Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quis Custodiet Custodes

Policing Police
©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: No Plans to Cut Obama Vacation Short

Article Synopsis:
With hurricane Irene bearing down on the entire US east coast between Charleston SC and Cape Cod, the National Savior is continuing to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. He holds conference calls with his staff as needed, and the hardware stores on the island – which is within the forecast landing area for the storm – is sold out of batteries, flashlights, radios and other hurricane-preparation supplies. Obama is scheduled to end his vacation on Saturday, the day before Irene would hit Martha’s Vineyard – if it goes that direction.

Is it time to eat cake? What, again? 2005 was not so long ago that anyone except a political hack of the opposing party could fail to grasp the importance of not giving the impression of regal unconcern. While it’s unlikely in the extreme that Obama is any more unconcerned with Irene in 2011 than Bush was with Katrina in 2005, anyone with a memory of events prior to the last general election should be fully aware that emotional impressions during times of perceived danger linger more than almost everything else.

There is, quite literally, absolutely nothing Obama can do about Irene except what Bush did not do about Katrina: he can damn well get his ass out of his summer home and scowl for the cameras. Strike yet another serious pose for the sculptor of the Official Obama Memorial Statue and make Americans think that he’s concerned enough about them that he can put himself out for a few days.

Despite residents of North Carolina’s Outer Banks evacuating as ordered – mostly, and which residents of New Orleans did not do – there’s going to be some daredevils and diehards who won’t. Some will drown, if only because some usually do. And because the Outer Banks are mainly populated by poor white folks who entertain the rich white folks with the summer cottages, we do not need some self-involved country music yokel with a political chip on his shoulder making asinine comments that “Obama hates crackers.”

Conclusion: Bickering about the intellectual bankruptcy of Barama’s vacuous next-step-socialism is one thing, and should be the only thing. Pointless political diversion, especially when we know it’s likely to come, and why, is grossly irresponsible and needlessly divisive. It serves no purpose; don’t invite it.

Postscript: Six hours after writing this, Obama’s spokesman announced that he would be leaving Martha’s Vineyard a day early to deal with Irene – as if there was anything he could do about it. I’d like to think I had something to do with that, but I didn’t. It came two days too late with regard to the hurricane and even more days too late with regard to the earthquake in Virginia earlier in the week.

Headline: Creationism Debate Hits GOP Campaign

Article Synopsis:
The Texas governor, now in the primary race, was asked by a New Hampshire boy why he doesn’t “believe in science”. He replied that evolution is a theory that “has gaps in it”. Another contender replied that he believes scientists on evolution and global warming, both. Republican pollsters point out that only 8% of self-described Republicans accept evolution without “some divine intervention”.

Welcome to the 19th Century: It’s fine to be religious. Despite what atheists will say, everyone has irrational beliefs in their life, and religion is fundamentally no better or worse than believing your wife is the most beautiful woman, that the Phillies are the best baseball team, that country music sucks ass, or that anyone who is not religious is necessarily more rational than anyone who is.

But – and this is not even close to being rationally debatable – in every collision between science and religion, science has won and religion has lost. Take a hint. Learning how something happens has absolutely no bearing on the meaning behind what happened – and that meaning is what religion is all about. Republicans either need to drop their ultra-religious demographic, or their ultra-religious demographic needs to collectively cease inferring religious intent from within practical realities and scientific inquiry if the Republicans are going to remain politically relevant.

Besides, science is not something to “believe in”; it is, in fact, the antithesis of “belief”. It is built on systematic factual support rather than blind acceptance. This goes for evolution – which mostly follows the required scientific formula – as well as ‘global warming’ – which mostly does not. “Believing in science” requires that science be rendered into a religion.

Conclusion: Watch it, guys. It’s not enough to be a not-Obama. You need to be a rational not-Obama, for you are not going to be elected by Republicans. You will only be nominated by Republicans. If you get elected at all it will be by the same one-third of the country that is neither Democrat nor Republican – i.e., me – just like always.

Headline: Woman Who Recorded Cops Acquitted

Article Synopsis:
A stripper was groped by a Chicago cop responding to a “domestic disturbance”; the stripper filed a complaint with the Chicago Police department. Internal Affairs investigators didn’t want to investigate the groping, and the stripper recorded them saying so on her blackberry. She was charged with felony eavesdropping, which carries a 15 year sentence; the sentence is considerably shorter if it’s merely a regular person who’s been recorded. The ACLU took time from their busy schedule defending foreign combatants to disapprove of the IL law. The groping has yet to be investigated and the two Internal Affairs cops who didn’t investigate it were promoted.

As if Illinois needs any more of this: Cops the nation over, including those in Illinois, routinely record – audio and video, both – the free citizens of our free society they come into contact with, and these recordings are commonly used in court as evidence, not to mention as amusing Reality TV. But when citizens return the favor it becomes a crime? The arrogance is astounding.

And cops wonder why fewer and fewer people trust or respect them.

In a constitutional democratic republic the government has no rights, nor do those who operate as agents of the government while they are acting in an official capacity. The government and its agents only have authorities which are supposed to be extremely limited.

It is critical to keep tabs on those who operate in the citizens’ name while they are performing their jobs – it is the duty of a citizen in a democratic society. This is particularly true of the police; apart from the millions of clerkish and officious bureaucrats shuffling papers behind millions of desks, police are the principle interface between Power of Government and Free People Being Free. It is essential that they be trusted by those people to do nothing more than they are allowed to do. ...and nothing less than they are required to do. And not only because police have guns. When the police do more than allowed, or less than required, they are not doing their jobs; they are instead abusing their authority. The same goes for the officious bureaucrats, by the way.

Whether the abuse of authority is due to laziness, ineptitude or deliberate miscreancy is irrelevant. The result is the same regardless: the citizen is stripped of dignity, rights and freedom, and the government becomes abusive. Abusive governments, according to our own Declaration of Independence, have lost all moral legitimacy for their rule. This is a criticism that has been heard with greater frequency the last few decades, and levied against the US government and the government of the state of Illinois. Both for good reason.

Conclusion: Documenting our own government failing to do the job it’s required to do is not a crime; failure to do the job, though, should be a firing offense. Immediately.


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