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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get your Filthy Paws Off My Toys, You Dirty Trained Ape

Un-Jackbooting the Thugs
© 2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Charges Dropped Against ‘Lemonistas’

Article Synopsis:
Three women responded to a spate of arrests and forced closures of children’s lemonade stands across the country this past summer by setting up their own lemonade stand on the Capitol grounds in Washington DC; they were arrested. Capitol Police rationalized.

They’ve got a point: They were arrested by a cop on a bicycle, who told them they couldn’t be selling lemonade on the Capitol grounds, as it is federal property. The women informed the cop that federal property was bought and paid for by tax money, and as they were some of the people who provided said money, the property is as much theirs as anyone’s.

...there was a fourth to their Terrible Trio, as the entire exchange was videotaped, a prudent forethought in pretty much all government interactions citizens may find themselves involved in nowadays.

When the arrests were made in August, a Capitol police spokesman lied through her teeth and claimed that the three were, in fact, not arrested for selling lemonade. They were arrested for “failure to obey a police officer” – by not ceasing their sale of lemonade – for “unlawful conduct” – by selling lemonade – and for “vending without a license”. They vended lemonade.

So apart from it being completely about them selling lemonade, it had nothing to do with them selling lemonade.

Gotcha ... wink wink nudge nudge.

Conclusion: While there is a reductio ad absurdum which is important to keep in mind – we don’t want everyone descending on DC to open up a lemonade stand on Capitol grounds [on the other hand, what could it hurt: it might turn a buck that could lower the deficit] – the complete inability of our government to honesty deal with the citizens they claim to serve demonstrates why government, at all levels, is increasingly decreasing the amount of respect they garner from the general public. When you arrest someone for selling lemonade, just say so. Explain the difference without distinction in court.

Headline: Judge Blocks Welfare Drug Testing Law

Article Synopsis:
A federal judge blocked a Florida law that required those applying for poverty assistance to get a drug screening; they would be reimbursed if they passed. It was objected to by a Navy veteran who was trying to complete school. The ACLU argued that mandatory drug testing violated Fourth Amendment rights.

Odd time to be pedantic...: Of course it violates the Fourth Amendment. This is a ‘duh’ moment to anyone who can read. The 4thAM says nothing about any justification for searching a citizen except that it can only be done after getting a warrant citing Probable Cause. Wishing to receive free money from the government isn’t Probable Cause for drug abuse.

But wishing to get a job as a government contractor is considered a good enough reason to completely ignore the 4thAM altogether; drug tests are mandatory, and the search is considered “administrative” ... which is one of several invisible ink addenda to the 4thAM that [apparently] only federal judges can read. Drug testing for federal contractor jobs is justified by stating that “the taxpayers” have an interest in seeing to it that they are not paying a hop-head to sew buttons on military uniforms, process auto registration forms, push papers, keep their multiple wars going, or collect trash outside the US Capitol building resulting from all the lemonade sales.

Don’t “the taxpayers” have just as much of an interest in seeing to it that they aren’t paying a hop-head to sit on his ass all day and do nothing besides being a hop-head?

Seriously, it’s one or the other. Either the automatic presumption that people are druggies is enough justification to warrantlessly search them for evidence of drug abuse before allowing them to do what they are trying to do ... or it isn’t. Pick one.

Conclusion: What this ruling indicates is that it’s acceptable for our welfare system to fund the drug habits of those who are dispossessed. Momentarily setting aside the curiosity as to what could have inspired such individuals to become dispossessed in the first place, or to remain dispossessed in the second, among those things the government can do to reduce the loss of respect they earn is to be consistent. Either it’s a warrantless search, or it isn’t. Government is not supposed to be a Chinese menu.

Headline: Sex Toy in Luggage Elicits Love Note from TSA

Article Synopsis:
A feminist blogger [and lawyer] flew from Newark to Dublin Ireland with a small Battery-Operated Boyfriend; TSA left their standard “Notice of Inspection” card, with the hand-written advice to “Get your freak on girl.” The luggage owner twitted and blogged about the incident, as well as emailed a New York City newspaper, calling it “wildly inappropriate” and plans to file a formal complaint when she returns to the US after talking to the Irish about abortion. She is ‘retiring’ the vibrator because of sanitation concerns. TSA initially denies involvement.

Blogger Bob versus the BOB Blogger: The woman, Jill Filipovic of “feministe” fame, is apparently as shameless as I would be if ever given the opportunity to bump and grind to the pre-flight handjob. Good for her. The more notoriety TSA gets for their abuses of authority the quicker they’ll be curtailed.

It cannot come soon enough, frankly. TSA claimed originally that there is no evidence to suggest one of its agents wrote the note ... on an official TSA “Notice of Inspection” card. They have since admitted that not only was there evidence for it, an agent did in fact write the note, and TSA’s public face, Blogger Bob, announced on their own website that the Newark agent has been “disciplined”, though he will not specifically say how. It’s an issue with the agent’s “privacy”.

It’s a sad day when government agents who routinely courteously rifle through the personal belongings of private citizens attempting to do nothing more heinous than visit Grandma, or – in this case – give a tired and tedious lecture on abortion to foreigners, are stripped of dignity and often publically humiliated, but the guy who steps over even that distant line in the sand cannot be named or have described what corrective actions were taken against him. It might make him feel foolish.

Yeah, yeah, poor agent. Gotta respect the privacy of the guy who is paid to invade everyone else’s.

Typical TSA “discipline” includes reassignment and retraining. Not even agents who have run luggage theft rings were fired, though several in Honolulu were “recommended” for it. About all TSA will say about the agent here is that he is no longer inspecting luggage. I.e., he was reassigned.

I see management in his future, with or without a stop – to drool, no doubt – at the porno-scan monitor.

Conclusion: Isn’t it piling on at this point? Ten years, not a single identifiable terrorist interdiction; hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of their agents abusing authority; hundreds of traumatized citizens left in tears or puddles of their own urine in the name of “security” that isn’t measurably enhanced. And now a perfectly innocent BOB gets shelved because the agent who has the misplaced authority to deprive citizens of their privacy and dignity can’t help but gloat about it in crass terms. Talk about getting a freak on.


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