Friday, October 22, 2010

More Anecdotal Evidence!

This humble blogster and his wife, accompanied by the family canine (a Belgian Malinois named Osita) recently returned from a near transcontinental road trip. I use the term "near transcontinental" due to not having included the People's Republics of Kalifornia, Oregon or Washington in the itinerary. Over the years we have taken to avoiding the interstate highways and their tedium, opting instead to utilize the surface roadways when practicable.

The downside of selecting this option is the necessity of adhering to the lower speed limits assigned at the caprice and avarice of local politicians and suffering the tortoise like traffic flow in the myriad of smallish jurisdictions.

On the next to last day of our most recent trek we had occasion to be following an overly mature female motorist proceeding east bound on a rural two lane highway in eastern Arkansas at a speed of 42 miles per hour in a zone marked with an eye toward revenue enhancement by a 55 mph limit. After some interval we arrived at a zone with a broken yellow center line admitting of legal overtaking and passing. Observing the nearest oncoming vehicle to be at a distance of 1.25 miles your brave blogster accelerated to a speed of 66 mph and passed the geriatric motorist and observed the oncoming vehicle to be none other than a white sedan sporting a red and blue light bar and the markings of the friendly revenuers of the Arkansas State "Police". I noted the troopers car to execute a "U" turn as I passed and we resumed a safe speed of 63 mph after overtaking the little old lady. Suffice it to say that the trooper was very soon on our rear bumper an lit up with "cherries and blueberries" not to mention alternately flashing high beam headlights.   

We executed a safe stop at the nearest shaded right shoulder and awaited the approach of the minion of Arkansas' finest. The trooper appeared extremely agitated and proceeded to describe my 8 mph "speed" violation of the 55 mph posted limit as the "crime of the century" after which he demanded my drivers license and insurance card. I produced the necessary documents along with my Los Angeles County retired Sheriff's ID card in order to preclude any subsequent difficulty caused by the Glock .40 cal auto pistol which is always present in the drivers door pocket when traveling.  He handed back the ID card with the terse exclamation: "all this tells me is that you should know better" and returned to his patrol unit to fill out the paper work. At this time Mrs. Leonidas remarked: "you're going to get it THIS time".

Five minutes later the trooper returned and ordered me to sign the document which I did, noting that it was an Arkansas State Police "Courtesy Warning Notice" of a "speed violation".

It was a relief to learn that the supposed "crime of the century" was really only a minor revenue issue which the trooper was willing to "overlook" when perpetrated by a retired so called "brother LEO". I am gradually becoming ashamed of how my former career has evolved into a revenue generation scheme for politicians and bureaucrats.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Time Has Come (The Walrus Said)...

I’ve been thinking about the horrid situation at airports for weeks, and before that for even more months.

Flyers now have the option enforced against them of either being scanned or groped. What a choice!
I haven’t flown in an airplane for years now. [...} I have been lucky. I didn’t need to fly or want to fly, but I still may feel I have to, and I am still deeply troubled by the scanning and groping. Both are despicable.

What I wish is that all flyers would organize and boycott all flying, or organize sit-down strikes at all the airports on a given day and hour, or organize some sort of widespread protest action or actions at specific times so as to make known their true inner feelings.

This hope banks on the notion that people now put up with the scanning and groping because they feel they have no alternative as individuals. I may be wrong. They may support it or feel it’s in their safety interest. I don’t know, but I can only express my own personal distaste for what air travel has come to and hope that someone better equipped to organize protests than I will do so. Such protests should be accompanied by publicized demands to end this travesty.

Stop it! Stop it now! Stop searching every traveler! Stop searching innocent people.

Stop searches that have no reasonable basis. Stop searches that are based only on one criterion: that the person is a traveler. What kind of reasonable basis for a search is that? None whatsoever! It is totally unreasonable to suspect everyone! It is totally unreasonable to suspect everyone who is a traveler. It’s unreasonable for the obvious reason that we all know that not one person in sixty million is a terrorist, and not one in six hundred million is at the point of trying to board a plane with an explosive device hidden on his person.

Groping and scanning are both searches. Both are equally vile. Both are unreasonable searches. Both need to be rejected.

Why should I submit to a search? What have I done to merit that? What criminal record have I accumulated in my 70 years? When have I uttered a threat against an airline? When have I encouraged anyone to blow up an airplane?
Where’s the probable cause? Where’s the reasonable basis to grope me, frisk me, x-ray me, or otherwise invade my person or property? There is none.

Where’s the warrant obtained from a judge? There is none.

It’s totally ridiculous to be searching me. I won’t stand for it. I am being assumed to be a criminal suspect for no good reason whatsoever. The people engaging in the criminal behavior are the searchers in this case, not the searchees.
I speak personally, but of course the same is true of millions upon millions of other people. What have they done to merit a search? Absolutely nothing. Nada.

There is such a thing as a U.S. Constitution, although adherence to it is zilch. It once meant something, and the government still claims it means something. What a bunch of liars and hypocrites they are. They deserve no respect. They deserve nothing but scorn. How can they conduct such searches of millions of innocent people in the face of the constitutional language?

The Fourth Amendment reads:
"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."
There is no ambiguity here. The right to be secure in my person shall not be violated. Period. It doesn’t say that airports are an exception. Or that public roads are an exception. Or that public spaces are an exception. There are no exceptions listed.

If exceptions are allowed, such as supposedly to create safe air travel, then similar exceptions can be allowed for rail, bus, auto, and pedestrian traffic anywhere, anytime, and at virtually any place. Police state, folks. That’s what we’re talking about. Police state. We’ve got it. Now. Here and now. Don’t look now, it’s here already.

Am I an expert on the case law of searches? Have I read all the pertinent Supreme Court cases that develop exceptions and procedures and interpret the Constitution? No. I won’t waste any more time on such a fruitless endeavor. I did that for the case of America’s money. I did that in excruciating detail over the course of two solid months. I found, as have others before me, that the Supreme Court is perfectly capable of making things up as they go along. They have twisted the clear constitutional language to suit themselves and their own ideas. We cannot quietly submit to what the Supreme Court says. We must protest when conscience and reason tell us that the Court is in the wrong.

I demand the termination of these unreasonable searches and I urge you to demand the same. Boycott air travel, or else dream up some better manner of protest than I can think of. But don’t sit still for this. It’s not right, and you know it’s not right. It’s not lawful, and you know it’s not lawful. It’s mass insanity, and you know it’s mass insanity.

Michael S. Rozeff

Copyright © 2010 by reprinted by permission

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Descent?

In the Fall of 1936 the influential weekly magazine Literary Digest conducted a straw poll of the presidential election for that year. The results published in that periodical prognosticated that the Republican candidate Alf Landon would handily defeat Franklin Roosevelt. It must have been a telephone poll as those who could still have afforded telephone service may well have intended to vote for Mr. Landon while those citizens who could no longer pay for  the luxury (such as my own family) had seen their service disconnected. Suffice it to say that the error of such a prediction (Landon carried 2 states while the remaining 46 voted overwhelmingly for FDR) resulted in the demise of the Literary Digest.

Today, most polling suggests that the current minority Republicans are expected to post moderate gains which will "probably" enable them wield a majority in the lower house of Congress. We shall see.

Since 1980 this humble blogster has made at least two dozen transcontinental road trips across these United States between his native California and the East coast aboard motorcycles, automobiles, small trucks as well as "hippie" (VW) vans. Other than the societal decay experienced in the "progressively" ruled Mexifornia beginning in the early 1980's the remainder of the nation commonly known as "flyover country" by the ruling elite had remained relatively unaffected until late 2008.

Your correspondent has just completed the second day of his most recent road trip and the noticeable though admittedly anecdotal national deterioration occurring since just last Spring is truly astonishing.

Our first days journey found us seeking lodging at an inn we had previously patronized. The establishment had begun to evidence a degree of seediness and a homeless male adult was observed seated near the rear of the facility on an abandoned car seat when the wife walked our dog at 8:00PM. Morning revealed him still seated in the same location shivering in the chill of pre sunrise. Mrs Leonidas retrieved two "complementary" breakfast rolls provided by the inn and presented them to the appreciative  "derelict" causing this humble writer to be reminded of  what had originally attracted him to this marvelous woman many years ago.

Since the onset of today's ongoing financial/economic crisis there has been a substantial deterioration in the observable lifestyle circumstances of ordinary Americans. In point of fact, many of the small communities along the back roads of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico resemble the scenes in Mad Max.  Not only are there noticeable changes in the nations infrastructure, but the anger expressed in overheard conversations  in pubs, cafes and other public places far surpasses what has been witnessed by this writer during his threescore and 14 years.

In sum, I would have to conclude that the anger and frustration of ordinary citizens across this formerly great, free and prosperous nation is palpable beyond the comprehension of the "mainstream" elite and ruling class. It is I believe possible that events of the upcoming November plebiscite will surpass the worst nightmares of Mssrs Obama and Reid as well as Ms Pelosi. The saddest part however will be played out when the new crop of rulers fails to produce the desired results. The ensuing events will be decidedly unpretty.

More anon.