Thursday, April 30, 2009

My disagreement with Bill Cosby (well, sorta)...

So a coworker was showing me one of those emails at work today, supposedly a quote from Bill Cosby. It's old news, and has been circulating since around the summer of 2008...and WASN'T penned by Mr. Cosby.

It goes on about a "write-in" vote, under the following platform:

(1) Press 1 for English is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the 'Walmart' policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border. (six month tour) They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. The president nor any other politician will not be able to touch it.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

(7) Professional Athletes --Steroids - The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.

(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There is no more life sentences. If convicted, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

(9) One export will be allowed; Wheat, The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.

(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

Now, there are some individual parts of this that I firmly agree with, but most of it is a bunch of trite bullshit.

Obviously, this was someone's idea of a hoax or a bad joke, and shouldn't be taken seriously. Sadly, everyone I know that has seen it responded with "Hell yeah! I'd vote for that!". And this jingoist nationalism, coupled with the "Us v. Them" mentality of those who oppose it for whatever reason, is the reason why our nation is in such bad shape right now.

Here's my take on the situation:

1) I agree that it irritates the living crap out of me, having to "press one for English". I know barely enough Spanish to order my breakfast tacos from Jovi's Tamale Hut, and the rest of the Spanish I know would likely get me arrested if I were to ever use it for anything beyond ordering a beer. However, an all-out govt ban of ANYTHING is a loss of liberty.

Want to declare English the "official language" of the United States? Fine with me. Want to stop using tax dollars to print govt forms in a language other than English? Also fine with me. However, banning the usage of an automated customer service machine for a private entity's service department if it allows for a language other than English is nonsense. Personally, I'd prefer that we ban automated customer service machines, for they cause me far more headaches than the option of pressing one for English.

2) An isolationist policy is, quite simply, retarded. Banning the import or export of ANYTHING that does not present an immediate health hazard (for instance, diseased produce or livestock) hampers free trade, causes artificial inflation, and destroys the free-market economy. Foreign trade should not be restricted under any circumstances, unless we are actively engaged in a declared war with the nation of origin. If you have a problem with Chinese goods, STOP BUYING THEM. Buy the good stuff. Personally, I don't use a claw hammer often enough to need an industrial-grade, Made In The USA Craftsman that is gonna cost me three times as much as a Chinese-made model available from Wal-Mart...I just need a blunt piece of metal on a stick.

3) Again, any regulation on imports (outright bans OR tariffs) does absolutely nothing positive for our economy. If people would rather buy a cheaper-made good, as opposed to purchasing YOUR product, then you need to step up your game. You need to make your assembly line more efficient, your quality a bit better, and your prices a bit lower.

Even though it was instituted for a different reason, look at the "assault weapons import ban" we're currently running under in this country, and what it has done to the gun market. Because certain types of guns and/or gun parts are now illegal to import into this country, they must be made in the United States. In some cases, the quality is many cases, it isn't. In all cases, the price has increased. Because we have prohibited firearm imports from China, a Norinco .22 "plinker" rifle (the kind my uncle bought for myself and my cousin in our youth as Christmas presents) is now illegal to import into America. To my knowledge, there are no other companies currently producing them other than Browning (the original manufacturer, whose patent expired decades ago). At the time of purchase almost two decades ago, the price of the Chinese knockoff was less than one hundred dollars. Today, because Browning is the only company making them, you're going to pay more than five times that much. The quality of my rifle is still every bit as good as an actual Browning, because they are cut from the same set of prints. Because we have restricted the importation of these plinkers, it will cost me a week's wages, instead of a day's wages, to buy one.

4) Requiring ANYONE to do ANYTHING is tantamount to slavery. On top of that, we currently have hundreds of thousands of able-bodied young men and women who are perfectly capable of securing our borders. Illegal immigration IS a threat to our national security, and we should be doing everything within our power to stop it. However, that's no excuse to be taking the path of least efficiency...especially when there are hundreds of thousands of people who will VOLUNTEER for this job, if Uncle Sam provides food, shelter, and ammo while doing it.

5) The only "improvement" to social security that needs to be made is the ABOLITION of social security as a government entity. The money of a person should not be mandated into a savings account by our government. It should be privatized, to allow for the tax-free savings of every man and woman who works for a living, without having to fund others against our will. If my family needs something, they need to do no more than ask. If myself and the remainder of my family can't get together and make it happen better than our government can, there's a problem somewhere. On top of that, every person working for the social security administration is drawing a wage...and that's money that ISN'T going to pay for grandma's new dentures.

6) Welfare...SHOULD NOT BE HANDED OUT BY GOVERNMENT. At all. Period. Benefit to starving children? There are plenty of fine charitable organizations that can handle this on a case-by-case basis, without resorting to excessive paperwork hassles and government bureaucracy. Every dollar handed out in a welfare check is a dollar stolen from men and women who earn their money honestly, that could be used to help a friend in need. It could be used to pay wages for a person looking for a job. It could be used to buy a brand-new SUV. What that money is used for is honestly irrelevant, so long as it is used by the person who earned it.

7) If professional athletes want to destroy their bodies and make their manly parts shrivel to the size of a Vienna sausage, that's not your business...and it's not my business, either. You have a right to pay a ridiculous amount of your hard-earned money to watch a professional baseball game in person. You have the right to say "I don't want to pay $8 for a beer while I watch a bunch of steroid-junkies beating the crap out of each other on a Sunday afternoon." You don't, however, have the right to tell another person what he or she has the right to put into his or her body. Unless you actually own the team, you don't have the right to tell your employees what he or she can or cannot put into his or her body. Unless you are a part of the league, you don't have the right to weigh in on the rules concerning the league's participants. Instituting govt intervention into professional sports is nothing more than the govt telling a company who it can or cannot hire. Doing so is not only communist, but also very expensive...because along with these rules, there must be enforcement of these rules. That requires the hiring of people with the responsibility to test the athletes, as well as the equipment and supplies to test for steroids.

8) The so-called "Turkish Method" has the exact same fault as "mandatory minimum sentencing" that is currently plaguing our nation. In the absence of such mandatory minimum sentencing, on rare occasions, a jury or judge (depending on which state you live in) will actually hand down a sentence inconsistent with the crime. Mandatory minimum sentences, instead, take away the ability of judges and juries to allow the sentence to fit the crime at hand. If you decide to steal $50 from a charity food pantry donation bucket, you have robbed a family of a weeks' worth of Top Ramen, canned tuna, and baby formula. It's hardly the same thing as taking an extra newspaper out of the machine so you can have the extra coupons for the grocery store...but, in the eyes of the law, they are listed as the same exact crime of misdemeanor theft. Even if no one was going to buy the paper, even if it was two days old. The fact remains that "zero tolerance" policies often do far more harm than good, because they catch minor infractions in with the large ones. The law is already clear about what is considered "theft". Removing a quarter from a pay phone's coin return slot, if it isn't yours, also falls into the same category as the two above-mentioned offenses. At the age of 14, you can be tried as an adult in the state of Texas...and I know this from personal experience, it almost happened to me at the age of 15. I don't think being 14 years old and taking a quarter from a pay phone's coin drop is a crime worthy of having your hand cut off. On the other hand, if you're a chronic delinquent and you hijack a truck full of stereos at the age of 16, you're more than likely going to do some time...and a lot of it.

Furthermore, I would like to say that I support capital punishment on moral grounds but oppose it on practical grounds. There have been literally DOZENS of convicted felons exonerated, in the state of Texas alone, based upon DNA evidence proving their innocence. For every 12 people we have executed in the United States since the reinstatement of the Death Penalty, there has been one person released from Death Row (and exonerated) based upon indisputable evidence of innocence. This state executes, per capita, more people than anywhere else in the United States...and also has had more problems with tainted evidence than anywhere else in the civilized world. Just today, a man was freed from prison after 22 years behind bars, when it was revealed that the crime lab responsible for handling the evidence had failed to report evidence supporting his defense, fabricated evidence supporting the prosecution, and had an "expert" knowingly give false testimony under oath.

The price of the "Drain-O Cocktail" used in a Texas Lethal Injection costs approximately $68. The average cost of actually prosecuting a capital case in Texas (just the trial itself) is roughly twice the average cost of prosecuting a man, having him sentenced to a life term, AND imprisoning him for the rest of his life. On top of this, you have the constitutionally-guaranteed appeals process granted by our US constitution. Unfortunately, the facts of the case themselves cannot be contested in an appeal. An appellate court is lawfully allowed to only determine whether proper legal procedures were followed during the investigation and prosecution of the case. When we have so many people being wrongfully arrested, wrongfully prosecuted, and wrongfully convicted, I am rather leery of sentencing anyone to have a needle full of drain cleaner stuck in his arm...even if they do knock him out first. I really think we need to fix our current system, before we start dismembering anyone with a damned chainsaw as sentenced by a court of law.

9) In a perfect world, it would be great to make demands that a product necessary to our function (in this case, crude oil) be made fiscally equivalent to something necessary to a random person's survival (in this case, a bushel of wheat). Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. As the UN Oil for Food program has so eloquently shown us, such a system is bound to be rife with corruption, at every level of the game. If we have a problem with the cost of OPEC-controlled oil prices, perhaps we need to start producing oil at home. And no, I'm not talking about destroying wildlife preserves in Alaska or destroying our oceans. I'm talking about opening up all the producing (yet capped, due to federal regulations) oil wells right here in Texas. There are literally thousands of them. Ever hear of "West Texas Crude"?

Our SPRs (Strategic Petroleum Reserves) hold a retardedly sick amount of oil. Even though our government won't release official figures, I can say with a good deal of certainty (I used to work there, I've been searched by the guards carrying M16s, I've spoken to people who know!) that the Bryan Mound SPR, located near Freeport TX, holds enough oil to fill the entire Astrodome. Five times. The Bryan Mound SPR isn't the only one we have. Yet, for some reason, we're still forcing our wells in Texas (which are in the middle of nowhere, without any exotic and endangered species to speak of, without any mass population to worry about, without any severe danger of environmental disaster) to remain capped while we lobby for the drilling offshore and in Alaska. Could it be because there's money to be made for certain oilfield services companies to be made in Alaska and offshore?

10) As surprising as it may seem, I actually agree with this one, as it falls directly in line with the Libertarian line of thinking.

11) The Pledge of Allegiance is something that every man, woman, and child in this nation should say voluntarily. Many people no longer agree with the direction that this nation has taken. As is their right, many citizens of this nation don't believe in God (as a matter of fact, our own government provides GI-issued tombstones for our uniformed warriors who have died in her service, with symbols depicting their NON-BELIEF IN GOD...humanism and atheism are among them). The phrase "Under God" was not added until decades after the pledge was originally authored, and was only added to further enhance our "supremacy" over the "godless heathen communists" during the Cold War. Forcing anyone to speak this pledge does not force anyone to believe it, it merely forces them to speak it. Furthermore, we must look at the cost of requirement...just like laws against steroids and everything else, a law is meaningless if there is no enforcement of that law. Enforcement is going to cost money.

12) Requiring the national anthem at a professional sporting event? Are you serious? It's a that, unfortunately, is often sung rather badly. Much like the Pledge of Allegiance, it's rather meaningless if it's forced, instead of allowing people to have the option. Furthermore, if our government is not sponsoring a sporting event, they have no right to legislate what happens at that sporting event. Didn't we already go over govt sponsorship of sports earlier?

And so there you have it. These are my disagreements with "Bill Cosby" (or whoever the shitstick was, that felt the need to post his picture in order to make this crap more "socially acceptable"). Live Free. Choose Liberty. Vote Libertarian!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My thoughts on Guantanamo Bay...

Strangely, most of the people I personally know are very supportive of the Guantanamo Bay prison complex, which has housed hundreds of *suspected* terrorists...including the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Now I know some of you may be reading this, and asking yourselves "Huh? What? But...but...that guy confessed! What do you mean, 'allegedly', man? He confessed!".

Yes, I mean exactly that. ALLEGED.

Did he actually confess to being the "mastermind" behind September 11th? Yes, he did...after being tortured daily, six times a day, for more than a month straight. I'm quite certain that after enduring that, I'd probably be willing to admit that I was Vladimir Lenin.

Aside from the obvious aspect of torture, the whole concept of Gitmo just really grates on me. Perhaps it's because I believe in America. Not the America that my home nation has become, but the America that our founders dreamed of. The America that was based upon the idea of freedom. The America that has the right to a trial by jury, the presumption of innocence, and a protection against "cruel and unusual" punishments.

Time and time again, I have heard the same old tired lines. "...if we give these terrorists [sic] the right to an open trial, we only embolden the terrorists!" "If we present evidence in an open court, we give away our intelligence-gathering tactics to the terrorists [sic]!" "We captured these terrorists [sic] on the battlefield! They're war criminals!"

All of these excuses are, in fact, utter bullshit. Our government has spun the "unlawful combatant" crap around so much that people actually believe it. Allow me to be the first to tell you, THE TERM "UNLAWFUL COMBATANT" IS FOUND NOWHERE IN THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS. Seriously. I've read every single one of them, in their entirety, and I haven't seen it yet. You can easily find them via the Googles, as did I. They aren't hard to find.

Many people like to quote a particular section regarding the wearing of a particular uniform or insignia as a requirement of being recognized as a "combatant". Well, hate to break it to you, but that little portion hasn't been a requirement of being considered a "Prisoner of War" since 1977, when the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions (I) were signed.

There are, according to international law, only one classification of armed combatants not to be given protected status as a Prisoner of War, or protections equal to that of a Prisoner of War...mercenaries are this class, and enjoy no protections whatsoever under any international law. It's legal to shoot them, anywhere in the world, as soon as this status has been declared. It has, in fact, happened quite a bit in the past century...most commonly in the African bush, where foreign mercenaries are often used because hiring them is cheaper than training and arming the citizenry.

Persons not meeting the requirement of "Combatant" as listed in paragraph 3 ARE TO BE GIVEN PROTECTIONS EQUAL TO THAT OF COMBATANT, regardless of prior acts.

The United States is a signatory party to the AP77(I)...but we didn't actually ratify it. Our actions are legal under US law, but illegal under international law. We have the unfortunate distinction of being one of only seven nations on the planet that haven't fully ratified it. The other six include Israel, Iran, Iraq (Saddam-era and Post Saddam-era), Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Is this really the company we want to be keeping?

The rationale for instituting the AP77(I) was quite simple, and was a direct result of what is known as 4th Generation Warfare. Essentially, it was understood that when you have a massively more powerful military force being confronted by a much smaller military force (US at Lexington and Concorde, French resistance v. Nazis, Palestinians v. Israel, Afghanistan v. USSR, et cetera), there is no valid way for them to meet each other on a traditional battlefield.

You can't rightly expect a hundred men (and often, teenage boys) armed with antique rifles to go against Vulcan-armed helicopters, Abrams tanks, and a platoon of Marines armed with the latest and greatest that we have to offer...because they'd get mowed down.

The international community has seen fit to understand this. You can't expect to put Mike Tyson in the ring with a retarded six year old boy, and expect it to be a "fair fight". On the same note, you can't expect a couple thousand Afghanis armed with 30-year-old AK47s and a few US-supplied shoulder-fired missiles to stand up to three divisions of the Soviet army on an open battlefield and stand a chance.

Before I go any further, I would like to declare something outright, so you aren't getting the wrong idea...because what I am about to say might offend some people here. I just want to make sure you don't get it twisted. The intentional act of knowingly killing civilians, for whatever purpose, by any armed force, is inherently wrong.

When you pick up arms, and knowingly participate in armed conflict, you should understand something prior to doing so. Namely, there is a very serious chance that you may come home in a rubber sack, if you make it home at all. This goes for all sides of all conflicts that have ever been fought. If you get into a boxing ring, you should expect to get hit in the face. If you wear a uniform and sport a rifle in combat, you should expect to have someone trying to kill you. I'm not saying it's the way the world ought to behave, I'm merely saying you should reasonably expect it. If you take a job where you're issued a rifle, you should be expecting that there's a reason for this...and it's probably not just for target practice. It's a goddamned war, and people die in wars. That's kinda the point. Don't like it? Don't be a part of it. The only way to be absolutely certain to not be a "statistic" is to not be a participant.

Now, moving right along. People complain that our enemy is "indestinguishable from the civilian population". Well, if that ain't the best form of camouflage, I don't know what is. What are you expecting, a bull's eye tattooed on his forehead? If you expect your enemy to show himself on the battlefield, don't be a hypocrite. Don't use the sand-colored digital break-up camo on your uniforms and the Krylon super-flat camo spraypaint on your gear. Paint your shit in day-glo orange for the world to see, if you're going to demand that the enemy show themselves openly.

Some people say that roadside bombs (officially known as an "Improvised Explosive Device", or an "IED") are taking the coward's route to killing the enemy. Ummm, what? Do we not still use what is known as a Claymore Mine? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the only difference between the two merely the manner in which it is made? An IED is built using random stuff I can buy at Wal-Mart, O'Reilly's, and any other store necessary. As Timothy McVeigh so horribly demonstrated, a massive bomb can be made using fertilizer and motor oil. Even I could build a simple detonator using a digital guitar tuner and an air horn (please don't ask me how I know this!). The difference between an IED and a US Gov't-issued Claymore mine is not the manner in which it is used, but rather, the fact that a Claymore is mass-produced and clearly has "This Side Toward Enemy" stamped on the front. The enemy ISN'T SUPPOSED TO KNOW it's there.


Okay, now that we've got a few of my thoughts out of the way, let's continue on to some other things. The war against America, being fought by Al Qaeda, is not a war that was started over a simple militaristic act of aggression, in the manner that our wars with Japan and Germany were started over.

America has been instigating this action for years. Yes, hate me all you want, but I said it. AMERICA STARTED THIS CRAP. Now, before you go on calling me "one of those America-hating liberals", let's look at the real truth.

1) America has been sticking its nose in the business of random Arab nations since back when Moses wore short pants. Can you say "ArAmCo Oil"?

2) Since the UN Partition Plan of 1947 (and don't even get me started on how one-sided this crap was!), the United States has consistently been playing the role of the "bad-ass older brother" whenever Israel wanted to go around acting like she was a hard-ass.

3) The United States played a significant role in removing the governing body of Iran, and replacing it with the dictatorial "Shah", which lead to anti-American sentiment across the entire Arab world...even though it had no right whatsoever to do so.

4) The US invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq without any rational justification (feel free to challenge this, and I'll have to hit you with facts rather harshly, you'll embarrass yourself), and further continued to occupy it without any real plan. Most rational people understand that the only reason for going was for war profiteering, which should be painfully obvious.

5) The US, which had despised Iran ever since they deposed of the Shah, had supported Iraq's efforts against Iran...which is why we sold Saddam Hussein chemical weapons for use against Iran.

6) The US supported oppressive regimes such as the Taliban when they did things we felt necessary (such as outlawing the production of Opium Poppy). They continue to support the gov't of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, because of their oil output, even though these regimes provide some of the most repressive affronts to basic civil liberties that we have ever known.

If a person wants to look at why Osama Bin Laden attacked New York (twice, I might add!), one need look no further than Osama Bin Laden himself. God knows he's made enough damned videos on the subject!

Quite simply, the common man had grown tired of Uncle Sam's bullshit in the mideast. He didn't launch a full-scale assault on a US military installation, because attempting to do so would have failed miserably. He instead did what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki...he went after a civilian population, in an attempt to make the citizens of this nation wake up to what was happening around them under their flag and as perpetrated by their government.

I'm not saying that killing civilians is ever proper. It's not right when we do it, and it's certainly not right when they do it. I'm just saying that it happens, and it is a means to an end. What you take from that is what it is.

More to the point, what I'm saying is that if you're going to try to hold the moral "high ground", you had best be on point...because someone is going to check your ass if you aren't acting right. Our government likes to talk about how the enemy has no respect for human life because they attack indiscriminately...while we go around bombing wedding ceremonies full of civilians, because there may be militants present. They want to talk about how Saddam used WMDs against the Kurds a few decades ago, while we're still using Willie Pete rounds against our enemies in civilian-populated areas (and still providing these rounds to Israel, knowing that they are regularly doing the same in Palestine).

We like to talk about how "the enemy doesn't respect the international Laws of Armed Combat", when we are showing the same lack of respect. If our leaders (both under Bush AND Obama) were to be tried according to the Nuremberg standards, they'd be dangling from a rope.

If we're going to talk about respect for human life, principles of law, and the LoAC, it's high time we start walking the walk. It's time to close Gitmo, prosecute those who allowed it to open, prosecute those who authorized torture, and publicly denounce it as a matter of national policy.

The perpetrators of 9/11 pale in comparison to the actors of the Holocaust. Yet, for some reason, we still gave Herrman Goering and his colleages the decency of a fair and open trial, so that we might share with the world all the proof that we had of their guilt. How many Nazis did we hang that day?

If they did wrong, let them pay for it...but don't deny these people the basic right to defend their actions in a fair and open court of law, because that is the American way. It is the moral, right, and just way. If there's enough evidence of wrongdoing, share it with the world and prove that we hold the moral high ground. Don't just say it, torture people indefinitely without charges, and expect no one to get upset...because it's not just the french who get upset by this. Robert Jackson would be spinning in his grave if he could see this shit.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Something I've discovered, what I call the "Center Point".

So I was a bit intoxicated and watching a rerun of The Sopranos one day about a year ago, and I saw an old man ask his son a very important question. The old man was owed a very large sum of money from a man he had been a good friend of for decades. The question he asked was (paraphrased, because I can't remember exactly) "At what point does it become worth it to just kill me instead of paying me back?".

This got me to thinking about it, because the implication was that there was eventually a point where certain desirable things (in this case, the decades-old friendship) may be worth less than the stress relief of knowing you don't have a $200k debt hanging over your head.

I've come to realize that this is true in all things, be they retail economics in a free-market environment, intimate relationships, or even armed rebellion against one's government. There becomes a point, in all things, where it's just not worth it to "stay the course". Naturally, this "Center Point" is different for all people, and is dependent upon their personal opinions of the situation.


Take, for instance, the first situation I described...retail economics. In a competitive free-market environment, prices are set by the seller. The seller's job is to provide the combination of price, purchasing environment, ease of purchase, and customer service that will prompt the buyer to purchase from that particular seller.

The buyer is left with two different choices he must make (only one, if there is only one seller further). First and foremost, is the product or service being purchased worth (in terms of necessity and/or desirement) the price he must pay for that product or service? Second, does the seller's price and customer service provide a buying experience that will prompt the customer to purchase from that particular seller versus some guy down the street or even in the next town, even if the other seller is selling for a higher price?

As an example, I'm using the situation I was in on Thursday afternoon. Seeing as how I work during what most people consider "standard business hours", I called ahead of time to make sure a particular product was in stock at a particular store that was down the street from me, as I would be purchasing on my lunch break. They had the product in stock, were less than a mile from my place of employment, and were selling the product for $25 less than their nearest competitor, who was located an hour's round-trip from me.

The customer service at this particular store, as I went to purchase this product on my lunch break, was so absolutely horrible that I will never set foot in that store again. What should have taken me less than 15 minutes took more than 45 minutes...and most of that time was spent with me standing at the counter, just standing and waiting, because the kids working the counter were too busy chatting amongst themselves and playing on the computer. As a result, they lost a customer forever, and will now suffer the financial consequences of a potential customer steering other customers away when asked about the quality of customer service. I would rather travel an hour on a rare day off, and pay 10% more for the product I want to a person who acts like he actually wants to sell it to me, than to deal with shitty service.


Similar forces are at work in relationships, such as marriage. When a pair of people get married, it is most typically because they love each other dearly and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Eventually, these two people WILL have a severe disagreement about something. It may be something relatively inconsequential, such as the decision to purchase a new car, or something more serious, such as one partner engaging in an extramarital affair.

Regardless, at some point, both partners will be faced with an important choice. Is the love felt for the partner, adherence to religious doctrine, standing within the community, et cetera more important than the relief felt by walking away from the relationship? It's a choice that people are forced to make every day, and people across America are making this decision right now, at this very moment.


And so now we move on to something a tad bit more serious than money and marriages (to me, anyway). It's the subject of principles, and how important they are to a particular individual.

To some people, myself included, a person's principles are worth quite a bit more than damned near anything else in life. Also very important to me is the ability to live free, as the inherent right to do so is a principle I believe very firmly in.

I am also under the impression that our government has lost its way, with regard to its purpose as being solely for the purposes of promoting and preserving liberties of myself and my fellow countrymen. On a daily basis, our freedoms are eroding at all levels.

Our federal government is taxing, spending, and borrowing this nation into oblivion, without providing any true benefit to its citizens...while simultaneously removing as many of our basic civil liberties as they can get away with. The biggest detriment to our personal freedoms (and our wallets) have been unwinnable and unending wars against indefinable enemies, such as "drugs", "terror", and "poverty".

Our state governments have regulated away our rights at every opportunity, ranging from how dark our windows can be tinted to what immunizations we're forced to give our children before entering school...while continuously upping the fines and other penalties for non-compliance.

Our counties (Brazoria, in particular) have passed all manner of ridiculous ordinances (the most striking, in my humble opinion, is when they tried to make it a crime to discharge a firearm on any parcel of land less than 10 acres). They don't continuously raise property tax rates; instead, they merely keep raising the appraisal values of homes far above actual market value in a back-door effort to raise our property tax rates.

Our city governments dictate how high our grass can grow, what types and sizes of signs we're allowed to place on our own property, et cetera...and will tell you that if you don't comply with their rules about what you can or cannot do on YOUR OWN PROPERTY, you will pay a penalty. If you do not pay up, you are liable to lose your freedom and/or property. The city of Angleton, TX has even gone so far as to threaten to CONFISCATE one of my privately-owned vehicles, because it was parked on a privately-owned driveway, while charging me for towing it addition to making me pay a fine for putting them through the trouble...because it didn't have an up-to-date registration sticker.

On my average commute to work, I drive approximately 10 miles and travel across four cities (a portion of the main road I drive constitutes the borderline between three cities...Clute, Lake Jackson, and Richwood). On a given day, I am liable to see a dozen different Law Enforcement Agencies. There's the Texas Department of Public Safety, Brazoria County Sheriff's Department, Angleton Police Department, Clute Police Department, Richwood Police Department, Lake Jackson Police Department, Angleton Fire Marshall, Clute Public Safety Code Compliance department, Brazoria County Constables, and a few others. Only half a dozen times in the past three months have I personally seen all of these officials on the road on a single morning, but damn...most of the time, I'm still seeing at least six of them.

On most occasions, when I'm seeing these officers (state, county, and local), they are PATROLLING. Not investigating crimes, not preventing crimes, but merely trolling around in hopes that they may see someone commit a crime. Essentially, they are part of a revenue generation scheme that knowingly extorts freedom and finances from a supposedly "free" society.

It's been said that, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes a moral duty...and that leads me to a few questions I am forced to ask. These questions are directed mainly toward my cousin, but are open to any member-citizen of this nation:

1) At what point does a person's desire to live freely outweigh the importance of a government agent's (be he federal, state, county, or local) life?

2) At what point does a person's inability to enjoy a free lifestyle outweigh the potential consequences of armed revolt?

To me, it's quite simple. At the precise moment that I feel unable to get up, go to work, and come home in the evening without harming another living soul, without the knowledge that seeing red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror of my car will inevitably mean that I am losing the freedom to get up and go to work in the morning, I have crossed my centerpoint.

It is at this precise moment, that my ability to live my life in a free manner has been superseded by the will of the majority, and I have been rendered an "unfree person". It is also at this precise moment that the consequences of a life-term in prison (or even lethal injection) are not much different than the inability to live freely outside of a prison cell, due to the constant threat of seeing sent to a cell for living as a free man.

When this centerpoint is crossed, it means that I have already lost the ability to live my life with the freedom to enjoy my life, liberty, and property in the manner that I see fit without fear of reprisal in the form of imprisonment for my actions or as a result of failure to pay a financial penalty for my actions. When this occurs, there is no worse punishment available for provision from the state, and I will cease to fear any potential consequence, because these consequences have been rendered inconsequential when compared to a life without the freedom to live as I choose to.

This will be the point where I find it necessary to eradicate those who wish to remove my freedoms. My final question to you ("you" being current and prospective members of Law Enforcement) is simply this...what is your Center Point? When does your authority, willingness, and requirement (as a condition of your employment) to remove my freedom become more important than your desire to continue living peacefully?

I am not alone when I say this, but I will make it perfectly clear. Freedom is not only something worth killing for. It's also worth dying for. I'm not looking for a fight. I live by the non-aggression principle. I won't start a fight, but anyone who knows me knows that I won't hesitate to finish one, regardless of my position when the dust settles.

I come from a long line of folks who were proud of not bowing down to authorities other than God and their own personal convictions. I serve no masters involuntarily, as everything I do in this life is a personal choice. What choices will you make? If you are a member of the Law Enforcement community, at what point will you realize that the laws of this nation have become too unreasonable for citizens to live freely? If you are an ordinary citizen of this nation, at what point will you realize that it is no longer "worth it" to keep living in servitude and subordination to those that the majority has authorized to remove your freedoms?

I'll end this with another personal statement, and you are free to quote me on this:

"A man with hardened principles is not much different than a hardened piece of steel. It is difficult to break him, but far easier to break him than it is to make him bend...and, in doing so, the tools used to do so are often damaged in some form or fashion during the process." -Barry Hayes Rhodes, 4/26/2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Conservativism, Pro Wrestling, and the Obama Administration...

So I'm reading one of those letters written to the editor of our local paper from a few days ago, and he asked a very valid question that I have also often wondered about. Essentially, he was asking why these people were just now rising up in opposition to excessive taxation to fuel wasteful gov't spending, when the Bush administration grew our government by leaps and bounds while tripling our national debt.

I consider it a very valid question, because he makes a very good point with it. Unfortunately, I've seen the "Tea Party" cause turn into less about taxation and more about "right-wing agendas". Seriously, why else would I see so many signs about the evils of abortion at a tax protest? I'm starting to understand why the mainstream media was calling us all "right-wing extremists"'s because, within our midst, there were quite a few of them.

You see, there are quite a few people who feel like the terms "conservative" and "liberal" can be applied to both fiscal and social principles. Unfortunately, if one believes in freedom, they can only be applied to the fiscal side of things where government is concerned. Either you're a "conservative", or you're a "liberal". I am extremely conservative, regardless of how the bastardization of these terms may lead you to believe otherwise.

This may sound strange at first, but think about it. If you are "socially conservative" in your beliefs (I'm not, honestly, for the most part), and you attempt to bring these beliefs into our government, you are the dictionary definition of a LIBERAL. That sounds really bizarre, doesn't it?

Well, keep thinking about it. Suppose you're one of those people who is "Ultra-Conservative" on a social level, and wish to make your beliefs into law. In order to do so, you're going to have to finance its enforcement, otherwise your laws are meaningless. A fiscally conservative person understands that government intervention into questions of morals CANNOT AND WILL NOT solve the world's social ills.

For instance, we have people who are addicted to drugs. Even the RAND corporation, the world's first (and only truly non-partisan) "Think Tank", understands through numerous studies and decades worth of research, that it is far more cost-effective (and more effective, in general) to fund education and treatment programs. Not random bullshit wanna-be education programs like D.A.R.E. that only teach children that only prescribed Ritalin and the like are safe because your doctor says so, but actual education programs that teach the very real effects of drugs. Not bullshit for-profit court-ordered rehab facilities, but non-profit voluntary rehab facilities that actually help people who are looking to help themselves. BTW, projects like RAND are amongst the very few "public works" projects our federal government is authorized to fund through taxation.

Unfortunately, these psuedo-conservatives felt that since "drugs are bad, m'kay?", RAND's findings that drug abuse prevention and treatment being 15 times more cost-effective than drug interdiction were essentially meaningless...and the United States Government declared a war on drugs. These so-called conservatives like Rush Limbaugh felt that drug addicts should be "imprisoned for life"...until he himself became a drug addict.

To be a fiscal "liberal", where politics are concerned, is to assume that taxation for the purposes of having our government throw money at a problem until it goes away is the best answer for everything. Instead of doing the most cost-effective thing where drug abuse is concerned, these pseudo-conservative wolves in their proverbial sheeps’ clothing decided to do the liberal thing…and throw money away. Unfortunately, like many other liberal social programs, our drug war has been *dingdingding* you guessed it, a miserable failure. About ten percent of the BILLIONS (that’s billions, with a “B”) worth of tax dollars that have been pissed away on our war against some drugs has been spent on prevention education and treatment. Combined. Unfortunately, these treatment and education programs haven’t been (for the large part, anyway) spent on non-profit education and treatment by people who actually care. They’ve been spent on funding for-profit court-ordered rehab centers and police department-run D.A.R.E. programs. D.A.R.E., for the most part, focuses on both the legal ramifications of using drugs, as well as government propaganda regarding drug usage that is largely produced to reinforce the assumed legal necessity for the aforementioned legal ramifications. Can anyone say “Gateway Drug”? Yeah, right. Did I mention that our current (and prior two) sitting presidents have used illicit substances, including not only marijuana but also cocaine?

Now, let’s move on to the subject of war. Yes, I am fully aware that we were attacked on 9/11/01. We had a target. Anyone remember who he was? He was that uber-rich guy who sported a beard and lived in a cave. No, not Saddam Hussein, the guy we caught inside a cave while sporting a beard. It was Osama Bin Laden. The guy that our government has never bothered to charge with mass murder of American citizens on American soil. The 6’ tall Arab with the dialysis machine strapped to one arm and the microphone strapped to the other, that we can’t seem to find. Instead of going into “justice mode” and looking for Osama Bin Laden, we have instead decided to attack those who provided free rent and board in the cave. We arrested and tortured a 16 year old kid who once gave him a ride in his cab. We’ve obliterated countless civilians via artillery strikes and guided missiles, and called it “collateral damage”. After more than seven years, we still haven’t found this man. We’re still spending more than $2billion (again, that’s BILLION, with a “B”) in Afghanistan. EVERY GODFORSAKEN MONTH.

Of course, our expenditures in this failed excursion into Afghanistan pale in comparison to our conquest of Baghdad. Over there, we were spending TEN BILLION DOLLARS PER MONTH when the war was in full swing. I haven’t checked the figures in about six months, because quite frankly, eventually I just got sick of thinking about it.

Now, let’s think about this Iraq situation. Does anyone remember why we were there? We’ve been fed myriad reasons why, and they are all largely just pure and simple bullshit.

“Weapons of Mass Destruction”? With the exception of the chemical weapons we sold to Saddam for use against Iran that were actually used against his “Kurdish problem”, no chemical weapons were ever found in Iraq…unless you count the decayed shells dug out of the desert, which were not only US-supplied, but also so old and decrepit that our own gov’t declared them to be useless as actual weapons. They were about as potent as your average can of insect repellent. A few of our troops were exposed to these “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and had to receive medical treatment…for mild skin irritation. More people were more seriously injured at Dow Chemical last month than were injured by chemical weapons in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Saddam was trying to buy “yellowcake uranium” in Africa. Oh, really? Bullshit. Not only was this debacle proven to be a complete fraud perpetrated by our government, but the CIA agent spouse of the man who told the world it was a fraud was outed by White House employees…in violation of federal law. CIA assets all over the world were burned in that deal. The people who put their lives on the line, gathering intel for our nation, were put in grave danger because someone called bullshit on the lies perpetrated by the people in charge of our invasion.

Al Qaeda was supposedly “active” in Iraq. Again, bullshit. As hard as the White House tried, no matter how Dick Cheney wished it were so (and proclaimed it to be so, on national television), Al Qaeda was not active in Iraq until after we took out Saddam. Yes, they had a common ideological enemy. The same can be said for our local gangbangers, with regard to our local police department…but that don’t mean I’ll be hanging out with the local crips any time soon, even if we occasionally say hello or rejoice in one another’s court victories against our local PD. While they both obviously hated America, Al Qaeda and Hussein were acquaintances at best…sworn enemies, more like it. Al Qaeda is a jihadist organization bent on Muslim theocracy ruling the planet…and Saddam ran the most secular government in the Mideast. Religious extremism was a threat to Saddam’s power, and most of us know how that typically turned out if he had his way.

“Saddam was a torturous tyrant”. Well, guess what? So was Bush, apparently. His underlings authorized what Senator John McCain described as “torture”, and McCain would know…because he was “water-boarded” in Viet Nam.

“Saddam used chemical weapons.” Yeah, so? America is the only nation on the planet to have actually used nuclear weapons against an enemy. Ever. Saddam used those chemical weapons more than a decade before we invaded. I think the statute of limitations kinda expired on that one, didn’t it? On top of that, we sold him those cans of gas…so our moral grounds just washed away.

“Saddam violated UN Security Council Resolutions”. Yeah, so? Israel has more UNSCR and UN Human Rights violations under its belt than any other nation on the planet, in the entire history of the United Nations. We aren’t invading Israel, and have no plans to in the future. Instead, we’re going to be giving them billions more, just as we have done.

So that gets me to where I was heading. Yes, it is the “biblical” thing to do, with regard to supporting Israel…but it’s not the constitutionally-authorized and common sense-oriented thing to do. Blasting Osama Bin Laden into oblivion is the constitutionally-authorized and common sense-oriented thing to do…but doesn’t fit in with Jesus’ idea of “turning the other cheek”. It doesn’t make sense that the CIA would authorize the replanting of opium poppy that the Taliban had outlawed, because the ban had destroyed the local economy…even though four months prior to 9/11/2001, our government gave the Taliban almost 50 MILLION DOLLARS for their opium eradication efforts. I wonder how many American kids could have become doctors if that money were spent on med school tuition.

The notion of invading Iraq doesn’t fit into any biblical justification. It didn’t meet the “common sense” criteria. It didn’t meet the standards of international law (If Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and the remainder of the White House staff were to be tried according to the standards of Nuremberg, they’d be dangling from the end of a rope…and I’m sure someone would catch it with a cellphone, just like they did with Saddam).

On top of all this, it ended up with all manner of death and destruction for honorable young men and women in our military. Thankfully, none of my friends that were there had died. Most of them came back without any serious injuries. I only wish I could say the same for the son of my dad’s friend, who was killed by a roadside bomb. On top of the hundreds of billions of dollars we pissed away in Iraq, there are thousands of parents who are now missing a child. There are thousands more US soldiers and Marines who are now missing parts of them that didn’t come back from Iraq, both mental and physical, and still live with this today.

The point I’m getting at with all of this talk about war is quite simple, so pardon me for the lengthy writing. Our government has fed us all manner of bullshit and lies, but it honestly, that’s all it was…just bullshit and lies. Sadly, most of it seems to be solely for the expenditure of our tax dollars for friends of our president and congressmen.

So back to what I was saying about being a “conservative”…if you are a true conservative, you lead by example of your morals and allow others to do as they please until it affects you, not by saying “my way is the right way, and you’ll do it my way or else under penalty of fine, imprisonment, or death”. This nation doesn’t need any more debt. We’re Taxed Enough Already. Fighting unending wars on bumper-sticker slogans and moral ideals is useless, and I don’t condone our government’s doing it with my money. True conservatives don’t, because they know that government intervention leads only to corruption and waste.

To play the “liberal vs. conservative” game, as it is portrayed in our common media, is not much different than professional wrestling. It’s fake as hell, and only idiots think it matters. Neither side could care less about the random bullshit that’s spewing out of their mouths; they’re only interested in taking your money. A real-deal “liberal” is ignorant and/or deranged. A true conservative knows that immorality is curbed at home and in Sunday school, not in congress or a court room. To sit and bitch about Obama's so obviously communist agenda, and completely ignore the past eight years of Bubba Dubbya, is to participate in a grandiose exercise of FAIL.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A little bit more of the ongoing feud...

First off, Billiam, it's good to know that you agree with me on 90% of what I've been saying.

Second, it would seem that your biggest issue you have with my personal opinions isn't that I'm actually wrong, but rather that you don't like my attitude toward armed agents of the state. As I was telling you earlier, we do have several inherent rights. The right to not have your feelings hurt isn't one of them. Perhaps this is that 10% we disagree on? I'll assume it is, and if so, it renders the rest of that rambling to be a mass of moot points. I'll explain my utter disdain for the Law Enforcement community at large later on, so keep reading.

I'll begin tonight's rant by asking a variation of that age-old philosophical question about the tree falling in the woods when no one is around to hear it. Obviously, I am a firm believer in modern science, and as an amateur musician, I know a few things about what creates sound. Yes, it's going to make a sound. The more important question to ask is not whether it makes a sound, but rather, DOES IT MATTER IF IT MAKES A SOUND, IF NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR IT?

Will it change any living person's life if there is a hellacious ruckus caused by a 98-year old oak tree falling to the forest floor, if there's not a single living person around to hear it? Obviously not.

Moving right've stated that you like to ride your motorcycle without a helmet, because you "ride to be free". You've stated that drug use doesn't only affect the user, but also those who are affected by it via seeing a loved one fall into the abyss of addiction. A seatbelt is known to have saved many a life in a car accident, and this was the reason given to us by our legislature for making it an arrestable offense to drive without wearing one.

I barely knew your grandfather, because he died in a motorcycle accident due to massive head injury, when I was still a boy. He wasn't wearing a helmet. I've seen what it did to his family, most notably my father (your grandfather's youngest, and arguably his closest, brother) and my grandmother. I was there when my father watched the man count out those hundred dollar bills at our kitchen table when he bought my father's Harley. I've seen how my grandmother (your great-grandmother) still gets choked up when she hears "Amazing Grace". And yet, you like to ride without a helmet, because YOU ENJOY DOING SO. And you know what? Even though I ride with a helmet every time I get on a bike, I support your right to ride without one, even though you may be injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of SOMEONE ELSE. I also know that you can be involved in a motorcycle accident as a result of someone else's carelessness, because it happened to me...and you can ask my father about how he was freaking out when he had to come and get me, because even though he knew I was alright, he didn't want my grandmother to know about it.

My little brother was addicted to cocaine before he was legally old enough to buy his first pack of cigarettes. Because of his age, lack of education, and addiction running his life, he was unable to get a decent job of any sort...and cocaine habits can get expensive, from what I hear. As a result, he occasionally broke into random buildings to fund his habits. Because one of those buildings was a garage attached to a home, his theft of a chainsaw constitutes "Burglary of a Habitation". Due to his prior criminal record, he's likely going to be sentenced to the rest of his life behind bars. My mother's oldest son died in a car accident two weeks after his 21st birthday, and her youngest is likely to die in prison. He's 5'6", weighs 145lbs, and is 21 years old. You don't need to tell me how drug addiction affects those around you, because I know.

Seat belts save many lives every day, in car accidents all over the world...and yet, the average American motorist is unlikely to ever be involved in a life-threatening car accident throughout his entire life. Even though my brother was wearing a seat belt, and was killed when the truck rolled over and crushed the life from him, his fiance wasn't wearing hers...she was ejected from the vehicle, and was walking around when the paramedics arrived. Still, I know that my chances of survival from a serious car accident are much greater when wearing a seat belt than when not wearing I wear one every single time I hit the road.

A law against not wearing a seat belt isn't what prompts me to wear one, it's knowledge that it might save my life that makes me strap that belt around my waist and shoulder every time that Oldsmobile backs out of my driveway. On the same note, the knowledge that protective gear such as an armored jacket, steel-toed boots, gloves, and a helmet will save life and limb in the event of a motorcycle accident are what prompts me to put them on when I ride a bike...and, in the fall of 2006, this was proven when I crashed a motorcycle on Interstate 10 at 60mph and limped away with nothing more than a bruised hip and some skinned knees. There are two major differences between seat belts in a car, and helmets when riding, that I'd like to point out here. First, you are statistically far more likely to survive a car accident without a seat belt, than you are to survive a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet. Second, for all the "life-saving" that our legislature is so fond of, they felt the need to make it a crime to not wear a seat belt...but allowed the riding of motorcycles without helmets to remain perfectly legal.

I don't disagree with seat belt laws on this basis, however. I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy in our government. I should have the right to DECIDE on my own whether to wear a seat belt in my own car, wear a helmet while riding my own motorcycle, or smoke a bowl of meth in my own living room. Not wearing a helmet can kill you, as your grandfather has shown us. Not wearing a seat belt can also kill you, as so many people who die daily in American car accidents have also shown us. Using illicit substances can kill a man from overdose, or lead him to commit crimes that will land him in prison...and both of these outcomes can be absolutely traumatic for that man's family.

Even still, it is estimated that the MAJORITY of adult Americans today have tried an illicit substance at least once in their lives. Yes, even if it was just a puff off a doobie when you were 17, it was still an illicit substance that can (and, most probably, will) get you arrested. Interestingly enough, however, the MAJORITY of adult Americans are NOT in jail, dead, or engaged in criminal activities, while it may be true that using drugs may possibly lead to death or prison, it cannot be said that it WILL lead to death or prison. My little brother tried cocaine in high school, and it lead him to things that will likely cause him to die in a 6'x8' cage. Barrack Obama tried cocaine in high school, and got elected to the office of The President of the United States of America.

Every man, woman, and child in America today should know that using drugs is bad for your body and your mind. When I was in kindergarten, the most visible "public awareness" message being taught to the younger children in our high schools was "Don't Talk to Strangers"...presumably, to protect them from those chomos you keep talking about. Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign went full-swing about the time I entered the first grade, and all of a sudden that slogan was everywhere...from packs of bubblegum to our school-issued textbook covers. Unless you've been living in a cave in rural Montana for the past twenty-five years, you should be fully aware that "Crack is Whack". "Don't do drugs, m'kay?". "Just Say No!". You get the idea. All of us do.

And yet, all the education in the world couldn't stop the usage of drugs in America. Just last year, in West Columbia, TX, there was a POLICE DETECTIVE who was using cocaine. Not just cocaine that he was illicitly purchasing, but also cocaine that he was stealing from the police department's evidence lockup. His discharge from the department was due to his inability to account for cocaine he had signed out, but his criminal charges stem from pawning stolen items in his own name and being traced back to him. This man had personally arrested countless felons, some for drug offenses and some for crimes of violence against actual people. As a result of his illegal actions, every pending case he worked on was considered "tainted" and dismissed by the District Attorney because she understood there was no way to put this man in front a jury and even attempt to win against any defense attorney smarter than a bucket of hair.

The fact that our penal code proscribes punishments for violations of law is proof positive that outlawing something does not prevent it.

The only way to get a person to "act right" is by teaching him that acting "wrong" is immoral. If this is being attempted via legislation and cops, it's far too late for that. A person's childhood is the appropriate time to be doing this. If a person wants to "act wrong" after being raised properly, there's not a law in the world that will stop him from doing and I both know this from personal experience.

Furthermore, we have the simple fact that my definition of "wrong" and your definition of "wrong" may be completely different. Jewish people think it's immoral to eat pork. I eat bacon almost daily, as a Numero Dos con Queso from Jovi's taco stand down the street from my store consists of bacon, egg, potato, and cheese. Thankfully, the minority's opinion of what is "immoral" in this state doesn't constitute state law. Unfortunately, the majority's opinion does. Up until less than a decade ago (when Lawrence v. Texas was heard by SCOTUS in 2003), "sodomy" (read: buttsecks, hummers, et cetera) were illegal in the state of Texas. Not because it was a danger to society at large, but because gay men like penises that don't belong to them, and the majority of Texans thought this was IMMORAL.

The sodomy law in Texas was written in a manner that banned only homosexual sodomy...but several states (Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisianna, Michigan, Mississipi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia) had outlawed ALL sodomist acts between consenting adults. Even if you were married to her at the time. In Michigan, prior to a court decision, you could be sentenced to prison for the rest of your life for munching your wife's muff twice and getting convicted of doing so. Just the things that took place on my honeymoon could have potentially imprisoned myself and my ex-wife for decades in some states.

Sodomy laws are, of course, an extreme example...and one not likely to be prosecuted, except in the most bizarre of circumstances (as happened in Lawrence v. Texas, when cops executing a search warrant found a couple of homos gettin' jiggy, instead of the large cache of dope in the next-door neighbor's apartment). This doesn't change the fact that every state in the union has laws that affect absolutely no one but the person involved, unless other POTENTIAL circumstances arise...and, as a result of wearing a badge, a policeman is authorized by the state and REQUIRED AS A CONDITION OF HIS EMPLOYMENT to enforce every single one of these laws that deny individual freedoms to others and serve no real purpose except revenue generation.

In many cases, a policeman will actually use these laws restricting personal liberty to initiate an otherwise unlawful contact with a person in hopes of arresting for a more serious crime (known as a "pretext stop", declared lawful by SCOTUS in Whren v. United States). Also in many cases, an officer will UNLAWFULLY ALLEGE the violation of these laws to initiate an otherwise unlawful contact with a person in hopes of arresting for a more serious crime (declared unlawful in Whren v. United States).

Regardless, neither one of these circumstances would have presented themselves if our legal system did not proscribe punishments for "crimes" that have no victim. Many police officers will make up a story about how you "weren't wearing a seatbelt" to initiate an otherwise unlawful contact in hopes of finding evidence of a more serious crime.

I know for a fact that I was wearing a seatbelt on Aug. 26, 2006, when I got pulled over for not wearing it...because I had to unbuckle the damned thing before I pull my license out of wallet, which was in my right rear pocket. Regardless, I should have never been pulled over for it in the first place, because my alleged failure to wear one wouldn't harm another living soul...and wouldn't even hurt me personally unless I were involved in a serious auto accident in which a seat belt could have saved my life or health. Yet, it was still used as a reason to pull me over that night, which resulted in my arrest for the crime of DWI (which was, in fact, dismissed before I even stepped in front of a judge...but does carry a minimum of $3000 paid directly to the arresting agency upon conviction, if you ever want to drive again in Texas).

My point is this: our state penal code, our family code, and our traffic code are all slammed full of laws and ordinances that do absolutely nothing but remove freedom and finances from those who violate these codes. They serve no demonstrable positive purpose in our society, other than pretending to enforce morality or safety, even when violations of these laws harm no one but the perpetrator and/or other consenting adult participants...if they harm anyone at all.

A police officer WILL fall into one of the two following categories:
A) He understands individual freedom, and knows that his employment as a police officer in the United States of America WILL require him, as a condition of his employment, to violate the individual freedoms of others.

B) He doesn't understand anything about freedom, period.

If he falls into category "A", he's a fascist...and as a result, is deserving of my utter contempt.

If he falls into category "B", he's borderline retarded...and doesn't need to be anywhere near a gun, and especially the authority to use one on another human being.

Does this clear things up for you, Billiam?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some random ramblings on "Inherent Rights".

I came to a major realization, regarding my incessant search for truth, about three years ago during the Iranian "hostage" situation...not the Carter-Regan era debacle, but the arrest of British sailors and Marines in the Persian Gulf by the Iranian navy. If one wishes to find an absolute fact, the best way to find it is to confront two polar opposite points of view and see what they agree on. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and gravity probably exists. Keep reading, you'll eventually see where I'm going with this...

I was attempting to explain to my cousin about the difference between "privileges" and the inherent rights of man the other night, although I'm not absolutely certain that he understood them...because, for some reason, he still wants to be a cop! He has this very odd fascination with arresting child molesters, which leads me to believe he may have been "inappropriately touched" by a gym teacher in his youth. Whatever.

He feels that the need to bring murderers, rapists, thieves, robbers, and destroyers of property to their meeting with justice far outweighs the egregious raping of the inherent rights of a man that have been authorized, codified, and financed via our state governments, so that these abuses may take place at the hands of our uniformed police...and I, quite simply, disagree with him.

As I have stated numerous times, there are certain inherent rights of man that are granted not by a political charter or official government document, but rather granted by our creator and are bestowed upon us by the mere nature of our birth and joining of the human race.

Those rights include being able to enjoy one's life, liberty, and property as one sees fit to do so, provided the exercise of these rights DOES NOT interfere with the right of another to do the same. Along with these three rights, one also has an inherent right to defend his ability to enjoy these rights using whatever necessary means, up to and including ending the life of anyone who threatens these rights. That fourth portion was covered rather well in Heller case, in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Second Amendment right to "Keep and Bear arms" to be an *INDIVIDUAL* right. You'll notice that I emphasized that in all manner possible using the technology at hand, because the inherent right of defending ones' other rights is essential to exercising ones' other rights.

My dear beloved cousin brought up the notion of municipalities invoking their own legislation, and I am most certainly in praise of the idea that local rule is the best rule...unless it violates the natural rights of man. Upon reading his explanation of certain legislation, I reminded him of the fact that we do not live in a democracy, but rather a constitutional republic. Even though the state may have legalized the violation of a man's inherent rights, as the state of Texas did when they outlawed the right to resist an illegal arrest (Texas Penal Code 38.03(b)), the inherent right to resist an unlawful arrest is guaranteed by the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Two days ago (April 20, 2009), the federal Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit described the idea of an "inherent right". The published opinion is 43 pages long, but worth every minute you may spend reading it. The originating case was in reference to the Second Amendment, but the opinion issued was centered around whether the 2A applied to only the federal government or the states as well, due to the doctrine of incorporation.

The court ruled that the right to defend ones' self was an inherent right, predating the United States Constitution.

It effectively nullified TPC 38.03(B), because the right to defend ones' self against unlawful detention is an inherent right that also predates the United States Constitution.


That's something you should look at, considering the amount of legislation on our books that also currently violate our natural and inherent rights.

I'm the type of person that would rather challenge opponents in an open and recorded forum, because I know all too well what happens when events are judged based solely upon the evidence of word-of-mouth testimony and one party to the conflict is an "authority figure" I prefer to do my "shooting" with a camera, where cops are involved. In this manner, the police have done most of the "shooting" for me via dashboard cameras, but I'll still do a little bit of "shooting" of my own, because I don't like having to wait seven months for the evidence to surface due to "technical difficulties".

It should also be known, however, that my vehicle currently rolls down the highway pursuant to TPC 46.02(2), and I'm not the only one. I speak for myself when I say that it is better to let the evidence present itself in a court of law when challenged by those wearing the badge...and I certainly don't speak for everyone who lawfully travels with a loaded and unlicensed handgun underneath the seat of his Oldsmobile. I have no control over the actions of others.

Back to what I was saying earlier about "universal truths", my opinions and the opinions of the Ninth Circus of Appeals are typically on complete and total opposite ends of the spectrum. For instance, they repeatedly insisted that the right to keep and bear arms was a "collective" right, due to the "militia" clause of the Second Amendment. However, when hit with the hard facts of the Heller case, they were forced to recognize that not only was the right to defend ones' freedom an inherent right, but it was also an INDIVIDUAL right. To find the truth, find what opposing sides agree on...and there you have it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And today's news backs up what I've been saying (yet again!)...

So let's see here...I've been posting this blog for a relatively short period of time, given my over-all experience with "throwing tantrums" on the inturwebz. And even in this short amount of time, it didn't take too long before someone (who happens to be a member of my own family) called me "paranoid". Interestingly enough, however, news headlines just today have reaffirmed my three largest complaints about our government's over-arching authority over United States Citizens. My biggest gripes about our government, at all levels, are the "War on Some Drugs", the militarization of our municipal police forces, and abuse of rights at the hands of ordinary traffic cops.

Today, in the halls of the United States Supreme Court, the case of Arizona v. Gant was heard. For the past 28 years, the ruling of New York v. Belton was the legal precedent used to provide for warrantless searches of vehicles immediately after the arrest of the occupant. The ruling was based upon the case of a man arrested for drug possession (in this case, marijuana, after smelling burnt herb and seeing an envelope marked "Super Gold"). After the arrest, the vehicle was searched, and cocaine was found in the pocket of a jacket inside the vehicle.

Since the time of the Belton ruling, which was handed down in good faith to provide officers a legal means of seizing evidence of a crime after a legitimate arrest, it was criticized because its broadly-worded opinion failed to meet the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

For the past 28 years, an officer was lawfully allowed to search your vehicle after arresting you, even though you may have been arrested for an offense where there was no possible manner in which to gather "evidence" from a search...which directly violated the Fourth Amendment.

In the Gant case, Mr. Gant was arrested for driving with a suspended license. Subsequent to his arrest, Mr. Gant's vehicle was searched, and there was a small amount (typically referred to as a "personal usage" amount) of cocaine found in his jacket. *NOTE TO COKE HEADS...STOP PUTTING YOUR COKE IN YOUR JACKET, THEY KNOW WHERE TO LOOK!*

Since the officer had no reason to believe that Gant had access to the vehicle after his arrest, nor was there any further evidence toward the original offense of driving without a license that could have been gathered by searching his vehicle, the Supreme Court of the United States holds by majority opinion that it is UNLAWFUL for a law enforcement officer to search an occupant's vehicle if there is no possibility of evidence being gained by search of the vehicle, and the vehicle is not accessible to the suspect at the time of the search for purposes of accessing a weapon or destroying evidence.

Did I mention that it is still legal in the state of Texas to arrest a person for not using a turn signal? There is no evidence that can be gathered to substantiate the claim that a turn signal was not used, by searching a vehicle...but that search, until this afternoon, was considered "routine" and "legal".

Remember this date, kids. April 21, 2009. It's the date that our Supreme Court put a serious dent in the tyrannical actions of our police department, and upheld a specific portion of our Bill of Rights!


Moving right along to the "War on Some Drugs", the "zero tolerance" policies in our public school systems, et cetera. Today, the court is hearing the case of a young lady (she was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD at the time) being strip searched at school.

The young lady, now in college, was forced to remove her clothing and "shake out" her undergarments, exposing her breasts and pelvic area to school administration staff...because an "anonymous tip" informed school officials that she had *gasp!* PRESCRIPTION-STRENGTH IBUPROFEN. Yes, she was said to be carrying a strong remedy for headaches.

Did I mention that Ibuprofen won't get you stoned, get you "wired", get you tired, et cetera? It's not an upper, a downer, or a hallucinogen. It's an analgesic...a HEADACHE REMEDY. It's called "prescription strength" because it contains as much active ingredient in one tablet as four over-the-counter tablets.

Oh yeah, btw...NO TABLETS OF IBUPROFEN WERE FOUND. I'm quite anxious to hear the ruling on this one.


Now, moving on to the militarization of our police forces. As I've shown in a previous post, our Law Enforcement community is already benefiting greatly from the Pentagon's L.E.S.O. program...the one in which our local pork gets military-grade hardware for nothing, via the Pentagon's out-phasing of old equipment.

It seems that the Harris County Sheriff's Department has felt the need to ask the Justice Department for $7 MILLION in federal "stimulus funding", for the purposes of purchasing a helicopter, a surveillance van, and EIGHT MACHINE GUNS, among other things.

Okay, I can understand the helicopter. Even when the police are operating under the bare minimum of necessity for the safety and security of a free society, sometimes the ability to locate a dangerous criminal is necessary. I won't touch that one, because I don't disagree with the police having a helicopter (unless, of course, it is used in an illegal and/or unconstitutional manner). Catching a dangerous criminal in the fastest possible manner will, in fact, pay off in terms of safety and security for the rest of us.

Now, moving right along to the other list of desirements (read: "shit they want, but don't really need"). A surveillance van? Are you kidding me? Surely, you jest! And to spend a hundred and thirteen grand on it? Seriously, folks. Someone's brother-in-law is about to make a killing here! We're talking 900% markups! For real. Even purchased at typical retail value (neglecting any "law enforcement discounts"), a brand-new panel van can be had for roughly $20k.

As far as surveillance equipment goes, the list of stuff you actually *NEED* is quite small, now that we live in the digital age. A good high-definition video camera, a FLIR camera, laser microphone for recording audio (a laser mic records minute vibrations from a window, which are caused by sound, and is the easiest way of recording without planting a transmitter "bug"), receivers for radio transmitters for audio and video, remote transmitters for audio and video, and a SEPARATE HIGH-QUALITY COMPUTER FOR EACH can be had for under $35k...and that's paying Sheriff's Department motor pool and Info Tech people to install them, after they've been purchased at retail price.

Seriously, folks...I work in the 12v industry. I can buy this stuff off the shelf, right now, and put one of these vans together for a smidgen of that price.

In addition to the amount of money that's so obviously being pissed away, let's look at what they would be "surveilling" with this van. Most probably, it's going to be "vice" crimes, which are not directly physically or financially harmful to ANYONE except the consenting adults that participate in such actions. I don't smoke crack, bang hookers, or gamble...but I don't think that four times my annual salary should be spent building a van that will enable the police to lock people up (also at our expense), prosecute these people (also at our expense), and imprison these people (also at our expense) for engaging in activities that only their spouses, children, and employers (in the case of drug use) have a right to know about.

Okay, that one kinda miffed me a bit, but here's the one I absolutely CANNOT wrap my warped little head around. Eight friggin' machine guns, for "patrol boats"? Where the hell do we live? Somewhere in 'Nam? No, people. This is TEXAS! Our cops don't need machine guns!

They especially don't need to be spending more than TWENTY ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A PIECE for them. What the hell are they trying to get, a GE Vulcan? No, I'm sorry, but you really don't need such a thing for "patrols".

Furthermore, even IF WE NEEDED our local Sheriffs patrolling our waterways with machine guns (which we most certainly don't), there's no way in hell they should be costing more than five grand a piece. I'm sorry, but you're just a cop, and this is Harris County. The Mekong Delta and the Bay of Pigs aren't anywhere near you. If your shotguns, your rifles, and your sidearms won't do the trick, you don't need a machine gun. You need the US Navy.

Specifically, I'd like to know exactly what FOUR PATROL BOATS, FOR THE ENTIRETY OF HARRIS COUNTY, are planning on shooting at with MACHINE GUNS. I don't live in Harris County (thank God!), but I most certainly have an income tax liability...which means, on top of all the other random bullshit we're wasting our money on, I'm also helping to pay for this crap. A bunch of wanna-be Rambo weekend warriors with machine guns mounted on "patrol boats". For what? So they can further threaten an intoxicated jet-skier, as if a mere pistol wouldn't do the job well enough? They'll both kill you just as dead. Really. What's the point?

Perhaps the most important question we should be asking here, however, is simply this:


Monday, April 20, 2009

The ongoing feud...

between me and my wonderful cop-to-be cousin.

I love you, but I'm gonna have to set it straight with some facts here. His words are the italicized portion of this post, so things don't get skewed.
And so begins my attempt to educate a man who is too ignorant to see how the laws of this country serve to protect him, rather than harm him.

As for your first paragraph, where you state:
"A policeman's power is limited only to removing liberty, safety, and occasionally lives, from the citizens he wields this power over."
You are obviously too ignorant of the processes and the procedures the officers follow on a daily basis that there isn't much I can say here. And no, unfortunately for you, it isn't because you're right, it's because you're completely and utterly wrong there's absolutely nothing I could say here that would make a difference. You've become so angry and so jaded towards the law enforcement community you won't even listen to reason, to see the good. You see, what you've written here, is more than just your thoughts and opinions, you've written what I like to refer to as a "smear ad." It's dirty, it's political, and it's down right wrong. Rather than being objective to the situation and trying to see both sides of the coin, you've chosen to see only the negative, and by doing so, you yourself have become part of the problem. You've become so enveloped in your own opinion and trying to get your message across, you can't see the good. Or rather, you can't see the forest for the trees.

A policeman's power, whether you like it or not, IS limited strictly to removing the life, liberty, and/or property from a citizen. He has no other legal authorities other than to kill or arrest a citizen upon warrant or reasonable suspicion of a crime, or to confiscate property. Sometimes his actions are not only just but also legal, other times they are not.

In your second paragraph you state:
"Yes, officers die in the line of duty. Much like every other occupation, most on-the-job deaths and injuries are the result of accidents. I'd also like to point out that, due to my specific occupation, I am statistically somewhere around ten times more likely to be killed or injured "on the clock" than a policeman is (that comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in case you were
thinking I pulled it out of my ass or something)"
Once again, you are wrong in thinking that most officer deaths are accident related. More officer's are killed during "routine" traffic stops due to the unknown nature of the individual being stopped.

Actually, no. While more officers IN THE PAST CENTURY have been killed by felonious assault, this has not been the case since 1999. Since that time, data reflects the fact that more officers are in fact killed by traffic accidents.

There is a reason and a method officers follow during a traffic stop, that whether YOU like it or not, is followed to protect them. It has nothing to do with trying to take away or violate your civil liberties. That may be the way you see it, but honestly, that officer could care less about taking away your freedoms, than protecting his/her own life.
He/she too, has rights, and a family to return home to. The procedures they follow, and the commands they issue are tried and true methods of making sure that officer goes home at night. It however, it not about your rights, your freedoms, or your liberties. It's about life, and the protection of it. If your head is so far up your ass that you can't see the need for officers to protect themselves, especially against people like yourself, who rather than give respect and peacefully follow commands, would rather scream about rights violations, then more often than not you're going to end up in jail. It's simple, do what they say, and have your day in court. Cry about your injustices there. You seem to be good at it.

One question a cop's family more important than mine? Moreover, does his willingness to violate my civil liberties (and yes, that's EXACTLY what I call it, when I'm detained for half an hour on the side of a highway during a Saturday night, because my factory-issued DOT-stamped tail lights aren't "red enough", when he wants to go on a fishing expedition in violation of my 4A rights) somehow require me to give a shit about his personal health and safety?

The second part of your second paragraph states:
"Your buddy's motorcycle-cop of a father was not run down intentionally by a criminal intent on killing a cop...he was injured in a traffic accident, much the same as I was when the idiot in the minivan almost ran me over while traveling down I-10 on my way to school. At the time of the incident, I was working as a CNC machinist. Your buddy's dad was a cop. Our respective occupations had absolutely nothing to do with our accidents, with the exception that your friend's dad was on the clock at the time."
Yes, her father was killed in a traffic accident. And that's exactly what I said it was. A traffic accident. However, assuming that what happened to you is the same thing, is comparing apples to oranges. If you're so unaware while driving that you cannot see a police officer on a motorcycle WHILE YOU RUN A RED LIGHT, then you do not need to be driving. Please, bare in mind now, Barry, then when this officer was struck, the suspect WAS IN THE PROCESS OF COMMITTING A CRIME! True, this was just a little crime, right, no big deal, just ran a stupid red light? Or...maybe it's a stop sign next time. And another cop is dead now. Or maybe someone else. A mother and her child maybe? Maybe hat would be more drastic to you? Would that get you marching on the streets for change? No, it wouldn't. If you're going to be so cold towards the men and women who do their best to protect us, why would someone like you care about the everyday people, most of who could care less about you?

Cop or not, it's a shame when anyone dies of unnatural causes. However, being a cop doesn't make his life any more or less important than my life. Honestly, I'm not that concerned about people who get pulled over for running red lights, because I don't run them and I don't think anyone else should be doing so either. It's a safety issue that could have just as easily have killed me or you, as it killed that cop. What DOES concern me is the action of cops pulling people over when they HAVEN'T run red lights, stop signs, et cetera. It's called a "pretext stop", and it's only legal if the person has ACTUALLY VIOLATED THE TRAFFIC ORDINANCE. Most often, it's a made-up allegation used to provide legitimacy to an otherwise illegitimate contact with a citizen.

In the first part of your third paragraph you state:
"Yes, police are hated as a pariah by the majority of people who don't know them. Officers know this, and still do the job. Some people even actively wish to kill police officers, yet these officers still go to work."
Wow! That must have been a hard statement for someone as jaded as yourself to write. If I didn't know better I might think this some type of praise. But we both know anything good you write about the law enforcement community is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I'll be right up front and honest with you here, Bill. If I don't know you, and you wear a badge, I won't spit in your face if your eyes were on fire. It's not because all police are inherently bad's because there have been plenty of instances that I've run across bad people who were police officers, and not nearly enough of the "good guys" to make me change this prejudice. Such is the case with many "cop-haters". If the police have a problem with this inconvenient little fact, perhaps they should start policing their own ranks a little bit better. Canned apologies written by the city attorney don't really do the job that adequately.

What you said is not only correct, it's commendable.

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. If you think it's "commendable" that ONE IN EVERY FIVE HUNDRED AMERICAN ADULTS is currently imprisoned for the simple sale or possession of a prohibited substance, that's your right to think it's commendable. Personally, I think that fact alone is absolutely criminal. Keep in mind, however, that particular number does not even come close to including all those people who have been prosecuted for other supposed "crimes" that have no actual know, where the "complainant" is listed as "State"? You call it "commendable" that people would actually knowingly continue to make money contributing to this problem, but I can assure you that I don't, and I'm sorry that you do.

They CONTINUE to go to work knowing they are hated by most, and hunted down by some, and yet still they press on. Can you say you would do the same? I doubt it.

There's a drastic difference here. If I'm hated by most and hunted by some, I'm not going to get too far working in a small business. Being "hated" kinda alienates much of my client base, you know? A cop, on the other hand, goes to work no matter how many people hate long as the chief ain't one of those people. Personally, I don't really think that I'd be out doing things that would cause most people to hate me. Come to think of it, I DON'T. Go figure...

It seems to me the most you can do is throw a temper tantrum on the Internet. You are so unaware of what the law enforcement community is doing, all around you, right now, because rather than take a stand and fight WITH the officers to better the relationship between law enforcement and private citizens, you insist on being the problem. We have a place for people like you, it's called jail. If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. If you don't want to be in jail, or arrested, stay out of the grass because as you said, the police are coming to work day after day, regardless of how much you scream and cry "CIVIL RIGHTS! CIVIL RIGHTS!"

Actually, while you think all I do is "throw tantrums", you couldn't be further from the truth. I exercise my right to request a speedy and impartial trial by a jury of my peers. Funny thing is though, when I do so, charges keep getting dismissed. Hmmm...I wonder why that is? Could it be because there was never enough evidence of any wrongdoing to provide reasonable cause for arrest? No....that couldn't be it, because that would mean *YOU GUESSED IT* my natural rights (as well as those rights guaranteed to me by my nation's constitution) would have been VIOLATED BY AN OFFICER OF THE LAW.

In the second part, and the rest of your third paragraph you state:

"Officers are fully aware that the majority of our State Penal Code is based upon revenue generation and/or penalizing activities that harm absolutely no non-consenting adults, yet they still clock in. It is the fact that, even knowing that the majority of our penal code goes against the tenets of freedom that this nation was founded upon and STILL wish to work as a police officer, that I have very little respect for most of them. At least my friends are honest about why they work as cops."

What a sack of shit! Did you, Barry, really write that? I would hope someone of your tenure would be able to come up with something better than this. If this is your basis for not respecting the law enforcement community, then perhaps your need to reexamine your reasons. In the light of an officer putting a child molester in jail, I could honestly care less about whether or not the state makes a couple dollars off me in the process. I cannot, nor can you attest to the fact that all officers see the laws and statutes the same way you do. As revenue. Of course, we all know, the government needs to make money to pay it's officials and it's employees. How is this done?
Hmmm. Let's see. People speed. Run red lights. RUN STOP SIGNS and the like. Looks to me like adding a dollar amount is the simplest way to go. But of course, to someone like you, this is just the governments way of raping you out of your hard earned money and I'm sure it's how they bleed you dry, right? Cry about it. I'm sure someone will care.

Your petty insults and snide comments aside, you fail to recognize the one key word here, Billiam. *MAJORITY* As in, "not all, but MOST". The MAJORITY of our penal code does not concern itself with crimes against persons or property, they concern themselves with crimes in which THE STATE is the so-called "victim". Which is, in essence, nothing more than a revenue generator. Why? Because there is no other justification for prosecuting such an offense.

The first part of your fourth paragraph you state:
"Just because it hasn't happened TO YOU doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...and you should understand this, otherwise you're going to make a shitty cop. I've only had a gun pointed at my head on three occasions in my lifetime...all were unwarranted, and all three of those pistols were in the hands of men wearing badges. As I've
repeatedly mentioned, there have been numerous instances of unlawful arrest, and I have the case dismissals to prove it."
This my friend, my cousin, is where you being to look like a fool, but it doesn't end here. You see, what I didn't tell you, is that it HAS happened to me. I was wrongly arrested, and placed in county jail for 8 hours, before having to pay $500 in bail money, and why? Because a court clerk forgot to file paper work. Not because I had done anything wrong, in fact, I'd done everything the courts asked of me. I didn't even still have an original charge, as it had been dismissed. So you tell me Barry, how is it, I was arrested on a warrant for a charge, that didn't exist? And on top of this, after a simple phone call to the judge who dismissed my case, I was allowed to return to the county jail to get my money back. As well as being met by the two deputies who arrested me, who both apologized, even though they were only doing their job. You see, I could have fought and screamed and cried about injustice and the like, but I didn't. I followed the commands of the officers and yes, I lost 8 hours of my life. Big deal. It's only 8 hours. I too, have been pulled over, and pulled out of a vehicle at gun point, because of bad information on the police side. Do you see me crying about injustice? Of course not. They did what they thought they were supposed to. No one is perfect, and I don't expect them to be. More than just police, they are humans. Every day people who make mistakes.

This isn't apples and oranges, Bill. This is so drastically different that it's not even apples and baked beans. In your case, a paperwork error resulted in a bona fide arrest. It's not even close to being comparable to an officer arresting someone because he doesn't like the "suspect's" attitude, the fabrication of evidence for the purposes of providing probable cause, and denial of the right to an attorney. I'm not expecting anyone to be perfect, not even cops. I am, however, expecting them to treat every individual with basic human dignity and respect while on the clock...especially when my tax dollars are paying their salaries. Is that really too much to ask, or should I just expect to have a cop insult my dead relatives that he's never met, attempt to provoke me into swinging on him, calling me a "druggie", crash his bicycle into my car and point a gun at my head because I'm sitting in my car on private property, kick my door in because there are too many cars in my driveway, et cetera? Should I expect to have a cop fabricate a falsified arrest report, merely because he didn't like the fact that I refuse to waive my 1A, 4A, and 5A rights? Sorry, but I don't...especially when I'm forced, under threat of fine and imprisonment, to help pay for their livelihood.

In the last part of your fourth paragraph you state:
"Furthermore, the fact that you knowingly committed a criminal offense that the police deemed worthy of an "investigation" (and readily admitted doing so) should render your privilege of being a Law Enforcement Officer null and void...after all, why should you be allowed to arrest others for a crime that you yourself have committed?"
Is that so? Well, according to your logic from earlier, this was an unlawful investigation, since all charges against me were dismissed. Oh, wait, that's right, I NEVER HAD CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ME during the investigation, so as for your I shouldn't be a cop because of that theory, you had go ahead and pull your foot out of your mouth, and shove that sentence right up your ass. I do however find it funny that you consider being an officer a privilege. Hmmm. Perhaps that was a Freudian slip on your part. What you do however fail to realize is that simply because you had the charges dropped, DOES NOT mean you didn't commit the crime Barry. Look at OJ Simpson. Our court system found him Not Guilty. We all know he did it. And you're more ignorant than I thought if you honestly believe that because your charges were dropped that you did not in fact commit a crime.

Actually, I believe your words were "Take it from me boys and girls, if you're going to commit a crime, make sure you aren't friends with the entire department that's going to investigate it." If that isn't an admission of guilt, what exactly was it? And when it happens once, I might call it a fluke. When it happens twice, I might call it "bad luck" on the part of the cops or the DA. When it happens REPEATEDLY, I call it wrongful arrest. What do you call it?

In the beginning of your fifth paragraph you state:
"What you see on COPS is the edited version of reality. As I pointed out in a previous post, cops typically run from cameras like Richard Simmons runs from a naked woman."
What you see on COPS, while it isn't always right, it is the unedited truth of what officers encounter on a daily basis.

When I said it was the "edited version of reality", I meant exactly that. It shows exactly what the producers of COPS wants it to show...bad guys getting lit up by the cops. You don't honestly think that a person would start running around doing foolish things that would embarrass their department, cost them their jobs, and potentially cost them their money or freedom, while the cameras were rolling, do you? Think about that. Even if you were a complete jackass, would you be doing it on camera, if your ability to eat or make rent depended on your ability to keep a job?

What the officers are running from in your case, is the liberal media's unjustly biased opinion that all officers are hate mongrels out to arrest and ticket for no reason.

You lost a great deal of credibility when you decided to use the "L-word". What they should be running from is not something from the O'Reillyan boogeyman known as the "liberal media", but someone willing to fight back in court. Furthermore, it shows that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the word, as used in this particular context. To be politically "liberal" is to advocate that the state be the answer to the world's social ills, and LIBERALLY throw money and resources at the problem. To be politically "conservative" is to understand that a person has a right to live and let live, and our tax dollars should not be spent in a manner that prevents a person from doing so.

They run from people like you, who would smear the good name of the boys in blue for no other reason than because they've made some mistakes.

And again, I'll say it...there is a difference between making a bona fide "error", and knowingly breaking the law. It's no different for a cop than it is for you and I.

Guess what Barry. You've made your share of mistakes as well. I guess you should be permanently branded as an asshole and ignorant fool.

I know I've made my share of mistakes, just as you have. I've hurt plenty of people with the bad things I've done, and I am still paying the price for some of these things today.

Running from a liberal bias and an unjust and unfair opinion, doesn't make you a bad person, or secretive, it makes you smart. Ever since police departments have begun using dash mounted cameras, the number of cases of "false arrests" "police brutality" and "police excessive force" cases HAVE GONE DOWN! Why? Because people can't lie about the police any more. It's all right there, in black and white. And this is a point my friend, not even you can argue. The camera, doesn't lie.

Again, please stop using the word "liberal", it makes you sound like you've been watching way too much of the Faux News Channel. The number of cases of "false arrest", "police brutality", and "excessive force" have drastically dropped. As I've mentioned in previous posts, the camera is your worst enemy when you're guilty and your best friend when you've done nothing wrong. Time and time again, the camera has had my back...which is why my hand-held rides shotgun at all times my vehicle is in motion.

In the next part of your fifth paragraph you state:
"I'd also like to point out that some police actions that have been "legalized" by the state/county/local policies ARE NOT inherently legal according to the United States constitution, and continue to go on only because no one has taken the fight all the way to SCOTUS yet. Beyond this, we must also look at the fact that this state's penal code is slammed full of things that will land a man in prison, even though many of these "crimes" do not affect anyone except the consenting adults involved in these activities."
Well well well. I see you've figured out what the rest of us have known for years. The local principalities create and enforce their own statutes and laws. This isn't news to anyone, least of all me, so I'm not sure who you're trying to point this out to. Anyone who doesn't already known that wouldn't be able to follow this anyways. Yes, the state penal code has crimes in it that will land you in jail, even if the only person you're harming is yourself. First and foremost, this is simple, if it's illegal, IT'S ILLEGAL! I don't care what it is. If it's illegal, it's illegal. It's that simple. Get over it for Christ's sake. Quit crying about all the little things. If the law says don't do it, then don't do it! But, see, when we dig deeper, we see that NOTHING you do, will ever effect just you. EVER. You will always have family, and your family will always be effected by the things you do and the choices you make. Are we wrong to try and impose laws on each other to protect our family members from the decisions we make? Probably. But they are there nonetheless. Don't be so foolish as to think your actions effect only you. I would hope someone of your age would have learned that by now.

Billiam, there are so many things categorized in the "epic fail" arena here that I don't even know where to begin. Your apparent ignorance of the law, in general, quite frankly scares the living shit out of me when I think of you actually getting paid by my tax dollars to enforce it. I'll attempt to keep things in a semi-coherent and rational order, so that you may understand the error of your ways. Hopefully, before they issue you a badge and a taser, they'll teach you at least a minimum of basic legal principles that you should already know from seventh grade social studies class.

1) America IS NOT a "democracy", and we haven't been since the ratification of the United States Constitution. We are a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC. In a pure "democracy", you have nothing but tyranny by the majority. In a constitutional republic such as ours, our local, county, and state governments have every right to enact legislation prohibiting certain acts...AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL, AS SET FORTH IN OUR UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. While a law may be considered "legitimate" at the state level, and may be prosecuted as such in the county in which an arrest is made under said law, IT IS NOT NECESSARILY LEGAL UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. For example, take Lawrence v. Texas...the case of two gay men arrested for engaging in acts of sodomy within their own home. The law was in place, a bona fide warrant was served (albeit at the wrong address), and upon failure to find any dope on the premesis, John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner were arrested for doin' it in da butt as pursuant to the state's anti-sodomy laws. The court overturned this case on appeal, guaranteeing the right to be secure in one's home for whatever consensual sexual acts may occur between two adults, on grounds of 4A violation.

2) I suppose I should have clarified myself when I used the word "affect". Yes, my actions affect members of my family. If I choose to get hammered drunk and act like a goddamned fool, it's going to embarass (and, likely, piss off) members of my family, because I share a name with them. However, amongst all the rights you have in this great nation of ours, one you DON'T have is the right to get your feelings hurt by another's actions. For example, if I decide to start smoking crack and washing it down with an ice-cold cup of antifreeze, that's my choice. It's going to affect my family in the manner that it makes people wonder what kind of parenting my father did. However, it's not going to affect my father's physical ability to get up and go to work in the morning. It's not going to affect my grandmother's physical ability to go to church on Sunday. It's not going to affect my neighbor's ability to enjoy his big-screen television. If I start smoking crack and decide to COMMIT A CRIME AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON OR HIS/HER PROPERTY, that affects them in a physical manner. If I steal my dad's ATM card and drain his account dry to pay for crack, leaving him unable to purchase enough fuel to get to work, that is THEFT...and I have physically affected his ability to live in the manner he sees fit. If I steal my grandmother's car and sell it for crack, that is GRAND THEFT AUTO, and prevents her from having transportation. If I break into my neighbor's house and steal his big-screen for the purposes of selling it for crack, that is BURGLARY OF A HABITATION. Obviously, my dad and my grandmother don't want to be known as relatives of a crackhead...and my neighbor doesn't want to be known as "that guy who lives next to a crackhead". However, until my actions physically affect their abilitiy to exercise their personal rights, my rights should be left intact. If you haven't heard this before, I'll clue you in: "The rights of my fist don't end until they reach the rights of your nose." Does that make any sense to you?

3) You tell me to "quit crying about the little things", but those "little things" add up to a whole bunch of big. Even if we're talking minimum wage, just the amount of time I've pissed away dealing with random cops hassling me WITHOUT EVER ARRESTING, TICKETING, OR EVEN SO MUCH AS ISSUING A WARNING would add up to more than a thousand dollars. Then, we have all the money that I've shelled out on bail, vehicle impoundments, ALR hearings, attorneys, et cetera...and we're talking enough money to buy me a car. Not a "decent used car", but a brand-new off-the-lot sticker on the window car. Yes, there really have been that many instances. You and I together can't count on our combined fingers and toes how many times I've been subjected to lectures, field sobriety tests, vehicle searches, et cetera with no further involvement on the part of the cops...and that's not counting all the tickets and arrests that have been thrown out. It also doesn't count the times that policemen have pointed loaded guns at my forehead. I don't know about you, but I don't call these things "little". I call it an infringement upon my life, liberty, property, and safety.

In your seventh paragraph you state:
"In your last paragraph, you make the assumption that every man and woman that has ever encountered a policeman has had that encounter occur as a direct result of the violation of a criminal statute...and, knowing from my own personal experience, I can say that this assumption is completely and totally devoid of any truth or fact."
The hell I did! First and foremost, before you ever attempt to quote me, or state an assumption, which I DO NOT DO, you better have your facts straight and you had better make damn sure you know what you're talking about. This is the last thing my last paragraph was about. This is my last paragraph in it's entirety:
"My point? I'm not some goody-two-shoes who thinks the police are uncorruptable or correct in every way, shape, and form. I'm not. And it's not true. However, people are constantly asking, who's going to protect us from the police? Once again, false arrests, police brutality, excessive force, deadly force all come to mind. Who's going to stop that officer from beating me, arresting me for not stopping at the stop sign? Who's going to keep that officer from breaking in my door and taking away all my guns? As long as they're following the law, no one is. Why? Why do they have to right to do this to me? I'm a good citizen! I obey the law! Apparently, no, no you don't. I've yet to see an officer randomly break down a door. Or unjustly search and seize an item from
someone. It doesn't take too many episodes of COPS for private citizens to get an idea of the kinds of people officers come into contact with on a daily basis. People who don't follow the law. People who could care less. Unlike you and me, right?"
Do you see that bolded part? That's what I was refering to. If you weren't insinuating that everyone who's had their door kicked in, car pulled over, pockets searched, et cetera HADN'T BROKEN A LAW, specifically what were you trying to say?

My last paragraph was intended to highlight the point that I do not see the police as perfect, but I do see them as justified. Your sneaky attempt to smear my words and incorrectly quote me won't get you any sympathy. Nor does it help your cause, as I'm sure this is the exact attitude you have towards the police. You smear their words and actions and try to make them into something more than what they really are. That my friend, is pathetic. Don't quote me, if you aren't going to quote me correctly, because you're lying when you do.

Again, I call it like I see it. If that wasn't what you were trying to say, what the hell were you saying?

"Failure to break a law put three slugs in Derek Hale's chest, and a GI-issued flag on his coffin. Not being a criminal put a slug through Robbie Tolan's lung, after protesting the manhandling of his mother, in his own front yard. Just being a law-abiding citizen put a bullet through the back of Oscar Grant, and left his daughter without a father. At least Liko Kenney got some payback for having his car rammed and being pepper-sprayed by a giggling cop, via the sound and fury of
some .45cal freedom coming from the business-end of his Glock."
While I'm sure some of these might be true stories, I see no sources by which to investigate these stories for myself. And as such, they are hearsay.

Billiam, c'mon and I both know you are perfectly capable of using the googles. I shouldn't have to do your homework for you. Furthermore, you should be fully aware of these four cases, as they made national news. Derek J. Hale was a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran of Iraq, gunned down while sitting on his friend's porch in front of young children...because he couldn't get his hands out of his pockets while being tasered. He was unarmed, with the exception of a small pocket knife, similar to the one I use at work. He had no criminal record prior to this event. His widow is currently in the midst of a civil suit against the agency that murdered him in front of several witnesses.

Robbie Tolan was pulled out of his own vehicle at gunpoint, in his own driveway, after going for an early-morning hamburger run...because a cop mistakenly thought he was driving a stolen vehicle (we're still trying to figure out how that one happened). When his mother came outside to ask what the problem was, the officer slammed her against the wall of her home. When Tolan protested this treatment of his mother, in his own yard, he was shot through the chest. The officer, Jeffrey Cotton, is currently under indictment for Aggravated Assault (we're also trying to figure out why it's not "attempted murder") because of this incident. Luckily, Robbie Tolan survived his gunshot wound, and will be available for testimony at Officer Cotton's impending trial.

Oscar Grant was handcuffed, unarmed, and laying face-down on a train platform when Bay Area Rapid Transit officer shot him through the back. His "crime" was repeatedly saying "I haven't done anything!". Allegedly, the officer who shot him was under the impression that he had his Taser in his hand, and was going to "subdue a combative suspect"...that was already on the ground, handcuffed, and surrounded by several officers. Even though officers did their best to confiscate all the "evidence" surrounding the shooting, they couldn't get everyone's cellphones and camcorders, and footage of the shooting made national headlines. I'm shocked that you haven't heard of this before now.

Liko Kenny, whose prior claim to fame was nothing more than being the cousin of an Olympic skiing champion, had a long and well-documented history of abuse at the hands of a local policeman. It started after Kenney was assaulted for failure to waive his rights upon contact with the officer due to "suspcicious activity" (read: being in a parked vehicle in a public place after dark). It got to the point where a judge actually ordered officer Bruce McKay to call for a separate patrol unit upon the acknowledgement of the presence of Kenney. In the events leading to Kenney shooting McKay, the dashboard camera shows Kenney being pulled over by McKay, as well as showing Kenney announcing his identity (as if it weren't already known) and instructing McKay to call for another unit. Eventually, after waiting for quite an extended period on an isolated road, Kenney left the scene and headed toward a more populated area. His car was rammed, and Officer McKay pepper-sprayed Kenney without provocation...and leisurely walked away, giggling. Kenney responded to this violation (of not only his basic civil liberties, but also a COURT ORDER) by doing his best to empty a Glock .45cal pistol into Officer McKay. Unfortunately, Mr. Kenney was unable to defend his actions in court, due to being shot dead by a passer-by (and two-time convicted felon, with a strong history of violence), who picked up Officer McKay's gun and emptied it into Mr. Kenney.

Sorry, but if you're going to come to me, come properly and state your sources, otherwise, these are pretty shitty stories you've made up in order to make yourself look better.
Once again, we've already seen you cannot quote someone correctly, how are to know you aren't making this up as well?

I've provided your exact words, and you are more than free to correct me where I've "misquoted" you. In fact, I'd like it if you did, because I'm still wondering specifically what you're speaking of. Furthermore, here are your sources on the four instances I've mentioned:

Derek J. Hale shooting

Robbie Tolan shooting

Oscar Grant shooting

Liko Kenney shooting

Is that enough "citation", or are you still saying it's heresay?

In your ninth paragraph you state:
"In your last sentence, you ask the question, "So I ask you this, you want protection from the police...but who's going to protect the police? "...and here's my answer: the surest way for a policeman to get protection from those who don't like their rights being raped is, quite simply, to NOT BE A POLICEMAN. If you're not part of the solution, you're either part of the problem or you're part of the landscape. If you don't want to be mowed down with the weeds, get out of the lawn."
This is probably the worst logic I've ever seen in my life. I'm not going to spend much time on it, because it's just asinine. Barry, I know you went to a tea party on April 15, 2009 to protest the way the government was spending your tax money. You pay taxes out of your paycheck. Which means, you're part of the problem with the American government, as you're giving them the money to spend. So, my advice to you if you don't like how the American government spends your money "GET THE FUCK OUT OF AMERICA and take your ideas with you." Of course, that's only following your line of thought. You are part of the problem with the law enforcement community. You are going to get mowed over EVERY single time you fight with them. You will not win. Why? Because most of us support their efforts. Majority always wins. Continue to be the minority and the underdog if you want, but you're going to lose everytime and I'll be there smiling. Not because you lost, but because I'm working on changing things, not just crying about it.

And this is what truly astounds me. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the people in this nation DO NOT feel safer due to police presence. Time after time, we have seen what guns in the hands of a young man with authority to kill, and the authority to threaten to kill, will bring...nothing but heartache and misery, in the majority of cases. It happens time and time again. You keep bringing up "child molestors" at every opportunity, and I will agree...child molestors deserve a special place in the pits of hell. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we AREN'T baby-rapers, even though we are treated no differently by most of the policemen we come in contact with. When is the last time you were handcuffed and had your vehicle ripped apart by a policeman looking for non-existent dope, for NOT USING A BLINKER? Your mother took me to court when I had the two illigitimate charges against me in that episode happened less than a month ago. When's the last time you had a gun pointed at your forehead, just because you were "being suspicous" for sitting in a parked car on private property? When it happened to me, I was waiting for a client to arrive at her home, so I could fix her computer, as I often did for extra money while in college. When's the last time you had your door kicked in, and a gun pointed at your forehead, because there were "too many cars parked in your driveway"? I was hosting a friend home from college, and some of his schoolmates, in the privacy of my own home...and I had a Glock pointed at my head for my hospitality. No noise complaints, no reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, just four cars in my driveway. Upon clearing up the matter, I had to verbally instruct one of the officers to stop shining his light in the back of my SUV, as he had no cause to do so. How many times have you been pulled over and called a "terrorist", because you had industrial equipment and a toolbox in your truck? It's only happened to me once, and to me, that's one time too many. How many times has an officer walked into your private property, without invitation or probable cause, to "take a look around"? Well, it's only happened at my father's shop WHEN I WAS THERE once, and to me, that's one time too many. How many times have you been asked to consent to a search of your vehicle, after being pulled over because your tail lights weren't "red enough"...while knowing your taillight bulbs were functioning, the lenses were OE, and you just got a state inspection sticker less than a week before? Well, it's only happened to me once...but, in my eyes, once is one time too many.

Like it or not, the real world we live in has very evil people in it. Also very unfortunately, many of these people often hide behind a badge. As I've said before, if you knowingly associate yourself with a criminal organization, it matters not whether it is the Mafia or the Police Department. People are going to know what you are.

I can't stop you from being a policeman, I can only attempt to talk you out of it. If you choose to join it, you will not see any sympathy from me when someone gets tired of having his rights raped...even if it's not you that did it to him, and he's just tired of seeing those red and blues in his rearview, and takes it out on you. You live by the sword, you die by it.

And no, for the record, I will not "get the fuck out of America". I will continue to "throw internet tantrums". I will continue to make my voice heard. I will continue to demand that my constitutional rights be recognized. I will continue to demand my constitutionally-recognized right to a trial by a jury of my peers. I will continue to assert my rights, utilizing any means necessary to do so. I will continue to legally travel in my car pursuant to Chapter 46.2 of the Texas Penal Code, and will reserve the option of facing unnecessary force with force of my own.

In your last paragraph you state:
"...Much like a policeman, I also know that there are certain risks involved in my job...risks that actually make me more likely to die on the clock. The difference between me and a cop shot "in the line of duty" is quite simple...if a jackstand fails and the rear end of a truck crushes my bean, or if I slip with an air grinder and slice through my wrist, or some jerk runs me over in the parking lot by mistake, NO ONE will be saying that I died while performing a duty to restrict the liberties of others."
The different between you dying underneath a car changing oil, and an officer in the line of duty is simply this: While you're changing the oil in a car, or grinding on a piece of metal, that officer is out there hunting down a man who thinks it's ok to rape and molest a 5 year old little girl. A man who thinks it's ok beat a woman to death. A woman thinks it's ok to drown her 5 children. Where were you when a local man was running a child pornography ring and scarring an unknown number of children for life while penetrating them vaginally? Where were you while he was video taping this crime and making money off of it? Where were you while he was taking these little girls to a motel and changing their lives forever. Grinding a piece of metal? Changing the oil in a car? Crying online about how your rights were so wrongly violated? You were no where to be seen. In fact, the only thing you did was slow down these officers because instead of dealing with these kinds of people, they're out there having to defend themselves from people like you. Before you EVER decide you want to compare yourself with America's FINEST remember your place. And remember you've done NOTHING compared to what they do every day. And you never will if all you do scream about rights. You apparent paranoia of the law enforcement community and the actions they take to protect EVEN YOU reeks of jealousy. And that's not a good look on anyone. Not even you.

Again, you're bringing up the "child molestor" thing. Yes, obviously child molestation is a horrible thing. Imagine how much of our resources could be put toward rooting out these shitsticks, if they'd stop spending OUR resources on harassing innocent people like me. Yes, much like you, I've done my share of "dirt". Also, much like you, I've paid my dues. We are somewhat "special", the two of us, in the fact that we belong to a certain group of people who have seen more before our 25th birthdays than most mortal men will see in their entire lives. You've done your dirt, had charges brought because of it, and had them dropped for whatever reason. I've done my fair share, paid my penalties, and had to deal with "and then some" for whatever reason. There's a reason why I do my best to keep off the roads, and it's because I don't like being fucked with because a cop thinks my hairstyle is different or my car looks too cheap. You want to be a cop? That's your thing. Just don't expect any special respect or sympathy from me because you did...because in my eyes, it's nothing more than an official authorization for the arrogance you've displayed in your own "internet tantrums".