah’s heaven. For these, execution is a reward, not a punishment; for such as these, execution is a goal devoutly to be wished, not a deterrent.

Coordinated Lone Wolves?

The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo raises a question in my mind and in many other minds. This was an isolated attack, á la a number of other isolated attacks. However, this attack also was associated in time with the murder of a woman cop on the south side of Paris and the murders of four citizens in a Jewish bakery in eastern Paris: these ancillary(?) attacks went in while French police and security units were occupied with the hunt for and capture of the Charlie Hebdo butchers.