Friday, October 21, 2011

Peter Pan’s Green Cake was Poisoned

I remember watching the movie Peter Pan as a young boy and feeling physically ill at the thought of Peter eating the poisoned green cake which had been placed where the Lost Boys would find it.  The shape of the green cake has changed over the years; now it’s disguised as green energy.  The poison introduced in America has been carefully manipulated; the hoax of man made global warming and the necessary redistribution of wealth to save our planet through socialism.

You might recall a poisonous statement made by Robert McChesney, influential adviser to the Obama administration:

“There is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles”

Watching tax dollars being thrown away is a bit disconcerting; is it due to incompetence of the Obama administration or is such wasteful spending attached to something more sinister and corrupt? 

Not too long ago we learned of the Obama administration full court press to throw money at Solyndra, an unstable green energy company; the Bush administration had turned down the loan previously.  It turns out Solyndra wasn’t the only scandalous loan provided under Obama; this morning Fox News reported about over half a Billion dollar loan to an electric car manufacturing company; in Finland.

“The Department of Energy is standing by a $529 million loan guarantee to an electric car company that is outsourcing production to Finland.” 


“The ABC News report noted the political connections enjoyed by Fisker and another company, Tesla Motors, which together received about $1 billion in loans. Fisker reportedly is backed by a firm that counts ex-Vice President Al Gore among its partners. The article said just 40 of Fisker's Karma cars have been produced so far, and that Tesla is consistently losing money.”

Fancy that, Al Gore profiting from tax payers in a green energy deal.  I read an article in the New York Times by Joe Nocera which tried to justify wasteful spending of taxpayer money for green projects.  The New York Times was once regarded as something other than a mouthpiece for the progressive agenda; but most recently they seem to be nothing more than useful idiots or worse.

“…if we could just stop playing gotcha for a second, we might realize that federal loan programs — especially loans for innovative energy technologies — virtually require the government to take risks the private sector won’t take.”

Why would American taxpayers risk hard earned tax money on questionable investments; aren’t we depending on those in charge of these funds to carefully discharge their duties?  I keep forgetting the reality of public office; tax payers and their money are endless in the eyes of government bureaucrats and politicians; Fannie Mae, Tarp, Cash for Clunkers and the list goes on and on.

An article by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. which appeared in the Wall Street Journal countered the idea that government money wasted on Solyndra was simply an investment in developing energy technology which the private sector would not venture into.

“This illustrates what might be called the macro Solyndra policy failure. A poor commercial risk is a poor commercial risk, whether private or government investors take it.”


“But, of course, the calculation behind Solyndra was political, not financial. Factories were wanted. Factories suggest jobs. Factories create photo-ops. Oh well. Solar subsidies have been part of the federal panoply since Carter, and even Reagan tried only to trim them, not eliminate them. The second Bush amped them up bigtime as a way to suggest that his only approach to problems in the Middle East wasn't to send in the troops.
 The Obama contribution hardly amounts to more than a banal urge to take whatever government does and do more of it, as if any chance to expand the role of bureaucrats is too good to miss. In one way, however, his Solyndra venture does fit nicely into today's megatrend, which, from here to Athens, consists of embarrassingly poor financial management.”

There you have it; the Obama administration lined their own pockets and the pockets of political allies through the use of bogus and manipulated data which they have proclaimed to be the result of man made global warming.  The promise of green energy, regardless of its practicality has been used to squander billions of dollars, not so much on innovation and new technology; but on long shot ventures which reasoned investors won’t touch.  The taxpayers are being played for suckers while at the same time our free market system is being dismantled brick by brick.

Up until now I’d heard detractors of Obama compare him to many unsavory characters; but until today it never occurred to me how similar he and his administration are to Captain Hook and the pirates of Never Never Land.  The magic of America, the free market system, has taken in the poison; isn’t it time for those who still believe in America to begin clapping in order to save her? 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies

Several years ago there was a movie with Steve Martin and John Candy, Plains, Trains and Automobiles; but that has nothing to do with my title choice for today’s article, Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies.  You’ll have to forgive me; my word association test results given to the police psychiatrist must have been similarly amusing. 

According to a story listed on the Blaze out of McAllen Texas:

“Students in a Texas public high school were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment, but the school district maintains there was nothing wrong with the lesson.”

Things have changed a bit since I took Spanish in high school.  Back in my day we sang Christmas Carols “en Espanol” and recited how to order spaghetti while at the bibliotheca; it’s been a long time so the recitation might be off a bit.  In today’s public school environment there’s no way students would be singing Christmas Carols; but what’s this nonsense about the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance?

“School district spokesman Mark May defended the presentations, saying it’s a state requirement for upper-level language classes to teach about foreign culture.”

Let’s say it was a poor choice on the part of the teacher and give her the benefit of the doubt; it might be better for students than eating spaghetti in the library with the chance of getting tomato sauce on all those books intended to indoctrinate our children with progressive leanings.  I don’t believe that any more than you do; but I’m still willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Back in the late 70’s I thought about taking Kung Fu and began looking at various schools in the area.  Victor Chang’s name came up as one of the better instructors so I went over one day to observe.  

I was asked to quietly sit on a bench during class.  Each student upon entering the room bowed reverently which caught my attention.  There was a recess in the wall which, given my position, kept me from seeing what was within that recess; but clearly each student would bow in front of it.  In my mind there was an immediate “red flag”; I’m a good Christian and there’s no way I was going to bow before Buddha or any other pagan image.

After the class was completed I mentioned my concerns to Victor in his office.  He broke out in laughter as he explained, “There no idol there, student miss target and kick wall, make hole.  Students showing respect for class and teacher.”  

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, something about not jumping to conclusions.  I wasn’t very good at Kung Fu; but that’s a “whole other story” as we say here in Texas.

Several years ago I flew out to see my folks and attended my dad’s Presbyterian church so we could enjoy the morning together.  During the service the congregation was asked to stand and recite the Nicene Creed.  Out of respect for my dad I stood next to him; but remained silent as I found the creed to be in conflict with my beliefs as found in the Articles of Faith .

The words we speak are important, what we pledge allegiance to, what we hold sacred and what we will defend, even until death.  If we raise our arm to the square we are taking a solemn oath, one which requires more than lip service.  Maybe that’s what grabbed my attention to a high school class being asked to recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment; it’s not the same as reciting a poem or any other so called cultural experience. 

I mention this, picturing in my mind every public servant from a local police officer on the day he/she receives their badge with an oath to protect, serve, enforce the laws and defend the Constitution all the way up to the President of the United States of America as the Oath of Office is administered, an oath to uphold the Constitution.  When we raise our arm to the square it is a promise to our fellow citizens that our words are true as well as a covenant with God; there is never a time when Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies are to be treated lightly.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Captive Audience

A woman’s car was having trouble on a major roadway in Houston, allegedly, so it was reported she pulled off to the side of the road; I’ll get to “allegedly” later on.  An officer of the law issued her a ticket for “driving on the shoulder and decided to arrest her”; sounds a little over the top for a minor traffic violation; but having dealt with the public often times things “escalate”.

“To make matters worse, Boyd claims in a lawsuit that the handcuffs were put on her wrists painfully tight and that she was forced to listen to conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh “make derogatory comments about black people” all the way to the jail. Boyd is African-American.”

According to the article written by Mike Tolson in the Houston Chronicle, she’s suing everyone involved.

Some folks, upon reading the article may have become indignant after seeing only half the information regarding this incident; there was no comment offered by the Sheriff’s Department.  I began laughing; but it had nothing to do with the actual incident, rather it reminded me of something which happened many years ago on night shift.

My old partner, Bob Kersten, was the station sergeant at NW.  Some of the folks sitting in temporary holding cells were “unappreciative” of the music being piped into the jail; for that matter all over the police substation, don’t think anyone liked Baroque classical.  I happened to wander in off patrol to the pleadings of the desk officer, “Turn that stuff off, please!”   Those in the jail used other words; all things considered there’s nothing worthy of a law suit for damages caused by Baroque music.

At one time I worked downtown during the day and “allegedly” happened upon a woman parked in a moving lane of traffic outside a bank where she was waiting for someone to cash a check.  She was instructed to move along as she was backing up traffic; but she refused saying it would only be a few more minutes.  When asked for her driver’s license she “allegedly” turned up the music so high folks a block away could have heard it and then turned away as if by doing so I’d disappear; I didn’t.

The car she was driving was nifty little sports car, a Nissan 260 Z with the “T-tops” removed as it was a beautiful clear blue sky kind of day.  When I continued to ask for her driver’s license she “allegedly” climbed up on top of the car and sat on the bar which separated the open “T-tops”.  

I commented, “If you want to act like a baboon it’s fine with me; however…”, and pointing to the uniformed supervisor who was standing across the street watching this unfold, “…you can hand me your driver’s license, sign the ticket and move on down the road or go directly to jail.”  She had a sudden change of attitude and signed the ticket.

In other unrelated incidents, when I issued traffic tickets I had my own version of short hand scribbled in a small vacant spot in the corner of the ticket to help my memory of the violation months later in court.  My traffic judge at the time thought he’d figured out my system as I’d testified to red light violations over an extended period of time he’d match my testimony with the numbers and letters coded on the bottom.

One day after I’d testified about a female violator who’d run a red light by 3 car lengths the traffic judge wanted something clarified.  Restating what he thought I’d said, “So, Officer Stern, you said she ran the red light by 3 and a half car lengths?” 

“No, Sir.  I said she ran the red light by 3 car lengths.”  There was a noticeable pause as he looked down at what was written in the corner of the ticket.

“Then what’s this 3 and ½ notation?”  Things like that aren’t supposed to happen; judges aren’t supposed to introduce testimony.  The prosecutor tried looking at the floor as the judge began to blush.

“The 3 means she ran the red light by 3 car lengths while the ½ means she put her foot through the floor and went out of her way to run the red light, Your Honor.”  

The judge considered the information and then asked, “Then what’s this letter “B” for?”  That was an awkward moment as I searched my mind for an acceptable answer which would not be too crude.

“The “B” means, ah…she was, ah…Belligerent, Your Honor”, thinking to myself how fortunate it was to have a better than average vocabulary available on the spur of a moment.

I’ve no idea what transpired the other night when the woman “allegedly” drove on the freeway shoulder and got hauled off to jail and had to listen to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh; I wasn’t there.  I don’t remember the name of the woman who climbed up on top of her car so many years ago and acted like a baboon; but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a kindred spirit.  Police officers are faced with all manner of folks.  Depending on how civilized they act often times determines how a minor traffic offense turns into a can of worms. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ring, Ring - This is a Police State

Yesterday my attention was drawn to an article written by Buck Sexton which appeared on The Blaze, “Calif. Appeals Court Approves Cell Phone Searches During Traffic Stops”.   I didn’t know cell phones were that big a deal; okay, maybe we shouldn’t text while shifting and most of us would agree that hands free is better than having half your field of view blocked. 
“In a case explicitly decided to set a precedent, the California Appellate court has determined police officers can rifle through your cellphone during a traffic violation stop.”
There is a problem with granting police powers which extend beyond protections built into a citizen’s God given right as covered under the 4th Amendment.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Times may have changed since this wonderful document was penned; however, the intent to protect a person’s “papers and effects”, which would now include digital information housed in any number of devices, shall not be violated.  Police officers have been empowered to enforce the law and when needed to search suspects for weapons or illegal contraband; but have never had the power to go on “fishing expeditions” under the color of “inventorying” a prisoner’s property. 

Speaking from the standpoint of a retired police officer, the rules of evidence were put in place to secure individual rights; not to empower a police state.  Items found during a lawful inventory which were clearly prohibited such as weapons or illegal substances could be entered into a court of law as evidence; however, there is a limit to what can be considered “in plain view” or what items might be considered “hazardous” and a risk to the safety of either the public in general or the officer’s immediate safety.  

“On December 6, 2009 Reid Nottoli was pulled over for speeding by Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff Steven Ryan. Sheriff Ryan then suspected after pulling Nottoli over that the 25-year-old was under the influence of drugs.

As Nottoli’s license was also expired, the Sheriff decided to impound the vehicle. Nottoli requested to leave his car parked on the side of the road. Sheriff Ryan refused, and decided to conduct an “inventory” search prior to the towing.”

Up until this point the police were acting in the interests of the public, taking the suspect into custody as a possible DUI and an expired driver’s license is a lawful arrest.  The officer was obligated by law to inventory items in the suspect’s vehicle prior to having it towed to an impound; again, for the benefit of the suspect and to protect the officer from unwarranted accusations of theft or neglect in the event items later turned up missing or were claimed to be missing.  

“A fully legal Glock 20 pistol with a Guncrafter Industries 50 GI conversion that should have been stored in the trunk of the vehicle. He also noticed Nottoli’s Blackberry Curve which, after it was turned on, displayed a photograph of a mask-wearing man holding two AR-15 rifles akimbo.”

Aside from that first sentence being incomplete, the court was informed that a legal weapon was found during the inventory.  Depending on the laws in California the officer either would file additional charges for improperly transporting a weapon or, since this was a lawful weapon, the officer might have stored the weapon in a proper manner until such time as the suspect was released.

Pay attention; this is where the court has stepped over the line and violated the 4th Amendment rights of every citizen via this one case.  The officer stated the suspect’s cell phone was not on during the inventory process; this was not a “search incident to arrest”.  The officer turned the cell phone on and at that time observed a photograph which caused him to believe photographs contained therein may link the suspect with an unrelated crime. 

Read the intent of the 4th Amendment once again.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

If the officer stated he feared for his personal safety or perhaps the phone was hollow and contained illegal drugs it might have been reasonable to play with it.  If the suspect could be connected with terrorist activities in which cell phones were used to trigger explosive devices from a remote location; at that moment the officer might have the authority to turn on the device even if such actions would be fool hearty considering the possibility that the simple act of activating the cell phone might be enough to trigger an explosive device depending on how it was programmed.

Idle curiosity caused the officer to turn the cell phone on; nothing more.  No warrant could be obtained under such circumstances regardless of what images where presented to the officer’s view since he had to turn the device on when it was no threat in its present state.  There was no probable cause to believe the officer was arresting anyone but a DUI traffic violator who failed to secure a legal weapon in the trunk. 

“…the appellate court’s decision, written by Franklin Elia, which read in part:

“The deputies had unqualified authority under Gant (*) to search the passenger compartment of the vehicle and any container found therein, including Reid’s cell phone. It is up to the US Supreme Court to impose any greater limits on officers’ authority to search incident to arrest.”


“This case demonstrates that the scope of exception to the Fourth Amendment’s protection against governmental searches and seizures relating to searches incident to arrest is still unclear. Both parties address Belton’s bright-line rule to the Fourth Amendment allowing warrantless vehicular searches incident to a lawful arrest. If the Supreme Court adopts Arizona’s position on Belton, police will have broad discretion to search the vehicle of any arrestee, subject only to the limitation that the arrestee was a “recent occupant” of the vehicle. A decision for Gant, on the other hand, would require an officer to reasonably fear for his safety or the integrity of the evidence before he could search an arrestee’s vehicle without a warrant. In either case, the Supreme Court’s decision may further define the extent of police authority to perform warrantless vehicular searches incident to a lawful arrest.”

I’m sorry Franklin Elia, opening a closed container which may or may not hide from plain view weapons or contraband is not the same as opening a closed digital file belonging to a citizen.  This no different than extracting information directly from the suspect’s mouth and is most definitely a violation of the 4th Amendment. 
As a concerned citizen and retired police officer it is my duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  In the long run we are trading security for liberty; and those who do so deserve neither security nor liberty; isn’t that what Benjamin Franklin warned? 

Our judiciary system is being used to transform America into a police state; troubling to say the least.  The rule of law which holds our society together appears to have been abandoned in favor of the police state.  Our founding documents and the limits placed on government act to protect individual God given rights.  Our courts now act with impunity violating individual rights, and with each new decision advance the notion that such actions are justified; not by our Constitution but through each amended court decision linked one upon the other.  It would appear we have already become subjects of the state rather than citizens.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Gibberish

If there was any doubt in your mind about the level of education, or lack thereof, here in America; cast your eyes on some of the demands being put forth by those intent on disrupting Wall Street as reported by Kerry Picket of the Washington Times.  File this under, Gobbledygook!

Star Trek fans will appreciate “demand #3:  “Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.”  Maybe those in the twenty fourth century don’t use money; but here in reality folks who work expect to have more than those who don’t or as the Pilgrims used to say, “You don’t work, you don’t eat”.

I suppose that explains “demand #11: “Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.” 

We don’t need no stinkin’ banks.  Money is the root of all evil; do away with money!  From now on a room at the YMCA and a room at the Four Seasons will be open for anyone on a first come first serve basis at no charge; and we’re supposed to take these demands seriously?

They missed a few demands, other serious issues plaguing the nation; demand #23: Pictures of hamburgers at Burger King, McDonalds or other similar establishments must be realistic.  No more bright red tomato slices carefully placed on top of a perfectly broiled hamburger patty when we all know that will never happen.  No more bright green leaves of lettuce since most of the time it’s a pale gray or white limp excuse for what was promised.  We’re mad as hell and we won’t take it anymore!

Demand #47: Visits from the Tooth Fairy will be paid in one ounce pure Swiss Gold bullion as one child’s tooth is to be valued equally among all races, ethnic and religious groups.  Trips to the dentist and doctor should be free!

Parents who’ve paid countless dollars to have their children gain an education must now face reality; you could have spent that money on a trip to Vegas, pulled a few handles and lost all that money at the crap tables.  Your children would still be blithering idiots, protesting a system along side the likes of Frances Fox Pixen.  Heaven help us, these young people may be the leaders of tomorrow.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.