The Never Ending War.

We prohibit addictive drugs.  We have done this for years.  Why?

When it was discovered that laudanum, for example, was a highly addictive, and destructive, drug, it was prohibited.

At one time the United States saw alcohol pretty much the same way, and went so far as to prohibit it in a constitutional  amendment.  They eventually understood that this approach would not work, and it was repealed.  This time came to be called the Prohibition Era, and is credited with the rise of organized crime.

For that period of time alcohol was seen as a dangerous drug.  Users would often become addicted to it, and their whole life would fall apart, so we had to protect them from themselves, and alcohol.  That might have been nice, if it had worked.  The trouble was that people gathered at “speak easies” where they could drink the forbidden elixir and mingle with both the people who made the beverage, people like Al Capone, and the cops who were supposed to be rooting it out, and destroying it.

So, we had the illegal alcohol, the gangs who made it and fought each other to control their areas, the cops who tried to destroy it, and then we had the cops who got paid to protect it.  Somewhere in the mix we had the people who go caught in the cross fire. as the gangs, with their gang wars, shot up neighborhoods in an effort to get rid of the

North Side Gang members following the St. Vale...
North Side Gang members following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

competition, or even killed people who had seen them kill rival gang members, or even other witnesses.  Crime was rampant, and still the alcohol came.  Criminals became celebrities and acted as such.  More people died, and still the alcohol continued to enter the country.

Prohibition did not work, and so we quit it, at least for alcohol.

We still have prohibition for other drugs. We also still have the gangs who manufacture them, transport them into this country, and then sell them to people who are adversely effected by their use.  We also have the occasional law enforcement official who gets paid to protect them. For a number of years now we have had a “war on drugs”, and still they come.  Thousands of people have been killed in the gang violence in Mexico.  Even here, in the U.S. we have people killed in gang violence as they vie for who will control the streets.  Who are we protecting?  The drug users?  The pedestrian who get shot up by gang members, who don’t bother to aim, as attempt to get rid of their competition.

Is the protection of people who take drugs really worth the death of any law enforcement officer? We have mourned the loss of military people who gave their lives in our wars but, at least those wars come to an end, even if we lost,  the problem with the “War on Drugs” is that no matter how many people are killed, either the users, the cops, the gang members, or just the bystanders, the drugs just keep coming, and the criminals just keep making money.

This is the WAR that never ends.

Should you be able to legally Defend yourself, or others?

Martin Grave
Martin Grave (Photo credit: Robert of Fairfax)

The Trayvon Martin case prompted a new look at the Stand Your Ground Laws, and specifically the one in Florida..

One of the questions that come up is this : Should Neighborhood Watch people be armed?  Are they Law Enforcement?  No. They are observers, and therefore they should “observe and report” only..  This means that they should NOT CONFRONT suspects who might be committing crimes.  Does this mean that, as a Neighborhood Watch member they give up their rights as a citizen?  NO!  For seven years I was in Air Force Security Police where we were taught that while the Posse Comitatus act barred Federal Troops from enforcing Civil law we still retained our right as Citizens..  What did this mean?  Lets say I was at a base that conducted town patrols.  While I could not be dispatched to a robbery, as that would be construed as Enforcing Civil Law, I could act if I just happened to be out front when the bad guys came out.  I still had my rights of citizens Arrest.  Does this mean that the people who wish to make their neighborhoods safe have to give up that same right just because the joined a Neighborhood Watch?  I don’t think that should be a question.  IF they were to see a Felony taking place they should be able to act.  Of course, since they are not Law Enforcement, and therefore they are not protected by the same laws as REAL LAW ENFORCEMENT officers, they have to be correct, or they could be charged, for arresting  someone who turns out to not be a real felon.  I used to tell some of the people I worked with, in the private security field, that if they want to play cop they have to know more about the law than the cops do, as they can be arrested for false arrest, or imprisonment, so the best thing for them to do is “observe and report”.  As an A.F.S.P. we were told that the first things we were to do was 1 Detect, 2. Report, and then 3. neutralize the threat.  The first two were the most important, as someone other then you must know about the threat, and be able to respond.

So, while they might still have the rights of a private citizen, to arrest for a felony, the best action for them is to “observe and report”, and let the people with the express authority make the arrest.  If Mr. Zimmerman had seen an actual felony, or had a probable cause to believe he had seen a felony act being committed, it might be different.  Still the best thing would be to stay our of the way, and let Law Enforcement handle the situation, not go charging in.

There is just as much evidence to show that Trayvon Martin was defending himself, and if that is true then Zimmerman is the aggressor as there has so far been not proof of a felony action on Martin’s part.

The Sanford Police would have been with in their rights to arrest Zimmerman.  We might never know what really happened but, I do not believe the “Stand Your Ground” law applied to him.

Maybe the law needs to be clarified.  What we don’t need is to take away a citizen’s right to defend themselves, or others, or to prevent the commission of a violent crime.  What we do need is for the law to clearly explain under what circumstances you are allowed to not be the victim.

If we wind up going back to the days when you were required to retreat from a threat, we might face the possibility that a citizen who is forced to protect himself would become the criminal, and that would be a real crime.


Social Security…

English: Official portrait of US Senator Marco...
English: Official portrait of US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time there were people who made a deal with their government.  The people would give a portion of what they made, in income, to the government in exchange for a paycheck when they reached a certain age.

This was called social security.  This was really a continuation of the old idea that a civilization should take care of its seniors.  In this case it would be by extending them an paycheck, to compensate for their year of loyalty.  To do this the government set aside a TRUST fund, which would hold the money that the workers had invested.  It was something like a 401K, only it was with the government, who would hold it in TRUST for the time when they should be able to relax, after years of work.   There was a lot of money invested in this trust fund, and a government that could rarely live within its means soon saw all this money just sitting there.  They started to put BONDs (IOUs) into this fund, so they could use it to fund their overspending.  This was really an IOU.  Over the year the people who thought it was their right to take this money started to call it an entitlement.  They started to tell the people, who had been forced to put money into this fund, that they would not be able to get their agreed upon payment until later, that even thought they had been told they would get these payments at a certain age the age had been moved back, and so they had to work longer.

One of the most common reasons for this was because the people in charge of the funds, the U.S. Congress, could not seem to understand that they should not spend more than they brought in.

Just to give you an example..  Marco Rubio, the now senator from Florida, spent $150,000 to redo his office when he was elected.  A number of year after he was elected, even after several years when te earned $400,000 a year and had not paid off a $150,000 student loan, he talked about fiscal responsibility as if the really understood the concept.  These are the people who decide our fate.

On an aside.  My brother got drafted as soon as college was no longer an exemption from the draft, and decided to go into the Navy.  He signed a 6 year contract, which stated that after 4 years he would have been given an enlistment bonus.  Then, just before you would have gotten his bonus, the congress decide to do away with it.  The court of appeals, 3 out of 4, decided that since military pay was decided NOT by contract, but by congress, that the U.S. Congress could actually do away with military pay and they would still have to serve.  This from the people who pass laws, such as the equal opportunity act and exempt themselves from the same laws that they apply to others.  They did tell the Navy people they could get out of the contract, if they wished, after the 4 years.  My Brother got out.  So what is the lesson here?  If two people make a contract they have to live up to their side of the bargain, or go to court, unless one side if the Federal Government, in which case they just pass a law that says they don’t have to live up to their contract.

The main point here is that these people, Republican or Democrat, will spend your money in order to keep themselves in power, while YOU are the one who has to live within your means.

I am not a Dittohead but I used to enjoy watching Rush Limbaugh when he was on TV.  One night, while I was watching his show he played a clip of the Clinton Secretary of the Treasury, I think it was Ruben, telling the unions they could not borrow against union pension funds as it was “not your money”.  Rush then pointed out that the U.S. Government was doing the same thing to Social Security, and played a clip of Rubin saying, “it’s NOT YOUR MONEY”.  They never understood the point.

Here is a final thought.  If a lawyer were to borrow from a clients trust account (escrow) he could be disbarred, if congress does it, its business as usual.

We can blame the President for spending the money that the congress give him to spend, and it is we who put them all in office.

So every year, when they tell us we have to work longer, who should WE blame?

The Great American Game Show…..

Wack-a-mole. Gayla's highscore = 140
The Contestants deal with old scandals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States is a country that seems to love it’s TV game shows.  We call it “Real TV“, not because it REALLY portrays REAL LIFE but because, for whatever reason, it happens in front of a camera.  This allows us to say, with some confidence, that it REALLY did happen.

We already have a number of contest, at the City, County, State, and Federal level, that could be adapted, in some way, to fit these formats.

I think that I will just consider the main national game, “The Great Race for the Presidency”, and wonder about what kind of format to put it in….  Don’t tell me about the Dignity of the Office, these are just contestants and bear no resemblance to what they might be like once they are in office….

Besides, chances are they gave up whatever dignity they ever had long before they got to a level to run for President.

I have watched some of these show, though not really enough to be an expert on any of them, then again this is my opinion and so I don’t have to be an expert.  Much like the people you see as analist on the various Talk News shows.

So, lets get to it…

There is the “Great Race”…  yeah that could be a good format..  The various teams run around the country, much as they do now, competing in various contest.  We could get rid of those pesky debates where they tell lies about each other and all we get for it is to find out which one is the most inventive liar.  Instead we could have events like Whack a Scandal, similar to Whack a Mole, where they try to beat down past scandals.

We could have one, “The Power Seeker” based on the “Survivor” show, where we place the contestants in a location fitting a politician, such as a toxic waste dump, where they could engage in varied activities that they would enjoy in the wild, such as lying and stabbing each other in the back.  The winner would be taken to Washington and be confined to the White House, which could be modeled after Big Brother.

Then we could have “The Next Big Brother” which might be similar to the “Survivor” above, except we just put a big house on the Toxic Waste Dump.

How about “Americas Got Putzes”, which of course is similar to “Americas Got Talent“, where each of the candidates tries to convince us that they have done something worthwhile. The Judges, not the Supreme Court, would point out their lies, and like the movie said, though I paraphrase, “and there will be lies”.

Then there is “The Spin” which would be done like “The Voice” where we don’t see the candidate, only the back of their chairs, where they tell us, with out mentioning their names, what their beliefs are and what they plan to do once they are in office.  This way we could, maybe, weed out the ones who sound like nuts.

Or, maybe, we could have one called “The Power Behind the Throne” which might be a combination of the “The Power Seeker”,or “The Next Big Brother”, and maybe “The Bachelor”.  This one would be in two tiers.  In one the candidates would be trying to get be the main contender, while to other tier would not be about picking a wife but would be about him picking his special interest.  Then we would know, for sure, who the real “Power Behind the Throne” is, and would not have to guess or even pretend to believe he represents US.

Then again there might be the “Real Putzes of Washington” that would be similar to “The Real Housewives of ” fill in the blank.  This might even be centered on the people who marry them.

I might have missed a couple of ideas being I don’t watch the shows much, at all.

We could even raise money by opening the voting via a 1-900 number just like the votes cast on TV..  This would help out the Democrats as there would be no pesky voter list to circumvent.

Obama Care? I think not.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

I am not a legal scholar, nor am I about to become one, so maybe I can be excused for not really understanding the newest Supreme Court decision.

It seems like on the Justices just said that the Government can not mandate your joining the health care system but they can extract a penalty from you, they call it a “TAX”, for not joining….

This is interesting..  Now I am going to go off on an idea..  Part of the idea of why the Feds wanted to force everyone into the health care industry the premise that if someone, with out health care insurance, or poor, got sick then the people with healthcare insurance would have to pay for them….  therefore they were really in the healthcare system whether or not they had the insurance, and the are now just being punished for not joining in the first place…

Now, how about this idea..  You don’t have a car, so you don’t get auto insurance.  If you are injured someones insurance will have to pay for your injuries, so maybe the next step would be to penalize you, er tax you, for not having auto insurance?

President Obama said this was not a tax but, the Supreme Court said that was the only way they could justify the law was through the use of a tax.  It must be nice to have a job for life, where you get to make it up as you go along, all the while knowing that you can’t be fire just because you are a bozo….

Thank you very much Justice Roberts.  What is next?  A tax on not joining a health club?