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Archive for April, 2010

Deputies for Dollars

Posted by heyrandy on April 24, 2010

The local sheriff’s department has had its deputies out setting up check points on our expressway’s on ramps. I have so far seen three checkpoints, each having five or six marked sheriff’s car present. These checkpoints are not set up to catch evil doers. The checkpoints are set up to raise funds for the county.

Governments are all levels are searching for new ways to get money to spend. All government agencies are being pressed into service. What better way to protect the public than to issue to them a bunch of nuisance citations? Isn’t this what law enforcement is for?

The system works like this. Once you are on the entrance ramp, you can’t turn around. There is no going back. The cops then slow you down to check if your car inspection sticker is expired. Wow! I feel safer already. What a relief to know that the cops have done such a fine job of stopping crime that they can now spend their time going after the really hard-core traffic offenders!

This really raises the question of why we need the cops. Can’t we do this a lot cheaper by hiring private thugs checkers? How hard can this job be? Why all the cost of police cars with radios, special costumes, guns, and training? Any high school dropout can do this job. So could most high school graduates.

I think that the county would be better off just firing the deputies and hiring a bunch of semi-literate dope heads to do the job. The jail is full of them, so we can get them pretty cheaply. Take the petty criminals off of highway cleanup duty and put them to work making money. After they issued enough valid citations, they would be released from jail to go back to their community to help with the underground economy. The more successful ones could hire some of those ex-cops as private security guards. That is a real incentive!

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I Checked My Spam

Posted by heyrandy on April 21, 2010

I just checked what was in the spam queue for this site. I approved many comments. I think some have been automatically deleted. If your comment is lost, please post it again. I will be checking my spam more frequently to avoid losing valid comments. I apologize to all those who commented but failed to see what they wrote.

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Crossing Your Heart or Fingers

Posted by heyrandy on April 20, 2010

The Tea Party event I attended on April 15th featured a short presentation by someone from the Oath Keepers organization. This man lead the crowd through an oath recital about defending the Constitution and defending the country against all enemies, domestic and foreign. I did not recite the oath.

I don’t know much about the Oath Keepers. The group seems to have appeared suddenly upon the scene of modern politics. Or it could have been around a long time without my knowing about it. It does not matter which is true.

The idea behind Oath Keepers is for its members to take seriously the oath of office they take when the are installed in a public office. It all sounds good. But is it?

Oath are fairly common in our society. They are also commonly ignored. It is quite typical for those sworn in to simply forget about their oath and do what they want. Few get upset by this blithe indifference to the quaint formality of swearing an oath. Can those of you who have actually sworn an oath remember what it said? You may remember one oath: the Pledge of Allegiance.

Oath comes from the concept of covenant. This is an ancient treaty form that was quite common in Old Testament times. In fact, the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is written in covenant form. The covenants of biblical times had certain characteristics. Ray Sutton in his book That You May Prosper the five main ones: a preamble that stated who were the parties of the covenant, a historical prologue that gave a statement of how the covenant was to be administered, the stipulations of the covenant, the ratifying sign of the covenant, and the naming of successors to the covenant. Oaths are a ratifying sign. These ratifying signs often carried curses for those who disobeyed and blessing for those who obeyed. There is a childish oath often used when I was young: Cross my heart and hope  to die. This was to attest to the veracity of what one was saying. I guess we all told the truth.

There are many other signs used in the Old Testament to attest to covenants. For example, the rain bow, circumcision, slain animals, and holy days. In the New Testament the sign of the New Covenant Jesus initiated is the cup of communion. (Luke 22:20)

The penalties for violating covenant oath can be severe. We find it is often death. This is brought forth in the use of the divided animals in the covenant God established with Abraham. (Gen. 15) This is the reason for the execution of the man in Numbers 15:32-36. He despised the sign of the covenant and therefore despised the covenant–a capital offense.

Oaths are serious, but is Oath Keepers? It is not yet certain. The news has said nothing of those under oath being punished for failure to keep that oath. You occasionally hear of someone be prosecuted for perjury, but this a difficult crime to prove since it must be proven that the accused deliberately lied.

I will believe Oath Keepers had an effect when I hear of the mass resignation of public officials or of military court martial trials of those who refuse to obey unlawful orders. Until such events occur, it will be difficult for me to take Oath Keepers more seriously than crossing my heart, or my fingers.

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The Last Best Hope is not Enough

Posted by heyrandy on April 16, 2010

I like Ron Paul. He is a genuine pain to both halves of the Establishment of this country. He does not go along, but he gets along. It is the others that do not get along. They go along.

I think people with his views are the only hope for the country. His views about returning to the Constitution are what we need. He is a lone voice crying above the cesspool called politics. That he survives unsullied tells us of his genuineness. This genuineness is unique in modern politics.

It is not enough. I would vote for Paul in any election, for any office, anywhere. But even if elected as President he is not going to do any long term good. This is not a reflection on Paul’s integrity or ability. It is a stark reality of American politics.

Most people think that the politicians run the country. The politicians think they do. Some people think that a secret elite runs the country. They do. The bureaucrats know that they run the country. The politicians know this too. So do some reformers. Most voters do not. The elite do not care about the bureaucrats.

The President has at most eight years. Some have had only four. Some have had less. A few have almost had less. Eight years is nothing for a tenured bureaucrat. He can easily wait for the next politician. Once a reformer is gone a hack takes over and all is returned to the status quo ante. “As it was in the beginning, so it is now and forever shall be. Amen.” This is the hymn of every government bureaucrat.

The only things bureaucrats fear are violating the rules and a budget cut. Rules are the reason the bureaucracy exists. Money is its food. Without funds, bureaus die. No one long works free.

Parkinson’s Law states that all work expands to consume available resources. This is a fundamental law of bureaucracy. No reformer can change the desire of every bureaucrat to have an assistant.

The bureaucrats make the rules, but the politicians have the power of the money. Politicians are loath to cut spending. Too many jobs will be lost if spending is cut. Unemployed bureaucrats might vote for the other candidate. Why take the chance when it costs you nothing to play it safe. Spending other people’s money is safe. No politician campaigns on the claim that he voted to close some taxpayer funded boondoggle in his district. Politicians who do this are not re-elected. That obviously unnecessary military base may no longer be needed, but “it is the heart of the community.” Heartless communities do the unthinkable: elect someone else.

The government run schools are probably the one area where reform could take place. They are usually administered locally, so are closer to the people who fund them. Here all change has proved to be superficial and cosmetic. The school are still a tangle of bureaucratic bloat, efficient only at making kids stupid and somewhat compliant to government.

I wish reformers well. You are our last best hope. But you are not enough.

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Tea: Stirred not Shaken

Posted by heyrandy on April 15, 2010

I am a coffee drinker, but I went to a tea party. Actually, it was a Tea Party. They did not serve tea. They served rhetoric. Normally I avoid political events, but when I heard of the local Tea Party, I decided to go.

There were possibly 1000  people there. It was held in a small park behind the local federal building, along the river. Apparently the police like tea: there were at least 12 by my count. I overheard someone say he counted 15. There were four on horseback, two at each end of the park. The horses made their presence known. I am sure the police will remove and preserve this evidence of littering. This will probably be done by those plain clothes officers who were in the crowd.

Many people carried signs and wore shirts with political messages, mostly along the lines of the government is bad. I didn’t argue.

There were tables set up with people selling various politically themed items. One guy was there giving away DVD’s. One of the DVD’s was titled Are You NIV Positive. I did talk to him, but I got the impression he is a The-King-James-Version-Is-The-Only-One-To-Use believer. I do not understand this. If someone who does would like to explain it to me, please do.

The Tea Party movement is a new phenomenon. It started when the Bush regime gave the stupid bankers 700 billion dollars in bailout money. The public was very opposed to the bailout (and still is), but this didn’t stop Congress. Not much stops Congress. The bailout failed in its first try through the House, but then the goodies were passed out. In politics there is almost nothing and no one that money can’t buy.

I just finished read Philip Berrigan’s book Widen the Prison Gates. It gives some details of his prison time for various crimes he  committed when he and his brother Daniel were leaders of the Vietnam War protest “Movement”. When I finished the book, I wondered what happened to the Movement. I also wondered why, with two wars raging with no realistic end in sight, we don’t have a Movement of some kind. I hope we have not degenerated to the point that we only protest wrong when money is involved. The Tea Party meeting began with a short appreciation for the military. This is obviously not 1965.

Although I am not a member (where does one go to join; indeed, can one join?), I have a general affinity for much of what the Party is saying. I think that the movement is a good one. It is evidence of people beginning to understand how bad the country is. Given the slander and vituperation Tea Party has suffered from its critics, it is evidence that others are beginning to wake up to what the Tea Party means.

I had a good experience at the meeting. What the future holds is difficult to tell because I can not read tea leaves well since I am a coffee drinker.

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