Muddling along

View 839 Monday, August 18, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


Managed to get through the day. Roberta is still disabled, and everything takes about three times as long. Tomorrow I’ll have to do errands. Woke up with great intentions, but didn’t actually accomplish much. So it goes.


It’s not clear about the Los Angeles case, but in the Missouri police shooting the story that is emerging is quite different from the one that the early ‘witnesses’ were telling. All the autopsies show that the young man was shot several times but all from the front. All from the front. As to the story that he was a ‘gentle giant’, the giant part holds up but the gentility would be disputed by the 711 clerk who tried to accost him for shop lifting. An intimidating giant would not be a great exaggeration. And apparently he was coming rapidly toward the policeman who shot him.

Now I have my resentments of police who shoot first and worry about it later, pleading personal safety. They knew they were taking certain risks when they became sworn officers – indeed that’s what being a sworn officer is. The Long Beach police who didn’t make their presence known, then shot an inebriated man sitting on a friend’s porch because he knew he was too drunk to drive, and idly playing with a garden hose nozzle that from a distance resembled a firearm strikes me as somewhat questionable. The man was dead before he knew there was anyone seeing him brandish his deadly hose nozzle; and yes, I can sympathize with the officers who claim to feel terrible about it all, but I don’t think that case was anything like within any policy I would approve of.

But when someone wanted for felony assault in commission of a robbery runs toward a policeman, the case for the policeman to defend himself is clear; how much force he is authorized may be debatable, but it’s a close debate. I’ve never been a policeman but I was a high ranking city official for a short period, and I am very glad we have people who do want to be police.

Governments have, and should have, a monopoly on the legal use of violence. There can be exceptions, and there have been relatively free societies in which enforcement of some judgments was not part of the government’s job. But by and large civilizations work better if there’s a minimum of violence and it’s restricted to the authorities. Most societies, for most of history, made a distinction between the civil authorities and the military, and that extended not only to personnel but to weapons. Civil authorities didn’t look like soldiers and didn’t act like them, and if a situation called for military action the military was called in – and it was a big deal.

Lately the militarization of the local civil police has become a considerable problem. Even more of concern has been the arming of federal peace officers with the implements of war. The BATF has often acted more like an invading army than a tax collection agency. But that’s a a discussion for another time.


What rights?

Hi Jerry,

I’m sure you’ve read this already, but just in case I thought I’d send the link along. It seems the California Supreme Court is now saying when you remain silent in front of investigators this can be used against you in court. I’ve been reading your site for a very long time and I know your opinion on speaking to investigators, especially since the Martha Stewart travesty, but now it seems not speaking can be just as bad as saying something and having it completely turned around by a crafty lawyer. It appears if The State wants you in jail, you’re going to jail.

"Court: Silence can be used against suspects

"AP  By Bill Elias

"Wading into a legally tangled vehicular manslaughter case, a sharply divided high court on Thursday effectively reinstated the felony conviction of a man accused in a 2007 San Francisco Bay Area crash that left an 8-year-old girl dead and her sister and mother injured.

"Richard Tom was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter after authorities said he was speeding and slammed into another vehicle at a Redwood City intersection.

"Prosecutors repeatedly told jurors during the trial that Tom’s failure to ask about the victims immediately after the crash but before police read him his so-called Miranda rights showed his guilt."

Tell me again the purpose a Constitution serves?

Braxton Cook


One of my sons tells of reading stories from the California Sixth Grade Reader to his daughter.

I read the Beethoven story to her and she loved it. Considering how she’s always singing and dancing (and now making movies), I thought it was a good insight into the artistic discover process.=


I’ve just come back from almost 20 days in Israel including the first two days of this (so called) truce, I say so called because in the last three days well over 60 missiles have been launched against the border towns in Israel and the IDF has mostly responded.

Life in Israel does go on, people go to work, school is out so there’s the problem of what to do with the kids, where is it safe for them to go, nevertheless you noticed much lower traffic levels and people sticking to doing exactly what they needed to do. In a large country like the US it may be difficult to understand the moral impact of the deaths of those 63 men had. To gauge it properly one would have to have a kid in the army or to be stand at the central station in Beersheva (when the weekend ends and busses and trains arrive bringing the soldiers in) everyone of those soldiers is someone’s son, and while this may seem trite it is a powerful truth at the most basic levels in Israeli society. This in turn, together with a keen acknowledgement of the suffering experienced by southern communities (which have been showered with mortars and missiles for years, but out of sight etc.) have led to a new position among many Israelis.

There has to be a solution, but there is strong resistance to any kind of proposal that will leave Hamas armed and able to replenish its stores. Meanwhile the fact that the Jewish state did not roll over and play dead does not sit well with many governments, not only Erdogan in Turkey said that Jews should condemn Israel, many Latin American governments, supposedly democratic ones, have followed Brazil’s lead in attacking Israel. And that in turn when taken with the very public declarations made by officials all over the place is driving antisemistism to levels unseen in 50 years (since the Eichmann trials).

Please note, this is not impromptu antisemitism, when someone takes all night to paint anti Jewish signs along 3 miles of highway it speaks of an organization with a lot of people willing to do such work. And history teaches, clearly, what follows. Latin American governments see nothing wrong in Iran, ISIS, the slaughter of Nazarene Christians in the Middle East and the extinction of ancient communities, but they will solidly stand with the political and ideological blood brothers (and I mean blood in the literal sense as Hamas has hounded and persecuted Christians in Gaza for quite some time) of such barbarians. Evidently the left leaning governments of the region believed there is no risk in promoting these anti-western parties. It may well be that they will find out they were wrong, but by then it’ll be way too late.

I’m no authority on sin, but despair is not an option, my grandparents survived the Tsar’s (and his Cossack’s) pogroms, we need, as a civilization, to find a way to stand up to this new crop of culture killers. Upon reading about their cruelty and ruthlessness I’m inclined to believe the story about the burning of the Alexandria library authorized by an Arab chieftain who said "the Koran is enough".

Ariel Fabius A/S CTS


I don’t believe in or encourage hyphenated Americans. You are either an American (U.S. in this context) or you are not. The use of the hyphen is divisive and feeds the slice and dice mentality in the guise of diversity that seeks to pit one group of Americans against another to the disadvantage of all except for those who fancy themselves as "The Ruling Class".

This nation used to be a melting-pot, a blend of many ethnicities, national origins and faiths, each contributing and enhancing the whole. As a kid I don’t recall anyone using the hyphen to any degree. We were a nation where people from all over the globe could study and learn to be an American, speaking, reading and writing the American version of English, a language that incorporated words and constructs from many languages. A few of the "old country" traditions were retained and eventually blended into a culture that became distinctly American.

My direct lineage is French, British (English, Welsh, Irish, Scot), German and Swedish. So what am I? I am an American. If you think of yourself as anything but American you play directly into the hands of those who get and hold political office and seek to rule rather than govern by manipulating emotion and dividing us into small, ineffective groups.

If you are going to recognize accomplishment – or sins – the individual should be the one recognized, not whatever group(s) to which that individual may belong. No group is purely good or purely evil. My father would sometimes remark that every family, no matter how accomplished or distinguished, has a horse-thief or two lurking in the family closet.

The increasing level of divisiveness being peddled as "diversity" for the last several years is troubling on several levels but especially since it isolates groups and creates friction that we do not need. In my role as a military officer I served with people from north, south, east and west, white, black, yellow, brown and every shade in between. Ancestry was world-wide as were religious practices. I respected and admired them all. By the time I was active the services were all fully integrated and if the subject came up, in fact we were all army green (I guess it’s blue, now). I can’t imagine the army without these people. So we had diversity, if that is thought desirable, but, more importantly, we had commonality – in language, in traditions of the service, in our responsibilities under the UCMJ, in the principles of soldiering and in our mutual loyalty to our service, our commanders, our unit and to each other.

What those who have never served don’t seem to understand is that although we wore the same uniform, swore the same oath, conform to the same regulations we are still individuals with our own families, traditions, interests and backgrounds. We never lost those things when we became members of the larger organization. Indeed, in many respects, who and what we are was enhanced by our membership in the larger society.

The divisiveness being promoted in the civilian world is not doing good. In fact, it reduces individuality and enforces a type of conformity that is not desirable in that it isolates the various groups from the larger society. This is particularly true when it comes to language. If you can’t communicate you can’t participate in any meaningful way and can easily be manipulated. The manipulators have their interests in mind, not yours.


I have no case to make for encouraging diversity.  E Pluribus Unum has worked very well for this Republic, and diversity seems bent on tearing that unity apart.



Sun’s 100 year period of high activity may be ending…

Helsinki Times

Guess more fossil fuels will need to be burned, lest the "coming ice age" prognosticators of the 1970s turn out to be correct after all.

Charles Brumbelow


Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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