It’s the Corruption, Stupid

File this one under the category of K.I.S.S.  Simple, Straightforward, and Effective.

its-the-corruption-stupid

*Eye-Bleach Not Included

It’s all in the Terms of Service

I never read the Terms of Service.

TOSI’ve scanned a few, but it always comes back to my not wanting to spend the time;  Plus the fact that they read like a Fund Prospectus, written by a Philadelphia lawyer:  dull, drab, and confusing.

This is America, after all.  We expect, demand, and in most instances receive the highest good faith from those that we deal with.  In fact, when the occasional bad apples are discovered, we expect them to be flushed from the pool with the simple act of exposing their misdeeds.  That’s the way we do business in the good old U.S. of A.

It shouldn’t be any different on the internet, but it is.  There are a lot more bad actors in this wild, wild west of commerce.  And, by not reading those pesky terms of service, I open myself up to their shenanigans, forfeiting whatever little may be left of my privacy, among other things.

But, this post isn’t about my lackadaisical approach to reading the fine print on commercial websites.  It’s about an idea I’ve been playing with in my mind for a few weeks now, and has only recently come to head in two unrelated cyber places:  Facebook, and GoFundMe.

In the first case, a FB friend of mine, Thomas Lipscomb was banned from FB with no explanation.  Questions to FB administration were unanswered, with a closing response of, “this decision is final,”  no appeal, no explanation, nothing.  No one is questioning that Facebook has the right to do what they did.  It’s all in the Terms of Service, you see.  Thomas, just like everyone else on FB must agree to those terms of service, or they will not be allowed to play.

The second case came about after the arrests of six Baltimore police officers.  Some well-meaning people started a campaign to raise money for defense costs at GoFundMe.  After a number of complaints by the politically correct crowd, the admins at GFM took down the site.  They shut down the fundraising campaign  in less than one hour, citing their right to do so, yada yada yada, in accordance with the Terms of Service.  And, just so you know, you MUST agree to abide by the Terms of Service, or you cannot enjoy the privileges of membership.

This practice isn’t exclusive to FB and GFM.  In fact, it is standard practice on the commercial internet.

The idea that has been swimming around my mind goes like this:  If commercial websites are allowed to pick and choose with whom they will interact, and if such practices are justified by the fine print in the Terms of Service, then why can’t brick and mortar firms be allowed to do the same thing?

If, for example, a Christian baker were to have carefully crafted TOS posted on their physical premises (or on their websites), in which they state unequivocally that any potential customer must agree to abide with the TOS prior to making a service request, well, you see where I’m going here. They could simply point to the TOS any time they want to, with or without explanation, it would make no difference.  No difference at all.

As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV.  But, I did stay at a Holiday Inn recently.  (BTW,  I read the Terms of Service posted on the door of my room).

see also: One Way Contracts:

9/11/2013: This is the start. Count me in!

Reblogged from Karl Denniger’s excellent essay at The Market Ticker

I keep getting emails that are of the general form “you ought to run for office.

And I keep saying No.

Why?

Because when it comes to fundamental liberty interests there are two facts that nobody wants to talk about — but are inescapably true.

  • Free people need no “leader”; the very premise of unalienable rights precludes one, for the most part.
  • If you need someone to lead you to do the right thing you don’t deserve the fruits of doing the right thing.

This much is clear — the NSA isn’t going to stop their crap until and unless the people demand it and start holding government — and the private businesses that make what they do possible — accountable.

It has been proved that the people will not vote out of office even those who are known to have committed outrageous acts even when it happens days in front of an election.  I point to 2008 as the prime example of exactly this fact.

We all should be able to walk into a doctor’s or dentist’s office and plunk down $100, see said dentist or doctor, and have no record of anything transmitted to or kept by anyone other than us.  Today, this is impossible.

We should all have the 4th Amendment right to be secure in our papers, effects and lives, including electronic transmissions, until and unless there is a warrant issued detailing a specific alleged offense and identifying the specific items to be searched for or seized.  This includes our emails, it includes our phone calls, text messages and the location data generated as a necessity to provide us with mobile services, which we did not consent to be used for any purpose other than providing those services.  It includes no “automatic license plate readers” on cop cars, light poles and similar.  This is what The Constitution says; it is not a suggestion.

 

And we should all have every single law enforcement officer, who work for us and are paid for by us, have at all times a video and audio recording device on and working while they are on the job and the lack of any said record, any delay in turning over such a record, or any evidence of editing or tapering thereof with said record shall be cause for dismissal with prejudice of any charge brought by or through any act of said person irrespective of any other evidence, with one exception — if the suspect is the one who caused the record to be tampered with or destroyed.  We have two shining examples right here in NW Florida, one of a county Sheriff’s office that thinks shooting innocent people and breaking into homes without probable cause is just fine and a second city police department that appears to think that outrageous acts up to and including sexual assault, extortion and intentionally ramming a citizens car by sworn members of the force are ok as well.

All of these reforms we can have right now.

But none of it we will have until and unless we demand it and further, the only peaceful means we have of demanding it is to withdraw our consent and support of each and every business enterprise that makes possible the violation of our rights until and unless they stop it and stand against it.  

In short, we either threaten to and do destroy through peaceful and lawful means — the simple act of refusing to spend money — every single firm that does not stand with us or we deserve what we get as a society, and all who claim to me that someone should come and “save them” are going to see me erect the middle finger in response.

So here’s the challenge.

On 9/11/2013 if you run an Internet site you go dark.

If you use the Internet you go dark.

And whatever you were going to buy, whatever you were going to do on 9/11/2013, you do not do on 9/10, 9/12, or at any other time.

You get your friends to do it, or you decide they’re not your friends any more.

You get your business associates to it, or they’re not your business associates any more.

If just 10% of the people in this nation will demand and enforce these changes, they will happen.  They will happen because if they don’t and we demand and enforce that demand via peaceful, non-violent economic means we will destroy the businesses that have over-levered themselves under the premise that we are sheep and will not act in such a fashion.

On 9/11/2013, I will display this — and only this — on both The Market Ticker and Tickerforum.

 by genesis

And then I will look at the results to see who also does this, and who not only unplugs themselves during that day but in addition does not simply shift their activity to the surrounding days.

I will know whether the claims that people “did” do it are crap or not from Internet traffic data that is collected in real-time by a number of firms and I will confirm it via 3rd Quarter earnings reports where I will look critically at the revenue numbers from all of the major retailers with Internet components in the United States, including but not limited to Amazon.

There will either be at least a 1% q/o/q decline on US revenues, or there will not.

And if the lawmakers do not respond, then in October it will be two days instead of one.  In November it will be three days, spanning Thanksgiving — yes, intended to screw “Black Friday”, and we will add to it no Internet purchases of any sort for holiday shopping.

And again, I will measure and see whether any material percentage of the people will get behind this.

From this data, preliminary and ongoing, I will decide exactly how far I will personally go in unplugging and walking off.  I will decide whether it is worth continuing to put forward effort in this regard — or not.

It’s time for me to throw down the gauntlet.

You either believe in what America was founded on, or you do not.

To paraphrase the band “Rush”:

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice, and “no action”, in my opinion, answers the above question as NOT.

Domestic surveillance: It’s worse than you think

By Philip Bump, writing at The Atlantic Wire

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?

Catalano (who is a professional writer) describes the tension of that visit.

michele-catalano-pj-media[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. …

Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did.

The men identified themselves as members of the “joint terrorism task force. ” The composition of such task forces depend on the region of the country, but, as we outlined after the Boston bombings, include a variety of federal agencies. Among them: the FBI and Homeland Security.

So, how did the government know what they were Googling?

Just a week ago, Congress voted down the Amash Amendment which would have reined in the NSA surveillance program.  As you probably know, the vote was extremely close.  My Congressman, Gregg Harper voted against it, and I’m none too happy about it.  What happened to the Catalanos could have happened to you, me, anyone.

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the newly announced GOP candidate for Senate,  also voted “No.”  Cotton described meta data as nothing more than a five column Excel spreadsheet.

“It’s in a lock box. It can’t even be searched,” he said. (emphasis mine-ed.)

A lock box?  Isn’t that what they said about Social Security?  They were wrong about that, and I suppose we see now that Tom’s conclusion was also wrong.  Bad wrong.

Enough is enough.

It’s high time to take back our status as free citizens of the Republic.

Stand up, America!

Also blogging:  VodkaPundit

SEV7N

7_fingered_handBlog Birthday ….. Drumroll, please!

Nuke’s News & Views has reached 7 years on the innernets.

Yes, Indeed. Who’da thunkit?

.

.

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(Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you)

Everyone Has A Story

I wanted to write something about MSU’s run to the Finals of the 2013 College World Series. It was improbable. It was emotional.  It was wonderful.  

I spent a lot of time thinking about my Dad.  How he loved these Bulldogs!  And how, towards the end of his life, he would have to turn off Jim Ellis’ radio broadcast because it was just too hard for him to listen as State would either grind out another victory, or suffer a tough loss. 

In the end, this was something that made me very proud to be an alumnus of the People’s University.  Words, however,  fail me at the moment.  Fortunately for the Bulldog Nation, Bob Carskadon at #HailState Beat (The official blog of MSU Athletics) tells this story the way it should be told:

The best season in MSU history comes to an end

As we grow older, the more people we meet and with each new person we talk to, we learn that everyone has a story.

Children and adults, astronauts and teachers, white, black, tall or short, individuals lead their own lives, however little of it we see. Each has a past with a corresponding present and future.  Among all the masses, inside of every building and any place we turn, there are people.

renfroe frazier fansAt Mississippi State, affectionately called the People’s University, they know it as well as any.  John Cohen, head coach of MSU’s baseball team, said as much less than one month ago.  Moments after winning the Starkville Regional – the first one on MSU’s campus in 10 years – and advancing to a Super Regional, Cohen didn’t talk about his team or hitting or pitching.  “It’s the people who make Mississippi State special,” he said.  He praised the fans, the members of the athletic department and the citizens of Starkville over his team’s successes.  A couple weeks later, his Bulldogs arrived in Omaha, and again, it was the people who made Mississippi State special.  This time, it was the people on his team.

Sure, State was playing great baseball. They were hitting better than they had all year and the pitching staff had found a groove.  But the people of Omaha, the media covering the College World Series, baseball fans across the country and MSU faithful everywhere fell in love with people, not players.  ‘The Bench Mobb’ (second B is silent), made up of goofballs from the pitching staff, dancing, clapping, encouraging and even rapping in the dugout, were the stars of the two-week event.

SGCJBAYSVZEKLKB.20130615233817Wes Rea became television’s favorite first baseman, the SEC football prospect who turned down the gridiron because he wanted to go to Omaha and play in the World Series.  Trevor Fitts singlehandedly saved Power Point with the presentation he gave Cohen asking his permission for the team to have facial hair, while also leading the charge for Team No Undershirt.

Not a soul has come in contact with Luis Pollorena and not been touched by his story of childhood leukemia and his dedication to giving back now with the life wasn’t expected to have.  Sledgehammers, mullets, rally dances, vine videos and Johnny Cash.

Not to mention the unheralded stories.  Mitch Slauter, who was baptized in front of his teammates on the morning before his Senior Day at Dudy Noble Field.  Sam Frost, the SEC’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, perhaps a more impressive honor than any.  This team showed us that everyone has a story, with countless more left untold.

And that’s what made this team special. You couldn’t help liking them and rooting for them, MSU fan or not.  The biggest crowd in the history of TD Ameritrade Park showed up not just because it was MSU’s first appearance in a National Championship, but because it was a team so easy to cheer for.

In a lucky twist, one of the most likeable teams turned out to be one of the best teams in MSU history.  photo (3)From a matter of talent, others may take the top spot, but these Diamond Dawgs have just completed the best season in the history of Mississippi State sports.  In 120-plus years, they were the first to make it this far.  But through their success, they may not be the last.

After hosting a Regional for the first time in a decade, sweeping a Super Regional and starting 3-0 in Omaha, losing in the National Championship was a terrible, terrible feeling for these Bulldogs.

Standing in the dugout, faces stained with tears and sweat, embraces between players, coaches and the like, the first feeling is defeat.  Watching another team dogpile on the mound, gloves and hats thrown in the air while fireworks explode overhead and confetti falls across the stadium is, in that moment, the lowest of low.  But, while a victory celebration took place on the field, cheers rose up in the stands.

“Maroooooon!”

“Whiiiiiite!”

Even late in the game, with the Bulldogs down more than a handful of runs and the outcome all but certain, MSU fans were louder than they had been all night.

They were cheers of support, not of victory.  The unspoken words behind the noise said, “Thank you. We’re proud of you.”  Reaching the College World Series and playing for a National Championship meant an incredible amount to Cohen’s baseball program. It would take more money than MSU has to buy that kind of exposure, and nothing can replace the experience.

But this run, this experience, is far bigger than baseball. In doing something no one in Maroon and White had done before, it became a Mississippi State benchmark.  Academics and athletics, football and softball, men’s and women’s.

These Bulldogs proved it can be done.  No one had to tell themselves they believed. They did believe.

Just as the state of Mississippi can claim generosity, hospitality and countless professional successes over any other shortcomings, so can Mississippi State now claim time at the top in spite of any days at the bottom.

When you’re a kid, you always believe your team is the best in the country, that they can win it all.

With age, realism and awareness set in. You know what limitations your team has.  But now, for the first time, Bulldog fans have made it within reach of doing what they imagined as children.  The baseball team knows it can win it all, and now everyone else has seen.

Quarterbacks and defensive linemen watched their diamond counterparts and said, “Mississippi State really can win a National Championship.”  Tennis players, basketball coaches and those from every sport saw the realization of dreams.  Now they don’t just have to say, they know, “It can be done.”

Following a season-ending loss, and career-ending for some, the sting of defeat bit hard in MSU’s dugout.  Red-eyed Hunter Renfroe embraced Trey Porter, faces buried in each other’s shoulders, knowing they had played their last time together. Their careers in Maroon and White jerseys had come to an end.

The last person back to the dugout, Jonathan Holder found his pitching coach Butch Thompson.  No words were said. They didn’t need to be, and neither would’ve been able to take them in, anyway. A steady hug said everything they wanted to share.  The athletic director, the president of the university, half of MSU’s entire department staff and a horde of media watched from the far side of the dugout as tears flowed.

The end had come, so quick and so hard.  It was goodbye for many, and the start of a long offseason for others.  But just as it signified the end of a season, it symbolized the beginning of something else.

In a short moment between the final explosion of fireworks and the beginning of celebratory music, the smallest of Mississippi State fans stood next to his dad, looking over the dugout at the team he had always believed in his young heart could win it all, and with the optimism borne through youth, offered the best encouragement he could.

“We’ll get ‘em next year, guys.”

Thanks, Bob.  Well done, sir.

Quote of the day

Today’s QOTD appears in an article in NRO by Mr. John Fund, on the differences between right and left in so-called polite circles.

“Conservatives think liberals have bad ideas and liberals think conservatives are bad people.”

There’s a lot of truth in that statement.  But it makes you wonder why so many of we conservatives continue to tolerate intolerable behavior from the left.

Although I don’t spend a lot of time in those particular polite circles, for me it’s fairly simple.  I neither want nor require their approval.  Nor do I give their policy ideas much value, other than the broad nature of political thought on representative democratic governance to which we, as citizens surely subscribe:

  1. The rule of law
  2. The peaceful transfer of power through elections
  3. Judeo-Christian ethics and morals
  4. Personal liberty, and personal responsibility.

When behavior falls outside of these commonly accepted parameters, our options can be described as falling within one of three boxes four boxes:  the soap box; the ballot box; the jury box; and the cartridge box.

And, that’s a fact.

eta:  jury box

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